In the annals of quack medicine, there is patent medicine, there is quackery, and then there is treating someone with the saliva of a rabid dog:
“Hair of the dog” remedies may do the trick for some hangover sufferers. But health experts say that a Canadian homeopath took the idea too far—way, way too far.
Homeopath and naturopath Anke Zimmermann used diluted saliva from a rabid dog to “treat” a four-year-old boy, according to a blog post she published earlier this year. Zimmermann claims that the potentially infectious and deadly concoction successfully resolved the boy’s aggressive behavior, which she described as a “slightly rabid-dog state.”
The tale fits with the scientifically implausible principles of homeopathy. These roughly state that substances that produce similar symptoms of a particular ailment can cure said ailment (“like cures like”) and that diluting a substance increases its potency (“law of infinitesimals”).
Health experts say Zimmermann’s claims aren’t just farfetched, but, rather, they’re barking mad.
Zimmermann quickly sniffed out the source of the problem: when Jonah was younger, a dog bit him. That is, Jonah’s mother said that one time a dog accidentally “broke the skin slightly” on Jonah’s hand while it was reaching to get food Jonah was holding.
Zimmermann pounced on the tidbit, claiming:
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. This can include over-excitability, difficulties sleeping, aggression, and various fears, especially of dogs or wolves. This child presented a perfect picture of this type of rabies state. Most homeopaths would have easily recognized the remedy required in this case.
The “remedy” to this “state” was clearly the saliva of a rabid dog, Zimmermann concluded. Months later, the mother reported that Jonah’s issues had improved—although they had not resolved entirely.
You can read the whole article for innumerable dog puns, but this is truly horrifying, and Zimmerman needs to be locked up to protect the rest of society.