Proposed Resolution 3 (Homeopathy) Update

Update Jan 7: post edited to correct the number of the reference committee (6, not 2) and add their recommendation.  KAM

During today’s House of Delegates Winter Session, the AVMA House of Delegates discussed and voted on a resolution that stirred much controversy among our members and the public.

Resolution 3, submitted by the Connecticut Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA), proposed that AVMA have a policy that states homeopathy is an ineffective practice and that its use as a veterinary therapy be discouraged.

At the Executive Board meeting on Friday, the Board voted to recommend against the resolution. The Board’s input is considered by the HOD, but the HOD vote determines the outcome. The House Advisory Committee recommended that the resolution be referred to the Executive Board, with a recommendation that the Board refer it to the Council on Veterinary Service. Reference Committee 6 reviewed the proposed resolution and concurred with the House Advisory Committee.

The HOD voted (majority vote) to refer the resolution to the Executive Board, with recommendation to refer it to the Council on Veterinary Services for consideration in the spring.

The wheels are already in motion to provide avenues for member and public comment on this. Please be patient and give us some time to get the mechanism in place. I assure you that we will provide ample time for responses and we will announce the opportunity here, online and in our social media channels.

To those members who expressed that they would not renew their membership and to those who said they wouldn’t become AVMA members if this resolution passed, I offer something to consider: only AVMA members can provide input into AVMA policies. Thanks to our new website and the hard work of our Online Services and IT departments, we now have open commenting periods on ALL professional policies, which allows AVMA members to provide input on any policy at any time. If you’re not a member, you don’t have a voice in AVMA policy-making decisions. Forfeiting or forgoing membership takes away your opportunity to express your opinions and contribute to the incredible variety of views that we need for open dialog about issues relevant to the profession. As a member, you have channels through which you can provide input and help shape the outcome of policies, instead of being a bystander. Please consider that when you make your decision about membership.

49 thoughts on “Proposed Resolution 3 (Homeopathy) Update

  1. To ALL AVMA delegates,
    I have been practicing veterinary medicine for over 40 years and been a member of the AVMA in good standing as well. I have practiced alternative veterinary medicine for over 30 years, with homeopathy as my core modality of choice. I would have quit being a veterinarian decades ago had it not been for homeopathy saving my life and the lives of my patients.
    Those of you who have no experience or training ( I have 30+ years worth) in homeopathy need to listen to those of us in OUR profession who do. I can tell you without a doubt, that alternative veterinary medicine has much more to offer than drugs, chemicals and vaccines. I am living proof of the truth in this statement.
    Do not deprive OUR patients of a modality that has stood the test of time for over 250 years because of ignorance. My patients do not know what placebo means. They ONLY know that Homeopathy helps them heal from everything from and abscess to Autoimmune disease.
    Be the light of truth and make Homeopathy a part of OUR dedication to prevent suffering and do no harm. Homeopathy has never been recalled or reported to the poison center as causing harm or being poisonous or dangerous to any living thing EVER.
    You are all my prayers,
    Do the right thing and leave homeopathy in my medical bag so your fellow veterinarians can continue to CARE for our animal friends.
    Sincerely yours,
    Stephen Blake DVM (CSU 1973), CVH, CVA, Usui Reiki Master

    • Bravo! Right to the point, which is that those who condemn holistic veterinary care are willfully ignorant about it. If they cannot understand it, in their closed minds, it must be worthless.

  2. I am living proof that homeopathy works. My 6yr old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is also living proof homeopathy works. Isabelle was diagnosed with a number of ailments common in her breed, heart problems, luxating patellas, & hip dysplasia. It is because of holistic vets like Dr. Karen Becker, and a brilliant animal chiropractor Dr. Julia Smith-Pearse, that Isabelle no longer suffers from any of the above mentioned issues now. I am all about raw diets for all of my pets, as it has proven to have dramatically improved their health. Some of the people in this forum can preach all they want about lack of ‘scientific evidence’ in holistic veterinary medicine. My animals well being is evidence enough for me…holistic/homeopathy works.

