Originally published January 3 2008
Bottom Line Blurs Veterinary Practices
by Christine Agro
(NaturalNews) Imagine if every time you went to the doctor you were given vaccinations that you don't need; vaccinations that offer no benefit but all of the risks of harmful side effects. Or you were given medications with no explanation or information provided. Or tests were being done for no reason. Now imagine that you can't speak and you have no way to tell those who care for you that those vaccinations make you feel sick; you don't want those tests; and the medicine is causing more harm than good.
That's exactly what many of our cat and dog friends experience. We bring our best friend to the veterinarian with unquestioned trust and faith that our vet has our animal's best interest at heart but according to Veterinarian Dr. James Busby, author of "How To Afford Veterinary Care Without Mortgaging the Kids", his profession is suffering from a serious lapse in judgment and ethics that is rooted in making money.
Dr. Busby, who has been a practicing vet since 1966, loves his work and comes from a family of Veterinarians; but admits if he had to practice the way vets practice today he would not enter the profession. Dr. Busby feels "the profession has slowly turned from what was once an honest, caring one to a situation where many clinics and doctors are interested more in the bottom line, than what is necessary and best for your pet."
If you thought the veterinary world had escaped the 'bottom line' mentality of the Medical Community you are wrong. The world of veterinary medicine has become equally entangled with Drug and Insurance Companies. The result is not only rising costs for the animal guardian but also unnecessary treatments, over-the-top testing, and over vaccination for the animals.
Dr. Busby says, "Veterinarians today seem to assume they have the OK to run every test and perform any and every procedure on your animal they can, unless you tell them differently. Then they usually get irate and try to shame you for being a non-loving pet owner."
Veterinarians are great at using guilt and pressure to strip animal guardians of their power. They can be brusque, condescending and intimidating and in the end, the animal guardian, wanting to do whatever they can to support their animal friend, goes along with whatever the vet says. The only way to change this is for animal guardians to become as well informed about their animal's care, as they are about their own. Until recently, Vets have held an unquestionable 'high moral' mark where guardians assumed that whatever a vet wants to do must be in the best interest of the animal, but that unquestionable morality is gone now.
Let's start with vaccinations. The standard operating procedure is for animals to receive a multitude of vaccinations on a regular schedule. Most animal guardians don't question the vaccination schedule. If the vet says it's needed, then it must be. For those who do question it, they are met with hostility or condescension or frightened with the horrors of what will happen if an animal isn't vaccinated regularly. And in several cases, have been asked to find another vet altogether.
But here's the truth about all animal vaccines: The drug manufactures label determines the frequency of revaccination. There is nothing scientific about the current animal vaccination schedule. Neither the FDA nor the USDA requires drug companies to prove the maximum immunity conferred; they only require that immunity be conferred for the duration of their testing. Which means if the drug company tests for one year, the label states vaccinate yearly.
This manufacturers' recommendation ultimately influenced rabies laws in each and every state across the country. Those laws are not based in scientific study, but rather on the research done by drug companies necessary to get approval for their drugs.
It has been proven as well that vaccine boosters do not increase immunity. Once the body has immunity, that same immunity will knock out the virus in the vaccine, leaving your animal to experience none of the benefits from the vaccine but all of the risks from the adjuvants; and, leaving the guardian to pay for something that does nothing.
Kris Christine, Founder of The Rabies Challenge Fund Trust and vaccine reform activist, stated during a recent interview on Conscious Animal Radio that this practice fit the definition of fraud. Christine joined this fight when her own dog Meadow developed an injection site sarcoma with the needle mark visible in the center of the tumor. After her vet informed her that Meadow most likely had immunity to rabies for life, and carelessly let it slip that it was the distemper shot Christine should really watch out for as that one had many side effects and was ultimately unnecessary for older dogs, Christine jumped into action.
