Homeopathic Treatment of Horses, Cattle, Dogs, Sheep and Swine

Ruddock gives the HOMOEOPATHIC TREATMENT OF HORSES, CATTLE, DOGS, SHEEP AND SWINE. Diseases are listed in alphabetical order with indicated remedies and general management….


An Abscess is a collection of morbid matter resulting from inordinate inflammatory action. The danger of Abscesses depends upon their magnitude, situation, number, and pressure on important parts. Abscesses are much more common in horned cattle than in horses, because the former frequently strike each other with their horns, causing contusions and wounds, which often swell and suppurate.

CAUSES.- An Abscess may be caused by an injury, such as a blow from horns or hoofs, by thorns, nails, or other bodies in the flesh or skin; and by constitutional impurities.

SYMPTOMS.- A hot, painful swelling, at first hard, but afterwards, as matter accumulates, soft and pointed in the centre, here the skin dies, and the matter escapes. Sometimes an Abscess is so situated as to render a natural opening difficult or impossible, as when sinews, horn, and other opposing bodies prevent the external escape of the matter. In such a case the ulcer penetrates deeply, causes cavities, and corrodes even the bones.

TREATMENT. – Arnica.- Immediately after an injury, the use of this remedy, both internally and externally, will often prevent the formation of an Abscess.

Aconitum.- If inflammation and heat are present, A dose every two hours, for several times.

Hepar Sulph.- When the Abscess is forming, but does not come to a head quickly. A dose three or four times daily.

Silicea. – In come cases, where the matter is slow in forming, or when, after breaking, there is but an inadequate discharge, or the discharge is very offensive, Silicea should be given four times a-day.

Arsenicum. – If proud flesh appear, or the edges of the outlet are hard and turned outwards, and the sore is painful, secreting a thin and acrid watery humour. A dose thrice daily.

ACCESSORY MEANS. – In the early stage of the compliant, and before pus has declared itself, cold wet cloths should be applied to the effected parts; later, when suppuration is apparent, the swelling should be fomented with flannels, wrung out of hot water every two or three hours, and a hot bran or linseed poultice applied in the intervals.

Abscesses slow in bursting, or where unfavourably situated for doing so, should be opened by a lancet. Abscess of the turbinated bone of the horse necessitates trephining, or the removal of a portion of the bone, as described in the Veterinary Vade Mecum. In cases requiring the administration of Silicea or Arsenicum, after the Abscess has broken, a strong lotion of the medicine employed may be applied externally at the same time. An Arsenicum lotion may be made by boiling four grains of Arsenious Acid in a pint of distilled water. ____________


Miscarriage is of frequent occurrence amongst cows and sheep. In the former it generally takes place in certain districts or on particular farms; and after one cow has aborted, others are apt to do the same; a cow that has aborted once, 3often does so about the same period in following years. With the cow, Slinking generally occurs between the fifth and eighth month; and when overfed rather than when moderately fed. Mares are less likely to abort than cows, except during the sixth month. Ewes frequently miscarry, but they seldom die in consequence.

SYMPTOMS. – When Miscarriage threatens, it is generally indicated by premonitory symptoms, such as anxiety and depression of spirits, indifference to food, sudden arrest of milk in the cow, lowing or bleating, discharge of foetid mucus from the pudendum, collapse of the abdomen, and cessation of movement of the calf or foal in the mother’s belly.

CAUSES.- Injuries inflicted on the abdomen; violent exertion; spoiled, fermented frozen feed; intercourse with the male during gestation; and the smell arising from the cleansing of an animal that has recently slinked. In the latter case the cow aborts from “sympathy.” In sheep, Abortion often arises from being hastily driven; fright, occasioned by the sudden appearance of a dog addicted to worrying sheep, and from intercourse with the ram when gestation has considerably advanced. It may also be caused by debility, or when a cold winter succeeds a wet summer and autumn. In the mare, abortion may be consequent on over-work, over-exertion, very stimulating or very poor food, or on some other disorder, such as inflammation of the bowels.

TREATMENT.- Arnica.- If, during gestation, an animal is known to have received an injury, it will be advisable at once to administer this remedy and repeat it as often as the nature of the case seems to require; if promptly given it will often prevent Miscarriage under such circumstances.

Rhus Tox. – If Miscarriage is threatened in consequence of strains, or over-exertion, administer this remedy instead of, and in the same manner as Arnica.

Secale.- If the symptoms of Abortion have actually set in, this remedy will facilitate labour. It is called for by violent straining after Abortion, attended by abundant discharge of blood and feebleness.

Pulsatilla. _ This will sometimes avert Abortion by lessening uterine pains. It is also required if the afterbirth does not come away in twenty-four hours. A dose every two or three hours.

