Analysis of “50 Secrets Your Vet Won’t Tell You” Third and Last Part

  • October 4, 2016

See Part 1 and Part 2 first.  

31. “Unfortunately, I’ve had to work in low cost clinics, and many of them are cutting corners to make a profit, some places give half doses of vaccines instead of full doses, which is totally illegal and ineffective.”  Lord, I hope this isn’t happening. If it is, it’s definitely something kept secret and makes me think even less of low-cost facilities. And really, this would be more a secret of low-cost facilities than something vets aren’t telling clients. Sadly, if true, it wouldn’t surprise me. This one from anonymous vet in California…..again.

32. “The vets who work for most corporate-owned vet hospitals are paid a monthly bonus checks based on how much they bring in from clients. So if it seems like you are paying more at one of those hospitals, you likely are.”  What and how a vet is paid is not on the public’s need-to-know list. So, yes, a secret, and not just in corporate-owned veterinary hospitals (which seemed like the commenter’s dig at them). If a client is paying “more” there can be a lot of reasons than just how a vet is being paid – maybe they’re getting better care and/or the place they’re going has advanced diagnostic tools. This one seems more like a snide response than a “secret”.

33. “Some people worry that paying for pet insurance will be a waste if they don’t use it. But when you renew your fire insurance on your house, you don’t say, ‘Shoot, my house didn’t burn down last year-I wasted all of that money’?”  Pet insurance? See 24 – 26 from Part 2.

34. “If we wanted to go into it for the money, we’d have become human doctors.”  Not a secret. Said every day.

35. “Most vets put themselves through 8 to 12 years of school and have huge student debts. We love animals and we want to help them. Most of us start our day early, finish late, and are available for emergencies.”  Not a secret. More like, clients don’t care or acknowledge this.

36. “When you’re looking for a new vet, always check out the staff. A lot of times they’ll be listed online. Look for technicians who are certified or licensed (they’ll have RVT, LVT or CVT after their names).”   Again opinion. Very slanted opinion. So, here’s my return slanted opinion. I’ve worked with more technicians without RVT, LVT, and CVT after their names than those that do. Clients should not be making decisions based solely on that. I worked as an uncertified technician all the way up to becoming a veterinarian. What does that say about my abilities? I give credit to those who get additional training and education – that is valuable. It’s rare when we get a licensed technician applying to a job at our place. We would have no staff if we had to wait for such a person to show up. And we have personally trained several people who have gone on to do well as veterinary technicians.

37. “Giving food is not giving love. Obesity will hurt their health and decrease their lifespan. Instead, give affection. Pet them,brush them, love them, and walk them.”  See 24 – 26 from Part 2. Does no one talk to their clients? These aren’t secrets!

38. “Home cooking for your pet is harder than you think. I once saw a dog who was fed a home-cooked diet of chicken breast and vegetables for a year, and his bones became so weak that his jaw broke. If you would like to cook for your pet, find a veterinary nutritionist who can help guide you, or check out”  Or just don’t do home-cooking. Most veterinary nutritionists will tell you that you cannot create a well-rounded diet by home-cooking. It will be deficient in some way. Otherwise, see 24 -26 from Part 2.

39. “One way to make sure your vet is up on the latest stuff? Ask how he puts your pet to sleep. If he says he uses ketamine or halothane gas, that’s not good. That’s like 1970s medicine. Isoflurane and sevoflurane are a lot safer.”  Uh. I assume you mean what do they use for anesthesia, not how a pet is euthanized. You did, after all, use the term “put to sleep”. There are many, many, many, anesthetic protocols. Asking clients to question vets on their protocols is rife with potential for misunderstanding. This one is just an opinion and obvious judgment about other veterinarians.

40. “You can go to an online pharmacy and get the same exact drugs you would get from your vet for 10 to 20 percent off. But check first to make sure it’s certified as a Veterinary Internet Pharmacy Practice Site (VIPPS certified). Some vets will also match online prices-you just have to know to ask.”   Again. Advice. And really not a secret in this day and age. Unfortunately, she didn’t follow-up with some of the pitfalls of getting medication on-line, because I’ll tell you right now, the amount of clients who will look for VIPPS certification? Zero.  Would have been nice if some suggestion about the benefits of supporting your local veterinarian was made.

