Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Damp Wind Heat

Yesterday I took Winnie in to see a homeopathic vet for her chronic allergies. I didn't want to see her injected with more Predinosolone or give her more Medrol pills. Allopathic medicine was essentially taking away the symptoms but not the cause of the problem.

I tend to be the kind of person who likes to "research" things beforehand (seriously, Wikipedia is my best friend). I put research in quotes because Wikipedia doesn't always provided the most credible sources, LOL. So the day before the appointment I spent some time Googling and Wikipedia-ing "homeopathy". While I am very much open to alternative medicine (I'm thinking of going into holistic veterinary medicine myself) I will admit that I wasn't 100% confident about homeopathy itself. But what's there to lose? (except $, that is)

I'll start off with an explanation about what homeopathy is. You can find a ton of information on the internet- I found this website to be particularly helpful. The paragraphs below are taken from that site.


No other approach to medicine better fulfills the philosophy of holistic medicine than does Homeopathy.

Homeopathy is founded on the premise that symptoms seen in a patient are the result of an imbalance or disharmony in the Life Force.

Rather than divide the symptoms into separate diagnoses and prescribe a different medicine for each diagnosis, the Homeopath seeks to find the common cause of all the symptoms and to find the single medicine which will bring the entire patient to health and wholeness.

With this premise, there is no condition in any patient which is not treatable with Homeopathy. The Homeopath is not dependent on finding a diagnosis before treatment can begin but instead uses the entire complex of symptoms produced by the patient as a guide to the single medicine which will treat the entire patient.

The Homeopathic approach catalyzes health and wholeness in the patient. The end result is a patient who is not compromised by chronic, recurrent disease.


To treat a patient Homeopathically, the Homeopath must gather as much information about the patient as is possible. This will require an in-depth examination of the patient and interview with the care-giver.

Sometimes in complex cases, diagnostic tests may be run or the services of other individuals such as body workers or animal communicators may be used to gather more information.

Once all the details about the patient have been gathered, the Homeopath, following the specific techniques of Homeopathy, searches for the single medicine which will address all the symptoms seen in the patient. By treating the patient with a single medicine, the Homeopath can avoid the complications caused by multiple concurrent medications so common in conventional medicine today.

When this single medicine based on the complete symptoms of the patient is found, it is given in the least dose at the greatest interval to catalyze healing changes in the patient.

After the medicine is selected and given, the care-giver observes the patient for changes in the symptom pattern and reports these changes to the Homeopath. In this way, and only in this way, can the Homeopath be directed to the appropriate therapeutic measures in the future.

Because of the individualized nature of the Homeopathic treatment, each medicine, each dose, and each dosing schedule is tailored to the specific needs and nature of the patient.

So in a nutshell, the essence of homeopathy is that "like cures like". You give the patient a treatment that would produce the symptoms of the sick patient in a healthy patient, but that same treatment will cure the sick patient. The German physician Samuel Hahnemann founded homeopathy back in the late 1700s when he discovered that cinchona bark, which was then used to treat malaria, would produce malaria-like symptoms in a healthy person but would cure a sick person with those same symptoms. Here is the wikipedia link for homeopathy.

To make it a bit more complicated, there are two different styles of homeopathy. One is classical homeopathy, which is the older method that was developed by Hahnemann. The other is complex or contemporary homeopathy, which has been adopted by many holistic veterinarians today. From what I understand, the main difference between the two is that in classical homeopathy, there is only a single remedy that encompasses all of the patient's symptoms. The practitioner takes into account every symptom and finds a remedy that matches all of those symptoms. In complex homeopathy, there are multiple remedies that are used in a combination. I recently found this article to have a great comparison of the two styles. For those who are interested, the Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy has an interesting list of "standards of practice" for veterinary homeopathy.

So, on to Winnie's appointment...

The veterinarian that I saw practices complex homeopathy. I have a friend on Dogster who swears by classical homeopathy and no other (for good reason, homeopathy has done her and her dog wonders for their health). So I will admit I was kind of disappointed that I was seeing a complex homepathist (I totally just made up that word) but since I don't have enough knowledge or experience with all this stuff I have decided to keep an open mind to both styles for now.

During our 1 hour consultation we started off talking about nutrition. My one big disappointment for the day was that he didn't approve of the fact that I didn't include vegetables in Winnie's raw diet. I did explain the fact that I felt that her organs (liver, kidney, spleen) provided all the nutrients that she needs, but he didn't buy it. He insisted that I add some steamed/pureed vegetables into her diet. Meh, I think I'll stick to the prey model style diet...sorry!

So with Winnie's allergies, he thought it to be likely that they're food-related. Since I feed a wide variety of meats everyday and her itching happens regularly throughout the year, he thought that she might be allergic to a type of meat, which is entirely possible.

The vet also describe her as being "damp-wind-heat" (Have I completely lost you guys yet?). This is an aspect of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) that incorporates the ideas of yin and yang. When one is in excess (for example, Winnie apparently has an excess of heat), the body produces undesirable symptoms in an attempt to re-balance everything. This link describes the "Six Evils".

So it seems that meat such as beef and lamb are considered "hot" foods while turkey is considered a "cold" foods. Once again I did some research into the temperature of different food in Chinese medicine and came upon some interesting links here and here.

He recommended that I start feeding Winnie "cooler" meats such as turkey. Since raw food is technically "cooler" than cooked, we're already off to a great start, LOL! I think the part where I got confused is how to distinguish between the different temperatures of foods and what meats she's allergic to? Crap, I should've asked him that yesterday. Oh well.

So to sum it up, the vet gave her two injections, one of "Echinacea Forte" and one of "Lutis Comp". We also got a bunch of pills to take home.

I asked the vet to make me copies of the pages from the book that explains all the different remedies. Here are the functions of each of them:

"Lonicera 13"- clear heat, remove toxin, dispel wind

"Zaocys"- dispel wind and dampness, calm internal wind

"Dermatotrophin"- controlling glandular function in the cases of both hypofunction and certain hyperfunctioning states

Some allergen formula that I have to administer orally. I don't know what it contains!

Winnie seemed to like the Dermatrotrophin pills but promptly spit out the Lonicera and Zaocys- I don't blame here, they're kind of big and smell strongly like Chinese herbs, LOL! I did stick them in a bit of string cheese and she ate those fine.

So that concludes my ridiculously long post about homeopathy- we'll see how Winnie does on these remedies. I can't adjust her diet until after we move to NY (we already have her meat pre-packaged in Ziploc bags for the next 2 weeks or so) but we'll see how Winnie does on the remedies.

The vet recommended something called "isopathy" or "isotherapy", which is an extreme form of homeopathy- instead of "like cures like", it's more of "exact cures exact". He basically takes Winnie's blood sample and makes her blood into a homeopathy remedy specifically for her.

Learning about all these alternative, older forms of medicine has me really fascinated. It makes me wonder how society survived without the allopathic medicine we have today.

I'll update you all on Winnie's progress. Wish us luck!

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