    • Vivian, I agree with you completely, but many veterinarians choose to ignore the clear evidence of the success of homeopathy, raw diets, acupuncture, traditional Chinese medicine, and other holistic care, and instead place their blind faith in their bag-o-tricks of indiscriminate use of antibiotics, indiscriminate use of steroids, indiscriminate vaccines, indiscriminate neuterings, and praise of Science Diet. They call that “peer-reviewed science”, but it really is the folly of scientism.

      • I’ve read the nicely articulated comments about the positive benefits of alternative medicine for animals and I concur that it is still the best solution for a chronic or systemic type condition. Yes in an emergency as sudden severe physical trauma you still need that type of intervention, but even then when stabilization has been achieved then alternative can be added for a quicker healthier recovery. I for one will NEVER use a vet. that doesn’t utilize the methods in his or her practice.

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  4. I am very disturbed with the proposed resolution by the AVMA. Homeopathic therapy has a place in our society, not only for humans, but for pets also. Conventional dog medication has proven (scientifically) to suppress a dog’s illness symptoms, thus weakening the dog’s inherent defense mechanism, predisposing it to more and frequent diseases.

    I had a beautiful Rottweiller who had hip dysplacia. She was given steroids that caused her to gain tremendous weight and caused severe stomach issues. She could hardly get around (she was approx. 2 yrs old when this happened) and she was “crabby”. In addition to the steroids, every 3 mos she was put under anesthesia to just clip her toenails because she was very ugly when someone, even the vet tried to clip her nails. She finally was taken off the steroids and she lost weight, but still had stomach issues.

    When I got her, which was a couple a years later, I started her on a high quality kibbles (not Walmart, etc) and I made my own chicken and veggie combo. Her stomach issues subsided and she was less “crabby”. She played like a puppy with my younges Rottie and I was even able to clip her nails myself. My vet was amazed in the change she exemplified.

    She apparently had the beginnings of bone cancer when we got her, but we didn’t know it and our vet didn’t catch it. She definately had a “sick gut”, which was probably from all the chemicals she ingested. Anyone that has a sick gut is susceptible to many maladies, and cancer is no exception. This also goes for animals. Everything centers around the gut.

    Homeopathy allows a dog’s body to overcome diseases by strengthening its inherent immune system and lets the body take care of the disease causing agents. At the time, having no homeopathic vet in the area, I had to figure out how to help her on my own. I can tell you for sure, if there had been homeopathic vet and a pet acupuncturist here when she was alive, I would have certainly taken her and used any other homeopathic means I could to help her and to make her more comfortable.

    I think the thing that shocks me the most is that the AVMA would accept a document written by an anonymous person. Why did he/she not sign it…this puts their credibility into question. What qualifications did that person have? He/she states there is no scientific evidence that homeopathic therapies work…what evidence does he/she have to even state that? All I can say is that I sincerely hope that the AVMA would reevaluate and do more research themselves, not relying on a biased, anonymous person.

  5. How can a “therapy” that contains not a single molecule of active ingredient possibly be considered an ethical form of treatment? Magic, pseudoscience, superstition and magic have no place in veterinary medicine. Congrats to the CVMA for standing up for what is right, even if it cuts into the profits of those who would prey on the desperate and afraid.

      • Helen,

        You statement about “not a single molecule of active ingredient” has long since been disproven. A unified mechanism of action for homeopathic remedies is emerging based on sound scientific research. This research involves nanoparticles, remedy-templated glass-derived silicates, hormesis, and time-dependent sensitization. You can read one of the review papers on this at:

      • I DO understand. Very well. I have read quite a bit about homeopathy. As implausible as it is, I would be willing to accept homeopathy if it was proven to work under rigorous scientific testing. However, homeopathy has never been shown to effectively treat any disease better than placebo. Of course, there are some really awful, horribly designed studies out there that “prove” it works, but those can’t really be counted. Why would you continue to use a therapy based on an implausible theory that has been proven ineffective? That is what I don’t understand. I realize that this will fall on deaf ears, but it feels good to get it off my chest! Have a nice day!

        • You ask: “Why would you continue to use a therapy based on an implausible theory that has been proven ineffective? That is what I don’t understand.”

          My answer is that I would not want to do that, but your question is in the form of a straw man that has nothing to do with homeopathy, which is neither implausible nor disproven.

