Pet wellness plan. Does that sound appealing? Someone, usually a corporate someone, telling you the best way to raise your pet. You hand your pet over to Dr. WhiteCoat to make the decisions for you. Sound good?
Apparently, enough people think so to allow Banfield, the corporate giant of veterinary “healthcare,” to operate well over 1000 franchise clinics. (You’ve likely seen a Banfield hospital if you’ve set foot in a Petsmart. They often share space under the same roof).
Big outfit. Owned by the even bigger giant Mars Inc. Is that a sign of better quality care for your animal? Or something quite different?
Who You Gonna Call?
You might entrust your animal’s health care to someone who was as keen on enhancing her vitality and long life as you are. Does that someone exist?
Does he work for Banfield? If you think he might, it’d be wise to compare what you’ve learned about prevention to Banfield’s views on the subject.
The name of the Banfield game is to sell you a package care plan, where you pay monthly for as many free exams, tests, procedures, etc. as you want in a year. It sounds good: "The Optimal Wellness Plan."
What does Banfield think should be included in that plan?
Here’s a clip from their corporate website, outlining three levels of the managed care plan that Banfield offers (click the image to enlarge it):
As you can see at a glance, twice a year vet visits are part of each plan. And did you notice that vaccinations are part of those visits?
Odds are high that if you sign up for any plan Banfield offers, your pet is going to get vaccinated with multiple vaccinations more than once a year.
Wow. It appears that Banfield has missed the memo on limiting vaccines that the rest of the veterinary experts have been recommending for 20 years or more (AVMA, AAFP, AAHA, etc.).
Or perhaps they haven’t been privy to the research showing a long duration of immunity from viral vaccines. This has been known for at least 50 years. It’s the reason your physician isn’t sending you reminders yearly to come in for more vaccinations.
Here’s Banfield’s take on it:
Are they living in an alternate universe? Drinking a different Kool Aid than the rest of us?
It appears they also missed the interference that this long lasting immunity causes in the animal who was vaccinated earlier. In short, the next vaccines fail to stimulate further immunity in an animal who’s already immune.
You know this better than Banfield, it appears. You’ve read about the efficacy (“Does this work?”) of vaccination here and elsewhere over the years.
Did they also miss the safety concerns that have been so widely talked about regarding vaccinations? That’s likely important to you, for the health of your dog, cat, or horse, while efficacy is important to your wallet.
Planned Wealth vs. Planned Health
When someone with shareholders tells you they want to sell you a plan, it makes sense to ask yourself,
- “Is this plan in my animals’ best interest?”
- “Or might there be another motive?”
I submit that this is a critical place to insert caveat emptor. Buyer beware.
As we saw with the conventional vet association's stand on raw food, there’s a conflict of interest at work here. (Anyone want to bet Banfield recommends against raw food? Or that they sell only kibble full of starch and byproducts?)
Critical Thinking: Required for Health
In the end, I’d submit that there’s only one person who can be trusted to chart a course of prevention for your best animal pals. The ones you want to be vital animals, who stay with you for long, joyful years.
You know who I’m talking about. While I can help in your endeavor, as can many, many others, that one person is, ultimately, only
It’s not in Banfield’s best interests to follow research showing long duration of immunity. Nor is it in their interest to look deeply at the illness that can show up a month after a vaccination.
No, Banfield, owned by the larger giant, Mars (makers of Snickers, M&M's, Whiskas, and Pedigree) has stock holder’s interests in mind, primarily.
Their corporate speak says, “Your animal’s health comes first!” but in the end, they’d have stopped the crazy vaccine practices years ago if that were true.
Banfield Buyer: Beware.
Have you had any experience with the Banfield/Mars business model? Let us know in the comments.