Homeopathy Resolution – Now What Happens?

On January 5, the AVMA House of Delegates voted to refer Resolution 3-2013 (which proposed a policy stating that homeopathy is an ineffective practice and that its use as a veterinary therapy be discouraged) to the Executive Board with a recommendation that it be referred to the Council on Veterinary Service (CoVS). Now what happens?

The resolution will be forwarded to the Executive Board for consideration. It is no longer considered a proposed policy, nor is it a resolution anymore. Simply put, it’s now an item for discussion and consideration. The House of Delegates’ recommendation that the item be referred to the Council on Veterinary Service will be taken into consideration by the Executive Board. The practice of homeopathy is currently addressed in the AVMA Guidelines for Complementary and Alternative Veterinary Medicine, and these Guidelines are up for review by the CoVS at their spring meeting.  If you would like to provide your input on this issue, here’s how you can do so:

AVMA members can comment on all AVMA policies, including the AVMA Guidelines for Complementary and Alternative Veterinary Medicine. This improvement for collecting member comments on all policies up for review comes as a part of the recent AVMA website redesign and after feedback from our members on their desire to become more engaged. Visit the policy page and click on the “Comment on this policy” link. Just a reminder, you must be an AVMA member and signed in to the website to comment or to see other members’ comments.

Non-member veterinarians and members of the general public can post input as comments on this blog. Please note that AVMA staff will not respond to any questions or comments made on this blog post, and all comments are subject to our moderation policy. Please keep your comments polite, constructive and respectful of others.

116 thoughts on “Homeopathy Resolution – Now What Happens?

  1. I feel this way about it. I have the right to pick what kind of treatment I want for my animals. This is stepping on my freedom as a pet owner to get the treatment necessary and recommended by my VET!! You telling me who can treat my animals is just like me telling you what you can and can not spend your money on.
    People should have a choice!
    I personally will stop taking in animals if I am no longer am allowed to care for them the way I see fit. I have had 14 dogs and 27 cats in my life time, all altered and vaccinated every year. All of these animals were rescues or strays!!!! 8 to 10 of these animals were seen by an acupuncturist who helped relieve symptoms so that these animals could live a longer and more comfortable life. I think your really opening up a can of worms here and stepping on my FREEDOM. Thank you for your time.

    • @Sharon Umbrell

      There are of course laws to protect animals from being mistreated and rightly so – many people do not have the knowledge, training and expertise that vets do, so people are not free to treat animals however they so please.

      You talk about freedom to choose, but, presumably, you would expect people to be properly and fully informed before coming to a decision about how their animals were treated? After all, a decision that was not based on the best available evidence could be unhelpful at best, cause unnecessary suffering and be downright dangerous at worst. Do you agree?

        • @Sandra Umbrell

          You’ve already asked me this and I have already answered:

          “Please feel free to give whatever explanation or evidence you feel you need to.”

          If there is something you say that I don’t understand, I’ll let you know.

        • Allen since you are not responding to my above question,I have to assume I am correct.You are just here to agitate and not take into account the question at hand. As for your above question I will not respond because of the reason stated here.

          • @Sharon Umbrell

            I did respond. Twice.

            It’s a pity you will not – or cannot – provide the evidence to back up your assertion:

            “Its called Alternative HEALING, IT WORKS!”

            Please don’t be concerned whether or not I am able to understand your evidence or explanation. As I said, if there is something I don’t understand, I can always ask. Alternatively, I’m sure there will be someone else watching this discussion who will be able.

            Alan

  2. Homeopathy has no place in modern medicine. Please do whatever you can to eliminate it.

    Alternative medicine that works is merely called “medicine”.

    • Really? Have you ever used it? If you have never used it and are only going on what you have read, I do not choose to hold any merit to your statement. If you have used it without luck, then it didn’t work for YOU. It doesn’t mean it is helpful to no one.

      I guess all that positive thinking and water has been doing wonders for my 19 1/2 year old cat? If that works, then whatever. We do spend money on it and I do utilize traditional veterinary care as well. I believe in both and have used them as a “team” to solve medical issues.

        • Because it dies work for me and many others an you guys just go around and bash it. What personal experience do you have that it doesn’t work? Are there quacks out there? Yes but also in the “traditional” vet world too.

          • Diane

            You’ve already told us you believe it works for you and for some others and doesn’t work for others, but that doesn’t answer the question: I asked how we can decide – in advance – who it might work for? What are the criteria?

          • Alan, the criteria is TRY IT. You sit and recite tons of “data” against it but have YOU ever tried it with one of your pets? Really? You meet with a holistic vet, see what they have to say. Do some research on that specific topic and make your best decision. I have had cats with urinary infections which antibiotics was the best solution. I have also had pets with kidney issues and the herbs are working great. I have had pets my whole life and and met with many vets and specialists. When I first meet with the Vet, I have an idea of what I feel the issue is and how the treatment should be and then I listen to what they have to say. If I have questions how they respond also tells me a lot about how they practice. Are you a Vet? If you are, your style reminds me of one that totally made me SO angry I had to leave the practice. He sat there (and he is a “traditional” vet) and lectured me about how HE knew what was best for my dog and HE was the expert. Let me explain what happened. My dog was vomiting heavily, I took him to this Vet (your type of Medicine), we discussed all the options and he took an Xray. After reviewing the Xray, he told me it appeared he could have a tumor, wasn’t sure as he wasn’t all that skilled in reading xrays and suggested I leave him there so he could put in an iv and keep him overnight. (Overnight? Who would be there to watch him?). Due to the vomiting, he was obviously dehydrated. I asked about giving him some SQ Fluids. He said he could do that in lieu of doing the IV since I didn’t want to leave him there. I explained that I had some (due to my cat) and could administer it if he could advise the proper amount for my Golden. That’s when he launched on me and explained how HE was the expert and giving dogs fluids was different that giving cats fluids and if done incorrectly, could cause an infection. SO I guess 13 years experience from me doing this and having NO incidences of infections didn’t count. Basically this Vet didn’t have any faith in his clients. SO, I took my dog to the emergency room, with the xray and this is what they found. We fed him some shrimp (what I also explained to this other guy). She looked at the xray, said there was no tumor and it was most likely the shrimp that made him so sick. Lesson learned, don’t feed your dog shrimp. When I asked her about the fluids (is it different than giving to cats; she said no). Long story BUT this is my point. Traditional Vets aren’t always that great either. Holistic side,Since it was determined he didn’t have any blockage or tumor and it was obviously the shrimp nothing was wrong. I went home and gave him some Phytomucil (herb) which is very calming to the throat, stomach and intestinal tract. I have given this to my cat and dogs when they have diarrhea and it helps greatly. This was prescribed by my holistic vet for when they do vomit or have diarrhea. Once I had a bad stomach ache and I gave myself a dose and in about 20 minutes my stomach stopped hurting and my throat had a pleasant warm feeling which helped me relax. Bottom line to this novel is this. Have an open mind. Work with the situation at hand and make intelligent decisions. I don’t claim to know it all; I just know my pets. My vets (both traditional and holistic) know my capabilities and attitudes towards my animals and treat with me with respect I feel I deserve. I count on them to guide me and instruct me what is the best road to travel. Both sides are great. Again, there are times when I go all the way traditional because that is the best way to deal with the situation. So, again, the Criteria! TRY IT!!!

          • Diane

            You’re advocating we all experiment on our pets. I find that highly unethical and totally unacceptable and tantamount to animal cruelty.

        • Because it does work for me and many others and you guys just go around and bash it. What personal experience do you have that it doesn’t work? Are there quacks out there? Yes but also in the “traditional” vet world too.

