Vaccinosis in Animals

Publishing a post on vaccine damage is something akin to walking into fire.  However, I felt prompted to write this particularly as a result of a recent discussion where someone asked if it could really take seven years of non-vaccination to produce a ‘clean’ litter (specifically referring to natural-rearing breeding – of any domestic species, although dogs were the primary subject) through species appropriate diet; my response was, not necessarily.  I intimated that via the use of homeopathic “clearing remedies” vaccinosis could be reversed.  I think it was a response not particularly understood and likely created more confusion as other things (primarily essential oils) were suggested as being able to do the same regarding clearing the vaccinosis.  This post then is my in-depth response as I did not feel it appropriate to do so within that group.  In order to understand this to the depth it needs to be, several issues should be addressed…therefore this is quite a long post.

Vaccinosis used to be a fringe term reserved just for us holistically-minded ‘quacks’.  However it is now being recognized by conventional veterinary medicine as one or more conditions that may occur after vaccination, taking the form of any number of auto-immune conditions and can result in development of a tumor.  Even many so-called natural health advocates (including naturopaths) think of vaccinosis as a result of “too many” vaccines and is equated with the term “vaccine damage”.  Charles Loops, DVM states:  “Vaccinosis is a disease syndrome caused by a weakness that is precipitated by vaccination.”1  One of the primary differences between these two camps of thought is that, according to the conventional side, vaccine damage or vaccinosis generally only occurs within a relatively short period of time following a vaccination; and at least some of us within the natural health camp recognize that the phenomenon can occur any time – even years following a vaccine or years after vaccinations have been halted.  Conventional medicine addresses vaccinosis if it results in a tumor by surgically removing the evidence and calling it a “cure”, although many times the tumor is never acknowledged as being precipitated by vaccination.  For non-neoplastic vaccinosis symptoms, conventional medicine will typically suggest some suppressive drugs; and if it is truly recognized as vaccinosis, perhaps some supplements or herbs with a “I don’t know what else to do” prognosis.  The natural health camp, including those that straddle the fence (e.g. “holistic” vets), views vaccinosis as another assault upon the life force and will attempt to mitigate its effects by use of species-appropriate diet changes (if not already done), various supplements, herbs, essential oils, and some will use homeopathy in a classical manner (one remedy given based upon the individual’s symptoms).  Natural health does not look to “cure” vaccinosis, buts sees its remediation as a healing process that takes place solely within and by the body; it is viewed as the opposing answer to conventional medicine’s suppression of symptoms (which they call “cure”).

I am an animal naturopath and homeopath yet I could not disagree more with both streams of thought on this subject, as well as the entire debate of healing vs cure as it is commonly bandied about.  In order to understand these phenomena and how to reconcile the seeming disparities, we need get a better understanding of what is happening now and what occurred historically to bring us to this point…this is a bit of a journey going back upstream, to borrow a phrase from Henri Bortoft (Taking Appearances Seriously), which is a process I find helpful in coming to understand many aspects in life.

The first stop on our upstream journey is understanding the fact that even though conventional medicine and natural health appear to be opposing factions, the two are in actuality the flip side of the same coin, so to speak.  They both operate in abstractness; conventional medicine speaks of disease and cure, declaring that it has “cured” something when it no longer sees any symptoms but can’t manage to connect the dots to any other symptom.  The natural health system on the other hand, has no concept of disease and therefore eschews any reference to curing.  Natural health sees that the only way to achieve a state of health is by bolstering the life – or “vital” – force of the body, allowing it to heal itself.  And thus, we find within natural health there is only a concept of dis-ease, or imbalance. The conventional system, on the other hand, doesn’t even understand what a state of health truly is.  Conventional medicine has hijacked both terms (disease and cure), falsifying both; it does not allow anyone without a so-called medical degree (veterinary or human) to use these terms.  Yet this is not true medicine, and that is the caveat – the terms they hold sway over are not the same terms as defined within true medicine (we will get to that in a moment).  Conventional medicine does not follow the laws of nature, it opposes them in every way.  On the flip side, natural health abstracts the laws of nature into one overarching idea.  This is what is generally seen as the “holistic” view – everything is a whole and it cannot be broken down into parts.  Or even worse, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.  Not sure how that can happen.

The natural health system today along with the current incarnation of homeopathy (aka ‘classical’) views homeopathic remedies as substances to help to ‘balance’ the immune system or the ‘vital force’ as many like to call it.  The paradox is that everyone also seems to recognize that homeopathic remedies contain no crude substance as they exceed Avogadro’s number…yet this ‘stuff’ (the remedy) that contains no actual substance is relegated to being able to influence the substance that we know as the physical body.  The further conundrum is that some people at least in the natural health system are not comfortable with the metaphysical aspect, yet homeopathy is accepted as a natural healing modality which would seemingly ignore the fact that the (initial) action of a homeopathic remedy is nothing but metaphysical.

That brings us to another stop on the upstream journey – back a couple hundred plus years ago.  Here we find a true, complete system of medicine and a much deeper understanding of curing and healing, and paradoxically, much clarification compared to what we have today.  The knowledge of this dynamic system of medicine was initially given to us in the late 18th century.  Paracelsus had the idea of it 250+ years earlier but could never bring forth the knowledge of how to use crude poisons in a curative manner; but it was Samuel Hahnemann who was able to bring this knowledge into conscious thought.  In the ensuing years a few others have given us even greater insight into the work that Hahnemann was not able to finish in his lifetime: Antoine Bechamp, Wilhelm Reich, Gunter Enderlein, among several others – but in particular, Rudolf Steiner who brought the work of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe into a much deeper and broadened perspective.  Unfortunately homeopathy became disenfranchised after Hahnemann’s death, to the point it no longer belongs to the system of medicine he originally laid out.  What we have today is a mere ghost of the extensive work he did and the insight he set forth in his writings, of which the Organon was a part of a more complete whole.  As opposed to the abstract ‘vital force’ that the current version of homeopathy sees, Hahnemann recognized a duality of the living power; and he recognized that disease itself has a duality.  What he saw as disease has nothing to do with the labels that are placed upon physical and mental conditions today, but before we define what disease really is, we need to come to at least a brief understanding of these polarities that exists in the living power of a being – including the ‘being’ of a disease.  What follows is an abbreviated version.

