'Sand' Colic in Clay Country

After learning about homeopathy, I couldn't resist using it whenever possible. My horses contentedly obliged, and the positive results amazed me. On a few occasions, I was alarmed to see just how powerful homeopathy, and the body's vital force, can be. The body can do some pretty drastic things in order to heal itself. Here is one story.

When I read about the use of Calcarea Fluorica for toughening hooves and improving cases of navicular and founder, I decided to give it to Bo, our Quarter horse with intermittent lameness in the forefeet who had a diagnosis of 'navicular syndrome' a few years before. The regimen I decided upon after researching dosages was 30x (because the store had 30x and not 30c) twice daily for three days.

As I dosed Bo, I looked down at poor old P-pot's cracked feet and decided that as often as he was tender after his hoof trims, he could probably benefit from some too. So I dosed P-pot as well. Both horses readily accepted the remedy in water orally via syringe. I watched both horses closely for the next three days with disappointment, because I saw no immediate changes.

On day 4, I was surprised to see old P-pot lying on his back with his legs in the air, up against the propped-open gate where all the horses pass through. I thought he was cast and ran to his aid. As I approached, he rolled away from the gate onto his side, got up, and shook off. I petted him, looked him over, and led him away from the gate. Yes, the dry ground is silty and soft there because of the heavy traffic, but it was odd that he, not the alpha, would pick such a busy spot to roll. He could get trampled.

I walked away and he returned to the same spot. As I watched, he got down again, in the same exact position, with legs up, leaning against the gate. I hurried over and got him up again. Colic, I thought with terror, even though he seemed calm, and I tried to walk him, but he kept pulling me toward the gate. I let him go over there and he got down a third time.

I called the vet. I walked over to P-pot and as I did, he got up, walked past me into the barn, and pooped out a normal sized pile of rather normal-looking manure. He stayed up until the vet came. She treated him for colic with an anti-spasmodic and sedative-type injection and tubed him with oil just as a precautionary measure. I asked her to take along some of the manure to check it for worms.

P-pot, dazed and obviously comfortable, rested for the day. He ate normally and seemed normal in all ways. When the vet called to report the findings of the manure sample, she said he had one shriveled-looking strongyle and that was it for worms. But she asked, "Where on your property do you have sand?"

"We don't," I replied. We have predominantly clay soil and don't have any sand anywhere.

"Well he must have gotten into some somewhere because there's SOOOO much grit in his manure."

"He couldn't have," I replied, knowing there was nothing anywhere that would be gritty. We fed him no extra minerals, but he ate his grain from a concrete surface. That wouldn't do this, she implied.

Then she asked the key question. Knowing that I dabbled in homeopathy, she asked if I had given him any kind of mineral-based homeopathic remedy recently. Well, yes, indeed I had. I had almost forgotten about that because it hadn't worked, or so I thought. I had actually been paying more attention to Bo, the real reason I got the remedy, who showed no obvious change.

The homeopathic remedy, Calcarea Fluorica, is made from fluoride of lime. Lime. I knew what lime was after having lived in Texas where there was predominantly lime soil. In fact, way in the back of P-pot's Texas pasture were two huge patches of bare white limestone rock. But how did that fit in?

In this case, the lime obviously didn't fit in. Well, not inside P-pot's intestines, anyway. His old 39-at-the-time body had had enough of it and whatever limey grit had settled and stayed in his intestines during his long lifetime got evicted. The remedy stimulated him to purge the 'sand' and no wonder he was on his back. He was probably enlisting all the help of gravity he could to get that stuff up and out. He may not have ever been in real discomfort, either, when I look back on it. He was doing just what he needed to do to get the stuff out, and I don't know how he knew, but he obviously did the right thing. Had I waited to call the vet, he might have never needed the oiling and shot, yet if I hadn't called, he might have had another episode with the next pile of manure - I'll never know.

So much for my thinking that the remedy hadn't worked. This experience raised many questions, but it surely taught me a few things too - that some remedies take a little time for the effects to show (so I continued to watch Bo), that the body does its own work in its own way, mostly from the inside out (internal organs before extremities), and that while things may look pretty scary to the observer, the body knows what it is doing.

The next day, fully awake and unburdened, P-pot happily ripped across the pasture free and easy like he hadn't done in a while. He even bucked a few rickety bucks.  It must have felt great suddenly losing that hundred or however many pounds of heavy grit he lost. No wonder he could buck again!