The Prejudice Against Homeopathy

In the last few years there has been an increasing criticism of the use of homeopathy as a medical treatment system. My suspicion is that this is happening because more and more people are using it and the other medical practitioners and the pharmaceutical companies are starting to feel it in their pocket books. In any case this is happening and it is increasingly annoying.

I want to give you a recent example of this and show how it is an example of prejudice, not the comments of a neutral observer.

In the July 1, 2017 issue of the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association is a letter to the editor by a professor of pharmacology at the veterinary school in Virginia. Right away we can be suspicious in that it is written by a professor of pharmacology as such a  person is obviously focused on, and committed, to the use of drugs in treatment. If a system like homeopathy comes along and says these drugs are not necessary and even that not using them and instead turning to homeopathy will be more effective, this is a threat to such a person.

I won’t put up the whole letter but focus on the part that is criticizing homeopathy. Here is the first part:

Botanical medicine, homeopathy, and the placebo effect
The AVMA is currently exploring two aspects of complementary and alternative medicine: a petition before the AVMA American Board of Veterinary Specialties for recognition of the American College of Veterinary Botanical Medicine and a recent news report on the role of homeopathy in the veterinary profession.

As explained in the recent JAVMA News report homeopathy is an 18th-century notion that rests on two basic principles: “the idea that a substance capable of causing particular symptoms in a healthy individual will cure similar symptoms in a person with disease” (the so-called “law of similars”) and the idea that these substances retain their medicinal properties when highly diluted (so-called “potentization”). Large scale studies have shown that homeopathic preparations are not effective and that their reported positive actions are nothing more than a result of placebo effects. In veterinary medicine, some species—especially dogs. cats, and horses—may seem to react positively to placebos, but this generally is a result of conditioned responses to human-animal interactions, such as touch, voice, and visual cues. In addition, a phenomenon known as placeho-by-proxy has been described, by which an optimistic animal owner (or even the veterinarian) may imagine improvements in a sick patient when no true benefit has occurred.

As for homeopathy. there seems little justification for recognizing a modality that has not been shown to be effective. The AVMA’s position Is clear: “all aspects of veterinary medicine should be held to the same standards, including complementary, alternative and integrative veterinary medicine, non-traditional or other novel approaches.” When we ignore this basic principle, we undermine our credibility as a science based profession.

Notice the use of this language “homeopathy is an 18th-century notion.” I think I can say with some confidence that when this professor talks about the idea of using drugs in amounts enough to influence the body he does not introduce it by saying “use of drugs is a 6th century notion.” (I don’t know if 6th century is accurate, just picking it for effect.) To say “18th century” is to make it sound old and antiquated. Then to use the word “notion” it is a judgment. It is not a principle or a hypothesis, it is a notion. The dictionary defines “notion” as “a belief about something” or “a desire or impulse.” Obviously this denigrates the principle of homeopathic work, the great discovery made by Dr. Hahnemann that medicines could act in this way. It is an indication of pre-judgment, of prejudice.

The next thing to note is the statement “Large scale studies have shown that homeopathic preparations are not effective and that their reported positive actions are nothing more than a result of placebo effects.” What does large scale studies mean? A large number of test subjects? isn’t the critical factor in a study the decision if it is statistically significant or not? We don’t base the evaluation of something because a large number were involved. It depends on how it was set up and if properly controlled. By this standard there are many double-blind, controlled studies of homeopathic treatment that show greater effectiveness than the conventional use of drugs. Why is this ignored?

Then the most outrageous statement of them all is that any perceived effectiveness of homeopathy is due to “placebo.” When the word placebo is used this way it is dismissive, in other words, it is imagination, not real. The professor of veterinary medicine is actually saying that even though there are case reports of animals improving with homeopathic treatment it is all imaginary. In case it is too much a stretch to think that placebos act on animals (because they do not know what they are receiving), we will instead say the client has brought about imaginary improvement because of the way they interact with and touch their animal during the treatment. Is this a stretch or what? I can say, after 50 years of being a veterinarian, that I have not seen this correlation. Sure, it is important how the client thinks and acts towards their animal but this does not show up clearly as the factor that determines if the animal is better or not. Isn’t it incredible that instead of allowing the possibility that this person, ignorant of homeopathy, would make the statement that the clients of homeopathic practitioners are imagining improvements in their animals?