We – and our animals – have two, interpenetrated aspects that allow the living body to function as we know it.  One is the sustentive aspect: this is the realm in which food nourishes and in which the body (if healthy enough) can heal itself.  This sustentive realm is one of mostly automation – which please do not translate that into meaning not intelligent, it is, very much so.  There must be communication within this realm at all levels – cellular, tissue, organ – or else nothing would get accomplished including the fact that digestion would not happen.  For instance, when the body suffers a trauma such as a cut or wound, it will make every attempt to heal itself.  The caveat to this is that if the wound is significant enough, the sustentive power ‘knows’ that it can sacrifice lesser important parts to save a vital one.  To put this into perspective, this is the principle that allows an animal caught in a trap to chew its leg off in order to survive.  This is the action in which the body will slough off dead tissue that is no longer needed.  There is no disease involved here (at least at this immediate point).  These are healing actions completely under the control of the sustentive power.  If we never interfered, a healthy body would continue to function as it should, healing itself when needed.  Of course what happens in reality is that we do interfere and many times wind up suppressing the healing action of the body, then we start having all kinds of complications.  On top of that, we actually cause many of the events that generate healing actions in the body.

The other realm of the living power is what we call the generative aspect.  This is the realm of disease.  Hahnemann saw disease as an entity, a life force of its own – he called it a wesen.  By the same token that the body can become impregnated with another life, it can become impregnated with a disease life.  And yes, males have a female aspect that allows this to happen.  A disease is an impingement upon the animal’s life force by another living force, it does not arise directly out of imbalance (within the sustentive realm) as conventional medicine would have you believe…although if imbalance continues unabated it will cause the organism to become susceptible to disease impingement.  The natural health system (including classical homeopathy) on the other hand, sees nothing but this imbalance (dis-ease) arising out of the sustentive power, and as discussed above, never recognizes any kind of actual disease.

Hahnemann further broke down the disease process…another duality, into two types of diseases.  Please understand this is not reductionism as conventional science practices – this is actually a view of multiplicity in unity; parts within a whole, which all of the parts reflect the whole.  Hahnemann saw there existed both constant (or chronic as he often called them) diseases and variable diseases.  The constant diseases are relatively few and he did not spend much ink writing about them in the Organon with the exception of a few mentions in principle; most of the constant diseases he discussed within the compilation of the Lesser Writings as well as the two volume The Chronic Diseases.  The Organon is devoted primarily to the discussion of the variable diseases, what we call the ‘pathic’ disease; and this is where much of the misinterpretation concerning homeopathy has stemmed from – both the fact that the Organon was incorrectly translated until Stephen Decker’s version and the fact the most homeopaths don’t even know about or have not read Hahnemann’s other works.  Hahnemann taught that we always need to find the etiology of any condition if we possibly can, and thus he further saw that all variable (pathic) diseases had a deeper underlying cause – meaning the constant or chronic diseases.  This is also what we can refer to as getting to the essence of a given situation as opposed to just treating symptoms, the latter being what conventional medicine does only.  We can say that pathic (variable) diseases are always spawned by an underlying constant disease, so when we remove the constant disease many times the pathic disease will abate on its own as it no longer has anything to ‘fuel’ it.  What we also need to understand, however, is that this constancy resides at the level of the disease’s essence; it may take slightly different forms – such as the so-called various forms of influenza, but this does not mean that it is a variable or pathic disease.

The really important distinction here is that within the framework of classical homeopathy (and natural health), there is no distinction between the patient and the disease – they are in essence one and the same.  This is not what Hahnemann taught.

Let’s translate this constant vs pathic disease concept into simple terms.

For the constant diseases, we always use the same remedy; i.e. there is a constant relationship between disease and remedy.  For instance whenever there is an involvement with the nerves we always use Hypericum; whenever there is blunt force trauma, we always use Arnica.  This concept also forms the basis for homeopathic first aid prescribing.

For the pathic or variable diseases we will need to consider the individual symptomology in order to determine the correct remedy.  This is the process of so-called ‘classical’ homeopathy.

Hahnemann was very aware of the laws of nature, or jurisdictions as we might call them; indeed this knowledge formed the basis of his dynamic medical system.  What has become abstracted throughout the years following his death, however, is the concept that there is only the Law of Similars.  And this is indeed the only law of nature that is effective in treating disease and belongs to the generative side; but he also recognized the Law of Opposites, which belongs to the sustentive side.  This Law of Opposites is what we utilize when we use supplements, etc – we are opposing a deficiency or excess.  This also includes the entire concept of nutrition.  There is a third jurisdiction that Hahnemann recognized, and that is the Law of Truth, or education as we might call it.  So let’s sum this aspect up:

Medicine – this falls under the Law of Similars and utilizes a potentized “like” substance that then creates a medicine of closest similarity; this is the realm of the generative power

Regimen – this is the realm of the sustentive power and includes the four cardinal aspects that sustain the physical body: nutrition, dormition (sleep), hydration, and activity/exercise; this realm embraces the Law of Opposites

