Tuesday, June 01, 2010

More Promotion of Veterinary Junk Billing

American Veterinary Medical Association Launches "Risky Business -

Watch this video, put out by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and sponsored by Fort Dodge (a veterinary pharmaceutical company owned by Wyeth which is now owned by Pfizer.

You will notice the very obvious "concern mongering" going on here.

Apparently Basset Hounds are sky-boarding and kittens are going down waterfalls in wooden barrels!

And apparently we all need to be taking our pets to the vet twice a year for "risk assessment."

According to this fear-mongering video, if your dog occasionally drinks from a puddle it might die (and never mind if your dogs have been drinking from puddles for 45 years)

And while the AVMA has never said a word about the serious congenital health problems faced by Cavalier King Charles Spaniels (because God knows that breed of dog is a big money-maker for vets and pharmaceutical companies and we wouldn't want to cabash that breed as a veterinary cash cow!) they want you to worry if you board your dog.

Right. No doubt, you should be worried about boarding your dog anywhere except at the vets!

And apparently killer squirrels are loose in the park. Killer squirrels? Good Lord, my backyard is full of those! How have my dogs managed to live for so long?

After running through this litany of nonsense, this AVMA video finally gets to its core message:

"And this is why every pet needs a "risk assessment and wellness exam twice a year."



To repeat what I said in an earlier post about vets that tell you to bring your dog in twice a year for "well-dog" physical exams:

If your vet tells you this, leave immediately and never come back.

Here's why: your vet thinks you are an idiot.

You have just been insulted, and you should be pissed off about it!

Of course, to be fair, a lot of people really are idiots.

We see proof of that every day in TV ads which tell us that everyone can be an instant millionaire by buying property with no money down, and where we are toldd if you send in your gold jewelry and expensive watches to a nameless, faceless person in another state, they will give you a "really good deal" by sending you a few dollars back.

These ads continued to run week after week, month after month, because a lot of people really are stupid, and separating stupid people from their money is a big business here in the United States.

And so I expect the veterinary associations are right: There really is a lot of money to be made by ripping off the rubes.

That is the message of Abbott Animal Health, Merial, Pfizer Animal Health, Fort Dodge, Bayer Animal Health, and all the others, as they reach out to veterinarians across the country to suggest a new business model based on price-gouging, selling medically unnecessary services, upcoding, and bill-padding.

A full-court press is on to get more veterinarians to rip off their customers.

Trade literature, online videos, continuing medical education conferences, and one-on-one "consultations" are increasingly devoted to this topic, and almost all are paid for by veterinary pharmaceutical companies, with the full blessing of the American Veterinary Medical Association which operates as a bought-and-paid-for arm of big pharma.

At this point in the game, going to the vet is an intelligence test, and if you are not pushing back on unnecessary tests, bill-padding, and price-gouging, you are failing that test.


Bjarne said...

I think it was very good video.
Now I know it is ok for Felix to
continue with scuba and white water rafting.As long as I don´t
let him drink from puddels and chase squirells,he`ll be fine.

YesBiscuit! said...

The AVMA still proclaims that gassing is a nice way to kill pets - a fact cited by every pro-gas chamber shelter in America.

Viatecio said...

Oh. MY.

Maybe I'm just in a phase right now from all the tripe in the news right now (dairy farm abuse, pitbull ban idiots, concealed carry in restaurants, etc), but my jaw has been hitting the floor an awful lot. Did it again when that one sentence came up.

Goodness gracious me, how did ANYONE own pets or any type of working dog before we had these IDIOTS? Poor Petey must have been extra-high-risk, because we all know that kids can be little germballs, and with all the adventures his little gang got into...YIKES.

Oh, by the way, we are being taught that the new AAHA vax recommendations (every 3 years) can be used "unless the dog is at high risk." Wait, what? So then why do we not require annual chicken pox boosters for people who work around children and infants? OHNOEZ.

YesBiscuit! said...

Viatecio: As i understand it, the decision of whether to revax a pet (or a person for that matter) should be based on whether revax will increase immunity. Unless someone comes out with something fairly convincing to prove that revax DOES boost immunity, it doesn't matter if your dog is "high risk" or "low risk" or "sorta medium-ish risk" - does it? In theory, your dog could work in a laboratory manufacturing parvo virus for the government and still not need revax, provided the first vax did not fail.

PBurns said...

