2011 April

Biting followed by remorse; a case of Lyssinum

by Evelien van de Kamp

golden retrieverJob is a three year old female golden retriever, who has been brought in for consultation due to biting her owner when she is in a stressful situation.  When she is on the loose, she also bites other people and dogs. Her owner has become panicky over this behaviour change, since her previous golden retriever had to be euthanized for a similar rage syndrome. She and her dog are losing trust in each other; when the owner is in a panic her dog bites even more. Job is very open and seems to pick up every little signal, which she cannot channel, and then she bites. Immediately afterwards, she is full of remorse: she behaves submissively and licks her owner’s hands.

Job has various anxieties: noise – she startles from relatively small noises and screaming children, and she does not dare to go in the kitchen when the dishwasher is on. She dislikes the garden sprinkler. She is, however, not afraid of fireworks, not even of fire-crackers thrown right between her legs! When she is anxious, she hides under the table against the wall. She is excited when there is strong wind and she chases everything that flies into the air. She is pushy, nervous, over-sensitive, and possessive of her owner. She has a very good appetite and has tough stringy saliva. In general, she is warm and prefers to lie in the shade. She has been vaccinated every year; a complete cocktail, including rabies. 

A dog who does not tolerate stimuli well, which results in short sharp bursts of panic and the tendency to bite anyone nearby. This is followed immediately by remorse.
Saliva stringy. Worse from sun, wind, and the sound of water

Prescription: Lyssinum (rabies nosode) C30, repeated after two weeks.

She improved immensely until the owner has her re-vaccinated a month later (again a complete “cocktail”, as well as deworming. After this, she had severe diarrhea and she became very restless; she was chasing everything that moves and attacked cyclists.
Lyssinum 30C was repeated but as the reaction was not as good this time, a higher potency was given: Lyssinum 200, 3 times. The owner was also advised to stop the rabies vaccinations and the monthly worm tablets.  

Job’s disposition improved once again, and her owner felt confident enough to take her to agility training, which requires an excellent rapport between owner and dog (The handler teaches the dog various commands, and they run through an obstacle course together).

Three years later, she is still doing well.

The differential diagnosis was Stramonium but the fear of water and the stringy saliva pointed clearly to Lyssinum. A beautiful rubric for Lyssinum is: “anger, alternating with quick repentance.”

Many dogs respond with a similar aggression after their rabies vaccinations; sometimes, not after the first one but often after the second or third dose. It has become an important question to ask in the anamnesis of dogs who suddenly become aggressive or display behaviour changes.

With Lyssinum dogs, one sees a contradiction in their behaviour: they can be frightened of something tiny, yet be fearless in situations where one would normally expect a dog to be afraid.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Golden retriever playing in the snow;Ltshears

Keywords: biting, remorse, anxious from noise, stringy saliva, over-sensitive
Remedies: Lyssinum

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