Beware the Rabid Dog—-and the Homeopath

19 Jun

Remember the scene in the classic “To Kill A Mockingbird,” where Atticus confronted and shot the rabid dog to protect Scout and her friends? A very dramatic scene and one that had played out in other communities during that era. A rabid dog roaming the streets was indeed a community emergency.


But, I don’t remember anywhere in my medical training where the saliva of a rabid dog could be used to treat emotional problems, or anything else for that matter. Maybe I missed that day, though I doubt it.

Homeopath is a word everyone knows. You’ve heard it thousands of times. But, what does it mean? “Homeo” means “the same.” if something possesses homeostasis it means that it remains in a state of stability rather than one of flux or change. It’s static. “Path” means disease or a pathological state. So, homeopathic means a stable state of wellness that is unchanging.

A homeopath is someone who, by definition, practices medicine where nothing changes. No good, no bad, nothing. Homeostatic. Since most of what they do makes no difference, causes no changes in the body, their treatments also cause no harm. Well, except to your wallet. This is what keeps them from being more tightly regulated, or run out of business altogether. 

But that’s not always the case.

Jonah was a four-year-old boy who obviously had emotional if not truly psychiatric problems. He apparently was fearful of werewolves and would crawl around on the floor and beneath furniture and growl at his classmates. Odd behavior for sure. The proper course would have been for him to see a physician in order to determine if there was some infectious process, neuropsychiatric problem, or perhaps drugs involved in his behavior. If none of these were found, then psychiatric evaluation and care should follow.

Instead, he visited a homeopath. One Anke Zimmermann. Apparently, the treatment of choice under Zimmermann’s care was to give the young man a concocted medicine that contained the saliva of a rabid animal. Really? Odds are that this beyond bizarre treatment would do no harm, be homeopathic, but you just never know. The rabies virus is a hardy creature.

Rabies Virus

The key point here is that these types of treatments are neither regulated nor investigated and are far outside scientific thinking or procedure. The take-home lesson is, be careful out there. There are a lot of folks who, under the guise of being a so-called “health care provider,” do crazy stuff.


Posted by on June 19, 2018 in Medical Issues, Uncategorized


6 responses to “Beware the Rabid Dog—-and the Homeopath

  1. Richard Mabry, MD

    June 19, 2018 at 8:31 am

    And every health care provider cringes when they see examples of this type of “practitioner.”


  2. heatherericksonauthor

    June 19, 2018 at 4:29 pm

    There are all sorts of “natural” things you should never count on to cure what ails you. My husband was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer in 2012. It drives me crazy when people try to talk him into going off of the medication that has helped him stay alive this long, in favor of something as ridiculous as canned asparagus. We’ve lost track of the things that people will trust in favor of tried and true medication. I’m just thankful that the medical field, imperfect though it is, has come as far as it has in treating physical and mental illnesses. Thanks for a great article.


    • D.P. Lyle, MD

      June 20, 2018 at 7:43 am

      So true. Most are mostly harmless but the problem is that no one is looking at these over the counter and heathfood store and homeopathic remsdies so it’s sort of like playing Russian Roulette.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Heather Erickson

        June 21, 2018 at 8:15 am

        He was going to try turmeric to help with pain. It seemed like a safe option, and for most people it is. But after I “told on him” to the doctor, she advised against it since it does thin the blood. He is a hemophiliac and of course, the chemo also affects his blood counts. She said no way. There is also the factor that even if something is harmless, you can do yourself harm if you have a potentially life-threatening condition that is going untreated.


      • D.P. Lyle, MD

        June 21, 2018 at 10:51 am

        True. Though tumeric is mostly harmless, with hemophilia and chemo it’s always best to avoid as many not absolutely necessary chemicals and treatments as possible. You just never know what might interfere.

        Liked by 1 person


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