Beware of "Fauxlistic" Vets

Holistic Vet: Oh, Really?

"holistic vet" bumper sticker: vaccinations

Seen at a recent AHVMA conference. Oh boy.


A reader of an article of mine appearing in Dogs Naturally Magazine writes in the comments,

My 8 wk old Golden  is coming home tonight. She has NOT been vaccinated or dewormed (her 8 litter mates were last week).
Frustrated because i cant find ONE homeopathic Vet in the SF BAY area who does NOT vaccinate. And I cant take her to puppy school or puppy play groups if i just say “no.”
Feeling very confused about what to do… the books all say she needs to have her  optimal dog socialization time before 16 weeks.”


Aside from the “holistic vs homeopathic” lingo, let’s consider for a moment the frustration laden in this missive.
Here’s a pet owner trying to be responsible to her new charge, right from the very beginning. While litter mates were vaccinated and dewormed, this person said, “No. I’ll take care of this one myself.”
She’s really trying to the right thing, to start her new pup off on the best possible footing.
The San Francisco Bay area is not exactly the backwoods. It’s no stranger to natural health, holistic thinking, “alternative” health care, etc.
A quick search on the AHVMA site (a listing of vets who call their practice “holistic”) reveals two vets in San Francisco, three in San Rafael, three in Oakland, one in Novato, and two in Santa Rosa who practice at least some acupuncture and/or homeopathy, herbology, TCM, Bach Flower therapy, nutrition, etc.
Is it possible that none of these naturally-minded folks would be open to working with this woman without pushing vaccinations?
Entirely possible. I see this all the time.
Beware self assigned labels. “Holistic vet” to some might mean “I stock the Bach Flowers” and to another, “We offer holistic food!” (what ever that means…)  Still others may have taken a weekend training in some natural modality, added it to their allopathic practice list of services, and now proudly fly the holistic vet banner.
Beware of what I call “fauxlistic” vets.
Faux (fo): French for false. An imitation. Not genuine. Fake or false.
As a consumer, your work is cut out for you to sift through the so-called holistic vets to find someone who’ll meet your needs. If your aim is to raise a Vital Animal and that doesn’t include vaccinations, you’ll have to roll up your sleeves and ask hard questions.

Antibiotics: Big Guns in Place of Common Sense

Another example recently came across my email. An old client from years back recently wrote again, needing help with a young Akita named Mica, her third generation since I started working with Sara nearly twenty years ago.
Why hadn’t I heard from her in so many years? Sara took what I taught her way back then and ran with it! No vaccines beyond minimal initial ones, feeding a healthy diet that incorporates raw foods, avoiding pesticides for the fleas and heartworms, top notch immune support, etc.
The results: healthy, vital dogs that don’t get sick and need veterinary attention.
I successfully worked myself out of a job, my goal with all my patients.
Mica had seen a local “holistic” vet while I was away recently, with the complaint of an impacted anal gland that then ruptured. Never really sick, no fever, no redness, just a local discharge to clean up, and Sara was offered this solution:
Three weeks of antibiotics.
Now, Sara wisely refused this, referring instead to Dr. Pitcairn’s book for a homeopathic protocol, but is this what you’d expect from a “holistic” vet’s recommendation?
Three weeks of antibiotics for a local, walled off, abscess?
You know from earlier writing here how important the normal functioning gut flora is to your animals and yourself. And yet, here was a supposedly holistic vet ready to lay this youngster’s immune system to waste when he wasn’t even sick.
I’d call that fauxlistic.

Surgery That Wasn’t Asked For (from a “Holistic Vet”)

This, by the way, is the same clinic who surgically removed lipomas (benign fatty growths) years ago in an animal I’d referred there for some diagnostic work.
Diagnostic work. You know, blood testing, maybe some imaging. And the client was told those benign fatty lumps ought to be removed.
Oh oh.
I was flabbergasted when I heard later what transpired. The intelligent workings of the vital force, that innate gyroscope we and our animals and all living beings have, made its best move by putting those tumors out there on the periphery. They weren’t harming anything, somewhat like “waste baskets” I’ve always thought, and yet, this “holistic” vet told my client they needed to come off.
Fauxlistic.
The vital force of that animal was once again thrown out of balance, and would no doubt try later to make more external tumors. If those were to also be removed, the outcome of all this suppression would be internal, invisible tumors, much less likely to be benign.