Therapeutic Education – this is a realm that is used with humans, not animals for obvious reasons; our animals are subject to our false beliefs, not theirs – they have none, their beliefs are true to their nature; this is the area a practitioner will get into, for instance, in teaching the owner the aspects of a species-appropriate diet; we can utilize both the Law of Similars and the Law of Opposites here…it really all depends upon the situation

There is one more polarity concept from Hahnemann that I want to address before we begin going back downstream…and that is the dual action of a remedy.  Classical homeopathy has no real concept of this and so there remains a fear-based notion that if the wrong remedy is selected havoc can result; this is also the false belief that allows homeopaths to say things like…”nosodes have their down-side” and should not be given unless necessary.  This could not be further from the truth.  There are always two actions of a remedy: the initial action, and the counter action – which we can call the healing action.  Keep in mind there is not a definitive divide between the generative power and the sustentive power – they reside within the same body.

Initial action – belongs to the generative power; this is the first thing that occurs when a remedy is given and constitutes the action of the remedy upon the similar disease, i.e. the removal of the disease; most of the time this process goes unnoticed, however sometimes an aggravation can occur…such as ‘fighting fire with fire’, a short-lived flare-up can happen

Counter (healing) action – belongs to the sustentive power; this is the body’s attempt to fill the void left by removal of the disease; in diseases born of nature this healing action is typically minimal; unfortunately when we get into removing the man-made diseases (e.g. vaccines) that is when we can get the strongest healing actions, and some of this intensity also depends upon both the current as well as historical regimen of the animal

Let’s now start our journey back downstream and begin putting all these concepts together into an understanding of vaccine damage in our animals.  The first concept to understand is the difference between vaccine damage and vaccine disease.  As we discussed above, this has been abstracted into one singular idea.  When we vaccinate we are engendering an iatrogenic disease (which is a constant disease), there are no two ways around it.  We can call this vaccinosis if you like, but to keep things clear let’s simply call this vaccine disease.  The vaccine damage follows the impingement of the disease itself, and the damage in turn is what causes the symptoms we see.  As we can imagine if this is never corrected – i.e., the disease never removed – the damage can be passed onto future generations.  And that in a nutshell, is why some people think it takes up to seven generations of species-appropriate regimen to remove vaccine damage.

We refer to removing the vaccine disease as ‘clearing the timeline’ of that particular event.  In actuality, all traumatic timeline events should be cleared; however vaccination and drugs are by far the most damaging to our animals.  Now there are no guarantees that even when clearing the vaccine damage in a given individual that a state of health will automatically ensue.  Again, please remember that the animal is not an island – they are influenced by our emotions and false beliefs; their history of regimen will influence the ability to recover, and so on.

Lets’ take a couple of illustrative examples – Fido and Fifi (and this will apply to any species…dog, cat, horse, etc, but I will use dog as example).

Fido is a young dog, only about three or so; he had one round of rabies vaccine as a pup and has been raw-fed his entire post-weaning life; he was bred from a naturally-reared sire and dam that had minimal vaccination.  Clearing the timeline of Fido should be relatively straight-forward and with little consequence, and even though the sire and dam were never cleared of vaccine disease, there would very likely not be any inheritance of Fido’s offspring of vaccine damage.

Fifi on the other hand is a pure bred dog, about five years or so, that was adopted out because the owner could no longer take care of her; it is obvious that she has not only been vaccinated according to schedule (multiple times/year) she has also suffered emotional trauma; she was kibble fed all her life until her new owner took her in about a year ago, and it is a safe assumption that she comes from generations of kibble-fed dogs.  Clearing her timeline of traumatic events including the vaccine diseases, along with the now safe environment and appropriate diet, will certainly help her regain health; nevertheless one has to consider that the previous damage done may be too great for the sustentive power to effect complete healing; e.g. she may always have itchy skin or conjunctivitis flare-ups no matter what else is done.  She is a dog that would quite likely go thru fairly intense healing actions during timeline clearing, and that is a specific reason to go slowly in a situation like this.  I would also just about guarantee this dog, given her history, would pass along vaccine damage to offspring…in other words, she is a dog that should never be bred no matter how lucrative her blood line appears.  And this is where the problem lies so many times…the stock that keeps being bred does nothing but exacerbate and continue the vaccine damage.

 In the above example, if you bred Fifi and bred her offspring for the next seven generations without appropriately clearing the timeline (i.e. you only used proper nutrition, essential oils, supplements, etc), yes you may eventually see a reduction in the symptoms of the vaccine disease, but the disease itself remains.  What can – and does – happen in a situation like this is that some kind of event will trigger the vaccine disease out of its latency…one of the future generation pups is sold to a person that does not completely adhere to natural rearing principles, perhaps is forced by local law to give a rabies vaccine or the owner is gone for a week or so and the sitter feeds kibble, etc.  That is when the suppressed disease will rear it ugly head.

This is a long, complicated post especially for those that are not familiar with these concepts; I invite honest questions and discussion, however if all you wish to do is bash what I say here, then please do so else where.  Thank you.

If you wish to obtain a consult with me concerning timeline treatment, please see the Consultations page.




Equine Nutrition & Lifestyle: It’s De Plane

(Please note that the following discussion applies to healthy horses, not sick/debilitated ones.)

Those of you too young to remember the TV show, Fantasy Island, may get a little lost by the article title; if so Wikipedia can explain it thoroughly. 🙂 The idea for this piece came to me after reading a post on Wild Horse Education concerning body scoring on wild horses and the natural fluctuations they go through. Sometimes it seems our domestic horses live on a “fantasy island” when our husbandry methods go contrary to their biological nature.

