Vet Case: Black Demon

Homeopath Edward De Beukelaer perceives an unusual remedy in a high strung horse, and helps define the remedy as well.

He is called Black Demon, but he is really a nice horse. He is a nice horse, but then he can be difficult as well. There are also some skin problems and signs of headshaking. Black Demon is a nine year old thoroughbred that is used for leisure, for team chasing.

The owner opens up with: ‘He cannot trot, he can only gallop. He just wants to go fast’.

He can’t support pressure or restraint, it winds him up. We go team chasing and I have to let him go and just steer him. He is also claustrophobic- he gets uptight.

When it gets too warm he bites himself. He needs a fly net, but under the fly net the skin breaks out in crusts and eruptions which sometimes are like big boils.’ (There are several 1-2 cm blackish lumpy eruptions, showing occasional signs of bleeding and crusting over his back and shoulders.)

He would come in to have a cup of tea, he would try anything to see whether it is edible; he will give it a go. He doesn’t respect your space. He will stand on your feet on purpose, but does it gently. He is highly strung, but when it comes to hierarchy, he is the middle one of the three geldings that live together in the field.

On the team chase he just wants to go fast; he will not tolerate being restrained. But at the start he is as cool as a cucumber and does not get excited at all; he just waits for his turn. He is better when he is the second in the team chase. When he is in front, you have to push him a bit.

He is incredibly sensitive to any misalignment. I have to constantly put his back in line. (The owner practices the Mc Timony chiropractic technique.)

He doesn’t like movement behind him; he will be off like a shot. Although he learned to look after himself, he won’t eat when he is out of his comfort zone, but will eat after a while when we comfort him. He is terribly allergic, will react to food: he breaks out in boils with thick blood/pus which are somewhat painful. He overreacts to everything. He is okay with other horses.

Once a strange mare came in the field and he then challenged the leading gelding. It raised his status.

He does not like containment – the nose band too tight, does not like box much, you have to girth him up carefully.

He used to lose weight when you cantered him too fast and too much. He gets wound up easily- I have to keep him calm. It is important that he gets his say… he needs to be considered. He knows that if he is going to protest, that he is going to be considered. But he cannot cope with somebody frightened around him; he has to know he can rely on us.

He is very aware of his surroundings. He can be excited but will not run over you or hurt you. But then he can get very wound up about something flapping around him (jacket, blanket); it can suddenly become a complete disaster. But even when he panics, he will not pull on the lead of his collar you have in your hands.

He likes being groomed and he likes attention. He is open and friendly but then can be put off straight away from somebody waving their hands. He is very social. He looks after himself. He will follow another horse in the trailer… this is a team, we stick together.

He is competitive; he doesn’t like to be behind on a hack. He can’t settle at low speed. He has learned to control himself by us giving himself room to respond. He never tries to get away at all cost. He really wants to cooperate but sometimes he can’t.

He doesn’t suffer with the cold.’

Solution:

I have no idea what this horse is about and start looking for rubrics expressing two themes: being enclosed, wanting to keep going,

1)Generals, pressure agg + generals, closed room agg + Mind, fear in narrow space

2)Mind anxiety makes him walks faster + Gen walking rapidly amel + Mind anxiety anticipation + Mind impatience when working + Mind anxiety time is set + dream running + dream running up and down + dream running without fatigue

While selecting the various rubrics, I glance through them just to see what remedies are present and whether there are any unusual remedies.

Then I started looking for a rubric that could explain the fact that he would panic and make a real scene at some small detail without at any moment hurting the person holding him. One way of explaining this is that he had a very good awareness of the surroundings.

I looked in the rubric ‘Mind, senses’ and when going through the sub-rubrics found ‘heightened sense’. This rubric combined really well his sensitivity and his possibility to avoid hurting the handler during a panic. Only one remedy there, but then I had spotted this remedy coming up twice in the previous rubrics I had selected.

