A Canadian naturopath has drawn attention to her bizarre choice of treatment after publishing a blog post about treating a young child’s behavioral problems with a homeopathic remedy made from the saliva of a rabid dog.
According to a blog post by Anke Zimmermann, an accredited naturopathic physician based in Victoria, British Columbia (B.C.), a mother brought her 4-year-old son Jonah to her after she grew concerned about his peculiar behavior.
Zimmerman, in her post, elaborated Jonah’s state by mentioning he was acting aggressively at school, hiding under tables and “growling like a dog.” Moreover, persistent fear of werewolves, ghosts and zombies used to cause trouble for him falling asleep.
While Jonah’s perturbed mother listed her son’s issues, the physician had one question for her: had he ever been bitten by a dog?
Turned out, a dog had indeed bitten him when he was 2-years-old.
Apparently, that was enough information for the naturopath, who then decided to treat the little boy with a Health Canada-approved homeopathic remedy that’s made from the saliva of a rabid dog.
“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,” Zimmerman explained in the post.
Suspecting the dog that bit Jonah might have been vaccinated for rabies, the naturopath decided to move ahead with an “alternative” treatment, supposedly made from the diluted saliva of a rabid dog – that is rabies against rabies.
No matter how odd her treatment may seem, the results were unexpectedly positive. Jonah’s growls reportedly quieted down and his behavior improved.
For obvious reasons, the naturopath’s questionable technique has drawn the scrutiny of B.C.’s provincial health officer, who questioned how Health Canada approved a treatment made from rabid dog saliva in the first place.
“Rabies is a serious reportable communicable disease that is almost universally fatal in humans and in dogs, and it can be spread through saliva from an infected dog,” Dr. Bonnie Henry said in a statement. “More importantly, I am concerned that if a product did actually contain what is suggested, saliva from a rabid dog, that would put the patient at risk of contracting rabies, a serious, fatal illness.”
"I will be writing to Health Canada about this preparation again," Henry told CBC News. "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."
In an interview with the Global News, Zimmermann said homeopathy is based on the “similarity principle.”
“So, if somebody has certain symptoms, a remedy that would normally create such symptoms can potentially be helpful to that person,” she said.
The naturopath also fought back the criticism by pointing out how nobody is paying attention to the favorable result of her widely-resented choice of treatment.
“You can’t have it both ways. You can’t have homeopathy not working [and] be toxic,” she told CBC News. “This child dramatically improved—the parents are very happy. Isn’t that something that’s interesting? Shouldn’t we be looking into that?”
However, Canadian-American gynecologist Jen Gunter who has repeatedly shunned such outrageous medical claims, debunked Zimmerman’s logic by calling it “as flawed as the one underlying homeopathy.”
“Yes, you can’t have it both ways. You can’t say your treatment has a dilute amount of rabies but also poses no risk. It’s either rabies free, meaning water, or it’s not and hence unsafe. It is clearly water/a sugar pill and hence a scam,” Gunter retorted.
Homeopathy, a system of alternative medicine, generally works on a theory if certain symptoms are observed in a patient then the best way to go about it is to treat the individual with a solution of a substance that caused those symptoms in the first place. The logic behind this idea is this solution helps to retain the memory of the substance and not its harmful effects. However, there is no scientific evidence whatsoever to back-up this far-fetched theory.
The naturopath under scrutiny might have thought of receiving acknowledgement and appreciation, before writing the blog post – but it apparently backfired.
Towards the end of last year, the U.S. Food and Drug administration proposed new, risk-based enforcement priorities to protect consumers from potentially harmful, unproven homeopathic drugs. Also, in the same year, National Health Service, a healthcare system in U.K., instructed doctors to stop prescribing homeopathic medicine to patients.
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