Internal Clinic Waivers: Are You Thinking Holistically, Doctor?

I often get the sense that Dr. WhiteCoat fancies himself some kind of deputy, employed by his state to enforce the rabies rules. Nothing could be further from the truth. If there’s a rabies ruling that needs enforcing, the state or municipality that promulgates the rule would be tasked with that job, not a vet.
Vets provides the vaccinations, fine. But you should in no way feel pressured to take another rabies vaccination because your vet says, “It’s the law.” Enforcement of that law is not in his job description.
Let’s expect anyone labeling themselves as a holistic vet to offer you a vaccination waiver for your animal. Internally, regardless of what the law says, just a big red set of letters at the top of your animal’s records that spell it out: No Further Vaccinations, Rabies Included.
On what grounds should this be offered?
There are two that should come immediately to mind, if you’ve been following the logic of this site for any amount of time:
1. My animal has already been rabies vaccinated. Maybe (probably) more than once. Immunity lasts a long time, probably life long, according to the veterinary immunologists. Repeating vaccinations adds nothing to this immunity, they say with surety.
2. My animal has symptoms of chronic disease:

  • Itchy, allergic skin that recurs. May be on a special diet to keep this quiet.
  • Inflamed ears, recurrent.
  • Hypothyroidism (takes thyroxin daily)
  • Hyperthyroidism (on drugs or had radioactive I earlier)
  • Joint disease
  • Dry eye, kidney disease, epilepsy, gum disease, etc., etc.

If your vet is truly holistic, meaning looking at the big picture of long term health for your animal, a waiver like this should be offered, even before you ask for it! Never mind that you can’t use that waiver to get a license or “be legal,” let’s just start in the clinic.

A holistic vet clinic, if it’s truly holistic, should never demand more rabies vaccines of you in an already vaccinated animal, especially if your animal is having health challenges.

Anything less than a proactive stance like this qualifies that doctor or clinic to get a special status and be recognized for what they really are:
Fauxlistic.
Let us know in the comments what you’ve run into under the banner of “holistic.” Well educated means seeing through the B.S. And we can all help each other through our shared experiences.

51 Comments

  1. Donna on September 12, 2021 at 12:36 pm

    A friend of mine said to me they took their dog to the only holistic vet in the area. She was given the option of using the holistic methods or conventional methods from the same vet. I blinked twice and shut my mouth because she was not asking my opinion.

  2. McCoy's Mom on December 22, 2015 at 1:41 pm

    The holistic vets i am coming across surely appear to be fauxlistic. One Dr needs records documenting the allergy. And proof of past rabies vaccines before writing exemption. What if the records do not show enough notation for them to be satisfied? His allergies have been managed with diet and supplements from my own research …
    30min wellness visit $110 for the exemption. Over an hour drive for me.
    The local holistic vet Says she only gives exemptions for “severely allergy”
    dogs. He isn’t severe the goal for me is to prevent him from becoming severe. By not un-necessarily vaccinating.
    My thought process is this. With even a healthy dog or cat that has had 2 rabies vaccines in the past 2 yrs…
    Wouldnt a truly holistic vet be recommending a waiver to me.. not the other way around?
    For the mere fact that the duration of immunity is longer than the 3 yrs we are being told?
    Dr. Falconer i sincerely wish a vet that was more like minded to you lived nearby.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on December 23, 2015 at 1:24 pm

      Oh, I’m so sorry you’re running into this, but so glad you make such clear points and bring practices like this to light. If money’s not dictating their recommendations, yes, clearly doing what ever they can to help you avoid illness from more vaccinations should top every true holistic vet’s plan.
      It may be you’ll have to execute a more radical Plan B. Did your dog go to live in another state to keep Grandma company, perhaps?
      Wishing you the best in achieving balance in a crazy world.

