04/12/2018 17:27 EDT | Updated 04/12/2018 17:27 EDT

Naturopath Facing Controversy After Treating A Child With Rabid Dog Saliva

The boy, 4, tended to growl at others, the naturopath said.

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File this one under "Yes, this is real."

A Victoria, B.C. naturopath is facing a storm of online criticism after she posted an article claiming she treated a four-year-old boy's aggression and behavioural problems with a remedy made from rabid dog saliva. Dr. Anke Zimmermann, who has been in practice for 26 years, posted in February that it was a "very interesting case."

"Why are some kids so aggressive? Maybe they were bitten by a dog! This four-year-old boy with sleep and behavioural problems, including aggression and violence towards school mates as well as hiding under tables and growling, improved dramatically with a remedy made from a rabid dog's saliva," Zimmermann wrote in a Facebook post that linked to an article about the case.

In her article, Zimmermann concludes that the boy was "obviously in a dog state."

Growling, werewolves, and red meat

Zimmermann wrote on her website that when she first met the boy, Jonah, he had issues falling asleep, partly because he was afraid of werewolves. He was also afraid of a wolf puppet Zimmermann had in her office, she noted.

At school, Jonah would "hide under tables and growl at people," Zimmermann wrote.

"At this point I asked his mother if Jonah had ever been bitten by a dog. Indeed, the answer was yes, he was bitten when he was two years old by a dog on a beach. The dog bit his hand because he wanted the food Jonah had. The bite broke the skin," she wrote.

Zimmermann also noted that Jonah "breathes in a loud way," and in a history taken from his mother, noted that "he likes meat, especially hamburgers, hot dogs, red meat and meatballs." Jonah's mother also told her that the boy doesn't like to be cuddled, but "will come up to me and sniff me, nuzzle me and lick me like a dog," Zimmermann wrote.

"Jonah was obviously in a dog state, slightly rabies-flavoured dog state to be more precise," Zimmermann concluded.

"I decided to give a homeopathic remedy made from rabies. The dog who bit him may have recently been vaccinated with the rabies vaccine or the dog bite in and of itself may have affected the boy with the rabies miasm. Either is possible and the phenomenon is welll-known in homeopathy."

She administered the boy "Lyssinum 200CH, 2 pellets," she wrote. He was treated again three weeks later, and again a few months after that. Jonah improved significantly after his treatment, and was no longer hiding under tables or afraid of werewolves, was sleeping better, and hardly growled at all, Zimmermann wrote.

"The way I see it, he is coming back into a more human state from a slightly rabid dog state."

Reaction has been ... critical

The online reaction to Zimmermann's post has ranged from anger to wondering how this could even be real.

"How is this even real? What sane adult thinks that werewolves and vampires exist? How does one obtain the saliva from a rabid dog?" one person wrote in the comments on Zimmerman's article.

"How does someone bitten by said rabid dog not get rabies? You do know that rabies is mostly not going to end well for either dog nor human? One doesn't simply get over rabies. What utter drivel."

In a position statement on homeopathy in the pediatric population, the Canadian Paediatric Society notes some concerns, including a lack of evidence on the efficacy of treatments, the possibility that adverse reactions could be under-reported, and a "reluctance on the part of those who practice homeopathy to support vaccinations."

"As well, delays in seeking conventional medical therapies while waiting for results from homeopathic treatments may jeopardize the child's health," the society noted.

Rabid dog saliva is a legit homeopathic medication

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Despite the criticism she faced, Zimmermann and her treatment are both legit, according to the College of Naturopathic Physicians of British Columbia.

"Dr. Anke Zimmermann is licensed to practise naturopathic medicine in B.C.," Phillipa Stanaway, Deputy Registrar, College of Naturopathic Physicians of British Columbia, told HuffPost Canada in an email.

"Lyssinum is not excluded from the pharmacopoeia for naturopathic doctors in B.C. Homeopathy, which includes the use of substances such as lyssinum, is a traditional modality with a long history in the naturopathic scope of practice; it is still used by some naturopathic doctors today."

Lyssin, lyssinum, or hydrophobinum, is "saliva of a rabid dog," according to Health Canada. It is in a list of homeopathic medicines "found in accepted homeopathic pharmacopoeia and covered by the Regulations," Health Canada says on their website.

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