The May edition of Reader’s Digest includes an article titled “50 Things Your Veterinarian Won’t Tell You.” We have to say, that some of those items are spot-on – like helping keep pets healthy actually helps keep people healthier and happier, and that often the biggest mistake is waiting too long to call the veterinarian when a pet is ill. Obviously, all of the items in the article are the personal opinions of the veterinarians interviewed, and they’re certainly entitled to have their own opinions. We caution pet owners against taking any of the comments as representing the entire profession as a whole.
We do, however, take exception to two of the comments:
We disagree with the statement in #27 that cats can’t get rabies inside the house. Although the risk of exposure to rabies is higher if your pet is exposed to wildlife outside, there are more than 30 species of bats that are capable of carrying and transmitting rabies to you and your pet. And it can be fairly easy for a bat to get into your house. Also, we agree that any vaccination carries risks, but we’re seeing more and more reports of pets falling ill and dying from diseases (such as parvo, distemper and rabies) that can be prevented with proper vaccination. The benefits and risks should be considered when making the decision to vaccinate, and we strongly encourage pet owners to discuss vaccination with their veterinarian and make the decision that’s right for their individual pet.
Chances are good that no matter where you live, rabies vaccinations are required by law. And even if your cat may spend all of its time indoors, it can be quarantined or euthanized if it bites someone and isn’t vaccinated against the disease.
We really take exception to the comment in #20 that implies a veterinary education can simply be purchased from a Caribbean veterinary school and that students who attend these schools weren’t good enough for U.S. schools. The fact of the matter is that the veterinary schools at Ross University (on St. Kitts) and St. George’s University (on Grenada) are fully accredited by the AVMA Council on Education, which means these schools meet or exceed the exact same standards to which all U.S. schools are held. An education from these schools is NOT inferior, and the veterinary degrees they confer cannot simply be purchased.
Our advice to pet owners – establishing honest communication with your veterinarian is one of the best things you can do to protect your pet’s health and life. And we’re not afraid to tell you that.