How many consumers of over-the-counter non-homeopathic medicines and prescribed medicines give thought to the probability that the symptoms from which they seek relief are a picture of chronic disease versus a troublesome acute problem? How can we understand the difference and what this means in a deeper context ? Attendees at Homeopathy Delaware’s February meeting were enlightened about this while listening to Dr. Shelley Epstein of Wilmington Animal Hospital, who is certified in veterinary Homeopathy, speak about recognizing chronic disease in our animals.
This problematic difference between truly acute symptoms and misunderstood chronic symptoms was important to Samuel Hahnemann, Father of Homeopathy – so much so that he needed to write a book, The Chronic Diseases: Their Peculiar Nature and Their Homeopathic Cure, which has been pivotal in advancing the system of medicine called Homeopathy.
Hahnemann wrote that during his long experience and careful case recording he noticed that in spite of treating patients on the basis of Simillimum ( Likes Cures Likes, or the Simillimum, is one of 3 underlying principles of Homeopathy) they experienced a recurrence of the same or similar ailments. Permanent cure was not taking place. He was led to realize that an inherited disposition to chronic disease was the operating hindrance. We can read that Hahnemann referred to this hindrance as Chronic Miasms. The theory of Chronic Diseases was his last gift to the suffering of humanity and to the animals for whom we care so much.
Samuel Hahnemann concluded that almost all chronic diseases arise from 3 miasms:
- Internal Psora, deriving from ‘itch’ (scabies) and leprosy.
- Internal Sycosis, deriving from venereal fig-wart disease (gonorrhea).
- Internal Syphilis, deriving from venereal chancre disease.
But how do we go about translating these categorical descriptions to identifying chronic disease in our pets ? Dr. Epstein helped us understand. Psora: think inflammation such as hot spots, eczema, ear infections. Psycosis: think over production as in warts; hypertrophy as in polyps; thickenings such as on the paws or in internal organs. Syphilis: think destruction such as ulcers in any location; autoimmune disease and memory loss.
Chronic disease can also arise from a continuum of unhealthy life styles of poor diet, adverse living conditions and the non- homeopathic removal of symptoms with medical treatments which work by going against the disease, suppressing the symptoms. If the animal is fed a raw or balanced homemade diet and if physical and emotional living conditions improve, the problematic symptoms may improve but eventually the chronic disease breaks through below the surface.
Dr. Epstein polled the audience for examples of stressors that can be causative of chronic disease in our pets: being alone, a poor living environment such as an apartment dwelling border collie crated during working hours, shock, weather conditions, certain seasons, getting into trash, grief, a new pet in the house and especially pesticides. She also asked the attendees if they would categorize certain illnesses as acute or chronic. For instance, an ACL tear in a dog would be considered due to a chronic predisposition, cystitis in a cat = chronic, G/I distress with the least change of diet = chronic, hyperthyroidism in cats = chronic. Dr. Epstein reminded us that there can be acute flair ups of chronic disease.
A logical question would then be “what is an example of a true acute problem” ? A cold or most injuries are true acutes. An acute is a self- limiting condition – either it runs its course and the patient returns to good health or it culminates in death of the patient.
In seeking out Homeopathy to help our pets live healthier lives we need to remember these important principles:
- In Homeopathy we treat the patient with the disease (not the disease in the patient)using a minimum dose of an ultra dilute succussed remedy which is most similar to the totality of the patient’s characteristic symptoms.
- Removing symptoms non-homeopathically and without consideration of chronic disease will result in new symptoms occurring.
- Prescribing for chronic disease involves consideration of all the problems the pet has experienced in her/his life.
We are grateful to Dr. Shelley Epstein for giving us the understanding to make informed choices in health care for our pets and to Samuel Hahnemann for the gift of Homeopathy. Knowledge and understanding give us power.