Since, she has had the rabies vaccination requirement revised in her home state of Maine extending it to every three years; challenged the state to introduce a veterinary disclosure law, which was defeated and has started the Rabies Challenge Fund Trust along with Dr. W. Jean Dodds, a highly noted Veterinarian for her work and opinion on vaccine reform. The Rabies Challenge Fund seeks to prove through a challenge study that the rabies vaccine confers immunity for seven years.
Dr. Ronald Schultz, who is also involved in the Rabies Challenge Fund, has already demonstrated through serology (blood testing) that the Rabies vaccine lasts at least 7 years. He's also demonstrated that the distemper vaccine lasts at least 15 years; parvovirus at least 7 years and the adenovirus at least 9 years.
By now you are beginning to see that there are two roots to this issue: The drug manufacturers who are not required to test for maximum immunity conferred and the veterinarians that go along with the recommendation of the drug companies without question.
Another advocate for the animals is Dr. Bob Rogers. He has been challenging his profession for more than 15 years about the vaccination schedule and has numerous complaints raised against him by fellow veterinarians who claim his information is impacting their practice. Dr. Roger's website (http://critteradvocacy.org) offers insight, support and guidance for animal guardians trying to figure out what is in the best interest of their animals.
Vaccinations are not the only area where Veterinary care has become more about the bottom line than about the health and wellness of the animal. Flea and tick prevention as well as heartworm prevention have added another layer of continual revenue stream for vets and the drug companies.
Just recently, a direct mail company was promoting their services by citing the example of a veterinarian they had conducted a mail campaign for flea and tick preventative medication. The campaign occurred in December and the veterinarian was ecstatic that he had brought in $300,000 dollars in flea and tick medication sales in one month during the middle of winter.
Topical flea and tick medications are neurotoxins designed to sever the nervous system of the fleas and ticks, hence killing them. If you read the package instructions you'll find information to this effect: wash hands immediately should you come in contact with this product. How does that make sense? We put this product on our animal's skin, but we are warned to wash immediately? The skin absorbs anything that is put on it. That toxin is drawn right into the bloodstream.
In 2000, the FDA approved Pfizer's NADA (new animal drug application) 141-152 for the drug Revolution™ (selamectin) which address fleas, ticks, heartworm, hookworms and ear mites all in one. This drug was tested for a duration of anywhere from 3 days to 10 months before receiving approval. Drug companies test to determine the effectiveness of Revolution™, not to identify any long-term side effects of continuous use year after year. If side effects occur during testing, they are only a concern if the effect is wide spread; otherwise the drug is approved. In the case of the testing of Revolution™, a number of animals in the clinical and field studies experienced vomiting, injection site hair matting and in a few cases developed anorexia.
In 2002, the FDA approved Bayer Corporation's Advantage Duo® (imidacloprid/ivermectin) for the use on dogs in the prevention of fleas and heartworm(see NADA 141-208). This drug was tested, at most, for 5 months and most tests consisted of once monthly application. Again the concern was demonstrating that the drug works, not identifying any possible long-term side effects from repetitive use over the many years of a dog's life.
According to Dr. Busby, year round treatment for heartworms is unnecessary in areas where the temperature does not remain consistently above 70 degrees. Heartworm requires mosquitoes; without them, your animal is at no risk of contracting heartworm. And more importantly, a little known fact is this: " Heartgard™, or its active ingredient ivermectin, if given once a month to a known infected dog for 18 months will cure an animal of the infection."
Even more important to using pharmaceuticals to cure heartworm is using natural remedies to prevent fleas, ticks and other parasites from hosting on our animals. A healthy animal is less likely to be the host for parasites. A healthy animal requires a nutrient rich diet (no processed kibble) and natural support such as apple cider vinegar. Diane Stein, author of The Natural Remedy Book for Cats and Dogs, states that by simply adding apple cider vinegar to your animals diet daily, you will greatly boost the immune system and your animal will be less likely to have fleas or intestinal worms.
One other area of concern is that of testing. It seems whenever we bring our animals to the vet, some sort of test needs to be done. According to Dr. Busby, many of these tests are unnecessary and not only cause your animal stress and anxiety but also cost you money you don't need to be spending.
