One who practices medicine in rural districts, far removed from centers of civilization, is frequently called upon to be dentist, advisor, banker, veterinarian and at times a doctor. It was while thus engaged that I was called upon to adapt homoeopathic therapy to the cure of horses and dogs. In recalling some of these cases, three very extraordinary ones come to my mind. The first was that of a horse which had injured its right hind leg with some penetrating instrument. The injury was followed by multiple abscesses and these in turn gave rise to tremendous swelling of the member.
Various treatments were given, as each and every neighbor, considering himself a horseman, ventured his opinion. The condition became rapidly worse and the owner visited my office for some medicine of which he had read in an almanac. I displayed interest in the beast and decided that I would be venturesome. I allowed the man to believe he was getting the medicine he desired but instead I gave him sixteen ounces of a solution consisting of twenty pills of Hepar sulph. 12x, in colored water, a tablespoon every three hours. With this treatment the horse rapidly became well. I must apologize for many things in this case, first for practising duplicity, and secondly for not seeing the patient before prescribing. Even the result cannot atone for these professional errors.
The news of this cure led shortly to my being called to see a mare and her three weeks old fowl. The fowl had been born under duress of a nature which I, not being versed in equine obstetrics, cannot detail. It lay on a bed of straw, weak and debilitated with great falling of hair. Its every bone was prominent and, from lying so long, there were trophic ulcers on each Mark Twainian point. It was unable to raise, its head and hardly had strength to move its short tail to frighten the flies which buzzed about it. There was a large, tense, tender, umbilical hernia with generalized abdominal distention and no peristalsis was heard within. There was an oozing from the anus of a bloody, catarrhal mucus.
Preparations were being made to kill the animal so I asked that the farmer give me a day or two to see what I could do before he did away with the poor thing. With the help of the wife I prevailed upon him to do this. Thereupon I poured two drachms of Lycopodium 3x into one-half a bucket of water with instructions to give this water in six doses at three hour intervals. This done I turned my attention to the mare, the original patient. This beast had an endometritis, the results of the uncleanly attentions of its owner.
What was particularly striking was the attitude she assumed when standing, which she did with great difficulty, often having to lean against the stall and, indeed, I was almost afraid to get near her for fear she would topple over she swayed so. She stood with her four feet close together and it was evident that every touch on her hooves hurt her for she placed them down very carefully. There were three large areas of nasty, foul ulcerations about her neck and shoulders, one fully a foot in diameter and of quite a depth. These had been treated topically with creolin. The joints were swollen and sore. In short the horse was very, very sick. Instructions were given that the creolin applications be stopped and the ulcers washed three times a day with soap and water thus eradicating the obvious factor of suppression of discharges.
Once more Hepar sulph. was given on the indication of extreme tenderness. Two days later I returned. It is with some misgivings that I record the results for one is often looked upon as of doubtful veracity when one ventures to make statements seemingly miraculous no matter how true they may be. It remains a fact, however, that the fowl was eating, could raise its head, the hernia had disappeared some time during the first night, the anal oozing had ceased and peristalsis was present. Helped to its feet, the animal, although very wobbly, managed to keep in that position long enough for us to get a sling beneath its abdomen which acted as a binder. Thenceforth the ulcers healed and the fowl prospered.