Aconitum.- If chills occur. A dose every hour till the symptoms be removed.

Opium should be given to a mare that has suffered from fright. China promotes recovery from the weakness attending Abortion.

After Miscarriage the animal should be kept quiet, and free from exposure to cold winds.


Amaurosis, derived from the Greek, and meaning Obscure or dark, is a term applied to disease of the optic nerve, which may be of various degrees, from the slightest defect of vision to complete blindness.

CAUSES. – Previous inflammations destroying the optic nerves, injuries, tumours pressing upon the brain or upon the nerve which leads to the eye from the brain, etc. Horses and dogs are chiefly subject to it.

SYMPTOMS. – This disease may be known when the pupil of the eye, which in health is oblong and of a moderate size, becomes immovable, circular, dilated. If the animal is led towards objects, it stumbles against them; and when walking, its raises its legs high. The eye has a staring expression, and sometimes a very bright and glassy appearance; hence the common name, glass eyes.

TREATMENT.- If the nerve is destroyed, no cure is possible. Income favourable cases, when the animal sees a little, and there is some dilation of the pupil, one or more of the following medicines may be useful; Belladonna, Pulsatilla, Euphrasia, Sulphur. Commence with the first, and after eight or ten days, if no benefit results, proceed with the next, and so on, till improvements is manifest. If the compliant has been caused by injury, Arnica will be the best medicine. The selected remedy may be administered twice or thrice daily.


Among horses this disorder is not so common as it used to be, owing to the improvement in the cleanliness and ventilation of stables; when it does occur it is generally in middle-aged animals. Fat pet dogs are more subject to it than those that are moderately fed and well exercised. Among cattle and sheep it is common in districts where the soil is rich, and the spring herbage luxuriant.

CAUSES.- High feeding, want of exercise, excessive exertion in hot weather, especially where the throat is compressed too tightly by harness, or when the girth is too tight; exposure to the sun’s rays, etc. In sheep, apoplexy is often the result of that fulness of blood which is produced by over-feeding; if sheep in this state be driven at a quick rate for a long time, this disease is very likely to occur.

SYMPTOMS.- The animal either suddenly falls down, or else there are precursory symptoms, such as vertigo, dullness, indifference to what is going on around, the eyes look as if they were blind, the animal perspires slightly, etc. Suddenly, after having been fixed as it were to one spot, it falls down, the breathing becomes short, laboured, rattling; the body is covered with sweat; the circulation is violently disturbed; the evacuations are involuntary; sometimes twitchings nd convulsions supervene, and even paralysis; consciousness is gone, and unless speedily relieved, death takes place.

TREATMENT.- In case of the horse or cow, place the head high immediately after the attack; remove everything that prevents free respiration, and rub the animal well with wisps of straw. especially on the limbs and small of the back. Let a dog remain where the fit occurs, and apply cold water to his head with a sponge.

Aconitum.- If the circumstances do not preclude treatment, administer a dose every ten minutes for several times.

Belladonna.- If the animal survive the attack, give this remedy in turns with Aconite at intervals of two or three hours. It is indicated by staring, wide, immovable eyes, twitching and jerking of the limbs, and should be preserved with for some time.

Opium.- Drowsiness, stupor, profound coma; irregular, stertorous breathing; contracted pupils.

Nux Vom.- Inability to move the limbs, or spasmodic and convulsive jerks; constipation.

PREVENTIVE TREATMENT. – As soon as the symptoms of apoplexy are perceived, a few doses of Aconite and Belladonna in alternation will often prevent the attack. The animal should have light feed, sufficient exercise, and not be exposed to great exertions during hot weather, or directly after food.


Loss of appetite may occur without any other sings of illness. A careful examination must be made of the food, to find out whether it is perfectly good; and of the mouth, whether there is anything wrong about the teeth, or whether there are any injuries, thorns, ulcers, aphthae, inflammation, etc. Inquiry must also be made whether the loss of appetite may lot result from overloading the stomach, or from excessive exertion. If none of these causes be in operation, it is probable that the compliant arises from impaired digestion.

TREATMENT. – Arsenicum.- Loss of appetite from eating bad food; the animal is weak and dull. A dose night and morning, half an hour before the usual feeding time, for a week or two.

Nux Vomica. – If there is derangement of the digestive organs, arising from a cold, or other causes, and the dung is hard and dry, this remedy may be substituted for Arsenicum, and given four times a day.

Pulsatilla. _ This has proved useful when the loss of appetite was attended with absence of thirst, or with diarrhoea and cold feet.

Ant.Crud.- Loss of appetite, utter dislike to food, alternate constipation and diarrhoea, flatulence, pains in the stomach.

