When we last left our little heroine Lily the Dachshund, we were four months into curing her of heartworms using only homeopathy as her medicine. She’d been through some pretty weird symptoms, all spewing forth after her prior remedy of mercurius vivus, her third prescription.
You may recall, she began acting like she was on hallucinogens. Spaced out, distracted, not all there.
This was followed by an absolute fixation on eating all things dead until she finally went into a major purge of urgent diarrhea.
(Mom! I gotta go out! Right NOW!!)
A few hellish days of that, sprinkled with a couple of vomits, and Lily was back to being her happy, healthy self.
[You can start at the beginning here, if you are just joining us in Lily’s homeopathic heartworm treatment saga.]
Stool Stories. Shhh.
Lily’s appointment came around again this week, to evaluate her response to her last remedy, graphites 1M, given a month ago.
On the whole, Lily is still a largely healthy dog. Margo says she’s battled a few fleas which seem to be bursting out in her area, and she’s taken up residence in a laundry basket, where she can safely and surely survey her domain.
Probably making sure no lions are invading, things like that. Like most of her breed, she takes her guard duties pretty seriously.
As we discussed her further, it came to light that her old symptom of not drinking much had come back. And that’s brought about some hard, dry stools that look more like balls instead of logs.
[Margo was home when we had the “stool chat.” Others are not so lucky, being in their work cubicles, in earshot of coworkers. “So, tell me about her stools, then,” say I. “Oh, they’re normal,” my client responds. “What about that slimy mucus that used to cover them? Or the horrendous odor you were noting last month?” At this point, voices usually drop, and I know it’s difficult to tell the full story and have to apologize later to wide eyed coworkers. “Oh, that? Heh heh, I was just talking to my homeopathic vet. He really needs to know all the gross details to help my animals. But everything’s fine. No, really.”]
Friendlier, Calmer, but Still “Out There?”
I learned that Lily is not so “in your face” to the new dogs she meets now. Occasionally a growl, a small dog’s version of ‘the best defense is a good offense,’ but that’s sounding pretty normal for someone her size. Earlier, some obvious leash aggression had helped my decision to prescribe mercurius, a remedy often corresponding to the state of high suspicion, like everyone is a potential enemy.
That all settled down now since graphites, and now she’s normally sociable in new dog meeting situations. That helps Margo relax when they’re out for walks.
But there’s a new behavior, too. Or, maybe more a permutation of what we saw earlier: the “not quite there” symptoms.
Lily is now licking the carpet. Nothing’s on it, she’s just licking it periodically. In a spaced out way.
I see patients do this now and again, so it’s not new to me, but it’s new to Lily, so it got highlighted in my notes.
As we use human’s descriptions of their symptoms to help choose remedies for animals, the nearest we can come to describing this in dogs is an old word called carphologia. The homeopathic dictionary defines carphologia as “an aimless, semi-conscious picking at the bedclothes… Often occurs in delirium of fever or (in a) stuporous condition.”
The dogs that do this are usually off in their own world, seemingly focused on this one activity to the exclusion of noticing much else going on around them. If called, they stop and look up, as expected.
I’ve never seen this behavior in a cat. Might the cribbing horse be in a similar state? And, though I’ve never seen it in a person, I have a good sense of what it must look like.
Anything to do with heartworms? No, just part of how Lily shows herself through her symptoms. Useful info, not worrisome at all.
The Good Things Remain Good
Lily still has no cough, for months now. She’s never lost her voracious appetite, even when things got weird a couple months back and even when she had her “I eat dead things!” -induced diarrhea.
She’s not been scooting, though she loves a good roll on her back. Lily’s eyes are free of tears and look normally bright and alert.
So, once more, I’m treating the patient who’s in front of me, “talking to me” with her symptoms. She’s certainly not a sick dog, but a homeopathic vet pays attention to symptoms as an indication that balance may not be fully there in the patient.
I mention this to my clients, who may be happy to just live with a few remaining symptoms, and if they really want to do this after my explanation, I don’t push it. “I’m here if you need me,” I say. “Keep an eye on those symptoms, and let me know if they get any worse,” I say.
Are Lily’s Heartworms 86’d?
That’s a good question. They could be, by now. We’ll know pretty shortly, as I’ve asked Margo to get a mobile vet over (one with holistic training, so no worries about more unnecessary shots) to test her once more. I don’t pull blood samples often enough anymore to do it well or I’d do it myself.
In my experience, it’s often a six month span of time to get the immune system back up and “noticing” the parasites that have set up housekeeping in the heart vessels. Mr. Piggy pleasantly surprised us by ridding himself of heartworms in just a few months.
One dog years ago went heartworm negative in 2 weeks! I didn’t give homeopathy the credit, as I’d only given one remedy and it didn’t make sense to me that heartworms could leave so fast. Maybe that positive test was a fluke. No, not that kind of worm, just, you know, a spurious test. A false positive. These tests have a margin of error, like any measurement.
Lily’s Next Remedy
But, seeing there were still a couple of symptoms hanging around, and an old one come back to roost (not drinking water), I went ahead and prescribed Lily’s fifth remedy:
Made from the shells of oysters, a non-Latin way to call it is simply calcium carbonate, one of the most ubiquitous minerals on the planet. And the remedy made from it serves a large number of patients, both human and animal.
Calc, as it’s abbreviated, seems a good fit for Lily, covering low thirst, stools in balls, and this distracted mental state. Calcarea carbonica is one of several worms remedies, as well. Often useful in the growing youngster plagued with worms.
The calc patient also tends to be persistent, even obstinate, and I get the sense that Lily doesn’t easily change gears. “Mom, I know you’re calling, but there’s a bird up there I’m watching. I can’t let this go just yet. She might fly. Or fall, and I could get her.”
The classic description from human homeopathic literature for the calc child is the one who is so engrossed in getting his puzzle or other project finished that he can’t let go of it, even if his parents are literally walking out the door to go somewhere and he needs to go, too. These guys are tenacious. They. Must. Finish. Their. Work. First.
The calc patient often eats strange stuff, too, even rocks or dirt or stool. Lily had her bout with that with all the carrion eating episodes earlier.
And, calc is one of the rabies miasm remedies, so it could fit her earlier aggressive stance, where she bristled at other dogs all too easily.
This may be Lily’s last remedy. We’ll see. I’ll be really pleased if she turns out to be heartworm negative in this test coming up. If not, it just means we’ve still got work to do. No worries for Lily. She’s got bigger realities to deal with.
Hey, was that a lion I just heard?
Addendum: after repeatedly contacting Margo to learn of Lily’s heartworm status and even offering to pay for the test myself, I’ve heard nothing back. Sorry to leave you hanging, but that’s the vagaries of homeopathic practice at times. “Lost to followup.”