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Jon Geller, D.V.M.,, Dipl ABVP  
Male
Ft. Collins, CO

Specialties: Canine and Feline Medicine

Interests: Urgent Care, Emergency care, critical care
Veterinary Emergency Hospital
970 484-8080
Ft. Collins, CO
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Can Rescue Remedy be Fatal to a dog?

Jul 27, 2009 - 8 comments
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Rescue Remedy

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hge

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IV fluids



Can 4 drops of Rescue Remedy cause a dog to become gravely ill? Izzy is a 4 yr old Chihuahua mix that came into our emergency clinic last weekend with bloody diarrhea and vomiting. Her owner had put 4 drops of Rescue Remedy, a homeopathic flower extract, into some water and Izzie drank all of it. The next day, she was lethargic, not eating, and started to have severe bloody diarrhea. She was so weak when she got to our clinic she could not stand up.

Poor Izzie’s owner was racked with guilt. She was convinced she had poisoned her dog, and unfortunately another veterinarian had told her that Rescue Remedy could be fatal. Well, it turns out you could probably give multiple bottles of the product to one dog without causing any harm, because it only contains microscopic amounts of plant extract. Of more serious concern is the alcohol base that the plant extracts are in. It is probably questionable whether products like Rescue Remedy have any beneficial effect at all with dogs, but that is my own skepticism getting in the way of an open mind.

Izzie’s blood work showed that her blood was way more concentrated than it should be (PCV=66% if you like lab numbers), and much of the fluid had leaked out into her intestines. This is typical of a disease syndrome in dogs known as HGE (hemorrhagic gastroenteritis), which may have many different causes including bacterial infection, stress or dietary indiscretion (ie eating a dead animal).

The treatment for HGE is IV fluids and IV antibiotics, and that is what Izzy got. Most likely, her bloody diarrhea was due to the stress that prompted her owner to give her the herbal product in the first place. At our hospital, we have seen many animals get better with IV fluids and treatment, even if the diagnosis was unknown. We have an almost religious faith in the ability of IV fluids to help heal any condition; maybe we could start a new religion?

In any event, 48 hours of fluids did the trick for Izzie, and home she went. I am pretty sure that her owner will not give her any more Rescue Remedy the next time Izzie gets stressed. I wonder if it would work for me???




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by ginger899, Jul 28, 2009
Well, as a person who does use herbal, and also homoeopathic medicine for myself and for my dog I can say this:
Herbs work. For me anyway. I am a little leery of using some full-strength herbal remedies for my dog, as not all herbs suit them.

Rescue Remedy comes into the "Homoeopathic" category.

Homoeopathy is different. It is (herbal or other substances) diluted literally HUNDREDS of times until only vague traces of the original substance remain. If it were analyzed scientifically it would be found to contain NONE of the original substance. (!) And microscopic traces diluted to the 'n'th' degree contain no toxins.
Now this sounds crazy. And the medicine (containing scientifically "nothing" of the original substance) -why does it WORK? HOW can it work?? It's surely impossible, and a wacky idea to use this stuff as a medicine!

Yet I've seen it work, both for humans and animals. A farmer I know used homoeopathic medicine for his herd of cattle, and they were cured of Mastitis. The vet examined them. Some vets specialize in Homeopathy. They wouldn't do that if it didn't work! They wouldn't get any clients!
I have seen many cases when it worked well for animals. I have used Homeopathy for my dog. The meds are absolutely safe, have no side effects at all.

Let me say that I've taken them, and had mixed results. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don't. I can't prove they do, by trying them with a human, as mind over matter can influence humans.
But animals don't think like that. So they are good subjects.
Homoeopathy continues to baffle me!

I can almost certainly say that it wasn't the Rescue Remedy that caused that lady's dog to be so ill. If she had given it large amounts of the NEAT remedy it might have done, as it contains alcohol, but not diluted.

But Rescue Remedy SOMETIMES works, and sometimes doesn't........ What's THAT all about?


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by Thomas Dock, CVJ, Vet. TechnicianBlank, Jul 28, 2009
Dr. Geller:

I think this is a great post regardless of whether or not Rescue Remedy works or could even be the culprit.  My take home point from this posting is that "things aren't always as they seem".

