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To: Pokey78
PETA is going to be coming after you =^(
21 posted on 04/22/2002 6:49:43 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife;Mewzilla;Hillary's Lovely Legs;all

I've read this thread and I've thought about your responses and I have the following to say. You probably won't like it, but that's tough. Life is hard. Get used to it.

I was in practice in the 80's, in a state that is a big rabies state. Annual vaccinations, for most diseases, were recommended by the manufacturer and by my professors.

At the time, most people who owned pets would not spend a lot of money on them, particularly if they required diagnostics (blood tests, skin cultures, urinalyses, surgeries other than spay or neuter).

So mom and her 7 year old bring in their beloved dog, who has a broken leg which needs to be pinned (a surgical procedure) to heal correctly, but don't have the money to afford the surgery. What is a vet to do? We could have put down tons of animals in these situations. But that isn't why we went into vet med. We really care about animals. So we'd pin the leg, charge some low ball price that didn't cover our expenses so that dog could go home and be back playing with that 7 year old. How could we do this and make a living? We charged more for vaccines.

In my opinion, this was not the best approach, because people never really understood the true costs involved in surgery - anesthesia, prep, surgical expenses, the cost of the surgeon's expertise, etc. because we were too chicken to charge for it (and we knew that most people - at that time - would say "Gee, doc, I can go down the road and get another dog for $5. Why should I spend $700 to get his leg fixed?" and therefore just have the animals put down.)

Parvovirus was a "new" disease which reared its ugly head just as I was graduating from veterinary school. I saw its' ravages up close. I was the only vet in my practice that actually took on parvo cases and had a good success rate - mainly because I gave those patients incredible supportive care. They lived, but the bills were astronomical compared to what people were willing to pay at the time. So, did my partners say "don't spend all that time and energy on those parvo dogs because we end up in the hole?" NO they let me treat those animals, cut the bills to the bone and send home live dogs to happy people.

It appears that we're learning that current vaccines are viable (good) for more than one year. You people are all ready to sue your veterinarians because they are recommending annual vaccs. Let me tell you this, until someone of authority comes out and says that vaccs every three years are good enough, I doubt many vets will change from annual vaccs - and it has everything to do with lawsuits. One is judged in the legal community as to what is the standard of care in your area. If you've got vaccine manufacturers stating the efficacy of their product is for only one year, and you have no viable studies (conducted under accepted scientific conditions and statistically reliable) to show that the vaccines do, in the vast majority of cases, reliably provide protective immunity for up to 3 years, then how do you expect veterinarians to go out on a limb and tell you it's ok to only get that parvo shot once every three years?

I practiced in a state where rabies is a very present disease. When a rabies vaccine developed for 3 yr usage came out, my state still insisted on annual vaccs because of the high incidence of the disease. I just read something last week re: rabies - there is still a very high incidence of racoon rabies along the eastern seaboard. We worry about it making its way westward. Bat rabies is a real danger in many parts of the US. I believe 4 humans contracted rabies just last year in the US. If its true that the current vaccines are capable of providing protective immunity for a period of three years, and studies have been done which show that vaccinated animals close to the end date have been challenged with rabies and not succumbed, then those states which require annual rabies vaccs may want to consider moving that requirement to 3 yrs.

I haven't practiced for 10 years. I understand that vets have begun to see hideous sarcomas develop at vaccine injection sites in cats. No one knows why. I never saw it when I was in practice in the 80's. That makes me lean towards vaccinating less frequently for various diseases if the vaccines truly confer an immunity capable of protecting the cat longer than a year.

My point in all this is, step back a minute and understand where the veterinary profession has been, where it is now - damn fine therapeutic options for your pets that weren't there a decade ago, and think about the change in peoples' attitudes - people are much more inclined to provide excellent health care for their pets these days - much more so than they used to be. Pets in many cases, are child substitutes. People are more flush than they were 20 years ago. This means you get great care. It also means that it is time for vets to stop charging inflated fees for vaccs, to also look at U. of Wisconsin's vacc recommendation schedule and consider using it. It also means vets should be engaging in dialogues with their clients about new things we're learning considering vaccines, and let the client weigh whether they want to take the risk of vaccine reaction or the risk of getting the disease, when there is not a law mandating a particular vaccine. And it means that vets should start charging for the things that truly cost them money, and decrease their vaccine charges. It also means that you, the consumer/pet owner should stop expecting the moon without being willing to pay for it. And one last thing to the fella who complained about the cost of his elderly dog's specialty dog food - I've seen prescription foods make all the difference in not only the quality of life an animal has but also seen it extend the life of animals who require it. You pays your money and you takes your chances. Hope this at least explains some things from an old vet's point of view.

66 posted on 04/22/2002 9:16:03 AM PDT by Endeavor
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