by Debby Kay ©2016 All Rights Reserved
Its been exciting this month with the rare occurance of the Super Moon, a time when the moon is so close to the Earth it appears brighter and larger than ever. Over the years, I have heard and read many folk tales of strange things happening in conjunction with phases of the moon. In fact, the word Lunatic that we commonly think of today as an insane person is derived from the Latin luna or moon. Originally, a lunatic was not considered insane; rather it referred to someone whose state fluctuated with phases of the moon. Moon dogs then for purposes of this article are dogs whose states fluctuate with phases of the moon.
Ancient people observed that the menses of the livestock and the women of the villages usually fell in step with the lunar cycles. When I checked my records against my moon charts, I found that my last three litters in fact were whelped within a day of a new or full moon. This peaked my interest even more. Checking some birth records of livestock on our farm revealed the same results.
I have used moon charts extensively in all my horticultural ventures. Everything is planted, harvested, weeded, maintained and prepared in accord to the best moon phases. All our vineyard activity is planned around moon phases. This ancient tradition might seem a bit excessive and even silly however; my experiences have convinced me there is much wisdom hidden in the tradition to make it worth my while. This past growing season in our area is a good proof of point. Our crops and vines flourished while the neighboring vineyards and farms lost heavily with a late summer dry spell. The only difference we could determine was our planning by the moon cycles. What does this have to do with our dogs you might ask?
The point I am making here is that the moon exerts a very strong influence on all things natural on our Earth beyond the obvious ebb and flow of tides. Our dogs are not exempt from the influence of the moon either. Beyond the estrus cycle relationships, I have mentioned there are other states of dogs effected by the lunar cycles.
The first case study to consider is a 3 years neutered male who started having seizures within a week of his visit to the vets for vaccine updates. The owner was concerned about the dog and returned to the vet to get anti-convulsive medication for him. This seemed to help for the most part, however several days each month, his seizures would suddenly start up again. The medication at any dose did not help on those days. When the dates of the behavior were compared to the new and full moons, there was a direct correlation.
Case study 2 is a nine year old retired show champion whose owner reported as getting super sensitive and fearful every so often for no apparent reason. For 2 or 3 days, the dog would hardly leave her crate in early evening until later morning. Again, when the times were compared to the moon cycles there was a correlation.
The third case study is my own 15-year-old Spayed female who for 3 days a month becomes incontinent. She regularly gets acupuncture and homeopathics for the problem, which is common in older spayed females. This treatment seems to control it except for 3 days before and 3 days after a full moon.
Recognizing the problem is the first step toward helping your dog to adjust. In the case for my own dog, it was recommended that I use the homeopathic Berberis vulgaris 30C morning and night on the days she seemed most affected. This worked perfectly and I was able to control the incontinence successfully. Berberis is made from the bark of the Bayberry and has a long history with Native Americans and ancient Europeans of being used to help those effected by the moon.
I have run across several other interesting studies related to the effect of the moon on illness and behavior in dogs but the most oft cited of these asked a simple question: Do animals bite more during a full moon? The authors of this study took records from a local hospital and compare it to the moon cycles. They reported, “There were 37 full moon days and one blue moon day (see box) from 1 January 1997 to 31 December 1999. In all, 1621 new patients had been bitten by animals (56 cat bites (3.4%), 11 rat bites (0.7%), 13 horse bites (0.8%), and 1541 dog bites (95.1%)). The highest numbers of bites were on or around full moon days.”
The moon plays a much greater role in our natural world then perhaps we give credit. Certainly when considering treating any disease, behavior problem or breeding, you may want to consider checking your moon charts first. You may find as I did a fascinating correlation to the moon’s mystical powers.
Do animals bite more during a full moon? Retrospective observational analysisBy Chanchal Bhattacharjee, staff grade practitioner,a Peter Bradley, consultant,a Matt Smith, general practitioner,b Andrew J Scally, statistician,c and Bradley J Wilson, house officera BMJ. 2000 December 23; 321(7276): 1559–1561.© 2000, BMJ
Everybody’s Guide to Homeopathic Medicines by Stephen Cummings MD and Dana Ullman MPH; Penquin, NY ©1996
Dogs: Homoeopathic Remedies by George Macleod, MRCVS, DVSM, Vet FF Hom The C.W. Danial Co. Ltd; England ©2001
A Veterinary Material Medica by George Macleod, MRCVS, DVSM, Vet FF Hom The C.W. Danial Co. Ltd; England ©2001