Friday, March 12, 2010

More Sad Stories about Veterinary Malpractice

Last week, I took a lovely 13-month old, yellow Lab boy to my brother-in-law in New Jersey.  Cody, the puppy, was an instant hit with Howard, his daughter, and her husband, who live in the house.  Three adoring adults are great for Lab kids.  They also expect and reward good behavior and give him several walks a day. 

Howard took Cody to the local vet he has used for years for a former dog and current cats. Cody needed an annual booster shot.  Here's his report:

I took Cody to the vet yesterday. He is, of course, in excellent health. The vet was, how shall I say it? She was not too enthusiastic about the raw food diet. She expressed concern was for food borne pathogens such as E. Coli and Salmonella that lurk in our food supply. She hinted that quality organic commercially prepared dog food was good or that I should get raw food that was pasteurized. Pasteurized? That's like cooking the food.
I feel very sad to hear this report.  I don't know why I expected NJ vets to be more informed about carnivorous pets than local vets in Hawaii, but I did.  I know how universal the mis-education of vets is, but I secretly hoped Howard's vet would be different.  I hope he can find another, more understanding vet, because it's difficult to use a vet who blames all problems on the raw diet.  Ironically, the same vets blame none of pets' problems on commercial junk food -- the root of most pet diseases and disorders.

I hear more vet horror stories from Kona Raw Pet Food Co-op members.  This week a member told me her German Shepherd mother played too roughly with her 4-month old puppy and fractured his leg.  She took the puppy to a vet to cast the leg.  When the vet learned the puppy is fed the rmb diet, she told the owner the puppy's leg will never heal on "a raw-meat diet".  Raw meat is not a complete diet because it lacks calcium and has relatively too much phosphorous.  Owner explained she feeds a raw-meaty-BONES diet that has plenty of calcium and a good balance of calcium and phosphorous.  Vet insisted the leg will not heal on a raw-meat diet.  She cast the leg and told her to come back in three weeks, but she warned, the leg will not be healed unless she feeds a "compete and balanced" commercial pet food.

Owner returned in three weeks.   Vet refused to x-ray the leg or change the cast, because owner continues to feed rmb.  The cast was getting tight on the growing puppy.  This vet refused to treat the puppy, so she left.  The vet actually followed the owner out of the clinic into the parking lot, screaming at her to feed "complete and balanced" kibble and warning her the leg will never heal on "a raw-meat diet".  She could not hear that a raw-meaty-bones diet has all the nutrients a dog needs, in balance.  RMB is the closest approximation to the whole-prey diet dogs evolved to eat, for heaven sake.

Owner asked me what she should do, because she worried about the cast becoming a tourniquet.  I advised her to go immediately to another vet I know to be less doctrinaire about commercial pet food and more accepting of raw feeding.  This vet x-rayed the puppy's leg, said it was healing just fine, and took off the hard cast.

What can we do about vets whose fear and opposition of the raw-meaty-bones diet compromises their practice of ordinary medicine?  For a vet to refuse to examine a puppy's cast leg, to do a simple x-ray to see if the leg has healed, equals malpractice, in my opinion. The puppy could have lost the leg to gangrene.   I looked at the state veterinary association web site to find out how to lodge a complaint about this vet (the same practice I have described in earlier blogs).  I have a litany of complaints, both personal and reported by others, against this practice.  Guess what?  There is no information on the official veterinary association web site about how to make a complaint.  I will have to write to the president to find out how to complain.

What are the odds that the state veterinary board will find for the raw-meaty-bones diet and against this vet practice?  LOL.


  1. There is lots and lots of malpractice. We have started a consumer group to speak out about it. Join us!


  2. Thank you for your story. I've been feeding my dog raw for several months now and she is doing well. It was a challenge in the beginning, but soon my little girl got that hang of tearing the meat like she was born to do. The only problem I'm having with raw is the bones. My dog doesn't want to eat the bones. She did in the beginning, but now she turns her nose up to it. How can I get my dog to eat the bones along with the meat. She'll even scrape the meat all the way down to the bone, then walk away from it.