Cancer Case 4
Christmas with Beanie

Veterinary surgeon and homeopath Geoff Johnson recounts a case that will strike a chord with dog owners everywhere

It was in October 2007 that Beanie Sturgess, a nine-year-old entire greyhound x collie bitch, was referred to me. 

The patient was partially lame with a diagnosis of osteosarcoma or bone cancer of the right fore leg. At the time she was being treated with Flexicam, an anti-inflammatory and pain relief medicine. Faced with a bleak prognosis the owner sought help from homeopathy, for the family were desperate to have Beanie around for one more Christmas.

The consultation

In my consulting room Beanie looked very gentle and lay motionless by her owner’s side, docilely accepting strokes. She approached me only once during the hour long consultation. 

When she moved, her lameness was obvious. The owner described Beanie’s character as faithful, submissive, lively and playful.I talked at length to Beanie’s owner to discover the dog’s history, as this is essential to revealing the group of compounds from which the required homeopathic medicine is chosen. 

She was the first in the litter of pups to explore, bark and jump up, and was the most agile and the quickest learner. The mother only spent one night with the pups and afterwards only saw the pups to feed them, which she did standing up, before leaving to sleep elsewhere. 

The behaviour of the mother may have contributed to Beanie developing separation anxiety at five months and she still howls if left alone. She also became “dependent for cuddles”.

Beanie is very perceptive, especially to the owners going away and is sensitive to raised voices and reprimand. She’s afraid of thunder and storms during which she hides in a corner or sits with the owner, but will calm down if consoled by the owner.

She’s not bothered about hierarchy when in the company of other dogs and is neither dominant nor submissive. When being taken for a walk she disappears, exploring everywhere. These facts suggest that the homeopathic medicine required is probably a compound containing phosphorus. 

Brought up in rural France

Beanie was brought up in rural France where she had a stray dog companion with whom she would go roaming over long distances every night. She had complete freedom with her canine partner in crime, who would lead her away on these nocturnal jaunts. 

However, in April 2007, the Sturgess family returned to Somerset leaving the stray behind. Beanie became depressed and according to her owner seemed “lost” with an air of “what have I done wrong?” In July of that year Beanie vomited fresh blood. Then in August she developed reverse sneezing but this passed.

One month later, however, the lameness developed on the right fore leg and she was diagnosed with the tumour. Based on the above information, and the knowledge of which medicines are effective for bone cancer, I prescribed an aqueous solution of Phosphorus 200c, 5ml, to be taken three times a day. 

Improved mental state

The owners reported that after a week Beanie seemed more alert and had vomited twice in seven days, which was unusual. But the lameness was no better. I instructed them to continue with the Phosphorus 200c. In November 2007, Beanie was very happy and lively but had gone very lame. This coincided with the family moving house again. The tumour was also getting bigger. 

Because the lameness had worsened and the tumour had grown, I thought that either the remedy required by Beanie was not Phosphorus or that the case was incurable. However, it seemed to the owners and to friends who met Beanie when she was taken for walks, that she was a happier and more lively dog.

The improvement in her mental state without physical improvement suggested to me that the required remedy was closely related to Phosphorus. This could mean elements adjacent to Phosphorus horizontally or vertically in the periodic table, or a compound of Phosphorus. 

The worsening of the lameness when the owners moved house is reminiscent of the development of the tumour after the original move from France. This indicates that the likely aetiology or cause of Beanie's condition was moving house and the stress that this entailed.

An investigation of the twelve medicines particularly useful when ailments come on due to the specific stress of homesickness reveals that the commonest one is Phosphoric acid. This is also known to be a major remedy to counter the effects of grief; something that Beanie must have felt having to leave the stray dog behind in France.

I changed the prescription to Phosphoric acid 200c, three times a day

At the beginning of 2008, Mrs Sturgess reported that the lameness had decreased and Beanie was full of life. I advised that Phosphoric acid 200c was to be continued three times a day, alternating weekly with Carcinosin 200c, also to be taken three times a day. This alternating system was developed by Dr Ramakrishnan, a highly respected medical doctor and homeopath from India.

By April 2008, the bony lump had decreased in size and Beanie was no longer lame. She was weaned off the Flexicam and she suffered no pain or the need for painkillers for 14 months, during which time the homeopathic Phosphoric acid was continued.

It was in July 2009, 22 months after the original diagnosis, that Beanie became lame again and did not respond to increased doses of Phosphoric acid. Even with amputation, the median survival time for a dog with osteosarcoma was only 18-25 weeks in 2009.

The lump started to grow, so to avoid any potential suffering it was decided to put Beanie to sleep. Despite this sad outcome the owners were delighted to have enjoyed two extra Christmases with their beloved Beanie.  

Geoff Johnson MA MRCVS RSHom PCH VetFFHom