          • All my pets are happy, healthy and well adjusted. They get regular medical check ups, clean bedding and fresh filtered water daily, etc. . I would hardly feel what I do is animal cruelty. Why don’t you go after cat and puppy mills and the like. And unreasonable animal testing. That is animal cruelty. And I would side with you on those issues. Take care and have a great day.

          • Diane

            I’m sure your pets are well cared for. But that’s not the point is it? And the issue of cat and puppy mills is certainly something I’m sure we can all agree on, but that’s not what’s being discussed here.

            The point is: if we don’t have good independent information as to whether a treatment stands a good change of treating a particular condition in a particular animal (and I include humans), then, (and given that there are frequently other treatments that already have good evidence they are effective), how can we find out? Do you agree that we really should have good information about effectiveness before we give a treatment to an animal?

          • Yes, but how many of us ask questions when the Vets were telling us that we have to have yearly vaccines. Now they are coming out with 3 year because they are finally admitting that yearly really isn’t necessary. Especially Rabies. This is just 1 example. How many questions to we all ask our vets when they want to prescribe a medication or procedure? In my opinion, we don’t question them either. So how do we know? Do we all read tons of data and spend hours researching? No. Honestly, I really believe no. We take them at their word and trust in their education. Just like our physicians. To me, same difference. AND I do see results. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t do it either. For them, or me.

          • Diane

            We cannot – and should not – pronounce that we know something for certain and follow that path religiously. If the evidence changes – as it frequently does – then we should follow the evidence.

            But I think you underestimate the nature and power of bias – we all have it and if we want to fully understand what is happening, we must strive the utmost to understand what causes bias and how we can minimise the effects of it. Someone once said: “The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool.”

            That is not saying anyone deliberately misleads, but we can all be misled by our preconceptions and see what we want to see and ignore everything else.

            There is a good introductory article on the many, many sources of bias in Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Experimenter's_bias

            A good trial of anything will seek to consider all these biases and seek to either reduce their effect to an absolute minimum or at least below a level where they affect results or at least account for them and estimate their possible effect on the outcomes. Doing that gives us a better understanding of what is happening, and, in the case of testing a treatment, a better indication of whether the treatment really does have specific effects.

            When these biases (and other methodological issues) are taken into account in tests of homeopathy, we find it performs no better than, well, sugar pills.

  3. It is disheartening to read the comments on this blog. I have seen homeopathy help many animals that were given no hope in conventional medicine. I have seen it cure a puppy of an infection that was destroying the bone is his hind leg when antibiotics failed and amputation was recommended as the only option remaining conventionally. I have seen it cure a dog of chronically itchy skin, allowing him to get off the lifetime of steroids and weekly allergy shots. I have seen it cure chronic ear infections that only strong antibiotics could manage before. Homeopathy has helped my own animals on many occasions. It is obviously a valuable and effective modality of medicine or it would not have survived the last 200+ years under constant attack. Whether you consider homeopathy to be valid or whether you don’t is not the issue. Obviously there is never going to be agreement on this point. The real issue is that no one should have the right to dictate anyone else’s access to the treatment they wish to pursue for themselves and for their families including their pets. The freedom to choose how to manage one’s health and the health of their loved ones should be a fundamental right. Period. I have studied homeopathy for 7 years and during that time I had the opportunity to spend a significant amount of time in a veterinary clinic that primarily practiced homeopathic medicine. I am well-informed about the decisions I make regarding health care and I resent anyone, especially those with less experience and knowledge regarding homeopathy, trying to limit my choices under the pretence of protecting my welfare or the welfare of my animals. I hope that the AVMA chooses to support its members who practice homeopathy because it is something for which demand will continue to grow as more and more people become disillusioned with the limitations of allopathic medicine, and become less willing to accept the risk of dangerous side-effects of many “scientifically proven and approved” medications.

    • Terri, very well said Thank You! My pets have also benefited from Homeopathic treatment. I wish you and your pets much health and happiness

    • How can a professionally educated Doctor of Veterinary Medicine believe that by putting water in a glass bottle and shaking that bottle 100x, 1000x, 1,000,000,000x create a “medicine” that is 100 to 1000 times stronger than the original medication because it has the “essence” or “memory” of the original medication? This reasoning is absurd. Why don’t you just refill your wine bottle with water and shake it up to create more or better yet stronger wine? There is no scientific evidence that supports homeopathy. There are no side effects of homeopathic remedies because there is no active ingredient in them. Drink a glass of water. To those of you who “believe” in homeopathy and take the remedies yourself that is your decision but don’t give something that is of no value to your animal. Medicine is based on valid scientific research and I know how every medication that I prescribe functions in the body. Those of you who take and recommend homeopathic remedies cannot say the same.
      Michelle

      • It is really a shame that you do not bother even learning what the principles of homeopathy are before criticizing its efficacy. Here is a book you should read: Homeopathy: In Primary Care by Bob Leckridge. At least you would sound like you know what you are talking about.

        • The so-called ‘principles’ of homeopathy have been refuted – they have no basis in reality. Even if they did, there is no good evidence that homeopathy is any more than placebo.

          • Allen below you said the following

            Yes, some pharmaceutical drugs have dangerous side-effects, but many also have enormous benefits and each patient (or owner!) has to make an informed choice, weighing up the risks against the benefits with their doctor to come to a decision about what’s right for them.

            The key words here are “each patient (or owner!) has to make an informed choice, weighing up the risks against the benefits” This holds true for any type of treatment. This is what has to be done. But our rights to do this is being taken away if this goes thru. People like you who don’t want to try an alternative may have to and people who want to try will not be able to. I see no reason for things to change at all.

          • Sharon Umbrell said:

            “The key words here are “each patient (or owner!) has to make an informed choice, weighing up the risks against the benefits” This holds true for any type of treatment. This is what has to be done.”

            I can’t disagree with any of that if we are to have an animal’s best interests in mind.

            “But our rights to do this is being taken away if this goes thru. People like you who don’t want to try an alternative may have to and people who want to try will not be able to. I see no reason for things to change at all.”

            Please don’t make this personal by referring to ‘people like you’. It is relevant to the topic under discussion.

            As I understand it, you still have the right to use whatever treatment you wish – subject to whatever current laws restrict or mandate. However, this is about what whether vets should be discouraged from providing homeopathy and is based on the best evidence available, so I can’t see what ‘right’ is being taken away from you.

            I had thought you were going to provide some evidence for your position, but you’ve not yet done so. If you do have good evidence that this decision is wrong, it would be helpful if you could provide it.

  4. I have been using Homeopathy with animals for the last 7 years and have found it a very effective method of treatment, without the side effects of pharmaceutical medications.

    • It has no side effects because it is water… Is there no reason left among us, I weep for the future.

    • I have used homeopathic medications for years as well. Also traditional as well when necessary. If these were just water then they wouldn’t work at all. They are mixed with water as they need to he diluted. Do you the anti- homeopathic take vitamins? Hmmm. Not a true pharmaceutical is it? But the benefits are there b

      • Vitamins have been debunked as unnecessary and lead to only expensive urine… It is water I challenge anyone to cite a major study in any peer reviewed scientific journal where results have been varified by independent labaratory…. There are none.. The placebo effect is potent and well documented in humans observing experiments as well as animal patients. The simple fact is that animals will heal themselves quite effectively most of the time regardless of what drugs we administer. Diluted is an understatement, there is NO active ingredient whe you dilute something 1000000000000000000000000000 times. It is astounding that any educated person can relate to ‘memory of water’. There simply is no evidence for it ( insert conspiracy theroies and antecdotal evidence here). I am not anti homeopathy, I am anti reason, I am not paid by pharma or the military industrial complex…I am simply asking that anyone, be it for or against a hypothesis look at the validity of research and make rational decisions. I know not what else to say…

        Dilution to delusion. Lies, mistrust and the unscientific ramblings of madmen. God help us all…

        • I feel I must clarify; I do no wish to belittle or mischaracterize. I want only to reach logical conclusions that encompass the whole of scientific thought and reason. I truly do remain open to scientific discussion if there is one to be had.

