Everyday Homeopathy for Animals is written for people who want to use homeopathic medicine as fully as possible in the care of their animal or animals.
Veterinary attention will almost certainly be necessary at times, and the author is careful to indicate the circumstances where professional advice should be sought. With this safeguard in place, there is much that an owner can achieve with homeopathy to maintain and enhance the health of an animal. It is frequently possible to bring relief and to cure using homeopathic remedies alone; it is also beneficial for the animal to be treated homeopathically in conjunction with any conventional treatment that the vet may prescribe.
The main section of the book provides detailed guidance on how to select the appropriate remedy across a wide range of illnesses and conditions that are common to most animals. This is followed by shorter sections dealing with the problems that arise in particular species. There are various practical appendices, including a materia medica summarising the therapeutic characteristics of all the remedies mentioned in the book, information on how to find a homeopathic vet, where to source homeopathic remedies, and a detailed index.
Francis Hunter qualified as a veterinary surgeon in 1953, and after National Service with the Royal Army Veterinary Corps joined a mainly farm animal practice in Norwich. In 1960 he took over a single-handed mixed practice in West Sussex, which has since grown to a large practice in which he was the senior partner until his recent retirement. He was introduced to homeopathy by a medical colleague in 1980 and went on to gain the VetMFHom qualification from the Faculty of Homeopathy. He was elected to Fellowship in 1999, and now runs a referral service treating animals with homeopathy, acupuncture and herbal medicine.
Reviewed by Lise Hansen DVM MRCVS CertIAVH
Have you ever needed a book to tell you how to treat a urinary infection in a pig? Or searched for a guide to the homeopathic treatment of a chinchilla with colic, a fish with slime disease, a tortoise with mouth rot or, my personal favourite, gunshot wounds in a wild bird? This book has all this and much, much more. It is a knowledgeable and concise guide to the treatment of animal disease, the everyday (as the title suggests) as well as the more unusual.
In spite of its nearly 500 pages there is nothing verbose, rambling or anecdotal about this work; it is a well-edited and excellently written practical guide to the homeopathic treatment of animals. The layout is very user friendly and the text clear and informative.
The author spends no time advising on nursing care, diet, recommended supplements or other supportive treatments; this is pure homeopathy. The introductory sections on the history and philosophy of homeopathy are good and to the point. The main section of the book provides detailed information on possible remedies for a wide range of conditions. This is followed by shorter sections dealing with problems of particular species, spanning wider than any text I have come across. Here is advice on how to treat not just dogs, cats, farm animals and horses but also poultry, fish, gerbils, ferrets, rats, tortoises and several more species including hedgehogs!
Next follow 53 pages of materia medica, which is clearly presented, excellently written, and wisely focuses on physical symptoms rather than constitutional types. The book finishes with useful sections on what to include in a first aid kit, how to find a homeopathic vet, and sources of homeopathic remedies.
Francis Hunter is an expert in veterinary homeopathy who is also a gifted writer and he has produced an excellent book. However, there is a fine balance to be struck when writing about homeopathy for people who are not homeopaths. I believe this is even more of a dilemma when the topic is treating animals with homeopathy. Empowering pet owners to use first aid remedies and to treat basic acute conditions is highly laudable, but there is a real danger of putting the animal's health and well being at risk if the owner feels that it is safe to treat serious disease at home on the basis of advice from a book.
While the author of this particular book does seem aware of this dilemma, he appears to me to have backed himself into a corner on this issue. While on one hand frequently stressing the need for veterinary involvement, he then proceeds to recommend remedies for potentially life-threatening conditions such as epilepsy, leukemia and nephritis. Clearly striving to be responsible in his advice, he explains that constitutional treatment is for the veterinary homeopath only, and for this reason the book does not include any advice on constitutional prescribing.
It is unfortunate then, that he can't resist covering diseases where, in my experience, constitutional treatment is the only worthwhile approach. Thus we find under miliary eczema in cats (a very common skin condition that responds well to constitutional treatment) a suggested list of 'local' remedies (Ant crud 6c, Mez 6c or 30c, Graphites 6c, Calcium Sulph 6c, Pulex 30c). Other veterinary homeopaths may disagree, but I have not found this approach to be at all helpful. Personally, I believe that treating anything but acute and first aid conditions with local remedies is at best palliative, and at worst suppressive (in most cases probably just ineffective). If this book achieves the popularity it deserves, I wait with gritted teeth for the cats with chronic skin disease presenting in my clinic to have been prescribed all of the above remedies prior to seeing me.
As it stands, this is not a textbook for veterinary homeopaths nor is it a completely safe and appropriate guide to home treatment for pet owners; it sits between two stools and thereby could potentially cause as many problems as it solves. The fact remains that some conditions are just not suitable for home treatment. The disclaimers made in the foreword as well as throughout the text, are unlikely to have much effect, when followed by precise instructions on remedy selection and recommended potencies.
I would have much preferred to see this otherwise excellent text concentrate on first aid and acute disorders only, simply advising a visit to a veterinary homeopath for serious and chronic disease. It would have been a shorter book but a better one.