When I first heard that the "big box" pet stores offered veterinary services, I initially thought that it was a convenient solution to managing our busy lives. After all, they allow you to bring your pet shopping for dog bones and supplies, so why not? Well, corporate veterinary medicine is buying up the individual veterinary practices for peanuts and turning health care for our sweet pets into a profit-driven business. Surprise, surprise.
If you have a pet, you probably get postcard reminders that your pet is due for its shots each year. What conscientious pet owner wouldn’t take their pet in for immunizations? Right? We know that humans need vaccinations to provide “herd immunity”[ https://www.vaccines.gov/basics/protection/], but this is completely different.
Dr. Schultz, University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine, published a study showing the long-term effectiveness of vaccines in the 1970s where they ran decades of tests on dogs that were locked in viral gas chambers, injected with disease, and sprayed with viral aerosols directly in their snouts after they were initially vaccinated. [It makes me sick to read about this inhumane treatment, but I do appreciate the results that could save thousands of pets.] With all of the disease exposure, none of the dogs were reinfected with the disease. Schultz found that the initial immunization protected the dogs for 7 or more years. But Schultz faced a revolt from veterinarians who didn’t want to forgo the income they would receive from annual vaccinations and office visits. So the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) Canine Vaccination Task Force compromised and settled on the recommendation that dogs be vaccinated every 3 years.
So you wonder why vaccinating every year is a problem? Well, Dr. Schultz says that 1 in 200 dogs have life-threatening reactions such as anaphylactic shock to vaccines. And now with corporatization of veterinary medicine, pharmaceutical companies have standardized and rounded the dosage amount to 1 milliliter REGARDLESS OF YOUR PET’S BODY WEIGHT! So whether you have a 3-pound Chihuahua or a 120-pound Great Dane, this one-size-fits-all vaccine will be given to your pet. Hmm. “Vaccines can kill,” Schultz says. “If you don’t need to vaccinate annually and you do, you’re taking unnecessary risks.”
Dr. Robb, Catzablanca Clinic veterinarian, actually tested himself while in veterinary school. He gave himself just one rabies vaccination in 1983, and has continued to confirm his immunity to rabies by taking regular titer tests (tests to see your level of immunity to the disease). So for over 30 years, Dr. Robb’s one rabies immunization still protects him from rabies. You can also give your cat or dog a titer test to determine if further immunizations are necessary. Meanwhile corporate veterinary medicine continues to push for annual vaccinations, even when the AAHA suggests every 3 years.
What’s worse, is that corporate veterinary hospitals and centers DEMAND that their thousands of veterinarians routinely run a litany of tests and recommend treatment and medications based on what a pet presents with. In other words, veterinarians who work for corporations are required and forced to order a series of tests and to prescribe medications and follow-up treatments in the order of $35 billion per year. And of course, we pay for all of these often unnecessary treatment and medication. When veterinarians don’t abide by these requirements or don’t meet their quotas, they’re banished from the practice.
Now that I have 2 sweet puppies, I am relieved that they have Dr. Clay, who owns Chanticleer Veterinary Hospital. He diagnoses our pups based on symptoms they have and gives us honest recommendations on treatment options. I hope that more people continue to support their private veterinarian and boycott the corporatization of veterinary medicine. I’m not going to support corporations that generalize medicine for the sole purpose of profits.