Zandra (her name has been changed to protect the privacy of the client) is a 9 year-old spayed female standard poodle who was living in a constant state of anxiety. Her body was always tense, her head held high, and her limbs stiff. She was extremely sensitive, reacting to her guardian’s moods quite fearfully. She was described as a “prey animal,” fearful of anyone walking towards her, especially men. She did not like wind. Any sudden movement or loud noise would startle her and start her shaking. If my client tried to pick her up, she would growl and sometimes even bite. She was especially bad indoors, guarding toys, her bed, or even doorways. Her personal space was described as “a huge bubble.”
Zandra did not like water either. She hated getting wet, and would urinate on the sidewalk if it was raining, to avoid walking in puddles. Zandra didn’t drink much water, and her mouth was so dry her lips would stick to her teeth. She occasionally had bad breath, and a significant amount of tartar. She required dental cleanings every year to remove significant accumulations of tartar. She also had a heart murmur and suffered from bleeding warts described as “pink cauliflowers.”
Zandra was also a very picky eater, not even interested in treats used for training. Zandra had a lot of issues! Only the pure devotion of her guardian kept Zandra from being abandoned at a shelter. Zandra had been adopted when she was 9 months old. At that time, she had a fracture of her left femur that had healed without treatment. Zandra’s early life likely had been quite difficult.
Zandra had a lot of symptoms, so the difficulty was in finding a remedy that could cover all these symptoms. Of course Synergy’s MacRepertory came in quite handy, using the New World Veterinary Repertory:
Modalities can be very helpful to narrow down the choice of remedies, and in Zandra’s case she had two very useful ones. She behaved better outdoors, and she was definitely worse when she was stimulated in any way. This second modality translates to worse for emotions.
Nit-ac was at the top of the repertorization chart, and it also read the best in the materia medica. Here are some quotes from nitric acid in Hahnemann’s Chronic Diseases that fit Zandra taken from Synergy’s Reference Works: “He is beset with anxious thoughts, without cause….Easily excited annoyance, which much affects the mind….when disputing, there is trembling in all the limbs….Very dry tongue, so that it cleaves to the palate, in the morning on awaking…..Dryness in the mouth, without thirst….”
We began with Nit-ac LM1, mixed in 4 ounces of water. Zandra received one single dose which was prepared by mixing 1 TB of the stock solution into 1/2 cup of water and from this dilution giving her 1 tsp. One day after the dose, Zandra had diarrhea and some vomiting, without being very sick. This lasted one morning. The following day, she asked for a drink of water “for the first time in her life.” The third day after this single dose, she was growly all day to the client’s husband, but her appetite was better than normal and she continued to drink more than her usual. This extra growliness lasted until three weeks after the dose, so I made the determination that her next dose, when needed, should be diluted twice instead of just once.
Zoe’s progress continued, without any further doses of her remedy. A month later, she was barking less in the car, whereas before it had been constant. She not only got her feet wet voluntarily in the rain, but even stepped into the river! Her pleased guardians said, “She acts more like a dog than she did before.” Even guests noticed a difference when they came to visit, with Zandra soliciting attention instead of growling.
She did not need another dose until three months after the first one. She was beginning to drink less again, having some intermittent diarrhea, and beginning to follow the other dog around “and not in a nice way.” Zandra received a double dilution of nit-ac LM1. The stock bottle was succussed 10 times before preparing the dilution as before, then 1 tsp was taken out of the dilution and put into a second 1/2 cup of water, and Zandra was given 1 tsp from this second glass.
Zandra exemplifies the Organon Aphorism 277: “…a well-dynamized medicine becomes increasingly curative and almost miraculously helpful the more homoeopathically it has been chosen….” [Hahnemann S. Organon of Medicine, Sixth Edition. Kunzli J, Naude A, and Pendleton P, eds. Blaine, WA: Cooper Publishing;1982] Zandra was exquisitely sensitive to Nit-ac. She only needed one dose of the LM about every two months. One year after beginning homeopathic treatment, she was brought in for her usual yearly dental, but she didn’t need it! Her breath was better than it had been “in years.” Another year later and her heart murmur was noted to be less severe. Her warts stopped bleeding and stayed the same size.
