Jazz's story

Vet Nick Thompson explains how homeopathy saved the life of Jazz, a seriously ill horse. 

Jazz was perhaps the most gentle, unassuming and easygoing mare I’d  encountered in a long while. But sadly she was far from well and  presented with a veritable catalogue of health problems. These included  autumn and spring parotiditis (where the salivary glands swell),  longstanding neck and hock arthritis, allergic respiratory disease and a  recent sudden onset of polyarthritis (an immunological condition where  all the joints are inflamed). Her parotiditis was worse in autumn, but  became aggravated more on damp days, as were her various arthritic  problems.

Conventional medicine had done well. Since she was three years old  Jazz had had treatment for these and numerous other complaints. Without  it she would not have survived. But in September 2007 her vets were left  shaking their heads when confronted with Jazz’s latest list of  problems. And as the summer warmth receded and the early autumn weather  became increasingly damp, Sarah, the horse’s owner, was getting more  concerned by the day.

Although Sarah was a dedicated, loving and caring owner, she had  reluctantly come to the conclusion that if her horse’s joints or its  glands flared-up again she would have no alternative other than to put  Jazz to sleep. But Sarah is not the quitting kind and, possibly as a  last attempt to save her horse’s life, she contacted me by email.

Treatment

Reading through Sarah’s 3,616-word email (I told you she was  dedicated) I became familiar with Jazz’s history. Impressed by her  commitment to her horse’s health – and because I could see very strong  factors affecting the animal’s condition – I decided to see if  homeopathy could help.

I considered the case: worse for damp, worse in autumn and spring,  worse for cold, worse for standing still. This indicated to me that Rhus  toxicodendron would be a good first medicine while I thought about the  complexity of the case. Then I added a blood auto-nosode which is a  homeopathic medicine derived from the patient’s own substances in  accordance with homeopathic guidelines, in this case blood taken from  Jazz and potentised to 30c. Rhus tox 200c and the auto-nosode were given  twice daily for the first two weeks.

The blood autonosode is an interesting therapeutic option. I was  first introduced to it when working for Mark Elliott MRCVS (Member of  the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons) in Chichester in the mid 90’s.  I use it where the patient appears to have a viraemia, a medical  condition where viruses enter the bloodstream, and where there are  non-specific or variable complications of a disease. Dressage and event  horses are often subject to immense athletic pressure and very  restrictive management (little turnout, high cereal feeds, frequent  competition stress, frequent vaccination) and frequently present with  chronic fatigue symptoms. These include persistent lethargy, poor  exercise tolerance, anaemia and longstanding abnormal white blood cell  counts. Conventionally these cases are very difficult to treat.  Nevertheless, I have found that blood nosodes, supported by homeopathic  medicines to treat the symptoms of the illness along with medicines  prescribed in accordance with the patient’s psychological and physical  characteristics (constitutional prescribing), can turn them around  remarkably.

We saw this with Jazz. Within seven days she was noticeably brighter  in herself and her salivary glands and fetlock joints were less puffy.  Sarah, to her amazement, even saw Jazz cantering when turned out into  the school arena (we had to be careful of her access to grass). Even her  wheezing was reduced.

Continued improvement

In November we decided the improvement in Jazz’s health had  plateaued using the Rhus tox 200c. Although her improvement had stopped,  her condition was not regressing. We increased the potency of the Rhus  tox to 1M and added Dulcamara 30c, as it became apparent that dampness  was major aggravating factor for her symptoms. Using this combination of  homeopathic medications, Jazz continued to improve throughout in  winter. From this point on, she didn’t look back. She suffered no  significant aggravation the following autumn and went from strength to  strength.

Today Jazz is able to do light work, hacking out and even has the  flexibility and musculoskeletal integrity to do some schooling. She has  had mild flare-ups of parotiditis, but these are resolved with a  modification of the homeopathic treatment or just increasing frequency  of her treatment during these periods.

For me this case is a really striking example of how relatively  simple homeopathic medicines can transform complex, chronic polysystemic  disease. The prescription was easy: the results were miraculous. And  Jazz continues to charm all who meet her, human and equine alike.

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