By Educational Partner: Aleksandra Mikic, DMH, DVH, DPh of Health For Animals Program
The formula for digestive upset that I will share with you in this article is probably the most frequently used formula in my practice. This is not surprising when we consider the following factors:
• the natural inclination of animals, especially young ones, to taste just about everything that can fit into their mouths
• the improper foods and treats many of them are deliberately fed
• the wide array of poisonous chemicals easily found in the environment and in many homes
• the dysfunctional shaping of a dog’s form to fit some imagined standard resulting in deep chested dogs prone to bloat, distorted jaws, etc.
• and of course, the disturbing emotions arising either out of mistreatment or deep resonance with the owner’s issues.
Along with a few of my colleagues, I was standing on the dock of one of the beautiful Bahamian islands, waiting for a ferry. Glancing at the scenery during these last minutes spent there, I saw a woman rushing towards us with a lifeless puppy in her arms. She was told that I was a homeopath who treated animals and her puppy had apparently been poisoned. Just a day before, that same puppy was a rambunctious youngster full of play who had so much fun pulling on my son’s t-shirt, he managed to tear it up.
One of my colleagues had a remedy kit handy and a few pellets were quickly dispensed into the palm of the hand, and brought up to the pup’s muzzle. He stirred, opened his eyes and with an uncharacteristic fervor of a nearly unconscious animal, licked up all of the pellets.
Within seconds, his head was up, within a minute he was squirming to get out of his owner’s arms, within twenty minutes he was playing and looking for more trouble, as pups do. It is an enormously gratifying experience to be a witness to a true and speedy cure, just as Dr. Hahnemann, the founder of homeopathy, described it. You now understand the power of the formula you are about to learn with my sincere hopes that you will never need to use it, but should nevertheless have handy. And the pup? He has grown into a beautiful large dog as we have witnessed on subsequent trips.
The four remedies that make up this formula are each a powerful remedy in their own right, and have a great sphere of influence on digestive processes. You may wonder why we don’t choose just one that is the closest similimum. The first reason is the issue of time; as you saw in the example of a poisoned pup, we don’t always have the luxury of comparing the symptoms and fitting in the most appropriate remedy. The second reason is that the symptoms in the animal aren’t necessarily clear, animals don’t tell us about their inner sensations and modalities which are usually needed to distinguish one remedy from another. The third reason is that cause plays a big part in the remedy choice and again, animals don’t speak of it. When I asked the woman in the story what has happened to the pup, her answer was that she didn’t know, that he apparently ate something that poisoned him. What that ’something’ was, we never found out. For all of those reasons, having a formula ready that can cover most aspects of digestive problems is priceless.
In no particular order, the remedies are:
• Nux vomica
• Carbo vegetabilis
Arsenicum is a prime remedy for poisoning. Anytime you suspect poisoning, you should give Arsenicum first and investigate later. In the beginning stages of disease, you would witness a restless animal that goes to the water bowl frequently, but doesn’t drink much. Burning sensation relieved by heat is a keynote of Arsenicum that a human patient would report. If a dog was panting heavily as though he was really hot, and yet calmed down once he was covered up with a blanket, it would indicate Arsenicum.
Nux vomica is the overindulgence remedy. Those smart dogs that know how to open the fridge and then eat everything in sight, probably need this remedy frequently. The keynote is ‘wants, but cannot.’ For example, if an animal is straining to poop, but nothing or very little comes out, or is retching trying to vomit, but again, nothing comes out, Nux vomica should be thought of immediately.
Lycopodium is flatulent and bloated, even after a small amount of food. It is also a liver specific remedy, and the liver may be enlarged and sensitive to palpation. It is characteristic of a patient needing Lycopodium to feel worse between 4pm and 8pm.
Carbo vegetabilis is all about disintegration, putrefaction, great loss of vitality, and collapse. Stomach and abdomen are usually very sensitive to touch. Diarrhea has a nasty odor, there could be hemorrhage from any mucosal surface. In a sense, it is trouble gone too far. If the gums become bluish, this is the remedy that can turn things around. It is referred to as “the corpse reviver” for a good reason.
By contemplating the above remedies, we can see how each is actually applicable in every case of a digestive problem. If an animal has consumed something it shouldn’t have, it is in a way poisonous to its body. It also represents indulgence in a sense that it probably should not have been consumed at all. When is a liver not stressed when digestive issues appear? Even If an animal hasn’t reached a collapsed state, wouldn’t we want to prevent it? Any remedy consumed that is not needed to destroy a diseased state, acts as immunization.
How often should you give this formula and in what potency? The remedies are readily available in either 30C or 200C potency and either of them is fine. The frequency of administration should match the intensity of disease. A puppy who has overeaten may need one or two doses, but an unconscious animal may need it every 10-20 seconds until it awakens.
The easiest way to prepare the remedies is to put a few drops or pellets of each in a dropper bottle, and to fill it with one half pure water and one half vodka, and shake well. Remember to put a label on, no, you will not recall what the bottle is for (experience has taught me this more than once).
How the formula will act depends on how far the diseased state has progressed. In the very beginning, it may simply abort the entire disease process. In later stages, or whenever there is something that needs to be discharged, it will speed it up to bring up the resolution. If a dog is lethargic and quickly vomits after the formula is given, that’s a good thing. Whatever he has vomited needed to come out.
What if it doesn’t work, or an animal gets better, but then becomes worse again, especially after eating? Then you must suspect a foreign object. Usually, a spoonful of castor oil is enough to force such objects into the light of day. Many un-necessary surgeries are performed because people panic and have no patience. If an animal has swallowed a foreign object and it’s not a sharp one, keep in mind that rectum is wider than a throat. If it went in, it can probably come out as well.