Is There Evidence That Homeopathy Works For Animals?

On July 25, 2022 by AntheaAppel
homeopathy for animals

What is homeopathy?

The word “homeopathy” comes from two Greek words meaning, “similar suffering.” Homeopathy is based on the idea “like cures like” where a substance that can cause symptoms if taken in large quantities can be used in minuet doses to treat similar symptoms.

Homeopathy is often credited to the German physician Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843). In the 1800s, homeopathy was widely used in both the United States and Europe. It was heavily advocated amongst the most educated in our society. Such as, the European royalty, American businessmen and politicians, famous literary giants, the upper class, and religious leaders. As it grew in popularity it became “the object of deep-seated animosity and vigilant opposition from establishment medicine. The conflict between homeopathy and orthodox medicine was protracted and bitter” (1). The medical institutions attacked homeopathy as “unscientific” and “quackery.” Which is ironic coming from doctors who used bloodletting, leeches, and dangerous toxins, like, mercury, lead, and arsenic as medicine.

The 19th century doctors didn’t like competition. Not only did they attack homeopathy, but they also went after midwives, herbalist, and other non-conventional practitoners, because they had no medical training. However, many homeopaths did attend orthodox medical schools and could not be accused of having no medical training.

Today, homeopathy still comes under attack. Every year I get an email from various homeopathic associations to sign a petition to stop the Food and Drug Administration from banning homeopathy. That puts me into a panic mode. But upon further investigation, I find the FDA isn’t looking to ban homeopathy. Instead, their biggest concern is safety. I don’t have a problem with that. What I don’t like is the FDA stating there is no evidence that homeopathic medicines work. But is that true? Is there no evidence that homeopathy works?

Treat The Patient Not The Disease

In clinical studies they use what’s called Randomized Control Trials (CRT). The Wikipedia definition of CRT “is a form of scientific experiment used to control factors not under direct experimental control. Examples of RCTs are clinical trials that compare the effects of drugs, surgical techniques, medical devices, diagnostic procedures or other medical treatments.”

Homeopathy and conventional drugs don’t work the same way nor are they prescribed the same way. Drugs are selected based on physical symptoms and medical tests; Homeopathy has a more holistic approach. It takes into account the whole individual by assessing emotions, past illnesses, life events and trauma, lifestyle, diet, geno- or phenotype, and physical symptoms. A homeopathic remedy is selected when it matches all of these lists of things. So, ten animals with the same disease may all receive a different remedy. This type of prescribing is often done with chronic illnesses. It is highly individualized; it can be hard to do, and involves the homeopathic practitioner to be highly trained or experienced.

Therefore, I don’t see how it’s fair to compare a treatment that is based on an individual’s “like cures like” with conventional RCT guidelines.

However, there is another way to prescribe homeopathic remedies without basing it on an individualized assessment. It’s called non-individualized homeopathic treatment (NIHT). It involves local or acute prescribing: one remedy for one symptom. For example, you stump your toe in the middle of the night, you’ll take Arnica for bruising. Or Hypericum for a tooth extraction or stepping on a nail. Or Apis for a bee sting.

NIHT is easier for clinical study because it’s a little closer to how conventional medicine works. So, how would NIHT work in a Randomized Control Trial?

Evidence Based Studies For Homeopathy

There are more human data than there are veterinary data. Let’s take a look at some of the human RCTs:

Up to the year 2020, there has been 221 randomized control homeopathic trials covering 118 different medical conditions. All of which have been published in peer-reviewed journals. Of these cases, 133 were double-blind, placebo-controlled trials covering 88 different medical conditions. The results were: 43% were positive (60 trials) homeopathy was effective; 4% were negative (5 trials) homeopathy was not effective; and 51% were inconclusive (68 trials).

Now, let’s compare the above to RCT’s conventional medicine: Of the analysis of 1128 systemic reviews, 45% were positive, so the treatment was likely beneficial; 10% were negative, treatment was likely harmful; and 45% were inconclusive. Therefore, the treatment was neither beneficial nor caused harm.

If you look at the numbers between conventional medicine to homeopathy, you’ll see a strong similarity. Although with conventional medicine I noticed 10% “harmful effects” to homeopathy’s 4% “ineffective.” I always say homeopathy is safe and the worst that can happen is “nothing happens.”

Veterinary Studies In Homeopathy

As of 2013, there has only been 44 peer-reviewed veterinary RCTs. Regardless, there have been plenty of veterinary individual studies. Most have been done on farm animals and lab animals. For example:

Homeopathy As Replacement To Antibiotics In The Case Of Escherichia Coli Diarrhoea In Neonatal Piglets” (See study). In this study, they treated 52 pregnant sows in the last month of gestation. The sows were divided into two groups. Twice a week, one group was given the homeopathic remedy Coli 30K and the other group received a placebo. 525 piglets were born to the sows. The group of piglets that were treated with homeopathy had less occurrence of diarrhea than the placebo group. And of the homeopathic treated litter that did get diarrhea, it was observed to be less severe, shorter duration, and with less transmission.

NOTE: Individualized homeopathic treatment is harder to do in a herd environment when dealing with so many animals. It would be too time consuming to assess each individual animal for a specific homeopathic remedy. So, many farmers will use the NIHT method.

