It was around nine the other evening when the phone rang – it was my neighbour from a mile or so down the lane. I heard the hesitation in her voice and asked if that ‘wolf’ pup had been on the loose again. No, she said, not Ness, but was I missing a cow and calf?

Checking the cows

That flummoxed me – all cows, calves and bull were grazing peacefully in the River Meadows when checked late afternoon. Inca-Rose, a young heifer, and her calf were tucked up in the cow palace and I’d just seen the down calving heifers in Little Hill. Well, she said, what other cow and calf round here would listen to a woman asking them to do something! She had kindly opened the gate into the River Meadows for them. It was getting dark and if there was a problem it needed sorting pretty fast. I jumped in the truck and beetled down to the River Meadows.

Let me take you back a few days. Whilst checking the stock the other morning I noticed a young heifer standing away from the herd looking very sorry for herself. Her ears and face were swollen and oozing, the skin on her back, tail and udder were also affected. Some kind of allergic reaction I guessed and phoned the vet –‘Ting’ they said, (a colloquialism for photosensitisation brought on by an allergic reaction to an unknown plant) and prescribed an anti-inflammatory. The next day she was worse. I phoned the vet. There was nothing more that they could do, they said, as the skin was already damaged – she would hopefully heal in time.

I rang my homoeopathist for her opinion – not, I have to say, with much faith. The first treatment was difficult to give as Inca-Rose was extremely agitated and in pain. But despite my scepticism the next day she was less agitated and up to walking the mile or so home where she could be inside, out of the sunlight. She continued to improve… and yes, you’ve guessed on the third evening undid the gate and with her young calf negotiated the lane back to join her herd in the River Meadows! She continues to improve and is shedding her damaged skin revealing new, healthy skin and hair underneath.

I’ve never been completely at ease with homoeopathy having more of a natural inclination towards herbs and herbalism. Though, interestingly, I’ve had experience of photosensitisation in a ewe which wasn’t treated homoeopathically. The condition returned year after year causing huge discomfort eventually forcing me to cull the animal.

I’m assured homoeopathy will work; the skill is in diagnosing the right remedy for the symptoms. So with the dramatic case of Inca-Rose and another remarkable recovery of a ewe with acute toxic mastitis my scepticism is waning and I’m signing up to improve my homoeopathic diagnostic skills!