          • I stand behind my statement that homeopathy is implausible. Based on what current knowledge of biology and chemistry, the premise on which homeopathy makes sense. I also stand behind my statement that GOOD QUALITY STUDIES invariably show that homeopathy is no more effective than placebo.

          • Well, Dr. Rizzo, I’ll keep your views in mind when I’m asked to recommend vets in the Madison area. I suppose you feel the same way about detox and homotoxicology?

          • hahahah….funny slip in my response that follows! I meant to write that it makes no sense!!

    • Helen, Not so long ago, I thought like you do because I could not make sense of the idea of a very small amount of a substance being able to affect a body. Researchers have now found nanoparticles of the original substance in homeopathic preparations, which still seems hard to believe could be effective. However, in cell culture studies, there are demonstrable effects of remedies on the cellular functions. I practiced conventional medicine for 20 years and had heard from my colleagues that homeopathy was quachery. But clients were telling me off to ther side that homeopathy works. I decided I should find out about homeopathy to debunk it once and for all. Then, to my surprise, I found with experience that homeopathic remedies can work as well as or better than conventional drugs for many medical conditions. Surgery or drugs may be the most appropriate treatments for a given case, but other times alternative therapies can be the best route. I discuss the possible treatments with each owner and the owner decides which method of treatment will best serve their pet with the owner capabilities, the living environment and the animal’s condition taken into consideration. Homeopathy, performed correctly can be quite effective, but the practitioner needs to be fully trained through the Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy approved courses and certification program.

      • See? If youseriously study it, instead of blindly slam it, you learn something that may help cure dogs and cats in your own practice.

  6. Pingback: URGENT: If You Believe in Homeopathic Therapies for Pets, PLEASE READ THIS | askmarion

    • Thank you for this link, Dr. Epstein – and for your part in the proceedings! Very enlightening….Very.

  7. This is so discouraging to our field, if I had to do it all over again, I would never go to veterinary school. How did this profession of higher education gets so brain-washed?! I resign.

    • Dr. Sudduth,

      While there will always be people in any profession or walk of life who have fixed and inflexible notions, I found that the overwhelming majority of veterinarians I met at the AVMA meeting this past week were open-minded and willing to listen. Even those that indicated a “disbelief” in how homeopathic remedies worked were opposed to this resolution for a variety of reasons, including concerns about the “slippery slope” of limiting the scope of veterinary practice, the unwillingness to disregard the public’s choices for therapeutic modalities for their animals, and the recognition that 90% of treatments that we use in conventional medicine could not stand up to the level of evidence that the resolution expected of homeopathy.
      I went back to work today enthusiastic about my profession!

      • Thanks for your assessment. But if so many of the attendees felt that way, why didn’t more vote in opposition (to squash it altogether) rather than give an obvious agenda item the legitimacy of further committee work? I understand it was only Pennsylvania and Delaware that firmly voted against it.

        • Daisy, I wanted to clear up some misinformation you’ve received. The first vote the House of Delegates takes is on the recommendation of the reference committee – in this case, the ref com recommended referral, so that was the first motion on which they voted regarding this resolution. Now that it is referred to the Executive Board, it is not a proposed policy or resolution, it is simply an item for consideration. If the Executive Board refers it to the council, then the council will give it no more or less consideration than any other item submitted to them.
          The results of the voting (as in, how each delegate voted) are not known. It’s possible that you’re basing your statement on what was reported to you about delegates who spoke out against it, but that does not mean that they were the only ones who opposed the resolution. Some supported it; some opposed it altogether; others may have had some questions and felt that the issue itself merited more deliberation, and that referring it to the council would accomplish that.

  8. Wow, Merck, Hills, Purina, Pfizer, & the rest must be really taking a hit with more and more pet owners finally waking up!
    They’re not going to profit from healthy pets not needing to see the Veterinarians who are pressured to push their “products”. — after all, they are the ones who fund (research, equipment, scholarships, etc.) so generously.

  9. Great comments by everyone, but the people who need to hear this are the members of the Connecticut VMA who proposed it, the veterinary members of the Evidence Based VMA (who probably really don’t understand what EBM is supposed to do) and skeptic veterinarians such as Dr. Brennan McKenzie, author of the white paper. Raise your voice to them, rather than AVMA who shouldn’t be making this decision anyway (and they didn’t – good for them). As a veterinarian whose own health was saved by homeopathy as well as who uses it daily in practice, it was good to see the support that is out there.

