A Response to Reader’s Digest

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.

61 thoughts on “A Response to Reader’s Digest

  1. Pingback: Articles about Ross | Paw Prints in the Sand

  2. 6. “The reason your pet is fat is because you are too. I would never say that to someone in an exam room, but the fact of the matter is, if you have an owner who overeats and is inactive, they are very likely to have an obese pet.”—Oscar Chavez, DVM

    I disagree with the above statement entirely. My sister is a bit overweight and she has a pit/lab mix and he is in perfect health. Saying that your pet is overweight because you are is completly false.

    I have friends that are in good health and have obese pets. Its all about what you feed your pet, how often you feed them, and how often they get exercise. Being inactive youself does not necessarily mean that you are making your pet inactive. If anything having a pet to walk makes you get up yourself and exercise as well.

    If you are going to feed your pet table food and junk like that, then yes, it will get fat. I have to say that my pets are in their target weight range and I am not the skinniest girl around. In my opinion what it comes down to is that your weight has NOTHING to do with your pets weight.

  3. I am glad they addressed #20. I just wanted to inform those who think that the students who apply to/go to Ross were all previously rejected at a US school…Ross was my FIRST choice and I got accepted one year early. There are many other students who can say Ross was also their first choice. Just FYI.

  4. @Ruth Beismer, DVM
    Thanks to Ross Unversity I was able to complete my DVM at the University of Tennessee. Four first year students dropped out and the veterinary school wanted to fill those empty positons. I transfered to UT after completing 3 semesters at Ross. For me starting at Ross saved me time since I didn’t have to wait another year to start the application process again. From my personal experiences, the drop out rate is similar among US and off shore schools. I know many students who are going to out of state schools and paying astronomical out-of-state tuitions because they are willing to pay any amount of money to go to vet school. When it comes to cost, no matter where you go to vet school these days, it is expensive. And as for a vacation… I didn’t have much fun while I was on St. Kitts.

    I also have to disagree with not vaccinating indoor cats against rabies. Bats (and othyer wildlife species) do make their ways indoors. Having a public health background and working for APHIS and with my state’s Department of Agriculture I know of documented cases of indoor cats being exposed to rabid wildlife because they found their way indoors (one incidence was actually a rabid cat that clawed through a screen door and attacked the indoor cats). I’d rather vaccinate my cats every three years against rabies and have the peace of mind they are protected. Rabies is a fatal zoonotic disease so why take chances?

  5. I think that one point everybody here is missing is the incredible ‘outside the US’ bias. All defenders point to Ross and SGU’s AVMA accreditation against RD’s claim. So….. the hundreds of vet schools throughout the world without AVMA accreditation (including those who never sought it), are somehow deficient because of this?

  6. @Andrew Heller
    I did some research on the Caribbean medical schools (didn’t even know they existed till now), and I discovered that Ross University is owned by Devry University.

    According to Wikipedia, “The School of Veterinary Medicine is located in St. Kitts. Ross University is owned by DeVry, Inc., which acquired the school in 2003 from Leeds Equity Partners, a private equity firm, for $310 million.”

    The AVMA blog makes a good point that their program is fully accredited, but Readers Digest actually did not say anything slanderous. All they said is that Caribbean medical schools are “for-profit schools”, which is actually surprisingly true.

    • There are private schools everywhere, it shouldn’t be a surprise at all. The Reader’s Digest article insinuated that students at caribbean veterinary schools are not as qualified because “they may have no even gotten into vet school”. There is a similar application process for caribbean schools, and you cannot just pay for you degree, which I’m assuming many people inferred from #20.

  7. Thank you AVMA for correcting the RD re:it’s assertion that Ross Univ School of Vet med is not a legitimate, accredited Veterinary School. I first became acquainted w/this Ross when our retired Vet’s daughter went & was thrilled with it. My niece is now a student there. I have been so impressed with the quality of the education offered there. In light of the small number of US Vet schools available for the number needed to meet the need and the reputation of Ross graduates I am glad you set the record straight.

  8. Thank you for responding to the Reader’s Digest article. I’ve sent them my own response regarding the suggestion that feline vaccines are unnecessary past kittenhood. That really undermines our efforts to encourage clients to bring in their cats for preventive care. I would much rather help a client keep a pet healthy than see the cat only when it’s seriously ill.

