By Dr. Becker
Today I'm talking with Dr. Charles Loops, who has run an exclusively homeopathic veterinary practice for the last 25 years. He became a veterinarian 36 years ago, after graduating from Auburn University, but during the first several years of his career, he was skeptical about homeopathy.
But like so many DVMs who ultimately make the transition from conventional veterinary medicine to a more holistic or integrative approach, Loops grew frustrated in his practice.
"There were too many things I didn't have an answer for," he says. "Too many things I didn't like the treatment for. I didn't like the reactions to steroids, antibiotics, etc."
Cluster Headaches Trigger Interest in Homeopathy
Around the same time, Loops started suffering from cluster headaches. His wife happened to be seeing a homeopath and was having wonderful results with her health, so he decided, reluctantly, to give it a try. "It worked," he says. "It took awhile, but I got rid of the headaches."
It was that experience that prompted Loops to begin studying homeopathy. He began attending workshops hosted by the father of veterinary homeopathy, Dr. Richard Pitcairn. After about 18 months of studying homeopathy for animals, he spent another year studying homeopathy for humans.
Over the next two years, Loops incorporated homeopathy into his solo veterinary practice. And the more he used it, the more he wanted to use it.
"I was using it with patients whose owners weren't really interested in homeopathy for their pets," says Loops. "I was practicing in a small town. It was pretty clear that I was becoming the local witch doctor in town."
Loops ultimately decided he needed to sell his practice and move to another area, which he did. He moved to an area with pet owners who were a little more open-minded, and his homeopathy practice took off.
I consider Loops to be one of the standard bearers of veterinary homeopathy, because he was doing it before anyone was doing it. He is well-established in the veterinary community as an expert in the field.
Homeopathic Nosodes Explained
I get lots of questions about homeopathic nosodes, so I asked Loops to explain what they are and what they do.
"Homeopathic nosodes are just homeopathic remedies," he explained. "They're prepared the same way. They have the same dilutions. The difference is their origin. The original substance is either material from a disease process, or material from the blood of a sick animal (or person, if it's a human nosode)."
"Sometimes they're made from vaccines," he continued. "They probably have a little different name. But in essence, they're made from an organism that causes a disease."
Nosodes are used like any other homeopathic remedy, however, no provings exist for veterinary nosodes. (Provings are also known as homeopathic pathogenic trials.)
As a result, says Loops, "We really don't know what their deep-acting effect is. We tend to use them in two ways: 1) we use them as prevention against a particular disease, and 2) we sometimes use them as part of the treatment for that disease."
In Loops' experience and the experience of others, some homeopathic nosodes work better than others. For example, I know there are feline leukemia (FeLV) nosodes, but according to Loops, they don't work well.
However, parvo and distemper nosodes are effective, especially the distemper nosode, which Loops feels is highly effective for treatment of the disease. He finds the parvo nosode less effective in treating disease, but feels both nosodes are valuable for use as preventives.
Nosode potencies are the same as homeopathic remedy potencies (6X, 30C, etc.), and can be prescribed following the same guidelines. For example, we can use 30Cs or 200Cs when disease is present, or higher potencies as a longer-term prevention strategy.
Loops works with dog breeders, so I asked him about nosodes for puppies in lieu of, or as an adjunct to vaccinating.
"I think the nosodes can be started as early as three or four weeks," he responded. "More often, I would suggest they start at about six weeks and give them weekly. If the breeder isn't vaccinating at all, they should continue them until maybe six months of age.
But we start pacing out the dosing interval to two weeks, then three weeks, then a few monthly doses. After that, there's really no reason to continue giving them."
However, if there is the possibility of exposure to disease, according to Loops, "In that situation, nosodes have their most optimum usage." For example, in the case of some kind of outbreak, say, a canine flu outbreak around town, a flu nosode would be perfect. Loops explains:
"In homeopathy, because like cures like, the best usage of a nosode is approximately to exposure. So if there's an outbreak and you know there's a potential exposure, you give the nosode. In that case, you may want to give a nosode even more frequently."
Phone Consultations With Loops
Loops has a phone consultation practice, so if people have questions they can talk with him or another veterinary homeopath by phone. In fact, Loops spends roughly five hours a day on the telephone doing consultations.
He talks to people in all 50 states and all over the world, providing an incredibly valuable service many would otherwise not have access to. He does a lot of advising on the use of nosodes, vaccination protocols, and other subjects. "We're very open and very available for people with these types of questions," he says.
Many thanks to Dr. Charles Loops for joining me today and educating all of us on veterinary homeopathic nosodes. Loops is providing a great resource in helping people make better decisions for the animals in their care.