        • Pat said: “Diluted is an understatement, there is NO active ingredient whe you dilute something 1000000000000000000000000000 times.”

          You underestimate!

          A 30C dilution is quite a common homeopathic dilution. The C stands for a 1 in 100 dilution and the 30 means this is repeated 30 times, This gives a final dilution of 100 to the power of 30 times. This is 10 to the power of 60, which written longhand is a dilution of 100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 times.

          This is just one of the many reasons why homeopathy is implausible in the extreme.

          • Interesting tha you mention God, who also cannot be measured.

            Science did not know about germs or bacteria or microbes for many years either because they wer e too small for the human eye to see. The process of conception was unknown also because the egg and sperm were too small to see. Then came the invention of the microscope and now we have even more sensitive equipment for measuring tiny things I am thanksful to science for so many discoveries and we still need to be open to a broad frontier. Our current pharmacuticals are not always safe and sometimes fatal to those who take them. I think AVMA should keep an open mind. Many vets have been discouraged by the conventional methods, I know several. So why are we shutting off another possible avenue for our beloved pets?

          • Marj

            What you say about science and its discoveries is very true. Many of us would not be here without it.

            However, you go on to say:

            Our current pharmacuticals are not always safe and sometimes fatal to those who take them. I think AVMA should keep an open mind. Many vets have been discouraged by the conventional methods, I know several. So why are we shutting off another possible avenue for our beloved pets?

            Yes, some pharmaceutical drugs have dangerous side-effects, but many also have enormous benefits and each patient (or owner!) has to make an informed choice, weighing up the risks against the benefits with their doctor to come to a decision about what’s right for them.

            However, none of that changes the evidence for the likes of homeopathy. If there is no good, independent evidence that homeopathy is any more than a placebo (which there isn’t), then it cannot in any way be considered as an ‘alternative’ to anything, but to consider it so – and to possibly forgo treatments that are likely to work – is not good for our beloved pets and animals.

          • Marj:

            No one has said vitamins are not necessary.

            However, the vast, vast majority of people just do not need to buy often expensive vitamin and mineral supplements. Despite what many will tell you about food today, most of us still get all the vitamins and minerals we need from what we eat and drink daily. There are certainly some who might benefit from supplementing their daily intake, eg folic acid for pregnant women, and Vit D may help others. Those with some specific medical conditions may have to be careful, but supplements are an extremely over-hyped and grossly expensive way of getting what our bodies need – overall, it is a big con by the supplement sellers and the ‘alternative health’ industry. It’s not a coincidence that so many ‘alternative health’ practitioners are the ones selling you these expensive supplements – it’s not without good reason many are known as the ‘supplement sales force’.

            It’s not even a case of not taking chances with your health and taking supplements ‘just in case’: taking more than you need can be harmful and sometimes downright dangerous. Just because they are sold as being ‘natural’ does not mean they are safe in large doses and some can cause severe medical conditions, so it’s important to make fully informed choices – and not just listen to what the person trying to sell them to you is telling you!

            Further reading
            A report from the UK’s excellent NHS: Supplements: Who needs them? A special report
            A good general article: Science-Based Medicine » Diet Supplements or Nutritional Supplements: A Ruse by Any Other Name is Still a Ruse
            Look up Gary Null and vitamin D.

  5. Several years ago, as a beginning student of Homeopathy, I had a friend who’s dog suddenly suffered from Geriatric vestibular syndrome,which caused the dog to circle continuously – the regular vet said there wasn’t much he could do – I gave a homeopathic remedy, and even I couldn’t believe the result, within a minute the dog stopped circling went over to his favorite spot, lay down and went to sleep – it never returned – the owner was amazed

  6. Anecdotal evidence?

    Seven months ago I lost a dog to an infection that was bungled by two different vets. Soon after, I adopted a dog originally from Taiwan that I was told had a clean bill of health. He had undergone three surgeries, only one of which could be called successful. The best guess was that acid had been poured on his snout. The first surgery repaired the pallet, but required a second surgery in order for him to be able to eat. The next surgery was unsuccessful in repairing the surface lesion that has no bone underneath for support. The 3rd surgery failed due to an infection. After spending thousands of dollars on antibiotics, and putting him through a 4th surgery, I was told that the the strain of bacteria had become so resistant that there wasn’t any other effective antibiotic to try. He had to fend it off himself.

    I refused to put him through any more surgeries, and sought the advice of a DVM who specializes in homeopathy. His infection was gone within several weeks. We are now working on a treatment to help the surface lesion heal on its own.

    Conventional vets and surgeons could not help either of my two dogs – in fact one could argue they made both of them worse, resulting in the first one being euthanized. I was as skeptical as the next guy regarding homeopathy, but was at the point where I would try anything.

    My dog was phycially sick and emotionally traumatized, reticent at the best of times and agressive at his worst.
    He has been under the care of my new DVM for about five months. Now he is affectionate, playful, happy, amazingly healthy (considering the extent of his injury) confident and trusting. His infection was gone within two weeks, and we are now working on healing the surface lesion.

    There are many arguments for and against on this blog – mine is strictly anecdotal about what I have seen first hand.

    I doubt that I will ever see a conventional vet again.

        • Again who are you? Are you with/on the AVMA board? I see your posts all over I’m assuming your just someone here rattling chains.

        • @Sharon Umbrell

          Who I am is as irrelevant to this discussion as who you are. Don’t you think it’s better to discuss arguments presented, preferably by providing evidence or counter-evidence?

  7. You want evidence for proof to call things scientific and therefore valid medicine. However, the scientific evidence that is accepted is based on the politics and financial gains of those in power. This is true in all areas of science. I just read a pamphlet put out by Iams with new information about how probiotics not only help with digestion but also strengthen the immune system. I had to laugh at this new evidence. Alternative practitioners already new this for decades from our own research, which was not accepted, as so much of our evidence is dismissed wrongly because the powers that be do not profit from it. Most of us are content to go about our ways making energetic progress toward the good rather than fight a losing battle with those blinded by ignorance. I am usually mute, happy to see the paralyzed dogs walk again and the inflammatory bowels calm down, the incontinence stop and my clients return because alternative medicines work and are safe and we have more evidence than we need both in research and day to day cases that we do not need approval from those who scoff. I wish you all health and joy in healing.

    • Dr. Strange, I appreciate your comments. Mr. Henness replied to one of my posts and implied that I was experimenting on my pets by using Homeopathy and that it should be considered as animal cruelty. I was shocked to read that. I am the least likely person to be cruel to an animal. I truly love and appreciate them and use both traditional and homeopathic medications when necessary. I work with the vets, sometimes they work together, and I get the issues resolved. All of my pets are happy, healthy and well adjusted. We are complimented by many people when we are out and even at the vets offices, how happy they appear. SO, I’m satisfied with my choices. I have a cat that will be 20 years old this July and he is doing great. He is walking around and even plays because of the holistic pain relievers he is on. I just don’t know what anti-homeopathic folks are looking for as proof. Again, thanks and I’m sure your patients and clients appreciate you.

  8. Behind the fetish of vitamin B12 shots

    Roy Benaroch, MD | Conditions | February 3, 2013

    Behind the fetish of vitamin B12 shots

    Medicines and other treatments need to be tested. We want reliable proof that something works and is safe before we recommend it. We don’t like the false dichotomy of “alternative medicine”. If there is good evidence that it works, it’s medicine. If it doesn’t work, it’s quackery.

