Q&A with Homeopathic Veterinarian, Dr. Christina Chambreau
Dr. Chambreau is an internationally known homeopathic veterinarian, lecturer, and author. She graduated from the University of Georgia Veterinary College in 1980. She became interested in homeopathy after experimentally using homeopathy for a cat’s bladder problem and seeing success with the remedy when conventional treatments had failed. Very interested, Christina attended a class at the National Center for Homeopathy Summer School taught by George MacLeod and began using homeopathy in her veterinary practice. Her successes encouraged her to take a second class the next year with Dr. MacLeod and began Dr. Paul Herscu’s year-long training program. By then, Dr. Pitcairn was offering annual weekend classes on homeopathy for animals which she religiously attended. Since 1988 she has used primarily homeopathy in her practice.
She is the author of , Healthy Animal’s Journal (available in print and digital–dog only for now; cat and equine coming soon) which allows people to easily track the symptoms and essence of their animals to be able to evaluate the direction of response to any treatments. She is also a co-author of the Homeopathic Repertory: A Tutorial (Karen Allen) and How To Have A Stress Free Wedding (Mort Orman). She is beginning to publish Kindle books to reach more people with the joys of holistic approaches. The Natural Flea book will be out in the next few months.
Can you explain what homeopathy is for those who don’t know much about it?
Samuel Hahnemann, the founder of homeopathy in the late 1700s, says, “The highest ideal of cure is the rapid, gentle and permanent restoration of health; that is, the lifting and annihilation of the disease in its entire extent in the shortest, most reliable, and least disadvantageous way, according to clearly realizable principles.” (Organon, aphorism)
Homeopathy is based on one unifying principle: like cures like. The medicines, referred to as remedies, are first tested in healthy humans in a process known as provings, and the tests often now follow FDA new drug guidelines. The test subjects record their mental, emotional and physical symptoms, paying special attention to the modalities, or what makes each symptom or the person herself feel better or worse. The most peculiar symptoms are of special importance.
The symptoms experienced by all the provers are then collated and organized into searchable books known as materia medicas and repertories. When a patient is sick, his symptoms (signs in animals) are analyzed and the remedy that most closely matches with the symptoms experienced by the provers is given to the patient to cure him.
When the underlying quantum field imbalance is thus corrected, complete and permanent cures can occur.
The difference between homeopathy and herbal or pharmaceutical treatments is that the homeopathic remedies, while made from herbs, minerals and body substances, are diluted beyond the molecular level. New research shows that nano particles are present which cause these deep cures of the current problems and prevent future problems.
The United States Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia gives exact directions for the preparation of the tinctures (different for every remedy) and the subsequent potentization (the same for every remedy), that are followed by the homeopathic pharmaceutical companies. Thousands of remedies are made from plants, minute amounts of animals, minerals, waters and more ethereal substances. Nosodes are remedies made from diseased tissue (rabid dog saliva, tubercular lung tissue, sputum from a dog with kennel cough, horse glanders).
All remedies are kept in brown tinted glass, to protect them from light. If kept away from areas where they would get hot rapidly, or from strong odors – aroma therapy, camphor, or mentholated gels, etc. – remedies last forever. Ignore that expiration date on the label…and the dosing suggestions…and what the remedy cures. The only words with meaning on the label are the name and potency of the remedy.
Gaby Rottler, DVM has seen people use the remedies from Hahnemann’s First Aid box (made over 150 years ago). I have seen the kit of remedies that Dr. James Kent hand-made in St. Louis around 1900 and have been told that people ask for a dose of Dr. Kent’s remedy for themselves. If there is a lot in the vial, the request has been granted. Most people felt it worked better than modern remedies.
Having a stock of amber, glass, 1 ounce bottles is important as you will see later. Though you will purchase remedies from pharmacies (see Resources), you will sometimes need to prepare dosing bottles.
To summarize, while herbs are natural treatments that can be gentle and often very effective, homeopathic remedies, because of the serial dilution and succussion, can be much more deeply curative, if the correct remedy can be found.
Remember, the basic homeopathic principles of how all the current and past symptoms indicate what vibrational pattern needs curing is the most important for you to learn. While you can treat some first aid problems yourself, with some more study, the real power of homeopathy is in finding the horse’s specific and individual remedy, then evaluating their response, then taking the next appropriate step. You can learn how to do this, but often it is faster to work with a trained homeopath.
Combination remedies with 6-20 remedies mixed together are sold to the public for specific conditions, but this is not the best use of homeopathy. It is better to carefully select one, then watch and wait and see if another remedy is later needed.
What led you to become a homeopathic veterinarian?
A client told me about homeopathy in 1982. Then, a local veterinarian gave me two remedies for “bladder problems”. A client’s cat had been on antibiotic for 3 years for “bladder problems”, with recurrence of symptoms if stopped. A few weeks on one of the remedies and for the next 9 months that I was at that practice, the cat was healthy and not on antibiotics. After taking a 1 weekend class, I was able to help some other mystery cases, so began to study it more, eventually helping Dr. Pitcairn and Dr. Rygas found the Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy.
