Veterinary Research

Randomised controlled trials (RCTs)

Very little research has been done in veterinary homeopathy. In fact, up to March 2011, there were only 38 RCTs published in the entire peer-reviewed journal literature. The details below are based on our systematic review of the world’s RCT literature in veterinary homeopathy [Mathie RT, Hacke  D, Clausen J. (2012). Randomised controlled trials of veterinary homeopathy: characterising the peer-reviewed research literature for systematic review. Homeopathy; 101: 196–203].

By the end of 2013, the total number of peer-reviewed RCTs had risen to 44. Nineteen RCTs were placebo controlled; the remaining 25 were controlled by another comparator.

We highlight here the 19 placebo-controlled trials, and the original authors’ interpretation of their main findings:12/19 (63%) positive; 7/19 (37%) non-conclusive.

Placebo-controlled RCTs of veterinary homeopathy:

Species                   Clinical condition Reported as positive evidence
(Reference number)
Reported as non-conclusive evidence
(Reference number)
Cattle Mastitis

1, 2, 3

4, 5, 6

Diarrhoea

7

8

Endometritis

9

Infertility

10

11

Dogs Fear of firework noises

12

Osteoarthritis

13

Goats Immune response

14

Pigs Diarrhoea

15

Growth rate

16

Induction of farrowing

17

Infectious diseases

18

Reproductive performance

19

(Note that no account has been taken here of trial quality, which is the subject of the BHA’s continuing programme of systematic review and meta-analysis. In the first detailed published review,20 statistically significant positive results were confirmed in 6 of the above 12 trials.2, 13, 15, 16, 17, 18 Only two of these trials were judged to comprise reliable evidence,4, 15 indicating an obvious need for new and higher quality research in this field.)

Clinical outcome studies

Conditions and species with research that did not include a control group (all positive findings):

Mastitis in cattle 21
Kennel cough in dogs 22
Epilepsy in dogs 23
Cushing’s disease in dogs and horses 24
Stillbirth in pigs 25

Faculty research

In collaboration with Bristol University Veterinary School, the Faculty of Homeopathy and the British Homeopathic Association have published pilot findings of a research initiative studying atopic dermatitis in dogs.26

References:

1. Andersson R, Morcillo LL, Sommer H (1997). Untersuchungen über den Einsatz von homöopathischen Arzneimitteln bei der Behandlung und Prophylaxe subklinischer Mastitiden von Milchkühen [Treatment and prophylaxis of subclinical mastitis with homeopathic drugs]. Tierärztliche Umschau, 52: 407–412.

2. Searcy R, Reyes O, Guajardo G (1995). Control of subclinical bovine mastitis. Utilization of a homoeopathic combination. British Homoeopathic Journal, 84: 67–70.

3. Werner C, Sobiraj A, Sundrum A (2010). Efficacy of homeopathic and antibiotic treatment strategies in cases of mild and moderate bovine clinical mastitis. Journal of Dairy Research, 77: 460-467.

4. Hektoen L, Larsen S, Ødegaard SA, Løken T (2004). Comparison of homeopathy, placebo and antibiotic treatment of clinical mastitis in dairy cows – methodological issues and results from a randomized-clinical trial. Journal of Veterinary Medicine. A, Physiology, Pathology, Clinical Medicine, 51: 439–446.

5. Holmes MA, Cockcroft PD, Booth CE, Heath MF (2005). Controlled clinical trial of the effect of a homoeopathic nosode on the somatic cell counts in the milk of clinically normal dairy cows. Veterinary Record, 156: 565–567.

6. Notz C, Hässig M (2013). Zur Wirksamkeit einer homöopathischen Mastitisprophylaxe zum Trockenstellen und Abkalben beim Rind [Efficiency of a homeopathic prophylaxis in bovine mastitis during dry-off and parturition]. Schweizer Archiv für Tierheilkunde 155, 405–409.

7. Kayne S, Rafferty A (1994). The use of Arsenicum album 30c to complement conventional treatment of neonatal diarrhoea (‘scours’) in calves. British Homoeopathic Journal, 83: 202–204.

