First full study of RCTs in veterinary homeopathy published

The first-ever comprehensive study of all randomised controlled trials (RCTs) in veterinary homeopathy has been completed and published in the peer-reviewed journal Homeopathy.1 The two-year study, which covered all RCTs of homeopathic intervention (treatment and/or prevention) in any animal species, was conducted by three experts in the field of homeopathic research: Dr Robert Mathie, Research Development Adviser for the British Homeopathic Association, and Ms Daniela Hacke and Dr Jürgen Clausen from the Carstens Foundation, Germany.

“In its application to veterinary medicine, homeopathy has been reported in the treatment of many medical conditions in livestock and domestic animals. Although there are a number of well-known RCTs in veterinary homeopathy, a full study of all the research in this field had never previously been carried out,” said Dr Mathie.

From an exhaustive search of the entire world literature of RCTs in homeopathy, 38 substantive, peer-reviewed reports of RCTs of homeopathic treatment or prevention in veterinary medicine were identified. These covered seven species and 27 medical conditions, and there were similar numbers of treatment and prevention trials.

The authors now plan to take these studies forward to a full systematic review, the results of which will be eagerly anticipated.

For some the use of homeopathy in the treatment of animals is more controversial than its use in the treatment of people. But with politicians and the medical and veterinary professions becoming increasingly concerned over the excessive use of drugs in livestock farming, further scientific studies into how this complementary medicine could offer a safer alternative are needed. Following the publication of this important paper, future research in veterinary homeopathy will now be better informed.

1. Mathie RT, Hacke D, Clausen J. Randomised controlled trials of veterinary homeopathy: Characterising the peer-reviewed research literature for systematic review. Homeopathy 2012; 101: 196–203. [doi: 10.1016/j.homp.2012.05.009]