Dear Daisy Dog: A new veterinarian who recommends homeopathy recently joined the veterinary practice I use. Homeopathy doesn’t make sense to me; I can’t see how adding minuscule amounts of substances to water can have any effect. What do you think of it?
Daisy Responds: Last month, the European Academies’ Science Advisory Council (EASAC) issued a statement about veterinary and human homeopathic products.
EASAC reviewed “the excellent science-based assessments already published by authoritative and impartial bodies” and stated that “the claims for homeopathy are implausible and inconsistent with established scientific concepts.”
EASAC concluded that homeopathy is no more effective than a placebo.
A placebo is a substance that appears identical to the medication being tested but contains no active ingredient. Sometimes a beneficial effect occurs after placebo administration, either because of the power of suggestion or because the body is so good at healing itself that the condition improves on its own.
To be considered effective, a medicine must provide more improvement than the placebo tested at the same time – and homeopathic treatments do not.
EASAC also discussed toxicity associated with some homeopathic treatments, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s reports earlier this year of severe adverse reactions, including infant deaths, due to homeopathic teething products that contained belladonna.
Moreover, EASAC voiced their concern that using homeopathic treatments in the human and veterinary medical fields may delay the use of therapies proven effective.