Standards of Practice and Purpose of the Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy
The Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy is established for three main purposes: 1) To establish standards for the practice of veterinary homeopathy.12) To advance veterinary homeopathy through education and research.
3) To help our clients make informed therapeutic decisions.
Veterinary homeopathy is homeopathy, as practiced by veterinarians, in the treatment of their patients.
Homeopathy is the system of medicine developed by Samuel Hahnemann and described throughout his writings.
The most important directive of AVH veterinarians is to help our patients gently and rapidly.
Most of our patients have already been evaluated and treated by other veterinarians. Because we are ethically bound to offer only the services that we are competent to perform, referral to Board Certified veterinary specialists may be indicated. This helps us reach the most accurate diagnoses and prognoses during our initial patient evaluations. We use all of the available information to obtain fully informed consent from our clients.
We can then also educate them with the full spectrum of therapeutic options (including risk:benefit, alternative and integrative treatments, etc.).
The AVH SOP exists to help the veterinary homeopath practice correctly according to the principles and definition of cure described by Dr. Hahnemann.
His definition for patient cure was carefully defined as the rapid and gentle restoration of health with disappearance of the whole pattern of the signs of illness. 2, 3
Not only is health restored, but this restoration is permanent, not requiring continued treatment with medication. 4
The SOP does not preclude utilization of modern diagnostics and therapeutics.
Standards of Practice:
The most important directive from these sources is that the purpose and goal of homeopathic treatment is the cure of the patient.2 Cure is not left vague, but is carefully defined by Hahnemann to be the rapid and gentle restoration of health with disappearance of the whole pattern of the signs of illness.3 Not only is health restored, but it is also permanent, not requiring continued treatment with medication.4
Medicines that are homeopathic to the patient's condition are to be used.
It is further stated (and follows logically) that medicines that are not curative are not to be used.
Though all of the instructions in the Organon of Medicine are a guide to practice, the following guidelines are stated for their value as detailing the method of curative homeopathic treatment:
1. Only the remedy that is homeopathic to the patient is to be used.
2. Drugs and methods of treatment which are not homeopathic to the case are to be avoided because of the possibility of interference with the progress of cure.5,6
3. Use of acupuncture and moxa is not compatible with homeopathic treatment because of its effect on the vital force of the patient. 7
4. Treatment of symptoms by electrical or electromagnetic application is to be avoided because of its tendency to suppress symptoms in the patient.8 Use of electricity and effects of magnets are suitable in treatment when administered according to homeopathic indications only.9
5. Only one homeopathic medicine is to be given at one time.10
6. Medicines are most suitably given by mouth.11
7. The patient should receive nutritious food which does not, in itself, have medicinal effects. 12
8. Symptoms on the skin or surface of the body are seen as localized expressions of a systemic disorder. These should not be treated as unique lesions. Vigorous local treatment can cause their disappearance without addressing the underlying disease. Localized lesions are ideally treated primarily by internal homeopathic treatment.13
9. Remedies (in the centesimal potency scale) are to be administered as single doses and allowed to act without interference. Repeated doses of the same medicine can cause excessive, even violent, reaction in the patient. 14 An exception is made for acute conditions where treatment must sometimes be continued until there is a response from the patient or as outlined in paragraph 11 below.
10. Remedies are not to be repeated while improvement in the patient continues as this will cause upset in the progress towards cure.15
11. Remedies (in the LM or Q potency scale) can be repeated frequently if both succussed and diluted with each dose.16 Remedies below 30C may be repeated either because the patient is unresponsive or in a deliberate attempt to give a potency that is low so as to minimize aggravation. When these methods are used, it is imperative that the patient be monitored at frequent intervals.
12. No medicines in the treatment are to be used if their pure action (primary effect) in the healthy body has not been determined by careful study.17
13. Evaluation of the patient is based only on careful elucidation of the details of symptoms on mental, emotional and physical levels. This consists of questioning, observation, and physical examination (including laboratory tests). 18, 19
14. The complete details of the patient's condition are to be carefully noted in written records as the memory is not reliable enough to evaluate the patient in subsequent visits.20
15. Choice of the homeopathic remedy is based on knowledge of medicines in comparison with the symptoms of the patient, e.g., through use of a materia medica.21
These details of practice, in agreement with Hahnemann's teaching, give us the guidance as to the purpose of treatment and the way to proceed in practice.
Why should there be established standards of practice?
In spite of the careful elucidation by Dr. Samuel Hahnemann of the essentials of homeopathic practice based on his 50 years of clinical experience, many people have chosen to develop different forms of practice. Most often, the deviations consist of dropping one or more of the methods of practice elicited above.