    • It is not just the Connecticut VMA who are behind this. And the leadership of that group would not pay attention, anyway. Their minds are fixed. There is strong opposition to homeopathy in many state delegations.

  10. Thankfully, you are showing a tiny bit of respect to the public. Now tell us who “anonymous” is and expose his real agenda!

  11. I just returned from the AVMA meeting which I attended as a representative from the Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy as well as the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association. I have been a member of the AVMA for 31 years, and have always felt welcome in this organization. The meeting reinforced that. We met with delegates, presidents of state veterinary medical associations, Executive Board members, and many other fellow AVMA members. Everyone was very polite and receptive, and many asked great questions about homeopathy. The overwhelming sentiment was against this resolution as it was not reflective of what AVMA is trying to achieve, namely inclusiveness.
    I want to emphasize that this resolution was NOT proposed by the AVMA, but rather the AVMA was obligated to vote on it because it was introduced in a procedurally correct manner.
    The resolution will now be sent back to the Executive Board with a recommendation to send this to the Council on Veterinary Services. This is the committee that will be reviewing the AVMA’s CAVM Guidelines this spring. We at the AVH and AHVMA are excited about the opportunity to present a synopsis of the evidence in homeopathy and look forward to working with this committee.

    • This is encouraging news. I became resigned to likely passage of the resolution, in view of the August action to condemn home-prepared raw food diets for the most specious and hypocritical of rationales.

  12. I am not a vet, but a naturopathic physician who uses homeopathy as my chief modality to treat humans. I also write a column on homeopathic research for Homeopathy Today (the official publication of the National Center for Homeopathy).

    I am familiar with the entirety of the homeopathic literature going back to the first clinical study conducted by Stapf in 1821. I personally know many of the important figures in the field of homeopathic research and have interviewed and corresponded with them regarding their work.

    I can assure you that the bulk of the data points to homeopathic remedies being biologically active agents that have the capability to positively affect health in humans, animals, and plants.

    The physico-chemical data is strongly in favor of homeopathic dilutions having distinct material properties. This research has been conducted by scientist of the highest caliber – figures such as: Rustum Roy, the senior-most member of the US National Academy of Sciences in the field of ceramics (before his death in 2010), and widely considered one of two or three most important materials scientists in history; Jayesh Bellare, Chair of Materials Science at the Indian Institute of Technology (Mumbai), one of the worlds leading nano-scientists; William Tiller, former Chair of Materials Science at Stanford; and Luc Montagnier, Nobel Laureate (discoverer of HIV).

    A meta-analysis of the in vivo literature demonstrates clearly that homeopathic remedies have significant effects on laboratory animals. It’s not even remotely ambiguous, the evidence is overwhelmingly positive as affirmed by some very high quality research.

    The human clinical literature is not as clear, due to wide heterogeniety (both of conditions and in the types of homeopathy used) and few trials in any one condition. However, there are several systematic reviews of certain conditions coming to positive conclusions, including in respiratory allergies, post-operative ileus and fibromyalgia, to name a few. Four out of five systematic reviews of homeopathy as a whole come to positive conclusions, though the appropriateness of such meta-analyses are, in my opinion, questionable (it would be like doing a meta-analysis of conventional medicine and throwing into a data pool one or two studies from each of various drugs and various conditions – the conclusions about the entire system are not meaningful and this is not what meta-analyses were meant to assess).

    You can read a few more details (with some links to the studies I have referenced here) at a comment I posted in the BMJ:

    This motion to ‘ban’ homeopathy amongst vets reeks of dogmatism and territorialism. It surely has nothing to do with a sober and scientific assessment of the evidence.

  13. Evidence of homeopathy is undeniably positive and consistent. It’s a human evidence of experience, gathered from a real-world observation in a real-world setting (not in an ideal artificial laboratory test conditions) giving real-world solutions.
    Upto the end of year 2010, there have been 246 human studies (including 43 on combination remedies) published in 98 peer-reviewed international medical journals (80 integrative, 9 homeopathy and 9 CAM) including 11 meta-analysis, 6 systematic reviews (out of approximately 20 systematic reviews published), 1 Cochrane Review and 97 DBRPCT (out of approximately 225 RCT published) in evidence of homeopathy.

