Last night ABC’s 20/20 aired a segment warning pet owners that some unscrupulous veterinarians might try to “sell” them procedures that are not needed by the pet. Here are my thoughts after viewing this segment.
1.It is true that in every profession, including the medical profession, unscrupulous individuals exist. These doctors simply want to make as much money as possible without regard to the patient’s true medical needs. I’ve been fortunate that I’ve only encountered a few of these folks in my profession (my first boss was one such individual.)
2.The 20/20 segment focused on 2 commonly recommended medical procedures:vaccines and dental cleanings, so I’ll address these issues.
3.The segment discussed how some of the doctors who were secretly videotaped recommended annual vaccinations even though the AVMA (and others) recommend vaccines no more often than every 3 years. The ABC “expert,” Dr. Marty Becker, confirmed that pets only need vaccines every 3 years.
Unfortunately, both the AVMA and the expert are WRONG. Most pets RARELY need vaccines. In my experience using blood titer testing to determine when pets require vaccines, my research and experience has confirmed that the typical pet only needs vaccines a few times in its entire life. Doctors who push vaccines on any sort of a regular basis are not following the science of immunology and are responsible for vaccinating pets that really don’t need these “extra shots.”
4.Regarding dental cleanings, 20/20 presented 2 different dogs to a variety of veterinarians in the New York area to determine if the veterinarians would recommend a dental cleaning. The dogs had supposedly been examined by another “expert” who determined that the dogs did not need a dental cleaning. During the undercover taping, several doctors suggested these dogs would benefit from a professional dental treatment. As a viewer, it’s impossible to accurately judge whether or not the dogs really needed this procedure, but for the sake of argument I’ll agree with 20/20’s “expert” that the dogs did not need dental treatment. Dr. Becker stated that because dental cleanings done under anesthesia can be dangerous, it’s important that only those pets that really need dental cleanings should receive treatment.
WRONG AGAIN!! First, anesthesia is very safe IF it is done correctly using the correct anesthetic for the patient and IF the patient is carefully monitored during the procedure. Our hospital is known for anesthetizing higher risk patients: older dogs and cats with diseases that other doctors are scared to place under anesthesia. There is no increased risk in giving these pets the proper (dental) treatment when the procedure is performed correctly.
Also it’s important to treat pets with dental disease early in the course of their disease BEFORE the infection and pain worsen and the pet begins to lose teeth and suffer from the ill effects of chronic inflammation and infection.
While I appreciate that 20/20 and their “experts” want to warn pet owners that a few vets are bad apples (who is surprised at that??!!,) I don’t want pet owners to ignore serious problems like dental disease or get their pets vaccinated if they don’t need vaccines. Had 20/20 interviewed someone like myself who could intelligently explain the care that pets really need they would have done a greater service to pet owners who want to keep their pets healthy and alive as long as possible without doing unnecessary procedures such as frequent immunizations.
An important paper has been published in the Australian journal Clinical Oncology. This meta-analysis, entitled “The Contribution of Cytotoxic Chemotherapy to 5-year Survival in Adult Malignancies” set out to accurately quantify and assess the actual benefit conferred by chemotherapy in the treatment of adults with the commonest types of cancer.
The study concluded that overall, chemotherapy contributes just over 2 percent to improved survival in cancer patients….despite the mounting evidence of chemotherapy’s lack of effectiveness in prolonging survival, oncologists continue to present chemotherapy as a rational and promising approach to cancer treatment.
How is it possible that patients are routinely offered chemotherapy when the benefits to be gained by such an approach are generally so small? In their discussion, the authors address this crucial question and cite the tendency on the part of the medical profession to present the benefits of chemotherapy in statistical terms that, while technically accurate, are seldom clearly understood by patients.
