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Dr. Jeff’s Letter to the Editor About Veterinary Homeopathic Treatment Options in Dogs With Brain Tumors

This is the letter I wrote to JAVMA (Journal of the American Vet Med Ass.) which they would not publish. I still strongly believe however that every pet owner should be informed, by their veterinarian, about every available treatment option. 

Thanks so much to Dr. Rossmeisl et. al, for adding to the high quality veterinary evidence base regarding treatment and prognosis of canine brain tumors published in the Jan. 15, 2013 issue of JAVMA. They designed this  thorough prospective study  in a treatment per-protocol cohort fashion to minimize worsening and suffering in these gravely ill patients.

In their study, all dogs were managed with empirically chosen doses of phenobarbital and/or .5 mg/kg prednisone PO q 48h. As the authors write, “these treatments are economical and usually well-tolerated”. However up to 70% (of the phenobarbital treated patients) experienced side-effects and potentially a resultant reduction of quality of life. 

In addition, over 70% (36-51) of these patients were prescribed empirical therapy including phenobarbital, valium, various antimicrobials, NSAIDs, topical otic medications, prednisone, dexamethasone and selegiline hydrochloride prior to diagnosis. None of the aforementioned are totally benign medications and may therefore have also deleteriously effected the patients.

As such, I’d like to propose an effective, inexpensive, side-effect free and well-documented method for palliative management: veterinary homeopathy. 

This scientifically-based treatment modality, avoids the empirical choices of therapeutic agents and allows the best choices of therapies that can significantly improve both quality and length of life. 

The high quality research that is required to scientifically evaluate any treatment is lacking in some aspects of veterinary medicine. (See Dr. Palmquist’s letter in the Feb.1 JAVMA.). Therefore, many of the studies cited above have been conducted in people.

Using the full range of diagnostic and epigenetic manifestations of the individual in addition to those that are pathognomonic facilitates selection of medications individually tailored to the patient. Such individualization is one of the basic tenets of homeopathic veterinary treatment.  

The need for individualized treatment of cancers is being increasingly recognized in human medicine, as is seen by the recent 50 million dollar endowment to Princess Margaret Hospital for such work.  By treating each patient as an individual, veterinary homeopaths are often able to palliate safely and effectively, improving the  quality and length of life.

Every medication used in veterinary homeopathy has undergone rigorous therapeutic testing which reveals the potential therapeutic uses of the drug. This allows scientific determination of the medication. For example, out of the hundreds of drugs in the FDA-approved Homeopathic Pharmacopeia of the US known to produce convulsions, the best ones can then be chosen which will palliate the signs of the individual.

It is incumbent on veterinarians to offer our clients all of the options available the treatment of their pets. This is especially true when we are proposing palliative treatment of the terminally ill patient. 

1.The Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy white paper: Available at: http://www.theavh.org/avma/Homeopathy%20White%20Paper.pdf  Accessed Jan 20, 2013

2. Scientific Framework of Homeopathy Evidence Based Homeopathy 2012: Available at liga.iwmh.net/dokumente/upload/7ab93_Scientific_Framework_Homeopathy_2012_final_version.pdf  Accessed Jan 20, 2013.

3. Bell IR, Lewis DA, Brooks AJ, Schwartz GE, Lewis SE, Walsh BT, Baldwin M. Improved clinical status in fibromyalgia patients treated with individualized homeopathic remedies versus placebo Rheumatology 2004; 43: 577–582. 

4. Rostock M, Naumann J, Guethlin C, Guenther L, Bartsch HH, Walach H. Classical homeopathy in the treatment of cancer patients–a prospective observational study of two independent cohorts. BMC Cancer. 2011 Jan 17;11:19. doi: 10.1186/1471-2407-11-19. Available at: http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2407/11/19  Accessed Jan. 20, 2013

5. US Food and Drug Administration. Available at:  http://www.fda.gov/ICECI/ComplianceManuals/CompliancePolicyGuidanceManual/ucm074360.htm Accessed Jan. 20, 2013

6. Varshney JP. Clinical management of idiopathic epilepsy in dogs with homeopathic Belladonna 200C: a case series. Homeopathy 2007; 96: 46–48.