How I Became Interested
in Alternative Medicine

by Dr. Richard Pitcairn
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 disappointment.
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

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

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

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 method.

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 2016 © Barry M. Baker