Thursday, October 16, 2008

McVeterinary Hospital?

It feels good when you have an opinion and then find out that you are not the only one who agrees with your view. But it feels even better when what you are saying is confirmed to be correct by people who really should know. It happened to me this morning at the breakfast table while reading my favorite pet corner column in the daily local paper. There it was, written by Dr. Michael Fox, D.V.M.. Now keep in mind, as you all know, I don’t always agree with what he says, but what he said today I had agreed upon before he even said it. This woman with her Maltese, 8 years of age and throwing his entire weight of 8 lbs on the scale, had a question about her new vet office. She has changed vets because “the new guys donate their services to my pet charities. But they insist on physicals every 6 months, teeth cleaned annually and shots for ticks, etc., which my old vet did not find necessary.“ She goes on that she is religiously performing the dog maintenance duties with weekly ear and daily eye cleaning as well as daily teeth brushing. She is concerned and reluctant to have her dog getting anesthesia on a regular base. The Doc’s answer was:
“I am very sorry that there are many veterinarians operating what I call a “McVeterinary Hospital”. Many are in franchised chains, sell pet health insurance and junk pet food.” Did you hear that? Just to make sure, let me repeat: “Junk pet food sold by vets.”
He continued: “They also oversell services, treatments, vaccinations, worming and flea/tick medicines. It is absurd to anesthetize pets every year to clean their teeth. With a proper diet”, another one for me, “and safe things to chew, most pets have few dental problems. Toy breeds and dogs and cats with blunt faces and dental misalignment need additional attention and a daily brushing as you are doing. There are oral gels like XYZ that actually help remove tartar/scale and keep gums healthy. Check the website of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association ( for a list of vets in your area who do not operate in the McVeterinary Hospital fashion.”
Now, that made my day especially related to the comments on pet nutrition. But it also reminded me of a fierce battle my wife was having a few weeks ago with the administrational staff of our vet’s hospital. It went so far that she called me up stating: ”That’s it, we are changing vets”. What happened was that the dogs needed their scheduled parasiticides and she had found out that tablets only cost a fraction of what you have to dish out for the drop-on’s. Well, she ended up getting them, but only after like I said a “battle” with an aggressive forceful admin staff, who not just try to abuse their relationship with the vet, but also seem to be very much interested in making that way more lucrative sale.

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