    It doesn’t matter who’s doing the quacking. A quack is a quack, even if there’s a medical diploma on the wall.

    The story: a woman brings in her teenage daughter, complaining that the girl is tired a lot. It turns out that mom herself has had some blood tests that showed a low vitamin B12 level, so her doctor is giving her regular B12 injections. Can her daughter get some, too?

    I realize that B12 injections are common. Many docs administer these, and many adults get these—probably some of you reading this. So what’s the science behind this practice?

    Vitamin B12 deficiency is a real thing. It can occur because of a poor diet, or because some medications (like acid blockers) interfere with absorption. Or it can occur because of a specific autoimmune disorder called “Pernicious Anemia.” Whatever the cause, the health consequences of vitamin B12 deficiency can include anemia, neuropathy, irritability, and depression.

    There is a simple blood test to measure vitamin B12 levels, though the levels in the blood don’t always correlate with whether there is enough B12 levels in the cells themselves. We can test for this, too, indirectly, through other blood tests including methylmalonic acid and homocysteine levels. So we can, in fact, know if a person is truly deficient. These confirmatory tests are rarely done.

    Instead, many adults are told that their vague symptoms of tiredness or fatigue are caused by B12 deficiency, instead of actually trying to address genuine issues like insufficient sleep, sleep apnea, overreliance on caffeine, and depression (to name a few of the many genuine causes of fatigue.)

    It gets worse. The treatment of B12 deficiency, as has been established from studies done in the 1960s, is ORAL B12. That’s right. Pills. Injections of B12 are not necessary—oral supplements work well, even in pernicious anemia. They’re cheap and they work. I suppose a very rare patient, say one who has surgically lost most of their gut, could require injections. But the vast majority of people with genuine B12 deficiency can get all of the B12 they need through eating foods or swallowing supplements. No needles needed.

    So why this fetish with injections? From the patient’s point of view, shots feel more like something important is going on. Placebos need rituals—with acupuncture, for instance, the elaborate ritual creates an illusion of effectiveness. And from the doctor’s point of view, injections reinforce dependence on the physician, creating visits and cash flow.

    So: people seem to think they feel better with injections, and the doctor makes a little cash, and everyone’s happy. So what’s the harm in that?

    I think it’s wrong to knowingly dispense placebos, even harmless ones. We doctors like to criticize the chiropractors and homeopaths. We point fingers. They’re the quacks. We’d better take a close look at what we’re doing, first. Our placebos are sometimes far more dangerous than theirs.

    More importantly, people should be able to expect more from physicians. Patients come to us for genuine answers—if they wanted a witch doctor, they would have found one. I think we need to hold ourselves to a higher standard than a huckster at the carnival. We’re not here to promise that we’ve got all the answers. We are here to be honest, and to use the best knowledge that science has to offer, using genuine compassion and thought. Let’s leave the quacking to the quacks. We’ll stick with real medicine.

    Roy Benaroch is a pediatrician who blogs at The Pediatric Insider. He is also the author of Solving Health and Behavioral Problems from Birth through Preschool: A Parent’s Guide and A Guide to Getting the Best Health Care for Your Child.

  9. Reading the comments generated here, I think it is safe to say that most of the people supporting homeopathy are confused as to what the term really means. The AVMA is not suggesting to ban any holistic or naturopathic treatments-our chondroitin-glucosamine and milk thistle supplements are quite safe, as are chiropractic and acupuncture treatments. What this proposal decries is the “like heals like” theory behind homeopathic practices. That is the use of something that, in a healthy patient, would cause the very signs and symptoms that are seen in the sick patient. This substance is diluted in water and then administered to the sick patient to help the body realize what is wrong and fix it. I don’t know any veterinarians personally that would recommend these type of measures, although I have professional relationships with several that use holistic medication quite effectively. I have no problem supporting a proposal that decries the use of homeopathy as it is truly defined.

    • Quite right, what’s up for debate here is not holistic medicine, chiro or acupuncture all of which have their place in veterinary medicine, but homeopathy. I challenge supporters of homeopathy to read what it is, literally astronomical dilutions ( higher than avagodro’s number eg. Less than one molecule to all the matter in the known universe..). There is no ‘active’ ingredient, you must believe in the undefined and disproven ‘memory’ of water. It is more religion than science. It has no evidence basis whatsoever. Those cited ‘studies’ that support homeopathy such as Benveniste’s study are not scientific and do not stand up to peer review or repetition under controlled specifications. And as for the real reason for this discussion please follow this link. It details a few sad cases where beneficial medicine was withheld or delayed, causing treatable diseases to become fatal. It is sad but these people made that choice. Animals have not choice and should be protected.
      http://whatstheharm.net/homeopathy.html

  10. The ability to cite published studies to support a claim is not evidence-based medicine. EBM is the process of critically evaluating the evidence to allow us to reach a conclusion based on the level and quality of that evidence. Detailed evaluation of the published studies involving homeopathy, both in human and veterinary medicine, have revealed several key facts:

    1. The majority of the studies are low-level and low-quality with significant uncontrolled bias. The fact that uncontrolled or inadequately controlled studies exist, published predominantly in journals dedicated to alternative therapies, does not validate claims based on those studies. It simply proves that believers in homeopathy are able to conduct studies that generate positive results if sources of error auch as chance, bias, and confounding are not adequately controlled for.

    2. A clear correlation has been established between the quality of the studies and the likelihood of negative results. In other words, all the systematic reviews of hoemopathy research show that the more rigorous the controls for error the more likely one is to find homeopathy doesn’t work. That is the defining characteristic of a placebo therapy.

    HUmans are easily fooled, had we have spent millenia employing ineffective therapies. Bloodletting lasted for thousands of years and all the best and brightest minds in medicine believed it was useful for a wide range of medical problems. This proved not to be true once appropriate controlled studies were done. The same is the case for hoemopathy, and the fact that most of us are not convinced of its efficacy is not due to ignorance of the literature but to a thorough, evidence-based evaluation of it.

    As an example, the AVH put together a white paper challenging Resolution 3. Presumably, this offers the best evidence they can muster to show homeopathy works. I have read the white paper and every single study cited in it in detail, and this best case evidence is extremely weak and thoroughly unconvincing. I encourage everyone interested in the subject to review the two white papers and judge for themselves what the evidence really means:

    The Case Against Homeopathy- http://skeptvet.com/Blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Resolution3_2013_Homeopathy_Attch1.pdf

    The Evidence for Homeopathy-A Close Look http://skeptvet.com/Blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/The-Evidence-for-Homeopathy-A-Close-Look.pdf

    • Yes, bloodletting has been implicated in the premature death of George Washington. Apparently he became hypovolemic and the rest is history.

    • The bottom line is this, if you and your VET believe that homeopathy works, chiro works, acupuncture works-then why is it the BUSINESS of anyone else, even the AVMA, to threaten our vets with loosing their license if they practice these? My vet is top in his field, and does chiro/acupuncture/homeopathy to get your pet better…he has helped dogs literally walk out of the office, after being CARRIED in-and the only thing western medicine could offer was a $5000 surgery that wasn’t a guarantee! See my page above, a horse that was hit by a car, I did the massage and my vet did the chiro work…NO OTHER VET would touch this horse! So, if you don’t believe in alternatives-fine-get out of our way though and allow us to help these animals.

      • Two words: animal welfare.

        Giving ineffective, disproven or unproven treatments cannot be in the best interests of any animal, human or otherwise.

