Veterinary trials

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    [ID] => 1309
    [post_author] => 10
    [post_date] => 2017-07-05 13:37:42
    [post_date_gmt] => 2017-07-05 13:37:42
    [post_content] => Homeopathy is arguably as effective for animals as it is for humans. A substantial number of vets in the UK have studied and use homeopathy, and like homeopaths, veterinary surgeons can choose to train in this area.

At present, the British Association of Homeopathic Veterinary Surgeons has around 140 members, nearly 40 of UK members having achieved the high standards of homeopathic training needed to gain the qualification ‘VetMFHom’1.

In this video Geoff Johnson, vet and homeopath and principal of Wiveliscombe Homeopathic Surgery talks about the use of homeopathy in animals, antibiotics and effects beyond placebo.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xP09_3lbRvQ

 

Antibiotic resistance

Homeopathic treatment of disease has long been an essential element of organic farming, andpractitioners report good results, such asin the treatment of mastitis in cows2. Others in the farming community have also turned to homeopathic medicine. For example, since 2001 an organisation called HAWL (Homeopathy at Wellie Level) has trained almost 300 farmers in the basics of homeopathy. This has allowed farmers to incorporate a limited amount of homeopathic prescribing into their day-to-day health management strategies, particularly in organic farms where the use of antibiotics is reduced.

Further research looking at the homeopathic treatment of animals is essential for informing this growing area of homeopathic practice. At present the evidence base for veterinary homeopathy is significantly smaller than for human treatments, and clinical studies have not necessarily reflected ‘best practice’. The British Association of Homeopathic Veterinary Surgeons, in conjunction with the Faculty of Homeopathy, is encouraging new research in this field at the highest standard3.

With the growing threat of antibiotic resistance, the need for alternative treatment strategies in animal husbandry is increasing. A recent EFSA report4 stated that the use of antimicrobials in animals be reduced to the minimum necessary to treat infectious diseases4. Other than in exceptional cases, their use to prevent such diseases should be phased out in favour of alternative measures.

 

Randomised control trials

There are many randomised control trials (RCTs) which have demonstrated the efficacy of non-individualised homeopathic prescribing to animals under controlled experimental conditions..Examples of these studies are given below.

Camerlink I, et al. (2010).The homeopathic medicine Coli 30K can be an effective alternative to antibiotics for diarrhoea in piglets.5

A rigorous research study by the Biological Farming Systems Group at Wageningen University in the Netherlands suggests that the homeopathic medicine Coli 30K can be effective in preventing diarrhoea caused by the bacterium Escherichia coli in piglets5. On a commercial pig farm 52 sows of different parities, in their last month of gestation, were treated twice a week with either the homeopathic agent Coli 30K or placebo. Piglets of the homeopathic treated group had significantly less E. coli diarrhoea than piglets in the placebo group. As concern grows about the threat to human health from antibiotics in the food chain4, such findings can be considered of particular importance for both animal and human welfare.

 

Klocke, P. et al. (2010). A randomized controlled trial to compare the use of homeopathy and internal Teat Sealers for the prevention of mastitis in organically farmed dairy cows during the dry period and 100 days post-calving.6

This field trial of 102 cows on 13 Swiss farms is one of a number of studies concerning the use of homeopathy for prevention of mastitis in cows.

Herd-specific homeopathic dry cow therapy was effective in increasing the number of animals with normal milk secretion after subsequent parturition, compared to the untreated control. Further research is required to confirm study results, but the authors suggest that homeopathy can play a role in the prevention of mastitis

Problems of research in veterinary homeopathy

Two reviews by Mathie & Clausen have investigated the evidence for  veterinary homeopathy8, 9. The first review looked at the evidence from randomised placebo-controlled trials and found weak evidence that homeopathy treatment is different from placebo (p = 0.01 for N=15 trials and p = 0.02 for the N=2 most reliable trials).8 The second review looked at the evidence from randomised trials controlled by other means than placebo (e.g. usual care) and found the quality of the trials in this category to be too low to provide any meaningful answer. 9 As with all clinical trials, there are variations in size and outcome measures and the limited number of homeopathic studies makes these types of anomalies more significant. The absence of positive or any RCT results does not necessarily mean that a treatment is ineffective, and a danger lies in eliminating treatments on the basis of no RCT proof of their efficacy.9 The problems of using RCTs and other reductionist methods to measure the efficacy of homeopathic treatment are considerable. Research into the use of animals treated with homeopathy faces similar problems to that of human studies.