  3. Bellabear on July 25, 2015 at 12:22 am

    9 p.m. 7-24-15 Thank you for your Article, it is a breath of fresh air…..This is Regarding the Drug Quellin, & Our 12_lb. 4oz 8 yr. Old pom, we refer to as TheBear. After suffering through ITP & vets that insisted on Prednisone, We Believe” through simple observations of Bella, that we were killing her,they were profiting, & Bella was getting tortured over Our ignorance. After being told ” You Will Kill Her” I opted to Wean Bella & started her on 50 mcg of vitamin K Daily. After 2 wks on vit k. I took her in for blood tests. But didn’t let them know, Bella was off the prednisone. I was told ” if she’s off prednisone we won’t be able to do blood test, as she may bleed out….Fear was constantly used. However, I left & was anxious to hear the results soon. BTW I immediately removed bellas cotton swab, & there was not more than a lteral speck” of blood on it. Anyhow, 2 days later the vet called and left a long winded voicemail regarding bears blood results, Fantastic” Just Great! She went through it all…. I kept that vmail for over a year. I called her back & she was incredulous, Then I let her know, Bella has been off the prednisone for weeks. Let’s just say I wasnt her fan” yrs pass no problems. Vitamin K & turmeric were a constant. Milk thistle was given with the prednisone against their advice, whatever that’s worth. FAST forward a few years & Bella went lame in her right rear, after jumping off the couch. We made an appt for xrays, & after getting them, we were given Quellin. 25 mg a day for 2 wks. Im not familiar with drugs, but after researching RIMADYL I was not anxious to give her Quellin. With prodding from the other half I relented & 12 hrs later we awoke to a pool of vomit & Bella clearly in distress. Then again vomiting.,without any contents, then again a few hours later……She appears to be doing better today. I also received a call from the vet today, reminding me of Bellas Next Visit, of blood tests & other options like RIMADYL….& to that I would say ” Any DVM that isn’t willing to learn past commencement, may be practicing barbarism. Via your friendly Pharmaceutical Companies. Or as I call them Fauxvet’ Agree or not, Bella will be treated with other options. Cod liver oil, Turmeric, Devils claw, & as healthy a diet as I know how. Do No harm”…………….

  4. Margarat on January 21, 2015 at 2:03 pm

    Just today I had this correspondence on Facebook with a local vet clinic owned by a vet we thought was holistic, but now we’re not so sure… we think “fauxlistic” is a better description…
    Vet Clinic’s original post (with photo):
    Charlotte reassures Hazel after receiving her puppy vaccinations. Puppies receive a series of vaccinations every 3-4 weeks until they are older than 16 weeks. Canine distemper and parvo viruses are always around and can be deadly, so vaccination is a must for these young puppies.
    Our Comment:
    Do you also offer titer testing to avoid over-vaccination? We’ve heard about an in-office test called VacciCheck that is ready in 20 minutes, and we’re always looking for vets who offer it so we can refer our customers to them. (we don’t have any relationship with the company, we just like to promote optimum health).
    Their first reply (which we gave a thumbs up):
    We do offer vaccination titers, and are looking into the in-house testing.
    Their second reply (which made us want to tear our hair out!):
    Most holisitc veterinarians still feel that puppies need to go thru their vaccination series though. It is when they are older that vaccination titers come into play, in our opinion.
    I’m so frustrated to see them speak for “most holistic vets” because clearly they do not. Either you believe in titer testing or you don’t. Ugh!

    • Will Falconer, DVM on January 21, 2015 at 5:38 pm

      It’d be worth calling them out, Margarat. “Most fauxlistic vets” they may be able to speak for, but not the holistic ones. [Loud buzzer goes off in background]

  5. Karin on December 6, 2014 at 12:55 pm

    Another excellent column! I just wish I could find a doc for humans who thinks like you do. There are so many fauxlistic practitioners out there!