For loss of appetite from disease, no remedies can be prescribed but such as are adapted to the removal of the disease itself. No attempt should be made to compel a sick animal to take food, as under such circumstances it would be injurious, and would retard the cure. As soon as food would be serviceable, the desire for it will generally return.

ADDITIONAL MEANS. – Examine the hay, whether it is good and free from mould, burn, or dust; and the oats, it they are of an unexceptionable kind, and not musty. It will often be advantageous to change the diet of the animal. This alone may affect the necessary improvement. See that the water is pure, and the stable and manager clean.


DEFINITION.- A soft elastic swelling on the antero-interior part of the hock joint, where the ligaments lie wide apart and give room for distention.

CAUSES. – Over-work, especially in young horses, hunters, and harness horses; subacute inflammation of the synovial membranes from cold or constitutional causes.

SYMPTOMS.- Sometimes stiffness, but seldom lameness, attracts our attention to an enlargement on the front and inside of the hock. It is generally soft and elastic, but in old and very severe cases it may be hard and inelastic by calcareous deposits, when lameness is always present. From the pressure of the swollen synovial membrane on the superficial vein which passes over the hock, the vein become enlarged and distended with blood. This has led some veterinary authors to consider it as a distinct disease, which they term Blood Spavin, and they have recommended extirpation of the vein; but no scientific veterinary surgeon of the present day would sanction such an operation.

THOROUGH-PIN. In this form of disease the enlargement takes place on each side of the superio-posterior part of the hock.

CAUSES. – Similar to those which set up Bog Spavin.

TREATMENT.- In recent cases the hock should be fomented with warm water three times a day, and after each fomentation a tablespoonful of Arnica lotion (Arnica one part to water twenty parts) should be rubbed in. In about a week afterwards, Rhus lotion should be applied in the same manner. At the same time, ten grains of Mercurius Sol. should be placed dry on the tongue three times a day. In cases of long standing there is no treatment equal to pressure, and that can best be applied by a truss similar to the one invented and sold by Mr. Taylor, of Norwich. In lieu of the truss, pressure may be made by a wet chamois-leather bandage, and the application of piece of lint underneath, wet twice a day with glycerine.


DEFINITION.- This disease may be defined as a bony deposit on the inner and lower parts of the hock joint.

CAUSES.- These may be regarded as predisposing and exciting. Predisposing.- This consists in congenital malformation of the joint, and is called hereditary. 2. Exciting. – Suddenly throwing a horse on its haunches, either in harness or riding; galloping in heavy ground; jumping, especially in a deep or bank country; slipping on ice or wood pavement, or long-continued heavy draught.

SYMPTOMS. – In the early stage we may not be able to detect any enlargement, but on turning the animal over in the stable we shall perceive that he hops on the toe of the affected limb, and does not put the heel to the ground. As the disease advances we may feel the enlargement by placing our finger on the vein, just below the seat of the disease. The action of a spavined horse is peculiar. As soon as the toe comes to the ground, he catches it up again with a kind of spasmodic effort or quick catch, like Stringhalt; he also drags the limb, as if from want of motive power, as well as from pain in the joint. The lameness always decreases with motion.

TREATMENT.- Rhus.- This medicine should be given three times a day; at the same time a lotion of it should be rubbed on the back. The animal should be turned into a loose box for about a month, and the inner heel of the hind shoe raised on a level with the outside. When osseous deposition has taken place the following application may be used:- Mercur. Biniod. 3j., Ol.Palmae.3ij. The hair should be shaved off, and then with a spatula or flat piece of wood some of the mixture should be smeared thickly over the enlargement. The horse’s head must be tied up for twelve hours, after which he may be turned into a loose box. The dressing may be repeated every other day until the hock becomes covered with scurf, which should be allowed to clear away before the application is resumed. BOTS.

The “bot” is the larva of the gadfly. It is often found in large numbers in the stomach of the horse. When first swallowed, towards the end of summer, it is not much bigger than a pin’s head, but in about two months it attains the size and appearance of a small grub, in which state it remains until June or July, when it is discharged with the faeces. Whether these parasites do any harm during their sojourn in the horse’s stomach is a matter of dispute among veterinarians. The probability is that as long as they are only attached to the cardiac extremity, whose cuticular coat is insensible, they do no harm; but when a few stragglers find their way into the duodenum they may produce colicky pains or other symptoms of intestinal derangement.

TREATMENT.- None seems to be of any avail, nor in the majority of cases is any advisable, for the presence of the “bots” cannot be discovered until they commence coming away of their own accord, and then a few days will rid the horse of them without our interference. If colic or indigestion supervene, Nux Vomica will prove remedial.


