Please remember that if your animal has had an accident or is seriously ill, first aid remedies may benefit them while you are waiting for help, but you MUST seek immediate advice from a veterinary surgeon. Before going any further, it is also essential to quote advice from the British Association of Homeopathic Veterinary Surgeons, BAHVS. BAHVS members are all conventionally trained vets who have gone on to gain further qualifications in homeopathy which are credited by the Faculty of Homeopathy.
“Homeopathy is a powerful and effective form of treatment, providing the possibility of cure for many serious and chronic conditions. Treatment of such conditions requires a level of skill and experience. Apart from this capability, however, it also offers extremely effective and wide-ranging first-aid applications, which are amenable to use by the caring animal owner.
Specialist knowledge is not required, unless the chosen remedy appears not to work within a reasonable period. In that case, the BAHVS recommends attention from a qualified veterinary surgeon.”
And, with regard to the law:
“The Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966 restricts the treatment of animals (other than your own) by anyone other than a fully qualified vet.”
Most people will be familiar with using Arnica pills or cream to help with bruising. However, a wide range of other remedies can also be used in first aid circumstances (in addition to their deeper uses when advised by a qualified practitioner to help with other conditions). This blog features an A to Z of the more commonly used remedies from Aconite to Urtica. Week by week we’ll add information to the following list and publish a series of slides illustrating their uses. We’ll give the name you’ll most likely see on the remedy bottle as well as their Latin and common English names.
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Where to find a homeopathic vet
A list of homeopathic vets is found here.
Where to buy the remedies
Several homeopathic pharmacies sell handy pet remedy kits including Helios, Ainsworths and Freemans. You may also be able to purchase remedies if you are using a homeopathic vet who may have their own supplies.
Aconite - Aconitum napellus - Monkshood or Wolfsbane
This remedy treats shock, both mental and physical and will also assist in the treatment of acute febrile conditions, such as viral or bacterial diseases.
Apis - Apis mellifca* - Honey Bee
Urticarial swellings, oedema and fluid in joints will often respond to this remedy, apart from its benefits for insect bites and stings. It may also help urine retention, if this is physiological.
* Zoological nomenclature later changed to Apis mellifera
Arnica - Arnica montana - Leopard's Bane
This is homeopathy’s great injury remedy. Its use will minimise bruising and speed healing. It also has ‘antiseptic’ properties.
Belladonna - Atropa belladonna
High fevers with head, ear, throat or eye pain are especially helped by this remedy. Very painful abscesses may also respond.
Bryonia - Bryonia alba* - White Bryony
Arthritis, rheumatism, pneumonia, peritonitis or mastitis, when the animal refuses to move, are the main areas of use of Bryonia.
* Nomenclature later changed to Bryonia dioica
Calendula - Calendula officinalis - Marigold
Used as a lotion, this remedy speeds healing of cuts, grazes or open wounds, in addition to helping the animal to fight septic infection of such injuries.
Cantharis ~ Cantharis vesicatoria
This medicine helps most cases of cystitis.
Watch this space - we will be adding more information on the following remedies over the next few weeks:
A dramatic insight into canine behaviour
and the discovery of integrated veterinary medicine
It was my fault....... I’d left them alone when we'd always had a feeling that Basil, our rescue collie cross, was overly wary of our two year old son.
Basil came flying downstairs, ears flat with a crestfallen look on his face just as my son let out an awful scream. I rushed upstairs faster than Basil had come down, to find our son had been bitten on his chubby elbow – no blood, just a hole or two and a heartrending wailing that I couldn’t stop however hard I tried.
A kindly neighbour took us to the hospital where a nurse passing our cubicle just gently rubbed our son’s back and, at last, silenced the cries. To his credit, the doctor decided against antibiotics, but we were told to keep an eagle eye out for any signs of infection.
Thankfully, there were none and our son made a full recovery as well as receiving a deeper insight into canine behaviour than most small children ever get.
It turned out that Basil was starting with an ear infection and, as far as it’s possible to gather information from a toddler, my son had been trying to fuss him. He must have had Basil cornered and the dog lashed out with a single bite as a way of asking to be left alone. Being so young, my son wouldn’t have understood any calming signals Basil may have given to diffuse the situation. We had always been careful regarding their interactions as Basil had very clear boundaries. However, I had taken my eye off the ball. My son was left with a lifelong scar, and we as parents and dog owners were left feeling very guilty.
Something had to be done. As you can imagine, we were given a lot of advice - most of it suggesting that Basil should be put to sleep. Indeed, our vet at the time was adamant that this is what he would do if Basil was his dog. We refused, however, and Basil stayed with my sympathetic parents for a while until we figured out what was best. When he came back home, we had a strict common-sense routine about who was allowed to interact with Basil and how.
This turned out to be a complete success, but our immediate task at the time was to find a new vet.
Forced to think outside the box, I searched Yellow Pages and other sources of information – remember those pre-internet days? I happened to see an advert for a homeopathic vet and reading up to find out a little more, I rang for an appointment. Thankfully it was well worth the hundred mile round trip. Basil responded positively to a more holistic approach and we gained a greater insight into what was going on with him.
It’s possible that Basil had had a bad experience with small children before he was rescued off the streets of London and sent to Battersea Dogs Home where we were to fall in love with that gorgeous face. Or perhaps he was never socialised with uninhibited toddlers. Whatever it was, something in him manifested in this sudden on-off anger switch underpinned by fear.
A constitutional remedy was prescribed for his general physiological, emotional and mental makeup including the fear aggression he demonstrated. Things improved dramatically - although we were always careful to remain sensibly vigilant.
We carried on seeing the homeopathic vet and although we eventually moved too far away for a round trip to be feasible, the homeopathic vet worked alongside our new open-minded local
vet to look after Basil’s health for the rest of his life. Using a more integrated approach with homeopathy as a cornerstone of treatment enabled Basil to live until he was nearly 17.
So, no harm done. Instead, it allowed us as family to gain a greater understanding of our dog and to discover a more varied and successful approach to his health care.
24 years on, our son still has Basil’s scar but has always loved dogs!
And the day Basil came, without bidding, to snuffle his nose into our son’s hands was one of the best days of his life.
Homeopathic vets are fully trained in conventional medicine with further qualifications in homeopathy. Other holistic treatments may also be offered such as acupuncture, hydrotherapy, chiropractic care, osteopathy, massage therapies or herbal medicine. More information and a directory of vets registered with the British Association of Homeopathic Veterinary Surgeons, BAHVS, can be found here.