Lizzie was found in an overcrowded pound in Cyprus. She was very thin weighing just 8.5kg, half her current body weight, and was dirty and terrified. She had a horrific infected leg injury – probably caused by being tied up too tightly by a rope. She was on strong antibiotics for Ehrlichia canis, a serious bacterial infection that is transmitted through tick bites.
For the first year her leg scar was not troublesome and although the skin was like tissue paper and split easily it usually healed. However, a year later, the split had grown considerably and antibiotics failed to get the infection under control. The wound increased in size and covered the scar tissue area, and became heavily granulated. After discussing the options and prognosis with a homeopathic vet (with the full backing of our conventional vet), we decided on surgery to cover the scar with skin from her abdomen.
Unfortunately two years later, the original scar tissue (not covered by the skin graft) started to split and would not heal. It became red raw, weepy and inflamed, and Lizzie developed stiffness and limited mobility in the joint. After repeated trips to the vet and many courses of antibiotics (which had no effect despite a swab to establish the most appropriate ones), we agreed that continuous antibiotics were not an effective long-term treatment plan. We had run out of conventional options except for one - surgical amputation.
We turned to our homeopathic vet, again with full backing of our conventional vet who gladly sent off Lizzie's full medical record in the hope that amputation could be avoided. He thought that amputation was extreme and there were alternatives we should try first. We provided a full history of Lizzie’s life, lifestyle, personality, habits, and answered questions about what she liked and disliked. Afterwards Lizzie was given two remedies, one to be taken each morning, the other in the evening, for a month to stimulate tissue healing, regeneration and repair. We were also given a third combination remedy should any sign of wound infection appear (to avoid using antibiotics). We didn't need to use this.
Within two weeks, the wound had scabbed over, the infection, hotness and weeping had disappeared and Lizzie had full mobility again. And best of all, she kept her leg! Galen myotherapy helped to break down the scar tissue and release the muscles and, along with proprioception work, Lizzie gained full use of her leg. Lizzie has needed no antibiotics since she took the homeopathic remedies. You can read more about Galen myotherapy in our Fire Dog Kai blog.
Lizzie’s recovery was supported by raw feeding, blood titre tests rather than vaccinations (that showed strong antibodies despite having only had one course of injections in Cyprus), and faecal worm tests rather than chemical wormers.
Sceptics of course say that it is mere coincidence that the wound healed as soon as homeopathy was prescribed and that the collective residual antibiotics finally, several months after not working and the courses had finished, removed the stubborn infection.
But we know which treatment worked: the one that gave almost instant and long-lasting results – and kept Lizzie on all four legs!
These are interesting times on Facebook and Twitter. Those of us running our social media profiles watch as our supporters push back against some pretty vitriolic views of a small group of known homeopathy denialists including some vets resistant to considering other options to drugs.
One thing needs to be made clear about where CAM4animals stands. We are NOT anti-vet. Quite the opposite. We are also NOT "anti-vax". Many of us have to vaccinate in order to compete, but we are mostly anti over-vaccination (in line with WSAVA guidelines). We are devoted and sensible pet owners and farmers who want to work closely with our vets to achieve the best possible health for our animals with the minimal amount of chemical intervention.
In order to do this, we all understand that sometimes pharmaceutical products are necessary BUT, some animals may not respond to this option or have shown severe adverse effects. It is therefore useful to know that there are other options available either after you’ve tried drugs or before you go down that route because you have knowledge of your animal’s history. Responsible pet owners want to have a conversation with their vet about this and we are confident that any vet worth their salt will also want to have this conversation.
All of our supporters know that various holistic modalities can work for their animals and sometimes they don’t, just as drugs can work and sometimes, they don’t. Our supporters also know that there is a time and a place for pharmaceutical intervention; emergency care is an obvious example. But, following emergency care, and even before the vet gets there, a modality such as homeopathy can be very useful. You can address the shock of an accident while waiting for the vet and remedies are well known by homeopaths to speed up healing following surgery. This is integrated care at its best. It can also empower the vet nurse who is handling the situation either till the vet arrives or during surgery after-care. (Look out for our blogs on this topic.)
We are all familiar with the dog with arthritis who does well on Green Lipped Mussel or Omega 3. These sort of products are available on many vet surgery shelves. They are often used successfully before conventional treatment is needed, staving off the day when Metacam or similar has to be used to prolong quality of life. Similarly, homeopathy, acupuncture, herbs, hydrotherapy or the bodywork therapies can be invaluable in these situations. This demonstrates well how alternative, conventional and complementary care would be used in treating one animal at different stages of the disease.
What if this drive to ridicule holistic veterinary practitioners eventually gets a hold? The result is that young vets might be turned against CAM particularly by being fed inaccurate information about the effectiveness of the Big Five - acupuncture, homeopathy, herbs, chiropractic and osteopathic care. As a result, not only have our new vets lost a whole tool-kit of options available to them to achieve the best possible outcome for their patients, but we lose the skill pool of veterinary CAM knowledge used to develop popular and commonly used products. We also stand to lose the understanding of raw feeding and the usefulness of the Big Five in integrated veterinary healthcare. This leaves the responsible animal owner not only with just pharma options, but also a complete absence of knowledge on alternatives. This is a future CAM4animals will fight hard to resist.
So, to be very clear…. CAM4animals recognises the need for pharmaceutical intervention. We also support the use of alternative healthcare, particularly because it protects the veterinary skill pool able to provide the knowledge and research needed to ensure a future for complementary and integrated healthcare.
Can we please have a halt to the ridiculing of the responsible animal owner by anti-CAM vets and their sceptic supporters. This is not helping to engender a good relationship between vets and their paying customers. We also call for a halt to the aggressive demands by anti-CAM vets for their customers to provide information and evidence of alternative medicines. There is a large body of evidence available and there are also fully trained colleagues for specialist help. Ideally, CAM should be comprehensively covered in vet and vet nurse courses. In the meantime, here are some good places for both vet and animal owner to start finding out accurate information.
Our blog here! – we are working to provide accurate and well-informed information on all forms of CAM.
AO The Association of Animal Osteopaths
ABVA The Association of British Veterinary Acupuncturists
BAHVS The British Association of Homeopathic Veterinary Surgeons
BAVH The British Association of Veterinary Herbalists
BVCA The British Veterinary Chiropractic Association
CMG The Canine Massage Guild
HRI The Homeopathy Research Institute HRI
MCA The McTimony Chiropractic Association