When I first heard the term veterinary homeopathy I immediately thought of black and white advertisements crammed together in the back pages of a magazine, ads promising to help us grow hair, contact our loved ones from the beyond, make piles of money from home, and lose weight without effort. This skepticism by association would have continued had it not been for my addiction to all things dog leading me to the Conexus Pet Expo 2011 in Regina. There I attended a short seminar presented by Dr. Marilyn Sthamann*, one of about fifty Certified Veterinary Homeopaths in Canada, and her presentation on veterinary homeopathy sparked a curiosity in me that I had to pursue.
* Dr. Sthamann, DVM, CVH, works at the Lakewood Animal Hospital in Regina (LakewoodAnimalHospital.ca).
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Frankie and Liz
For four years, Liz and her beloved Boxer, Frankie, had been living a nightmare. Frankie had problems since the first day Liz brought her home at 8 weeks: highly inflamed ears she wouldn’t let anyone touch; open “hot spots” all over the top of her head, muzzle, and nose; itchy paws she constantly licked; and digestive problems, including severe diarrhea. At one year old, Frankie was diagnosed as “atopic” (severe allergies, usually skin problems). For the next three years, every day seemed to bring a new symptom and Liz was in constant contact with the vet clinic.
“I was fortunate to have a great vet who was willing to work with me and my very sick dog,” says Liz. “For four years my vet had been treating Frankie with traditional (allopathic) medicine. She would respond quickly, but the results didn’t last.”
By 2008, it was obvious to Liz and her vet that Frankie was not doing well and traditional medicine wasn’t working. Dr. Ward suggested a homeopathic avenue and referred Liz to Dr. Sthamann. “I did not believe in homeopathy, but I was at the point with Frankie that I had nothing to lose.”
Liz and Frankie had a consult with Dr. Sthamann during which she asked about Frankie’s history and examined her. The consult took about one hour and at the end Liz left with a few naturopathic products to help Frankie, including slippery elm for her gut, and Frankie’s first homeopathic remedy (liquid form, 10 drops once or twice a day). Frankie was put on a fast to clean out her system. Next, Liz introduced the natural products for her gut and diarrhea, and Frankie was put on a raw diet.
“It was like a miracle,” says Liz. “Frankie responded quickly, as she had with the allopathic medicines, but this time the results lasted. There have been relapses over the last four years, but at each step Frankie got better and better. I know many people won’t believe me, but I could see her improve visually from day-to-day.” Liz emphatically believes Frankie’s improvements were a combination of things, with homeopathy being a large part of it.
“Frankie’s not a healthy normal dog: she still takes some medications and she still has to wear a sweater all the time to help with her environmental issues. But I strongly believe that had I not turned to homeopathic veterinary medicine, I would have had to put her down since her condition was deteriorating so quickly. Today, Frankie has a good quality of life and she’s not suffering. These are things we could not have said when she was a year to two years old.”
“I think homeopathy is great if you can find the right person. I gained a dog in the end.”