  14. As a consumer that researches all aspects of my dog’s care, I thank you for recognizing this matter requires more input from your members and their clients. It is much better that we have the option to make these decisions with the advice and support of our Veterinarians as partners in our animals’ well-being.

    • Well, I disagree with this comment. Instead of this matter requiring more input, it should require no input at all from the AVMA. It is a decision that the AVMA ought not make. It is beyond AVMA’s ken to even consider condemning a category of treatment modalities about which it refuses to study and learn. AVMA’s House of Delegates appear wrapped in a sickenly smug, narrow-minded view of veterinary “medicine” as equating with all there is of “science”. They ignorantly contend that this “science” claims the sole mantle of rationality, with reason itself. AVMA’s continued insistence on the universal competence of only allopathic veterinary medicine (i.e., the liberal administration of antibiotics, steroids, and Science Diet) will serve only to undermine the credibility of veterinary medicine and science as a whole. When you consider that Hill’s Science Diet is the “Vets’ #1 Choice for their Own Pets”, you have to wonder if these veterinarians, who vote in the House of Delegates, are living in the real world or some alternate universe.

      • Let me add vaccinations and indiscriminate neutering to the allopathic vets’ bag-o-tricks.

  15. Must be cutting into the AVMA revenue so their looking for ways to debunk a practice that has been around longer than conventional medicine.It started with Raw food and now this. This evil scheme is going to be counter productive and make you look like the fools you really are !!!!!!!!

  16. Policies against debarking AND homeopathy are policies that restrict choice. Both are avenues that can actually be useful, when the body of veterinarians here is trusted to use sound judgement. Judgment and behavior is something that can not be over-regulated. To do so can only create defiance and animosity.

  17. The igorance, bigotry, and fear of alternative solutions when allopathic remedies fail, of such a large minority of the AVMA House of Nannies, is apalling. Thankfully, over half of that body came to their senses … this time.

    • Lets allow astrology and crystal healing and tea leaf reading too! Somewhere this needs to stop. Methods proven to ineffective need to be rejected and the AVMA is a great place to start advocating for that!

      • See what I mean about determined ignorance? They fear what the do not understand and refuse to learn.

      • I know and have used a vet that uses homeopathic remedies, as well as herbs and acupuncture. Along WITH conventional medicine. It’s vets like her that we NEED to have available.

        Homeopathy is still going to be used. Wouldn’t it be better to have it in the hands of trained vets?

        Let’s not get ridiculous and start bringing in things that don’t apply, such as the things you mention. Homeopathy, herbs and acupuncture have been around for years and are used quite successfully in other cultures. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to use it. Personally, I want the option. (And yes, I’ve seen alternative medicine work on a couple of my dogs. And they had NO idea it was supposed to so no placebo effect.)

  18. Please do not do this. There is a place for homeopathic medicine as well as other alternative medicines. There are responsible and reputable vets that practice alternative medicine along with conventional medicine. Don’t take away choices.

    Also, while you’re at it, don’t vote to do away with debarking/bark softening, again, it’s a choice some owners need to make. Sometimes a dog can remain in it’s home if it’s debarked and could end up in a shelter or rescue if not. Some breeds are barkers and now days with so many communities with close living quarters, well, let the owner and their vet decide.

    Please don’t listen to the Animal Rights groups. They want to do away with domestic animals and that means no jobs for vets. Animal welfare is humane care for animals. Leave us owners those choices to work with our vets and not feel the vet is against us.

    Be pro animal, pro responsible owner and pro choice.
    Thank you.

    • I agree with Peggy, you need to keep the alternatives open otherwise there will become a time when there are no alternatives.

    • I know that the AVMA is doing this because many owners are looking for other options for the healthcare of their animals. In Europe they include homeopathy training and practice it along with their Western medicine…maybe instead of trying to eliminate homeopathy they should learn to include it in their practice. I agree with Peggy — let’s be pro animal, pro responsible owner and pro choice.