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News 2 commentslast update:Jan 27, 2011

Homeopathy as an alternative to antibiotics in diarrhoea in piglets

A research study conducted at the Wageningen University & Research Centre in the Netherlands suggests that homeopathy may be an alternative to antibiotics in neonatal diarrhoea of piglets.

Irene Camerlink, Biological Farming Systems, Wageningen University & Research Centre, published her conclusions earlier this year in the magazine Homeopathy.
As an alternative to the use of antibiotics against diarrhoea in piglets, Camerlink used a homeopathic treatment with 26 gestating sows. This treatment was based on a variety of the bacteria E.coli, causing diarrhoea. A group of 26 additional gestating sows received a placebo.
Homeopathic treatments have been diluted so much, that hardly any molecules can be retraced. In theory, the working elements' activity will be transferred to the adjuvant.
Results have been striking, the researcher explained. 'In the treated piglets, only in almost 4% diarrhoea occurred. In the control group, this was almost 25%."
Professor Huub Savelkoul, Cell Biology and Immunology, WUR, was quoted to say: "There are examples of proven clinical efficacy of several homeopathic medicines, no physical-chemical and also biological mechanism, however, have been described which would explain homeopathy scientifically."
He added, "Where to go if bodies continuously have to respond to these kinds of 'non-existing fibres'; too much energy would be lost," he said.
No coincidence
Camerlink added that the positive results are not related to coincidence. At the farm, the homeopathic approach is now successfully used replacing a regular E.coli vaccination. She thinks it is sad that science does not open up to these types of alternatives.
In the organic livestock sector antibiotics are preferably replaced by complementary or alternative medicines (CAM), of which homeopathy is the most frequently applied. Homeopathic treatment has significant benefits since there are no residues of homeopathic medicines in animal products, nor does homeopathy generate resistant microorganisms.
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Editor PigProgress


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    Brent Taylor

    I was very disappointed to see this kind of pseudo-science in the news section. As ever we will never see a thorough peer reviewed conclusion to this and be left with this "non-story" as "evidence". Homeopathy doesn't work because it is based on nothing and contains nothing.

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    Vincent ter Beek, editor Pig Progress

    Dear Mr Taylor, Thank you very much for your comment. I appreciate that opinions about homeopathy may differ and we certainly are critical about what we publish and what we don't. Since the research was carried out by a renowned University, and since it presents a provoking kind of thought, we thought that it wasn't bad to publish it.
    For your information: We also included information criticising the publication. And I think it is good to think outside the box - it may sometimes lead to healthy discussions, even when the subject is not to your liking.

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