Experiences with Alternative Vets - OR - Why You Need a Refferal
From the below three incidents I have learned a very important lesson
which I feel compelled to pass on to you. When your animal is ill, take
it to the vet for an opinion. When you get that opinion, run home as fast
as you can and turn on your computer. Post about your animal's illness on
every available animal health board and ask people who have experienced
this problem with their own pets to contact you. Gather all the
information sent to you and get back on the internet and Research,
Research, Research and then Research some more. Your animal has only YOU
to rely on to keep him alive. Do the best possible job you can!
#1 Swing That Bottle - and Doe-si-doe
I have always owned lots of animals; all types of animals. It was a
feather-picking, self-mutilating Moluccan cockatoo that led me to my first
experience with an alternative veterinarian. Traditional veterinarians
and avian specialists had let me down. I had even had a consult with the
prestigious animal hospital in Boston, but the bird continued with the
mutilation. My concern was due to the fact that he had infection after
infection because he actually bit his legs so deeply that the bone showed.
Time and again, we placed a collar on him made from x-ray film, but as
soon as his legs were healed and the collar came off, he was back picking
at himself and bleeding. After nearly a year of this cycle, I was
desperate enough to finally take a friend's advice and make an appointment
with an alternative vet. I figured I had nothing to lose but the price of
We arrived at the appointment which was in the man's house. The vet was a
kindly looking sort wearing a sports jacket, shirt and tie. He beamed as
he welcomed me at the door and ushered me past the hallway waiting room
and into his living room/office. There were no other clients waiting to
see him - - an omen to be sure, but I was too naive to catch the clue.
I settled into the easy chair while he moved around the big wooden desk
and sat down. The shelves were lined with books, the windows were hung
with pretty, cream colored curtains but there wasn't an examination table,
stethoscope, microscope, or any other veterinary tool in sight. I
wondered how he practiced medicine without these necessities.
He had me recount the saga of the cockatoo. When I finished, he asked me
to take the bird out of the cage. I figured he was going to examine it.
Instead, he reached into the top drawer of his desk and brought out four,
small, square glass bottles with gold colored, screw-on caps. There was a
piece of white string tied around the neck of each bottle. One after the
other, he held the bottles suspended over the bird's head by the end of
the string. With a straight face he told me that if the bottles moved in
a circle, it meant that the contents inside the bottle would cure the
I looked up and started to smile thinking he was joking, but his stern
look never wavered.
HELLO ! That's CRAZY !
Two of the three bottles moved in a circle over the bird's head. He
explained what was in each bottle and what these things would do to cure
my bird. I really wasn't listening. All I wanted to do was get the Hell
out of there. This guy was a certifiable NUT CASE !
I stuffed the bird back into the cage, slammed the door shut, grabbed the
bottle he held out for me to take home, shoved his fee into his hand and
got out of there as fast as I could speed-walk down the hall carrying my
I drove home still thinking that somehow I had missed the joke. Don't
they tell you when you're on Candid Camera??? Do they make you pay??
#2 The Universal Cancer Cure
My cat was diagnosed with cancer. She even had a tumor on the inside her
mouth. I had rescued her at the pound about a year earlier and loved her
beyond words. She was Siamese and liked to "talk". I couldn't walk by
the door of a room where she was snoozing without her meowing as soon as
she saw me. I didn't want to lose her without a fight.
I've never been a cat person, but I LOVED Isha as much as any dog I've
I asked my vet about the possibility of doing chemotherapy but she told me
the cancer was quite advanced and not a type that responded well to chemo.
She did tell me that a vet who used to work in her practice and who had
branched out into alternative veterinary medicine had been treating some
cancer animals with a new protocol from Canada. I told her that I had had
a bad experience with an alternative vet and asked if this guy really knew
what he was doing. She assured me that he was very good.
You know the old expression, "once bitten, twice shy"? I decided not to
lay out any money on an alternative vet who might be crazy, so I decided
to interview him first. The cockatoo experience was fresh in my mind
though it had happened three years earlier.
I telephoned the alternative vet's office and asked if he had any time for
me to just stop by and talk with him prior to making a formal appointment.
I gave the name of my traditional vet as my introduction and told him
truthfully that she had recommended him highly as someone who might be
able to help my cat beat cancer. He told me to stop by the next
The funny thing was, that when I reached his office, it looked VERY
familiar. He had purchased the practice from the bottle-swinging wacko
and had his office in the very same living room. I relied heavily on the
fact that my own vet was very good and good vets don't usually associate
with bad ones. Plus, I wasn't paying for this consultation.
We sat in his comfortable office, and I told him about Isha and asked
about the Canadian cancer protocol my vet had mentioned. I knew very
little about cancer treatments at that time. All I really knew was that
different types of cancers required different types of treatments and that
if you were lucky, you could get a remission but not a cure.