Whereas in conventional approaches, treatment is based on the clinical diagnosis and symptoms, in the ‘classical’ homeopathic tradition, the symptoms and signs exhibited or expressed by an individual patient (animal or human) need to be considered. In most veterinary research studies the same homeopathic medicine is given to all the animals involved in veterinary clinical trials. This is appropriate when testing the effectiveness of routine prescribing for a condition with predictable characteristics (e.g. stillbirth) or for testing treatment options where individualised prescribing is not feasible (e.g. where there is a lack of access to homeopathically trained vets) but in many situations it can make a positive result less likely. As with human clinical trials, this lack of accommodation of homeopathic principles needs to be addressed in future research.

References:
  1. British Association of Homeopathic Veterinary surgeons: http://www.bahvs.com/about-us/the-association/
  2. Varshney JP, Naresh R. Comparative efficacy of homeopathic and allopathic systems of medicine in the management of clinical mastitis of Indian dairy cows. Homeopathy, 2005; 94:81–5http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1475491604001201
  3. Mathie RT et al., Outcomes from homeopathic prescribing in veterinary practice: a prospective, research-targeted pilot study. Homeopathy, 2007; 96: 27-3
  4. European Food Safety Authority(EFSA). http://www.ema.europa.eu/ema/index.jsp?curl=pages/news_and_events/news/2017/01/news_detail_002683.jsp&mid=WC0b01ac058004d5c1
  5. Camerlink I, et al. Homeopathy as replacement to antibiotics in the case of Escherichia coli diarrhoea in neonatal piglets. Homeopathy, 2010; 99; 57–62.
  6. Klocke, P. et al. A randomized controlled trial to compare the use of homeopathy and internal Teat Sealers for the prevention of mastitis in organically farmed dairy cows during the dry period and 100 days post-calving. Homeopathy, 2010; 99: 90 – 98
  7. Camerlink, I, Ellinger,L. Bakker, E.J. Lanting, E. Homeopathy as replacement to antibiotics in the case ofEscherichia coli diarrhoea in neonatal piglets Homeopathy, 2010;99, 57–62
  8. Mathie RT, Clausen J. Veterinary homeopathy: meta-analysis of randomised placebo-controlled trials. Homeopathy, 2015; 104:3-8
  9. Mathie RT, Clausen J. Veterinary homeopathy: Systematic review of medical conditions studied by randomised trials controlled by other than placebo. BMC Vet Res,2015; 11:236
  10. Bornhöft G, Matthiessen PF. Homeopathy in Healthcare – Effectiveness, Appropriateness, Safety, Costs. An HTA report on homeopathy as part of the Swiss Complementary Medicine Evaluation Programme. Berlin Heidelberg: Springer-Verlag; 2011.
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Homeopathy is arguably as effective for animals as it is for humans. A substantial number of vets in the UK have studied and use homeopathy, and like homeopaths, veterinary surgeons can choose to train in this area.

At present, the British Association of Homeopathic Veterinary Surgeons has around 140 members, nearly 40 of UK members having achieved the high standards of homeopathic training needed to gain the qualification ‘VetMFHom’1.

In this video Geoff Johnson, vet and homeopath and principal of Wiveliscombe Homeopathic Surgery talks about the use of homeopathy in animals, antibiotics and effects beyond placebo.

 

Antibiotic resistance

Homeopathic treatment of disease has long been an essential element of organic farming, andpractitioners report good results, such asin the treatment of mastitis in cows2. Others in the farming community have also turned to homeopathic medicine. For example, since 2001 an organisation called HAWL (Homeopathy at Wellie Level) has trained almost 300 farmers in the basics of homeopathy. This has allowed farmers to incorporate a limited amount of homeopathic prescribing into their day-to-day health management strategies, particularly in organic farms where the use of antibiotics is reduced.

Further research looking at the homeopathic treatment of animals is essential for informing this growing area of homeopathic practice. At present the evidence base for veterinary homeopathy is significantly smaller than for human treatments, and clinical studies have not necessarily reflected ‘best practice’. The British Association of Homeopathic Veterinary Surgeons, in conjunction with the Faculty of Homeopathy, is encouraging new research in this field at the highest standard3.

With the growing threat of antibiotic resistance, the need for alternative treatment strategies in animal husbandry is increasing. A recent EFSA report4 stated that the use of antimicrobials in animals be reduced to the minimum necessary to treat infectious diseases4. Other than in exceptional cases, their use to prevent such diseases should be phased out in favour of alternative measures.

 

Randomised control trials

There are many randomised control trials (RCTs) which have demonstrated the efficacy of non-individualised homeopathic prescribing to animals under controlled experimental conditions..Examples of these studies are given below.