For example, oncologists frequently express the benefits of chemotherapy in terms of what is called “relative risk” rather than giving a straight assessment of the likely impact on overall survival. Relative risk is a statistical means of expressing the benefit of receiving a medical intervention in a way that, while technically accurate, has the effect of making the intervention look considerably more beneficial than it truly is. If receiving a treatment causes a patient’s risk to drop from 4 percent to 2 percent, this can be expressed as a decrease in relative risk of 50 percent. On face value that sounds good. But another, equally valid way of expressing this is to say that it offers a 2 percent reduction in absolute risk, which is less likely to convince patients to take the treatment.
Dr. Shawn says….While I’m not opposed to chemotherapy (or any valid therapy) per se, I think it’s important that the therapy offer at least some potential benefit. For too many human and pet patients, doctors often recommend (“push”) the standard trio of surgery, chemo, and radiation even though they do little to influence the patient’s ultimate outcome or survival. By taking a holistic approach, we are able to carefully evaluate all possible therapies and recommend those most likely to provide substantial benefit.
The question of which supplements to use for pets with cancer comes up a lot…..I put all my patients on high dose fish oil, my own Healthy Qi, CI Support, Olive Leaf Plus, and Ten Mushroom formula (supplements I designed based upon my experience and positive response in thousands of patients)…liver and GI support as needed…detoxification for all patients…homeopathic support, autosanguis therapy and stem cells……vitamin D based upon blood testing..freshly ground flax seed….cancer specific therapy as needed (lymphoma formula for lymphomas, HSA formula for hemangiosarcoma, etc…..)
This is a good starting point for all cancer patients, and working with your holistic vet (or via phone consult if you don’t have a local holistic vet) is essential for ongoing care…..
Recently I’ve had the chance to talk with several people about the concept of “rogue” cancer cells. These are cells that are supposedly left behind in the body after successfully treating the patient. In other words, after all of the cancer has been removed, there exists the possibility of some remaining cells hiding somewhere that somehow were not killed during the cancer treatment.
The conversations I had were with a woman who had been cured of early stage breast cancer and also with a pet owner whose dog had been cured of a mast cell cancer that had been confined to the skin. In both cases the patients’ doctors were recommending followup chemotherapy (and in the woman’s case hormonal therapy.) The patients wanted my thoughts on using further treatment for cancers that had been cured.
First let’s discuss the concept of rogue cancer cells, then we can discuss whether additional treatment might be needed or beneficial.
What’s the likelihood that rogue cancer cells (cells that survived the initial treatment) even remain following “successful” treatment?
Well it really depends upon the type of cancer. For cancers like lymphoma or osteosarcoma, the likelihood that resistant cancer cells have survived treatment is quite high. For other cancers like early stage breast cancer or mast cell cancers confined to the skin, the chance of any cancer cells remaining in the body following treatment is extremely remote. In general, these cancers are usually considered cured once treatment has been completed (however, because the immune system was dysfunctional and allowed cancer cells to develop, I always recommend and prescribe immune support using natural supplements following successful treatment/cure to reduce the chance of future cancers.) Because some cancers are unlikely to have cells that survive treatment, using harsh treatments like chemotherapy or hormone therapies just doesn’t make sense to me from a biological perspective.
However, what if some rogue cell really existed and was hiding in the body? Would chemotherapy do any good? The answer is a definite maybe. Maybe the rogue cancer cell would be killed by chemotherapy (then again, maybe it wouldn’t, especially if chemotherapy had been used as part of the original treatment.) Most people don’t realize that chemotherapy usually doesn’t kill 100% of the cancer cells in most cases, especially in aggressive or advanced cancers. The goal of chemo in these patients is to kill enough (but not all) of the cancer cells so that the patient can be “in remission” for a period of time before the cancer returns. Cancer cells that survive the first round of chemo are less likely to respond (for any length) of time to additional chemo to kill “rogue” cells.
Because of these medical facts, in just about every case using chemo to kill “rogue cells” doesn’t make sense. In most cases no such rogue cells exist, and if they do there is a chance the chemo won’t kill them anyway (although the chemo might kill the patient!)
In general, properly prescribed supplements have a chance of killing rogue cells AND will boost the immune system, which is THE most important thing to do to try to prevent future cancer.