Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Reader's Digest, May 2012, Secret's 36-43, Part 7

Reader's Digest May 2012, "Secret's Your Vet Won't Tell You," by Michelle Crouch.

Secret's 36 through 43.  Under the section "What You Can Do."

Secret 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)." Mei Mei Welker, DM, Outreach vet at DoveLewis Emergency Animal Hospital in Portland Oregon

This was one of the questions that I was asked when I was being interviewed by the new client who was had booked an "interview appointment with me" because she was searching for a new vet. She came in to the exam room with a thick 3-ringed binder and started her inquiry of Jarrettsville Vet with a few other questions, and then came to this one.

She said to me, "I was on your website and I noticed that you only had four technicians who were licensed."

I was  a little shocked, and a little impressed, that she even knew about technicians being licensed.

She then confessed that this question had come from the Reader's Digest article.

I told her that "I was immensely proud to have four." I also told her that it was "likely to be impossible to find a general veterinary practice where every technician is licensed, short of a referral center, or a veterinary teaching hospital."

At JVC we encourage all of our technicians to become licensed and we even help to pay for their training. But for some this is not possible due to time, family, or financial concerns.

I am a huge advocate of education and I have been very impressed by the breadth of knowledge the licensed techs have been trained in, but I also have some incredibly talented technicians who are not licensed. The practices that have a predominant number of licensed technicians often have higher prices for their goods and services because having a licensed technician on staff usually costs the practice more in personnel salaries.

Secret 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." Bernadine Cruz, DVM

I wholeheartedly agree! Read all of my obesity blogs. Your dog wants to be with you because you are affectionate, food is not affection. If they beg it is because you have trained them to do so. I think that many people will pass a morsel because it provides a temporary satiation. It is more effort to get up and play, but that's exactly what your dog wants AND needs.

Many clients will willingly offer to me in the exam room, "I never feed table food," or "we can't not give him some of the table scraps, it's his favorite part of the day." I am not ever really concerned about a few pieces of table scraps in most cases, (as long as it is not dangerous to them, or highly fattening and predisposing them to pancreas issue), but I am concerned that once you train and reward begging you have it forever. I am also concerned about the amount of calories your pet is ingesting. If your pet is overweight, (which is becoming an epidemic in our house pets just like it is in ourselves), then we need to talk openly and honestly about what is best for your pet. Over-feeding your pet will often hurt them and cost them time with you.

My Biggest Loseer blogs; http://tinyurl.com/7pasrrq, The fat lab contestenant, http://kmdvm.blogspot.com/2012/03/weigh-ins-begin.html, The dachshund, http://kmdvm.blogspot.com/2012/03/fat-tuesday.html, fat Tuesday blog

Secret 38
"Homecooking 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 balanceit.com" Monica Revel, DVM, a vet in West Hollywood, Cal.

Every vet has seen or heard of health issues stemming from an inappropriate diet, even when owners are trying to give what they think is an "ideal diet."

My best friends, and even my parents, are guilty of this. They add chicken breast (deficient in just about every mineral and vitamin) to their dogs food. This is usually given ontop of a good dog food. The problem arises when they give a the chicken and then their dogs don't want any of the (boring, but nutritionally complete) dog food sitting under the chicken breast. So, what do they do? Well, they feed more chicken breast, of course!  Because, "He doesn't like his dog food."

I have to remind them of the analogy I often give about thinking of your dogs like you trained your kids. If you let your kids eat only what they wanted they would have only eaten the marshmallows out of the Lucky Charms. Turns out the marshmallows aren't the nutrition in their cereal, (and Lucky Charms isn't the best cereal either).

My blog on raw food diets, http://tinyurl.com/7v65grm

Secret 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 seoflurane are a lot safer." Rachel Simpson

OK, who is Rachel Simpson? Why doesn't she have some sort of title after her name? I am pretty sure she isn't a vet because I don't know any vet who would say "put your pet to sleep." "Put your pet to sleep" for us equals euthanasia. IF, (I am assuming that this is what she means), she means "ask how he anesthetizes your pet?" then isoflurane and sevoflurane are the correct answer. Your pet is much safer and our ability to control the plane of anesthesia is much finer tuned, with these human grade equivalent anesthesia gases.

I actually think that this is otherwise a very good question to ask your vet, and I would absolutely tell you to not let your pet be anesthetized without using one of these two gases as the anesthesia agent.

Secret 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." Patty Khuly, VMD

This was another question my interviewer asked me. Unfortunately the answer from me isn't so simple. For me it really depends on what product we are talking about. If we are talking about an over the counter medication (OTC) like pepcid, than you can certainly get it cheaper at Wal-Mart, and often we send you there to get it.

If we are talking about Frontline, then I have to say that often we are giving you free doses from the manufacturer, and after you add this into your equation the Frontline from us is often a better value (i.e. cheaper per dose than the online pharmacies), and often the manufacturer will not stand by their product if you do not buy it from a veterinarian. For instance Frontline offers a $500 guarantee with their product if you buy it through your veterinarian and you have a flea problem, or problem with the product that requires veterinary intervention.

Secret 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." A vet in California

I agree! I often tell my clients that unless you are at a very high end specialty grocery store you cannot buy good food for your pet at the grocery store, I don't care what the package says, or what it looks like.

I wish more people would come in with their pets food, or the ingredient list from the bag. I ask at every appointment, "what do you feed your pet?" In most cases my clients don't even know. If your vet isn't asking you, then please tell them. If they don't have an opinion go to a gourmet pet store and ask for help."You are what you eat, and you (in general) get what you pay for."

Secret 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." Patty Khuly, VMD

A great secret. An open honest, inquisitive approach to all aspects of health care is best for everyone. There are usually options available to you, you just need to inquire.

Secret 43

"Don't ever share your medications with your pets unless your vet says it's OK. One Tylenol will likely kill your cat." Amber Anderson, DVM

This is also great advice! I can't believe how many people still give human medications to their pets, or use old wives tales to treat their pets ailments. DON'T DO IT! call and ask your vet first. I have seen pets die from Tylenol, putting dog medicine on their cats, feeding onions, constipation medicines, laxatives, the list goes on and on.

The last section to follow tomorrow.


  1. 38: Yeah, BalanceIT is good; here in Canada we have Hilary's

    40: Very good pointer; I have to say I never dared to use an online pharmacy. We get meds either from our vet or he scribes it to local pharmacy.

    42: Yes, as I said above, some drugs we get that way.

  2. Hi Y'all,

    We often got our dog's frontline from Omaha Vaccine when we ordered antibiotics and wormer, etc. for the horses.

    After consultation with our vet we give our dog a stomach med and allergy med available over the counter for humans. When our dog is ill, I prefer getting the meds immediately from the vet rather than traveling around and waiting for a pharmacy to fill a prescription.

    One of the best consultations we had was about food. Since our vet here in the mountains has food allergic dogs we consulted with her and were able to change to a more nutritious food. She carries the food now, so we get it from her.

    BrownDog's Human