Supplementary, Complementary and Alternative Medicine. A SCAM in Flagrant Violation of Veterinary Ethics and Science
Johannes (Sjeng) T. Lumeij, DVM, PhD, DECAMS
Associate Professor of Avian and Exotic Animal Medicine, Division of Avian and Exotic Animal Medicine, Department of Clinical Sciences of Companion Animals, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Universiteit Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands
Treatment modalities for which there is scientific evidence, or at least plausibility, belong to veterinary science. Supplementary, complementary and alternative medicine could be better abbreviated with the acronym SCAM, because of the absence of plausibility or scientific evidence. Application of SCAM in veterinary practice violates the code of conduct for the veterinarian and the guidelines from the Federation of Veterinarians in Europe.
Although some argue that any treatment performed on animals should be performed by veterinarians and veterinarians who apply alternative methods should be trained in these methods, standards of care have no meaning if the most important prerequisite, evidence for effectiveness, is lacking. These standards would lend unjustified support to unproven claims and raise false expectations. When the beacons for the veterinary profession such as professional organizations, veterinary faculties, and veterinary journals are failing with regard to showing the correct way, veterinary practitioners will be lured into the maelstrom of quackery.
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