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healthHealth and Medicine

Naturopath Under Fire For Treating Young Boy With Rabid Dog Saliva "Remedy"

author

Robin Andrews

Science & Policy Writer

clockApr 18 2018, 17:23 UTC

This is... grim and distressing. Reddogs/Shutterstock

Just in case you’ve appeared on the wrong website, here’s a quick recap for you. Homeopathy doesn’t work, in that there’s no evidence to show that it’s effective at treating health problems. Sometimes, it can be downright dangerous.

Case in point: A Canadian naturopath’s blog post, in which she explains how she used the saliva of a rabid dog to “treat” a boy with behavioral issues, has been picked up by various outlets, and people are – quite rightly – vexed that such dangerous water wizardry is permitted to take place in 2018.

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A naturopath, in case you’re wondering, is an all-encompassing umbrella term. Homeopathy is just a part of it; it can also include dietary restrictions, herbal supplements, acupuncture, and faith healing. “Nature knows best” could be the overarching theme, which presumably isn’t the same nature that’s conjured up cancer or that mind-controlling zombie ant fungus.

In this particular instance, British Columbia’s Dr Anke Zimmermann – whose Twitter feed, incidentally, is saturated in heinous anti-vaxxer babble – took on the case of a four-year-old boy who had troubles.

“Jonah” was experiencing sleep disorders and prevarications toward violent aggression. He also had a fear of ghosts, wolves, werewolves, and zombies, and occasionally growled at other schoolchildren.

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Zimmermann found out he was once bitten by a dog, and thinks she’s found a solution, explained using two apparent non-sequiturs. “There is a history of a dog bit [sic] which drew blood. I decided to give a homeopathic remedy made from rabies,” something known as lyssinum or hydrophobinum.

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She elucidates further. “A bite from an animal, with or without rabies vaccination, has the potential to imprint an altered state in the person who was bitten, in some ways similar to a rabies infection.” She adds that “this can include over-excitability, difficulties sleeping, aggression and various fears, especially of dogs or wolves.”

Now, clearly, this is unscientific bullshit. Fun fact: You can’t contract “fake rabies” from anything. You’re either infected with a disease or you’re not. You can’t use bites to imprint an altered state either, because those words don’t mean anything.

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Nevertheless, the blog claims that his behavioral issues are currently somewhat treated, and he’s now more afraid of the dark and cracks in a dresser – both of which would be incredibly hard to dilute into a homeopathic remedy, we suspect.

He also apparently doesn’t have rabies, which is lucky, even if the solution was extremely diluted. Lest we forget, other cases of homeopathic treatment have, in fact, turned out to be far grimmer.

Things have, understandably, escalated since the blog post received a fair bit of media attention.

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Far from just the blog coming under attack, it’s been pointed out that lyssinum is one of just 8,500 homeopathic products that Health Canada, the government’s national public health agency, has approved. Other remedies use the cerebral fluid of meningitis patients or even remnants of chlamydia bacteria.

CBS News has reported that British Columbia’s senior public health official, Dr Bonnie Henry, has sent a letter of concern to the federal government. “There's no way I can understand why we would have anything that was meant to be saliva of a rabid dog approved for use in this country,” she said.


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