Someone Tell These Researchers What ‘Placebo’ Means

An article published in The Veterinary Record suggests shampooing dog makes them less itchy:

‘Using a visual analog score, the dogs’ owners assessed their pets’ pruritus before the start of the study and every evening beginning from the first day of the twice-weekly bathing. Scores dropped significantly in both the medicated shampoo and placebo groups, although there were no significant between-group differences.

Despite the nonsignificance of the finding, owners of dogs treated with either shampoo reported better skin and hair quality of their animals at the end of the study – an observation that was confirmed by treating veterinarians.

Conversely, there was no significant pre- and post-treatment (or between treatment group) difference in skin lesion scores as assessed by a clinician using the canine atopic dermatitis extent and severity index.

I have to break it to those ‘researchers’ – there is a reason for their findings. It’s called ‘placebo’. The fact that there was no difference between test and control group indicates that the product didn’t work. The skin lesion scores confirm that too. So the only factor is the owners  thinking that the product helped when in fact it didn’t. Now I can just picture anxious owners of itchy dogs shampooing their dogs hoping that it will help.

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About Dr Vadim Chelom

Dr Vadim Chelom is a Registered Veterinarian, a writer and an educator

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