The revax question works the opposite of the way people assume, and it's never an issue with dogs or cats that go outside as a matter of course, but can be an issue with remote cattle herds.

Bascially, for humans, dogs and cats, a vaccine is occassionally challenged by the germs in air, soil, food and water, and every time the vaccine is challenged, it "reboots" and the clock starts up again (i.e.,. its as if you just got revaccinated). Another dog or cat on your property is not needed to force a challenge -- it can happend with a wild fox, or raccoon with distemper crossing the yard and shedding virus with urine and feces. That happens everywhere, all the time. Washington, D.C., for example has over 15,000 raccoon within the city limits, to say nothing of feral cats, dogs, and two kinds of fox. Plus there are a lot of dogs walking around!

The only time a reboot does not happen might with a very remote closed cattle herd with very elderly cattle. In a case with very old cattle (it is very rare, as beef generally go to market after a year or two or three, and dairy are generally dead at age 7), immunity for some bovine diseases might wear off, and if a new diseased cow is introduced to the herd, one of the animals might get infected from that new introduction. Never heard of it happening, but I know the (weak) theory.


Bartimaeus said...

I never knew tree squirrels were so risky(actually, tree squirrels almost never carry any pathogens dangerous to dogs or cats). I guess I shouldn't take my jack's squirrel hunting next fall. ;-)

They really are appealing to the lowest common denominator with this ad. It's aimed at the same folks that are afraid to let their kids (or dogs) outside to play.

PBurns said...


And, as I think you will see, they are pure predators preying on the weak.


GreenGrrl said...

Oh for gods sake. My dogs routinely drink out of puddles, lakes, streams, etc, and I can count the number of times they've even had any sort of intestinal discomfort, let alone need a vet for it.

Mick, the Border Collie, ended up at the vet with a paw injury a couple times, but he doesn't exactly need a check up every six months to access his risks.

The other day, my pit bull caught a mouse in the shed and ate it. She now goes back everytime she goes out trying to find more mice. My cat probably eats more small rodents than actual cat food, although, he always comes home for his daily can of food.

The vet who neutered Mick once gave me a giant lecture about the dangers of doing herding training with him. He's a Border collie, he's bred to herd. Yeah, it's a risk, but he's bred to work, and whenever I have the money for lessons, he gets to do some herding.

Viatecio said...

Greengrrl - just out of curiosity, what exactly ARE the risks of doing herding training? Does it perhaps outweigh the risk of a bored dog who has the potential to become destructive and/or mentally frustrated because he doesn't get exercised? I'm sure he's all the happier for your choice :)

I wonder now against what activities/sports the radical vets will now take a stand because they're too "risky"...physical injuries in agility and flyball, mental suppression and mind control in obedience, risk of unwarranted attacks on civilians in any bitework sport, etc etc (I'm going overboard, I know!)

Anonymous said...

I agree, being a pet is risky business, especially if they're fed Science Diet or Nutro every day of their short lives.

My dogs drink out of puddles AND have been eating a parasite causing, salmonella poisoning raw meaty bones diet since 2004. I'm not really sur how they've lived so long (my Border Collie is 15) without having their twice yearly risk assessments?

FrogDogz said...

Of course, to be fair, a lot of people really are idiots.

No kidding. Every day or so, I get another comment from another rube who was scammed by the Nigerian Puppy Scam. Even after the fact, half of these people are still saying things like "I just want them to send me my puppy!", because they STILL haven't figured out that there is. no. puppy. Never was, never will be.

Honestly, I'm sorry people get scammed, but get a freakin' clue.

GreenGrrl said...

Viatecio, the only risks I can think of is a dog possibly getting kicked or rammed by an exceptionally ornery animal, but the dogs are usually quick and smart enough to avoid it. One of his trainer's dogs once got thrown up against the fence REAL hard, but some rest and the dog was back out later that day. It's definitely a risk I'm willing to take.

I mean, my neighbor's Golden Retriever was injured when a BEAR CUB FELL OUT OF A TREE onto him. Are we not supposed to let dog's into the woods for fear bears might fall out of trees onto them? Honestly, my first reaction upon hearing that story from my neighbor was to laugh.

PBurns said...

The main health problem from herding is cruciate ligament problems, generally caused by hard turns in dogs over 40 pounds. A smaller, lighter bitch will have fewer ligsamenty problems than a larger dog. I do not herd, by morphologically, dogs are dogs. The way to avoid all ligament problems is to keep your dog in a wire crate at the vets office all year long.