    • Dog Lovers on December 7, 2014 at 8:48 pm

      Karin, This link is a directory of homeopathic practitioners: http://www.homeopathycenter.org/find-homeopath. Hopefully, you’ll find one in your area. If you don’t, I can tell you from personal experience that doing a phone or email consult works just as well. We’ve done it twice for our dogs and each time the homeopath was totally right on with the remedy and advice they gave us.
      Another AWESOME newsletter, Dr. Will! And welcome back. LOVED reading about India. You’re an excellent writer; it makes us feel like we’re there.
      We had an encounter with a fauxlistic vet several years ago. This man came recommended by a friend who also raises her animals naturally. We took our dogs in for routine yearly wellness exams and told them we wanted a complete exam, CBC and urinalysis. Unfortunately, our dogs had been vaccinated before we got them so they have problems. One has allergies that are mild on her raw meaty bones diet and the natural rearing ways we follow. This vet asked when the dogs had last been vaccinated. We told him they were fully vaccinated and that they’ll never be re-vaccinated since we know vaccines give lifetime protection, and they have documented health problems caused by vaccines. He insisted they have another rabies vaccine, stating “It’s the law.” Hubby and I looked at each other, got the dogs and told him we were done and wouldn’t return. I told him our state has a vaccine waiver exemption for all animals with any health condition. If he wasn’t aware of it, he should look it up. At the time, we were shocked. It wasn’t what we expected from a vet listing himself as “holistic and integrative.”
      Great suggestion on not giving your real address to vets. I recommend the same thing for rescues and pet insurance. Both of these could “share” your information with animal control. Another friend of ours who lives in a major city was contacted by local animal control to have their newly adopted dog licensed. She asked how they got her contact information and was told the rescue gave it to them. Thank God, she has a good homepathic vet so the dog will never again be vaccinated, but it’s sad that most rescues are clueless about the damage they do with their rescue policies. I hate to see or hear “current on vaccines.”

      • Will Falconer, DVM on December 9, 2014 at 8:35 am

        Thanks for sharing this story. Shame on the fauxlistic vet for invoking “the law!” — did you ask for his badge? And bravo to you both for packing up right then and there, and leaving a bit of “continuing education” for him to think about as you made your exit!
        The fake address thing never occurred to me until this discussion, and it still didn’t sink in until I read your comment. “Sharing” your info with animal control is probably not in anyone’s best interest, until animal control becomes far more enlightened about vaccination duration of immunity. Thanks for clarifying why this could be a useful strategy.
        One question about the healthy insurance, though — won’t the policy go somewhere other than your house (assuming they’re sending paper, like my insurance companies seem entirely too fond of doing)?
        We have to use what ever means work to keep our animals out of harm’s way.

  6. Lizzy Meyer on December 2, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    I just LOVE this article, Dr. Falconer! I will be sharing it 🙂 I really cannot drive home the whole idea of voting with our pocket books, any more than you already do.
    But vets can be wonderfully understanding people, even the conventional ones. Classic case: I just moved 3 months ago to a rural area from Houston. My dogs have both been OFF chemical heart worm preventative, on a raw diet, and treated constitutionally by Dr. Falconer.
    I took them to local mixed animal practice told them that I’d like heart worm tests for both dogs since it’d been over a year since any preventative.
    Big eyes stared at me with a smile! I then educated the vet that I work with Dr. Falconer, a veterinary homeopath, I’m also a vet tech, and I make my own homemade raw diets for my dogs and do everything possible to support their vitality. But, told him that one dog has seizures on HW preventative and the other, bladder infections and skin growths when she takes the meds. And, that I was unwilling to put them at risk with those drugs.
    He drew the blood, nodded his head, smiled, engaged with me, asked great questions, no problem at all. Negative tests. He compliments me on their condition and coats and basically says “Great job, let me know if you ever need anything!”
    I can promise you that should my animals need conventional intervention for an emergency that I cannot handle with homeopathy/energy healing, or any diagnostics that Dr. Falconer would like, this vet is going to get my business.
    Why? He respected me and my choices that I’ve made for my animals’ best interest. I felt good about working with him even though he probably had little experience with my type! This is the kind of vet who is worth keeping. And, he must be smart not to judge his clients-he wants to earn a buck too.
    Awesome work educating us all, Dr. Falconer.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on December 6, 2014 at 11:24 am

