No Way to Treat a Friend is an informative and readable exposé of Complementary and Alternative Veterinary Medicine (CAVM). Written in an accessible style and illustrated with stories and cases from veterinary practice about real animals, this book is a counterweight to the mass of ‘pro’ literature in existence which uncritically promotes CAVM without consideration of whether or not it works or could even be harmful to our animal companions.
The book takes a close look at how thinking can go wrong and how animals can appear to respond to treatment even when it is ineffective. Individual alternative practices are examined including homeopathy, acupuncture, raw diets and the anti-vaccination lobby and we find out if their claims stand up to scrutiny. With a thoroughly scientific line, it is not an attack on different belief systems, but a rigorous analysis of the facts, and a consideration of typical CAVM arguments, as well as a helpful explanation for people who may be unfamiliar with what the various therapies entail.
Following on from the several successful books questioning the use of complementary therapies in human medicine such as Bad Science, No Way to Treat a Friend looks at their use in veterinary medicine. This is a valuable resource for veterinary practitioners as well as lay people who are interested in popular science, animal topics, animal welfare and medical matters.
Niall Taylor is veterinary surgeon working in rural Somerset, England. A general practitioner, he also has a long-standing interest in critical thinking and how it relates to complementary and alternative veterinary medicine. He is a founder member of the Campaign for Rational Veterinary Medicine and runs the rationalvetmed.net website. Alex Gough is a Head of Medicine Referrals at Bath Veterinary Referrals, and is the author of the veterinary textbooks Differential Diagnosis in Small Animal Medicine, and Breed Predispositions to Disease in Dogs and Cats, both of which have been translated into multiple languages. He is also an author of historical fiction novels.
VetSurgeon review –
‘… the book provides a fascinating insight to the cognitive errors inherent in the human mind which can lead us to think any treatment, conventional or otherwise, is working (when actually it isn’t). As such, it’s a must-read for any veterinary surgeon, student or veterinary nurse interested in improving their critical thinking, regardless of their stance on alternative medicine… peppered with laugh out loud moments… it’s a thoroughly uplifting read for anyone who takes joy in how science helps us understand the world.’ – Arlo Guthrie, VetSurgeon News/Veterinary Nursing News