Homeopathy is the school of alternative medicine that claims to treat a myriad of medical conditions, using heavily diluted solutions which contain extracts of natural substances.
As well as declaring that it can benefit humans, it also offers treatments for our pets.
The philosophy of homeopathy is that of ‘like cures like’; that is, a small amount of an ingredient that would cause an illness in a healthy animal could also be used to treat the ailment in a sick animal. This is said to encourage the nervous system to build up immunity and heal itself.
Remedies are widely available for cats, dogs, rabbits and horses and can usually be placed directly into the mouth of your pet or added to food.
Homeopaths believe they can treat illnesses in pets such as epilepsy, skin conditions, breathing problems, anxiety and arthritis. There are even claims that homeopathic treatments can be used to treat cancer in dogs.
The treatments can be purchased online or from homeopathic veterinary practices. A small number of mainstream veterinary surgeons additionally offer homeopathic alternatives.
Does homeopathy for pets work?
As with homeopathy for humans, there is no scientific evidence that it is an effective type of treatment.
As the treatments are diluted numerous times during their manufacture, there is often no trace of the active ingredient left in the medication, and since the animal cannot be aware it is being treated for its ailment, it cannot even benefit from the placebo effects of the remedies.
In 2016, around 1,000 vets petitioned the Royal Society of Veterinary Surgery for homeopathy for animals to be banned, citing concerns about animal welfare.
You should think carefully before seeking out homeopathic forms of treatment for your pets. It is difficult to gauge whether or not your pet is feeling better without professional advice, and you may misinterpret signs that they are healthy when in fact they have made no improvement at all.
Homeopathy can be expensive, and if your pet’s health does not improve or even worsens after the course of treatment you will also need to pay the costs of a mainstream veterinary surgeon.