  9. If you read his comments more carefully, the references to a “nice vacation” and a “painful waste of time,” were referring to students that BEGIN a Carribbean veterinary school, but then never FINISH their degree. That was the main thrust of his argument– the schools take advantage of SOME students who are willing to pay any amount of money to go to vet school, even if they really aren’t cut out for it. As I read it, he criticizes the admission policies, but not the strength of the programs,or the competence of their graduates. His argument would only hold true if the off shore schools have a significantly higher drop-out rate than the US schools do. I honestly don’t know if that is the case, but I agree that it would be a shame to invest lots of money with nothing to show for it.
    I am not an expert on the matter, but I do believe the COE accreditation standards were revised after the Western U lawsuit. Waiver or revision or whatever you want to call it, I still thinks it’s obvious that accrediting a school with a VTH would be somewhat different than accrediting a school without a VTH. It’s fine to say that they are equally good, but not accurate to say that they are identical.
    I wholeheartedly agree that the Reader’s Digest comment was way out of line. I graduated with two Ross students who were awesome, and have never had an issue with vets who attend non US schools. I just think the backlash to Aaron’s comments was a bit over the top. And I don’t think it is fair to assume that he is “narrow-minded” “elitist” or “bigoted.” We are all colleagues, and should be able to discuss the issue without name calling.

  10. @Ruth Beismer

    Aaron should not be vilified for “sharing his beliefs” as you imply, but for the callous disrespect for his colleagues. Calling the veterinary education provided at Caribbean schools “basically a nice vacation” is just one of many insults aimed at practicing veterinarians, veterinary students, dedicated faculty, and the AVMA Council of Education.

    I am an open-minded and tolerant individual. But I do not welcome the sharing all ideas, especially the sharing of bigoted or elitist ideas that diminish the quality of my education, the caliber of my colleagues or the level of my commitment.

    I find it neither professional nor civil to call my classmates “questionably admitted” or to deem my experience at a foreign accredited university “nothing more than a painful waste of time.”

    There is no forum in which bigotry, elitism and disrespect should be tolerated.

    Furthermore, please refer to the requirements for accreditation via the link above for a better understanding of the criteria. As you will find under 7.3, Standard 3, Physical Facilities and Equipment:

    “An accredited college must maintain an on-campus veterinary teaching hospital(s), or have formal affiliation with one or more off-campus veterinary hospitals used for teaching.”

    Ross and St. George’s both meet this standard, and no waiver was made for these schools. These schools, therefore, do not have different criteria for accreditation.

  11. I just received notification from the Reader’s Digest that they are going to print this response in the July-August 2012 issue.

  12. As Dr. Ronald Schultz (Principal Investigator for the Rabies Challenge Fund) says: ” To reduce the incidence of disease, it’s better to vaccinate more animals than to vaccinate the same ones year after year.”

    Good medicine is based in fact, not fear. Let’s vaccinate the animals that need protection, not the ones that already have immunity.

    With common interests,
    Gloria J. Cestero-Hurd
    Healthy Dog Project

  13. I am so glad to see that I was not the only one to be appalled at RD’s publication of comment #20. I have had the pleasure of working with many Ross and SGU grads and have only known them to be exceedingly competent and well rounded. For RD to publish a comment like that is libelous! I have always enjoyed perusing Reader’s Digest, but now that I know how little research and care they put into what they publish, I will think twice about ever picking it up again.

  14. I think it is very important to keep the discussion civil and professional. I am glad the AVMA has voiced its (our) objections to #20 and #27. Both are irresponsible statements. But I don’t think Aaron deserves to be vilified for sharing his personal experiences with several Ross students and graduates. All should be welcome to share their thoughts and input.
    AVMA COE has waived the teaching hospital requirement for Western, Ross, and SGU. These schools therefore DO have different criteria for accreditation– maybe not better or worse, but definitely different. Several leading veterinary educators have expressed concerns that accreditation standards are not uniformly enforced for all institutions. I have no idea if that is true, but we should not be afraid to have the conversation and answer the questions. And we should not condemn those whose personal experiences are different than our own.

