Article from Edition Dog – Issue 1

Naturally, you want to make an informed choice for the health and welfare of your dog so if you’ve chosen a holistic approach and your dog becomes ill or injured then no doubt you’ll research drug-free treatments. You’ll discuss options with your vet, a therapist, friends, family – whatever you feel you need to do in order to find the best solution to treat your beloved four legged friends in the kindest, most effective, way possible. You choose your treatment programme … but are then told by your vet that you can only use holistic therapy AFTER they have prescribed drugs (or, at best, alongside them).

“Hold on, I thought it was my dog and therefore my choice?” Not any more!

From November 2017, the Royal Society of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) issued a statement preventing first-line use of ANY holistic therapes. So, if you want to use homeopathy, herbal remedies, nutraceuticals, acupuncture, chiropractic, massage, physiotherapy … (just to name a few!) to treat, you’re now no longer allowed to unless your dog has drugs first, or in conjunction with your chosen treatment.

CAM4Animals was set up by a concerned group of vets, animal owners, therapists and the public in response to the RCVS statement and the voluntary group has been working tirelessly to get the RCVS statement retracted. They’ve held marches in conjunction with the British Association of Homeopathic Veterinary Surgeons (BAHVS), received over 21,000 petition signatures, held meetings with the RCVS, sent numerous letters questioning the decisions and requesting supporting evidence used and even asked for a definitive list of Complementary and Alternative Medicines (CAM) affected by this statement – to date, the RCVS has been unable to provide substantial and solid answers nor provide any evidence that CAM has caused harm to any animal. This RCVS position is further undermined by DEFRA who stated in March 2018 that “The department does not have any evidence that shows that homeopathic vets are a risk to animal welfare by using homeopathy as an alternative treatment to conventional medicine options” – Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), George Eustice, MP.

So what does this all mean to you as a dog owner and what can you do about it?

  • Your freedom of choice has been limited and your vet potentially will only be treating a specific symptom/condition rather than looking at the whole health of your dog and underlying causes.
  • Conventional medicine has its place but it also comes with side effects, which can be severe. Not all dogs can tolerate the pharmaceutical approach. Even vaccines and flea/tick treatments come with their own risks, as identified by the FDA recently.
  • Holistic vets are increasingly under attack. As they drop away, your choice in treating drug-free is severely compromised.
  • Homeopathic vets are also being pressurised to stop by their practice partners, meaning fewer are allowed to openly offer homeopathy. As a result, new vets are being deterred from investigating homeopathy more closely. Once you lose your homeopathic vets there will be no succession planning.
  • Similar pressures are at play with the other alternative modalities, homeopathy is just the start and we risk losing vast amounts of invaluable CAM knowledge. Even raw feeding is under attack.

All of this impacts your freedom of choice, and the livelihood of your wonderful holistic vets is under threat. No one who believes and follows the holistic approach to animals’ health can afford to be complacent.

If you are passionate and committed to the health of your dog, there are many ways you can help protect the use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Take a moment to join CAM4Animals and support this vital campaign; Sign the petition (see website)*, write a letter to the RCVS and your MP; Volunteer to help as much or as little as you can with the campaign. All skills are welcomed!

It’s your dog, so make sure you keep your choice!

In a future edition, there’ll be an interview with the founder of CAM4Animals, but in the meantime for more information, you can email or visit the website and social media channels.

Edition Dog 18th October 2018

*Petition is now closed