Category Archives: skepticism

The Dangers of Homeopathic Vaccinations For Pets

My two dogs - Rory & Caleb

As an ex-vet nurse and “mum” to my two dogs, there is one thing that can get me to boiling point faster than anything else and that is people who don’t take care of their pets and provide them with adequate medical treatment when required.

Therefore, when @drunkenmadman posted a link to a place selling homeopathic vaccinations for pets my blood began to boil.

Pet Homeopath has for sale homeopathic vaccinations for distemper & parvovirus as well as preventives for heartworm and ticks.  All of the above are deadly, especially for dogs.  With the exception of distemper, I have seen dogs die of parvovirus, heartworm and ticks in my old vet practice located in Sydney.  All because owners did not either vaccinate against parvo or give their dogs heartworm medication (I can’t say anything horrible about owners whose dogs suffer ticks bites because they are damn near impossible to prevent).

So, why am I against these homeopathic vaccinations?  Because homeopathy is complete bullocks.  They don’t contain any active ingredient whatsoever.  It isn’t herbal medication, it is just water and sugar – that’s it.  Water & sugar is not going to prevent your dog during an outbreak of parvovirus which occurs every summer without fail in Sydney.

Parvovirus has a kill rate of about 50%.  It really is pure luck if your dog survives a bout of parvovirus.  The best vets can do is to put your dog on a drip and just watch as it shits and vomits out all the water content in its body.  It is one of the most gruesome ways a dog can die (and I used to watch about 20 dogs die from it each summer) and yet it is totally preventable by one yearly vaccination.

Heartworm is spread by mozzies and I don’t need to tell anyone who lives in Australia that we have a hell of a lot of mozzies.  You can’t prevent stop your dog  from being bit by a mozzie, so why risk it?  Heartworm can be prevented by one yearly vaccination or a once month spot on application.  It’s that simple and easy.  The treatment if your dog does get heartworm is extremely hard on dogs and can kill them.

Yes, there are side effects to vaccinations, but they are extremely rare in dogs.  The vast majority of dogs handle their vaccinations just fine and the once yearly trip to the vet to get them also includes a general check up so you can catch any other potential problems early.

Don’t think that by using homeopathic vaccinations that you are doing the best thing for your dog by giving them something natural. Yes, water is natural & has no side-effects but it is not going to prevent them from contracting deadly diseases.  Do the right thing and get them properly vaccinated once a year, every year.

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Completely Unexpected

My blog post The Dangers of Not Vaccinating Your Child made it to the finals of the Young Australian Skeptics Blog Anthology and they gave me this very lovely badge

YAS Blog Anthology Finalistand the opportunity to feature my post in their actual hard copy book.

Please check out the other finalists.  I am in some very prestigious company including many bloggers whose work I greatly admire.

Feeling a little overwhelmed by this to be honest as I don’t class myself as a writer. I blog cause I want to tell people things that I have learnt or found on the internet.  I don’t pretend to have any great skills in the written medium so this is just completely unexpected.

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Today’s WTF Moment

News broke over the weekend of a mother who killed her autistic son with a drug cocktail and then tried to kill herself.  It’s an absolute tragedy and therefore it is no surprise that many people are writing about it.  Mike Adams who runs Natural News, a site that promotes alternative medicine, also wrote an article about this horrible event, but instead of focusing on the lack of support services for children with disabilities and their families or because Adams’ is an anti-vaxxer, bringing out that old false argument that vaccination causes autism, he went completely off the deep end.  Adams’ used this tragedy to hit out at pharmaceutical companies or as he refers to them, Big Pharma.  Apparently Big Pharma fosters a culture of death because if people overdose on their medication it will kill them.  Adams seems to have forgotten that almost any substance known to man can kill you if consumed in large enough quantities, even water.

If this argument wasn’t completely mind-bending to those of us that think rationally, he then goes on to say Big Pharma executives are mentally insane because they take the medications that their companies produce and because this poor mother who killed her son was an executive of a pharmaceutical company, it was little wonder she killed her son and tried to kill herself.  Adams’ then goes on to say that the mother was probably on anti-depressants and this is even more reason why she did what she did.

Seriously WTF Mike Adams!  Did someone replace your brain with mashed potatoes??  You seem to lack any compassion for what this woman went through that made her do what she did and instead are using her tragedy to promote your anti-pharmaceutical viewpoint.  It is sickening and quite frankly insane.

