Hype or Not, We’ve Got Sick Dogs Here!
“I live in Chicago and work with dogs. I would call this an epidemic! It has destroyed the dog care industry here. Most of the dogs I know have gotten this flu. Thankfully none have died, but it is terrifying.”
Last week’s post on dog flu and its hype brought forth some consternation from those experiencing the disease. Even terror from one commenter. As this was obviously a fast spreading epidemic, easily transmitted from sick to non-sick dogs, I thought there had to be a homeopathic remedy to help.
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Homeopathy has a long history of use in epidemics. When a remedy has been identified that has cured a majority of patients, that same remedy often prevents the disease in those living near the sick.
Examples of homeopathic prophylaxis in human epidemics include scarlet fever, smallpox, yellow fever, cholera, and one of the deadliest flus in history, the Spanish flu of 1918. In the latter, the homeopathic physicians of the day had sterling results, with death losses close to 1%. Allopathic treatment was up to 68% death loss in this highly deadly human flu.
The scarlet fever experience goes back to Hahnemann’s day.
His initial foray into preventative use of remedies was the result of inductive genius. During an outbreak of scarlet fever, three children of four in a family under his care became ill. The fourth, who was usually the first to become ill, remained free from disease. Hahnemann reasoned that since the child had been taking belladonna for an affection of the finger joints, she was in some way protected from the infection. Soon afterward in a family of eight children, with three already infected with scarlet fever, Hahnemann seized the opportunity to test the prophylactic powers of belladonna. As he had hypothesized, all five escaped the disease despite ongoing exposure to their siblings.
Figuring Out the Dog Flu Remedy
The way a remedy for dog flu or any other epidemic is found is by looking carefully at the symptoms individuals show who have been sickened. I posted on Facebook to see if I could gather some, and a few individuals replied in the comments of my earlier dog flu post.
EM, in Chicago, reported the affected dogs were lethargic and not interested in interacting. The cough was dry but could end in vomiting white material. Fever was part of it. Discharges were clear from eyes and nose.
Janet from Wisconsin joined others who reported sneezing seeming to start the sickness. She saw coughing worsened by her dogs running. Her dogs (3) all caught the flu rapidly after exposure to another dog with the illness, demonstrating the “highly contagious” part. All three had a harsh cough that was followed by gagging. One, as I was writing this up, vomited egg white looking fluid after hard coughing.
Here’s the symptom list I came up with:
- Starts with sneezing
- Lethargy and lack of appetite are prominent
- Not interested in interacting
- Coughing is strong and often ends in retching
- Cough is dry
- Cough is made worse by exertion
- Fever, some with panting
- Runny nose, watery eyes
I ran these symptoms through a couple of repertory programs I use regularly and came up with the following analyses:
The next step is to pick a few remedies and read their descriptions in the materia medica. I looked primarily at nux vomica, bryonia and antimonium tartaricum, as I thought they sounded most likely to fit this disease of “coryza” (the old word for the human cold, which is the closest description of this dog flu).
Coryza: …usually short-lived yet highly contagious. The onset is marked by a chilly sensation followed by sneezing, watering of the eyes, nasal discharge, cough, and a mild fever. – Yasgur, J, Dictionary of Homeopathic Medical Terminology, 3rd edition.
I realize this dog flu is not so short-lived, some dogs being sick for weeks, apparently, but none the less, I think coryza with a cough describes the sick quite well.
And, The Winner Is
**Special Update, New Information!**
Based on a client’s experience with this disease, even though nux vomica comes out in the analysis as a top choice, Phosphorus is the remedy of this epidemic. I’d use it first, and nux vomica only if you haven’t seen sterling results.
Reading Nux vomica, a very common remedy in homeopathy, we find the following:
- Nose, Coryza, with sneezing
- Nose, Coryza with lachrimation (watery eye discharge)
- Nose, Initial stages of coryza
- Nose, Coryza…with impatient mood (perhaps that restlessness in several dogs?)
