Today’s pet corner in the Palm Beach Post caught my attention. This reader wrote to Dr. Michael Fox, the Post’s column vet:
“In March 2004 we adopted a 50 lbs mixed breed dog. Three months later our vet removed a tumor from under her tongue. When the lab report came back, it said that the she (the dog) had a malignant melanoma with “high potential for local recurrence as well as metastasis.” We were told she would likely not survive a year.
A local animal hospital recommended that they remove her lower jar along with most of her teeth, a move that they said might give her an additional nine months.
When I expressed horror at causing such stress to an animal for such short term results, they told me they routinely perform at least one of these operations a week.
Needless to say, I turned them down and our dog has been going strong for the past 5 years.
Still I wonder whether such procedures aren’t more cruel than helpful and whether they actually aimed at making a hefty profit for animal hospitals at the expense of well meaning owners.”
Dr. Fox responded as follows:
“Certain cancers are far more common in dogs than they are in humans.
Vaccines may play a significant role in immune system dysfunction, resulting in cancer.
There are many other cancer causing chemicals in our food, water and home environments, which are contaminating cats and dogs at much higher levels than people.
Potent antioxidants that neutralize free radicals and help boost the immune system, supplements like zinc, magnesium, Vitamins C and D, selenium retinoic acid (from Vitamin A), fucoidan (from brown seaweed) and herbal teas are some of the low cost nutraceuticals and herbs fro treating cancer and cancer prevention.
I prefer this approach to your dog’s type of cancer rather than radical surgery. Good for you and your dog for refusing the surgery.”
This article just happened to show up in the paper while I am contemplating to publish a number of comments on cancer in the nearest future.
For this particular case, I join the Dr. in his applause. Since he did not really get into the last question the dog owner had, I guess for political reasons, here is how I see it: Of course it has a lot, if not all to do with the hospital generating revenue. Whom are we kidding here? The profit greed doesn’t stop in front of the hospital doors. I don’t believe anymore that behind the hospital doors are all Saints having nothing but our very best on their mind. I believe all they have on their minds is our wallets, or better yet, how they can assist us in emptying it. This applies to both, people and animal hospitals. Just a couple days ago I was watching the news on BBC and a discussion they had on the health care reform our President is pushing for. They interviewed a government rep and she was quite candid: One of the major problems with the hospital bills is that many doctors are owners of hospitals and equipment. And if they don’t, they get all kinds of incentives to make sure these hospitals stay busy and profitable. This does not just apply to the hospitals, it applies to the pharmacy industry as well. That is just the factual truth in many, I am not saying all cases.
The sad thing is, we all are aware of it, from Joe Doe, the dog owner next door to the dog owner in the White House, our President (and not just our current one, every past one as well). And what happens? Absolutely, positively nothing. Whether it is people or our companion animals, let’s just keep messing them up even more so they keep generating revenues for the health care industry. Who cares about the actual health of a living creature? The problem is that the majority of health care professionals in many cases don’t consider it anymore as their responsibility to make sure they make us or our animals healthy, they have been programmed to make sure they make us come back for more. You can’t blame them either, let me repeat myself: That’s what they are being trained or programmed for.