Symptomatic Holistic Treatment
Sara Fox Chapman MS, DVM, MRCVS, VetMFHom
Animals develop diarrhoea from stress and excitement as well as from eating things that they shouldn’t. As long as your pet is feeling reasonably well (active, interested in food, no vomiting, small amounts or no blood in the stool) it is safe and reasonable to treat symptomatically.
Mucus on the stools is a normal protective response of the intestinal tract to inflammation and irritation. Sometimes there will be a wee bit of blood on the stools because many dogs strain when they have diarrhoea. Large amounts of blood can be more serious, and will require examination of the pooch. Uncomplicated diarrhoea from stress or dietary indiscretion (garbage-itis) responds well to symptomatic homeopathic treatment. Choose homeopathic medicines from the list below, as described in point 5.
Many animals with digestive upsets benefit from the addition of digestive enzymes, prebiotics, and probiotics to the food. Digestive enzymes improve the total digestibility of the food.
When food is not digested adequately, there is excessive gas production by the bacteria in the large intestine, which can lead to flatus (gas), abdominal cramping, and borborygmus (rumbling in the abdomen). Lack of the enzymes that digest fats (lipases) can lead to diarrhoea. Prebiotics are substances that nourish the natural intestinal bacteria. Probiotics are natural intestinal bacteria.
When dogs are prone to digestive upsets, they often do not have normal bacteria, so it is wise to provide a supplemental source. Your holistic or homeopathic vet will have suggestions for products. If the dog is medium to large (over 10 kg) and there is a large quantity of diarrhoea, it is best to start with a day of fast.
During this day, you can give fluids, including oral rehydration solutions for children or animals and broth, but no solid food. This gives the intestinal chance a rest, and allows the lining to regenerate. If there is little or no diarrhoea during the fast, and the dog feels good, you can resume feeding as indicated below. Small dogs and cats will need to have fluids with energy, as they don’t have sufficient body stores.
Symptomatic homeopathic remedies for diarrhoea include:
These patients develop diarrhoea when they are excited, such as dogs on holiday or in competition. Arsenicum albumThis is the remedy most often used for gastrointestinal signs from eating unusual foods or garbage. Animals are usually restless, and may have vomiting as well.
These patients have frequent urging to stool, with no result. They may be uncomfortable before and during passage of stool, and seek warmth.
These patients have sudden onset of watery stool with blood. They are usually thirsty, and may vomit right after eating.
These patients have explosive diarrhoea, often with a lot of gas. They often seem uncomfortable before diarrhoea, and are better afterwards.
This is a changeable diarrhoea, often resulting from dietary indiscretion or overeating fatty foods. These dogs want to be out in the open air.SulphurThese animals have early morning diarrhoea which is quite foul smelling.
There are many more remedies, which can help with diarrhoea. The book by Lockie “The Family Guide to Homeopathy”, is an excellent resource.
This book is written for people (well obviously, animals can’t read) and does not specifically address animal problems. However, most problems are similar and often directly referable.
If you use homeopathy for yourself, you will understand better how to use it for your animal friends.
You can also ask your homeopathic vet for their favourite book suggestions.
As long as an animal is bright and alert, and the quantity of vomit is small, it is safe to treat this symptomatically.
Many dogs will vomit when their stomach is empty. It is not normal, but it is common; there is even a conventional name for it, idiopathic bilious vomiting. The simplest way to prevent it is to give more frequent small meals, and to be sure to give a snack at bedtime. This symptom resolves completely, or becomes much less frequent, in dogs who receive appropriate constitutional homeopathic treatment.
Some vets give famotidine (Pepcid) to dogs with bilious vomiting. Famotidine works by decreasing production of stomach acid. This may help temporarily, but dogs tend to have rebound increased stomach acid when the Pepcid wears off, so they get an upset stomach again. In addition, for proper digestion of raw meat, dogs need an acidic stomach.
In most cases, an animal with an upset stomach is treated much the same as one with diarrhoea. Cats are an exception. Vomiting in older cats is more likely to be a sign of early hyperthyroidism, so cats with recurrent vomiting need to be examined.
If the dog is medium to large (over 10 kg), it is best to start with a day of fast. During this day, you can give frequent small servings of fluids, including rehydration fluids and broth, but no solid food. This gives the intestinal chance a rest, and allows the lining to regenerate. If there is little or no vomiting during the fast, and the animal feels good, you can resume feeding as indicated below.
Small dogs and cats should not have a complete fast. They must have rehydration fluids with some energy in them. If vomiting continues when the animal is only taking in liquids, they need to visit your vet.
For dogs that just have a small amount of bilious vomit, divide the food for the day into at least four portions to be spread throughout the day. Make sure that the last portion is fairly late in the evening; this could be a large snack. If vomiting continues, then the dog must be seen.
Symptomatic homeopathic remedies for VOMITING include:
These patients often have vomit and diarrhoea, they are chilly, and may be shy, worried, restless, and want frequent small sips of water.
This is for patients that vomit from motion sicknessIpecac: These patients have profuse vomit, nausea, dry heaves and/or gagging. The patient usually acts chilly, but not too sick between vomit episodes.
These patients vomit after eating to excess. They may have gas, and are chilly and irritable. Phosphorus: These are happy, cheerful animals that vomit shortly after eating or drinking.They are generally thirsty for cold water.
These patients may vomit from fatty food. They often want to be outside, and they may have a changeable diarrhoea.
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