      • It’s the business of society to protect people like you who aren’t capable of rational thought from harming themselves or animals by providing ineffectual ‘cures’ and promising results while withholding actual proven medicine. It constitutes neglect and ignorance at best and medical malfeasance and theft at worst.
        It IS water, no one disputes that, there is no scientific evidence to support otherwise. If you will note in above comments one believes that it works, or comments like ‘I believe in homeopathy’. I don’t need to believe in medicine, it’s called the scientific process, proven repeatability yields proof, not belief.
        Your arguments are akin to those of extreemly religions that reject blood transfusions and rely on prayer alone… This results in death, your beliefs are not only ignorant, but dangerous and YOU are an enemy of reason, progress and your animal companions…

        • It’s nobody’s business, especially when a very capable and experienced DVM is using it to treat your animal…and it works! I’m sorry for your ignorance on alternatives…but this vet was able to make my horse with navicular sound, with ONE treatment! He was also able to fix a horse hit bya car. MANY vets are turning to alternatives…because they WORK-NOT because they’re ignorant. If you don’t want to use it, then don’t…but please stay out of my and my VETS affairs because you ‘believe’ in drugs.

          • Amassi

            If homeopathy works, than all homeopaths have to do is provide independent, unbiased, robust evidence that it does. Simple really.

            Yes there are anecdotes like yours, but they are unsubstantiated and unsubstantiatable. Yes, you appeared to see results, but you have absolutely no way of knowing what it really was that caused what you saw. That’s why we need far more than anecdotes: we need robust, repeatable, well-conducted tests where all the well-known and understood unintentional and intentional biases (Wikipedia has a good introductory article on this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Experimenter's_bias) are eliminated as far as possible so that we can be as sure as we can be that it was, indeed, the treatment given that caused the effects seen or measured. That’s what we should be demanding for the sake of the welfare of our animals – and ourselves.

            However, after 200-odd years, it’s not been forthcoming.

          • This is so sad and yet amusing-homeopathy has been around for centuries…why are they attacking it now? Because it works, and they are afraid that more and more vets are going to move towards alternatives-because they work much better than drugs-and the drug companies are SCARED. Plain and simple.

          • No, Amassi. There are lots of things that have been around for centuries that we now know, with better knowledge and understanding, are wrong.

            And no, this has nothing to do with conspiracy theories about Big Pharma. This purely and simply that there is no good evidence that homeopathy is any more than a sugar pill.

        • And yet, I’ve helped many horses that ‘regular’ vets couldn’t. I’m sorry if you think I’m into ‘ineffectural cures’ when in fact, it’s the opposite. And for Heavens sakes, please don’t try and speak down to me, you are not capable of doing that-since it’s obvious you have never helped another animal in your life. So please, step aside and let those who know what they’re doing-do it. And homeopathy has been ‘proven’ over centuries, why would it still be around if it didn’t work?

          • Nobody is talking down to you, but you do seem to need to understand about post hoc, ergo propter hoc and other fallacies. In particular, have an appreciation of why bogus therapies might seem to work even if they don’t (eg see http://www.csicop.org/SI/show/why_bogus_therapies_seem_to_work/) and why it’s important to eliminate the more probable reasons for something happening before being so certain it could only possibly have been the homeopathic potion that the animal was given.

          • Because of desperate, uneducated people like yourself, please don’t misunderstand, I do not blame you, it is not your fault you have been lied to. Nothing I say can dissuade you from seeking homeopathic cures, that much is obvious. Yours is a mind lost… I bail continue to fight the enemies of science however. Science that has produced longer life spans, prevention or eradication of disease, and better health worldwide for the past generation. The 20th century is a testament to human advancement in the realm of science and it is past time to cast off barbaric and mystic practices… Homeopathic cures for cancer, malaria and numerous other diseases have cost THOUSANDS of deaths….. If you want to pay money for water to treat a cold which is self limiting to begin with, be my guest. But homeopathy is becoming a public health problem like in uk.. It should be illegal. I will not debate further as those on the other side are clearly blinded by emotion and ‘belief’

  11. All treatments or drugs that are not effective should be discouraged. It seems like when you recongnize that homeopathy is one of those things you should act on the information. Next year target other practices and as time goes by the level of care will improve.

    Dr. Nancy Malik listed many of the studies of homeopathy to date and gives the impression that over all the results are positive. This view doesn’t fit well with the results of the systematic reviews. These reviews take into account all factors that make sense out conflicting results. There are lots of factors that can make a enough of a difference to change the results. A systematic review of the systematic reviews comes to a different conclusion that is not favorable:
    A systematic review of systematic reviews of homeopathy.
    Ernst E
    ” In particular, there was no condition which responds convincingly better to homeopathic treatment than to placebo or other control interventions. Similarly, there was no homeopathic remedy that was demonstrated to yield clinical effects that are convincingly different from placebo. It is concluded that the best clinical evidence for homeopathy available to date does not warrant positive recommendations for its use in clinical practice.”

    The last part of the conclusion of the review is essentially the resolution.– The best clinical evidence for homeopathy available to date does not warrant positive recommentdations for its use in clinical practive. When the reviews of anything are so convincing, action should be taken.

  12. As an adult, I became involved using Holistic Medication with my cats. I truly believe in them. I take my pets to both a Homeopathic Vet as well as traditional vets – sometimes they work as a team. I truly believe that some situations are best treated naturally and others not. You have to be informed on both sides as well as in tune with your pets. I could lists many examples of how both have been beneficial; however, I will mention that when dealing with elderly pets, holistic is the way to go. I currently have a 19 1/2 year cat. He is given fluid therapy to assist his aging kidneys along with herbs to benefit his kidneys, liver and manage his pain. I feed him good quality food and obviously provide him with clean, filtered water and keep his boxes clean. I also have an 8 1/2 year old Golden Retriever who has been on immunity herbs and garlic tabs since he was about 6 months old. He looks much younger than most goldens his age. SO, I believe you have to do your own research and make your own informed decision; however, bottom line, both are good!!! I believe vets should be taught ALL aspects to make a better informed diagnosis when dealing with certain types of illness or stages of life.

    • Diane

      There are no ‘both sides’. Homeopathy isn’t a medicine and it cannot be a substitute to maintain the health of an person or other animal. Yes, there are many stories about how animals recovered after being given homeopathy, but there is no good evidence that they work. Furthermore, there are some far simpler and more compelling reasons for the observed outcomes than assuming it was the homeopathy. Until you’ve eliminated all the far more obvious, simpler and more probable reasons, it is a leap of faith to jump to the conclusion it was caused by homeopathy. Please read: Why Bogus Therapies Seem to Work.

      • I have to comment. Yes, to some it is bogus. But then, how can you explain WHY my pets are doing so well. I only vaccinate as needed and do titers to check their immunity levels, and vaccinate accordingly. Rabies vaccine, which is PROVEN to cause issues, did such with one of my cats. He had “seasonal seizures”, according to a vet neurologist. He had these every January – February. When was he vaccinated? December, every year. Hmmmm When I brought him to a holistic vet, we had this discussion. They explained the issues with the Rabies Vaccine, we stopped giving them, and what a miracle, the seizures stopped and NEVER occurred again. We did a yearly exam and I was provided an exception letter if needed. .On his note, he had several medical issues, small kidneys since birth, kidney stones, bladder stones (and I fed him the best quality food all of his life). He had to have fluid therapy for most of his life, was placed on herbs to assist with his liver, kidneys and pain management when he was older. He lived to be 17 1/2 years old. I feel if he was placed on “traditional” meds for that long, he would have had liver failure way earlier due to side affects from those medications.
        SO, now I do titers on all my pets, have their blood work checked every year and every six months for my senior cat. Although I do agree that traditional medicine has its place. There have been times when I’ve dealt with urinary infections and they needed antibiotics. My holistic vet does prescribe them when they are needed. However, I will argue that my senior cat is doing SO amazing. He is NOT given any traditional pain medication, only holistic and he is moving around and is doing fantastic. Yes, he has elderly issues, who doesn’t, but to be honest, I have had days when my schedule was busy and I didn’t give him his meds. Even after 1 day without his holistic pain medication, I notice a difference (shame on me those days). I’m sorry but you can’t tell me there isn’t a difference. I do not buy into the well I BENEFIT and think there is a different. My positive attitude cannot change how medication (holistic or not) will work. Maybe on myself, yes, but I do not feel this can be projected. I’m not blind (or stupid) to be honest, I can SEE a difference. SO, again, I will say, both have a place. Are there fakes out there, yes but the entire study in my opinion should not be dismissed.