The term “Broken Knee” is applied to any injury to the knee, from a bruise or graze of the skin to what is more properly called “open joint.” In order to ascertain the extent of the disaster, the first thing to be done, after a horse has fallen and injured its knees, is to remove all dirt and blood by careful washing with tepid water. Should the knees be merely grazed, the use of Arnica lotion applied two or three times daily, with rest, will alone be necessary to effect a cure. If the skin and parts underneath are torn, the divided parts must be united together as completely as possible, and a piece of lint, saturated with Arnica lotion, kept to the leg by means of a bandage. At the same time give Arnica internally every three hours.

If the animals is feverish, give Aconite and Arnica in alternation every three hours. If, notwithstanding, the would will not heal without the formation of matter, hot fomentations and linseed-meal, turnip, or carrot poultices must be applied twice a day for three or four days, and afterwards, when the injured parts present a clean, raw surface, Calendula lotion must be applied instead of Arnica lotion. The horse’s head should be racked up for a few days, or placed in cradles to keep him from biting the would.

If the injury is of a very severe character, so that the joint is opened and the bones are exposed, it will often be both humane and economical to destroy the animal as early as possible. Injuries, however, of so dangerous a kind are of but rare occurrence, and in most cases the prompt use of the measures just indicated will be rewarded with success.

The treatment of the more serious cases of Broken Knee is given in the Veterinary Vade Mecum.

PRECAUTIONARY HINTS.- A minute examination should be made of the feet of the animal, to see whether the shoe fits the foot properly; whether a nail has penetrated the frog, or the sole of the foot; whether a stone is embedded between the frog and the shoe; or whether corns occasion the stumbling.


DEFINITION.- Difficulty of breathing accompanied by a double expiratory movement and marked by periods of exacerbation, or fits similar to those of asthma.

Cart and low-bred horses are most subject to it.

CAUSES.- The Proximate causes are derangement of the pneumogastric and sympathetic nerves; pulmonary emphysema, or rupture of some of the air-cells. The exciting causes are irregular work and improper food. Chronic cough, or sub-acute inflammation of the lungs or bronchi, may terminate in Broken Wind.

SYMPTOMS.- The cough is short, suppressed, and so feeble that it can hardly be heard at any distance; it is also frequently attended with the expulsion of flatus from the rectum, jerking respiration and two expirations. Indigestion is a usual accompaniment of Broken Wind, as indicated by Flatulence, the presence of undigested hay and oats in the dung, and an unthrifty, thin, seedy appearance of the animal.

When made to trot fast or draw a heavy load, the horse’s flanks heave violently, and his respiration becomes wheezing, like that of an asthmatic person; this state continues for some time, and does not cease immediately on rest, as in roaring. The wheezing respiration is not heard in every case, and when the horse is in the stable it is only by applying the ear to the chest, during a paroxysm or aggravation of the symptoms, which occurs at uncertain periods, but principally at night, that a sibilant or wheezing sound may be heard, accompanied by the vesicular, and sometimes by the sonorous or cooing rale. There is also resonance on percussion and difficulty of breathing.


Bronchitis is sometimes present in a neighbourhood as an epidemic, and is often associated with other maladies affecting the structures contiguous to the bronchial tubes.

CAUSES.- Exposure to cold and wet; standing in draughts of air or uncovered when heated; sudden changes in the weather; turning an animal from a warm, comfortable habitation into a cold or wet atmosphere.

SYMPTOMS.- “The animal for two or three days, prior to the disease being acute, may be unwell; he may be affected with what is designated a cold; he breathes a little thick; coughs occasionally; is dull and off his food. In this state he is perhaps taken out of the stable for a time and during his absence he may be exposed to a cold, damp atmosphere, when, upon returning, all the previously existing symptoms are aggravated, the pulse has risen from perhaps 40 or 45 to 60 or 70 per minute; and the respirations to 30 or 40.

The respiratory sounds are also loud throughout the lungs, a moist kind of rattle or rale, as it is termed, is present within the windpipe and the bronchial tubes. The surface of the body and the extremities are of a variable temperature; the animal coughs- the cough is peculiar; it is thick, heavy-sounding, and moist; the mouth is hot, and generally contains a quantity of thick phlegm like matter; the eyes are dull- the head is held low – extremities are variable in temperature, and the patient, during the acute and sub-acute stages of the disease, does not like down. As the disease proceeds, the rattle in the trachea and bronchial tubes becomes louder; occasionally the mucous rattle is very loud, and the breathing is of a suffocative character; suddenly the animal emits a moist kind of cough, and the loud rattle for a time disappears, only in order to again become evident, and again dispersed in a similar manner.” – Haycock.

Edward Harris Ruddock
Ruddock, E. H. (Edward Harris), 1822-1875. M.D.

Author of "The Stepping Stone to Homeopathy and Health,"
"Manual of Homoeopathic Treatment". Editor of "The Homoeopathic World."