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Rear End Paralysis: A Case Study in Homeopathy – Part I

I get a tremendous number of hits on this blog, every day, from people searching for answers about rear end paralysis in their animal companions (mostly dogs).  I thought I’d document a case that I’m trying to help with, and I’m also going to write up some new facts that I have learned about the relationship between this phenomenon and vaccines (told you I’ve been busy!).  

A couple of months ago I was visiting a friend who has a large dog named Jack.  She started lamenting that her dog was coming up lame after just a short run.  I watched him move about the house, and immediately worried that he was experiencing progressive rear-end paralysis.  Sure enough, his hind end deteriorated rapidly over the next 6 weeks.  About two weeks ago, we started working on his case homeopathically.  His owner is actually an immunologist and studies this very phenomenon in her research.  As a result, she is well aware that conventional drugs can do little to help and wanted to try homeopathy.  

I thought I’d share his case here to demonstrate first how complicated getting the right remedy can be, and second, the results of treatment.  I should preface this by saying that I am not a professional homeopath, but rather a serious student who is working with the guidance and feedback of a professional.  The case is on-going at this point, and the outcome is unknown: 

Case Summary:

Jack is a very sweet, gentle dog who just turned four.  He is a mixed breed, likely husky & shepherd.  He looks like a wolf and is a big boy – about 100lbs, although is overweight.  Jack has carried extra weight since he was about 2 years old.  I suspect thyroid malfunction as he doesn’t eat very much, but this has not been tested.  He has always been a very calm, low-energy dog, even as a puppy. Vaccine history:

8 weeks of age: 4-way vaccine
12 weeks of age: 4-way vaccine + rabies
15 months of age: rabies
In August, 2008 (age 3): rabies

About 2 months after the last rabies vaccine, Jack’s owner noticed that he was really slowing down. He started loosing energy on his walks, and was even sometimes coming up lame by the time he got home. This has become progressively worse over the last few months.  He also has trouble getting up, going down stairs (he’s fallen a few times), getting on and off the couch, and otherwise moving around. Now, after he’s been on a walk, he often collapses and cannot get up, and drags himself around by his front feet. 

In the month before we started treatment, this has become progressively worse.  His hind end is dramatically atrophying around his hips and thighs and he has hardly using his left hind leg.  His legs tremble considerably when he stands and he has an awful time trying to sit, moving very slowly and then collapsing when he gets past a certain point. He is very lethargic and appears quite depressed. His front end seems weak too, and he often falls on the hardwood floor. He is able to walk shorter and shorter distances now, and is much worse after these walks.  

The latest development is sores on his neck, under his collar.  The one I saw was oval in shape and about 3cm long and 2 cm wide (1.5 inches x 1 inch).  

We are both quite convinced that this progressive weakening of his hind end is a demyelination process, either caused or made worse by his last rabies shot.  I will explain why in a separate post. 


To work up a case, we need to break these symptoms down into specific rubrics that are documented in the repertory (a collected list of symptoms with their associated remedies – check this out to see what I’m talking about.  For more info on homeopathic case taking, read this) .  The following is the list of rubrics we came up with to map out Jack’s symptoms (the number after each rubric is the number of remedies associated with this description):

EXTREMITIES; weakness; legs; sitting aggravates (11)
EXTREMITIES; weakness; paralytic; lower limbs (43)
EXTREMITIES; weakness, tremulous, lower limbs (14)
EXTREMITIES; weakness, tremulous, walking agg. (34)
EXTREMITIES; weakness; left leg (4)
EXTREMITIES; weakness; lower limbs; walking agg. (43)
EXTREMITIES; trembling, lower limbs, thighs (33)
EXTREMITIES; walking; impossible; from weakness and trembling (5)
EXTREMITIES; limping (38)
EXTREMITIES; lower limbs; descending stairs aggravates (56)
EXTREMITIES; emaciation, lower limbs (50)
EXTREMITIES; paralysis, lower limbs, after vaccination (1)
EXTREMITIES; unsteadiness, lower limbs (81)
EXTREMITIES; unsteadiness, lower limbs, while walking (32)

GENERALITIES; paralysis; appearing gradually (2)
GENERALITIES; weakness; progressive (10)
GENERALITIES; vaccination; after (74)
GENERALITIES; atrophy; progressive (5)
GENERALITIES; paralysis; toxic (28)
GENERALITIES; progressive diseases (59)
GENERALITIES; obesity (174)
GENERALITIES; obesity; in young people (28)

MIND; prostration of mind; with bodily weakness (45)

SKIN; eruptions; after vaccination (17)
SKIN; eruptions; of covered parts (7)
SKIN; itching; bleeding after scratching (34) 

I then had to compile all the remedies listed, according to their rank in the case (i.e. most important to least) and their rank within each rubric (some remedies are ranked higher than others in terms of their fit for each rubric).  I did this by setting up a grid and placing all the remedy names and their ranking order – it is very mathematical but time consuming.  In the end, I came up with around 6-8 remedies that were strongly indicated for the case as we have set it up.  

We then had to read through each remedy in a Materia Medica, and eventually decided on a remedy, based on which one best fit the totality of a case.  This is very tricky in general, and even more so with an animal because you can’t really know what they are thinking or feeling.  I’m not going to list the names of the remedies we selected here because every case must be taken individually, and what works for one case may not work for another.  I don’t want anyone reading this and then randomly trying what we came up with.  So I’ll call the first remedy we tried, remedy A.  