        • Diane: we can’t base how humans and animals are treated on unverified and unverifiable anecdotes. Where health is concerned, we need much better evidence that pain is reduced or diseases are prevented, etc and that any effects seen really are due to something given to the animal. If we cannot be sure, then if we used that to treat others, we would simply be experimenting on them.

          BTW, what’s ‘holistic pain medication’?

          • With all your studies I’m surprised that you do not know this! (You can’t read tone in text, so I’m not sounding, rude, but with humor). I believe we are all entitled to our beliefs. My comments are not being sent with anger; just know this. I am a very positive, caring person and would never intend to be rude.

            S.O.D. & Boswellia (Joint, Tissue & Cartilage Supplement)

            I also noticed at my pharmacy that a joint supplement for humans now contains this. I’m getting it when I finish my current bottle.

            Be well!

          • Diane

            Thanks for your reply.

            Not that this has anything to do with the topic of the article, of course, but what do you think SOD or Boswellia do, why do you need them and what evidence do you think there is for them?

            And do you think that because your pharmacy sells it that it must work?

            Thanks.

          • but what do you think SOD or Boswellia do.

            Answer: It is like the products we take for our joints. It is an anti-inflammatory and works with the joints assisting with stiffness, which relieves the pain when moving. I feel it helps the body to function better, relieving the pain; not just masking it.

            I have been taking Glucosamine Chondroitine recently and it seems to help me a bit; my husband has been taking Glucosamine Chondroitine for years now and tells me he doesn’t feel the pain in his hands as much. Since I did see the SOD & Boswellia ingredient for humans, I thought I would give it a try and see what results we have.

          • Diane

            But what does the independent evidence say for them? I’d need to go and look it up, but if I remember correctly, there is no good evidence that glucosamine has any clinically significant effects on joints.

            And do you see the importance of independent tests? There are many biases that can so easily cloud our own judgement of these things. For example, this article gives a reasonably good explanation of some of them.

            You (and many others) may well be wasting your money and putting unnecessary/ineffective/not necessarily harmless chemicals in your body for no good reason.

        • This poster does not seem to even understand what homeopathy is. The poster babbles about all sorts of alternative treatments in this post but doesn’t mention homeopathic medications.

          This gives insight into the intelligence of the poster.

          As does her claims that these things work even though her claim is based on her “feeling” that they would be worse off without these treatments.

          There was much medical quackery in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Most of these alternative treatments are continuation of things that are ridiculous and have been proven ineffective. The claimed studies are not double blind placebo controlled of sufficient size and replicable. These conditions are needed for something to be scientifically tested.

          Homeopathy dilutes a substance so much that there is often not even one molecule of the original substance left in the dose administered. The creator of homeopathy had not done the math to realize this.

          The original premise behind it was proven to be false by relatively simple math.

          Someone babbling about their personal experience is meaningless as proof. At best, if enough of it might be cause for further investigation if it was something not previously investigated. In the case of homeopathy, there is no difference of opinion.

          There are the facts and gullible, naïve, people who refuse to accept them.

          For those here who don’t even understand what it is.
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homeopathy

          If you think Homeopathy is valid then you are probably anti DihydrogenMonoxide.
          For the truth about it see DHMO.org

          Nice List of other Pseudo-Sciences (Quackery) in Health and other fields
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_topics_characterized_as_pseudoscience

          However, as always you must think for yourself and if interested in a pseudoscience, then understand why it is considered a pseudo science.

          One exception on this list is the reference to Climate Change Denial
          There is no consensus as this has been grossly misrepresented by the IPCC and other
          proponents. Further is extremely difficult to measure global temperature in the distant past to compare to the present. There has only been good data since about 1980 (satellite) before that mediocre data for 100 years or so. Prior to that most of the data is merely proxy data that is interpreted by self appointed climate scientists. A core group of 30-50 has misrepresented data. Manipulated proxies. Destroyed the original data (so only their proxy reconstructions exist) tried to isolate disenters. And grossly misrepresented the degree of consensus. The IPCC head was a railroad engineer from India. Large number of scientists have complained that the contributed data or information to the IPCC reviews but the IPCC falsely claimed they concurred with the IPCC conclusions when they did not. There was also the ClimateGate scandal. And first and foremost. The IPCC is not an independent scientific body. It is a first and foremost a political body. Part of the UN which of course is one of the most corrupt political bodies in the civilized world. Al Gore’s ridiculous film was found by a UK court to have numerous falsehoods.

          Best place (though a steep learning curve) for climate info is CLIMATEAUDIT.org

          Why do people who don’t understand even the most rudimentary fundamental precepts of the scientific method pontificate about quackery they don’t understand?

          For a refresher on what the scientific method is (you should have learned this in grammar school and remembered it):
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_method

      • Funny…a good friend took her mother in when she was 80yrs old and took her off all her medication the doctors had her on-they said she had a few months left. By giving her supplements, vitamins, etc…she lived another 10yrs.
        All I’m saying is, the AVMA has NO BUSINESS threatening the livlihood of these doctors and their patients. If you all are so concerned about us, then fine-but we are more concerned about you-with the extensive use of drugs, shots, surgeries on the animals that we feel aren’t needed. What if that was something that was going to be taken away? Wouldn’t you be upset??

    • It’s the business of society to protect people like you who aren’t capable of rational thought from harming themselves or animals by providing ineffectual ‘cures’ and promising results while withholding actual proven medicine. It constitutes neglect and ignorance at best and medical malfeasance and theft at worst.
      It IS water, no one disputes that, there is no scientific evidence to support otherwise. If you will note in above comments one believes that it works, or comments like ‘I believe in homeopathy’. I don’t need to believe in medicine, it’s called the scientific process, proven repeatability yields proof, not belief.
      Your arguments are akin to those of extreemly religions that reject blood transfusions and rely on prayer alone… This results in death, your beliefs are not only ignorant, but dangerous and YOU are an enemy of reason, progress and your animal companions…

      • Well Randall

        It IS the business of society to protect animals from ineffectual cures, as you put it

        Last year I spent thousands of dollars on one dog for a simple urinary tract infection. Antibiotics, ultrasounds, crappy diets, vet office fees etc etc. I was in a state of panic for 5 months as I watched three conventional vets bungle his treatment so badly that he had to be euthanized after going into renal failure.

        My second dog has a more serious condition that required thousands of dollars spent on vet visits, FOUR unsuccessful surgeries, ineffective anbiotics, redundant tests etc etc.

        My homeopathic vet has been able to accomplish what none of the conventional vets have been able to do.

        Who is out there to protect the animals from conventional methods? You are the ignorant one……

          • Fair enough, but my saying that all conventional practice is ineffective is just as bad as those saying all homeopathic practices are. Even the tried and true conventional methods don’t have a guaranteed success rate.

