Regulators caution New York DVMs on homeopathic medicine

Board weighs merits of homeopathic remedies

July 8, 2008 (published)
By Jennifer Fiala

Albany, N.Y. — Veterinarians who prescribe homeopathic medicine must be able to offer a scientific rationale for doing so, at least in New York state. 

That warning comes from the New York State Board for Veterinary Medicine as regulators consider their stance on homeopathic remedies. According to Walter Ramos, board executive secretary, disciplinary cases that involve DVM-prescribed homeopathic treatments are on the rise. License holders called into question cannot rely on the anecdotal and historical performances of such treatments. 

"There is not a lot of research on how these drugs work in animals," Ramos says. "So if you substitute a known treatment with a homeopathic treatment, you better be in the position of offering a scientific rationale for using that therapy.

It's not sufficient to say that the Chinese have been using this remedy for thousands of years."  It's a thorny issue, Ramos contends, because little is known about homeopathic drugs, including their contents, consistency, proper dosages, labeling and contradictions. While several states currently recognize homeopathic treatments, New York regulators remain wary about including such remedies in the state's guidelines or recommendations. 

"We're open to discussion, but for now, the New York Board of Veterinary Medicine is not ready to make that leap of faith." 

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