  15. @Aaron: I assume the US veterinary school you are now attending is AVMA accredited. But,may I ask, are you accusing the AVMA of accrediting Ross and SGU without merit or that they are not held to the same standards that it expects from your school? In that case what standards does that set for your education? I assure you that the AVMA sets the SAME standard to be met for ALL AVMA accredited schools. Get use to it, the Caribbean Veterinary schools are equal to your school, the AVMA says so.

  16. @Aaron Your statements are far too general, I suggest in the future that you stop speaking from a standpoint which you obviously do not know or understand. I am a graduating senior from one of the top colleges in the country, I carry a 3.8 undergraduate GPA, I scored well on the GRE, I have been chosen to present at a number of conferences, Ph.D programs have directly approached me for entry into their programs and my recent research is up for publication this coming year– I am also PROUDLY a member of the fall 2012 class at Ross University. I have a number of friends at my current college that have been both denied and wait-listed or ‘conditionally accepted’ by Caribbean schools. As the educated individual that I’m sure you are, maybe you should broaden your knowledge base before you make sweeping statements that include people that you do not know. While American veterinary schools are respected, it is now time to take into account the shift that is occurring in the veterinary world. I live on a rather large horse farm that also has a prestigious kennel; a variety of the vets on our staff are actually preferring Caribbean graduates over American students. If you do a little research, you will also find that larger practices are searching for Ross and SGU grads over those from Cornell, Tufts, etc. Now, I’m not going to get into a tit-for-tat battle with you but the reality is that Caribbean vets are just as credible and prepared as those graduating from American institutions. Get used to it.

  17. Re Reader’s Digest #27 and Dr. Elliot’s opinion that indoor cats shouldn’t be immunized against rabies: Does anyone remember that part of the veterinarian’s oath that states ”I solemnly swear to use my scientific knowledge and skills for the benefit of society through……the promotion of public health, …”?
    Rabies is a deadly zoonotic disease. Do I need to continue? Really?

    Just to bring this full circle, and include Reader’s Digest #20, those Ross alums who disagree with Dr. Elliot should step up to the plate here.


  18. I read #20 and noticed that the commenter chose not to give his/her name. That’s probably smart. How nice would that be not having to spend time defending oneself?
    I am an SGU graduate that yes, has an undergraduate GPA of 3.5, with a pre-vet GPA of 3.6.
    I agree with Katie Gelsomino. The education at SGU is everything opposite of sub-par, and I too was surprised during my clinical year at the areas that I excelled above my U.S. student counterparts.
    It is a brave person who leaves their country, family, and everything they know to go live on an island (it is not as glamorous as it sounds, after two weeks you’re ready for the U.S. culture) to pursue their dream. Then do it all again to attend clinical year. People who go to the Caribbean are people who are sincerely dedicated to what they have chosen to do. Not that U.S. school students are not, it takes a unique dedication to give up everything and go somewhere foreign to achieve what one has set out to do. In talking to one of my undergrad-mates, he said that he wanted to be a vet but couldn’t go to do what I was doing. This ‘island school life’ isn’t for everyone. It takes ‘guts’ not only to leave, but to face the unspoken and spoke criticism before and after attendance there. The veterinary program in the Caribbean isn’t easy. There were a few times, myself, I had to just ‘dig my heels in’ and refuse to give up. Not everyone gets into these schools either. So, if one wants to be a vet, they can’t just up and attend a Caribbean vet school. It takes the same years of pre-veterinary work and testing as is required for the U.S schools, and they may still receive a rejection letter. Also, one thing I really appreciate about these schools is that, is Katie stated, the teachers’ main focus there are their students. This means, they focus on making you the best that you can be.
    Thank you, Nicole Syngajewski, for your well stated comment. I’d also like to thank the AVMA for defending against comment #20, the misinformation of comment #27, and the profession as a whole. I am continually impressed at how aware the association is about what is going on concerning the veterinary profession.

    I leave you with this, how demoralizing it is of one’s hard work when it is articulated, and then circulated, as an assumed inferior creation by ones who do not, and choose not, to cognize the very essence of that creation

  19. @Dee
    Which specific “debilitating feline conditions” could be avoided by foregoing yearly vaccinations??

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  21. Thank you, AVMA!