8. de Verdier K, Öhagen P, Alenius S (2003). No effect of a homeopathic preparation on neonatal calf diarrhoea in a randomised double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica, 44: 97–101.

9. Arlt S, Padberg W, Drillich M, Heuwieser W (2009). Efficacy of homeopathic remedies as prophylaxis of bovine endometritis. Journal of Dairy Science, 92: 4945-4953.

10. Williamson AV, Mackie WL, Crawford WJ, Rennie B (1995). A trial of Sepia 200c. Prevention of anoestrus problems in dairy cows. British Homoeopathic Journal, 84: 14–20.

11. Fidelak Ch, Klocke P, Heuwieser W (2007). Homöopathische Prophylaxe in der Bestandsbetreuung von Milchkühen. Teil 1 – Fruchtbarkeit [Homeopathic prophylaxis in dairy cows on an organic farm. Part 1 – fertility]. Deutsche Tierärztliche Wochenschrift, 114: 268–274.

12. Cracknell NR, Mills DS (2008). A double-blind placebo-controlled study into the efficacy of a homeopathic remedy for fear of firework noises in the dog (Canis familiaris). Veterinary Journal, 177: 80–88.

13. Hielm-Björkman A, Tulamo RM, Salonen H, Raekallio M (2009). Evaluating complementary therapies for canine osteoarthritis–Part II: a homeopathic combination preparation (Zeel). Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine: eCAM, 6: 465-471.

14. Danieli PP, Lacetera N, Bernabucci U, Ronchi B (2009). Conventional and homeopathic treatments in late pregnant goats: effects on metabolic status and immune response. Italian Journal of Animal Science, 8 (Suppl 2): 613-615.

15. Camerlink I, Ellinger L, Bakker EJ, Lantinga EA (2010). Homeopathy as replacement to antibiotics in the case of Escherichia coli diarrhoea in neonatal piglets. Homeopathy, 99: 57–62.

16. Guajardo-Bernal G, Searcy-Bernal R, Soto-Avila J (1996). Growth-promoting effect of Sulphur 201c in pigs. British Homoeopathic Journal, 85: 15–16.

17. Wolter H (1966). Arzneiwirkungsprüfung an Caulophyllum D 30: Ein doppelter Blindversuch [Drug efficacy testing of Caulophyllum D 30. A double-blind trial]. Der Praktische Tierarzt, 47: 431-432, 496-501.

18. Albrecht H, Schütte A (1999). Homeopathy versus antibiotics in metaphylaxis of infectious diseases: a clinical study in pig fattening and its significance to consumers. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, 5: 64–68.

19. Soto FRM, Vuaden ER, Paulo Coelho C, Bonamin LV, Azevedo SS, Benites NR, Visintin JA, Barros FRO, Goissis MD, Ávila Assumpção MEO, Marques MG (2010). Reproductive performance of sows inseminated with diluted semen treated with homeopathic medicine. International Journal of High Dilution Research, 9: 51-57.

20. Mathie RT, Clausen J (2014). Veterinary homeopathy: systematic review of medical conditions studied by randomised placebo-controlled trials. Veterinary Record, 175: 373-381.

21. Varshney JP, Naresh R (2004). Evaluation of a homeopathic complex in the clinical management of udder diseases of riverine buffaloes. Homeopathy, 93: 17–20.

22. Day CEI (1987). Isopathic prevention of kennel cough – is vaccination justified? Journal of the International Association of Veterinary Homeopaths, 2: 45–51.

23. Varshney JP (2007). Clinical management of idiopathic epilepsy in dogs with homeopathic Belladonna 200C: a case series. Homeopathy, 96: 46–48.
Elliott M (2001). Cushing’s Disease: a new approach to therapy in equine and canine patients. British Homeopathic Journal, 90: 33–36.

25. Day CEI (1984). Control of stillbirths in pigs using homoeopathy. British Homeopathic Journal, 73: 142–143.

26. Hill PB, Hoare J, Lau-Gillard P, Rybnicek J, Mathie RT (2009). Pilot study of the effect of individualised homeopathy on the pruritus associated with atopic dermatitis in dogs. Veterinary Record, 164: 365–370.

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