I just discovered that in my neighborhood is a business called Well Beings Veterinary Homeopathy. People in the city do treat their pets like people, and belief in homeopathy is consistent with stereotypes of Californians, but what really tickled me was to see the “well” prefix (usually as in “well-woman” or “well-baby”) added to the somewhat Buddhist use of the word “being”. This name sounds like a parody created by someone mocking San Francisco.

(Homeopathy is an alternative medicine, which treats diseases with ultra-pure water.)

In digging deeper, I found this was not an aberration, that there are practitioners of veterinary homeopathy in many parts of North America. One disturbing thing I found was in a question-and-answer page on the web site of the person responsible for training many of these practitioners:

Q 12. If you are treating an animal with homeopathy and they need dentistry (perhaps teeth removed), or are thought to have Lyme disease, or develop an infection or abscess, would you then change over to using antibiotics and other allopathic treatments?

There are many veterinarians that offer homeopathy that do not really rely on it when “times get tough”, when there is what appears to be an infection or severe inflammatory condition. This, of course, is their professional opinion but going back and forth between homeopathy and the usual use of drugs does not really work well and is not the most skillful approach. You may not have choice in this regard but if you do, especially with animals having a chronic condition, try to find a veterinarian that firmly believes in and uses homeopathy even in what appears to be serious illness.

(The term “allopathic” is a term used by homeopathic proponents to describe standard medicine.)

For human beings, we might expect some benefit from homeopathy just because of the placebo effect. However for non-human beings, presumably homeopathy will have absolutely no effect because they will not have a placebo response.

I hope there are not too many animals that suffer unnecessarily as a result of being given pure water instead of real veterinary care.