Remedy for an Icelandic Horse
Part 2 - Finding The Remedy
In the last issue, Part 1 presented the health history and symptomatology of Riddari, the Icelandic horse. This continuation presents how the homoeopathic remedy was chosen and the resulting changes after its use.
For acute conditions, "Boenninghausen's Hierarchy" is more commonly used, i.e. causation or aetiology, modalities (things that make a symptom or a person feel better or worse), concomitants (symptoms unrelated to affection but accompany it, i.e. cough alternates with weakness of knees), affinities or locations, and the sensations. This is what would have led the original prescriber to Hydrangea.
To consider the constitutional picture, 'Kent's Hierarchy' is most often used. This hierarchy places the mental symptoms of highest value in the order of 'the will', 'the emotions', and 'the intellect'. The general symptoms, or modalities, such as 'cold temperature ameliorates', follow these. Finally, the physical particular symptoms complete the totality but are of least importance such as 'loud breathing'. A particular symptom refers to one part of the body. When something is experienced in 3 or more locations it is considered a general symptom.
It also needed to be evaluated whether the urinary condition had a totality complex all of its own which can be described by the homoeopathic term called a 'lesion'. A 'lesion' can have most of the elements that are used in Boenninghausen's acute hierarchy for a specific condition. If this happens to be the case then it could be treated with its own Rx while still assessing what the constitutional Rx would be for the whole of the patient. However, a lesion may also be part of the constitutional picture and would thereby be encompassed by the constitutional Rx alone. I had a likely Rx already in my mind and knew that this Rx could also cover the possibility of a lesion constitutionally.
From the long list of available rubrics (homoeopathic term for symptoms found in a repertory) in the case, we came down to this short list set up using Kent's hierarchy:
2) Startled, starting
3) Learns with difficulty
4) Cold temperature ameliorates
5) Thirst, for small quantities
6) Parotid gland, swelling of
7) Urine, sediment, gravel
8) Diarrhoea, hot weather
9) Skin, itching, biting
10) Loud breathing
Repertorising is just a tool to help the homoeopath to narrow down the field of numerous Rxs to a handful of possible choices. It does not necessarily mean that the highest ranked Rx will be the correct match for the case. Further studies have to be made of the Materia Medicas to differentiate the final selection. It may be a Rx listed in 6th place, or it may even be a lesser-known 'small' Rx that appeared less frequently but figured amongst the important rubrics.
The first 8 Rxs in order of highest to lower score were Calc carb, Carbo veg, Nux vomica, Phosphorus, Nat mur, Sulphur, Belladonna and Lachesis. I will briefly discuss the first 4 placings but Calc carb was a pretty clear choice in this particular case. At other times the choice can be more difficult.
Calc carb has the following rubrics: loud breathing through nose, asthma-like breathing, glandular swellings, urinary sediment and cloudy urine, bloody urine, calculus in bladder, strong, pungent-smelling urine, frequent urination, weakness of limbs, atony of muscles/muscle wastage, clumsy/awkward, nettle rash better for cold air, eczema with vesicles and rash, itchy, eruption over abdomen, bran-like coating on skin/dry flakes, symptoms worse in spring, lethargic youngsters who don't want to play, put weight on easily, worse from fright, sluggishness of circulation/vitality, stiffness worse from cold and first motion, worse from suppressed eruptions. An important mental key and one that I felt was the baseline personality for Riddari - insecure but independent! Obstinate and headstrong is a keynote of the Rx ("not a horse to be bullied but rather needs to be cajoled"). Defective calcium metabolism leads to bone, gland and skin troubles with a tendency to form calculi - also figured strongly. Calc carb is largely a psoric Rx.
