COMPARATIVE DRUG SELECTION


COMPARATIVE DRUG SELECTION.
H.B.F. JERVIS, VETERINARIAN.

 

It has been said that comparisons are odio…


It has been said that comparisons are odious, but this dose not apply to scientific surely, in fact it seems to me that comparisons cannot but help broaden the view point of the conscientious truth seeker. This paper had its inception in the fact that many veterinarians are seeking for some knowledge of the law of similars as employed by those of us who practise medicine after the pattern of the great Hahnemann.

Let us compare, for a brief space, the uses to which some of the principal remedies are applied in the allopathic and homoeopathic schools of medicines among domestic animals. An inquiry of this character affords excellent food for reflection, as it serves to point out distinctly the very limited sphere of application which the allopathic school practises as regards certain important drugs, which, according to Hahnemanns law of selection, have been proved to possess a wide range of action.

There is no drug to which this remark more aptly applies, perhaps, than Aconitum napellus. Again, it will prove extremely interesting to note, as we proceed, how many instances occur in the practice of orthodox medicine wherein the selection of the drug for certain pathological conditions is nothing more or less than homoeopathy pure and simple, inasmuch as the allopath administers not infrequently, exactly the same drug as the homoeopathist for diseases of similar characters. Arsenic, or Arsenicum as we refer to it, affords several notable illustration of such a coincidence.

The following is a list of the diseases for which arsenic is administered internally by the allopathic veterinarian: Skin diseases generally, but four in particular, viz., erythema, eczema, lichen, psoriasis, and that peculiar form of diseases for which arsenic is administered internally by the allopathic veterinarian: Skin diseases generally, but four in particular, viz., erythema, eczema, lichen, psoriasis, and that peculiar form of disease affecting the legs of horses, commonly and vulgarly termed “grease;” asthma; chorea; dyspnoea due to acidity of the stomach; empyema of the lungs; glanders formerly, when treated; megrims or vertigo.

This drug is also applied locally in cases of the grape form of grease and quittor.

In Finally Dunns Veterinary Pharmacology the actions and uses of arsenious acid are described as alterative, tonic, and antiseptic. It is also spoken of as applied externally as a stimulant, caustic and destroyer of parasites. The aforementioned are the principal therapeutic uses to which arsenic is applied in the orthodox school, but before enumerating the more extended methods of application in which the law of Hahnemann has proved this powerful drug marvellously effective, we will refer to the pathogenetic action of arsenic as gleaned from veterinary experience. Finally Dunn states that “it acts on all animals as a destructive poison.

It causes irritation, inflammation, and sloughing of any mucous membrane or abraded skin surface with which it comes in contact ; is readily absorbed; produce, while it remains in the system, loss of appetite, emaciation various nervous disorders, and depression of the circulation.” He further states that it acts upon the liver and kidneys, and irritates any excretory channel it passes through. The drug has been found to produce active diarrhoea, shivering, loss of appetite, nausea, purging, and other symptoms of abdominal irritation, imperceptibility of the pulse, and prostration of strength.

In one experimental case that proved fatal the symptoms were dullness, succeeded by colicky pains, pulse 72 and wiry, extremities cold, visible mucous membranes highly injected, with active purging.” In regions where the noxious vapors of arsenic are exhaled from copper smelting furnaces, it has been found that horses grazing in the district exhibit a peculiarly starved and shaggy appearance; the knee joints swell; the animals are hide- bound, and the hair falls off; the teeth become black and fall out, and necrosis of the bones occurs. Dogs are extremely susceptible to the toxic effects of arsenic.

Dunn says that quantities of, from three to ten grains, mixed with water, caused in a few minutes nausea, vomiting, short moaning, difficult breathing, a very rapid, wiry pulse of 120 or upwards, and black evacuations made with considerable pain; these symptoms were accompanied by a look of extreme anguish, blunted perception, and death with convulsions followed in from six to thirty hours.

Having thus far reviewed the indications which serve as the guide for the use of this drug in the orthodox school of medicine, and also its pathogenetic and toxic effects upon animals, I propose to examine some of the circumstances which lead the followers of Hahnemann to rely upon it in the treatment of disease.

Hughes points out seven of these indications peculiar to Arsenic in its influence upon the human system, and I can testify from experience that the same are observable among of arranging these peculiar features.

1. PERIODICITY: This man be observed among horses and other animals, especially when suffering from low type of various fevers, having typhoid-like symptoms. The fever symptoms present themselves with more or less force at given times of the day or night, and recur again and again with diminishing force until the fever abates. The same condition frequently presents itself in catarrhal fever of influenza among horses, also among dogs in that very vaguely expressed disease known as distemper.

2. ADYNAMIA: Excessive prostration of strength and exhaustion after slight exertion is the definition for this condition, and it is well exemplified in the influenza of horses, mentioned before, and distemper of dogs. When it is presented as a marked symptom, it almost certainly points to Arsenicum as the proper remedy. For prostration after all debilitating diseases it is an effective remedy to restore the strength and give tone and vigor to the system.

3. MALIGNITY: Hughes definition of this word is very apt. It is generally applied to diseases that are not deemed dangerous, but altogether intractable, such as cholera and carbon, at least under allopathic treatment. A group of symptoms which would call for Arsenicum might be put as follows: Great prostration, general malaise, feeble pulse, with continuous thirst, and offensive, black evacuations.

