Thuja and Your Horse’s Immune System

Some vaccination is necessary to protect your horse from infectious disease, but it can also cause unpleasant side effects. Homeopathy, in the form of Thuja Occidentalis, can help.

The cycle of symptoms that distinguishes the remedy Thuja

The cycle of the Thuja remedy begins with an “intrusion” of some sort – a vaccine being just one example. Following the intrusion, a state of duality emerges. In the case of vaccines, the two parts would be the virus and the individual, but this also could be two, non-integrated selves or something more physically evident, such as a splitting of the hoof wall.

Thuja symptoms

The body or mind attempts to rid itself of the other part through discharge or by hiding what cannot be assimilated. This could present as profuse sweating, diarrhea or suppression. A keynote symptom here is “voiding large quantities of urine” (symptoms related to the urinary system are common for Thuja).

The body’s effort to rid itself of the “alien” part results in some form of “hardening”. Examples include rigidity in the personality, tumors and growths, hardened stools, difficulty swallowing, hardness in the abdomen, or short respiration from restriction in the chest. “Aversion to touch” is a keynote symptom here.

Finally, one or more systems become weakened and the horse seems fragile or vulnerable. You might notice weakness or trembling in the limbs, for instance. It is particularly unique to Thuja that hardness and fragility are a part of the same picture.

To form an accurate picture of Thuja, you will need to find examples of each of the following concepts, which together form a repeating cycle of similar symptoms. There are many more potential symptoms in the materia medica, so please do not rely on these examples only.

• Intrusion Examples: Fear of wind; ailments from vaccination (directly following); intolerance to cold; violent biting, itching.

• Splitting/duality Examples: Twitching or spasmodic movements of body parts such as the lower lip, ear, etc.; frequent starts or jerks of the upper body; split urinary stream.

• Discharge, expulsion, suppression Examples: Boils, sudden uncontrollable urination, abortion near the third month; conjunctivitis after vaccination; diarrhea after vaccination; hair dry and falling out; urethra agglutinated by mucus.

• Hardness, rigidity, tumors Examples: Hard stool followed by soft stool; considerable swelling of salivary glands; edges of eyelids dry and scaly; styes; wart-like granules on lids; tumors.

• Weakness, fragility Examples: Weakness, twitching and trembling of limbs; rear leg weakness or paralysis following vaccination; asthmatic breathing; excessive sleepiness; loss of appetite.


Thuja derives from an evergreen coniferous tree in the cypress family. As with all homeopathically prepared remedies, it cures the symptoms that it might produce in toxic measures. In my experience, it is rare for a horse owner to use homeopathy by itself as a treatment, even though this would be the ideal scenario. I am making recommendations with the assumption that other treatments are being used alongside homeopathy.

• Give 12c doses, 2x daily for three weeks. If symptoms remain or return, repeat.

• Use 30c doses, 2x daily for three days at a time, repeating only if symptoms were resolved but then return.

• Use 12c doses, 2x daily for three weeks, wait at least two weeks (no treatment), and if symptoms remain or return within or by that time, use 30c doses, 2x daily for three days. (Repeat 30c dosing if symptoms return beyond this.)

Challenges when treating horses

One of the greatest challenges in using homeopathy to treat horses is setting up the dosing to avoid antidoting (particularly from steroids and antibiotics). The second biggest challenge is avoiding “relapse”, which is brought on by too many stressors being present at once. This is why I do not recommend using single, high potency doses – there are too many factors in a horse’s life that can set this method up for failure. Even when treating with small, repeated doses, by committing to reduce environmental stressors you will allow the remedy to complete its action more effectively.

Susan L. Guran is a Homeopathic Practitioner treating animals in Vermont. She owns and operates The Horse’s Touch as a PATH certified instructor.

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