Like many things in life, homeopathy has its advocates and its detractors. As a company with a mission to help keep your pets happy and healthy, naturally, we are obviously in the advocate’s camp. Our firm belief in the power and potential of homeopathy and in the HomeoPet range of products is backed by our 25 years of experience in formulating effective natural medicines, in comprehensive research and trials and, of course, in the real-world results that our patients experience, a small portion of which you can read on our testimonials page.
In this article, Tom Farrington MRCVS., MVB., VetMFHom – our lead formulator and chief Veterinary Medical Advisor – discusses his vast experience with homeopathic medicine and shares insights and evidence to demonstrate the power of homeopathy.
“As someone who has practiced homeopathy for many years, I still spend an inordinate amount of time explaining Homeopathy to my human patients, let alone the many, many animal guardians I see! In fact, writing this brings to mind something my brother Daniel said to me: “Maybe Tom, if you took the look of disbelief off your face when they get better it would help!”. But after thirty-plus years of practice, I am still amazed by what Homeopathy can do. And I stress can do!
For me, I see what is anecdotal evidence, which means that’s while I see cases get better every day of the week (both human and animal), that in real terms is not ‘proof’. However, this anecdotal evidence is the most common reason for scientific ‘proof’ to be overturned and why so often a drug that is on the market is eventually recalled, as adverse reactions are initially ‘anecdotal evidence’ until there is a large enough body of research that ‘proves’ the effect.
So, where does one look for ‘proof’ when what I see every day is not considered ‘proof’ in scientific terms? Well, we’re supposed to look at evidence-based medicine. Unfortunately, this can be easily manipulated. For example, doing a trial on a group of patients that are naturally going to respond better than another group of patients can ensure that a trial looks better. This often leads to skepticism about trials, which is unfortunate as when conducted properly they can provide us with good information.
HomeoPet – putting research to the test
HomeoPet has a long history of involvement in research. This goes back to Dr. Peter Nowlan, who worked in Trinity College for many years and kept prodding myself and my brother Daniel to produce trials rather than just relying on anecdotal evidence. Consequently, over the years Homeopet has done many trials (some animal, some human) in many countries to contribute to the body of evidence that is available for homeopathy and to gain the independent verification that homeopathy and HomeoPet products are ‘proven’ to work.
For example, HomeoPet’s Anxiety range is backed by results from extensive, university-based trials. Split across three groups of animals in Ireland, Great Britain and Australia, there was a 78% positive response to HomeoPet Anxiety medicines in these formal trials.
One of the most exciting things about science is that it is always evolving, so at the end of every trial we scientists like to ask more questions, which opens the way for further research.
So where does one look for this research and evidence?
There are many places one can look for homeopathic research. For example, the HRI (Homeopathic Research Institute) or papers published on Pubmed, and many Homeopathic organizations have links to valid research papers, such as https://www.homeopathycenter.org/research-articles/ or https://homeopathy-uk.org/treatment/evidence-for-homeopathy/research-papers.
You can also find more information about the research that HomeoPet has undertaken on our wide range of natural pet medicines on our website.
Homeopathy – complex or simple?
I believe that it is important to understand what homeopathy is and what it isn’t. This gets confused by the fact many different types of homeopathy are practiced. I will not go into too much detail here, but they can be broadly divided into single remedy and complex remedy practices.
Single remedy homeopathy is where only one homeopathic remedy is given at any one time and in general it is highly diluted, going well beyond the point where one may think there is any possibility of a trace of a chemical ingredient causing the results.
However, as I write, I have just had a client email me about their dog, that was referred to me a while back by another veterinarian for uncontrolled anxiety and which was not conventionally responsive to standard medications and for whom there were unacceptable side effects. Storms and wind caused her to become a quivering mass. She received a daily dose of a specific, high potency remedy called Calcarea carbonium – 200c for 10 days. This remedy was chosen based on many facets of the patient – temperament, her love of heat, love of food, and so on. As treatment progressed, the dog continuously improved, up to the point where she sat unperturbed through an intense storm, something she was unable to do even before the more recent intensification of her symptoms that led to her referral to me.
In this scenario, I got to know the patient up close and personal and had access to the owner’s insights as to the dog’s temperament, diet, etc., and therefore was able to get very specific with the prescribed medicine i.e. a single “simple” remedy. In conventional medicine terms, one might compare it to a person getting a headache and taking some general pain relief tablets. In this instance being the equivalent to “complex” homeopathy`, whereby it is produced to alleviate pain that may be caused by many different factors. However, if the pain persists the patient then meets with a specialist who in turn prescribes something very specific that the specialist identified as the cause of the pain during tests and thorough observation.
Complex remedy homeopathy – The other main branch of homeopathy is the use of complex remedies, which is where several ingredients are combined to produce a clinical result.
Complex homeopathy was my original introduction to homeopathy. This approach was used in the first case that really converted my opinion from one that homeopathy was suspect to my experience that this is a medical practice that works.
The patient – a young Labrador – had been part of a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of what then was a new and novel drug medication. The patient had failed to respond to either placebo or the active drug (an evidence-based trial). As a result, the kennel owner who was the dog’s guardian contacted me. She had anecdotal evidence of the benefits of homeopathy based on her own experiences and those of her kennel residents and from what she had heard from their guardians and did not want to give up on her dog.
I started the Labrador on a complex remedy for arthritis, with some improvement. Then I remembered seeing a specific remedy under a picture of an x-ray that showed similar arthritis to that of this patient. That complex immediately produced a clinical improvement. As the patient had failed to change in a placebo-controlled, evidence-based trial, we can assume the effect was not placebo. This dog had been recommended to be euthanized. However, she lived into a healthy old age as a result of her positive response to her homeopathic treatment. Her owner put this into record by providing photos both before treatment and at a ripe old age, fourteen years later.
With many, many years of experience, we now have extremely good indicators as to the complex homeopathy medications that achieve great results. This, coupled with the safety levels of homeopathy and the fact that the regulatory authorities supervise and regulate their production to ensure quality and safety (in a similar way to conventional pharma production oversight and something I am fully in agreement with), both the practitioner and the patient can feel confident in the homeopathic medications produced by reputable producers such as HomeoPet.
I hope this provides some clarity and has given you a small taste of what is possible with homeopathy and I thank you for allowing me to share with you the reasons why I believe that homeopathy works, with or without extensive research. Everything I have learned over my thirty-plus years of experience with my own patients and that which I have learned from my wonderful homeopathic forebears and current generation of colleagues, is made vastly more accessible as a result of Daniel and Margaret Farrington and the wonderful staff of HomeoPet and their extensive range of complex remedies.