One of my old schoolmates, Dr. FERREOL, a veterinary, having heard of mysterious Homeopathy, met me one day by chance. “What is Homœopathy at bottom?” he asked me. “Is it a serious method?” “Serious!” I replied, “that’s not the question: it is a method which cures affections that are curable according to a law, and by means which do not poison the patient.” “But”, said he to me, “that’s all very well for human beingswhom one can make believe all that one wishes, but can these infinitesimal doses really have any action at all on animals?” “It is perfectly simple,” I responded, “not theories but facts; results, first, and then afterwards we will discuss it!”
Just at that time he had a series of cases which were bothering him a great deal. It was a matter of an epidemic of swine-fever in a piggery of more than one hundred and twenty animals. Many had already died, and called urgently on the 30thof January 1928, he autopsied a pig which had just died in convulsions. He found a haemorrhagic gastroenteritis with inflammation of Peyer’s patches and the mesenteric glands, a haemorrhagic nephritis and, above all, endocarditic and myocarditic lesions which permitted him to diagnose the chronic form of swine-fever (rouget du porc
The absence of erythema allowed one to think of “white swine-fever”. Bacteriological analysis confirmed the diagnosis by the presence ofBacillus rhusiopathiae suis.
When a piggery is infected one gives serotherapy, not only to the small number infected but to all pigs, as a preventive measure. That is why he proceeded, on the 4thof February, to immunize to the full by the appropriate serum, which he had sent for expressly from Bern from the Federal Institute of Hygiene. 8-50 cc. of serum were injected into each animal according to its weight. Result: two days later they found eight pigs newly infected and showing clonic convulsions. A bleeding at the ear was ordered, to reduce congestion of the nervous centres. FERREOL noticed that the blood of the animals in convulsions did not flow until after several seconds, which confirmed his diagnosis of a chronic form of swine-fever of which endocarditis is the principal manifestation. The symptoms abated after bleeding and he waited for the effects of his immunization. Two days later he was sent for urgently and found the swine-keeper distracted, his cutlass in his hands, ready to kill the eight animals of whom we have been speaking, all of whom were again going into convulsions. Another pig, fifty kilos in weight, a new case, struggled into the passage way, laid down on its back and remained in opisthotonos for two hours.
Having lost confidence, the proprietor summoned another veterinary secretly, who confirmed the diagnosis and declared peremptorily that the cases were lost, all treatment hopeless, and the only thing to do was to cut the throats of all the sick animal as soon as possible. That was the situation.
It was, then, a question of an infectious condition due to a specific bacillus; the diagnosis was perfectly clear. The treatment had been conducted according to modern knowledge of this condition, and the results were completely negative. The verdict was formal: To sacrifice these animals since science declared them incurable.
Ah! We may well repeat the classic phrase of HAHNEMANN: “When it is a question of the sacred art of curing, to neglect to learn is a crime!”
Here it was not a question of human lives but of animals which must be saved because the financial loss was great. All these young animals had cost a great deal to raise and now, although they were still too young for the butcher, it was necessary to kill them. The infection had spread to these nine new cases and others would follow. You can judge the state of mind of the proprietor and the caretaker. It was these cases which Dr. FERREOL put up to me, on which to prove to him the value of Homœopathy. I accepted the challenge.
The symptoms then were:
1.The rapidity of invasion, when all the animals had seemingly good health.
2.Convulsions in young subjects.
3.Active congestion as observed by autopsy.
4.The disease showing grave symptoms of the nervous and arterial systems.
5.The absence of rash (possibly the cause of the convulsive symptoms).
All these can be found literally in the same words on pages 32, 34, 36 and 41 of the first volume ofGuiding symptomspublished in 1879 by Dr.HERING, an allopath converted to Homœopathy, these symptoms having been produced byAconitum napellus.
AsBelladonna possesses a great analogy in its toxicology to the symptoms above indicated, I proposed to make the following experiment:
- To give ten drops of a solution ofAconitein the 200th, centesimal dilution in a glass of water, one coffeespoonful (one single dose) to four pigs which were to be marked with a red cross on the back.