For one thing, there are many clients that come to us that use homeopathy and they are doubtful or skeptical about using this method yet will report improvements. But this ridiculous statement becomes more clearly so if we turn it around. Let us say that “placebo-by-proxy” is a significant happening in medicine. If so, does this not also apply to clients who report their animals are better with allopathic treatment? Or is the author of this letter saying this happens only with homeopathy?

Do you see the lack of intelligence in a letter like this? First of all it is coming from prejudice, a pre-formed conclusion, one made without any personal experience or study. It basically is what this professor was told by someone else. Then to ignore double-blind studies that have shown effectiveness of homeopathic treatment is to act with blinders. The final evidence is making the statement that when improvement with homeopathy is reported it is imagination of the client. This is not the action of intelligence, it is simply a closed mind expressing its limitations.

Unfortunately this is commonly the sort of criticisms being put out these days. It is blind, emotional, and ignorant and eventually will have to end. In the meantime those of us that use homeopathy in treatment (in my case now almost 40 years) continue to do so and see wonderful outcomes.

— Richard Pitcairn, DVM, PhD

July 1, 2017, Vol. 251, No. 1, Pages 29-31

Dear readers, I asked Dr. Pitcairn if he’d like to share this with you, originally published at his own blog. He graciously agreed.

I think what he points out about criticism of homeopathy is similar to what we are seeing with the question of vaccination safety and efficacy. We in homeopathic veterinary practice regularly see patients made seriously ill by vaccination. These animals often present to us when conventional medicine has failed them, and we nearly always see a significant improvement when we address illness brought about by vaccination, aka vaccinosis.

And yet, you still hear pitched voices claiming vaccines are assuredly safe and responsible for saving the planet from the ravages of infectious disease. Historical data does not bear this out.

Let us know in the comments if you run into this sort of biased criticism. In my mind, there’s no better proof that homeopathy works than the fact that seriously ill animals improve significantly under careful homeopathic prescribing.

And I can’t begin to count the number of comments here and emails you send me that clearly tell the story of damaged health following vaccination.

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  1. Lynne traceski on May 28, 2019 at 7:26 pm

    So very SICK of Dr.Whitecoats that are nothing more than slaves to the pharmaceutical industry!They have a sheeple indoctrination since veterinarian school indoctrination of their role to” cure” illness.But they are ironically the ones causing the pervasive illness in our once upon a time healthy canines!!!They are the actual perpetrators of vaccine and preventative drug induced illness in our beloved pets!Need to find a good holistic vet fast but wait why is it that the holistic vets office alerts me to the fact that they are not all inclusive enough and that I still must maintain an allopathic vet also?I am totally confused.Please advise.

    • Dr. Pitcairn on May 28, 2019 at 7:40 pm

      Lynne, it is difficult to find the care you want for your animal. It is not that veterinarians are bad, it is more accurate that in our educational process we are taught to think a certain way. When this happens, our minds close to a larger understanding. I have done a lot of teaching and I can see it is very much a challenge for people to set aside what they have learned and open the mind to fresh considerations. As you say, even those that call themselves “holistic” are not usually free of that conditioning. At least it is a start. If you have the choice I would use homeopathy and nutrition as first choice. There is a list of those willing to take on new clients on my website under the menu “referrals.?
      Good luck to you.
      With best wishes,
      Dr. Pitcairn

  2. Dana Flemming on December 5, 2017 at 7:41 am

    Thank you.
    Dr. Salk did not have any misgivings about his own vaccine. (The wording in my comment above leaves a lot to be desired) Sorry 🙂
    Dr. Salk developed the killed version of the vaccine. (Inactivated Poliovirus Vaccine (IPV) Problems developed when a live polio vaccine (live poliovirus vaccine (LPV) was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin.
    This link will take you to an interview with Dr Darrell Salk, (son of Dr. Jonas Salk).
    The significance of this interview, in my opinion, lies in the fact that the live vaccine reproduces and can change back into a form that causes the disease it was intended to prevent, namely “paralytic polio.” You will see that this phenomenon also happened in healthy individuals that came into contact with people that had been vaccinated with the live vaccine and went on to develop paralytic polio despite never having been vaccinated themselves.
    This correlates to what I have been reading regarding the shedding of parvovirus after a dog has been vaccinated with a modified live virus as well as vaccinated dogs developing similar symptoms to the diseases that the vaccines were supposed to prevent!
    I’m certainly no vet by any stretch but I am disturbed by the notion that in an effort to prevent disease the problem is that a “disease maker,” as you stated, has been created and is, in fact, making our dogs sick.
    I found this interview, and other articles I have read to be a reinforcement of what you and other homeopathic vets have been stating all along. I must admit that it’s been difficult to make the decision to try to transition from conventional/traditional veterinary care for my dog to homeopathy but my dog isn’t getting any better and I’m beginning to see why.
    Thank you for all that you do.