We gave Jack a dose of remedy A on Saturday evening.  He slept ALL Sunday.  He was so tired that his person was quite alarmed, but I assured her that this likely meant the remedy was working.  Sure enough, Monday morning Jack woke up quite perky and happy.  His hind end had not at all improved, but he was no longer depressed.  Since taking this remedy, Jack has returned to his happy, friendly and outgoing self.  It has been 10 days now, and his attitude still remains very positive.  The difference in attitude was quite dramatic, and has given us hope that we are going to be able to help this dog.  

Part II of this case can be found here.

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6 Responses

  1. I shall follow this with interest as I too am studying homeopathy!

    One of my dogs is currently having professional treatment for arthritis, and 2 months in, her stiffness has not improved yet her disposition has brightened tremendously and the early signs of mange she had the previous year showed again and now are nearly gone a week later, so I think we are gradually removing the layers of disease!

    My other dog, I’ve treated myself for extreme nervousness and fear – she slept fully and soundly for hours immediately after dosing – for the first time ever, so I can totally relate to Jack sleeping so well.

    Good luck and I look forward to your next post!

    • Hi Michelle – I just checked out your website. Wow! Are you tackling a big problem. How wonderful that you are working so hard to help these dogs. The ones up for adoption just stole my heart. I hope you are able to find them loving homes so they can share their special gifts.

      Regarding your dog with arthritis, as I’m sure you know, clearing the mind is a wonderful first step of cure. Disease at its deepest goes into the mind, so when you see that reversed, you know things are going in the right direction. I hope you continue to make progress with her, and the other one you are treating as well. Feel free to share your experiences here if you like! I’d love to learn more about what you’re doing.

  2. This afternoon our 13 year old border collie appeared to have suffered a stroke. Her back end has been deterioring over the last year starting with running with the back feet together. Today she struggled to stand up and has lost most of the feeling in her left rear leg. She is not overweight by any means but is still very large for a border at 60 pounds, She stands 22 inches at the shoulder. Anyway I just thought it was just a case of old age and not much if anything could be done, I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but I’ll check back to see if anything else of help might be posted.

    • Warren – I’m so sorry to hear about your dog. Without extensive testing, it is hard to know what’s going on. But once upon a time, 13 was not an old age for a dog. My first border collie’s sire, born about 1980 in the UK and imported, worked every day on a cattle farm until he was 15 years old. Dogs today rarely make it to that age, and if they do, they certainly aren’t working in the cattle pen (very tough work for a dog of any age). We have become accustomed to our dogs deteriorating starting as early as 7-9 years of age now, but I strongly believe that this is the result of generations of kibble and yearly vaccines.

      Can it be reversed? By the time a dog is 13, I’m not sure a lot can be done, but I’ve certainly heard of dogs recovering function and carrying on. Homeopathy can definitely help, as can diet, and other means of holistic healing (acupuncture, Reiki etc.). By all means I encourage you to explore the options with your old girl. I hope you are able to find a way to help her enjoy life for a while longer.

  3. I came upon your website researching hind weakness in dogs. I have a 12 year old bichon who started with reluctance to jump and then a rather sudden onset of hind weakness/wobbliness. Several conventional vet visits including specialists have left Jake and I extremely disappointed. We got a laundry list of what could be, a Rx for metacam(which I threw away after 4 doses because I saw symptoms worsening) for osteoarthritis and said no further testing needed to be done because his symptoms were mild!!! I asked about Rx to help slow progression and got no answers–try massage or acupuncture Rx. We have been trying massage with slight improvement but still waxing and waning. He is on a raw diet with fish oil supplement which when I consulted a nutritionist was told dogs are carnivoires and do not digest vegetables therefore toxins are building up and inflammation worsening. Unfortunately homeopathic options in my area are nil. I am trying a product from Wapiti called Mobility. How interesting about the rabies vaccine as I had him vaccinated 9 months ago after clearing up a liver hepatopathy. What a mistake!!! I wonder if this maybe have contributed however symptoms did not appear until 6-7 months later. If you have any further insight please please let me know. I am desperate at this point…


    Barb and Jake

    • Hi Barbara – I’m sorry I took so long to reply to your post. Damage from vaccines typically becomes obvious within the first three months, but it can definitely take 6-9 months to show up. I once again am astounded that a vet would first vaccinate a dog of that age, and second vaccinate an animal who has recovered from a major illness. That is simply medical malpractice.

      Regarding what you can do, I’m afraid I am still searching for answers myself. It seems that a short course of prednisone can help (i.e. a week or two maximum), by shutting down the immune system and letting it settle. To my knowledge, that is the only conventional treatment that has any success. It might be worth discussing it with your vet, although if his liver is weak, this may not be a good option. Prednisone is a horrible drug with a lot of side effects, including organ damage. It’s really not an option I like to even mention, except that I know of nothing else that can help unless you go to a homeopath.

      Regarding homeopathy, you can actually work with someone over the phone. I did this for the first four years that I used homeopathy, and with very good success. It is only in the last few months that I’ve found someone to work with in person, and we only met once and have continued treatment by phone ever since. This is possible because the homeopath relies heavily on our ability to observe and analyze, and then report symptoms. They need to be good at asking questions to elicit this information, and once they have it they can usually select effective remedies without ever meeting the patient. If you are interested in giving this a try, I can email you the contact information for a few veterinary homeopaths who will work via the phone.

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