Immunity and Homeopathy in Dogs – Focus on Nosodes

Homeopathic nosodes are a potent, safe and effective way to help dogs build specific immunity to many major diseases, without the risks and side effects caused by vaccines.

Immunity is a hot topic in today’s world, both for ourselves and our dogs. Homeopathic nosodes are a great way to build solid protection against disease. While nosodes can be a confusing topic, knowing something about this wonderful type of homeopathic medicine is well worth the effort. Let’s take a look at what nosodes are, and how they can be used to help dogs build and maintain optimal immunity.


Nosodes are potentized remedies prepared from diseased tissues or discharges (products of disease). Gross stuff, for sure. Potentized simply means diluted and succussed in serial fashion, like other homeopathic medicines.

NOTE: The word “nosode” derives from the Greek nosos (disease) and eidos (like).

  • Samuel Hahnemann first prepared remedies from diseased tissues, mainly the miasmatic nosodes, for the three major miasms he identified and defined (“miasm” refers to large categories of inherited or acquired chronic disease). The three miasms are Psora, Sycosis, and Syphilis, and the corresponding nosodes are Psorinum, Medorrhinum, and Syphylinum. Only the first two have common use in veterinary homeopathy. The major nosodes all underwent provings, and their use in veterinary homeopathy is the same as with any other remedy, matching patient symptoms to those of the remedy.
  • Later in the 1800s, veterinarians began to use nosodes developed for specific diseases, such as distemper in dogs (Distemperinum). During this era, Dr. Constantine Hering introduced the nosode hydrophobinum from the saliva of a rabid dog, and used it to treat and prevent rabies in dogs and humans, usually giving 30c every three to four days, and increasing the interval as the patient improved.

NOTE: Hydrophobinum is the same nosode we call Lyssin today, commonly used to deal with bad effects from the rabies vaccine.

  • More recent examples in veterinary homeopathy include using Distemperinum (nosode from canine distemper) in a large shelter to decrease cases in dogs, and controlling a kennel cough outbreak in a large boarding facility just by adding the nosode to drinking water.

Most homeopathic veterinarians agree on the protective effect of nosodes. Few custom-designed trials support this notion, however, so the idea of nosodes being helpful remains contentious. But several cases of homeopathy being used on a large scale to curb epidemic disease exist in the scientific literature, and a recent example involves a disease well known to many dog owners, Leptospirosis (the “L” in DHLP).


Nosodes carry the energy pattern of a disease, just as other homeopathic medicines carry the energy pattern of their original material. The energy pattern of the disease includes both the causative agent, and the host’s response to that disease. This modified, vibratory disease energy can reduce the susceptibility of the patient to the actual disease. Nosodes work best when given shortly before/shortly after exposure to a disease, and protection is only transient, so intermittent use is best.

NOTE: It’s important to work with a holistic or integrative veterinarian who is well-versed in homeopathy.

I’ll explain how I now use nosodes, although it’s by no means the only method. The key idea to remember is that nosodes work best when given close to exposure time; as noted above, a few days before or after at most. Most practitioners recommend a 30c potency given one to two times weekly until the dog is six to eight months old, then dosing based on exposure risk after that (training class, boarding, grooming, dog park, etc.). Since it is impossible to know when all exposures occur, and nosodes do not seem to provide lasting protection, we need to repeat at regular intervals until immunity is solid. Most dogs have a competent immune system by the time they reach puberty, so no longer need nosode protection after that; they have developed good natural immunity from natural exposure, especially if not vaccinated (which blocks natural immunity in most cases).

  • Over the past ten years I’ve had great success giving each pup a single 200c dose of a combination product that contains nosodes for distemper, parvo, hepatitis, lepto, kennel cough, and hydrophobinum. We then send home a one-ounce glass dropper bottle with filtered water and parvo nosode 200c, and a small amount of brandy as preservative. I recommend giving this weekly until the pup is at least six months old.

NOTE: During this period, we lost no pups to parvo if they only received nosodes; the only deaths occurred in pups that were previously vaccinated.

  • Heartworm nosode also offers a great drug/chemical-free option to boost immunity to this parasite. We have yet to see a dog test positive while taking the nosode, and have even used homeopathy and/or nosodes to treat heartworm positive dogs that come in from outside the practice. I recommend either a 30c or 200c given every one to two weeks during heartworm season, which varies with geographical location.


In a world characterized by excessive vaccines, drugs, toxic chemicals and processed foods, nosodes offer a potent, safe and effective option to help dogs build specific immunity to many major canine diseases, whether viral, bacterial or parasitic. We do not have to understand the exact mechanism of action to say that nosodes have a beneficial impact on health, without the risks and side effects inherent to most conventional drug options.

Veterinarian Dr. Todd Cooney graduated from Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine. He took Dr. Richard Pitcairn’s Professional Course in Veterinary Homeopathy and changed the way he viewed health and disease. He now uses homeopathy exclusively in all his cases. His practice is located in Indiana; he also does long distance consulting, and serves as an instructor for the Pitcairn Institute of Veterinary Homeopathy.


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