Feline hyperthyroidism is a common endocrine disorder in older cats for which homeopathic treatment has been advocated. A double-blinded, placebo-controlled randomised trial was performed to look for evidence of efficacy for the use of individualised homeopathy in the treatment of this disease. Using a case definition of a concentration of the thyroid hormone T4 >66 nmol/l, cats were randomised into two treatment arms. Either a placebo or a homeopathic treatment was given to each cat blindly. After 21 days, the T4 levels, weight (Wt) and heart rate (HR) were compared with pretreatment values. There were no statistically significant differences in the changes seen between the two treatment arms following placebo or homeopathic treatment (T4 P=0.96, Wt P=0.16, HR P=0.36) or between the means of each parameter for either treatment arm before and after placebo or homeopathic treatment (all P values >0.13). In a second phase of the study, patients in both treatment arms were given methimazole treatment for 21 days and T4, Wt and HR determined again. Again there were no statistically significant differences between the groups, but there were statistically significant reductions in T4 (P<0.0001) and HR (P=0.02), and a statistically significant increase in Wt (P=0.004) in both groups compared with their pre-methimazole treatment levels. The results of this study failed to provide any evidence of the efficacy of homeopathic treatment of feline hyperthyroidism.
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Provenance: not commissioned; externally peer reviewed
Ethics approval Ethical approval for the study was given by the Cambridge Q3 Veterinary School Ethics Committee (CR-2006-1).
Competing interests ALB is clinical director of The Hyperthyroid Cat Centre, UK, providing iodine 131 for hyperthyroid cats. CJA is a practising veterinary homeopath.
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