I’m often asked if I think it’s a good idea for a dog to be given a homeopathic remedy prior to being vaccinated, with the intent of preventing any kind of reaction. Personally, I believe it’s difficult to know what remedy might be effective in this regard, unless:
- A constitutional remedy has already been established for that particular dog. For example, a remedy has proven to help with ongoing symptoms the dog has exhibited in the past. In this case, it can be a good idea to give that specific remedy a day or two before the vaccine in order to boost the dog’s immune system overall.
- The dog has reacted to a vaccine in the past. In this case, I would be inclined to give the dog the remedy that normally would be used to that specific reaction before the vaccine is given.
But that doesn’t mean there aren’t remedies you can give that will help. There are. And they’re wonderful.
Thuja And Silica: The Go-To Remedies
Many people automatically give the remedy Thuja after a vaccination, but it’s not the only remedy indicated for vaccine reactions. Silica is also a very important remedy in this regard. However, it’s important to remember that treating a reaction to vaccines is no different from treating anything else with homeopathy. The best homeopathic treatment for vaccine reactions to give is the one that matches the symptom picture the dog is displaying.
Remember the term etiology: the factors which predispose the dog toward a certain disorder.
Taking etiology into account is always a part of proper case taking. If we look up Generals, vaccination after in the Complete Repertory, 41 remedies are listed. Looking at the most prominent of these, and disregarding those that are more specific to vaccines that are NOT received by dogs – like smallpox – we are left with:
- Ant Tart
- Merc Sol
So, as you can see, it’s not exactly a cut and dried choice based on etiology alone. The choice of remedy should be based on the symptom picture, which can manifest anywhere between several hours and several months – or even several years – after vaccination.
Common Vaccine Reactions
That said, the vaccine reactions that dogs commonly experience often indicate Thuja or Silica. Some of these symptoms include:
- Generals, convulsions, after vaccination: Silica, Thuja
- Mentals, anxiety, after vaccination: Thuja
- Eye, inflammation, after vaccination: Thuja
- Stomach, nausea, after vaccination: Silica
- Rectum, diarrhea, after vaccination: Silica, Thuja
- Respiration, asthmatic, after vaccination: Thuja
- Cough, after vaccination: Thuja
- Extremities, paralysis, lower limbs, after vaccination: Thuja
- Extremities, swelling general, upper limbs, after vaccination: Silica, Sulphur, Thuja (in dogs, this generally corresponds to a lump at the injection site)
- Skin, eczema, after vaccination: Mezereum (thick, hard scabs), Sulphur (red, itchy eruptions)
How To Give Homeopathic Remedies
You can buy homeopathic remedies at most health stores (such as Whole Foods or Vitamin Shoppe) or on Amazon.
A 30C potency is a good bet and these potencies are widely available.
Place 1 to 3 pellets (or 5 to 15 granules, a few drops or a tablet) into a glass bottle. Add pure filtered water to fill the rest of the bottle, just leaving a little room at the top so the contents can be well shaken. Shake the mixture well by striking the bottom of the bottle against the palm of your hand about 20 to 30 times.
Give a few drops or a squirt from a syringe or dropper on the tongue or across the gums. A few drops given at one time is still a single dose, so don’t worry if you accidentally empty a full dropper into your dog’s mouth.
[Related] Homeopathy is good for so many other common issues. Here’s a handy list to keep on hand.
Other Homeopathic Treatment For Vaccine Reactions
When treating reactions to a rabies vaccine, Belladonna and Lyssin (also known as Hydrophobinum) should be considered.
- Belladonna can be indicated if your dog suddenly develops a high fever, especially if he has glassy eyes with dilated pupils. This is also a remedy to consider if your dog develops aggressive or compulsive behavior (eg turning in circles repeatedly), or seizure activity.
- Lyssin (also known as Hydrophobinum) is the first remedy to think of if the dog develops a fear of water (which can manifest as refusing to drink) or is agitated by the sound of running water.
It may be a good idea to have Apis on hand in case the dog exhibits facial swelling, or if there is any other indication that the dog is having an allergic reaction to the vaccine (eg swelling of the airways that impede breathing).
Note: Never be in hurry to leave the vet after your dog has been given a vaccine, as a severe reaction requiring emergency medical attention is always a possibility.