Homeopathy and veterinary medicine

What is homeopathy’s place in veterinary medicine? This question remains a source of contention.

A recent article in JAVMAnews looks at the history of homeopathy and different viewpoints concerning whether it should be used in veterinary medicine. Some people view it as a “gentler and more natural alternative to traditional medicine,” while others see it as “an unproven and useless modality, at best.”

Homeopathy started in the late 1700s by German physician Samuel Hahnemann based on the idea that a substance that could cause symptoms in a healthy person could cure similar symptoms in a sick person. He developed a system of dilutions in order to give these substances to people in very small doses. The first dilution is one part mother tincture—the substance dissolved into a tincture—and nine parts solvent—usually water or alcohol. This process is repeated until farther down the line very little of the mother tincture remains.

About 20 states include complementary and alternative veterinary medicine in their definition of the practice of veterinary medicine. The Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy (AVH) is the only veterinary certifying body in the U.S. recognized by the National Center for Homeopathy. Certified members have completed a professional course in veterinary homeopathy and have passed a continuing education certification process from the AVH.

In 2016, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission announced that homeopathic products must prove safety and efficacy, meaning that homeopathic products must back up health claims with scientific evidence. The Food and Drug Administration does regulate homeopathic preparations, but there are exceptions for these preparations that don’t apply to other drugs.

For more information on the history of homeopathy and differing views on its role in veterinary homeopathy, see the full write up in JAVMAnews.

Photo credit: © iStock/temmuzcan

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