There are more than 138 randomized controlled trials of homeopathy in human medicine, but fewer than 20 have been performed in all of veterinary medicine and not one has involved horses.
To gain insight regarding the kinds of problems that veterinarians in the UK treat via homeopathy and owner-assessed changes after homeopathy, twelve members of the Faculty of Homeopathy veterinarians recorded data systematically at 777 consecutive homeopathic appointments for horses over a period of 12 months.1 A spreadsheet enabled the recording of information, which included:
date of appointment;
horse and owner identity (anonymised);
sex of horse;
main medical problem treated;
whether the condition was chronic or acute;
whether the appointment was new or a follow-up;
owner-assessed clinical outcome on a seven-point scale, ranging from -3 to +3, compared with the first appointment; homeopathic medicine(s) prescribed;
and whether any conventional or other complementary/alternative medicine (CAM) was being used concurrently to treat the condition.
Data from 289 horses comprised a total of 305 individual conditions identified as chronic in nature, of which 234 had a follow-up assessment. At the final appointment for chronic cases during the study period, 4.3 per cent were receiving conventional medication and 17.1 per cent were being given another CAM treatment in addition to homeopathy.
The homeopathic veterinarians treated more than 100 different conditions. The eight chronic conditions most frequently treated with homeopathy were:
- chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- sweet itch
- Cushing’s syndrome
At the time of the final appointment, owners assessed the impact of the homeopathy on a scale from -3 (major deterioration) to +3 (major improvement) compared to the first appointment.
For the 234 cases, a final score of +2 or +3 (moderate or major improvement) was reported in 86.7% of cases.
1. Mathie RT, Baitson ES, Hansen L, Elliott MF, Hoare J. (2010) Prescribing for chronic conditions in equine veterinary practice in the UK. Vet Rec. 2010 Feb 20;166(8):234-8.