Homeopaths, naturally, refuse to recognize that their entire profession is nothing more than the selling of placebos. The evidence against any true benefit for homeopathic therapy, beyond the psychological benefits of the therapeutic interaction, is overwhelming. Reviews by scientists and government agencies consistently find no reason to believe homeopathy is a real, effective medical practice. Homeopaths themselves have waded through 150 years of research and found virtually nothing better than anecdotes to suggest homeopathy is worthwhile. Yet homeopaths continue to have faith, since after all homeopathy is more of a faith-based belief system than a science.
This unshakeable faith leads homeopaths to advocate some pretty frightening and ridiculous uses of their treatments. Homeopaths have advocated their magic water for treatment of everything from cancer to ebola. This would be funny if it didn’t subject patients to serious danger, primarily from homeopaths recommending their remedies in place of real medicine. However, even most homeopathy advocates tend to acknowledge that science-based medicine is more appropriate than homeopathy as the primary treatment for victims of trauma. The idea of homeopathy as an emergency therapy is so ludicrous as to have been lampooned by popular British comedians Mitchel and Webb:
It is true that one of the more extreme veterinary homeopaths I have written about, Dr. Will Falconer, has claimed his nonsense can help people avoid taking their pets to a veterinarian for emergency treatment even in the face of life-threatening acute illness, but I had hoped he was an isolated case that might be ignored, if not publically disavowed, by other veterinarians promoting alternative therapies. However, sadly I have found yet another veterinarian who shares the delusion that it is ethical or appropriate to recommend homeopathy as a therapy for shock in pets.
Blogger “Dr. Jessie” has a recent post referencing a case report in the Journal of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association entitled, apparently without irony, Homeopathic Remedies for Canine Trauma. In the article, she describes the case of a dog who attacked a passing car and suffered broken teeth and possibly neck and head trauma. The article then describes the use of two homeopathic remedies for this patient, and strongly implies that they alleviated the dog’s pain. Hopefully, real pain medication and other medical treatments were provided, but none are mentioned in the post, again implying that homeopathy alone would be sufficient treatment for a patient like this.
Since the AHVMA does not routinely make its journal available to non-members, and it is not referenced in most databases of real scientific journals, I have not yet been able to find a copy of the original case report. Again, I hope that the homeopathic remedies were used in addition to real medical treatment and, as is so often the case, simply given credit for improvement more likely due to other treatments. Unfortunately, I have seen other so-called holistic veterinarians also claim miraculous results from the use of homeopathic remedies in animals hit by cars or suffering other forms of trauma, though most then use conventional therapies as well. However, the very idea that a practicing veterinarian would suggest homeopathy as an adequate or appropriate therapy for shock or trauma demonstrates a frightening disconnect from reality that undoubtedly puts patients at risk of inappropriate treatment.
It used to be illegal in the UK to treat any animal with “alternatives” unless the tretament was supervised and assessed by a real vet. Is this still the case, I wonder?
My vet is open to homeopathic treatments as an adjunct to conventional medication, and with the help of an experienced homeopath, some of my dogs’ chronic conditions (digestive issues, ear infections) improved greatly or disappeared – permanently. This was after trying conventional medications that alleviated symptoms but failed to work over time. I suspect many people turn to alternative methods for their pets only when the conventional ones don’t work! That said, I would never use only homeopathy or other holistic methods in cases of trauma/ emergency, nor would my homeopath recommend I do so.
A book I would recommend to Skeptvet and others interested in thinking critically about homeopathy and their pets: Textbook of Veterinary Homeopathy, by John Saxton and Peter Gregory, Beaconsfield Publishers Ltd. (UK).
I am concerned that this kind of garbage will become more and more popular, with all the new “pay to play” journals popping up. Virtually anyone can now publish anything they want, non-peer-reviewed, simply by paying for it, and Google includes those journals in their “Google Scholar” database. Pseudo-science now has a bigger platform than ever.
I’m very familiar with that book and other texts on homeopathy. Unfortunately, they are closed ideologically systems. They begin with the assumption that homeopathy is effective, that provings are legitimate representations of the effects of the substances tested, and that the Law of Similars and Potentization by Dilution and Succussion are true and then proceed to elaborate from their. The problem is that none of these assumptions are true, so it is like reading a textbook for astrology or telepathy; the elaborate and complex systems and theories are all built on a faulty foundation and so don’t add any evidence.
Neither, unfortunately, do anecdotal experiences like your own. They are very compelling psychologically, but there is a mountain of evidence showing they mislead us. The success of science and technology in the last 200 years, which is unlike anything ever achieved in human history, rests on the fact that we can gather better and more reliable knowledge by recognizing the limitations of such personal experiences. Yet homeopathy is built entirely on unsystematic, uncontrolled observations of individuals stacked on top of each other from Hahneman forward.
Definitely a concern. Obviously, the principle of open access has value, since under the current model a large volume of potentially useful scientific research is inaccessible to practitioners. However, such open access models have to be developed in a way that ensures adequate quality control to make the information useful. This “journal” is clearly a propaganda instrument masquerading as a scientific journal, which only misleads.
“Dr Jessie” : ….This demonstrates that each different type of shock and situation may require tweaking and monitoring to ensure that the patient gets through the trauma as quickly and as comfortably as possible.
In other words, “Dr Jessie the holistic” and homeopaths haven’t a clue what they are doing, but have no problem deluding themselves and their paying clients that their magic works when they just keep tweaking until any real or imagined response occurs.
So they claim to be veterinarians and nutritionists and “experts”, yet there is nothing, absolutely nothing on their site explaining who they are. Readers beware.
Homeopathy works very well for me and my dog and I will only bring my dog to a homeopathic vet. I don’t know who you are or where you “practice” but you won’t ever be practicing on us!
As I understand it, in the UK it would be illegal to treat someone else’s animal unless you are a vet or it’s under a vet’s supervision. I think you can treat your own pet how you like (subject to animal cruelty laws, I assume). Anyone able to confirm this?