In the case of testing for heartworm before administering heartworm medication, Dr. Busby says, " Veterinarians imply that it's dangerous to give the preventative to an infected dog. I am not aware of a product currently being used as a monthly preventive that can't be given to a dog infected with heartworm." He feels vets want to make a big deal out of discovering 'heartworm' so they can 'cure' it and charge you more.
Dr. Busby also feels Pre-surgical screening prior to elective surgery is unwarranted. This screen entails a complete blood count and organ evaluation test prior to surgery. It could also involve x-rays and heart evaluation. His theory is that Veterinary medicine is indeed moving in the same direction of Human medicine with vets feeling the need to 'cover' themselves should anything go wrong.
In short, Dr. Busby asserts that the majority of problems in surgery come from improperly administering anesthesia. If the vet is competent, the chances of complications are nominal and don't warrant such over the top testing.
Dr. Busby's advice: "find an older vet with a lot of experience and forego the testing on routine surgeries…That way you will not be paying extra to prevent a problem that would much more likely be a result of doctor's ineptitude rather than due to a weakness with the animal's system."
He goes on to warn "that office staffs are often coached to approach you in relays trying to talk you into the pre-surgical screening. It's a moneymaker and they will try to imply you are risking your pet's life if it isn't done."
Although veterinarians have enjoyed a long 'honeymoon' period, the honeymoon is officially over. Veterinarians have demonstrated over and over that they no longer deserve our trust and faith. For those vets that do have the best interest of your animals at heart, their response to your questioning and to your decisions for what is best for your animal should be one of understanding and support. For those that do not have the best interest of your animals at heart, a hostile response can be expected but should not be tolerated.
As guardians to the animals in our lives, it is becoming more and more essential that we educate ourselves about the healing power of animals and that we understand that conventional western medicine strips our animals of their natural healing power. Seek natural solutions, feed a healthy diet and remember that all beings need a way to transition from their physical form. When our animal friend gets sick our initial reaction, which most veterinarians fuel, is to do whatever is possible to make our animals better. The greatest gift we can give our animal friends is respect of their process, which more often than not means letting them transition how they choose.
When your animal came into your life, you made an agreement with them, whether you were conscious of it or not. That agreement: to be their voice and their advocate. You can no longer simply accept the word of your vet. You must do your research and educate yourself on what your animal truly needs to live a healthy, happy life.
Dr. James Busby, (www.Oldcountryvet.com)
Dr. Bob Rogers, (http://critteradvocacy.org)
Kris Christine, (http://Rabieschallengefund.org)
FDA Center For Veterinary Management, (http://fda.gov/cvm)
About the authorChristine Agro is a Clairvoyant Natural Healer with a unique approach to animal health, wellness and Spiritual understanding. Trained to work with people at the School of Natural Medicine in Boulder Co, Christine's clients began bringing her their animals when conventional methods were not helping. Christine soon realized that conventional veterinary medicine dis-empowers animals and disconnects their natural healing ability. After working with thousands of animals Christine has become an advocate for the healing rights of animals; supporting their natural healing abilities, speaking on their behalf, conveying their needs, wishes and desires.
Christine has written for Animal Wellness Magazine, Nature's Corner Magazine, has been seen on Animal Planet and is the host of Conscious Animal Radio (www.consciousanimalradio.com), a live internet call-in show. She is also the founder of Healingdog.com. Christine lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband, son and their senior adopted cat Christopher.
Listen to Conscious Animal Radio live every Monday at 12 Noon EST. Access the "listen live" link at http://www.consciousanimalradio.com Shows are archived and available as a podcast.
Listen to the November 26, 2007 Conscious Animal Radio show interview with Dr. James Busby, DVM and author of "How To Afford Veterinary Care Without Mortgaging The Kids."
Listen to the September 17th Conscious Animal Radio interview with Kris Christine from the Rabies Challenge Fund Trust - http://cdagro.audioacrobat.com/download/cons...
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