      This is brilliant, Lizzy, and I’ll hazard a guess, knowing of your recent move: this was a rural, mixed animal practitioner, who’s decidedly not high tech and serves a broad base of people and animals in his community. He’s also over 50, maybe even over 60, like me.
      Folks like this have a natural, non-judgemental respect for things they do not necessarily understand. They believe what they see in front of them, without the “proof” of a double blind study, so popular among the so-called skeptic crowd that is all too common in this age of scientism. (If they only knew how few of the modern drugs or procedures has passed their perceived gold standard!)
      Bravo for him and for you for identifying someone who deserves your business and referral. These folks are a rare and probably dying breed, and deserve our respect and business. He did what you asked, complimented you on what you’ve accomplished with your animals, and didn’t live in fear of what was undoubtedly out of his practice scope.

      • Lizzy Meyer on December 6, 2014 at 8:13 pm

        Thanks for the reply! The vet was my age, mid-thirties. His practice was mostly equine and had a nice small animal side as well.
        He definitely believed what he saw in front of him. I will refer people to this vet if needed and I honor him for being able to OPEN HIS MIND.
        But there is something to the attitude you encourage in people: walk in and ask for what you want and don’t settle for anything more or less. YOU are in charge and you can be polite at the same time!
        He did not have fear in him and for that, I am grateful!

  7. Kathi Richards on November 26, 2014 at 11:42 pm

    Fauxlistic, I love the term.
    Where I live we don’t have anyone resembling a holistic vet. There are some on the don’t ask don’t tell list but I would only use them in an emergency. So I drive about 2 and half hours to Reno to see an integrative vet. When I was asked if my 13yo border collie, who has not had a vac in 11 years needed one I said “no”. End of asking. I will be taking my other 13yo boy there next year to do a titers for the rabies. At least in our area of California they accept a titers in lieu of a vac though they won’t give you a license. I wish I had gotten my 8yo Akita mix in early enough for a titers test this year. She got the shot and we seem to be back at square one with some of the rabies symptoms: reverse sneezing, watery eyes, aggression towards the other female in the pack (though that I think might be caused by her past). I need to peruse the list again and find a vet that is more into homeopathy and help her heal.
    Thank you for this post and welcome back. Blessings

  8. Elle on November 26, 2014 at 11:52 am

    Wow, this is a great post and wonderfully-informing comments from readers, as well. Thanks all!
    And welcome back, Dr. Falconer. I know that we all missed you and are thrilled you are back.
    As for running into a “fauxlistic” vet…yes, indeed! The first vet we used in Austin was touted as a holistic vet, which was why we went to her. There was nothing holistic about this multiple-vet veterinary practice we were soon to discover. Vaccinations, toxic chemical baths for mange (totally ineffective), antibiotics, junky pet food and treats sold, scary disease posters in each treatment room brought to you by your favorite (NOT!) big pharma company, waiting room and clinical exam rooms filled to the max with people and their animals. Holistic schmolistic ! Hah! – not even close. And yet their multitudes of patients made it quite clear that people are not discerning or even curious as to why their pets need to keep coming back and back and back.
    And this whole insurance industry which has arisen around pets was initially shocking to me, actually still is. When I thought about it, I realized that it’s the same as our very-flawed human medical system. Sick people, for profit pharmaceutical companies, pharmaceutical reps, doctors, suppressive drugs, chronic disease, insurance companies, AMA–all complicit in a hugely financially rewarding business arrangement, and all at the patients’ expense physically, emotionally, spiritually and financially.
    And now we’re doing this insurance thing to our pets. A friend, who had pet insurance, had a dog that experienced terrible itching (undiagnosed vaccinosis). It just kept getting worse and worse. And she just kept vaccinating the dog as per her twice-yearly reminders from the vet as well as vaccinating every time they took a trip so they could board the dog. The dog had open sores that were putrid smelling and chunks of fur coming out. She was considering an operation that would cost thousands of dollars (paid for by the insurance company) to try to alleviate her dog’s disease. Upon hearing about this operation, I thought it would be quite unwise and quite risky for the dog. But the fact that the operation was “free” because insurance covered it, made the specter of it quite appealing to its owner. I don’t know what became of the dog as I lost contact with the owner. But where we’re headed as a society in the care of our pets is frightening.
    This is reason it feels so good to have a champion for our pets’ health such as you, Dr. Falconer. Thank you again!

