Lac caninum – medicine selection as an art

Recently, an acute case presented itself, with fever, drawing pains in the limbs, lumbar backache, sore throat, headache and restlessness; the patient is of a highly nervous temperament and was depressed to the point of tearfulness; she complained of the heat of the bed and kept moving her limbs to the cooler spots. An examination of the throat showed an inflammatory redness, but nothing more, the tonsils were not enlarged.

Pulsatilla 30th, in three-hourly doses was, of course, given, and found the patient on the following morning free from the drawing pains and backache, but with a higher temperature and a more painful throat; evidently the simillimum had not been found; the throat now showed irregular patches of porcelain whiteness on the left tonsil, slightly so on the right one; from the crypts projected white deposits; the pain was confined to the left side entirely and upon swallowing darted to the ear; a drink of cold water relieved the pain momentarily.

Lac caninum 30th, in water, a dose every three hours, was now given and within twenty-four hours had largely cleared the throat, with decided general relief to the patient; within another twenty-four hours the throat was entirely clear, the temperature normal and the patient quite comfortable, although weak. No local applications were used; the diagnosis was obviously "cryptic tonsillitis."

Comment upon this case is interesting and of profit; Lac caninum is a remedy of animal origin, the milk of the dog; in the past, at least, its proving has been viciously criticised and even ridiculed, its employment, except by a few Hahnemannians, has been relegated to the limbo of forgotten things, yet it fills a place which no other remedy can fill.

As a remedy in inflammatory diseases of the throat it is easily of the first importance and should be compared with Lachesis and Phytolacca, especially; both these remedies also possess the modality of amelioration of the throat symptoms by cold drinks; Lachesis and Lac caninum symptoms extend from left to right; Lachesis and Phytolacca have throats which look bluish- red, but the throat of Lac caninum is bright red and shows pseudo-membranous deposits which are of a porcelainlike whiteness.

Lac caninum has the curious characteristic that its symptoms repeatedly change sides and any disease which shows a similar tendency should call attention to this remedy. Pulsatilla resembles it in some respects, more especially in the modality, relief from cold; these two remedies should also be remembered in nursing mothers, where it is desirable to dry up the milk supply; Lac caninum is of paramount importance in mastitis and in troubles which habitually manifest themselves just before or shortly after the menses, it is quite likely to be the needful remedy.

Allen, in the Handbook of Materia Medica, does not mention Lac caninum, nor does he speak of it in the Encyclopaedia; Stauffer gives its pathogenesis in his Klinische homoeopathische Arzneimittellehre and mentions its use in the treatment of post-diphtheritic paralysis. Herings Guiding Symptoms and Clarkes Dictionary of Materia Medica both contain the pathogenesis of his remedy. Nash writes of the medicine in his Leaders in Homoeopathic Therapeutics. The remedy is, therefore, deserving of earnest study, wider acquaintanceship and greater use.