I felt confident about Calc carb as it looked like such a good match. This is not because it scored the highest but because it covered the totality of symptoms and the nature of the case very well. Calc carb (Calcium carbonate) is a form of limestone - carbonate of lime, like chalk and even marble. However, the Rx originally made by Hahnemann was called Calcarea ostearum (now known as our Calc carb) that was triturated from the middle layers, between the inner and outer shell, of an oyster! Naturally this is a similar substance to that of limestone and is itself almost pure calcium carbonate. The central theme of this Rx is - a Calc carb subject is unsure of their value, there is a basic insecurity thus a need for protection and security. The oyster is symbolic of the Rx picture - that of inhabiting two realms - the hard shell of the external world and the softer shell of the inner world. This too was an appropriate representation of Riddari.
Carbo veg has little known about its mental picture as yet. It is used more commonly as an acute rather than a constitutional Rx. It does have lethargy/sluggishness with dullness of mind. It does have timidity in public and doubtfulness. Can be easily frightened/startled. Is worse from rich food. Can have low vital energy. If there had been symptoms relating to coldness, paleness, air hunger (lack of oxygen), threatened collapse, or septic urine/bladder then this Rx could well have been one to use. Interestingly, causations that can require Carbo veg are NBWS (never been well since) some violent accident, attack, shock, surgical shock, or loss of vital fluids. We can only be left to presume what the trauma of Riddari's past had been like and how he experienced his transition from the wild to one being on board a ship, where he may have been damaged and had a lack of water, sent to a foreign land!
Nux vomica can be defiant, competitive, confident and aggressive. Quick and intelligent. Can be tense, highly-strung and very irritable. Are vitally strong and determined. Loves to work hard. Is very sensitive to cold wind and weather that makes all complaints worse. Though it seemed indicated for several of Riddari's physical symptoms, this character was in opposition to Riddari's personality and type.
Phosphorus patients are very needy of company and attention so love to be around people. They fear to be alone and can fear thunderstorms. They are intelligent, bright and lively. Tend to be fine and delicate in stature not robust like Calc carb. They can have an explosive element. Again, indicated for some physical symptoms, but not a good representation of Riddari's mental symptoms.
So I selected Calc carb 200c to be given as one single dose. Janice was to monitor Riddari closely, taking note of any observations whether mental or physical changes and any new symptoms should they arise, and report back to me within two weeks.
Janice wrote to me 2 weeks after administering the Calc carb 200c:
"Just to let you know that Riddari is definitely feeling better! I rode him today and he was so much happier and purposeful. There was no hint of the discomfort he clearly felt before. His walk was better and he was 'swinging' more through his back. There was no attempt to go sideways in the trot and he bounded forward into canter rather than dragging along. His heart rate was also lower on return, more what I would expect given his level of fitness, etc.
His right gluteal muscle is still higher than the left.
He is drinking more than he used to. Yesterday he drank about a gallon in the time he would have drunk a pint at most before. He is not doing that every day though. Today he has drunk about a pint. However, overall he is drinking more.
He is so much brighter and more lively and interested, hardly extrovert but for him really quite noticeably livelier. I intend to ride him every day this week and see if things continue to improve. In the meantime I am a very happy Riddari rider!!
We did go through a few days of loose manure but that was after he moved to a new field. His droppings are normal again now. He is less itchy and his parotid glands are less swollen. These are both in keeping with what I would expect at this time of year. There are really no new symptoms that I can see. He still lacks the vitality that the others have but he is a happier chappie than before."
I advised her to wait another week or 2 for the first month to end, as it would be preferable to wait for a relapse, or part relapse, before repeating the Rx.
About 10 days later Janice wrote: "Yesterday Riddari peed a small amount of liquid that contained a large amount of 'gravelly' stuff. I thought this might be a relapse symptom? Anyway, he is still drinking well. It does look as though he is either continuing to produce this gravel in his urinary system or it is somewhere other than the bladder so did not get flushed out and is still clearing. Apart from that he still feels well in himself and is working beautifully. He is far less aloof and is quite bright and friendly. You could almost say he has had a personality transplant. Poor wee fellow was obviously terribly uncomfortable."