Body scoring on a horse was developed by Dr. Henneke et al. in the early 1980’s, as an attempt to standardize the assessment of body condition without mechanical means, using visual observation as well as palpation. Its use is primarily with horses in domestic situations but can be used to assess wild horses – IF the naturally occurring variations are taken into consideration. And therein lies the crux of the situation…we humans have a tendency to think we have “saved” the horse from the vicissitudes of the wild by giving him a warm bed and regular meals.

According to Wikipedia:

The Henneke horse body condition scoring system is a numerical scale used to evaluate the amount of fat on a horse’s body. It was developed by Henneke et al. (1983) at Texas A&M University with the goal of creating a universal scale to assess horses’ bodyweight. It is a standardized system that can be used across all breeds without specialized equipment; condition is assessed visually and by palpation. Scores range from 1 to 9 with one being poor and nine being extremely fat; the ideal range for most horses is from 4 to 6. … The system is based on both visual appraisal and palpable fat cover of the six major points of the horse. The system is used by law enforcement agencies as an objective method of scoring a horse’s body condition in horse cruelty cases. [In practice it is also used in clinical applications and by owners.]

Hennecke fat depositsThis is a pictorial guide to the various places on a horse’s body that will accumulate or lose fat. This particular horse is what has been determined to be about “ideal” (body score of 6) regarding weight and fat deposition. Obviously breed confirmation can have some effect on this.

An excerpt from the book Equine Nutrition: From a Species Appropriate Perspective (p112), and is the book used in the ACAN Equine Nutrition course:

A little recognized aspect of the nutritional ecology of the horse is that they have evolved to be able to adapt to varying planes of nutrition. What is a “plane of nutrition”? A plane of nutrition is defined as the quantity and quality of per capita food intake. In practical terms, this means that the horse is perfectly adapted biologically to seasonal fluctuations in nutrient availability. This does not translate into – “it is ok to feed my horse only one or two large meals per day”. What it means is that the horse instinctively knows he is supposed to increase his nutrient intake – and thus likely his fat deposits – prior to winter. When you see your horse put on a little weight in the fall, this is no particular cause for alarm. By the same token, when you see your horse lose some amount of weight over winter, this again is not necessarily cause for alarm. To contradict this natural biological process can have consequences that I think are not being given proper recognition. When we disrupt these innate biological processes, we can begin to step into at least the realm of metabolic imbalance if not outright disease condition. There has been much written about the biology of behavior, but too little about the behavior of biology as science has tended to take a Newtonian view that biological processes are “mechanized”.

Allowing the horse to actually lose weight over winter respects his natural biological processes. Western civilization tends to be obsessed with diet, and overeating is an all too common occurrence. This unfortunately carries over to the animals under our care; horse owners tend to panic when they see their horse losing some amount of weight over winter and will increase the quantity of feed to compensate. This is foreign to the horse whose not-so-distance ancestors were completely adapted to a decreasing plane of nutrition over winter. Those same horses also knew to increase their plane of nutrition prior to the onset of winter and would naturally gain weight during that time. Modern day horse owners will then respond to this with either increased exercise (to get that weight off!) and/or reduction in amount of food. All of this has the effect of being virtually the opposite of what the horse would naturally do left to his own devices.

There are now many factors involved in the current management situation of the wild horses in the western US states that have dire effects upon what would otherwise be a normal situation; in other words, we no longer have “normal” regarding wild horses in many of the areas. That being said (and the discussion of which is much too involved to get into here), we can still glean some amount of information as to appropriate biological responses in horses. The remainder of this discussion referring to wild horses will “pretend” they still live in such a biologically appropriate manner.

In the wild a horse may show a body score of 4 as summer is coming on; gain weight during the warm months and going into winter, increasing to a 5 or 6; then drop to a body score of 3+ as winter ends; this cycle gets repeated year after year. In addition to seasonal changes to the food supply, we also find that the reproductive cycle plays a significant role in determining response to varying nutrition planes, with both mares and stallions being affected. The physiological response on the mare is of course due to the requirements of the foal both in-utero (we should see weight gain in the mare especially during the last trimester and reasonable weight loss after birth) and post-foaling (nursing); the physiological response of stallions is typically seen in weight loss in response to the dynamic tension that naturally exists in competing for mares.

In domestic situations, most people strive to keep their horse equivalent to a body score of 6 or a little above continuously, although we may find many people think that a body score of 6 is too “thin”. Even though there is an abundant amount of information available showing that horses evolved physiologically to be trickle feeders (i.e. requiring little bits of food over most of a 24 hour period) for some inexplicable reason many (if not most) horses are subjected to scheduled feedings two or three times per day, year around. In fact, many times their feed is actually increased during late winter months to compensate for what would be natural weight loss. These practices tend to be generated by both the human centric “use” of horses as well as an anthropocentric projection of what the equine body condition should be.

On the other hand on some of the more prominent breeding farms, we can find the concept of variable planes of nutrition being used to force mares to come into cycle earlier in the year so that, again, human needs can be met regarding production and timing of foals to either get the breeding mare back into breeding status or other work. (Artificial lighting is a co-factor in this application, meaning the mare is kept stall-bound at least part of the day under lights in order to trigger the estrous cycle earlier; and of course hard feed is generally used to effect the rising plane.) In essence, there seems to be a generalized attitude (even if not consciously) among all classes of horse owners that the “domestic” horse has adapted to a nutritional cycle that is distinctly different than their wild cousins. Nothing could be further from the truth. (In fact I could debate the idea that horses have ever been truly “domesticated” according to definition…but will save that for another article.)

Unfortunately the word “natural” has become extremely adulterated when it comes to horses. As an equine health coach, you can help teach your clients what a “true natural” lifestyle is for their horse. The courses at ACAN can help you help your clients – we invite you to join us on an exciting learning journey!