Could you give some examples of how homeopathic remedies could be used with horses?
A four-year-old mare had to be muzzled to allow her first 2 foals to nurse. When she began this behavior on the third foal, homeopathy turned her into a great mother who did not attack her foal. The remedy used was Sepia, made from cuttlefish ink.
A race horse was stall walking (weaving). She was very social, putting her head out and leaving it out when people were in the barn. She drank deeply when the water was first offered (often that means they prefer cold water), then left the water. She was social with the other horses. She was sensitive to loud noises. She loved to be groomed. A dose of Phosphorus was all that was needed to stop the weaving behavior.
Written by a student of mine: Dude, 23 yr old Morgan gelding, presented himself on the morning of Dec.25, 2005 with a bright blue cornea. He had no visible injury, no tearing and minimal squinting. His eye was just bright blue. He was outfitted with a fly mask and duct tape was used to further shield the right eye from light. Over the period of 2 days he received doses of Calcarea carbonicum, Symphytum, Euphrasia and Apis all 30c potency. He had slight improvement but not complete.
The veterinarian came out on Dec. 27 and verified there was no corneal abrasion nor injury, but noted tear production was low. He left behind a bottle of ophthalmic steroid and tear drops to use if I couldn’t find the right remedy. I re-took the case and added the decrease in tear production. I switched the remedy to Sulphur 30c. Gave him two doses on the evening of Dec. 27 the next day the eye was 70% clear.
Continued Sulphur 30c am & pm doses until Dec.30th when the eye was 97% clear. At this point we added DMG, Burdock root, and Rose hips to his diet to boost his immune system and by Feb.2006 his eye was completely clear and has stayed that way until the present. We were able to return the unopened bottle of opthalmic steroid drops to an impressed veterinarian! He has had no vaccinations or conventional treatments since 1998.
Many more cases can be found in the book, Homeopathy, What to Expect by Ed DeBeukelaer – A wobbler (Nat carb then sulphur), chronic emphysema for many years with weight loss (Belladonna), Old pony with liver problems and cough (Sepia), pony with laminitis unresponsive to conventional treatment and bleeding of toes (old-fashioned treatment) (Calc carb helped for a few days, then Veratrum album cured him), mare with panic attacks, aggression, colic, tying up, (opium helped for 6 months, then Aconite, Sulphuric acid and Argentum nit were tried to no effect. Finally chamomille homeopathically prepared totally cured her), 18-year-old pony with 4 years of coughing non-responsive to conventional treatment, exophthalmia, panic (Aconite cured), and several more. Remember, this does not mean that every horse, or even most horses with laminitis will be cured by Calcarea carbonicum or Veratrum album.
These cases are to show you that maybe it would be best for your horses to begin with homeopathy, or acupuncture and Chinese herbs (TCVM), Reiki, herbs or other holistic approaches before trying conventional medicine and drugs. Why wait?
Do you advise combining other types of treatments with homeopathic remedies for animals? If so, which ones?
Treatments that soothe are fine, not treatments that would likely deeply cure or stop the symptoms suddenly.
Imagine you have spent an hour speaking with me about your animal, dredging up all the possible symptoms from the past and quantifying the current ones. Say there are 10 symptoms. Then I spend an hour researching the Repertory and Materia Mecica. I decide on the best matching remedy based on these 10 symptoms, and wrestle with the best potency, administration method and frequency of repetition (posology). My plan is to have you document the changes in each symptom, record the return of older symptoms that may come for a day or two, then resolve on their own, and pay attention to the overall energy level.
Scenario 1: You give no other treatments and do not change the food or environment. Any changes then, are from the remedy.
Scenario 2: You start TCVM (Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine) – acupuncture and Chinese herbs at the same time. These can be deeply curative, so they will change the symptoms. When I review the effect of the homeopathic remedy, I cannot tell what did what.
Scenario 3: In addition to the remedy, you begin to offer Reiki, Flower Essences, new minerals or diet, improve the hay bag to a more normal feeding (on the ground, small holes), or raw meat diet for dogs and cats, mild herbs like marshmallow root for the soft stool, probiotics, etc. As long as these merely soothe the symptoms they will not interfere with my evaluation of the response of the animal to the remedy.
Scenario 4: You give steroids or antibiotics to stop the symptoms – hard to tell what the remedy would do.
What is your view on vaccinations and de-wormers for horses?
Use the very minimal. It depends on your area. Never give vaccines for Potomac fever, never West Nile, never rabies.
Dogs and cats – only Rabies after the puppy or kitten shots (if those) unless there is truly an epidemic in your local area and your animals would be exposed a lot and the vaccine is actually effective.
What is the best way for those who are interested in homeopathy to learn more about it?
READ, READ, READ! I teach classes anywhere people will organize them for me (even webinars). You bring the people to me in some way, or bring me to a group of people, and I will teach.
Subscribe to Animal Wellness, Equine Wellness (use my code – CCDVM, please), Whole Dog Journal, Dogs Naturally Magazine. Search holistic veterinary websites and read their information. Most are very committed to education.