Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Pet vets

Veterinarians, like any doctors, depend on their client base to make money and generally, the more clients, the more money. Now I'm not saying that all vets only think about the bottom line, but to be honest I am seeing this more and more.
A friend of mine has a little Cocker Spaniel with a myriad of medical problems. These problems such as Cushings, chronic staph infections and allergies, just to name a few have been tested and diagnosed but it seems that every time my friend takes her dog to the vet they want to rerun a bunch of tests and do a complete blood work-up, running into hundreds and hundreds of dollars. And this went on every couple of months! She recently found a new vet for her pooch and when he looked at the chart he couldn't believe the overwhelming number of tests that had been run and rerun, again and again, unnecessarily!
Almost the same story with another friend, her dog has had a chronic cough for a number of years but lately it has gotten worse. Her vet consistently wanted to run test after test and "try" this and "try" that. Thousands of dollars later the dog was in the same condition. She recently took her dog to another vet and again this vet was amazed at all the tests and the lack of improvement. The vet actually said, "You've already spent so much money on tests I don't want to push more unnecessary tests."
Now there's no knowing if these new vets will actually be able to help my friends' dogs, but these are just two stories I have recently heard about some of what I feel to be not entirely ethical practices by veterinarians. Sadly, this is not really any different from doctors practicing human medicine, we've all heard the stories.
Here are some of what I consider "myths" that vets will tell you, and the reality;
1. That yearly vaccines every year will keep your pet healthy and they have few side effects.
Vaccines have a whole host of side effects, such as auto-immune disease, cancer, and a variety of diseases.
But, they are a huge source of recurrent income, bringing clients back year after year. Now why would a vet ever consider changing that practice?
2. That veterinary formulated ALL in One food is the 'best' thing for your dog or cat.
Most of the "commercial" foods that are 'pushed' by your vet are so filled with by-products, fillers, preservatives, chemicals, colors, additives, etc. that it's scary. Do you realize that vets often receive financial incentive for 'pushing' certain foods, regardless of how nutritious or healthy they actually are for your pet?
If you do want to provide a 'prepared' diet for your pet, stick with high grade organic or natural. If you really care about your pet's health, learn about pet food, the good and bad, what you should and shouldn't be feeding them.
3. That ONLY veterinarians are capable about making health care decisions for your pets.
YOU as a pet owner know your pet the best. You may not have all the medical training but when it comes to the basics, you can learn the how to examine your pet at home. You can provide alternate options, at home remedies that are safe and effective, especially with some of the most common ailments such as intestinal upsets such a vomiting and diarrhea, arthritis, ear problems, and allergies, to name just a few. These are some of the top reasons that pets are taken to the vet aside from the yearly protocol of vaccinations.
Of course there are time that you need to take your pet to the vet, I will never tell you otherwise, but most of the time, unless it's something serious, you can probably do as well, if not better at home, yourself.
4. That new and ever growing line of pharmaceuticals that are marketed to veterinarians for use on our pets is safe and effective and with few side effects.
Ever heard of Rimadyl? It has caused sudden death, liver and kidney disease in thousands of dogs.
Yet few pet owners are aware of this. Or that it was first developed for the human market, but pulled because of the unacceptable level of side effects.
5. That alternative medicine don't really work. Herbs are ineffective and a waste of time. Homeopathic medicine has no scientific basis. Acupressure has no proven benefits.
Most of the alternative practices have some scientific basis backing their effectiveness. In some cases their biggest benefit is that they will do NO HARM, unlike things like Rimadyl. Herbal medicine has been practiced for thousands of years and is actually growing in popularity today. Recent studies in acupressure show that it does release brain chemicals, endorphins for pain.
6. That making your pets food at home is risky and unhealthy.
Before the introduction of 'commercial' pet foods, pet survived for hundreds of years eating food in the wild and on table scraps. It's actually pretty simple with a little knowledge and research to feed your pet much healthier at home.
I know of many, many people, since the pet food recalls, that have changed their pets over to home-cooked or raw diets and the biggest thing they all have in common is that every one of the pets is doing better then they were on the 'commercial' diets. Mine own pets included.
Compare it to people, do you feel better when your eating a diet of processed and fast foods or do you feel better eating good healthy come-cooked food?
You take away the preservatives, the chemicals, the fillers, the by-products, the artificial colorings and of course a body is going to do better! It's just common sense!
7. Feeding a raw food diet is dangerous; it will harm your dog or cat with Salmonella or E Coli.
A dog or cat is a 'natural raw eater' based on their physiology. Their dental structure alone will prove this. On top of that dogs and cats have very acidic stomachs which kill these bacteria, and short digestive tracts which don't allow the bacteria to multiply.
In fact, there have been very few documented cases in which pets have gotten ill from a raw diet and the contributing factors would most likely have been due to improper handling of the raw food or an already compromised immune system in the animal.
So now what do you think? Vets are no more gods than any other doctor. If they actually started changing their thinking on many of these specific topics, it would affect their 'bottom line' dramatically and in many cases this is the way they were taught so they're sticking with it! Being informed and knowledgeable is the most important thing we, as pet owners, can do for our pet's health.
The author of this article, Deanna Raeke, is a pet owner, pet lover and natural health advocate. She dedicates her time to animal advocacy and welfare and the study and research of natural health for people and pets. For more information for your pet's health, visit Natural Health for Pets

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