Homeopathy for Dogs (An Interview with Dr. Richard Pitcairn)
I've gotten quite a few questions from our readers about homeopathy for dogs. However, I'm no veterinarian, and I'm certainly no expert on canine homeopathy. So I reached out to a real expert: Dr. Richard Pitcairn, a man known by many as the father of canine homeopathy.
Dr. Pitcairn founded the Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy and developed the the Professional Course in Veterinary Homeopathy. He's got decades of experience in this field as an academic, a practitioner and as a pioneer.
We're honored to have gotten the chance to conduct this interview, so put your learning caps on!
Can you give us the elevator-pitch for veterinary homeopathy? Why is it important?
Quick answer is that the principles of homeopathy were discovered by a doctor in Germany 200 years ago. By using medicines (remedies) in a certain way, based on matching the symptoms of the patient to what the medicine will cause, stimulates the natural, inherent healing capacity of the body.
It is important to know that it acts as a stimulant. Compared to conventional allopathic medicine, it is used in the opposite way. Rather than blocking or suppressing symptoms, it stimulates the body’s healing response by mimicking the illness in that patient.
This is why attention is given to pick the specific remedy for that patient, as it has to match their situation rather closely.
You founded the Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy, and many consider you the "father" of this field. Why hasn't anyone blazed these trails before (or have they, and most folks just don't know)?
The Academy is the first professional level veterinary homeopathic association in the US but of course there have been many other homeopathic associations — both for medical practitioners and the lay public.
Historically, there have been many veterinary practitioners of homeopathy. There is a very interesting history of such in the US for example. At one time, some major businesses, like the railroads, would only allow homeopathic treatment for their horses. As for the Academy it seemed time to set up an organization that could oversee and certify trained practitioners.
From your vantage point, how are veterinarians adopting homeopathy in their clinics?
Our course for veterinarians, the Professional Course in Veterinary Homeopathy, has trained about 500 veterinarians since 1992. Many of them have converted to completely homeopathic practices and are doing very well in terms of results and also as a business.
The bulk of veterinarians that take training do not commit to it in that way but use it partially, along with other methods of treatment such as acupuncture, Chinese herbs, laser therapy, Bach Flower remedies, chiropractic, ozone injections, certain nutritional supplements, etc., even sometimes along with the usual allopathic conventional drugs.
This type of practice usually called “integrative” or “eclectic” and is not considered to be strictly the practice of homeopathy. These practitioners also do not become as skilled in its use as combining homeopathy with other treatments often interferes with its action.
Having said, above, that the remedy acts by stimulating a response and not by countering or interfering with the present symptoms, it will be obvious to you that combining the homeopathic stimulus, along with using a drug that blocks the the body response, does not make much sense.
Having said that, I will add that optimal nutrition is very, very important, especially getting animals off a high meat and bone diet. Chiropractic treatment also does not interfere in most instances and can actually be helpful.
Nutrition is a major focus of your work. How does good nutrition overlap with homeopathy?
As I said above, nutrition is very important. This is obviously so when you realize that the body must have what it needs to repair itself. No matter what method is used, if the building blocks are not available, then healing cannot come to completion.
The other side of that is to avoid any foods or supplements that contain harmful substances, so a fresh organic diet including vegetables, grains, beans, and minimal animal sources (meat, bones, dairy) is the very best. Organic is important as well as avoiding any GMO foods which create a variety of health issues in animals, including tumors and cancer.
So far, you've created the Professional Course in Veterinary Homeopathy, founded the Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy, and written a book. a What's next for you?
My wife, Susan, and I are working on the 4th edition of our book. After that, I have considered writing another book. We will see. I continue to be active in teaching and writing as well. Turning 75 this May, so who knows how long?