Homeopathic Case Study
A faxed referral from an out-of-state veterinarian stated, "This horse's owner is interested in pursuing homeopathic treatment for him. The horse was cast and suffered a severe bout of myositis (inflammation of the muscles) ten days ago. His CPK (creatine phosphokinase) value was off the scale.
He has been treated with phenylbutazone, methocarbamol and rest. In addition, the owner has begun herbal therapy. The horse is progressing well, though he is uncomfortable. The phenylbutazone has been discontinued. Any assistance you can give in this case is appreciated."
According to the owners, "The current injury occurred somewhere between the hours of midnight and 6:00 a.m. 'Whisper' caught his brand-new left hind shoe in his halter, which caused him to thrash around for probably two to four hours, kicking out several boards in his stall in the process and completely tearing off the left hind shoe." His injuries were unnoticed, and he was put out in a paddock with no shade in 85-degree heat until 6:30 p.m. that evening. Twelve to 18 hours later, his injuries were: - Grotesquely swollen head - Left eye severely contused around the orbit and swollen shut - Posterior surface of left ear torn off with severe contusions and damage to the cartilage; laceration approximately 1 ½ inches long at the base of the ear, extending from outer edge to posterior aspect - Severe edema around left eye, forehead, crest, poll, throat latch, and under jaw extending forward to chin - Myositis, completely tied up head to tail with rock hard muscles in perpetual spasm - Dark red urine.
While waiting for the veterinarian to arrive the following morning, Arnica 200C was given every two hours (five doses). The local vet treated the animal as stated above. During the course of the next four months, subsequent homeopathic treatments included Calendula spray on all wounds. Hypericum spray for the eye and the individual homeopathic medicines of Arnica, Apis, Ruta, Magnesia phos., Lactic acid, Hypericum, Bellis perennis and Calcarea carb as the symptom picture changed and the healing progressed. Within five minutes after each dose of Lactic Acid 30C, the horse would stretch and urinate. Supportive therapy included electrolytes, bran mashes, warm soaks for the abscessed areas, vitamin E and selenium supplement, organic kelp, mineral salt block, and massages with Arnica massage oil. The animal continues to improve with homeopathic and herbal treatment and chiropractic adjustment.
Further review of the case teaches a few sound animal husbandry lessons:
1) Observe, observe, observe. Look at the animals under your care. Know normal patterns of health and behavior so that the abnormal is readily seen. This owner is indeed fortunate that the animal was alive 12 hours after the injury.
2) Anticipate problems. If halters are to be left on while a horse is confined to a stall, the best choice is a "break away" or leather halter.
3) Shelter during any season of the year should be made available if possible.
4) In such a serious situation, all available health professionals should be utilized in the best interest of the animal's recovery.
by Edgar Sheaffer, V.M.D.
Creatine phosphokinase is an enzyme of vertebrate skeletal and myocardial muscle that catalyzes the transfer of a high-energy phosphate group form phosphocreatine to ADP with the formation of ATP and creatine. -Merriam Webster's Medical Desk Dictionary 1993.
In lay terms, when there is a decreased amount of oxygen to the muscle and an increase of lactic acid, the muscle tissue begins to deteriorate. Dr. Edgar Sheaffer is a veterinarian whose practice is built predominantly on holistic, natural methods. His clinic can be reached at 717-838-9563. Fax: 717-838-0377 Reprinted with permission from, Acres U.S.A., P.O. Box 91299, Austin, Texas 78709 (512) 892-4400 Subscriptions: $24. For free sample call 800-355-5313.