[This article was first written for and published in the Oct 2014 newsletter of the American Council of Animal Naturopathy; it can also be found here on the ACAN blog.]

Fido + Your Lawn = Fido’s Cancer?

Fido loves to romp and play in the yard – and why shouldn’t he?  However if you are the typical American home owner, you could be giving Fido cancer (not to mention yourself and the rest of your human family).  This is a good article by Dr. Karen Becker about the cycle of chemicals our pets can go thru on just a routine basis; also a video interview with Ronnie Cummins.  Dr. Becker talks about detoxing your pet if he/she should become exposed to chemicals but detoxification is not a “free ticket” to continued exposure to toxic chemicals.  There will be a point at which the body says enough and will begin to seal off the offending cells – that’s what we then interpret as cancer.

Read Article Here


Equine Drug Addicts

The debate about whether or not to allow a diuretic to be injected into horses on race day has been raging for several years.  A 2009 article in New York Times referenced a study done in 2007 in South Africa on 167 race horses supposedly showing that Lasix reduced incidences of a condition in race horses referred to as Exercise Induced Pulmonary Hemorrhage (EIPH) – commonly called “bleeding” within the industry – and labeled an “occupational disease”. (1)  That study was touted by some (obviously those trainers using the drug in horses) as the ‘end to the discussion’… no one needed to ever question the use of Lasix (trade name for furosemide) or its effectiveness; veterinarians were a little more cautious in their analysis of the study results but nevertheless continued prescribing or administering it.

It is interesting to note that the race performance results of the South African study were made public but the endoscopic results themselves were only made available to the owner & trainer.  South Africa (as well as much of Europe) bans race day use of Lasix (an exception was made for this study); however the cost of using this drug in the US – where it is generally not banned on race day – is about $30 million! (2)  It is estimated that about 95% of all race horses in the US race on Lasix. (3)  Racing against horses in the US has been likened to racing against “septic tanks” by those from countries where race day use of drugs is banned.  It appeared to me that this “positive” study seemed to be designed simply to justify the use of Lasix as it (horses running faster and winning more money) had already been “demonstrated in a study of over 22,000 Thoroughbred race horses”. (4)

The same author (Joe Drape, New York Times) that wrote the 2009 article recently came out with another article in the NYT the other day (Dec 16, 2013) – it caught my attention because of the issues I have just recently had with my mother being on Lasix (especially IV) and have been reading as much as I can find on it.  In a study done on 55 two-year-olds in early November (2013), results showed that significant bleeding was much higher in the horses given Lasix than those not given the drug; furthermore five of those Lasix horses scored in the “high” range of the bleeding scale.  The principal veterinarians in this recent study emphasized that the question was not whether Lasix was good or bad, but whether or not racing without it caused harm. (5)  That statement, IMO, directly translates into…’if Lasix can’t be used, we will find or develop another drug to use’.

My elderly (currently 93) mother recently spent several days in the hospital during which time she was given IV Lasix at 40mg daily for several days.  I started seeing what I highly suspected was an allergic reaction to it a couple days prior to her discharge, however was hoping it would not culminate in much (and the doctors did not seem in the least concerned) – but I was wrong; within a few days of coming home (and continuing the 40mg Lasix orally) she developed a major hive/itching reaction over much of her body, especially lymph node areas.  She has been conventionally diagnosed with transudative CHF (congestive heart failure) which is why the diuretic (Lasix) was given (I managed to stop the other multiple drugs).  Without going into a lot of detail, for those of you who know me I do not typically resort to using conventional drugs of any type for myself or those under my care, prescription or OTC – drugs do not heal anything, they suppress the symptomology by various methods. My mother, however, reached a point of significant pulmonary effusion that I did not see any other way around both trying to get the fluid off and attempting to keep it from building back up; obviously the fluid itself was not the problem but a result of much deeper underlying issues.  Fluid can certainly be removed manually in a relatively safe, quick procedure * but one has to wait until the doctors are ready to do so.  Thankfully a thoracentesis was finally done and which greatly relieved the fluid build-up (if that had been done immediately there would have been no need for any Lasix – 1400 mls was removed from the right pleural cavity).  As of this writing she is not accumulating fluid even having being taken off the Lasix shortly after coming home and is doing considerably better.  She is on upper level doses of organic Dandelion extract as well as Juniper essential oil (in addition to quite a few heart specific supplements and other EO’s) and this protocol seems to be working quit well.  Because of the Lasix reaction I went on a research mission to try to understand the mechanism by which this occurred.  During the months prior to her hospitalization I had been seeing definite lymphatic involvement, and I felt that played a significant role.  It is curious that on lymphedema websites, diuretics are specifically contraindicated unless the patient has concurrent CHF; the general notion being that CHF is more fatal than lymphedema, even though the diuretic can exacerbate the lymphedema.  I could not find any other references to the lymphatic system in researching this until just the other day.  Apparently the lymphatic system is a very little understood process in the human body (which means it is also little understood in animals).  But I think understanding this relationship holds the keys to understanding why drugs such as Lasix can have undesirable effects at best, and deadly at worst, on race horses.  I finally came across on article in which this relationship is being looked at in human medicine…

Conventional diuretics seem rather benign – after all they are often simply called “water pills”.  But this is very deceptive – in non-medical terms, a loop diuretic interrupts the natural process that typically occurs in the loop of Henle, causing the kidneys to excrete more water and sodium than would normally be, essentially creating a state of dehydration; this is the “standard” treatment protocol for most cases of CHF.  The effect this has upon the lymphatic fluid is that water is not being reabsorbed as it normally would and thus leaves a very concentrated proteinaceous fluid.  In race horses giving a diuretic has the desired effect of “lightening the load”, allowing the horse to race faster.  Additionally, diuretics have the effect of masking the use of other performance enhancing drugs, allowing the horse to piss out the residuals prior to urine testing.

