How I Became Interested in
Alternative Medicine
by Dr. Richard Pitcairn
My assumption was that I was not that skilled, that
I needed more education. This led me to
Washington State University and eventually into a
graduate school program. There I worked on a
Ph.D. degree emphasizing the study of viruses,
immunology and biochemistry. During that time I
worked intensively with cell cultures and inbred
mice, trying to understand how the different tissues
in the body were able to recognize each other. I
also helped teach the classes in virology, running
the laboratory section with another graduate
student. This training finished in 1972 and I
graduated with a degree in Veterinary Microbiology.
Staying on for a while at the university, I did
research in muscles diseases and taught public
health in the veterinary school.

After a few years I left the academic world and
returned to practice. During my training I had
learned a great deal about how the body worked,
especially the immune system, but did not know any
better how to cure disease. This led me to study
nutrition having realized its importance in
maintaining a healthy body. Finding out about the
pet food industry and what sources were used to
make the food led me to recommend fresh foods
for animals, prepared at home. This was very
satisfying and many animals were greatly helped by
making this change.

However, there are animals that are not helped by
nutrition. These are the ones that are too ill to eat
or have injuries or illness that is so severe that
there is not time for nutrition to have an effect. I
continued to look for some other means of
restoring health in a true sense, not just covering
symptoms with drugs or removing diseased tissues
with surgery. Looking into many approaches I
settled on homeopathy as the most practical and
effective that I could find. For example, much is
known about using herbs in healing but most
animals simply will not take these herbs in sufficient
quantity or for long enough to make this approach
practical. If we compare this to giving one or a few
doses of pleasantly tasting pellets as done in
homeopathy we can see the practical advantage of
this method. I also find that homeopathy is much
more specific in how the medicines can be used with
extraordinary detail on how even herbs can be used
as medicines.

I found homeopathy to be intellectually complete
and satisfying. As a 200 year old system of
medicine it has been very well developed and an
incredible amount of experience and information
have given us the tools we need to work with
almost any kind of health problem. The difficulty for
me was to learn how to use the books, the
repertories and materia medicas that were
developed for human beings, to help animals. This
has taken some years as you might expect, actually
some 20 plus years, but has been very successful.

I have been fortunate that I have been able to teach
other veterinarians how to do this work. Since 1992
there has been a yearly course, the Professional
Course in Veterinary Homeopathy, and to date we
have over 300 animal doctors trained in using this

This brief introduction may satisfy your curiosity
about how I came to this work. If you want more
detail on my professional career, look at my detailed
Richard Pitcairn
Copyright 2018 © Barry M. Baker
I graduated from veterinary school in 1965, from
the University of California at Davis, California. My
idea was to be a practitioner and that is what I did
for the first few years. Starting in a mixed practice
(small animals, farm animals, horses, circus

animals) I saw a wide variety of health problems
and also learned much more about the conditions of
veterinary practice. I did not see the results that I
expected to have using the treatments learned in
veterinary school and this, to me, was a