A new video about an important health crisis we face
In the past, I didn’t enjoy recording videos as much, but slowly I am starting to enjoy it! It helps to imagine you and your dog are behind the lens which reminds me why it is important to do this work.
Every day, my team and I read stories about your dogs, the worries you go through and how important it is for you to keep your dogs healthy, happy and long-living. If you would like to watch the next episode of my Healthy Dog Channel, just click on the video. If you prefer reading, there is a transcript below.
Last time I spoke about the one key medical system paradox and how most people in the medical system make more money from disease than from preventing it which results in a conflict of interest.
This situation is not unlike the one the music recording, book, magazine and news publishing industries faced in the past decade, except this time, it is about our health and the health of our animal friends.
The next disruption
It appears that the medical field may be the next in line for a disruption but the financial stakes are high and it will not be easy. Healthcare is a trillion dollar a year industry and when it comes to pets, people spend 120 billion dollars on veterinary care and processed pet food combined.
Health is the most precious asset in life and medical care is becoming increasingly unaffordable, no matter whether it is private or government run.
Are doctors and vets to blame?
This question is difficult to answer. Veterinarians and physicians have been plugged into a disease based system where the greatest financial rewards come from treating disease: emergencies, broken legs, serious problems, skin rashes, allergies diarrhea, you name it. Most medical students start working with a big student loan burden. This complicates the situation even more.
In my experience, there are still many dog lovers who never bring their dogs for preventive visits and that applies even to people who prefer holistic and natural medicine. People are financially strained and if they aren’t, common excuses are: “I am too busy,” “I didn't know it was that long…”, “I had to go on holidays,” or “I can’t afford to come because I just did a 50 thousand dollar kitchen reno.”
In other words, people are “wired” to procrastinate and be reactive instead of proactive when it comes to health. Also, doctors and vets are so busy, they do not have any time left for preventive care despite their best intentions.
My own battle with the system
As you may be aware, I started burning out after 20 years in veterinary practice and in 2008, decided to create a company where we provide free support and education to anyone who needs it. Thanks to the power of the internet and a team of amazing and passionate people, we have been able to create a business model where rewards come from education and creating health.
We have shown that healthcare can become much less expensive if we educate patients or animal guardians and that a large portion of health problems can be prevented.
I was plucking along without being noticed for ten years but then, I fell on the radar of the Veterinary College of BC. I was given an ultimatum of either keeping my licence or taking my name off my products, removing all reviews and mentions of how dogs benefit from the work we do.
I was instructed to write my articles to emphasize the superiority of conventional methods. I was told that I should only suggest holistic methods if the conventional methods failed with a note that they were not scientifically proven while we know much of conventional medical practice is not scientifically proven either.
The College of Veterinarians of BC reminds me of the totalitarian communist party in former Czechoslovakia, where I was born and lived for 27 years. In the communist system, we were told: “We have created these laws to protect you from the evil capitalists.” while in reality, they used these laws to eliminate those who were inconvenient because they disagreed with the system.
The College of Veterinarians of British Columbia states publicly that it is there to "protect the public and the animals” but during a phone call with the registrar in 2017, I was told that: “they were not there for the profession and the public, but to make sure that I followed the rules.” This is quite different from the official mandate.
What kind of medicine is more dangerous?
Let's be frank, there are not many cases of people dying from natural holistic medicine, the statistics show that doctor errors and prescription drugs are the third leading cause of death in the US! This is a sobering reality that affects your own and your family’s health including animal friends.
Until now, I was relatively quiet, perhaps I was afraid of being targeted. But I can no longer watch what is happening. We have to speak up and have an open discussion about freedom of choice in medicine. It is important that we pressure our governments to establish an unbiased system of research that is not conducted by companies making and patenting drugs.
How can we do this? We can start by asking the right questions during elections to see what candidates stand for when it comes to healthcare and medicine. It will take time because many people still do not realize what is happening.
In social democracies with free medical systems, governments spend more than 50% of their budgets on healthcare, in the US where medical care is private, it is not unusual that a family of four can spend $2000 dollars a month or more on medical insurance.
If we cut medical costs down by determining the most effective and the least costly treatments instead of what makes the most money, we could save billions of dollars. The savings could be redistributed to solve serious issues including poverty, homelessness of people and animals, global warming and mass animal species extinction.
The solution is not Utopia. It is doable but it will take time. Transformation is about the choice we all make. We need to fight for a medical system where rewards come from preventing disease.
Dr. Peter Dobias
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© Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM