Finding a tick on your dog can be very distressing, especially with all the tick diseases that are emerging – lyme, ehrlichia, and anasplasmosis to name a few. As a homeopathic consultant, I’ve received more than a few frantic calls from dog owners after they’ve discovered an engorged tick on their dog. I understand everyone’s concern as lyme disease is insidious in that can hide out for years and then emerge with a vengeance resulting in kidney failure and ultimately death.
If you go to your conventional vet, you will most likely come home with a bottle of doxycycline or some other antibiotic, but we all know that antibiotics are overused, resulting in auto-immune diseases and other problems. And certainly you can’t give your dog antibiotics during the entire tick season. So I’d like to let you in on a little known treatment that has no side effects and is very effective at treating and preventing tick diseases. Ledum is a very good, tried and true, homeopathic remedy that has proven to be a winner in the race against tick diseases. With ledum you don’t have to think about what kind of tick bit your dog because ledum works to restore the body’s defense mechanism against all tick diseases.
I discovered ledum a number of years back after reading an article by Dr. Stephen Tobin, a vet in lyme-ridden CT who had successfully developed a protocol for treating lyme with homeopathic ledum. Dr. Tobin has treated literally thousands of dogs and horses with ledum. With great curiosity I called Dr. Tobin myself and barraged him with questions about the effectiveness of ledum against lyme. He was very matter-of-fact in his answers as he described the success of this little-known remedy. In a 1994 article in Homeopathy Today, Dr Tobin writes:
“After trying various homeopathic preparations, with only limited success, I found that Ledum in a 1M potency is about as close as you can get to a specific cure. I have used it in dogs, cats, and horses, and it does not seem to matter whether it is a recent infection, a year old, treated or untreated – they all respond curatively. I have not had a single case that did not improve.”
I have followed this protocol, treating all sorts of early and advanced cases of lyme successfully. Dr. Tobin’s protocol calls for giving Ledum in the 1M potency, 3 times a day for 3 days, in dry pellet form. It’s a very simple, yet effective protocol. I like to give the remedy in liquid form as I find it is fast and easy to administer. You simply tap 2-3 of the pellets into 4 oz. of distilled water, let it dissolve and then stir briskly. You can syringe 1 cc of the mixture onto your dog’s tongue 3 times a day. If you don’t have syringes you can administer the remedy by pouring a little onto a teaspoon and dropping onto your dog’s tongue. Don’t be so concerned about the amount as homeopathy is not give by volume as is other medicines.
As a student of Classical Homeopathy I was taught that you find the remedy that matches the totality of the individual’s symptoms. Homeopathy is based on the law of similars, and uses a “like treats like” approach. That said, when you encounter an epidemic, you go for a remedy that treats the totality of … there are remedies that will treat a number of diseases.
I have the good fortune of having lots of dogs in my shelter community. I’ve treated shelter dogs, volunteer’s dogs, foster dogs and adopted dogs. Almost without exception the dogs treated with ledum have not only survived, but have thrived with great success under the treatment with homeopathy.
Homeopathy strengthens the vital force and is very successful at curing diseases of the blood as well as chronic diseases. For a human, take one homeopathic pellet of Ledum 30c twice a day for 2 days following the tick bite. For dogs, give the same dose of Ledum 200c. Since dogs aren’t as able to dissolve a pellet on their tongue, I dilute it as explained above.
What about the lyme vaccine?
I do not consider the lyme vaccine as safe, as the side effects can cause the same arthritic symptoms. Also, it is linked to heart disease including heart attacks, which are on the increase amongst dogs. While many vets feel that it is safe, you need to do your own research. I believe that your dog will have better protection with a strong immune system. If your dog has already been vaccinated with the lyme vaccine, you can strengthen his heart by giving him a combination of hawthorn and dandelion. A good product is available at http://www.heartwormfree.com/hawthorn_dandelion.htm. It is also a good idea to give supplements that will boost your dog’s immune system.
What if my dog has Lyme disease?
If your dog has Lyme disease, you should work with a homeopath or a homeopathic vet who is trained in homeopathy from an accredited school or via Dr. Pitcairn’s course. The treatment is individualized depending on a number of things, including the etiology of the dog. This will determine the course of action. At the very least, ask for a C6 test so that you can get a baseline of the number of antibodies in the dog’s blood. This will be your yard stick for measuring if the disease is progressing or is on its way out of the body. Dr. Stephen Tobin of Meriden, CT, has successfully treated thousands of lyme-infected dogs and horses. He advises giving the lyme positive dog Ledum 1M three times a day for three days in a row. Dr. Tobin’s methods are well documented in the Whole Dog Journal.
I use a two-step approach, first giving the Ledum 1M for 3 days, followed by a regimen using the homeopathic lyme nosode, Borrelia Borgdorferi. If there are other tick diseases in your region, then it is better to give ledum 200c once a week during tick season, if you are finding ticks on your dog. For a better understanding on treating Lyme Disease with homeopathy, read The Homeopathic Treatment of Lyme Disease by Peter Alex.
What about giving Doxycycline?
More information is available now that doxycycline does not stop the disease from progressing. It seems to lower the numbers of antibodies for awhile, but Lyme disease progresses nevertheless. Many homeopaths agree that doxycycline and other antibiotics can hinder the body’s defense mechanism from fighting the disease, so it’s a double-edged sword. The numbers may look good for a while, but the disease comes back with a vengeance. I’ve personally seen this over and over with adopted dogs and with volunteer’s dogs. Also, since the lyme spirochete confers no immunity, once a dog has lyme, s/he can be reinfected every time exposed. Once you treat for lyme, you have to wait six months before having another C6 blood test done. By this time, your dog can be reinfected.
What about Astragalus?
Astragalus acts to enhance the immune function during early-stage Lyme disease. It works by enhancing the Th1 immune response, producing higher levels of Th1 which lessens the chance that an infections will occur, or results in more mild symptoms as a result of that infection. However, late-stage Lyme disease is Th1 dominant, so the use of astragalus in the later stages of this disease has the potential to exacerbate this Th1 response and worsen the symptoms of the disease.
What else can I do to help my dog overcome Lyme Disease?
When the diagnosis is missed, the case turns chronic. Holistic Veterinarian Dr. Roger DeHaan, says that if your dog has chronic Lyme, you need to think outside of the box. He recommends large doses of buffered vitamin C. Vitamin C is a key in connective tissue integrity – the tissue most often attacked by the Lyme organism. You can also add colloidal silver, joint support formulas, immune support and, of course, a superior diet. According to Peter Alex, author of The Homeopathic Treatment of Lyme Disease, homeopathic Aurum Arsenicum has been successful in treating chronic lyme disease. It’s best to work under the guidance of an experienced Homeopath as you will need to assess the totality of the symptoms along with the progression of the disease.
Dr. Tobin says that since he began treating dogs for Lyme disease with homeopathy 10 years ago, he has worked with an estimated 1,000 patients, nearly all with complete success. “There are other homeopathic remedies that treat the symptoms of Lyme disease,” he says, “but I consider Ledum the genus epidemicus for this illness. The 1M strength is not widely sold, but lower strengths are. If your dog develops symptoms, you could try Ledum 30C, and if the symptoms come back, you could order the higher potency. If you spend a lot of time in the woods or have large fields behind your house, Ledum 1M is worth keeping on hand,” he says.
“The nosode is a good investment for dog owners here in the Northeast,” he continues, “for it provides better protection than is generally seen with the vaccine. I don’t claim that the nosode offers 100 percent protection, but it does seem to work in most cases.”
While Dr. Tobin finds that Ledum by itself clears most canine Lyme disease, Dr. Cappel uses the nosode for both prevention and treatment. “I’m convinced that the homeopathics are effective,” she says, “but they take longer to work1, and I don’t like to see animals suffer. I give the Lyme disease nosode at the same time as antibiotics, but I continue the nosode for several months. When I had Lyme disease, I used only the nosode for myself because it was my decision, but when my dog had Lyme, I put her on doxycycline and then the nosode.”
1Shirley: My experience with ledum is that it works very fast, providing relief within a few hours.
This is my recommendation based on dogs that I’ve treated for lyme disease.
If your dog tests positive for lyme, get the C6 test so that you have a baseline to which you can compare future test results. Because ledum is so effective at dealing with the disease, I recommend giving the ledum 1M 3 times a day for 3 days in a row as recommended by Dr. Tobin. I find it more effective to “plus” it in water. Wait a week or two to allow it to work before giving other treatments. If you have an older dog who is in a weakened state, then you should work with a trained Homeopath who can recommend the correct potency for your dog as well as consider a remedy that better matches your dog’s constitution.
I don’t recommend antibiotics but If you’re going to give antibiotics, then use the Borrelia Burgdorferi 60x tincture as recommended by Dr. Cappel. If you can’t find the 60x, you can use the 30c potency. You can buy the nosode from elixirs.com. They have an on site homeopath who can guide you in the use of the nosode.
If you want to opt out of antibiotics as a means to avoid the collateral damage that happens to the dog’s bowel flora, then I recommend the second treatment using borrelia burdorferi in a 200c potency (see separate directions). The reason for the second treatment is that it is more effective at preventing lyme disease. Neither the antibiotic treatment nor the ledum treatment will confer immunity. Your dog can be reinfected with every subsequent tick bite following any treatment. That said I’ve found the borrelia burgdorferi nosode to be very effective at keeping the dog from being reinfected. Alternatively, if you live in a tick-infested area, you can give the 200c of ledum once a week.
Have the dog retested (C6) in a few months. Many vets recommend six months. For the best success work with a homeopathic consultant or homeopathic vet who prescribes this method.
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