    I am also concerned for the recommendation not to vaccinate indoor cats for rabies. My own brother found a dried out, dead bat behind his sofa once with no idea how long it had been there nor whether his cat had contact with it. He is a bipolar alcoholic, and if his cat had died or disappeared, might easily have unknowingly been exposed to rabies as the cat developed it. Rabies vaccine requirements are for the safety of the humans; the law doesn’t care about the cats–we veterinarians and the pet owners do. But no human should die just because we’re trying to spare a cat a shot because of a very small risk that it will harm the cat to give it.

  22. Pat Abete :
    Every year students apply to several vet schools and spend thousands of dollars and can not get into US vet schools. Each of the 29 vet school only admits 100-120 students for the year. The often get over 3000 applications. Yes they have 3.5 to 4.0 GPA’s. After spending over $10,000 and applying for 3 years we looked at other options. The US only has one beginning option Sept to June. Caribbean school run all year and take student in Jan. May and Sept. Ross was the perfect choice and provides an excellent education. Readers Digest will never be supported in my household and they have lost creditablity in my eyes any many others. They need to print a full blown article on the univerisities like Ross that provide life changing options not available in the US. We do not have enough vets in the US and our in state universities are keeping up with the demand. Reader Digest – do you homework!

  23. Dee :
    Actually I totally AGREE with #27 with one correction – It is EXCEEDING RARE for an indoor cat to get rabies. It is also exceeding rare for a cat to get rabies from a bat and as a wildlife biologist, I know that many other animals are far more likely to be rabies carriers as bats.
    We now know that yearly vaccines are not warranted and studies have proven that. The feline leukemia vaccine is NOT NECESSARY FOR MOST INDOOR CATS. Our sanctuary has the kitten series for FVRCP and rabies every three years as required by state law and that is it. Thank goodness our “regular” vet agrees with our holistic vet on this.
    So many debilitating feline conditions could be avoided simply by foregoing yearly vaccinations and NOT feeding obligate carnivores grain-based foods!

    Um, Dee, so as a wildlife biologist, you do know that the rabies wildlife vector species differs depending on where you are located in the country, right? Furthermore, bats actually are one of the primary vectors across the country. (http://www.cdc.gov/rabies/location/index.html) I’m in Oregon, and I’ve had two clients personally with indoor cats who were exposed to rabid bats. The cats were unvaccinated and were euthanized due to their unvaccinated status.

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  25. I am a Ross Vet and I am proud to be one. I must say that when I did my clinics at Oklahoma State I was as prepared or more than many of the OSU vet students, especially in surgery. I love my experience at Ross and would not take it back, even though I am in twice the debt from my students loans than most US students! To the person who made the #20 comment , you are ignorant and disgrace to this profession! I had many friends that failed out at Ross so to say “you can buy your education” is ridiculous! Trust me if those people could “buy their education” then they would have graduated with a DVM and not be somewhere else with alot of student loan debt from a degree they never got!!! To be honest I really don’t care what other single-minded people think about Ross, because I let my knowledge, skill and performance as a vet do the talking, which shows them what kind of GREAT education I received at Ross!!!

  26. @Aaron
    “Mostly true” is entirely wrong. Your anecdotal evidence is weak and limited, your position biased and your attitude wholly disrespectful. Your elitism and arrogance are a disgrace to yourself, your university and OUR profession. Students can fail out of American schools, Caribbean schools, and probably just about any other country’s veterinary colleges. Students don’t pass or fail in veterinary school because of their undergraduate GPA, their GRE scores or their letters of recommendation; they pass or fail in veterinary school because of what they do in veterinary school.

    To diminish the standards of SGU or Ross is to diminish the standards of the same AVMA Council of Education that accredited your own school.

    Before you further your narrow-mindedness, remember this: You’re not a veterinarian because you made it into veterinary school. You’re a veterinarian because you made it THROUGH veterinary school.

  27. @Aaron
    The fact is that the standards at Ross and St. George’s are higher that at stateside schools as they have to send their students to US vet schools for their final year and they must be just as prepared as the students at the new school. Luckily, I excelled at Ross and later at Cornell for my clinical year, however I knew the risks of failing out and I took them willingly. The fact that they give people a chance who might not have had one at a US veterinary school is justified by the fact that once there you must prove yourself worthy. That is exactly why the Reader’s Digest comment is so misleading to the point of being false.