- To leave one pig without a mark and without medicine, as a control.
- To give ten drops of Aconitein the 200thto the 50 kilogram pig which was lying in opisthotonos in the middle of the stable.
- To give ten drops of a solution of Belladonnain the 200th, centesimal dilution in a glass of water, one coffee spoonful (one single dose) to three pigs to be marked with a black cross.
All this was carried out exactly. It was very interesting that exactly twenty seconds after the single dose ofAconitethe convulsions of the pig stretched out on her back ceased, leaving the caretaker open-mouthed before this incredible spectacle: the beast remained stretched out for five hours perfectly calm. After this length of time she got up unaided, went to the trough and ate her food as if nothing had ever happened. The attacks were not renewed and the animal has been in perfect health ever since. (This 200thdilution, gentlemen, was prepared by me and was not one of those high dilutions concerning which one is ignorant of its origin and especially of its mode of preparation. It was not a tincture ofAconitesuccussed two hundred times, but a preparation made according to the Hahnemannian rules, diluted two hundred times and vigorously shaken at each dilution. The tincture used as a base had been made from plants gathered in the high Jura Mountains in a moist, cold place, a little before the time of complete flowering).
A fortuitous case, a case due to chance, you say, but listen to the next: All the pigs which had received eitherAconiteorBelladonnaceased their convulsions almost instantaneously, but the next day two of the pigs with a black cross had convulsions again, tonic but not clonic this time, and much less violent than heretofore. As these did not seem to be decreasing we gave to the two relapsing pigs, on the 21stof Feb. 1928, a coffeespoonful of the solution ofAconite200thten drops in a glass of water. (The recurrence of the convulsions proved that theBelladonnawas not sufficiently similar to the case to hold.) The reception of the veterinary this time was very different. Confidence, was restored, the battle was won.
Forty-eight hours after the administration of theAconitethe most perfect calm reigned in the piggery. However, on the morrow, there was a hurry call to autopsy one pig which had suddenly died. It proved to be none other than the unmarked pig who was the control. All the others were in good health.
One month after this interesting experiment (for it well deserves the name) there was a very slight relapse among the eight pigs which had been treated. A new dose ofAconite. 200 was accordingly administered. The little piglets, born of the last animals who contracted the swine-fever (rouget) but previously cured by theAconiteperished one after another at their birth, which meant a severe loss for the proprietor. The autopsy done on most of the cadavers and the bacteriological analysis showed the same disease which the mothers had, so we gave at birth to all subsequent piglets a dose ofAconite200. One week afterwards out of eleven treated one died; the other ten, thanks to theAconite, began to grow fat and had no attacks. Fifteen days later they told us that one pig among the last group treated had a violent tonic convulsion lasting a quarter of an hour. Another of the same litter had to be killed in the midst of a convulsion,in extremis. At the autopsy the essential organs were found normal but an enormous haematoma was discovered accompanied by deviation of the spinal column at the level of the eighth dorsal vertebra. Several piglets perished despiteAconite. On examining each case, one after another, we found that after eight days they were having fever crises and one could not deny the helpful action ofAconite, as, before its intervention, more than thirty pigs had died in a week. But homœopathy was not at the end of its resources and we know that whenAconitehas exhausted its action, in order to get a deeper action, one must employ what it called its “chronic”, which, in this instance, wasSulphurin the 200thcentesimal dilution, which we gave to all the pigs who were ill, or who had been so. It is now three months and the result is marvellous. There has been neither death nor infection since the chronic dose.
These grave cases, incurable by ordinary methods, were, then, cured by homœopathic dilutions chosen simply in accordance with the law of similars. The multiplicity of the cases treated, although it did not run into thousands, nevertheless obliges one to think, because it illustrates and confirms the law of similars.
A case declared incurable by classical medicine does not deserve this definite label if homœopathy or other unofficial therapies have not been tried. Homœopathy does not pretend to cure all so-called “incurable cases”, it also has its limits, but it offers different possibilities of such a value that an honest and conscientious doctor cannot afford to neglect them. Doses in such dilutions could not have any action if they were not administered according to a scientific law.