Camerlink I, et al. (2010).The homeopathic medicine Coli 30K can be an effective alternative to antibiotics for diarrhoea in piglets.5

A rigorous research study by the Biological Farming Systems Group at Wageningen University in the Netherlands suggests that the homeopathic medicine Coli 30K can be effective in preventing diarrhoea caused by the bacterium Escherichia coli in piglets5. On a commercial pig farm 52 sows of different parities, in their last month of gestation, were treated twice a week with either the homeopathic agent Coli 30K or placebo. Piglets of the homeopathic treated group had significantly less E. coli diarrhoea than piglets in the placebo group. As concern grows about the threat to human health from antibiotics in the food chain4, such findings can be considered of particular importance for both animal and human welfare.

 

Klocke, P. et al. (2010). A randomized controlled trial to compare the use of homeopathy and internal Teat Sealers for the prevention of mastitis in organically farmed dairy cows during the dry period and 100 days post-calving.6

This field trial of 102 cows on 13 Swiss farms is one of a number of studies concerning the use of homeopathy for prevention of mastitis in cows.

Herd-specific homeopathic dry cow therapy was effective in increasing the number of animals with normal milk secretion after subsequent parturition, compared to the untreated control. Further research is required to confirm study results, but the authors suggest that homeopathy can play a role in the prevention of mastitis

Problems of research in veterinary homeopathy

Two reviews by Mathie & Clausen have investigated the evidence for  veterinary homeopathy8, 9. The first review looked at the evidence from randomised placebo-controlled trials and found weak evidence that homeopathy treatment is different from placebo (p = 0.01 for N=15 trials and p = 0.02 for the N=2 most reliable trials).8 The second review looked at the evidence from randomised trials controlled by other means than placebo (e.g. usual care) and found the quality of the trials in this category to be too low to provide any meaningful answer. 9 As with all clinical trials, there are variations in size and outcome measures and the limited number of homeopathic studies makes these types of anomalies more significant. The absence of positive or any RCT results does not necessarily mean that a treatment is ineffective, and a danger lies in eliminating treatments on the basis of no RCT proof of their efficacy.9 The problems of using RCTs and other reductionist methods to measure the efficacy of homeopathic treatment are considerable. Research into the use of animals treated with homeopathy faces similar problems to that of human studies.

Whereas in conventional approaches, treatment is based on the clinical diagnosis and symptoms, in the ‘classical’ homeopathic tradition, the symptoms and signs exhibited or expressed by an individual patient (animal or human) need to be considered. In most veterinary research studies the same homeopathic medicine is given to all the animals involved in veterinary clinical trials. This is appropriate when testing the effectiveness of routine prescribing for a condition with predictable characteristics (e.g. stillbirth) or for testing treatment options where individualised prescribing is not feasible (e.g. where there is a lack of access to homeopathically trained vets) but in many situations it can make a positive result less likely. As with human clinical trials, this lack of accommodation of homeopathic principles needs to be addressed in future research.

References:

  1. British Association of Homeopathic Veterinary surgeons: http://www.bahvs.com/about-us/the-association/
  2. Varshney JP, Naresh R. Comparative efficacy of homeopathic and allopathic systems of medicine in the management of clinical mastitis of Indian dairy cows. Homeopathy, 2005; 94:81–5http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1475491604001201
  3. Mathie RT et al., Outcomes from homeopathic prescribing in veterinary practice: a prospective, research-targeted pilot study. Homeopathy, 2007; 96: 27-3
  4. European Food Safety Authority(EFSA). http://www.ema.europa.eu/ema/index.jsp?curl=pages/news_and_events/news/2017/01/news_detail_002683.jsp&mid=WC0b01ac058004d5c1
  5. Camerlink I, et al. Homeopathy as replacement to antibiotics in the case of Escherichia coli diarrhoea in neonatal piglets. Homeopathy, 2010; 99; 57–62.
  6. Klocke, P. et al. A randomized controlled trial to compare the use of homeopathy and internal Teat Sealers for the prevention of mastitis in organically farmed dairy cows during the dry period and 100 days post-calving. Homeopathy, 2010; 99: 90 – 98
  7. Camerlink, I, Ellinger,L. Bakker, E.J. Lanting, E. Homeopathy as replacement to antibiotics in the case ofEscherichia coli diarrhoea in neonatal piglets Homeopathy, 2010;99, 57–62
  8. Mathie RT, Clausen J. Veterinary homeopathy: meta-analysis of randomised placebo-controlled trials. Homeopathy, 2015; 104:3-8
  9. Mathie RT, Clausen J. Veterinary homeopathy: Systematic review of medical conditions studied by randomised trials controlled by other than placebo. BMC Vet Res,2015; 11:236
  10. Bornhöft G, Matthiessen PF. Homeopathy in Healthcare – Effectiveness, Appropriateness, Safety, Costs. An HTA report on homeopathy as part of the Swiss Complementary Medicine Evaluation Programme. Berlin Heidelberg: Springer-Verlag; 2011.

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