I asked what type of cancers the protocol was able to help, and he smiled
and said it could CURE all types of cancer.
A red flag went up. I asked what the side effects of the drug were. He
said there were none.
I asked him if the drug worked on cats as well as dogs, and he told me it
did. I asked to see studies that would show how many animals had been
tested with this protocol. He told me he had none, that this was a human
cancer drug and had only recently started to be used on animals. That it
had only been tested on 5 dogs.
Alarm bells were clanging and lights were going off in my head. Now I had
this guy pegged. He was an idiot!
"Can I see the human cancer studies since you don't have anything on the
animals?" I asked.
"I don't have those either," he admitted, then added as if talking to
himself, "Guess I really don't know too much about this".
Then he smiled, recovered his composure and grabbed a thick, hard bound
book off his desk. "This book tells everything about the drug," he
assured me. "You can buy a copy for $30."
I asked who wrote it, and was told the guy selling the drug.
Hummmm. Wonder what that should have told this vet?
I told him I'd pass on the book and asked how much the drug cost. He told
me it went by the weight of the animal so I picked a number at random and
told him the cat weighed about 6 lbs. He did some calculations and told
me it would cost $300 per month to treat my cat. Geez. I hate to think
what it would cost for a 60 pound dog!!!
I didn't bother to ask how long it would take for my cat to be cured,
because it was crystal clear to me that the stuff was crap, but I just had
to ask the next question though I had a sick feeling I knew the answer
I asked if any cancer animals in his practice were already on the drug,
and he said, "Yes".
"And, has their cancer been cured?" I inquired.
"Well, one dog had just started on the drug last week, and the other
hasn't started it yet." he said.
He asked if I wanted him to place an order with the drug company in Canada
for my cat. I told him I'd think about it and left.
The next day I went to the library, typed the name of the Canadian drug
into the Search Block on the computer and hit "Search". Up popped an
article detailing the drug and the "discoverer". The guy was not an M.D.
or a vet or even a technician. He had no credentials whatsoever unless
you consider it to his credit that he had been thrown out of a foreign
country for peddling other false "cancer cures" that were debunked as
money making scams.
At the end of the article there was a statement made by the Canadian
government urging everyone NOT to purchase the "cancer drug" which was in
fact analyzed and found to contain a combination of sterile water, witch
hazel and two other common household items that I can't recall. The
American Cancer Society also warned that while they could not stop people
from purchasing this product through the mail, it had no medical value
whatsoever and did, in fact, burn the skin of the person using it.
My heart went out to the dog already on this stuff because I knew he was
suffering not only with the cancer but with the junk his owner was
injecting into his body.
I printed out the article and drove to the alternative vet's office. He
was with a patient when I got there, so I wrote a note across the bottom
of the printout which read: "Hope you can get your clients' money back",
and left the paper with his receptionist.
To this day, I cannot understand how man trained in veterinarian medicine
could be so easily duped or why he didn't just do what I did, look into
the drug before putting dogs and cats at risk. "Buyer beware" has a whole
new meaning for me as a result of this experience.
#3 The Beginner
Years passed and as you might imagine, I stayed as far away from
alternative vets as possible. Last year I decided to give it one last
try. I consulted the internet for a listing of accredited alternative
vets in my area. My cat had PKD and cancer. I knew how to treat both,
but there was a lot of talk on the internet animal boards about how
natural things could do even more to relieve the stress on a sick animal's
I made an appointment with a traditional vet in a multiple vet practice
who was also trained in alternative treatments.
There were a number of vets in the practice, and it was the typical
traditional setting with metal examination tables, microscopes, syringes
and stethoscopes. I felt at home.
By this time I knew a little about holistic treatments, enough to know
that there were some things that actually did work to improve a sick
animal's condition. The trick was to find a vet who knew what he was
I have a bad habit of "testing" new vets with questions they should be
able to answer if they "have a clue". So, I asked this guy about feeding
onions to my animal. He told me raw onions caused red blood cells to
burst but cooked onions were fine - - WRONG!!! I told him I had an older
dog with spinal degeneration and asked if there was anything he could do
to help him. He told me there was no treatment for this condition - -
WRONG AGAIN!!! By the end of the visit it was clear that this guy was a
novice in the ways of alternative medicines. I had been hoping to find a
I've always had a problem allowing vets to remain ignorant of cures I know
about, so before I left, I set him straight on the onions and even
provided him with a printout of an article detailing the facts that I had
taken off the internet. I also filled him in on Dr Belfield's cure for
spinal degeneration dogs.
As he totaled up the bill, he told me that I knew more than he did about
alternative therapies. Actually that was true but pathetic since my
knowledge is minimal, and his was most definitely less than that. Despite
his admission, he still managed to charge me $78 for the visit. Maybe I
could have gotten away with a bill of $55 if I hadn't taken up his time
teaching him how to cure spinal degeneration dogs.