Outcomes from homeopathic prescribing in veterinary practice: a prospective, research-targeted, pilot study.
ABSTRACT Targeted research development in veterinary homeopathy is properly informed by the systematic collection and analysis of relevant clinical data obtained by its practitioners. We organised a pilot data collection study, in which 8 Faculty of Homeopathy veterinarians collected practice-based clinical and outcomes data over a 6-month period.
A specifically designed Excel spreadsheet enabled recording of consecutive clinical appointments under the following headings: date; identity of patient and owner (anonymised); age, sex and species of patient; medical condition/complaint treated; whether confirmed diagnosis, chronic or acute, new or follow-up case; owner-assessed outcome (7-point Likert scale: -3 to +3) compared with first appointment; homeopathic medicine/s prescribed; other medication/s for the condition/complaint. Spreadsheets were submitted monthly by e-mail to the project organisers for data checking, synthesis and analysis.
Practitioners submitted data regularly and punctually, and most data cells were completed. 767 individual patients were treated (547 dogs, 155 cats, 50 horses, 5 rabbits, 4 guinea-pigs, 2 birds, 2 goats, 1 cow, and 1 tortoise). Outcome from two or more homeopathic appointments per patient condition was obtained in 539 cases (79.8% showing improvement, 6.1% deterioration, 11.7% no change; outcome not recorded in 2.4% of follow-ups). Strongly positive outcomes (scores of +2 or +3) were achieved in: arthritis and epilepsy in dogs and, in smaller numbers, in atopic dermatitis, gingivitis and hyperthyroidism in cats.
Systematic recording of data by veterinarians in clinical practice is feasible and capable of informing future research in veterinary homeopathy. A refined version of the spreadsheet can be used in larger-scale research-targeted veterinary data collection.