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The Treatment of Coccidiosis Using Homeopathy

Whenever I mention a cure obtained using homeopathy on a conventional mailing list such as Feline Health or Fanciers Health, I get a number of requests, usually delivered privately, asking what particular remedy I used. I commend these people for exploring alternative methods, but what they do not understand is that homeopathy does not work that way. While you will find recommendations to use this remedy for that ailment and this one for that; this is not a proper use of homeopathy as a healing modality. Like the monkey reaching for the reflection of the moon, many breeders believe that they can obtain a cure using homeopathy or other natural medicine, but it is not that simple.

Homeopathy takes a very different approach to curing - it does not cure particular illnesses (like coccidiosis), it cures the individual. If you are practicing homeopathy in a classical manner (which is the only way to practice homeopathy), you look beyond the simple fact that the cat has diarrhea. This takes time, attention, sensitivity and skill in using a homeopathic Repertory and knowledge of homeopathic Materia Medicas. In addition, you need to realize that the cat has diarrhea for a reason and suppressing the diarrhea is often done at the expense of the cat.

While I recognize that coccidiosis can be fatal in young kittens, if a kitten's immune system is so suppressed that it cannot handle what is, in the grand scheme of things, a minor illness, then the breeding program should be closely examined.

There are a few common homeopathic remedies that are indicated for the type of stool one would see with a cat suffering from coccidia infection. If you look in the Kent Repertory under, for example, "stool, watery," there are at least 30 well-indicated remedies (these are printed in bold) listed and at least that many more indicated (printed in italics). This means you have to dig further and look at rubrics ("rubric" is the term for a symptom as listed in a Repertory) to narrow down a possible remedy choice. You need to take into account the color of the stool, the odor, if blood or mucus is present, if the diarrhea is worst during particular times of the day, if the stool comes out first partially formed and then is liquid and whether there is flatulence along with the diarrhea. All of these symptoms should be considered. Obviously, this means you will need to pay close attention to the cat with diarrhea and do a lot of "stool watching."

When you have a listing of common remedies occurring under all the stool symptoms exhibited by the cat, you really should dig further and research remedies that match the cat's temperament, thirst drive, health and age status, temperature preferences, body type and so on. From your final list, you should find a few remedies that are common to your list of symptoms.

The more symptoms you can obtain and repertorize, the closer you can come to the right remedy. This is not a quick and easy exercise. If you are a breeder with a large number of cats infected with coccidia, it is going to be even more difficult. For this reason, use of homeopathy in a cattery situation may not be practical for most people. The beauty of homeopathy is that if it is used properly, it will cure the cat of the weakness or susceptibility to infection by coccidia. Conventional drugs do not do that. Albon and Tribrissen, common sulfa antibiotics used to treat coccidiosis do not kill the coccidia, but prevent it from reproducing. Only the cat's immune system can overcome coccidia. I imagine many breeders or caregivers do not know this and are expecting conventional drugs to cure the coccidia. Even after weeks or months on Albon or Tribrissen, many cats still exhibit symptoms of coccidia infection.

Albon or Tribrissen are no longer the drugs of choice for "informed" breeders. Instead they are using Baycox (toltrazuril), a drug labeled for birds, pigs and other farm animals. This drug is not be used in chickens laying eggs for human consumption and meat chickens within 14 days of slaughter, yet breeders are lining up to give it to their kittens. Baycox is not labeled for use in cats and must be purchased and administered in a specific suspension. It is apparently quite unpalatable to cats making it even more difficult to administer.

Baycox is supposed to kill coccidia and it is advised by the manufacturer to give it prior to symptoms occurring so that the kitten "does not have to depend on its immune system to administer the coccidia." It amazes me how many breeders, caregivers and health care professionals believe a kitten does not need or have an immune system. I anticipate Baycox will soon become like vaccinations, administered to protect against potential illness without regard for long-term side effects.

Because coccidia oocysts (eggs) are passed through the stools of infected (and not necessary asymptomatic) cats (Baycox does not kill the eggs), they can live in the environment and in turn infect the other cats in the household. Granted, good hygiene is imperative in any cattery situation, this parasite is not necessarily a sign of poor husbandry. While Baycox may kill the coccidia once administered, because reinfection is not uncommon, unless the breeder continues to administer Baycox, coccidia infection will continue to occur.

Continual and fatal coccidia infection in a cattery is a sign of poor immune function of the resident cats. That should surely be addressed. No matter what drug is used to treat this ailment, unless the underlying susceptibility is dealt with, coccidia or some other parasite are going to continue to be a problem for breeders. While I am not inclined to give a list of possible homeopathic remedies for treatment of coccidia infection because I do not think that's the way it should be done, I know it is possible to cure coccidia using homeopathy. If this is something you are interested in pursuing, please contact me and I will assist you in locating a competent homeopathic veterinarian.

The cure is there, you just need to know which is the real one.

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