In my mother’s situation, I have no doubt that there has been damage done to the lymphatic system primarily from 50+ years of smoking which obviously is exacerbated by her age (she did not quit smoking until age 85).  The comparison I want to make here is that – other than the smoking – she has led a fairly healthy life; in my lifetime (almost 60 years) I do not recall her taking anything more than the occasional aspirin, she didn’t even drink soft drinks, nor did she have any vaccinations since at childhood.  Contrast this lifestyle to what a race horse is typically subjected to:  yearly (or more) multi-way vaccinations, species inappropriate food and lifestyle, far more stress than any horse is biologically designed to handle (both physically and emotionally), and perhaps the kicker of all…every time this horse is made to race, he/she is given multiple “performance enhancing” drugs, not the least of which includes Lasix, whether on race day and/or in the days prior.  Can anyone wonder if the lymphatic (i.e. immune) system of the race horse is compromised even at such a young age?  The vaccinations alone would do that.

Based on my recent research this is my hypothesis on the action of Lasix:

The lymph fluid requires some kind of contractive action to enable it to move; this happens from muscular action as well as arterial action (and which is why massage can help move lymph fluid).  This means if the heart is not working properly and thus not “pumping” blood through the arteries as it should, arterial contraction (which helps to move lymph fluid) is not occurring as it should and the lymphangions can become stagnated even causing the valves to fail leading to lymph backflow.  Exercise can certainly help move lymph fluid, but with respect to race horses especially, a major question I have is what happens to the lymphatic system during the extreme exercise to which they are subjected?  Lymph fluid is caustic to begin with, that is its nature.  If a loop diuretic is given, the lymph fluid is potentially made even more caustic due to it becoming more concentrated.  Since the lymphatic system is not under pressure (i.e. requires “external” contractive actions to move the fluid), it makes sense that the lymphatic vessel walls are thinner than those of the vascular system.  What would happen if the forces acting against the lymphatic vessel walls become extreme enough as to cause them to leak and/or cause the valves to fail – especially if the lymphatic (i.e. immune) system has suffered “assault” on other fronts?  It is my thought any leakage of this “caustic” fluid could damage arterial walls, in turn causing internal bleeding.

Regardless of whether this “hypothesis” is ever found to be true or not in all or part, I have no doubt the lymphatic system plays a major role in what happens in the breakdown of race horses on Lasix, other drugs, as well as multiple other species-inappropriate factors.  There are known risks of diuretics used as a performance-enhancing drug in human athletes – even taken at medically recommended doses: (6)

  • Dehydration
  • Muscle cramps
  • Exhaustion
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Potassium deficiency
  • Heart arrhythmias
  • Drop in blood pressure
  • Loss of coordination and balance
  • Heatstroke
  • Death

What we can wind up with is an ever-increasing “loop” of debased physiological processes…the Lasix affects the fluid which affects the lymphatic system which sooner or later affects the heart/vascular function which can exacerbate the lymphatic dysfunction…and so on into an ever increasing inflammatory situation until ultimate breakdown.

With regard to lymphatic involvement in human cardiology, a moment of “validation” came to me just recently when I found an article by a cardiologist (Dr. Philip D. Houck) at Texas A&M Medical College; it is a hypothesis published this past May (2013) questioning the involvement of the lymphatic system in cardiac “disease”. (7)  There is no reason to not apply this to all mammals including horses.  In part he says:

All of the symptoms of heart failure, hence, compensatory mechanisms can be related to overwhelmed or dysfunctional lymphatic function. Lymphatics are responsible for tissue homeostasis controlling approximately 12 litres of fluid. These thin-walled valved pumping systems are also intimately involved in immunity, control of inflammation and lipid and nutritional transport. Repair of damaged tissues by cellular transport explain its many functions.

Therapies to remove salt and water excess have improved acute symptoms but have not lead [sic] to better outcomes. In fact, in some cases such therapies have contributed to worse outcome such as cardio-renal syndrome. The mainstay in the treatment of congestive heart failure has been diurectic [sic] therapy. However, the chronic use of furosemide has increased mortality in congestive heart failure [4,5].”  [emphasis mine]

4. Ahmed A, Husain A, Love TE, Gambassi G, Dell’ Italia LJ, Francis GS. Heart failure, chronic diuretic use, and increase in mortality and hospitalization: an observational study using propensity score methods. Eur Heart J 2006;27(12):1431-9.

5. Hasselblad V, Gattis Stough W, Shah MR, Lokhnygina Y, O’ Connor CM, Califf RM. Relation between dose of loop diuretics and outcomes in a heart failure population: results of the ESCAPE Trial. Eur J Heart Fail 2007 Oct;9(10):1064-9.

Thoroughbreds have a reputation of being spooky, anxious, nervous, and so on – is there really any wonder why?  (Quarter horses are also commonly used in racing, especially in the western states in claims races; they have their own “emotional issues”.)  Racehorses have become drug addicts – plain and simple.  Look at the eyes in these photos – do you see a resemblance between the look in the eyes and the look in many domestic (especially race) horses’ eyes – that painful, empty, wanting look?  Through phenomenology we understand that genes are adaptable, meaning they will adapt to influences and stimuli, sometimes taking more than one generation.  When the animal’s genes are exposed to these stimuli via nature, there is generally no problem effecting the adaptation.  It is when we subject the organism to influences that are born not of nature but are synthetically derived in a laboratory (i.e. drugs, processed food, etc) that the genetic adaptations can begin to achieve abnormal physiological results.  The central dogma of biology states that genes dictate the form, however we are beginning to see otherwise – “genetic potential” is a two-way street.  (I wish to caution the reader here that I do not want to give the impression that I believe that all adaptation is “blind”, i.e. a result of conditioning.  I am exploring much in this area both from a macrocosm as well as microcosm perspective, so stay tuned for more discussions on this immensely interesting subject – well, interesting to me anyway!)

