Epidemic diseases plague animals and humans, just as they have through recorded history. They include malaria, influenza and Ebola in humans; and foot and mouth disease, bird flu and parvo in animals. These diseases have a huge impact on our society, both economically and in the number of lives affected. Treatment and control are challenging, because of the rapid onset and large numbers of individuals affected by these diseases.
Homeopathy treats and prevents these infectious diseases with much greater success than conventional medicine. The influenza pandemic of the early 20th century is an example: during this 1918 to 1920 event, the mortality rate was 30% and 25,000 deaths occurred in America alone under conventional treatment. The homeopaths, meanwhile, showed a death rate under 1%. Any system of treatment that cures so rapidly and completely is worth checking out.1
Homeopathy is a safe, gentle, yet powerful method of restoring health that has been used worldwide for over 200 years. In the 1800s, Dr. Samuel Hahnemann cured many people and animals of various acute and chronic ailments, and was very successful treating serious epidemic diseases such as cholera, malaria and typhoid. President McKinley dedicated a large monument to him in 1900, which stands today in D.C. as the only one to honor a physician. His followers in the United States, such as Hering, Kent, Allen and Boger, demonstrated the power of homeopathy in curing serious diseases, especially epidemic ones.
EPIDEMIC DISEASES IN DOGS
Two major infectious diseases in dogs are distemper and parvovirus. Distemper has been known for a long time, while canine parvovirus first “appeared” in the late 1970s. Vaccines are available and encouraged by most conventional veterinarians for both these viral diseases, even though continued vaccination in adult animals is highly debatable.2 I compiled clinical data in my own practice over an 18-month period, and found that vaccinated pups had lower survivability than non-vaccinated pups when sick with parvovirus, and pups protected with homeopathic nosodes had the highest survival rate of all.3
Treatment of both these viral diseases is largely supportive, with intravenous fluids providing the main benefit. Other conventional treatment is largely suppressive – “anti” drugs like anti-emetics, anti-diarrheals, anti-nausea meds, antibiotics and anti-inflammatories. Homeopathy views symptoms as the body’s best attempts to correct its imbalance, so suppressive treatment is seen as the worst thing to do when trying to heal an individual. Suppression leads to deeper disease expression, as the body attempts to find another avenue to “vent” the “disease”. Homeopathy looks for a remedy with similarity, and helps the body extinguish symptoms without suppressing them, causing the disease to leave the body naturally. Homeopathy is also suited very well to treating the individual. No two pups with parvovirus will be ill with exactly the same symptoms, so homeopathy selects a medicine to fit each one’s current state. Even this can change rapidly. I will often give several different remedies to a parvovirus case in the course of a day, depending on changes in the symptom picture. Acute illness is like a thunderstorm moving rapidly through the body, and in most cases the patient either lives or dies in short order. With homeopathic treatment, there is a much greater chance of surviving and generating a healthier immune system.
Epidemic diseases generally present in a consistent, predictable way. The symptoms are usually characteristic for that particular illness. In the same way, certain homeopathic remedies will tend to fit a disease, being a good match for the total symptom picture of the majority of cases in the epidemic. The most likely remedy to fit a certain epidemic is called the genus epidemicus. For example, many parvovirus cases present with nausea, vomiting, restlessness, very foul-smelling stools, and often a desire for small sips of water. These symptoms are characteristic for Arsenicum album, which happens to be a very good remedy for treating pups with parvovirus. So Arsenicum could be called the genus epidemicus, if most parvovirus cases in your practice seem to match the symptoms fairly well. However, each individual case could shift into other remedy states, such as Nux vomica, or Phosphorus, and might respond better to one of those remedies. The prescriber must observe carefully how the patient is responding after each dose.
Homeopathy is always based on treating the individual. I often get calls such as: “Do you have a remedy for Cushing’s disease in dogs?” I reply: “No, but I can find a remedy for a dog with Cushing’s symptoms!” This is a truth of homeopathy; it is based on treating the individual, and not the disease label.
Dr. Samuel Hahnemann states in aphorism 72 of the Organon: “Acute diseases are rapid illness-processes of the abnormally tuned life principle which are suited to complete their course more or less quickly, but always in a moderate time.”4 Most parvovirus cases I’ve seen resolved in one to five days, so this would be an acute disease. The cases in the sidebar at left were treated with homeopathy and supportive care only.
These cases show how parvovirus disease is readily treated with homeopathy and fluid therapy alone, and how the treatment can be individualized based on unique symptoms. In addition to Arsenicum and Nux Vomica, other useful remedies may include Phosphorus (lots of bleeding, startling to noises, vomiting 30 minutes after eating or drinking), Cinchona (very dehydrated), Rhus Toxicodendron (has to start moving but then feels better) and Thuja, to name a few. Since beginning to use homeopathy in 2008, I’ve treated hundreds of pups with parvovirus homeopathically, and am convinced the response and recovery time is much better than seen with conventional treatments used in the past.
PARVO CASE STUDIES
- Mia is a five-month-old female pit bull who presented with vomiting and diarrhea of two days duration, along with lethargy and no appetite. Hydration was normal, gums were pink, and the abdomen seemed slightly tender on palpation. The parvovirus test was positive (Idexx SNAP Elisa). I gave one dose of Nux vomica 10M in the exam room, and sent the same remedy home in solution, for the owner to give in repeated doses as needed. I chose this remedy because Mia’s symptoms were mainly nausea and vomiting, and she had become much more irritable than normal since becoming ill, a characteristic of this remedy. The client reported next day that Mia improved after the first dose, and began eating and drinking a few hours later with no further vomiting or diarrhea. This is not unusual, in my experience.
