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Friday 2 June 2017

Pets? We love them. We do our best for them. And vets? Do they take advantage of our compassion?

It is difficult being ill! It is even more difficult when we see someone else is ill. We want to help. So we go to the doctor. And readers of this blog will know that doctors often give us drugs, vaccines, and other treatments that do not make us better, and too often make us worse. We think we are consulting experts when actually we are consulting representatives of an industry devoted to a highly profitable, and often a highly devious and dishonest business.

How much worse is this when it is our animals, our pets, who are ill?

They cannot speak. They cannot tell us what is wrong. We often fear the worst, so we consult with an expert, a vet, who we believe will tell us what is wrong, and give us something to make it right. We assume this is what they do. Most animal owners rely on their vet to give impartial, ethical and evidence-based advise for the animals we care for. Yet, is this so?

               "Vets4InformedChoice has been set up to raise awareness of the evidence base (or lack of) for many current veterinary practices, enabling animal owners and guardians to make considered responsible choices without undue pressure from the Veterinary Industry."

All animal owners, whether pets or farm animals, should look at this new website if they want to make an 'informed choice'. Click here to join up, and get regular updates from them. This is what they say.

               "Vets have always had conflicts of interest that they have to try and resolve while at the same time earning enough to provide for themselves, their staff, and maintaining the ever more demanding level of service provision clients expect in this information fuelled age."

               "The vets governing body, the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, requires them to be open, transparent in their business practices, and that they must give clients all the options available to them for treatment. This engagement should result in  fully informed consent with understanding from the Animal Owner as to risks, benefits, and actual need for any intervention."

However, 'Vets4informed choice' are telling us that this is not the situation, that the veterinary profession, like the medical profession, is being taken over by corporate interests.

               "..... its business models are based on practices which many now question, and its information sources and evidence are often provided by the pharmaceutical industry. Its societies, academic institutions, much of its ongoing clinical development are sponsored by and linked with major companies such that it is hard to find a truly independent source of advice and assistance."

               "Concerns over frequent and unnecessary re-vaccination, pressure selling of products and services etc. are widespread and growing."

Vets4informedchoice believes this to be a problem, and that the veterinary profession is rapidly losing the trust of the public. As far as I am concerned, a pet owner with an 8-year old Labrador who has never seen a vet, and is fit and healthy, this is certainly so. Moreover, vets themselves (at least those with animal health rather than corporate profit as their primary motivation) are facing serious problems.

                "Anyone who puts their head above the parapet within the profession risks their career, with just one example being the current campaign to ban Vets from prescribing Homeopathy, and to restrict Complementary and Alternative Medicines (CAM). How much of this, I wonder, is the result of these Vets being right; that there is no need to annually revaccinate pets for life, the scientific evidence is there for this practice to be stopped now. Why hasn't it been? It has been noted in the Veterinary media that "the profession gives close consideration in the debate to the importance of total practice income and the significance of driving other product sales" (Helps J. Extending DOI for Canine and Feline Vaccines. Veterinary Review March 2006)

I would urge anyone who reads this to sign up to the group via their vets4informedchoice website. The group states that it has been created "to independently examine these concerns and put the case - both for and against - many current practices". This is something that all animal lovers need, if we are to protect our loved-ones from illness, from unnecessary medication, and from corporate profit.

And please tell everyone you know, who loves animals, about this new group