How to deal with a difficult Vet…

Some vets can be very pushy!

Yes, I know that\’s an understatement – and before we dig into this topic, I want to point out that when vets pressure you around your pet\’s health, they nearly always sincerely believe they are giving you the best advice to help your pets. 

Yes, they have been brainwashed (as I was) by a narrow and biased university education. This is not to say that your vet isn\’t extremely well trained in how animals work, their anatomy, diseases, pathology, biochemistry, bacteriology, virology, clinical skills, surgical skills, etc, etc etc. 

Vets are extremely well trained in this sense, but where their worldview is narrow and biased is important for you to understand (especially if you want to give your pets holistic health care). 

Mainstream vets have been heavily influenced by two factors. Scientific orthodoxy, and big business. Scientific orthodoxy is heavily influenced by big business, because big business pays for most research. And who pays the piper, calls the tune. 

Big business pays for twice the amount of research that governments do. And big business in today\’s world has government tucked away in its hip pocket. They have the financial resources and lobbying power to influence government behaviour, and they do it all the time. 

Scientific orthodoxy is very deeply biased against holistic approaches, alternative medicine, anything that is not \’thoroughly researched\’. The thing is, to research interventions to the level that scientific orthodoxy demands to accept it costs a LOT of money, and if the treatment, herb, supplement etc. cannot be patented, then there is no motivation for big business to invest in the research. Catch 22!

In fact, anything that is natural and effective (CBD is a great example of this) and competes with the extremely profitable pharmaceutical industry, it is actively attacked by big business. Here in Australia, we have seen CBD been made illegal to sell unless it\’s gone through an extremely expensive approval process. 

A highly effective, safe herbal medicine that was legally available here for decades is now impossible to get hold of legally, and the legal avenues are much more expensive than before. The only people who profit from this regulatory approach for a very safe herbal medicine are the big companies.

The people and pets who need this safe, effective medicine lose out. Access becomes illegal or difficult (grey or black market) or becomes prohibitively expensive.

The other big bias…

Western medicine is biased towards a reductionist worldview. It considers the animal to be a collection of parts. Western medicine uses diagnostic tests and imaging to diagnose a disease. Then a disease is treated by surgery or by a drug. 

The problem with this is that our animals are amazing, complex beings, and the whole being is affected deeply by any drug or surgical intervention. Western medicine tends to disregard or minimize the impact of side effects or injury due to vaccines, drugs, surgery,  etc.

Again- who is going to fund research that will damage their income? 

So- most vets passionately believe in what they have been taught, and what they have been taught actively derides most holistic and alternative medicine. Even when there is solid scientific evidence, funnily enough.

Not to mention that the veterinary industry chronically over-vaccinates companion animals, in direct conflict with very high-grade research that has been repeated many times in different countries. This makes my blood boil! The research very clearly proves that the modified live virus C3 and F3 vaccines give a long-lasting immunity of at least 5-7 years (and often longer).

Vaccination is a large part of vet hospitals\’ income. I know, because when I stopped vaccinating willy-nilly in my home visit vet practice many years ago, I lost about 30% of my income. But if the profession really followed the evidence base, they would be titer testing before every re-vaccination to see if it was needed. 

I see vaccine-injured animals all the time. Years ago I saw some early research showing dogs making antibodies against fundamental tissues in their own bodies (like connective tissue, collagen, etc) in response to vaccination. I.e. causing an autoimmune disease/problem.

This research absolutely should have been developed further, but in this system that is driven by profit, there is an active disincentive for companies to fund this kind of research – even though we desperately need it!

So- your vet has been taught a biased worldview. They honestly think they are giving you the best advice. In fact, they may well be passionate about this, and that can translate into them pressuring you to do what they think is best for your animals…

You need to be able to wrangle your regular vet!

Yes- because though holistic vet care is the best way to go, Western medicine is not all bad. It can be life-saving. I know antibiotics probably saved my life when I had severe pneumonia some years ago.

Surgery can absolutely be the best thing for broken bones, knee reconstructions,  cancer, bowel blockages, and a whole lot of other problems. You need your regular vet, no doubt about that. 

But where do you draw the line?

How can you make a good informed decision when your regular vet is in your ear and biased against alternative approaches?

How can you stand up to the pressure, and say no when you need to?

If it\’s a true emergency, you\’re going to have to roll with the vets best advice and do what needs to be done to save your animal\’s life. Once things settle down, you\’re going to have some hard decisions to make. Complex decisions. expensive decisions on a lot of cases!

Step one: Have a holistic vet on your animal wellness team. Talk to them about what the regular vet is saying, what they are offering, what they want to do in terms of diagnostics and treatments. This gives you a circuit breaker. You can tell your regular vet to give you all the info, and that you\’ll discuss it all with your holistic vet. You get a different point of view, you get time to think about it all, and you can then go back and be better able to stand up to any pressure. 

Step two: Always ask this question about any proposed diagnostic interventions. Say something like \”Will the results of this test change how we will treat my animal?\” If the answer is no, then it\’s probably not worth doing the test. You can spend a LOT of money finding what is not the problem, and vets are biased to do everything they can to get a definitive diagnosis! That\’s their training. 

Step three: Be ready to say one of two things. \”No.\” or \”I\’d like some time to think about that.\” Being able to say no is important. If the vet put pressure on you, guilt trips you or is flat out rude, then calmly express how their behaviour feels for you, and ask them to respect your wishes. Sack them if they don\’t respect your boundaries!

Step four: If you know that you\’re not good at standing up to this kind of pressure, take a friend for support. A strong-minded one! If they can\’t come in, have someone you can call for a quick chat as a circuit breaker to give you some time to think and decide. 

Step five: When you do make a decision, don\’t double guess it. Take your time to make the best informed decision you can in the context of what\’s happening, and then stick with it. Be kind t yourself id it doesn;t work out for the best. Medicine is like that, no matter what you choose, sometimes things won\’t end well. 

I hope this helps you if you have a vet being pushy!

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