  28. I 100% agree with your stand on rabies vaccines for indoor cats. Through the years I have had 3 indoor cats get exposed to the disease. Two were exposed to rabid bats that got in the house, and one cat was exposed to a rabid racoon that got in the owners enclosed porch. The bats and the racoon were confirmed positive by the state lab. All of us in practice also realize that many “indoor” cats somehow get outside at some point in their life.

  29. Thank you for defending our profession and our integrity. I am a Ross Graduate and was prior to their accreditation. I feel I received a superior education than my US counter parts and I proved that when I performed my clinical year in the US. I passed the same National Board examination as well. Their simply aren’t enough schools to teach all of us. My husband also a vet and Ross Grad and I have opened and merged our own practices and are doing very well and enjoy our career.

  30. Thank you so much for defending the programs at Ross and SGU (and any of them in the Caribbean). It was such a relief to see how much backing we had from the AVMA regarding the outcry.

  31. I too was very upset that RD would post #20 comment. I too am a proud Ross grad. I completed undergrad and vet school with honors, attended Cornell for my clinical year, and have mentored new grads that come out of U.S. schools who cannot even spay a cat. While at Cornell, I was asked by one of my attendings why Ross grads consistently out perform their own Cornell students in clinical rotations. It’s because of our passion and the amazing education we get at Ross. While it’s easier to get into Ross, it’s not so easy to stay. You have to work hard and prove you can handle the course load while living in a 3rd world country.

  32. @Aaron

    I’m not sure what education you’re getting that teaches you such an elitist attitude. I personally gave up a full tuition scholarship in the Honours Program at Rollins College to transfer to the pre-veterinary program at SGU. I am now in my last term of vet school in Grenada and will be starting my clinical year at University of Florida next month. I wouldn’t trade my Caribbean education for anything and know that I will be a better veterinarian because of it.I have gained experience in communicating with clients of all income and education levels. I have learned to be flexible and innovative in my treatment plans because drugs etc don’t always clear customs on time. In the past 6 months I have been the primary surgeon for 3 patients and have assisted on many more, this is the exception not the norm in US schools. Do I need to point out to you that both SGU and Ross have full AVMA accreditation while there’s at least one US school that has only limited accreditation? There’s no truth to the “easier to get into” but if there was you’re darn sure I’d rather my vet go to the “easy” accredited school than the “hard” one that fails to meet minimum AVMA standards. The first time NAVLE pass rate for SGU students is higher than the overall NAVLE pass rate average. Additionally, the last round of SGU students to take the Royal College veterinary exam had a 100% pass rate, so impressive there were a few articles written about these “Caribbean” students. If we were sub-par students then we wouldn’t be passing these exams, check your statistics!

  33. I disagree, cats that are indoor should still receive vaccinations as required by law…has no one ever seen a case of a indoor cat getting outside accidentally? If that cat presents to your clinic with a bite wound or bites you or your staff members it may not be the best outcome for that cat!

  34. 31. “Unfortunately, I’ve had to work in low-cost clinics, and many of them are cutting corners to make a profit. Some places give half doses of vaccines instead of full doses, which is totally illegal and ineffective.”—A vet in California.

    more scare tactics for the readers! Why not educate the readers? Isnt that what they used to do? Yes, it is totally illegal, Ive never heard of this… what vet would risk their whole career on saving 20 dollars?

  35. How can you post such things without looking into them at all?? Scaring readers is not the way to go, people want to be informed

    13. “You should never give pets chocolate, because it’s toxic to most of them. But my cat is obsessed with it and is all over me when I’m eating it, so sometimes I give her a sliver. Just an itsy-bitsy, tiny one.”—A vet in California.
    27. “After their kitten vaccinations, indoor cats don’t really need to be vaccinated. They’re not going to get rabies sitting inside the house. Vaccines have the potential to create a lot of harm for cats, including possible tumors at the vaccine site.”—Jill Elliot, DVM, owner of Holistic Vet in New York and New Jersey.

    another 2 statements you should look into. if your cat ever bit someone, and didnt have a rabies vaccine, guess what is going to happen? (maybe you should look into that one). Cat vaccines also cover more than Rabies… Do you take your shoes and clothes off and leave them outside? Cause if not you could be bringing a disease into your home for your animal to get. Most owners don’t think of these things, does RD want an outbreak of FECV amongst their readers because they are telling people, hey you dont need to vaccinated indoor cats. (FECV = transmitted via infected feces, cases of indoor cats getting it from the bottom of shoes happens….)

