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:
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.