    • Will Falconer, DVM on November 26, 2014 at 12:43 pm

      Thanks, Elle, and you’ve added to my impetus to write about the pet insurance industry. Been on my list of blog ideas for some time now.
      When Free is Anything But might be a good headline. Banfield leads the field in this insanity, and people on discussion boards are head over heals in bliss about what a bargain they feel they’ve gotten. Oh, boy.

  9. L. Scott on November 24, 2014 at 2:31 pm

    Welcome back, Dr. Falconer! You’ve been missed!

  10. Janie on November 24, 2014 at 11:16 am

    Hi there-
    I now go to Dr. Jenna at Smith Ridge (Dr. Marty’s practice). I have learned so much. I wanted to share with you my article about waivers. http://www.essentiallydogs.com/medical-exemptions-rabies-vaccine. A great many vets know nothing about them and simply don’t care.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on November 24, 2014 at 6:00 pm

      Thanks, Janie. You might want to update after reading the Rabies Challenge Fund site. Chris Christine I think has every state listed and keeps up with this closely.

  11. Elizabeth H. on November 24, 2014 at 11:00 am

    I have a concern about the rabies vaccine waiver (if one can get it). My understanding is that if your dog bit someone, the dog would be considered unvaccinated. Now if they quarantined I could live with that, but my concern is that they could potentially euthanize my dog. I don’t think that is a far-fetched concern. What are other folks thoughts on that? I have 3 years to figure it out as they whomped my rescue dog before I got her, but it really concerns me. I have a friend who has an awesome vet who does rabies titers and then “vaccinates” accordingly which means waving the needle over the dog. I need that vet!

    • Will Falconer, DVM on November 26, 2014 at 12:50 pm

      A dog is only considered “unvaccinated” if there are no records of vaccination. Period. Read about a real life experience with that here, with a patient of mine who bit someone and was “out of date” on his rabies vaccine.

  12. Rebecca on November 24, 2014 at 6:03 am

    I took my lab mix puppy to a “holistic” vet in the Dallas area. When I asked him if the puppy vaccine she had received could be the cause of her incessant itching, he said, “Oh, no. If it was a vaccine reaction, it would have been immediate.” He did a scraping (OK), gave her a de-wormer (no test for worms), then gave me a liquid steroid to give her for a couple of days, saying that if it helped, then the itching probably wasn’t food related. He also was sending me home with a special shampoo and an herbal extract. The bill was so high, I didn’t have enough money with me to pay it, so didn’t take home the shampoo and a couple of other things. I didn’t know enough at the time to have ended the visit after the vaccine question. So I spent a lot of money for nothing. A year later, my dog is still itchy and I continue to struggle to find a cure for her.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on November 24, 2014 at 8:50 am

      Incessant itching — the #1 cause of visits to vets. Still largely a mystery to those who vaccinate regularly.
      You’ll want to hire a homeopath to cure this, Rebecca. And avoid future vaccines like the plague. My Resources page has a list of AVH vets. Choose someone who does mostly or all homeopathy and you’ll get her well again.

      • Rebecca on November 24, 2014 at 9:06 am

        I know. Unfortunately $ is an issue. But thanks for all your writings.

  13. Gay on November 24, 2014 at 4:30 am

    Such a good article. I have had these same frustrations with vets advertising they are holistic then the first thing they want to do is shove antibiotics down my dogs throat. Then they keep me coming back for treatments that aren’t working or pushing unneeded supplements. I had another supposedly holistic vet lecture me because I fed a raw diet. How could I possibly know how to provide the proper nutrients for my dog? Was I having my dog’s meals analyzed in a lab like they do the kibble food he sold??? I was too shocked but later I thought I should have told him I don’t have my child’s meals analyzed either but I think I am perfectly capable of providing sound nutrition for her.
    I want to thank you Dr. Falconer for your guidance a couple months ago. I had contacted you about taking on my 10 year old Whippet as a new patient but it was right before you were leaving. On your recommendation I went to the AVH website and found a vet there that listed 75% to 100% of her practice is homeopathic. I did a phone consult but she is about 2 hours away so if needed I would be able to bring my dog to her. I am happy to report that she hit the nail on the head with her first recommendation. I had the remedy on hand. Within hours our dog was improving and has been doing wonderfully since with only one dose!