1. Giving more than one remedy at a time.
2. Not keeping detailed records of symptoms.
3. Mixing therapies so that the homeopathic remedy is counter-acted by use of non-similar methods of treatment or so that the patient's response to homeopathic treatment is confused and proper evaluation is not possible.
4. Eradicating or suppressing a localized lesion.
5. Injecting remedies into the body rather than administering by mouth.
These few examples convey the ways in which practices can differ. The difficulty is that those homeopathic physicians who have successfully followed Hahnemann confirm that only careful adherence to the details of his method will result in consistent cure of patients. It therefore becomes a problem when practitioners, on their own, decide that certain parts of practice are not necessary (as outlined above). This leads to confusion among clients (who expect a consistency of treatment) and division among practitioners who cannot agree about an approach to treatment.
A further difficulty is that the Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy will be a representative organization in the sense that if a homeopathic practitioner is challenged, this organization will be asked to evaluate the situation. If a practitioner has not adhered to Hahnemann's method, then it will be very difficult, if not impossible, to make a favorable evaluation.
For these reasons, it is necessary to establish standards of practice, e.g., state what the essentials of practice are. In establishing the Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy it was decided that the best standard is that given by Hahnemann's writings, as described above.
There are situations for which exception must be made for the rule of not using homeopathic therapy with allopathic drugs.
Some of these situations arise when:
1. A patient is taken on for treatment who is already on allopathic medication that cannot be immediately stopped.
2. A case becomes critical yet not responsive to homeopathic treatment.
3. There is an acute illness or injury that is an immediate threat to life and the practitioner either does not know how to resolve the situation or does not have the physical facility required.
4. There is failure of a body function, for example bladder paralysis that cannot be repaired and may necessitate the use of antibiotics to control recurrent infection.
The guiding principle is that the purpose of homeopathic treatment is cure. If one of these exceptional situations exists, it is temporary and not part of a continued homeopathic treatment program.
1 See Appendix A for further discussion of the purpose of having standards.
2Organon of Medicine, 6th edition, paragraph 1, "The physician's high and only mission is to restore the sick to health, to cure..."
3 Organon of Medicine , 6th edition, paragraphs 2 & 17.
4 Organon of Medicine, 6th edition, paragraph 51, "The cure by this method takes place by only a gentle, imperceptible and yet often rapid transition from the tormenting natural disease to the desired state of permanent health." Paragraph 280, (after a period of homeopathic treatment the sensation in mild degree of old symptoms of the illness) "...indicates that the vital principle no longer needs to be affected by the similar medicinal disease in order to lose the sensation of the natural disease...." and the medicine is discontinued.<
5 Organon of Medicine, 6th edition, paragraphs 23, 25-45, 69, and 291. Here discussion of the curative effect of similar medicines and the harmful effects of non-similar medicines is made clear. Drugs, herbs and other forms of treatment prevent cure and cause ultimate harm to the patient. Hahnemann states that only the medicine homeopathic to the patient's condition is to be used in treatment.
6 See Appendix B for exceptions to the rule.
7 Hahnemann S.To my true pupils. AllgemHomZtg 1833;II(1):1-3.
8 Organon of Medicine, 5th edition, preface.
9 Organon of Medicine, 6th edition, paragraph 286.>
10 Organon of Medicine, 6th edition, paragraphs 272-274. "In no case under treatment is it necessary and therefore not permissible to administer to a patient more than one, single simple medicinal substance at one time."
11 Organon of Medicine, 6th edition, paragraph 36.
12 Organon of Medicine, 6th edition, paragraph 261.
13 Organon of Medicine, 6th edition, paragraphs 185-205. Hahnemann explains that local lesions are expressions of internal disease and that eradication of this expression before the internal disease is treated curatively harms the patient and makes curative treatment impossible.
14 Organon of Medicine, 5th edition, paragraph 246.
15 Organon of Medicine, 6th edition, paragraph 246.
16 Organon of Medicine, 6th edition, paragraphs 246-248.
17 Organon of Medicine, 6th edition, paragraphs 119-120 and footnotes.
18 Organon of Medicine, 6th edition, paragraph 1 footnote, and paragraph 18.
19 Organon of Medicine, 6th edition, paragraphs 5-6. Hahnemann emphasizes the importance of basing the treatment on the actual details of the patient's condition rather than on theory, speculation, or use of some presumed psychic ability.
20 Organon of Medicine, 6th edition, paragraph 104 and footnote.
21 Organon of Medicine, 6th edition, paragraph 153.