    Madison Montgomery
    Getting more concerned by the minute.


    19. “Behavior issues are the No. 1 cause of pet re-homing, euthanasia, and death. Yet, because it’s not medical, most of us don’t learn much about that in veterinary school.”—Oscar Chavez, DVM.

    Umm did we not take a class on this last semester, or was that just me?? Maybe the American students don’t take the animal behavior class?? Caribbean for the win…

    Im sure the more I read the more Gems I will find. So angry.

  37. I have sent out an email to RD, I cant believe they published that. And Aaron, its more the way it is worded, yes maybe people with a lower GPA get into these vet school (aka like a 3.2 opposed to a 3.7) but we all have to take the same classes, pass the same NAVLE, go to the same clinical school in the US/Canada, we all end up at the same place in the end, and point #20 totally disregards that, and leads readers to think their Caribbean Dr. wont be as good as an American one.
    And Aaron.. if people want to spend their money and fail out trying to complete their dreams, that is their choice, I know people that try over and over again to pass because it is the only thing they want to do in life, and after many years they finally make it and like I said before these people will have to pass the same NAVLE, so even though it takes them 3 schools and 10 years, the are just as qualified. Plus, I would want a vet that knows that this is their fate, their one place in life, and would do anything to get there, that is a vet that cares about your animal.

  38. I agree with your feedback to Reader’s Digest: especially the part about Ross University. I have twin daughters who both applied to go there for Veterinary Medicine. One of them was accepted; the other was not. To say that an education as tough as verinary medicine can be bought, is downright insulting to us, and to the university.

  39. Actually I totally AGREE with #27 with one correction – It is EXCEEDING RARE for an indoor cat to get rabies. It is also exceeding rare for a cat to get rabies from a bat and as a wildlife biologist, I know that many other animals are far more likely to be rabies carriers as bats.
    We now know that yearly vaccines are not warranted and studies have proven that. The feline leukemia vaccine is NOT NECESSARY FOR MOST INDOOR CATS. Our sanctuary has the kitten series for FVRCP and rabies every three years as required by state law and that is it. Thank goodness our “regular” vet agrees with our holistic vet on this.
    So many debilitating feline conditions could be avoided simply by foregoing yearly vaccinations and NOT feeding obligate carnivores grain-based foods!

  40. #20’s comment is a result of plain ignorance. I would love to see Mr/Ms Anonymous survive in a 3rd world country and maintain an incredible GPA. Veterinary students studying in the US just don’t understand what it takes to survive in a country that doesn’t have every convenience at your finger tips. In many cases in Grenada, you have to go without the most basic needs, like milk at the grocery store. Its just an example of how much stronger, independent and appreciative people we become after our DVM programs. I am a proud student of SGU, I work hard, I do well, and I am a better person because of my Caribbean experience, and because of all those things, I WILL be a better doctor. Try living without running water for a day or two, and you’ll be on your next flight back to the US crying for your nearest Walmart.

  41. @Aaron
    Aaron, I feel strongly that you should not speak of what you do not know. I graduated with a 3.9GPA from North Carolina State University with Degree in Microbiology and double minors in genetics and Nutrition. I actually did research prior to applying to veterinary school, including surveying some local Caribbean graduates where I live and decided to ONLY apply to SGU. I feel that my educational experience there was exceptional and certainly on par with the US schools. I am currently attending my last few weeks of clinical rotations at Cornell University and know just as much if not a few more things than many of my Cornellian colleagues. Furthermore, surgical opportunities provided to island students often far exceeds those offered in US schools. Teacher’s who lecture here are not here because they are thinking of millions of dollars of grant money for their research, but rather of how they can make a difference and be a great role model and teacher for the students. While it may be true that more students without “cookie-cutter” backgrounds are given a chance at the Carribean schools, that does NOT mean that we work any less hard to achieve our final degree. Many of those people turned away from traditional US schools are a few years out of their undergraduate degree and likely have much more clinical and life experience than those that come right out of undergrad. Furthermore, I know plenty of US veterinary students who met admission standards only to fail out their first year as well. I would put myself or any of my many hard working SGU or Ross friends up against any other veterinary school student in the US.

