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Veterinary research

Two recent reviews by Mathie & Clausen  investigated the evidence in veterinary homeopathy1,2. 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)1. 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 answer2.

Prevention of diarrhoea in piglets

One of the high-quality placebo controlled trials identified by Mathie & Clausen was carried out by Wageningen University in the Netherlands.3

In this triple-blinded RCT, 52 pregnant sows were treated with either Coli 30K (a homeopathic medicine made from E. coli bacteria) or placebo. The sows gave birth to 525 piglets and those in the group treated with Coli 30K had 6 times less diarrhoea than the piglets in the placebo group. This result was statistically significant (p < 0.0001) meaning that it is extremely unlikely to be a false positive result due to chance alone.

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The homeopathic medicine used in this study was made from E. coli bacteria, alternately diluted and succussed to produce an ultra high dilution of 10-60, meaning that it should no longer contain any molecules of the original bacteria.

The particular technique used, where the medicine used is made from the same substance which causes the disease being treated, is a sub-type of homeopathy called ‘isopathy’.

As the only existing way of preventing this disease in livestock is by using antibiotics, this study should be repeated to confirm its findings, as it may provide an effective way to help reduce overuse of antibiotics. 


Wound healing disorder and antimicrobial resistance in a horse

Case reports play a valuable role in documenting the direct experience of individuals, especially when recorded in systematic detail and independently verified. In this recent case report by homeopathic equine veterinarian Dr Petra Weiermayer (Vienna) a 4-year old horse with delayed wound healing associated with antimicrobial resistant bacteria was treated successfully with homeopathy4.

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After surgical treatment of a deep lacerated wound to the right foreleg, the horse failed to respond to appropriate antibiotic treatment. A deep wound swab identified infection with antimicrobial resistant bacteria. Subsequent treatment with homeopathic medicine Silicea terra resulted in complete resolution of the clinical signs of delayed wound healing (putrid inflammation, edema and seroma) and full closure of the wound within five weeks; the improvements were maintained for over a year with no relapses.

Importantly, the case was also documented by the attending independent veterinary surgeon, the horse owner and other horse owners at the same stable, providing valuable external validation.

Considering the global threat of antimicrobial resistance, well-documented cases such as this can form the basis of large-scale clinical studies to assess the potential impact of homeopathy on antibiotic stewardship and treatment of resistant infections. 

Amelioration of pain and distress in tail-ringed lambs using homeopathy

It should be noted that not all ‘veterinary’ homeopathy research and treatment is actually carried out by vets; some of it is carried out by farmers such as David Eyles who use homeopathy with their own livestock. Below he describes his research on reducing pain and distress in lambs:5

View David Eyles presentation at the HRI Barcelona 2013 conference.

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  1. Mathie RT, Clausen J. Veterinary homeopathy: meta-analysis of randomised placebo-controlled trials. Homeopathy, 2015; 104(1):3-8 | Full text
  2. 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(1):236 |Full text
  3. Camerlink I, Ellinger L, Bakker EJ, Lantinga EA. Homeopathy as replacement to antibiotics in the case of Escherichia coli diarrhoea in neonatal piglets. Homeopathy, 2010; 99: 57–62 | PubMed
  4. Weiermayer, P. Wound healing disorder in a horse, associated with anitmicrobial resistance, resolved with a homeopathic medicine – a case report. Journal of Equine Veterinary Science, 2018; 67: 37-43 | Abstract
  5. Eyles D. Amelioration of pain and distress in tail-ringing lambs using homeopathy. Homeopathy, 2014; 103(1): 68 | Abstract

Veterinary_shutterstock_111829394 (small)

Veterinary_shutterstock_111829394 (small)