If the article itself wasn’t enough to liquefy your brain, then take a read of the comments.  It takes the insanity to a whole new level.  The readers of Natural News seriously believe that the increase in violence in society highlighted by multiple high school shootings around the world is all caused by mind control lasers that are being used by shadowy organisations to increase the sales of pharmaceutical drugs and take away people’s rights to own guns.  Clearly their logic is not like our Earth logic.

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10:23 Homeopathic Overdose Event – Sydney

Took part in my very first act of skeptical activism today at the 10:23 Homeopathic Overdose event in Sydney.  The aim of the event was quite simple to show that homeopathic medication is just sugar and water and therefore totally ineffective by overdosing on homeopathic sleeping pills.

The directions for use on the back of the packet

Armed with about 40 pills each.  We staged our overdose in front of the chemist who sold us the medication.

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m the chick hiding up the back (me and cameras don’t play nicely).

We all survived with no signs of sleepiness whatsoever, except for James, who blamed it on having to get up at 6am on a Saturday morning.

The only effect most of us got was a rather large sugar high.

Looking forward to seeing the results of the UK 10:23 Homeopathy Overdose events that are taking place in front of Boots chemist stores across the UK to protest against their production and sale of homeopathic medication.

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The Great Astrology Debate

These are the astrological symbols/glyphs as m...

Image via Wikipedia

My post on The Skeptic versus The Astrologer has generated a rather heated debate at times.  Just this week alone I have been called a nutter and have been informed all skeptics are the devil.  Obviously tempers run high when you write a post saying that you don’t believe in astrology.

I’m curious to see the level of belief in astrology in society and how many people regularly read their horoscopes, even if it is just for fun.

Therefore I have set up two polls.

My survey on whether scientists are more likely to be atheists than non-scientists and what growing up in a religious household has on your religious beliefs is still ongoing, so if you haven’t registered your views, please do.

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Have You Ever Wanted To Take Part In A Homeopathic Mass Suicide?

Well, here is your chance!

On Saturday 30th January, as part of the UK’s 10:23 project, skeptics in various cities throughout the UK and Australia will be taking part in a mass homeopathic “overdose” to help educate the general public that homeopathic remedies are just really expensive bottles of water that don’t do what they claim on the label. The harm in this is when homeopathic remedies replace conventional treatment and people, like 9 month old Gloria Sam, lose their lives because of it.  The fact that homeopathic remedies are sold in many UK and Australian pharmacies where people go to seek medical advice and are actively recommended by pharmacy staff is  something that needs to be stopped and should be made illegal.

If you would like to take part or just simply come and watch, check out the Facebook pages for the UK event and the Australian event for more details.

I’m going to be overdosing at the Sydney event which will be taking place at the QVB.  I wonder if I can call into work on Monday morning suffering from homeopathic death?

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Anti-vaxers launch a defamation case against Offit, Wallace and Wired

In November 2009, Amy Wallace wrote a pro-vaccination article focusing on Paul Offit for Wired Magazine.  It was a fantastic and well-researched article which highlighted the unscientific claims that anti-vaxers use to instil fear in parents.  When it went live the anti-vaxers were not impressed and “fought” back by trying to discredit Wallace.

Now, one of these anti-vaxers, Barbara Loe Fisher from the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC),  is so offended by how she and her views were portrayed in this article that on December 23rd she filed a defamation case against Offit, Wallace and Wired magazine.  Read about this case over at The Sceptics’ Book of Pooh-Pooh.

Now if the quote by Offit is correct then Fisher may have a case against him for defaming her by saying that she lies, but I think Fisher is really grasping at straws by trying to also sue Wallace and Wired as well.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the US courts and if the judge decides to throw any of it out due to lack of evidence.

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Top Ten Creationist Arguments (& How To Disprove Them)

I have been searching for some time for a concise way to discredit some of the arguments out there about why creation theory is correct and evolutionary theory is not.  Sure, I could write a nice long essay about it, but very few people would bother to read it and long essays really are not memorable.

Fortunately, the Thinking Atheist has come to the rescue with a fantastic video that discredits the top ten creationist arguments.  It is short, concise but is packed full of information.  Also, it looks pretty damn professional as well.

If you ever need to debate a creationist feel free to grab this video.

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