- Cough, worse physical exertion
- Cough, with vomiting
- Cough, tight, dry, hacking
- Mind, Wants to be quiet, desires repose and tranquility; retires to his room.
nux vomica fits quite well, but especially so early on. It is probably similar enough to prevent the disease if given to dogs in potential exposure situations.
I’d suggest this for the simplest approach:
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Note: While Nux v fits in analysis, actual clinical cases now indicate Phosphorus is the remedy of this epidemic. Actual dogs getting better on a remedy always trumps an analysis that shows something different.
If it’s much later in the disease, we may need to find some other remedy, but let’s start with
nux vomica phosphorus and keep a journal of what improves, what doesn’t, and what changes. You can report in the comments on your experiences. Here’s what I’d hope for, if you care to share your results:
- How long were your dogs sick before you started phosphorus?
- What symptoms changed after you dosed?
- How quickly did change occur?
- If your dogs didn’t fully recover, what symptoms remained?
- Were there any new symptoms that weren’t there until after treatment?
If you’ve not had success in an established dog flu from Phosphorus, please try Nux vomica 30C, which also reads quite well for this flu. The protocol for both follows.
How to Dose
I’ll suggest two different dosing protocols, depending on where your dogs are in the dog flu scenario.
Not Yet Sick, But Potential Exposure Possible
I’d give these dogs one pellet daily of Phosphorus 30C, right before bed. You can buy this remedy where ever remedies are sold. If you don’t have a store nearby that sells remedies, you can order online through any number of homeopathic pharmacies. Two are Homeopathy Overnight and Natural Health Supply.
You’ll get a tube full of fat BB-sized pellets, and it’s best not to touch them. Just pour one into the cap, open your dog’s mouth wide, pointing his nose skyward, and fire that little pellet down the throat to be swallowed.
If no success, you can do a water method as in the next scenario for sick dogs. Just give it once a day, though. No need to do the three doses in prevention mode.
Sick, Coughing, Sneezing, and Feverish
If your dog is already fighting the flu and has some symptoms like those listed above, here’s the way I’d treat them.
- Crush three of the phosphorus 30C pellets in a file card, folded in half and rolled over with a glass or bottle.
- Pour the powder into a half glass of purified water.
- Stir well before each dose and give a 1cc dose of this water/remedy solution night-morning-night, so you’ll give 3 doses total at roughly 12 hour intervals, then stop.
Alternately, a 1/4 teaspoon can be given with a spoon. The remedy can stay at room temperature, covered with a napkin between doses.
Evaluate over the next 24 hours and see if your dog improves. If so, no more remedy until improvement ceases. When ever improvement ceases, repeat a single dose and watch again for 6-12 hours or more. While improving, no further dosing.
If no improvement is seen, give Nux vomica 30C a try. But please write up your observations following the 5-point question list above and leave them as a comment below. We can learn from your experience to find more suitable remedies if needed.
Update April 12, 2015: Nux vomica a great second choice
My client with three affected dogs had brilliant success with her first and second dog with Phosphorus. The third dog responded, but not with the same vigor and steady improvement as the first two. Reading this blog, she changed the third dog’s remedy to Nux vomica, and he did every bit as well as the phosphorus treated dogs had done.
Clearly, it’s not pleasant for the sick dogs who have caught the canine flu. If this remedy acts as well as I think it will, it should shorten the severity and duration remarkably, compared to the untreated. And, if it successfully treats the sick, odds are high it will protect those exposed from getting a full-blown case of dog flu, especially if given early in the illness or before it ever occurs.
Just to recap, I’ve changed this original article, updating to reflect real-world experience with dog flu in actual patients in Austin, Texas. Read about that here.
NOTE: For an even more recent update, to help quell the hysteria of the 2017 resurgence of dog flu, you can read this post, hot off the presses. And then, relax quite a bit, as you wisely question the hysteria.