With the remedy only being present in less than 700 rubrics, I thought it was worth considering. None of the other remedies present inspired me.

His ‘presence’ comforted me in prescribing Tiger Shark (Galleo-c-h 3 doses in 200).

Once home I looked up tiger shark on the net. Some referred to this shark as the rubbish bin of the ocean because of its tendency to eat anything it finds littered on the ocean floor (tires, bits of metal, etc). I then had an explanation for the observation that he had a tendency to try anything to see whether it was edible and felt even more relaxed about my prescription.

2 months later:

Black Demon had been very well, headshaking 70% improved, skin much better; still a bit flaky but no more horrible eruptions; no need for blankets, no itching. He is more settled but he appeared to have lost a bit of it in the last 1-2 weeks.

Gallea hep cuivar 10 m one dose

Mid October: he is doing very well, been team chasing and winning; less worried about going through gates. Headshaking 99% improved and skin shining for the first time in a long while. The owner also has seen him trotting in the field for the first time (normally he always galloped).

A year later after the prescription, the improvement obtained is still there. No return of the skin problems and much more responsive to being ridden.

A slight return of the headshaking 16 months later responds again to a dose of his remedy.

Discussion:

When I make an extraction of the repertory, I find interesting references to time, to confusion when doing something, sensitiveness (in relation to pain), many eruptions on the head/face and even tongue. There are also many confusing sensations (is hollow, or in relation to voices). Pressure tends to ameliorate. (Black Demon needed to be able to count on the people around him.)

There are 100 different dreams out of 667 symptoms in the extraction. (There is one dream of repeating different scenes)

A peculiar symptom: Mind; Fear of unable to reach his destination (a physical sign according to radar)

The tiger shark: acute eyesight and sense: a very good awareness of the world around him; eats anything it can find that has been dumped (litter) on the sea floor. He is accused of being one of the main killer sharks, although there are very few reported cases, even though this shark is often present in shallow waters around the coast. He does not seem to make mistakes in regard to people when he has a go at eating things.

A case by Catherine Sharfstein in Homeopathic links of winter 2005 was titled ‘I want to be on top of the food chain.’ In my opinion this is the wrong title for the case and it certainly gives a wrong impression of this remedy. For me tiger shark is more assertive than aggressive. In the text of the case we can read that this wanting to be on top of the food chain is actually related to the fact that this patient hated having the feeling of being held back…that something is holding him down. Wanting to be on top of the food chain appeared to be his way of explaining how he wanted to overcome this feeling of being held down. The numerous references to time and not being able to focus on the job at hand in the proving, confirms this important aspect of the remedy.

Putting these three sources of information together I would propose as a dynamic for this remedy the following: It is as if this remedy has all the capabilities of being a good member of society, but a certain form of clumsiness, an instinctive drive to keep going (shark), a heightened awareness makes their integration difficult, and he cannot help it. Something is holding him back, or he cannot cope with the sensation of something that is holding him back.

It is important when one studies a remedy not to fall in the trap of a Paracelse like analysis and think of a remedy like tiger shark having a shark like nature, of being ruthless or other qualities we associate with sharks. It is what is peculiar or strange about the substance that will help in better understanding the remedy. By looking for what is present in the proving, the published cases and what is peculiar about the substance, we can make an attempt to discover the dynamic of the remedy. (See the work of Mark Brunson.)

About the author

Edward De Beukelaer

Edward De Beukelaer

Edward De Beukelaer, DVM mrcvs, practices classical homeopathy for animals in the UK (Wiltshire and Gloucestershire). 5 St David's Way Marlborough SN8 1DH 07786213636 c/o Riverside Veterinary Centre, Marlborough, Wiltshire, 0167205140875 Severnside Veterinary Group, Lydney, Gloucestershire, 01594 842185 Visit his websites: www.1-4-homeopathy.com and www.marlboroughvets.co.uk

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