Zandra steadily improved over the next four years. She would finally eat her meals even with added vegetables. She was fine meeting new dogs at the dog park, even the small ones. The mailman asked what was going on with her, because she was no longer running the fence after him like she used to. She used to run away when she saw nail clippers, but now just sits on the couch and allows her nails to be trimmed. She ate out of a Kong (a rubber dog toy stuffed with food) for the first time in her life! As of the writing of this article, she is still doing well at 12 years old. Homeopathy, along with devoted caregivers, gave Zandra the life that she deserved.
Martin (name changed to protect the privacy of the client), a 3 1/2 year old intact male black Labrador, also had troubles with aggression. He had had a few episodes of growling and threatening other dogs before his homeopathic care began, but only one such episode was mentioned at the case intake. Then after treatment with a remedy that did not match his case, his aggressive tendencies became more clear. He turned on a 5 month-old pup who was simply playing nearby. (Luckily, all the pup received was a good scare.) Then he growled and snapped twice at a cat behind a gate, which he had never done before. As often happens, the similar-but-not-the-simillimum brought the case into greater focus. Martin was calling for a change.
When I re-examined Martin’s case in order to determine a more appropriate remedy, I looked back over his entire history. He was an itchy dog when his guardian came to me for help. Every evening he had a routine of rubbing his face and ears along the carpet like a snowplow clearing the roads. His eyelids would swell and the fur around his eyes became quite thin. This had gotten somewhat better with homeopathy, and was one reason I had stayed with the initial prescription. He was easily startled by noises, such as a knitting needle hitting the floor. This had worsened.
As a pup, he had had pimples on his chin, called “puppy acne.” His ears would get itchy and full of dark brown wax, especially after swimming. In the past, he had had a cough, along with retching as if he was going to vomit, but nothing ever came up. He had had diarrhea as a very young pup, and occasionally still had mucous in his stools. He was worse in the heat, panting and laying down on the bare ground, and wanting water more than the other dog in the household. This sensitivity to heat was aggravated when he was excited, which happened often when he was out and about. He was described as a clumsy dog, walking very heavily on his front end.
Nat-m repertorized the highest and was the only remedy covering all of the selected rubrics. (From the New World Repertory in Synergy’s MacRepertory program.) After reading materia medica for the top few remedies, it became clear to me that nat-m was a match for Martin. Hahnemann’s Chronic Diseases (from Synergy’s Reference Works): Great irritability. Peevish, irritable, quarrelsome, ill – humored….He is easily carried away to anger….Very much inclined to be startled….Intense itching on the head….Itching on the head and in the whiskers, he has to scratch….Itching of the eyes in the inner canthus, and lachrymation. Itching of the eyes, he must rub them….Itching in the outer canthus of the left eye….Severe itching in the left inner canthus….On the chin, a red itching spot, which after rubbing became ulcerated….Itching, miliary eruption on the chin, for several days. (“Whiskers” applies to facial hair in men, and can also apply to whiskers in dogs, cats, and horses, since these long stiff hairs are located in approximately the same area of the face as beards and mustaches.)
As a young dog who had never received Western medicine or even vaccinations, Martin had plenty of energy to react to his remedy. Three days after a single dose of Nat-m 200C, Martin had some loose stools with a small amount of blood (a symptom also found in nat-m). The next day, his stools were much better, but his face was much more itchy. His ears became mildly itchy and discharged a dark brown liquid, which was cleaned out using almond oil. By 3 1/2 weeks after the remedy, he was no longer starting. His aggression had disappeared. By two months after his dose, his ears started clearing up, and the fur was growing back around his eyes. He was back to his “goofy, happy Labrador self.”
Nearly 3 months since his dose, we repeated the Nat-m 200C (in water and stirred first) because he had developed a dime-sized hotspot on his neck that was getting larger. He had also been getting itchier again, rubbing his head on the rug and rolling around. This dose resolved his itching within two days. His guardian said, “He’s like a different dog…he actually laid peacefully in the living room with me last night….wow it was such a gift for me to have to see him that comfortable!!” The hotspot healed quickly, and over the next year Martin required a dose of Nat-m 1M twice for a brief return of his itchy eyes and a scurfy eruption on his head. Martin even had a brief return of the mucous in his stool, his old puppyhood problem, which resolved without treatment. Overall, he continued to do well, even putting on a few pounds (which he needed). But his aggression was a thing of the past. Don’t you just love homeopathy?