          • Angela said:

            Fair enough, but my saying that all conventional practice is ineffective is just as bad as those saying all homeopathic practices are.

            False equivalence: many conventional medicines are effective; there is no good evidence that any homeopathic product is.

            Even the tried and true conventional methods don’t have a guaranteed success rate.

            Straw man. No one has asserted that.

            The question still stands: How would you separate the effective cures from the ineffective ones?

  13. As a nurse homeopath I know the effectiveness of homeopathic remedies. As a pet owner I am more than aware I am grateful for their gentle action. My let’s say mentally challenged 4 yr. old maple cat displayed S & S of arthritis, confirmed with x rays. Our vet said he would end up crippled, he climbed up to our roof until he died at age 15 from kidney failure. My current love may have chronic pancreatitis (according to her vet), but an occasional dose of remedy has her up and running around in an hour whenever she looks and acts poorly.It may make vets angry that I am dosing my cats, but there is no one in my area who treats homeopathically and I really can’t see boxing them up for a ferry ride and hour car ride to see a homeopathic vet.The argument against homeopathy is always placebo but neither Boots nor Lucy knew or cared what I give them, yet he lived a long time for a feral cat and she feels fine.

  14. Complementary and Alternative Medicine exists & is beneficial for ALL Beings, humans animals plants. It is shortsighted to think conservative medicine is the ONLY answer. You are not a god with all the answers, different things work for different beings. I can’t believe we are even having this discussion. Seriously what is wrong with you people!

    • Lisa Ferguson said:

      Complementary and Alternative Medicine exists & is beneficial for ALL Beings, humans animals plants.

      How do we determine if that is the case?

      • Already well established, and many scientific references have already been provided on the two blogs regarding the homeopathy resolution.

        • Do you think it is important to take the quality of a trial into account before counting it as negative, positive on inconclusive or should each an every one simply be counted?

  15. I’ve used Homeopathic remedies on my pets for years with positive results, with no side effects. What else do you want to know? Don’t take away my precious rights to care for my animals.

    • Exactly…and to threaten the DVM’s with loosing their license if they dare to practice it?? What’s next? Chiro work? Acupuncture? Where will it end?? When we no longer have the ability to CHOSE for ourselves, with the help of our DVM’s to treat our animals how WE see fit.

      • Well, the evidence for chiro and acupuncture is hardly much better than homeopathy.

        You’re right that you should be able to choose, but that has to be a fully informed choice, does it not? And the best, least biased, most robust evidence so far tells us that homeopathy does not work.

  16. There is simply no evidence whatsoever that homeopathy is anything more than placebo. There is no plausible mechanism for action whatsoever. Anyone with even a rudimentary understanding of science, chemistry, or physics will find the proposed mechanisms of action of homeopathy laughable. The descent of a bunch of non-scientifically educated alternative medicine new-aged woosters upon a website does not make a plausible argument which supports homeopathy. That’s because there isn’t any plausible argument for homeopathy, other than “I’m willing to accept pseudoscientific nonsense as fact because I have no critical thinking skills.”

    Homeopathy is not accepted as valid science because it’s NOT valid science. There is no reasonable mechanism of action. And a bunch of people on the internet who tout its effectiveness and spew anecdotes does not constitute evidence for the effectiveness of homeopathy, nor does it provide a plausible mechanism of action.

    Really, the internet showcases how gullible people are, and how unwilling they are to change their beliefs in the light of new evidence. Homeopaths will not accept anything other than their preconceived notions. That’s the real mark of the power of the internet, it highlights idiocy and showcases the vocally stupid.

  17. Pingback: Homeopathy and withcraft: Jackson Galaxy and Dr. Jean take on the AVMA, and win. - DFW Animal Rescue

  18. Since medical studies are always dependent on the sponsor’s interests, why not let the decision remain with the person who loves their pet? Those who believe a chemical solution should always be the last resort deserve that option. Who profits if that choice is taken away?

  19. We can argue that science has testing that “prove” that anything not falling into the rules of testing are not legitimate. However the tests that science have for proving that a substance is working or not fails to explain anything outside the testing protocol and may be proven incorrect in the future, some testing already has. There are many things that do not fall within the current scientific testing. Does that not mean that these methods are not working? Yes there have always been those who appear to put down a broader view of what “is” but the scientific view must remain open to new research, and new views.

    If the AMVA does not leave open this premise of new views then what?

    • I’m curious the extent to which the skeptics, when at home and facing down their own medicine cabinets for their own personal use, reach only for what has been “proven” to be the most effective remedy for the condition or instead use what they have found over time to be the most effective for them. The later must just be placebo effect, can’t be real.

  20. PLACEBOS DO NOT WORK ON ANIMALS, SO HOW CAN YOU SAY HOMEOPATHY DOES NOT WORK??? all the studies and false beliefs are missing something very big and important, because many,many pets have responded very well to Homeopathy! I have seen it first hand in my own pets, some stray ones I have treated, and in the office of an alternative medicine veterinarian that I have worked for many years. I know how to use these medicinals, as well as herbals and foods for medicinal reasons, and I use them wisely and well, but not without study and thought! Americans want a ‘one pill answer’ to everything. If there is anything that is not understood, it is pharmacuticals! I stand firmly that the pharmacutical companies stand to make so much money that we in the country are brainwashed to believing that they are okay for us and will help us. ! Why else would there be so much money paid for commercials? Doesn’t anyone listen to or read the disclaimers of side effects???? Also, if you are not afraid to voice your negative opinion, why don’t you use your full name? I, for one, would never use a vet or take any medical advice or otherwise from someone who doesn’t their name, education, and the studies they are referring to.

    • Lisa

      There are many reasons why pseudo science such as homeopathy might appear to work on animals. For example read this: Homeopathy Does NOT Work On Babies or Animals!

      Only once you have eliminated all the far more prosaic reasons for any effects you see on animals (including some rather obvious experimenter/observer biases), you can begin to postulate more esoteric reasons that would require re-writing of much of our knowledge of science.

  21. I have used homeopathy with great success for the past 15 years in the treatment of my own health issues (serious, chronic issues, acute issues and injuries) and in the treatment of things like mammary conditions, infections, boils and flea bites in my animals. There is no question whatsoever that homeopathy is effective. It has also been proven safe in large studies for infants, children, pregnant women and nursing mothers so is clearly safe for animals. In addition to being safe and effective, homeopathy is affordable and green. I cannot imagine not having this wonderful system of medicine available to anyone who wants to use it or not having available practitioners for the animals.

  22. The AVMA chose inclusiveness over scientific integrity by passing the buck and essentially shelfing the resolution. 99% of critical thinkers who examine the literature and the theory behind homeopathy come to the same conclusion; The literature is definitively negative when you look at only the quality studies, and the theory is akin to something a 10 year old comes up with while playing ‘doctor’ in the backyard with foraged plants and water.

    Yes, the practice of homeopathy is popular. Lots of placebos are incredibly popular and profitable. But most people who use homeopathy couldn’t tell you how a homeopathic mixture is made, they just assume it’s a synonym of naturopathy or holistic. It’s no surprise that there is a minor ‘outcry’ (read: homeopathy believer websites directing traffic and encouraging other believers to write letters and post comments) against this resolution by the believers and practitioners, and I don’t doubt their sincerity one bit. But popularity and the outspokenness of advocates is no reason to curb criticism of a placebo snake oil therapy.

    so many human medicine organizations have the collective courage and integrity to denounce such placebo therapies, and call a spade a spade. The AVMA is hurting the integrity of the entire veterinary community (my future career) by allowing such practices to continue uncriticized. Stand up and have some courage and call homeopathy what it is: get over your fear of possibly offending a colleague or two. It’s the right thing to do, and any scientific minded person can see that.