Then several days later: "Riddari went downhill again. He drank very little and peed a small amount again. We took a sample of urine on Monday and it was very cloudy and had a fair amount of sediment in it again. I increased his apple cider vinegar and gave him some potassium nitrate and took him off his vitamin/mineral supplement. (I am coming to the conclusion that he cannot absorb the calcium carbonate in his vitamin/mineral supplement.) Today he is drinking again, although he still peed a small amount.
He is still brighter than he was and is tolerating work well so he has not relapsed totally, just gone back a step or two. Should I give him another dose of the Rx?"
I replied that it was possible that the flushing had not quite got all the gravel out and a collection of it that had remained in a pocket somewhere had now been moved on. If there had been deposits sitting in nooks and crannies (perhaps pre-bladder), the Calc carb may have helped to move them out and downwards. It also was likely to have been a return of an old symptom demonstrating the correct 'direction of cure' i.e. symptoms move from more important organ to less important organ, from above downward, from within outwards, and in reverse chronological order of previous symptoms!
This was a major point and there were no other symptoms causing any trouble with Riddari doing so well in himself. The Calc carb should also help to re-balance calcium metabolism. It appeared to be time to repeat the Calc carb 200c.
Janice wrote: "Letting you know that Riddari is positively vibrant!! He even bucked and kicked out at another horse as they were coming in this morning. We had a superb ride in the ghastliest weather, hailstones and heavy rain, hahaha. Most normal people would not have ridden but I was really keen to see whether the boy felt as good today as yesterday. The answer, he was even better. Really going forward well, in spite of being very unfit and being ridden in filthy weather. All of his gaits were purposeful and strong and his back felt supple and fluid. A fabulous ride in spite of the weather.
Haven't seen any more gravel. My massage therapist came today and she was very impressed by Riddari. She said that his muscles felt as though they had more tone. This is not due to work because he has been worked very little over the past three months. The horse is just so much more vibrant and alive, even when he is just standing still. Janice...very, very pleased!!!"
So things had moved along very nicely, and I expected that although Riddari was displaying more than his usual vigour that this would settle some over time. Janice was to keep monitoring what happened and write it down, especially if there were any new symptoms. No further dose of Calc carb would be given as it had sufficiently stimulated the desired response and should be left unhindered until it had burnt itself out.
The last I heard from Janice at that time was, "I have known this horse for 3 years and I think the urinary condition had been present all of that time, though it definitely got worse over the last six months. Now Riddari is going from strength to more strength. He is now drinking as if he is making up for lost time. He can hardly pass a trough without having a little slurp. He is so chirpy and bright and a bit sooky!!"
In closing, I would expect by now that if he would still need Calc carb it should go up a potency level to Calc carb 1M. He may only need a different Rx if a new layer or lesion evolves. It all depends on what events or contaminations he is confronted with or exposed to for the rest of his life, and what his reactions are to them, which would then present a new symptom picture, according to how that reaction manifests.
Please bear in mind that this script is for educational purposes only and in no way replaces veterinary advice or treatment! Always consult with your veterinarian. Should a veterinarian have made a diagnosis and you, the client, desire to follow a holistic path then I would recommend that you obtain approval from your veterinarian to seek the professional services of a qualified classical homoeopath or other certified holistic healthcare practitioner.
About the author:
Tanya Nolte, VN, DipHom, lives in NSW, Australia. She is a professional member of the Australian Homoeopathic Association and the Holistic Animal Therapy Association of Australia. Tan is a veterinary nurse of 7 years and a classical homoeopath of 6, conducting consultations at the veterinary clinic, a human clinic, and privately. She has completed a full 3-year Diploma in Homoeopathy and 2 years in the Medical Sciences of Anatomy and Physiology, Biochemistry, Pathophysiology, Symptomatology and Differential Diagnoses. Tan is available for distance consultations via phone or email.