41. “Just because a food is premium priced doesn’t mean it’s good stuff. That’s especially true with many foods that come in those little gourmet pouches or cans. You pay $3 a package, and it’s basically just junk food with little nutritional value. Do some research, and have your vet read he ingredients list with you.”   See 24 – 26 above. And, yes please put me in the position of lining clients up so I can read ingredient lists with them.  Keep track of anonymous vet in California’s opinions – some of them are a real pain. Probably why they wanted to be anonymous.

42. “Some veterinary drugs have a generic version that’s made for humans, and if your vet believes it’s a safe and effective alternative, you can get it from a human pharmacy and pay ten times less than you’d pay for the animal version. But recognize that there are legitimate reasons why the generic version might not be appropriate for your pet.”  Ah, same vet with opinion about how clients don’t need to get anything from their own vet.  Partial secret I guess in that clients seem surprised when some drugs in people are used in animals. Almost like you’re a real doctor, right? Might be nice if they’re told you might spend more on some drugs at human pharmacies too.

43. “Don’t ever share your medications with your pets unless your vet says it’s OK. One Tylenol will likely kill your cat.”   See 24 – 26 from Part 2.

44. “Yes, dog whisperer Cesar Millan has turned some aggressive dogs around, but-please-don’t train your dog that way. Using aggressive tactics can cause serious behavior problems and may not be effective.”  Opinion. Poor Cesar Millan. He’s become the pinata for a lot of behaviorists and training schools who simply have a different approach than him. Anonymous vet in California – not a Cesar fan.  Got it.

45. “A lot of pet medications are available at human pharmacies  for lower prices than we charge. Walgreens even has a list of veterinary medicines for $4 per one-month dose. These are medicines that you would pay $20 to $30 for at your vet.”  Not a secret. And, again, another vet reinforcing going anywhere other than to your own vet for drugs. And people wonder why it’s difficult to make a living in this profession. Look no further than what the members of this profession do to it regularly. By the way, that last sentence? Not a secret. Just opinion as we aren’t talking about which drugs and amounts. We keep telling people not to spend money at our places, I guess in some way in trying to help owners financially. The natural outcome of this practice is that advanced diagnostics and exam fees (which have historically been able to be kept low because of markup on vaccines and medications – notice I didn’t say “huge markup”) will have to be increased in order to make up for the shortfall in other areas. Then veterinary medicine will actually become the “expensive” that owners have consistently lamented about for as long as the profession has been around. Good job team!

46. “Want to exercise your cat without getting off the couch? Get one of those little laser beams.”  Not a secret. Advice.

47 – 50. “I know you mean well when you vigorously lather your dog with shampoo and then vigorously rub him dry with the towel, but that can jam hairs under the skin like little splinters and cause horrible infections that are very painful. It’s especially a problem for short-coated dogs like Weimaraners, Boston terriers, pugs, Labs, and boxers.”

“If the plaque sprays and dental water additives actually worked, none of us would be telling you to brush your pet’s teeth.”

“Take your cat to the vet in a plastic cat carrier with a removable top, and have your vet remove the lid for the exam. Your pet will feel more secure and be less likely to fight or flee.”

“If you live in a one-bedroom apartment with no patio and minimal space, and you’re gone ten hours a day at your job, a 100-pound Great Dane may not be the best choice for you? Maybe start with a goldfish?”   Reference 24 – 26 from Part 2.

So, what do we have when all is said and done? We have a lot of advice and opinions. We have sniping at groups such as uncertified technicians, vets who vaccinate, vet schools outside the United States, Cesar Millan, etc. Some of these comments are very unbecoming to our profession. We end up with about eight secrets and two sort-of secrets out of 50 statements, even though we were promised 50 secrets. I guess the title couldn’t have been Less Than 10 Secrets Your Vet Won’t Tell You And Vets Being Bitchy With Each Other Like Regular People. Though, the title of the article could have been punched up to read: 50 Secrets Your Vet Won’t Tell You And How That Can Harm Your Pet. Strangely, internet advice comes out of this completely unscathed. Not one mention. The worst thought I have is that more people bought and read this than the number of clients who took advice from their vets or read take-home instructions for their diabetic cat or post-surgical dog.

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