    • The majority of studies performed on homeopathy over the past 40 years have been positive. There are 600 basic science studies and clinical trials showing homeopathy has biological effects and produces significant, sometimes substantial, health benefits. Some of them can be seen at:

      http://www.nationalcenterforhomeopathy.org/articles-research
      http://www.extraordinarymedicine.org
      http://avilian.co.uk/

      Homeopathy has been proven in studies to be superior to placebo. Examples are:

      Arnica 30c after tonsilectomy reduces pain by 28.3% compared to 23.85% for placebo
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17227743

      82% of patients with rheumatoid arthritis helped by homeopathy compared to 21% helped by placebo
      http://www.holisticonline.com/Homeopathy/homeo_clinical.htm

      This study shows that the results achieved with homeopathic treatment are not compatible with the hypothesis that homeopathy works only by placebo :

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9310601

      This study shows that placebo effects in homeopathy are not larger than in conventional medicine:

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20129180

      Animal studies show it is effective in such things as reducing hematomas in turkeys by 30% and in reducing the need for repeated insemination in female pigs. More animal studies can be seen at the web site of the National Center for Homeopathy and Avilian linked to above.

      Homeopathy is recognized as a system of medicine or as a medical specialty by the governments of 19 countries. It is part of the national health care programs of 7 countries.

      • There’s been plenty of studies of poor quality performed by those who have their entire lives invested in the false belief that homeopathy is effective. And surprise surprise, they have a database of these poor studies that they can throw around when people criticize the efficacy of homeopathy. Just because you can say there was a “placebo” group in a study does not automatically make it a good quality study.
        I wish you the best with all your past health issues, and i have no doubt that you are convinced of its efficacy, but i can also find people are just as firm believers in UFO abductions, psychics, astrology, magnetic bracelets, megadosing of vitamins, and everything under the sun. I’m happy that you feel like you’ve gotten something out of it over the years. people do truly benefit from inert placebo remedies as long as they’re not substituting them for effective pharmaceuticals, and as long as they have the disposable income to throw around.
        The sad part in veterinary homeopathy is that pets do not even get the benefit of placebo.. The owner gets the placebo effect and therefore feels like their dog is benefiting from the ‘water’ they’ve just administered. The pet feels no better for it, but the owner convinces themselves that any change in behaviour or any novel observation is evidence that the pet is “feeling better because of the medicine i paid good money for”.
        The homeopathic practitioners out there are for the most part some of the most caring, sweet, sympathetic people around… I never would doubt their sincerity.. but that doesn’t change the fact that they sell water and call it medicine, and i’m not going to keep quiet about that just because most of them are good people at heart.

        The dealings of governments concerns me not at all. I’m more interested in what the serious scientific human medical profession says about homeopathy, which is that it is a pure placebo which has repeatedly shown no efficacy under quality study conditions.

        Enough cherry-picking studies and websites, your cherry basket is already overflowing.

        • Ah, the idealism of youth and inexperience!
          I could, from almost 30 years as a practicing veterinarian, cite the studies that show many prescriptions drugs to be ineffective or based on flawed studies or statistical analysis. I can also show the illogical use of steroids or vaccinations in ill animals. I choose to use treatments I deem effective, gentle, and very much in line with “above all do no harm”. Among those is Homeopathy

          • We youthful folk have a good eye for logical fallacies, and the first part of your paragraph is a “tu quoque” fallacy. Youth does have its advantages.
            These first few comments of yours have no bearing on whether homeopathy is an effective medicine.

            Ah, the stubbornness of old age, to base one’s beliefs primarily on one’s own anecdotal experience rather than valuing a critical appraisal of the available scientific evidence (when it’s available, which in this case it is. and it’s overwhelmingly negative) in tandem with cautious personal experience.

            To use “above all, do no harm” to justify the use of a clear placebo therapy in veterinary medicine is almost laughable. It’s water, my friend. Just water.

          • Ah, student, you should read more carefully! My point was that many treatments are not EBM. Many pharmaceuticals have fallible statistics behind them. Do not assume Big Pharm and the economic pressures of practice will keep your good practice intentions intact! My best medicine includes CAVM especially Homeopathy.

        • Those poor studies were not conducted by people with knowledge of homeopathy. They were conducted by people with NO knowledge of homeopathy, its principles or its practice who were attempting to assess the system of medicine. Those studies were bound to fail, and they did. That is strictly a reflection of a flawed approach by a person with no knowledge. It is not by any means a reflection on homeopathy itself.

          Did you not notice that conventional drugs work by placebo in a temporary way for some people? In fact, a recent Harvard study shows that anti-depressants work ONLY by placebo irregardless of the degree of depression. And yet, I feel certain you would recommend conventional anti-depressants to people suffering from depression.

          I am quite certain that vets use objective measurements of improvement (tests like blood work and x-rays) just as doctors of people do. I doubt that any vet relies solely on the pet’s owner’s descriptions of the animal to determine whether or not the patient has improved. Vets also use their own observations of the pet to make a judgement about progress or lack of progress.

        • Too bad you have been indoctrinated as a student. Maybe you should read about the great work done in Homeopathy in the UK and also the fact that there are 3 Homeopathic Hospitals that are State run and cure people every day.

          • There used to me more, but whether there are any NHS hospitals providing homeopathy is irrelevant to the topic of whether there is any good evidence for homeopathy.

            You say they ‘cure people every day’. Do you have any evidence for that?

    • Anonymous student,
      While I am not a practitioner of homeopathy, I have a basic understanding of its nature. It is the practice of using extremely diluted substances that in a healthy patient would actually cause the signs of disease that the patient is experiencing. Do you believe that allergy desensitization works? How do you think this works? It seems to me that homeopathy and allergy desensitization work with very similar principles. If we choose to denounce homeopathy, then we might as well denounce allergy desensitization as not working as well.
      It is natural to fear what you do not know about. Instead of remaining ignorant and making a quick judgement, why not find out more about it before denouncing it. I hope that as a young student you will open your mind more as there are many modalities available that can help your patients in addition to or in lieu of conventional/Western medicine.

  23. I believe that Homeopathy is often confused with the use of supplemental herbal, vitamins, minerals or other natural substances. Homeopathy is the use of minute (actually often undetectable) quantities of natural substances suspended in pure water, often with alcohol or in pill form. The belief is that these tiny amounts will stimulate the body to fight against the disease or illness. Many doctors use supplements and only a few specialize is homeopathy as their main focus for curing a patient.

    It seems to me that although there are many who believe homeopathy is a sort of witchcraft or unfounded path, placebos are often used in medicine which are not homeopathic but often do the job of curing the patient.

    What may work for one practice may not work for another. I think leaving avenues open for practices, and physicians do practice, is the best for clients and patient.

    • Thank you for that. It’s nice to see that at least one person know what Homeopathy is about

  24. Homeopthy is used successfully on my family and my pets. It has been greatly beneficial to all of us!

  25. Upto the end of year 2010, there have been 247 studies published in 98 medical journals including 11 meta-analysis, 6 systematic reviews (out of approximately 20 systematic reviews published), 1 Cochrane Review and 93 DBRPCT (out of approximately 225 RCT published) in evidence of homeopathy.
    1. 247 studies does not include studies on plants and animals
    2. 247 studies does not include ‘positive but statistically non-significant’ studies.
    3. Out of 247, 42 studies are on combination remedies.
    4. 98 journals comprises of 79 integrative, 9 homeopathy and 10 CAM journals
    5. All journals beyond year 1893 are peer-reviewed.