4. RESTLESSNESS AND ANGUISH: When taking these characteristics under consideration, one would be apt to at first conclude that they may hardly be observable among the lower animals, as restlessness and anguish are generally the outward manifestations of a dyscrasia affecting the nervous organization in the human subject; but among the toxic effects of arsenic on dogs, we find Finally Dunn stating that “these symptoms were accompanied by a look of extreme anguish”; and from my own experience I can testify to having seen animals under the influence of large doses of arsenic continually change their position as though to relieve the limbs. I have also seen them suffer from severe twitching and contraction of the limbs.

5. CHARACTERISTIC PAINS-BURNING: This of course it is impossible to determine in the absence of direct subjective evidence,although there are outward manifestations which lead one to conclude that animals experience a burning sensation from the use of this drug; but to argue in support of such a theory would take up too much time for the purpose of a paper of this kind.

6. PAINS WORSE AT REST, AND INCREASED BY COLD: This is easily verified among animals. The fevers of a remittent character, for which Arsenic is usually found an efficient remedy, are almost always more marked during the lower temperature of night hours, especially in the winter season. Unquestionably, if motion can be effected, when Arsenic is in therapeutic rapport with such given forms of disease, it appears to modify the symptoms. As a rule, however, prostration is so pronounced that motion becomes simply impossible.

7. THE LAST CHARACTERISTIC IS THIRST: This is very marked among veterinary patients. At the same time there is frequently experienced great difficulty of deglutition, so that only a small draught of fluid can be a partaken of.

Among other notable characteristics not included in the before mentioned list are: General and rapid emaciation; coldness of the body, especially of the nose, mouth, and legs; very weak pulse; skin loose and yellow in color, dry and burning; cold sweats with offensive odor; hair drops off, or may be pulled out with great ease; and finally, colliquative purging.

It is, of course, self obvious to all of my readers that the object to all the foregoing characteristic indications for the use of arsenic in disease, is to point out, inferentially, that in selecting a drug therapeutically homoeopathists are not guided by pathological names given to various forms of disease, but by the symptomatic feature presented at given stages. By way of illustrating my meaning, I would refer to a case of fever in the horse.

This may be simple, symptomatic, or typhoidal in its character; and being of a variable character, the name itself is no guide to the selection of the remedy. Among other remedies that may at one period or another be appropriate in such a condition are Aconite, Nux vomica, Ammonium causticum, and Bryonia. What conditions should guide us in selecting Arsenic? The following: Great prostration of strength; diarrhoea, oedematous swellings of the sheath, of the penis or legs; debility and rapid emaciation; pulse almost imperceptible; general coldness of the body; cold, clammy perspiration, and general declining powers.

The remarks apply with equal force to influenza or catarrhal fever, and a very large number of other diseases, so that it is impossible to enumerate a long list of pathological names, and state positively that Arsenic is the specific remedy for these We must, if we would practise medicine according to homoeopathic law and with the best interest of our patients at heart, be guided by the symptoms as they appear from stage to stage.

Among the diseases above enumerated as those in which our friends of the orthodox school rely upon arsenic as their remedy, and which we of the homoeopathic school also very often treat with the same drug are the skin diseases named, asthma, empyema of the lungs, and certain forms of dyspepsia, especially if the patient is at the same time the subject of cutaneous disease. In so far, therefore, as these forms of disease apply, the allopath is, to all intents and purposes, practising according to Hahnemanns law of drug selection.

To give a short list some of the more notable morbid conditions in which Arsenic is very frequently useful, we may name cholera; inflammation of the various mucous membranes, viz., the Schneiderian membrane, that of the throat, and stomach, more or less that of the whole respiratory tract, the palpebral conjunctiva, and the mucous membrane of the genito-urinary organs; some forms of diarrhoea; coryza where the discharge is thin and acrid; ophthalmia, with thin watery secretion that irritates the edges of the lids; and ulceration of the cornea.

Inflammation of serous membranes also come under the control of this drug, for instance, advanced cases of pleuritis, pericarditis, and pneumonia, as well as old standing serous dropsies, particularly those that are the sequelae of inflammation. In its action on the heart Arsenicum has a marked effect on cardiac dyspnoea. In chorea, when the special characteristics are present, it is a splendid remedy, a fact well worth the attention of veterinarians who make dogs their specialty. Again, in distemper of dogs it plays a very important role in effecting a cure if taken at the right time.

Compare the above with the limited application among practitioners of the old school and it becomes markedly apparent what a loss these gentlemen experience by not availing themselves of the knowledge and application which a study of drug selection according to Hahnemanns law places at their disposal.

NORTH HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA.

As to the condition of the organism and its healthy state depend solely on the state of life which animates it, in like manner it follows that the altered state which we term disease consists in a condition altered originally only in its vital sensibilities and functions, irrespective of all chemical or mechanical principles, in that must consist in an altered dynamical condition, a changed mode of being, whereby a change in the properties of the material component parts of the body is afterward effected, which is a necessary consequence of the morbidly altered condition of the living whole in every individual case.- HAHNEMANN.

We shall find that, as the confidence of men in potentized drugs declines, under the influence of a gross materialism, others will be declared inert, and fare as badly in the hands and esteem of such men. But what is true and supported by facts to day, will, with the well-balanced mind, be the same tomorrow and forever, despite the caprices of human opinion.-D.M.DAKE, M.D., 1868.

H.B.F. Jervis