  42. And again, I know some great vets that have graduated from both carribean schools, including one of my mentors, but she’ll be the first to tell you, she went to Ross because her O-chem and biochem grades kept her out of US schools. She decided going to Ross was better than re-taking O-chem/biochem and reapplying next year.

  43. @Andrew Heller
    Well since the comment was made by an anonymous coward, you’ll have to sue RD for negligence. A retraction from an Obudsman wont cut it.

  44. I’m sorry for anyone that took offense at number 20, but what was said is mostly true. I’m not saying that there aren’t some great doctors that come out of SGU and Ross, but they do have much more lenient admission policies. As a current 4th year vet student at a US school, I have several friends in the carribean schools, and all but two are/were there because they got tired of being rejected by US schools. Again, I’m not saying they’re poor schools, or put out bad doctors, but they absolutely will take many students that were repeatedly rejected in the US. The main problem I have is for the few students that go to the carribean for one or two semesters, only to realize that the US schools were correct when assuming they couldn’t keep up with the veterinary curriculum because they could barely keep a 3.0 gpa in undergrad, and end up failing/quitting, only after spending $40k+ on basically a nice vacation. Granted, many of the questionably admitted students do fine and were perhaps just victims of the incredibly competitive US vet school applicant pool, but I do feel bad for those that are given that last ray of hope, when finally admitted to SGU or Ross, after years of trying in the US, only to return to the states in a few months more broken, with more debt, and nothing but a painful waste of their time to show for it…

  45. My response is to number 20. Currently my child is in Ross University not only is the school work demanding but to survive on the island of St Kitts is a extremely difficult. I have seen many student’s struggle with the very difficult curriculum only to not succeeded. These student’s are away from their familys for a long time and are left to fend for themselves on this small island. It would appear to me that not only are you struggling with trying to be a Veterinarian you have to contend with the distance issue. The student’s that leave the teaching institution of Ross University can work on any one of my beloved animals. I currently deal with a wonderful doctor that has graduated from Ross and he is more than just a great doctor to our family. He has become our friend.

  46. This article just goes to show that even the educated can be ignorant! #20 is very upsetting to see because you know the damage is going to be done and even an apology in the next issue won’t fix it. #39 I hope was not correctly quoted since Ketamine AND Valium are the most common induction agents (not what we use to put an animal to sleep) around.

  47. Way to go AVMA! I am glad to see an immediate response to this article. I am saddened and disgusted that something as baseless as comment #20 would even be printed – I don’t care whose opinion it is. I’m glad to see our assiciation stand up for it’s members

  48. I am appalled that RD actually included comment #20. As a proud Ross Vet, I think the anonymous vet who made this comment should OWN it and then they should apologize both to the RUSVM and SGU grads out there and to the AVMA. How embarrassing. Regarding RD, allowing this comment to be published makes me lose every ounce of respect for this publication. Everyone I know will be told why they should cancel their subscription.

  49. Pingback: Readers Digest | Live de Life

  50. The “California Veterinarian” quoted in #20 has obviously had everything in life handed to them, never having to work for their grades, education or practice. As a proud Ross graduate, I would be more than happy to put my surgical skills / veterinary knowledge, or the skills / knowledge of any of my classmates up against this person’s. The AVMA has it right with their rebuttal.

  51. I also disagree with #39. Ketamine has been around for a long time, but it’s effective and I have used it before, as has the clinic I worked at. Halothane, however, I’m pretty sure is off the market.

  52. I posted it on the article as a comment, but it has to be approved by a moderator so I’m not sure when it will show up. I will also send it to RD. Thanks!

  53. I was also appalled to read number 20. What slander to publish something like this. I hope this response was sent to reader’s digest. Thank you AVMA for responding to this.

  54. I also feel that #20 is an outright lie and am surprised that RD published it. I responded to RD with my own letter. So glad that the AVMA responded to this issue. WTG AVMA!

  55. Regarding #20: I hope this letter was sent to Reader’s Digest with a request for an apology. It’s actually LIBELOUS and grounds for a lawsuit.