    • Will Falconer, DVM on November 24, 2014 at 5:53 am

      Hi Gay,
      Somehow, we’ve managed to raise healthy kids without feeding them 100% processed, nutrient analyzed commercial food. Imagine that! We done this with fresh food, in variety, and our inner knowing of what’s good and what’s not. Can it be so different for a dog, for goodness sake?? How far we’ve come from common sense, and “scientism” is leading the way. It’s not real if there’s no double blind study saying so. Bah.
      So glad you found a good homeopath and experienced the miracle of rapid restoration of health! Of course, without studies to prove it, we’ll just have to assume it was spontaneous remission 😉

      • Gay on November 25, 2014 at 1:56 pm

        LOL, Isn’t that the truth!

  14. L on November 24, 2014 at 3:33 am

    Those that choose to fly under the radar have to keep a low profile.
    Emergency veterinary clinics are user friendly, just fill out the form and confirm rabies vaccine is up to date; no current vet at present.
    However, if your dog bites anyone or neighbors complain to Animal Control, game over.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on November 24, 2014 at 5:47 am

      Game is not over if you have proof your dog was vaccinated in the past.

      • Levi Jacob on November 26, 2014 at 11:19 am

        not true, dr. will.
        if dog has never been vaccinated, game over. even those of us who are creative.

        • Will Falconer, DVM on November 26, 2014 at 12:46 pm

          We’re saying the same thing, Levi. No vaccines ever is a calculated risk I’d not recommend for the average person. Vaccinated, with records, even if “out of date” is a whole different ball game.
          I wrote about this here at some length, including what happened to a patient of mine who was “out of date” and bit a human.

  15. Alison on November 23, 2014 at 10:56 pm

    Hi, lots of scary stories out there, making me even more scared! Over the past 2 years I have gone all natural with my dogs. I have refused anymore vaccines however, it’s dreaded rabies time! Vet of course said I can sign a waiver but now Everyone has me worried I’ll be turned in to animal control. Does any one know the laws in Pittsburgh pa? If my one dog did bite a person would I just get fined for not having a recent rabies vaccine? My biggest fear is they’ll take her away. Everyone’s thoughts would be greatly appreciated!!

    • Will Falconer, DVM on November 24, 2014 at 5:46 am

      Having records that your dog has a rabies vaccine history makes all the difference. It’s the unvaccinated biter that gets euthanized, vaccinates are subject to 10 day quarantine.
      Search on “rabies” and “Buddy” in my site’s search bar, and get educated. Fear is not your friend, and will drive you to make poor choices. Knowledge is power, and you need to have more than the average person to navigate this. You can do it, just take the time and make it a priority.
      We wish you all the best, Alison. No panic, no fear.

