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The Potential for Using Homeopathic Medicines with West Nile Virus in Wildlife

By Shirley J. Casey, WildAgain Wildlife Rehabilitation


Homeopathy, the second most commonly used health care modality (system) in the world[1], has proven effective with a variety of infectious diseases for almost 200 years. As early as the mid to late 1800ís, homeopathic medicine was used to effectively treat epidemics, such as cholera, scarlet fever, typhoid, and yellow fever[2]. During the 1918 pan-epidemic of influenza, eighty percent of those treated with homeopathy recovered, whereas eighty percent of those treated with conventional medicine, including aspirin, died[3].


Since the 1990ís, wildlife rehabilitators have studied homeopathy and consulted with homeopathic veterinarians on treatment of acute wildlife conditions, especially trauma.[4] The rehabilitators and their veterinarians have used homeopathy successfully in conjunction with conventional medical care and effective rehabilitation practices[5]. Many rehabilitators have seen safe and effective results from using homeopathic medicine with various wildlife conditions, including head trauma, muscular-skeletal injuries, pneumonia, infections, and poisoning[6]. Aware that homeopathy has been effective with viruses affecting humans, a couple of rehabilitators consulted with homeopathic veterinarians and then administered homeopathic medicines to raptors with West Nile virus (WNV), in addition to providing supportive care and appropriate rehabilitation support. While long-term results are not yet available, these rehabilitators reported improvements in some raptor cases after homeopathic medicine.


Examples of  WNV Symptoms in Raptors

 At this time, it appears that while many of the animals confirmed with WNV have some neurological symptoms, the specifics vary between species. While the disease can progress rapidly, there seem to be several different stages, some of which were identified on the University of MN Raptor Center website. The following describes some common symptoms identified in raptors:

-          sudden onset

-          mental dullness and/or confusion

-          hypersensitivity to touch and light

-          weak extremities

-          swallowing difficulty

-          uncoordinated tongues

-          dilated pupils

-          ataxia

-          sleep more than normal

-          infection

-          head tremors

-          unusual saliva

-          unusual mental states (e.g., terror, aggression)

-          unusual vocalizing

-          seizures (type, location, & duration differ)

-          high fever

-          abnormal mouth and tongue color

-          unusual eye movement (e.g., staring, twitching)

-          unusual extremity position (e.g., locked joints, clenched feet, twitching)

-          abnormal stool

-          feather loss in specific areas


Possible Homeopathic Treatment

Initial review of these conditions in homeopathic repertories helped identify some homeopathic medicines that might be effective with the various stages of the disease.[7] Homeopathic medicine is very different from conventional medicine, in that the homeopathic medicine must be matched to the patientís individual symptoms.  This means that the homeopathic medicine selected for an individual may be different than another with the same disease or a different stage of the disease.     

The list of possible homeopathic medicines that address many of the symptoms is rather extensive. The following homeopathic medicines were identified for possible consideration for WNV: Aconitum, Belladonna, Calcarea carbonica, Natrum muriaticum, Baptisia, Hyoscamus, Nux vomica, and Sulphur. This list will be fine-tuned as further case information is collected. These medicines need to be reviewed in a homeopathic materia medica, such as by those by Boericke, Phatak, or Vermeulen. It is critical for the rehabilitator to work closely with a homeopathic veterinarian to select the appropriate homeopathic medicine and potency for the animalís symptoms.

Homeopathic concepts emphasize the minimum dose, which results in homeopathic medicines being administered less frequently than conventional medicine. Since the condition seems to have a sudden, intense onset and most of the wild animals seem to have been in reasonable health prior to the onset (based on weight, feather quality, etc.), the homeopathic veterinarian may prescribe several doses of high potencies, such as 200c or 1m day for 3-4 days. For domesticated animals or long-term captive wildlife (such as in zoos), the homeopathic veterinarian might consider lower potencies.


Homeopathic Veterinary Support

Consultation with veterinarians is a critical rehabilitation practice. Since classical homeopathic medicine is very different from conventional medicine, it is vital to consult with homeopathic veterinarians before homeopathic medicines are selected and administered. WildAgain is preparing materials to help rehabilitators and veterinarians with information on WNV in wildlife for the Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy, the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association, and WildAgain Seminars.

WildAgain will continue to work with rehabilitators and veterinarians to collect case information (symptoms, stages, etc.), repertorize, develop differential descriptions to aid selection of the homeopathic medicines, and document the results of the treatments.  Information or questions can be emailed to Ewildagain@aol.com.


Further Information on Homeopathy

Blackmer, R.; A. Casey; and S. Casey. 1997. Beyond Conventional Allopathic Medicine: Options Considered by Wildlife Rehabilitators, Journal of Wildlife Rehabilitation, Winter: 7-13. 

Boericke, W. 1927. Materia Medica  with Repertory. Boericke and Tafel, CA.

Facinelli, J.; A. Casey; and S. Casey. 1997. Finding and Using Holistic Veterinary Services.  Journal of Wildlife Rehabilitation. Winter, pp. 14-19.

Jonas, W. and J. Jacobs. 1996. Healing with Homeopathy. Warner Books, New York, NY.

Phatak, S. R. 1993. Materia Medica of Homeopathic Medicine. B. Jain Publishers, Kishan Kunj, Delhi.

Sheppard, D. 1967. Homoeopathy in Epidemic Diseases. Daniel Co. Limited, Essex, England.

Vermeulen, F. 1997. Concordant Materia Medica. Emryss vy Publishers, Haarlem, Netherlands.


[1] McCluggage, D and P. Higdon.  1999. Holistic Care for Birds. Howell House Books, New York, NY.

[2] Ullman, D. 1995. Consumerís Guide to Homeopathy, Putnam and Sons, New York, NY.

[3] Nauman, E. 1995. Poisons That Heal. Light Technology Publishing, Sedona, AZ.

[4] Casey, S. 2000. Homeopathic First Aid Used with a Sample of Cases, NWRA Conference Proceedings.

[5] Blackmer, R., et al. 1997. Exploring the Concept of the Minimum Dose: Wildlife Rehabilitators Consider Homeopathy, Journal of Wildlife Rehabilitation, Spring.

[6] Casey, S. 2002. Success Using Homeopathy with Wildlife Trauma. AVHMA Conference Proceedings-2002.

[7] Schroyens, F. Synthesis: Repertorium Homoeopathicum Syntheticum & Van Zandvoort, R. The Complete Repertory.

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