Ask The Vet Archives

Fear, Anxiety, Thunderstorms, Phosphorus

My German Shepherd experiances fear of thunderstorms. pacing and panting. She responds well to Phosphorus 30c. Within 5 min or so she is fine. (That) lasts for about 48 hours. Then if a new storm comes, fear again, dose again. My question: What potency or length of time given might help clear this fear for good?


Dear Nancy,

Dr Sara ChapmanAs you have seen, homeopathy is a safe and effective treatment for thunder phobias. In the case of your Shepherd, the Phosphorus is acting on a superficial level to relieve the symptoms at the time. When the remedy is not effective for very long, this usually represents palliation. Some symptoms are better, but improvement does not last, and the remedy must be repeated frequently. You do not mention if your girl feels better overall after the Phosphorus, but that is important information for a homeopathic consultation. If she feels better in herself after the Phosphorus 30 C, it may be that a different potency of Phosphorus will stimulate a deeper and longer lasting healing response.

There are 26 remedies listed in the Synthesis repertory as being indicated for dogs with thunder phobia. Phosphorus is a very important and frequently used remedy for this problem. However, if the rest of the characteristics of the individual’s case do not fit a Phosphorus presentation, the Phosphorus can only act on a superficial level, and the improvement will not be long lasting. A veterinary homeopath will assess all characteristics of your girl’s case to determine which remedy is best suited to help her overall. I have successfully treated dogs with thunder phobias with many different remedies, including Phosphorus. I tailor the remedy, the potency, and the dosing interval to the individual. Please check the AVH website to find a vet homeopath near you.

While we are on the subject of thunder phobias, there are other gentle methods that can be used with homeopathy:

Optimal diet improves attitude and reduces anxiety. Time and again I have seen dramatic improvements when animals are transitioned to a species appropriate diet of raw, cooked, or canned food.

Many animals benefit from various swaddling wraps; one brand is the Thundershirt. All animals benefit when their people remain calm during storms. I remember watching friends rush madly through the house slamming windows while their terrier ricocheted through the house. Dogs learn fears, so start early in life by accustoming youngsters to loud noises, and stay calm during storms.

There are good books about the Bach essences, and other flower essences, and their use to tone down fearful states. A few drops of up to five essences can be added to the drinking water (always supply an untreated bowl of water as well), and animals who need them will preferentially drink them.

You have a good start on helping you girl deal with her thunder phobia in a safe, gentle way. I hope that you can find a homeopath to help you complete her healing process.

S.F. Chapman DVM, MRCVS, VetMFHom

Thuja, Remedies, Expiry

I have a vial of thuja from several months ago. Wondering if i can use it in the future, if needed. What is the shelf life of homeopathic remedies? Does it depend on the remedy?

~ Steph

Hi Steph-

Dr Jeff FeinmanProperly stored homeopathic remedies do not expire even though the FDA requires them for their “approval” process. There are remedies in active use today that are hundreds of years old. Proper storage includes avoiding extremes of heat (120 degrees F and above), avoiding wide and rapid fluctuations of temperatures and strong odors (especially camphor as in some topical medicinals). Most important is to avoid radiation. Sources such as radiation from microwaves, cell phones and other electronic equipment can reduce the efficacy of homeopathic medicine.

This stability of the medicines used in homeopathic treatment may be yet another factor that has slowed the wide (commercial) acceptance of homeopathy. I frequently have clients administer remedies that we used many years previously.

Bottom line. Don’t discard old homeopathic medicines. They may prove useful in the future.

Dr. Jeff

Frontline, Toxic, Reaction, Fleas & Ticks

I gave my 3 small dogs, (2 Shi Tzus and small white poodle) Frontline, not realizing the toxicity of same product. In July the white poodle had 3 minor seizure, Vet thought it was due high enzymes,and not Frontline In August same dog had a Grand Mal seizure, liver enzymes tested normal, after giving natural liver support and Thisle as well as Vit E. All seizures occurred 48 hrs after giving a/m product. Company and Vet in total denial of toxicity of product. will never give this to pets again. What is your op[inion, is there anything to be done to stop the seizures. One of the Shi Tzus is rubbing her back very often. Am concerned about fleas and ticks on pets and house. Would appreciate your help.

Thank you,

~ Naomi

Dear Naomi

Jennifer RamelmeierYou are correct in deducting that frontline is toxic. The active ingredient in Frontline is fiprinol, which is used to spray crops against insects. It is so toxic against honey bees(and other wildlife) that the european union is banning it’s use starting this year. The EPA report on fiprinol lists it as neurogenic, tetratogenic(danger to the fetus) and carcinogenic. This product(along with advantage and many other topical flea products) can indeed cause seizures and I also blame it for the dramatic increase in cancer that we are now seeing in dogs. And anything applied topically to your pet is readily absorbed internally. So with that said it will take 6-12 months before it will dissipate from the tissues of your dogs. I usually use a herbal combination called detox blend by animal apawthecary to help remove the toxin but in the case the seizures I highly recommend you consult a certified veterinary homeopath right away.

Click Here to find a local homeopath.

As far as more natural approach to fleas and ticks I recommend you try Bug off garlic internally and redicare spray by keys soap and the pet guard flea collar externally.

Dr Jennifer Ramelmeier DVM CVH

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