- Pudgey, a five-month-old male beagle mix, presented with a history of vomiting and diarrhea. The stool was very foul-smelling with blood (cadaverous odor), and he exhibited restlessness in the cage (getting up and down and changing position often). Parvovirus test was a strong positive. Pudgey was moderately dehydrated, so I gave Arsenicum 10M and began IV fluid therapy (lactated Ringer’s with 5% dextrose and vitamins B and C) over the next 24 hours. Next day, his restlessness and foul diarrhea were improved, but he seemed more nauseated (vomiting and heavy drooling), and was becoming more irritable. I gave Nux vomica 10M, and these symptoms resolved over the next six to eight hours. The next morning, Pudgey was barking in the cage, ate and drank without vomiting, and went home that afternoon.
- Two female sibling Chihuahuas lived in the same household. Four-month-old Pepper became ill and came in first, tested positive for parvovirus, and received one dose of Arsenicum 10M, (for very foul-smelling stools, restlessness, nausea and vomiting). She began eating and drinking that afternoon, and went home without any further treatment. Her sister, Precious, came in five days later and tested positive, with slightly different symptoms, mostly nausea and vomiting, and irritability. I gave her Nux vomica 10M and began IV fluids, as she was dehydrated. The next day, Precious’ symptoms shifted to more of an Arsenicum state (restless, foul-smelling diarrhea with blood), so I gave her Arsenicum 10M – a total of three doses over the next three days, as she stayed in this state without really deteriorating further or changing symptoms. On the last day, she improved quickly and went home.
“These cases show how PARVOVIRUS DISEASE is readily treated with homeopathy and ﬂuid therapy alone, and how the treatment can be INDIVIDUALIZED based on unique symptoms.”
Distemper is a well-known disease of dogs, although less common than parvovirus in most areas. I have only seen a few cases in almost 30 years of practice. There is also a lack of recent clinical reports from other veterinarians, although homeopathy yields the only hopeful outcomes in most cases. Veterinarian Dr. Horace B. F. Jervis was the first to use Distemperinum in 1929. This is a nosode, potentized like all remedies, made from the discharge of a dog with the actual disease. Dr. Jervis’ monograph, “Treatment of Canine Distemper with the Potentized Virus”, describes the tremendous success he had with this nosode:5
“After a period of about 25 years of fruitless struggling with distemper, having to contend with it day after day in an (extensive) small animal practice ever and always having the same disappointing results, losing the same large percentage of my patients all the time, I was led to earnestly seek some way out of this most trying predicament. So of late years I have turned absolutely from the old and dominant school of medicine, and have taken up the study in earnest of homeopathy. And right here I wish to say that my one regret is that I did not take it up years before….
“My results were, and are, so much beyond my expectations that I am sorry not to be able to interest more veterinarians to take it up and give it a trial. Anyone doing so, I venture to say, will never go back to the old school again.
“To have case after case brought to one and see so many, despite one’s earnest efforts, die, whilst one stands by without any way of stopping this terrible archfiend, is simply heartbreaking to say the least…. The thought naturally came to me that as I had taken up the practice of homeopathy; why not turn to her in my dilemma?”
Dr. Jervis had strain L distemper virus potentized by Ehrhart and Karl, an old homeopathic pharmacy in Chicago, in the 30th, 200th and 1,000th potencies. The death rate in the distemper ward decreased dramatically and he “…felt a sort of load being lifted from my shoulders”.
The nosode often aborted the development of clinical distemper if given in the incubative stage. It also stopped the putrid diarrhea, convulsions in the cerebral form, and even reversed the dying stage seen later in the disease. As we discussed with parvovirus, Dr. Jervis cautions that some animals need other remedies.
I give all pups coming into our clinic a dose of Distemperinum 200c, and have seen zero cases of clinical canine distemper since beginning this practice. I also send home a bottle of Parvo nosode 30c for the client to give once weekly until at least six months of age, to provide optimal protection against parvoviral disease. This weekly dosing interval follows closely the recommendations of Drs. Pitcairn and Hamilton in their books.6,7 These are the only “immunizations” pups receive in our practice.
In summary, epidemic disease treatment and prevention is an area where homeopathy really shines, and has an excellent record! Dr. Dorothy Shepherd said it well in her book, Homeopathy in Epidemic Diseases: “As Homeopaths we should not be backward in pressing our claim of being able to cure, really CURE acute epidemic diseases.”
I second that, Dr. Shepherd, and invite any open minded person to explore these concepts for themselves, and further their own knowledge of the wonderful healing art of homeopathy.
1Shepherd, Dorothy, MD. Homeopathy in Epidemic Diseases, 1967.
2Schultz, Ron. “Dog vaccines may not be necessary”. news.wisc.edu.
3Cooney, Todd. “Parvo Virus Survival and the Infl uence of Nosodes and Vaccination”. Dogs Naturally Magazine, July/August 2014.
4Hahnemann, Samuel. Editor Brewster O’Reilly, Wenda, PhD. The Organon of the Medical Art, 6th edition.
5Jervis, Horace BF. “Treatment of Canine Distemper with the Potentized Virus”, 1929.
6Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats, 2005, Rodale Press.
7Hamilton, Don, DVM. Homeopathic Care for Cats and Dogs. 2010, North Atlantic Books.