Research initiative studying atopic dermatitis in dogs

22 March 2009

Pilot research of homeopathy in dogs indicates large clinical trial is needed

Results from a small, rigorously designed, research study at the University of Bristol’s Department of Clinical Veterinary Science have pointed the way towards a larger clinical trial of homeopathy for the treatment of atopic dermatitis in dogs. Atopic dermatitis (eczema) is an itchy, chronic, skin disease that can affect humans and animals such as dogs.

Twenty dogs were recruited to the study from the referral sample seen in the veterinary dermatology clinic at the University of Bristol.  Dogs were diagnosed with non-seasonal atopic dermatitis and those entering the study had positive reactions to multiple allergens to confirm the diagnosis.

Some dogs continued to receive conventional drugs. This category included dogs that had residual, stable and persistent pruritus (itching) despite receiving glucocorticoids, ciclosporin or allergen-specific immunotherapy.

The dogs were prescribed individualised homeopathic medicines by vet John Hoare. Two months after starting the treatment, the owners of 15 of the dogs reported no improvement.  However, owners of the other five dogs reported pruritus scores that were at least 50% improved compared to their pets’ score at recruitment. One of the five dogs improved by 100% and needed no further treatment.

The other four dogs that responded well in this first phase were then put forward into a blinded randomised trial in which they received their homeopathic prescription at some times and placebo at other times. The three dogs that completed this phase of the study improved more with the active remedy than with placebo, and owners were able to distinguish correctly which pill was which.

Dr Peter Hill, who was lead clinician on the study, said “These preliminary data indicate the need for a large randomised controlled trial of homeopathy in canine atopic dermatitis.”

Dr Robert Mathie, Research Development Adviser at the British Homeopathic Association, who collaborated in the study, added “We hope that many of the country’s veterinary schools and other specialist referral centres might participate in a multi-centre trial”.


For further information:
Specialist in Dermatology
Veterinary Specialist Centre, PO Box 307, North Ryde, NSW 2113, Sydney, Australia
Tel: +61 2 9888 9800.

Dr Robert Mathie, BSc PhD
Research Development Adviser
British Homeopathic Association & Faculty of Homeopathy, 29 Park Street West, Luton, LU1 3BE
Tel: 01582 408683.

Mr John Hoare, BVSc VetMFHom MRCVS
Homeopathic Veterinary Surgeon
Silk Mill Cottage, Mill Green, Lyme Regis, Dorset, DT7 3PH
Tel: 01297 444457.

The study is collaborative research between the University of Bristol, the Faculty of Homeopathy and the British Homeopathic Association. The findings have been published in the following paper:

Hill PB, Hoare J, Lau-Gillard P, Rybnicek J, Mathie RT. Pilot study of the effect of individualised homeopathy on the pruritus associated with atopic dermatitis in dogs. Veterinary Record 2009; 164 (issue 12); March 21.

The British Homeopathic Association promotes homeopathy practised by doctors, vets and other healthcare professionals, funding their education and encouraging high quality research.

The Faculty of Homeopathy trains doctors, vets, nurses, dentists, pharmacists and other healthcare professionals in homeopathic medicine. The Faculty promotes an integrated approach to care across all medical fields, where homeopathy is used to complement conventional medicine.