“Clinical Management of Idiopathic Epilepsy In Dogs With Homeopathic Belladonna 200C: A Case Series” (See study). In this study, ten dogs were evaluated. When the dogs had a seizure they were given a dose of Belladonna 200C at 15 minute intervals until the seizures subsided, then 4 times daily. Four dogs that also had head shaking in addition to seizures were given homeopathic remedy Cocculus 6C along with Belladonna 200C. Post-therapy, the seizures were reduced to 2-3 in the first 2 weeks, then occassionally in the following 2 weeks. Belladonna therapy continued, and no fits were observed during 2-7 months follow-up. In two cases epileptic fits reappeared within 15-25 days of cessation of therapy. Belladonna therapy was resumed and seizure control was again achieved.

Use and Efficiency of Homeopathy in Prevention and Treatment of Bovine Mastitis” (See Study). 32 studies published to date (2019) have been evaluated. Assessment criteria and a rating score of 0 to 5 points were fixed for the appraisal. Healing and prophylaxis of mastitis were the primary focus to highlight the medication success and its framework for suitable mastitis therapy. The top eight studies of this quality ranking were subjected to differentiated evaluation. The selected studies showed a positive treatment outcome of homeopathy. With homeopathy it was possible to reduce the antibiotic use by up to 75%. Some studies indicated that homeopathy might have a positive long-term effect. Furthermore, the results suggested a high self-healing ability in bovine mastitis.

“Comparative Efficacy of Homeopathic and Allopathic Systems of Medicine in the Management of Clinical Mastitis of Indian Dairy Cows” ( See Study ). In this 2005 study, ninety-six (96) matistic cows were treated with a homeopathic combination of 8 remedies: Phytolacca, Calcarea fluorica., Silica, Belladonna, Bryonia, Arnica, Conium and Ipecacuanha (Healwell VT-6). And, another 96 cows with mastitis were treated with antibiotic medicine. The homeopathic treated cows had a 86,6% effectiveness with a mean recovery period of 7.7 days. Whereas, the antibiotic treated cows had a 59.2% effectiveness with a mean recovery peroid of 4.5 days.

“Cushing’s Disease: A New Approach To Therapy In Canine And Equine Patients” (See Study). Forty-one cases of Cushing’s Disease affecting both equine and canine patients were treated with an identical mixture of two homeopathically prepared remedies (ACTH 30c and Quercus robur 30c), and the clinical improvements seen in the cases assessed. The overall success rate for the therapy was 80% and results were broadly similar between the two species, indicating that homeopathy lends itself to the treatment of Cushing’s Disease, and also to both cohort studies and group medicine.

“Therapeutic Evaluation Of Homeopathic Treatment For Canine Oral Papillomatosis” (See Study) Sixteen (16) dogs infected with oral papillomatosis. The dogs were divided into two groups. One group was given a homeopathic combination remedy (Sulphur 30C, Graphites 30C, Thuja 30C, Psorinum30C) and the second group were given a placebo. Treatment was given twice a day for 15 days. Clinical evaluation of the homeopathic treated group showed the lesions regressed between 7 to 15 days and there was no recurrence even after a 12-months observation. Whereas, the placebo group showed lesion regression ocurred between 90 and 150 days.

“Anti-rheumatoid and anti-oxidant activity of homeopathic Guaiacum officinale in an animal model.” (see Study). This is a complicated study and I suggest reading the paper. Rheumatoid arthritis was induced in male lab rats and divided into 6 groups. One group was given the standard treatment of indomethacin; another group given a Mother Tincture (herbal) of Guaiacum; group three were given homeopathic Guaiacum 30C; and group four received homeopathic Guaiacum 200C. All three groups receiving Guaiacum showed improvements. Whereas, the potency of 200C showed a faster reponse. The conclusion is Guaiacum Off. posseses anti-rheumatic and anti-oxidant activity and these activities are more effective at the higher potency.

Homeopathic treatment of Feline Hyperthyroidism” (See Study). Can homeopathy help? Yes, according to this study in which thyroxine levels returned to normal in 8 out of 13 cats. A single dose of homeopathic remedy, Natrum Muriaticum 200 C, was administered upon the diagnosis and the thyroxine values were rechecked in 4 or more weeks. All cats that responded well to therapy maintained normal thyroxin values for at least 1 year and up to 5 years. The average number of years each patient was followed was 2 years with the average frequency of administration of 1.875 doses/year.

I have included only a few published studies. If you’d like to read more studies and testimonals on veterinary homeopathy I’d suggest a search on the website or visit:

The Academy of Veterinay Homeopathy

The International Association for Veterinary Homeopathy

The American Holistic Veterinary Medicine Association

British Association of Homeopathic Veterinary Surgeons

P.S. I’ve had my own success with homeopathy. For just two examples, please read How Homeopathy Fixed My Cat’s Teeth and The Little Goat That Could.

Further Reading:

Survey shows that 70% of German veterinarians use homeopathic medicines: See Study

Austrian AMR Action Plan confirms the potential of homeopathy β€” ECHAMP

Sources: (1) A Condensed History of Homeopathy

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