Here is another contemporary example of homeopathic treatment. It is an interesting story and you can see from it why we veterinarians will continue to use homeopathy. Who wants to give up on a suffering patient? We try our best and consider every avenue open to our minds. When we find something like homeopathy that can have such results, why would we not use it? If it were a drug that brought out this improvement, would we not hold it to our chest with gratitude?
This is a case of Dr. Vani Guttikonda of Los Alamitos, California. Her client, Jennifer Parker, graciously offered to share her cat’s story with us.
Ellie, the Hopeless Cat
Considering possible criticisms
You had her for 9 months before using Dr. Vani. During this time she had a number of treatments. Some people will say it was these prior treatments that eventually “kicked in.” Do you think this possible?
Definitely not. She did not improve, but continued to deteriorate. In the last month before I took her to Dr. Vani, they were throwing antibiotics and pain killers at her, but realized that they were doing absolutely nothing. The initial antibiotic treatments 9 months prior had helped temporarily with the respiratory and ear infections, but they always came back. The last ones, the vets admitted that they were doing nothing for her and, moreover, hadn’t expected them to anyway. They just didn’t know what else to do.
You describe the veterinarians “exhausting their resources.” Did they do many things? Did they really do all they could think of?
They ran every possible test. The discussion I had with the vet who sent me to Dr. Vani was “look, I’ve run out of things to try. We’ve done everything. I can either send you to a special diagnostician who will cost you many thousands of dollars and likely will not be able to help, or I can send you to a homeopathic vet in Orange County.” I suspect the implication was, your animal is sick and nothing is going to help. Choose whichever course of action that is going to make you feel less helpless as your cat’s health continues to deteriorate.
On reading this one could object that since Ellie had her first seizure after seeing Dr. Vani and having the idea of seizures being the problem that you now interpreted her condition as a seizure when it was not really changed at all.
It was her first grand mal seizure, but she’d been having smaller ones for some time. But she’d never done it in front of a vet, even when I’d left her there for observation. She seemed to be able to control them in stressful environments, but would start them again immediately after. Because they were smaller, I didn’t recognize them as seizures. And Dr. Vani was very careful to stress that although she thought that’s what was going on, we needed to be open to the idea that it could be something else. But the grand mal seizure was very recognizable as such. And it was not at all surpising that she would have it when she did. Even 5 minutes in the car is almost too much for her, she struggles and fights and is horribly upset. She had spent an hour and a half in the car on the way down fighting so hard to get out, she rubbed all the skin off the end of her nose trying to push through the mesh. Then she was in a veterinary office for 2 hours. We were only a mile away from Dr. Vani’s office when she had the grand mal seziure, because she’d just been through 3 1/2 hours of trauma. Having said that, at the end of the day, even if the diagnosis of the seizures was incorrect (I don’t believe that it was), but her overall health was elevated to normal levels, does it matter what we call it? I know no one will agree with that, but I’m not a vet, so I can’t state with certainty that the diagnosis is correct. Based on what I read after the diagnosis was suggested, the acute symptoms fit. But I would stress that her entire system has improved — not only have the seizures stopped, but the chronic infections have never come back, she doesn’t hide, her overall vitality and temper are vastly improved. I think it’s difficult for us laypeople to understand it, but you’re not treating a symptom, you’re treating the underlying system so that it can reach a level of vitality so that the symptoms disappear. Or, at least that’s how I understand it.
When you say you saw “marked improvement” within 48 hours. Were you much expecting this? Did you have a lot of confidence in homeopathy and perhaps imagined or misinterpreted her change as improvement when it was really about the same?
I didn’t know Dr. Vani, and this is as much an art as a science, so I had no proof yet that she knew what she was doing. I was putting my trust in her, but with a healthy dose of skepticism. I honestly didn’t think anything would help Ellie — this was honestly a Hail Mary pass. To illustrate how marked a change it was, when I first took Ellie to Dr. Vani, I was only leaving the house when absolutely necessary so I could keep an eye on her for as much of the day as possible. I had arranged to work from home because she was so sick, I didn’t think she could be left on her own during the day. After 10 days of treatment, she was well enough that I could go home to see my family for 5 days over Christmas.
When Dr. Vani predicted some symptoms that might appear and then you saw them, do you think you were projecting this on to your cat? That it was Dr. Vani’s influence on your mind that brought you to see it this way?
No, because I frequently would have mentioned to someone previously, gosh, she’s doing this weird thing all of a sudden. And then Dr. Vani would say, it sure would be helpful if she was doing this weird thing, as it would confirm that we’re doing the right thing, and I would say, but she is! I was just talking about it with someone! Again, because I am a scholar who likes evidence, I’m always on the lookput for bias, because you can’t prove your thesis if the evidence is imaginary.