Homeopathic treatments are killing animals, experts warn

Animals are dying from preventable diseases because some vets are using 'unscientific' homeopathic treatments, experts have warned.

Vets are harming pets and livestock by ignoring traditional methods and instead putting faith in 'unproven claims', the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons said.

The warning follows a petition signed by more than 3,300 vets expressing concern over the harm that homeopathic treatments cause animals.

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Animals are dying from preventable diseases because some vets are using 'unscientific' homeopathic treatments, experts have warned. The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons said vets are harming pets and livestock by ignoring traditional methods of treatment (stock image)

Animals are dying from preventable diseases because some vets are using 'unscientific' homeopathic treatments, experts have warned. The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons said vets are harming pets and livestock by ignoring traditional methods of treatment (stock image)

WHAT IS HOMEOPATHY?

Homeopathic 'treatments' are based on the use of highly diluted substances, which practitioners claim can cause the body to heal itself.

A central principle of the alternative remedy is that 'like cures like' – that a substance that causes certain symptoms can also help to remove those symptoms.

Homeopathy with pets is practised by about 50 vets in the UK. 

While the treatment has been advocated by the Prince of Wales among others, clinical trials have shown it offers no benefit beyond the placebo effect.

This effect describes a treatment alleviating a patient's symptoms simply because he or she believes it will work.

Chris Tufnell, senior vice-president of RCVS, highlighted a popular homeopathic remedy called nosodes, which replaces traditional vaccinations with sugar-coated pills made with diseased matter from another animal.

According to Dogs Naturally magazine: 'When a nosode is given, the body recognizes the cellular structure and disease imprint, producing an immune response similar to actual exposure to the disease itself. 

'Although this is difficult to prove scientifically, there are numerous examples of how nosodes have been used in homeoprophylaxis and to treat the onset of disease.'

'I have seen dogs die from completely preventable conditions such as parvovirus, which is extremely unpleasant and preventable,' Mr Tufnell said.

'It's entirely unnecessary.'

He added that owners using homeopathic medicines rather than painkillers leave their pets in 'unacceptable' pain.

Homeopathic treatments are based on the use of highly diluted substances, which practitioners claim can cause the body to heal itself.

A central principle of the alternative remedy is that 'like cures like' – that a substance that causes certain symptoms can also help to remove those symptoms.

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