On average 24 horses die per week at US race tracks.  Many of them are the “lower end”, less expensive racers running in claims races; as a result, investigations into their deaths are very seldom done. (8)  This is an industry that is mired in a drug culture.  The subject of why race horses break down so much has been debated for years, and it always comes back to the drugs used.  And not necessarily legal drugs…some trainers will experiment with anything that can give them a winning edge, not the least of which include chemicals that bulk up pigs and cattle before slaughter, cobra venom, Viagra, blood doping agents, stimulants and cancer drugs.  Unfortunately much of this doping occurs on-farm before the horses are shipped to the race track – where few states have the authority to legally test horses. (9)  Even if all horses were tested, labs don’t even have the capability to detect the enormous amount of different drugs that have been tried and are used.  And even legal therapeutic drugs (such as pain medications) are misused, being given in high enough doses to mask symptoms of physical injury; numerous horses have raced (and in many cases died) on high levels of pain meds – I would guestimate that almost every race horse does or at least has done so at some point.  Some veterinarians will speak of how difficult it is to ‘watch these animals being treated this way’ and yet continue to administer the drugs.  There are no excuses – a vet that continues to cater to this kind of activity is every bit as much to blame as are the owners and trainers who allow and do this.  There is no other word to describe what happens except “abuse”, plain and simple.  It is when a well-known race horse suffers injury on national TV that the industry begins paying lip service to trying to stop the abuse.  But the trainers and owners are very influential with regard to industry policy setting – well known trainers such as Bob Baffert and some of his wealthy owners threatened lawsuits and hinted at boycotting prestigious, money making races like the Breeders’ Cup, effectively squashing any changes in regulations regarding drugging of race horses. (10)

Can horses become addicted to drugs (legal and/or illegal) much as humans do?  This is what one source says: (11)

For the fortunate racehorses who escape the slaughter pipeline, and accepted by an off the track Thoroughbred rehabilitation center, staff report that weening [sic] them off the medications routine to racing can take months. In cases where horses are also recuperating from sidelining injuries, it is difficult to watch them also struggle through the symptoms of withdrawal.

This begs the question – Why?  The only answer is that it is because of human-centric wants…fame and fortune.

It is not about trying to find “safer” drugs to use.  It is not that changes need to be made in the racing industry.  It is simply that it needs to STOP – the entire racing industry.  There is nothing about being forced to run at this extreme that is good for any horse – even those horses such as Thoroughbreds that have been manipulated through breeding to run faster.  The effects of the forced breeding are multi-fold, not the least of which these practices continue to perpetuate the theorized “need” for horse slaughter.  Stop the industry breeding and you’ve stopped any perceived need for slaughter.  See a previous post I did about nurse mares farms (warning – video is graphic).  Those who continue to support horse racing continue to support animal abuse – it cannot be put any other way.  People like to anthropomorphize, saying that horses want to run races and enjoy winning.  I have two words for that, the first begins with the letter “B” and the second begins with the letter “S”.  Many people have a tendency to romanticize about race horses, especially top winners (those that don’t win become so much “trash”).  There is a popular saying about race horses, something to the effect that…”so-and-so was a grand horse that would run his heart out”.  A very good possibility that he did, literally.  There is much more I could say about this subject, but now you have no more excuses to keep blinders on…












  *  Note that no invasion into the body is without some risk.  A thoracentesis is designated as a “test” although I had to sign surgical consent in my mother’s case (it is a test as the fluid is sent to lab for analysis).  The procedure consists of localized anesthesia and a thin needle inserted between the ribs into the pleural cavity.  Outside of a normal risk of bruising, pain, & bleeding at the needle insertion site (a risk with any needle insertion); the major risk is piercing the lung; normally this heals quickly on its own but if it does not and air gets trapped the lung may collapse (although an excessive amount of fluid pressing against the lung can cause it to collapse as well).  X-rays are done before and after the procedure.  In my mother’s situation, they seemed to be a bit concerned about pneumonia setting in since she had such an excessive amount of fluid.  However, using appropriate essential oils (which I had with me in the hospital) can avert this quickly without side effects as well as negate the “need” for antibiotics.

Nutrition begins with Soil

Just finished reading an article on that prompted me to post this…is a subject I covered somewhat in my equine nutrition book although I did not refer to it specifically as “biological farming”, nor did I go into it to this depth, which is something I’ve wanted to do for some time.  These same principles apply to animal health as well as human health – we are all dependent upon the soil to grow food that nourishes us on all levels, regardless of whether we eat just vegetables or include meat and/or animal products in our diet.  All life on this planet is connected – we seem to forget that in the one-eyed reductionist mentality that permeates modern science.

Our nutrition begins with the soil…the plants growing in the soil are consumed by humans either directly or indirectly via meat and animal products.  Conventional farming methods concentrate only on yield, this methodology cares nothing for the “food source” of the crops themselves; that aspect is considered irrelevant.  Andre Voisin said (1):

The “dust” of our cells is the dust of the soil.  We should frequently meditate on the words of Ash Wednesday:  “Man, remember that you are dust and that you will return to dust.”  This is not merely a religious and philosophical doctrine but a great scientific truth which should be engraved above the entrance to every Faculty of Medicine throughout the world. … If these “dusts” have been wrongly assembled in plant, animal or human cells, the result will be the imperfect functioning of the latter.

