Friday, 7 July 2017

All About ... Homeopathy!

Homeopathy is a therapy where drugs which are capable of causing disease in a healthy horse are given in tiny doses to stimulate the body's own defences.  The belief is that substances which cause symptoms in a healthy horse can be used to cure them in an unhealthy one.  However, it is still not certain exactly how it works.

This type of therapy has been used since ancient times but Samuel Hahnemann is generally considered the modern day founder.  A German physicist, he conducted experiments in the late 1700's before publishing his findings.  In Homeopathy the patient is treated - not the disease!

The symptoms seen in an unhealthy or sick horse are  matched to the known toxic effects produced from a particular substance - this substance is then diluted and given as a treatment.  This means that an exact diagnosis is not necessary because the symptoms seen are the body's way of fighting the disease and not caused by the disease.  The belief is that when the substances which cause the same symptoms are given to a horse it stimulates the body's response to fight the disease.  This has been explained as 'teaching the body to heal itself'.

The substances used are normally plants or minerals and they are prepared carefully.  Initially made into a tincture with alcohol they are then progressively diluted with water and violent shaking (using a machine).  In fact, theoretically,  in some situations the final remedy contains none of the original substance.

This type of treatment is matched to an individual horse based on their symptoms and not on a specific illness.  So two horses with the same illness may show different symptoms and therefore receive a different homeopathic treatment.  A complete medical history is therefore of enormous benefit, unfortunately as horses often change owners this is not always possible. 

Homeopathy can be used for:

·         Rain scald
·         Ringbone
·         Ringworm
·         Bruised Soles
·         Colic
·         Muscle sprains/strains
·         Abrasions/bites/stings
·         Laminitis
·         Warts/sarcoids

The substances are diluted to minute levels, the more dilute the more effective it is.  This means that homeopathy is a safe treatment.  There are no side effects and no residues left to show up on drugs tests for competition horses.


·         In the UK it is illegal for anyone other than a veterinary surgeon to prescribe a homeopathic treatment for a horse.
·         The drops or tablets must NOT be touched by your hands as this will make them ineffective.  An ideal way to administer the treatment is to pour the drops onto bread or a sugar cube or to dissolve the tablets in a small amount of water and do the same.
·         The horse should not eat anything else for at least 30 minutes and not drink for at least 15 minutes.

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Until next time!

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