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Ask the Veterinarian/Dissolving of calcification


My horse has torn a ligament in his right front knee.  The ligament attached to the bone but it formed calcification.  The calcification cracked.  I've heard from friends that the calcification can be dissolved with Organic Apple Cider Vinegar or Hekla Lava.  The horse does not show any signs of pain or being lame, he just pulls the leg away when it it picked up to pick out the hoof.  The vet did not give any treatment, just advised that the horse should rest for 6 months to allow the calcification to attach.  We must do light walk and trot work - no cantering. Should the calcification attach or rather be dissolved?

Sorry for the delay. I am risking a bad evaluation since I am not a horse expert, but I wanted to point you in the direction of who could help you. When I only had my conventional veterinary training, I would have had nothing to offer other than rest, with not a lot of confidence that would work. The holistic philosophy has taught me that there is an underlying vibrational imbalance that causes most problems (even if there was some trauma causing the initial tear) and the healing goal is to resolve that imbalance with treatments selected for that individual animal. To better understand this perspective, read the first few chapters of Don Hamilton's Homeopathic Care of Cats and Dogs (applies to horses and people, too) or the few pages in my book, the Healthy Animal's Journal. Now that the multitude of holistic modalities is available, I can tell you to never give up.

The statement that calcification can be dissolved with OACV or Hekla Lava is an oversimplification. That may have worked with some horses, but again, it is not addressing the deeper vibrational imbalance. There will certainly be some imbalances from the laxity of that joint, even though you cannot see pain or lameness. I am not skilled enough with equines to say if reattachment or dissolution would be best, nor to say what kind of shoes would help, nor what supplement to the diet would help.

What I can tell you is to work with competent experts (not necessarily vets) who are experiences with equines and leg issues. TCVM (Acupuncture or acupressure & herbs & tui na), homeopathy, osteopathy, and chiropractic would be the deep healing approaches to be using. (See find a healer, below). In addition, there are number of healing techniques you can become trained in that will help now, and forever in the future.

I strongly recommend finding an integrative veterinarian with whom to work to best resolve this lameness (and they should be able to recommend the very best farrier, as well). This is a person trained in many different approaches, including using conventional drugs only when absolutely needed. Working with one can increase the chance that your horse and other pets can live a long, sound and healthy life after recovering from this current problem. There are good ones and great ones, and a few homeopathic veterinarians will consult by phone or email. You can go to the web sites for each type of holistic practice and use their referral list to find one near to you. You merely said Europe, so I can only give you the general websites. There are some European vets on some of the following sites in addition to the Europe ones.   

1. Wide range of treatments:, American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association and   
2. Homeopathic veterinarians (these can often help you by phone if no other holistic practitioners are nearby that you like): and Europe plus -
3. Chiropractic and Osteopathic -; - then follow this link to the europe classes as the founder is in Europe.
4. TCVM (Acupuncture and Chinese medicine):, & (Europe -
5. Herbal -
6. Postural rehabilitation – dogs and horses -
(a handful are in Europe)

There are also lots of practitioners and approaches that are used by trained people that you can find by searching the Internet.


Just because they say they are holistic, or are listed in one of the above sites, they may be very conventional in their approach, or may only treat the symptom, not the horse (as you would  be doing by giving Hekla lava (giving ACV is fine, just would not rely on it curing this problem). Holistic medicine takes the perspective of treating the whole animal. A good integrative veterinarian will ask questions about what problems there have been in the past, what changes in the household or the environment may have triggered the current complaint, general nutrition, shoeing, saddle fitting, etc. and if there is anything that makes the current complaints better or worse (like picking up leg). They will also evaluate the overall energy level of the animal. Their goal is to make the animal healthier for life, not just to get rid of the current symptom. They will educate you and explain what they see when physically examining your animal.

Some of the modalities that integrative veterinarians may use in addition to conventional include acupuncture, herbs, flower essences, homeopathy, chiropractic, network chiropractic, nutrition, glandulars, Reiki, Tellington touch, healing touch, long distance healing modalities. Some of these have certification programs with a year or more of courses, exams and evaluation of clinical ability. Others are either self-taught or not regulated. Some individuals are wonderful with your animal -- others great at explaining to you what is happening with your animals. A few are good in both areas. Few veterinarians are perfect, and we all have bad days. Your animal should at least be comfortable with your choice and you should be able to get your questions and concerns addressed.

Once you have done the internet work suggested above, how do you select one to start with and then how do you know if you are getting good service and what can you do to help them help your animals?

Ask the veterinarian you are interested in:
1. Ask what modalities are used?
2. What is their training?
3. Is their goal overall health or to merely treat the current complaint? This may be the most important question.
4. What organizations they belong to & how recently have they gone to conferences or taught?  (Just because they belong to AHVMA, or AVH, does not mean they are trained or capable in those modalities.)
As she treats your animal, a good holistic veterinarian will usually:
1. Ask about the history, overall energy, what might have caused the current problem, the environment and what makes the symptoms better or worse.
2. Their physical exam will be gentle, complete and they will show you (you may need to ask) what they mean by “gingivitis, big lymph nodes, heart murmur”, etc.
3. They will be willing to answer your questions and explain why they are recommending a particular treatment.  
4. If they recommend conventional treatments (antibiotics, prednisone, etc.) they will explain to you why they choose this over holistic, and give you a chance to request the more holistic treatment.
5. They will not do anything (vaccinate, treat) without asking you first.
6. They will recommend fewer or no vaccinations and a raw meat or at least more holistic diet.
7. They will schedule follow up appointments until your animal is really healthy.
(See symptoms of chronic disease)
What you can do to help your holistic veterinarian
1. Keep a dated journal of any problems, even little ones.
2. Write down any treatments given.
3. Call if symptoms worsen, or they are less energetic and less happy, or you have concerns.

You can learn acupressure ( teaches classes in Europe and has equine books with good diagrams), Reiki (or other energy work like Theta, Reconnective, Quantum, etc), massage, flower essences, herbs (need good classes - check out and essential oils. Any of these will be great support once a good healer and you have decided on your strategy.  

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Dr. Christina Chambreau


I can give you the holistic approach to any problem, mostly for dogs and cats and some farm animals and horses. Depending on the condition and the type of animal, I will be able to give very specific treatment suggestions such as what flower essences, homeopathic remedies, nutritional supplements, diet changes, lifestyle changes or herbs that may be helpful - not drugs. I can also suggest where you can go for further education or to find a specialist in a specific holistic field. I can help you understand why your animal is ill and what improvements can be expected. I do not check messages more than every one to two days, so PLEASE DO NOT ask about EMERGENCIES - call your local veterinarian. I cannot diagnose your animal. I cannot prescribe specific treatments. I am no longer very current with conventional treatments, so cannot answer questions on those. I am not an expert on birds or small critters. I am not an expert in breeding, birthing or babies.


I graduated from the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine in 1980 and began using homeopathy in my practice after a client introduced me to it. By 1988 I was using exclusively holistic treatments. I began lecturing in 1987 and have spoken at veterinary conferences, health food stores, people's homes, churches, veterinary college conferences - anywhere people want to learn more about keeping their animals healthy.

Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy (I helped found this one) American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association National Center for Homeopathy American Veterinary Medical Association

I have written in many magazines, journals and newspapers. A few include Bark Magazine; Journal of the AHVMA; Baltimore Dog Magazine; Whole Dog Journal; Tiger Tribe; Wolf Clan. I have also been frequently interviewed on radio and TV. I am Associate Editor for the Integrative Veterinary Care Journal, so often have articles there.

Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) Certified Veterinary Homeopath (CVH)

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