  3. Dana Flemming on December 4, 2017 at 12:34 am

    I would also like to thank you all for the information expressed here. The letter from the AVMA is arrogant and insulting to the veterinary community and to pet owners. Conventional veterinary medicine has not cured my dog’s allergies. Apparently over-vaccination has caused his skin issues. He was in great health until his second rabies vaccination and the skin problems developed 4 months later. That was 3 years ago and $4,000 later, still no answers and no cure. Yet the AVMA is advocating that alternative treatments and cures can only, at best, offer a placebo effect?
    Yet one in two dogs die of cancer in spite of advanced technology? And skin issues are the number one illness that vets are seeing in their practices? My current vet stated that he has a clinic full of dogs being held and treated for skin issues. Time to move on. Thank you again. The attitude of the AVMA only confirms my decision to explore homeopathic solutions for my Collie.
    I see two important issues here:
    1- Using selective studies that aren’t even cited as validation for their conclusions.
    2- They have obviously ignored or are unaware of Dr. Jonas Salk’s final evaluation of the disasters caused by the very polio vaccine he created.
    This is sad on so many levels.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on December 4, 2017 at 2:08 am

      Well put, Dana. All the problem causing, expense and no solutions to cure what they created. That, in a nutshell, is what’s spurred me on to teach now, primarily about how to stay out of this disease maker called conventional medicine. I couldn’t justify fixing one broken animal at a time when so many were being ruined by callous disregard and greed.
      p.s. I’d love to read about Salk’s misgivings. Never knew this existed. Can you share a link, perhaps?

  4. Ruth on November 30, 2017 at 4:00 pm

    What’s the difference between a medicinal agent being watered down and retaining the medicinal properties and a vaccine? I thought that a vaccine, put in very simple terms, is a very very mild form of whatever is being vaccinated against. Am I missing something?

    • Will Falconer, DVM on December 1, 2017 at 5:02 am

      Huge difference, Ruth, though the hope of both is similar: to stimulate the body in some way. Homeopathy is ultra-diluted to the point of non-physical, and when carefully chosen, helps the patient getting the remedy to step up his fight and cure himself.
      Vaccines are not “watered down” but are rather live or killed viruses, often multiple in a syringe, and have added to them neurotoxins like mercury (thimerosal) and aluminum. No one gets healthier with this injected into them, bypassing all the normal defense mechanisms and creating what I call “immune confusion” (allergies most common, but auto-immune disease and even cancer.

  5. Wendy on October 14, 2017 at 4:32 pm

    I am using Dr. Will’s protocol for my dogs CCL repair. I give him Ruta Graveolens 6c in the morning and Rhus Toxicodenndron 6c in the evening. And he puts weight on the leg that has the CCR tear.

  6. Angelo Barbieri on September 3, 2017 at 7:38 pm

    This is what I also read on the internet and made a comment early on one of your videos.
    there is false news going around. Does this sound familiar.

    • Dr. Pitcairn on September 3, 2017 at 8:04 pm

      Yes, there is a considerable amount of false information given out. Not necessarily false in the sense of just made up, but distorted interpretations or giving conclusions based on inadequate information. The medical system, and especially the pharmaceutical industry, is afraid of homeopathy because of how effective it is and how very inexpensive the medicines are.

  7. on August 19, 2017 at 12:13 pm

    My husband and I appreciate so much your information.
    We have been and always are in a battle with our “Mrs. Whitecoat” regarding the usefulness and harms in todays animal medical treatments..
    You are among the treasured Doctors of our time for standing educated and educating us for our little one’s life sake…!
    We so thank you all…
    Gene & Susan K. Phillips

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