“The Beginning”

Part One

By:  Mary Lou Gerace

Back in the early 80’s I had a beagle.  His name was Opie.  He was my first dog.  He had a lot of medical problems and behavioral issues.  I hate to admit it, but early on I was pretty clueless concerning both.  However, throughout his life, I learned and became more educated with regard to overall canine health and well-being.  I started doing research into alternative ways to get him back to a healthier state of being.  I incorporated some things into his daily life that helped him, but unfortunately, the prolonged use of “steroids” had taken it toll and after 13 years of protecting Opie from the world and the world from Opie, he died of liver failure.   I don’t mean to imply that “steroids” don’t have their place in traditional medicine.  Not at all.  They are extremely beneficial when used over short periods of time for various ailments.  However, after Opie was gone, I was even more determined that with my next dog, while I would still rely on traditional medicine (i.e., vaccinations, etc), I would also look into Homeopathic healing alternatives.


Homeopathy was discovered in the late 1700’s by Dr. Samuel Hahnemann.  Dr. Hahnemann was a German physician who became dissatisfied with traditional medicine.  He turned his knowledge to translating medical texts.  While translating the text of a Scottish physician by the name of Cullen, he disagreed with Cullen’s description of a certain “Peruvian bark” used to treat malaria and how it acted on the body.  He explained his theory with regard to the action of the bark by ingesting it himself.  By doing this, he then developed the symptoms of malaria.  After a period of time, the symptoms disappeared and he was again “normal.”  Being the scientist that he was, he tried it again and experienced the same results.  Thereafter, was born what he called the “Natural Law of “Similia Similibus Curentur” which translates to “let like be cured by like.”    

For the next 20 years, he did approximately 70 tests using natural substances on himself, his family, his friends and medical school volunteers.  Each and every symptom was logged.  This record became known as the Materia Medica.  The log kept track of the symptoms each substance produced in a healthy person.  That substance was then used as a remedy when someone was ill.

For a long period of time, Hahnemann could not convince other physicians that what he was doing was working.  However, during the War of 1812, when typhus emerged as a fatal, infectious disease and only 2 patients out of 180 died when treated by Hahnemann, his fellow physicians started to take notice.  Later in 1831, it is reported that conventional physicians treated approximately 1500 cases of Cholera and lost 821 patients (55%) whereas a medical student of Dr. Hahnemann treated 154 and only lost 6 patients (just less than 4%).

Conventional (traditional) medicine employs the use of drugs.  The drugs are said to target the part of the body where the disease has taken hold.  Homeopathy, on the other hand, looks at the whole person in the present and in the past.  It takes in consideration how he or she behaves, looks, prior illnesses and, of course, the present ailment.  The Homeopathic physician will take all of that into consideration when looking in his Materia Medica for the remedy.  He will look until he finds an exact match and he will then prescribe. 

Although the practice of Homeopathy became somewhat “lost” when antibiotics became popular, it is once again coming to the forefront as an alternative medical treatment for both humans and our animal friends.


            Think in terms of “energy.”  The “dilutions” contain the energy of the original product.  Hahnemann experimented with a new method whereby after each dilution he would shake the substance vigorously.  This he called "succussion" thus developing the energetic aspect of homeopathy.  It is unknown how Hahnemann reasoned this (still scientifically unexplainable) method of "potentization".  Scientists further believe that the alcohol or water contained in the dilutions carry memory at an energetic level. 


            When a dog is treated, the “whole” animal is considered before any remedy is prescribed.  Everything from the personality of the animal, to the time of the year, to the time of the day when symptoms are at their peak, to past illnesses are reviewed, as is the relationship with its owner.  A “drug picture” is taken.  Another term for this is “repetoirizing.”  When Homeopathic healing is used, the owner of the animal becomes a part of the healing process.

            As mentioned above, conventional/traditional medicine targets specific ailments, organs or diseases with drugs specifically manufactured to “suppress” symptoms.  Sooner or later, the disease will return.  This brings me back to my first dog, Opie.  He had chronic skin allergies.  Through antibiotics and steroids, his itching was suppressed.  As long as he was on the drug, he was allergy free and he was comfortable.  When the drugs were withdrawn or when they wore off, his itching, scratching and biting returned.  It was not cured.  When the correct Homeopathic remedy is used, it is said the disease will not return. 

Next month, in Part Two of this series, I will discuss the proper use of Homeopathy, Potencies, the Use of the Remedies & also Dosing.


Holistic Guide for a Health Dog, Wendy Volhard & Kerry Brown, DVM



As always, I can be reached at:  Goodheart@telstar-online.net

GOOD Luck to all of you attending the National this month in Kansas !  Hope to see you there!

Mary Lou Gerace

Return to the Current Medical Article