Complementary Medicine: American Veterinary Medical Association House of Delegates to Consider Discouraging Homeopathy for Animals; Holistic Organizations Respond

When the American Veterinary Medical Assocation (AVMA) House of Delegates meets tomorrow for its regular winter session, the agenda includes a proposal to review the existing AVMA Guidelines for Complementary and Alternative Medicine in regard to the practice of homeopathy.

Homeopathy is a topic of discussion by the American Veterinary Medical Association’s House of Delegates this weekend. A proposal from the Connecticut Veterinary Medical Association seeks the AVMA’s discouragement of the practice. Holistic veterinary organizations have responded with their own points and recommendations.

A news item in the December 15 edition of the Journal of the AVMA (JAVMA) defined homeopathy as ?”a system of alternative medicine dating back two centuries. The theory is that certain diseases can be cured by giving very small doses of drugs that in a healthy person would produce symptoms like those of the disease.”

Delegates will consider a resolution from the Connecticut VMA. The resolution dismisses homeopathy as an ineffective practice that should be discouraged.

According to the Connecticut document, “theoretical foundations of homeopathy are inconsistent with established scientific principles, clinical trials have shown homeopathy to be ineffective in treating or preventing disease, and the use of ineffective therapies to the exclusion of established treatment may endanger patients”.

The resolution was accompanied by a white paper document detailing a case against the practice of homeopathy.

The document seeks the action of the AVMA to discourage the practice of homeopathy in veterinary medicine, although it does not detail any specific actions other than discouragement.

The AVMA does not, on its own, have any legal authority. It does, however, advise state and federal government agencies and legislative action and provide a Model Veterinary Practice Act for states to use in defining and administering the role of veterinarians in animal health within individual states.

In response to the Connecticut resolution, the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association pointed out that the resolution was not reviewed by members of the Connecticut VMA.It also provided points in response to the white paper, which included that some states specifically include homeopathy in their state veterinary practice laws. It labeled some “misstatements” found in the Connecticut document and stated, on behalf of its members, that the AVMA should discuss the measure with experts in the practice of veterinary homeopathy and that an appropriate action would be the establishment of an AVMA task force that includes such experts before the House of Delegates takes any vote.

AHVMA’s response to the Connecticut document is available online.

The Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy created its own white paper in response to the Connecticut document.

Among other discussions will be a clarification of the veterinarian’s role in treating animals. Wisconsin submitted a resolution for consideration that adds the following text to the AVMA’s definition of the veterinarian-client-patie nt relationship: “The veterinarian provides oversight of treatment, compliance and outcome.”

Photo courtesy of Karel?Hladky.




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