It's only natural that we want to see a cause and effect in many situations, but as your post shows, it's not always the case.  We see this kind of situation often in veterinary medicine because of the fact that our patients can't explicitly tell us what is wrong.  A pet may be experiencing some pain or distress or even a subclinical type of infection and only after the owner gives the heartworm preventive, flea medication, or, like this case, some supplement does the pet show more severe signs of the issue.   Since we as owners didn't notice the early signs, we equate the more severe symptoms with whatever "product" or medication we used.

I can't wait to see more of your blogs about cases at your hospital!

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by Jim Humphries, B.S., D.V.M.Blank, Jul 28, 2009
Good Blog Dr. Geller:  I for one would like to hear case reports from the ER!!  we can all learn a lot.  

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by PlateletGal, Aug 14, 2009

Rescue Remedy is a homeopathic remedy. Of course some of these homeopathic formulas have alcohol in them and I'm wondering if it was the alcohol that could have caused this problem with Lizzy ?

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by RidgeBackLover777, Apr 18, 2011
One could add the Rescue Remedy to wam water, to disapate the alcohol, first before adding it to the water dish.  It takes less than 2 minutes to completely disapate.  That is what one would do for children.

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by iasiahkennedy51, Aug 16, 2012
my dog is a 10 month old rout he has been come guite non energy lazy not eating its been 4 days since i gave it to him what should i do to get it out of his system

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by GURJITKAUR, Oct 17, 2012
My dog has the problem of seizures since his childhood, but his vet never recommnded Valium or any other medication. The whole period was well but last month he had the tick problem, his mouth started smelling and last week he had 6 seizures in a day. We went to another vet. He advised ValiumThe first blood report gave us the signal of his kidney damage(80-90%) .. IV fluids were given for a week and the second report showed worse results. so we started hydro therapy n some home made recipes for him, coconut water, chicken soup, vegetable soup, chick pea soup. We give him small helpings and now he asks for more. He is not able to walk properly but manages to come to the kitchen 4-5 times a day asking for more . How can Rescue remedy help him? do u recommend it? my Dog is 12 yrs and 8 months old and is a Japanese Spitz

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by Constantinova, Mar 07, 2013
Our cat had emergency surgery for FORLs, a dental disease not caused by cavities, in which her R side molars had to be removed. While she was recovering and on powerful antibiotics, she got toxoplasmosis (from the litter box? from a mouse that another cat brought in from kennel (they do not roam freely). Someone recommended Bach Rescue Remedy for pets since her immune system was compromised. I used it two days, putting the drops on her ears and rubbing it in, as recommended in the instructions as an alternate to putting it in food or water if pet is having difficulty eating (she was learning to ear without teeth on one side so was having difficulty). She became very lethargic and stopped eating. Two days after I stopped the Bach's Rescue Remedy, she began eating again and acting more normal. Since the toxoplasmosis caused her to lose sight in her L eye (uveitis) and since the vet has her on eye drops to prevent glaucoma or recurrent inflammation which could affect her R eye, I once again tried Bach's Rescue Remedy, rubbing a few drops into the back of her neck, for two days. She became lethargic and stopped eating entirely. Using a cat shampoo that I had used previously, I washed the back of her neck last night and this morning. No eating this morning. Suddenly, about 1/2 hour ago, she began purring, rolling over on her back, and curling her paws - something she has not done for a few days. I offered her some dry food & she managed to eat a few bites. I think, since she has seasonal allergies, and the Bach's Rescue Remedy contains flowers (no alcohol in this mix, just glycerine & water), she may have had a reaction to the Rescue Remedy as no other treatment changed during the two times I used it. I am definitely never using it again, though it may be safe for most animals or even humans, because this is too much of a coincidence for me to ignore. Some cats may, indeed, be allergic to the flowers in it, other substances used in processing etc. She never drank or ingested it, yet still experienced extreme lethargy and complete loss of appetite for several days after using Bach's Rescue Remedy (non-alcohol formula) for Pets. Her energy and appetite returned when Bach's was stopped (and washed off, the 2nd time).

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