Straight Through the Horse's Mouth:
Giving Homeopathic Remedies to Horses
Various pill sizes and shapes, and container types. L to R: granule, from brown glass bottle (brown glass helps protect from sunlight); tiny pillule, glass bottle; pillule and easy-dispense plastic container (cap has 3 dents on one side, 2 on reverse to catch pillules); pillule and easy-dispense plastic container that drops one pillule into clear plastic cap when turned upside down and twisted; pillule from brown glass container; marshmallow-shaped quick-dissolve tablet, plastic bottle; firm tablet, brown glass bottle .
You have noted your observations. You have consulted the books or charts and chosen your remedy. Your vet may be on the way. And you have remedy bottle in hand, but do you know the appropriate way to get the remedy into the horse? It is really quite simple, because they are absorbed through the mucous membranes - they do not need to go through the digestive system.
Gentle yet powerful homeopathic remedies come as a liquid (alcohol-water base) in a dropper bottle, or as pills - round, B-B-shaped pillules (a few sizes), granules (about the size of a large coarse salt granule), firm tablets, and marshmallow-shaped quick-dissolving tablets.
How to administer
Liquid drops, crushed pills, granules, and quick-dissolving pills can be dropped directly into the empty (food-free) mouth or onto gums. Or, any the above can be administered by dispersing in a syringe of water and squirting into the mouth.
1) Get a clean syringe (without needle). Size: 20cc or 12cc (or even 6cc will do in a pinch).
2) Pull out the plunger.
3) Open the remedy bottle and get one pill into the cap and then into the syringe chamber without touching or otherwise contaminating any of the pills. (There are now easy dispensing containers made by some manufacturers.)
Note : Granules and tiny pillules are small enough that they will fall out the syringe hole - either rinse the syringe to dampen it so the granule sticks to it, or hold your pinkie finger against the hole. For the liquid form of a remedy, tilt the syringe or cover the hole with pinkie to prevent it from escaping out the hole. One drop is all that is needed of the liquid.
4) Replace plunger (be careful not to blow out granules or liquid remedy).
5) Draw up distilled or pure, clean water (tap water - chemically treated and impure - can limit the action of some remedies, so is not advised, unless that is all there is) to fill syringe almost full.
6) Allow pill to dissolve. If time is of the essence, shake a few times to get pill to start to dissolve, and it can be administered immediately - pill does not need to completely dissolve. The entire pill contains activity, and any remaining pill can be used for another dosing - just add more water.
7) A remedy can also be put in a small glass of water (preferably distilled), dissolved, and drawn into the syringe.
8) Shake syringe well and squirt remedy solution into horse's clean mouth to contact mucous membranes - gums, tongue, and inner lips. The fluid does NOT need to be swallowed; it works through the mucous membranes, so let it contact as much of the inner mouth as possible. Let the horse lick it around; it is ok if some drips back out.
9) Syringes can squirt far, so in instances where a horse is unapproachable, one could aim for the nostrils, where there is a good chance of those mucous membranes getting contacted. (This works for injured wild animals too - their natural reaction is to lick it off their muzzles, if they can.)
For situations that call for repeated dosing, a large amount of solution can be prepared this way: Add one pill (or drop of liquid remedy) to an almost-full, sterile, 4-oz jar of distilled water; add 15-20 drops of grain alcohol (Everclear) or Vodka to prevent mold growth (pill base is milk sugar). Store in a cool place out of sunlight and away from aromatic substances, as one should store all homeopathic remedies. The jar of solution should be succussed (shaken hard) before each use. The syringe, unless sterile, should not be dipped into the solution, however. It is better to pour the solution into the syringe to avoid contamination of the solution.
Remedy can be added to a separate bucket of drinking water (be sure the horse has plain water too). Put the remedy into the bucket and add water vigorously to fill, or dissolve the remedy in a glass of water first and pour into bucket of water, stirring vigorously. (Hang the medicated water bucket where it is easily accessible yet out of direct sunlight.) Animals seem to know if they need a remedy and will eagerly go for it (this is interesting to observe), medicating themselves when needed.
Remedy can be added to feed but there will be competition for mucous-membrane contact, and pellets can easily fall from the mouth. However, as a last resort, this could be tried.
Remedy can be added to a spray bottle of water. If the horse accepts spraying, this is another option for oral application. Perhaps misting the air around the horse will be sufficient for some. (Olfaction, receiving the remedy's action by breathing it in, is effective for some individuals.)
Regarding what it says on the bottle
Bottle labeling must meet standards, so labels will give usage and dosage suggestions. The Materia Medica, however, is the place to get the entire remedy picture. Because homeopathic remedies are generally very broad range in what symptoms they address, and labels are small, the symptoms for use are narrowed down to a mere few. Also, labels may suggest taking 3 or 4 pills, so that more mucous membranes can be contacted at once. However when dissolving pills in water, which carries and disperses the remedy's action, one pill or drop of remedy is all that is needed.
Reminders on using homeopathy
- Like cures like. Choose the remedy with the symptom picture that most closely matches the horse's symptoms.
- The remedy should be given time to work. Homeopathy stimulates the body to start healing itself, so the body should be allowed an appropriate amount of time to respond before a remedy is repeated, or before another remedy is tried.
- If a change is seen and the body is responding favorably, further remedy-administering should be stopped while condition continues to improve. If condition starts to decline again, the remedy can be repeated.
- The body can do amazing things when properly stimulated to heal itself - sometimes these responses can look horrific. The horse's general demeanor is a good indicator of overall improvement, but sometimes extra help is called for. When in doubt if a change is a response to the remedy or a worsening of the condition, or whether a conventional procedure should be considered to help matters along, consult a veterinarian who knows homeopathy (The Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy has a list; see contact information at end of article).
- In emergency situations, the remedy (or remedies, depending on the situation) can be administered frequently (every few minutes in extreme cases and depending on remedy potency) until a change is seen. Condition indicators like body temperature, heart rate, and respiration rate should be closely monitored - as these improve, intervals between remedies can be lengthened.
- Higher potency remedies (i.e. 200c, 1M) are repeated less often than lower potency remedies (i.e. 6x or c, 12x or c, 30x or c). It is said that in a pinch, the best potency to use is the potency you have.
- Many drugs and medicinal herbs, which alter a body's natural actions, can prevent homeopathy from working - consult your holistic vet about using conventional drugs and homeopathy together.
Remedy kits, available from homeopathic remedy suppliers, are a great help, especially those that come with a first-aid remedy chart, and instructions for use. There are various types and sizes of kits to choose from. You can also make your own (see NHM Volume 1, Issue 2, Do It Yourself - "Homeopathic First Aid Kit"). If you are new to homeopathy, ask the supplier for assistance in choosing one for your needs.
For more information:
National Center for Homeopathy
801 North Fairfax St., Suite 306
Alexandria , VA 22314
The Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy
PO Box 9280
Wilmington , Delaware 19809
American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association
2218 Old Emmorton Road
Bel Air, MD 21015