I honestly don’t know how we have “forgotten” that plants are living organisms that have relationships with their environment – yes, plants do communicate!  I posted a fascinating video a while back about how plants “talk” – see it here.  I suppose it is the ego-based attitude that humans can not only control nature but can do things better than nature can.  Unfortunately we are in the midst of a rude awakening about that – at least some of us are.  Several enlightened individuals such as William Albrecht, Carey Reams, Rudolf Steiner (and Goethe before him), Lady Eve Balfour, Sir Albert Howard, Weston A. Price, and more recently Harvey Lisle, Michael Astera, Jerry Brunetti, and others have been writing, practicing, and teaching about the link between soil health and our health, and how that link influences virtually all of life.  Almost all of these people were/are scientists who had/have the capability of “seeing” phenomenological relationships…even if they might not have used those terms (except for Goethe & Steiner who certainly did).  Yet they are shunned by “allopathic” science as not being “real”.  I do not disregard mainstream reductionist science as do many “holistic” practitioners/teachers, because I understand (as did Goethe, Steiner, et al) that you have to be able to break the whole down into its parts in order to be able to then actually “see” the whole.  It is not a “sum of the parts is greater than the whole” as much of holistic science would have you believe; nor does each individual part work by itself as mainstream science would have you believe.  The truth lies in the relationship of the parts to the whole.  So it is exciting to me when I read articles (or books) such as this that demonstrate this kind of “seeing” – this kind of conscious awakening.

Now…I am going to go out on a limb here and say something that most of you reading this will likely disagree with – at least at first blush.  Organically grown food is NOT necessarily more nutritious than conventionally grown food.  What???  You must be insane!  Before you virtually tar and feather me, read on.  There is absolutely no doubt that organically grown food is better than food that has been sprayed with chemicals.  But…most organic growers concentrate on building soil tilth – I know, I used to be a small commercial organic grower and was rather active at one point in my local organic association (before the USDA “bought” the word organic).  There is nothing wrong with building humus in the soil; the problem is humus alone does not provide nutrition for the plants growing in that soil.  And the whole concept of “organic” is actually a negative one inasmuch as it considers what is NOT in your food (pesticides, herbicides, etc).  What I have come to realize is that we are missing very key elements in our food.  Why do you think the supplement industry is so huge?  Our soils are depleted.  What most people don’t realize is what they are depleted of.  Minerals, plain and simple.  Minerals cannot be added back by simply tilling in the fall crop of leaves or compost or what-have-you.  Yes, there may be some elements that are added back…but by and far the soils at least in this country (if not most of the developed world) have been so heavily farmed without ever putting back what was taken out that there is nothing left.  Why do you think conventional agriculture tends to keep such a strong-hold on our food supply?  Yes, there are many other factors involved, but the bottom line is you can produce a more “nutritious” vegetable by directly feeding the plant – according to lab analysis.  What is missing from this picture however is the quality and how the nutrients are utilized by the body – lab analyses only give you quantities.  All of us in the animal world – humans included – were designed to ingest our minerals that have been assimilated first by the plant kingdom.  Plain and simple.  Minerals are the electromagnetic means of communication between the soil and the plant kingdom.  Remember what I said above that it is more the relationship between entities than it is the entities themselves that drive responses?  It is the relationship between the plant and the soil that dictates what the plant will become – a purveyor of health or simply something to ingest.  Taking and taking, never giving back = depletion.

Samuel Hahnemann gave us a medical system over two centuries ago called Heilkunst, or “art of healing” in a rather crude translation.   Within that he recognized certain “miasms” or chronic, many times inherited diseases.  Those that have worked to bring his medical system into present times have recognized the “cancer” miasm, which is a state of mentality more so than the conventional diagnosis of tumor (although the mental state can certainly lead to tumors).  The mental state of cancer is one of continuously giving – we can characterize it by the person that continually gives and gives until her physical and spiritual bodies are totally depleted.  If the soil keeps giving and giving without having the opportunity to replenish itself – what do you think it will produce?  Cancerous causing products.

Harvey Lisle called minerals the “enlivened rock powders”.  Why?  Because they give life.  The soil replenishes itself slowly by the breakdown of rocks.  The advent of agriculture put pressures upon this process that would eventually cause severe depletion if these minerals (“rocks”) were not replaced – at state which we have now realized.  It is not, at least in my opinion, that so-called “modern” agriculture is a bad thing, it is human greed and inflated ego that has kept us from “seeing” our responsibility.  The soil, the plant life, the animal life…are all available to us to utilize as we need – and that is the key…use as needed.  In a loving caring, nurturing way.  However we treat the soil, we treat ourselves.


(1)  Quote from front matter of The Enlivened Rock Powders, Harvey Lisle, 1994, Acres USA.




Interview between Dr. Mercola and Dr. Don Huber

An interview between Dr. Joseph Mercola and Dr. Don Huber about genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and roundup (Oct 3, 2013).  Dr. Don Huber is, in my opinion at least (as well as that of many others), one of the leading experts in GMOs in the world.  He is a recognized scientist, having been professor of plant pathology at Purdue University (Indiana, USA) for the past 35 years.  His research is focused on the epidemiology and control of soil-borne plant pathogens, and he specializes in microbial ecology, cultural and biological controls, as well as the physiology of host-parasite relationships.  Because of his extensive research and what he has learned over the past decades, he has become one of the most outspoken opponents of GMOs.  One simply cannot ignore the evidence this man has amassed as to the dangers of GMOs.