Heartworm Treatment: Still Drug Free, Still Homeopathic
Lily had her check up this past week, to evaluate her homeopathic heartworm treatment, assessing where she is on the road to curing her heartworm infestation. While she looks fit as a fiddle, something was, well, odd.
As you’ll recall Margo learned of this diagnosis under duress and with overtones of condemnation in March of this year. That’s when she brought 11 year old Lily, the gregarious little Dachshund, in to be spayed, after her prior two heats had been unusually long. It was her first visit to Dr. WhiteCoat in Lily’s entire life, and it was the beginning of her decline in health.
Why would a vet visit result in a decline in health?
Lily received her first ever vaccination. If you haven’t already read my thoughts on this, I’ll tell you now: I consider a vaccination to be the strongest predictor of future chronic disease of all the decisions you will ever make for your animals. Or your kids.
Vaccinosis: A Force to be Reckoned With
True to form, as we saw in the last episode, Lily started manifesting the commonest chronic disease that dogs do when vaccines have mucked with their immune systems by being injected right past all the innate defenses Nature took eons to develop:
Allergic dermatitis. The commonest disease that fuels the conventional veterinary economy. In 2012, pet allergies accounted for $7 million spent by consumers who use VPI, a pet insurance provider. That’s not counting those many pet owners without insurance who lost sleep to the itch plaguing their companions.
It was largely this itch, the history of vaccinations, Lily’s intolerance to heat, and increased thirst that lead to her last prescription of the remedy sulphur, given in a single 10M potency dose. As Episode 1 revealed, her first prescription was another vaccinosis remedy called thuja 10M, which brought some nice response: a shinier coat, more bounce and energy, and a brief cough that resolved on its own.
Evaluating Lily’s Second Remedy Response
How did little Lily do after this last remedy of sulphur, given May 6, 2014? Did this step in her heartworm treatment make a difference?
In Margo’s words,
Her health, vitality, energy, all seem great. She is as normal as ever from what I can see!”
More good news:
- Panting went away (she’d acted hot before this dose, even before exerting, just going out).
- No further coughing or sneezing.
- Her thirst had dropped from being high after her first remedy to just normal now.
But there was more, as I’d hoped for, and I dug in, searching for clues of symptoms that might lead me to my next prescription. Remember, it’s common to need more than one remedy to bring about a cure of a chronic disease, and in the majority of my heartworm cases that have been cured, it’s taken about six months to get them to “notice” the heartworms and kick them completely out. We are now about two months into the process with Lily.
Here’s what Lily was “talking about” since her last dose was given:
- Lily’s oddly ashen colored anus had cleared up, but she had been scooting (dragging her anus) regularly.
- She’d stopped chewing her nails and licking her feet, but boy howdy, she really loved to roll on her back in the grass!
- About a week after her sulphur, Lily’s left eye began weeping for two weeks before clearing on its own.
- Also a while after her remedy, and without any diet change to explain it, Lily had stools that were softer than normal and quite yellow. That lasted for a couple of weeks, then resolved on its own.
- Concurrently with the stool oddness, Lily briefly had bad breath.
- Lily, especially when on her leash, showed greater irritability toward other dogs, especially if they were bigger than her (gulp!).
A Hurried Prescription
It was then, in the midst of head scratching a bit, trying to get the “whole Lily” picture and match it with a remedy that could move her further down the path towards cure, that Margo informed me of some unusual budgetary constraints that would preclude my further analysis. I looked at her symptoms and my last analysis and made my decision:
Rx Mercurius vivus 10M, one dose.
Admittedly, there wasn’t a lot bothering Lily, but she clearly had some symptoms to work with. The remedy mercury, made from that highly poisonous metal that many of us had in our dental fillings and that we’d been warned not to play with in science class could create some of these symptoms if taken in excess by healthy people.
The Underpinnings of Homeopathic Prescribing: Similarity
That’s how homeopathy works: like cures like. When experimenting with various substances (so called homeopathic “provings”), early homeopathic physicians took repeated doses of remedies made from the substances until symptoms were provoked. If enough people proving a remedy came up with the same symptoms, it was learned that this substance could cause these symptoms in the healthy. This was all catalogued in books called materia medicae, and these books can be referenced today.
[Interesting how the “guinea pigs” were humans in this field of homeopathy, isn’t it? And we now apply their results to the animals. There’s a sweet irony in this.]
The understanding was that any patient presenting with these particular symptoms could then be stimulated to cure themselves by giving a more highly diluted remedy of that same substance. So, with Lily, I knew her symptoms matched mercury’s pretty closely.
Here’s what the materia medica on mercury has to say:
Stools: dark green, bilious, frothy; like stirred eggs…yellowish; yellow; color of sulphur (lots more, including diarrhea and straining that didn’t particularly fit Lily’s case)
Anus feels raw, chafed. Itching of anus.
Burning pain in anus, with soft stools.
Eyes: Profuse lachrymation (tearing, watery discharge)
Mouth: Fetid odor… can smell it all over room. (Mercury patients often drool as well, though I’d not heard that mentioned for Lily).
Mind: …threatens to kill who approach. Irascible, impatient, discontented, fault-finding. Mistrustful. Everyone is an enemy; surrounded by enemy.
In addition, merc is one of the remedies which has the symptom of itchiness following vaccination, and it is a significant worm remedy, though there are many remedies in both categories. I suspect there’ll be enough similarity between merc’s symptoms and Lily’s that we’ll see a positive response.
The Big Picture: Extinguishing Lily’s Susceptibility
In the end, I’m steering her ship toward the calm, clear waters of cure and, in chronic disease at least, that course correction is a bit like turning an ocean liner. Incremental improvements over time in the Whole Lily will be her heartworm treatment, ultimately. Significantly different than the usual heartworm treatment of poisoning the worms with arsenic compounds.
From the above linked page, written by a couple of conventional vets:
- Melarsomine has to be injected deep into the muscles of the back and the injections can be quite painful. Often pain medications are given concurrently with the melarsomine injections to reduce the level of discomfort for the dog.
- The most important thing for a dog being treated for heartworm disease is complete rest. Strict confinement is essential during the heartworm treatment period and for at least one month following the last melarsomine injection. During the recovery period, embolism of dying worms is a major concern. This means that the dying worms cause obstructions in the blood vessels in the lungs. Exercise increases the risk of embolism, thereby increasing the risk of serious side effects.
- If your dog starts to cough, has nosebleeds, develops a fever or is acting abnormally otherwise, you should consult your veterinarian immediately.
No Pain, Plenty of Gain
We’ll not expect any pain in Lily’s heartworm treatment, and she’s been anything but confined to strict rest! She’s a Dachshund, and has a job to do on every walk (which now includes getting into the big dogs’ business, it sounds like!). She’ll not have nosebleeds or other untoward reactions.
Why? Lily’s homeopathic heartworm treatment has only one goal: get Lily so healthy that parasites cannot possibly live in her body. Can you imagine what the side effects of that treatment look like? She’s showing some already, like her shiny coat and more pep in her step.
Have you had a dog go through conventional heartworm treatment? How did that go? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to subscribe to Vital Animal News so you can continue to follow Lily’s progress.
p.s. If you are looking for a homeopathic veterinarian to help you with heartworm treatment or anything else, please see the AVH list on this page. Could be there’s someone near you, or at least someone willing to help you by telephone.
p.p.s. Here, for easy reference are Part 1 and Part 2 of this series, if you’re coming late to the party.