      • Jacqueline Cutler on November 24, 2014 at 1:02 pm

        Last year I adopted a rescue dog, a 4 year old Sheltie. He has aggression and anxiety problems. After a trip to an Animal Behaviorist and lots of sessions with a gentle “behavior modification” trainer, we could still not get to the root of his aggression and why it happens so randomly. A hair analysis showed very high levels of aluminum and mercury, along with low levels of calcium, magnesium and potassium. His sodium, copper and iron levels were also high. None of the vets I went to could give me any answers on “why” his levels were so high, or how to bring them down.
        I put him on a raw diet with all organic fruits and vegetables, along with Standard Process Canine Hepatic support. His levels are coming down [slowly] as I get him re-tested every 3 months. His behavior is getting better also, although he still has occasional anxiety and aggression attacks and still will not let us towel him off or brush him (touch aversion).
        After doing much research on my own, I found that over-vaccination may be one of the reasons for this high aluminum and mercury level. Every time he was given to another owner (3 in all) he was vaccinated for everything (including rabies) again and again, along with poison flea control which was used to make sure he did not have fleas (although there was no evidence of fleas).
        I finally found a truly holistic vet and have to travel 2 hours one way but they will give him a waiver so he will NEVER be vaccinated for rabies again. I also do the titer test on all my dogs, and I have never had to re-vaccinate them. If you have pet insurance, they will pay for this test.
        Harley, the rescue Sheltie, has a long way to go until he is fully recovered but I will not give him any more vaccines. I’m sure that many dogs with aggression and anxiety problems probably have been over-vaccinated.
        Find a holistic vet that is truly holistic and does not push vaccines or drugs on your dogs every time you take them in. I had a 17 year old Sheltie who only went to the vet at the end of his life when his heart was getting fluid build up. No vaccinations, no rabies, no antibiotics, a good diet and lots of exercise will keep your dogs healthy for a lifetime.

        • Will Falconer, DVM on November 26, 2014 at 12:39 pm

          Thanks for sharing your experience, Jacqueline. Aggression as a result of repeated rabies vaccinations is actually quite common, and I’ve written about this phenomenon.
          I’m glad you’ve put your foot down, found a truly holistic vet willing to work with you, and have put an end to the vaccine insanity for Harley. If you want to speed him along, I’d urge you to seek a good veterinary homeopath to prescribe for him constitutionally. He should be curable and lose the sensitivity to touch, anxiety and aggression.
          There’s a list of homeopaths on my Resources page, under AVH.
          All the best going forward with your Harley.

    • Dog Lovers on December 7, 2014 at 9:00 pm

      Just looked it up and PA has rabies exemption law. If your conventional vet won’t give you the exemption form, call every homeopathic vet you can find in your state to get it. An unvaccinated dog is not the same as a vaccinated dog that was injected over 3 years ago. If you can’t find any, I’d get copies of vet records showing any health problems and write a letter to your animal control, providing them with copies of the health problem(s). If you don’t have anything documented, get something on record ASAP.

  16. t on November 23, 2014 at 8:36 pm

    Hi Dr Will,
    Thanks for reminding everyone to get that Vaccine Waiver. We will have to drive hours to a wonderful holistic vet to get one as none of the vets here will give one for any reason.
    We love your newsletter and have learned so much.
    My large dog has outlived most large dogs around here that we meet from all the parks, trails and beaches that we frequent. It is sad to loose so many great dogs just because their pet owner was unaware that they were being lied to by their conventional vet. We feel like we may be the last one standing in the old big dogs group. My dog looks so healthy and happy, many cannot believe that my large dog is still active.
    In the beginning we made a lot of mistakes with all the false info available and dr white coat salesmen and salewomen that lied to us, but now we are actively making healthy changes as the years go by. We feel bad that in the beginning we did not know better, but we just hope we still have a few more good years left.
    I could list many other lies conventional vets have tried to push over on us and in the past was sold unnecessary tests just for profit and were totally unnecessary.
    I will say I am not a favorite patient parent to many conventional vets, but one or two have commented that your dog is very lucky to have such an informed pet owner that is really looking out for their health.
    Other conventional vets are happy to have my business and have the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy. While I watch other pet owners being sold lots of vaccines and tests they don’t need, I walk out with a very low vet bill.
    But if there is an emergency which does occasionally happen to the most careful pet parents as we are out and about with our dog daily in nature and things do happen. The conventional emergency vet with the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy will get my business if they don’t push vaccines on me. So they will make money treating my dog for the occasional emergency.
    But any vet that cares about the health of my dog, will get more patients, because I do tell others if I find anyone that really cares about the best for my dog. If they are good to my dog then I want to share that info so they can get more patients.
    I still believe in the Golden Rule, Do onto others as they do onto you. And it works both ways. If you treat me and my dog well, then good things will come from me.
    If you treat me or my dog badly, then I will share that info with others too.
    Thanks for the informative newsletter to help us pet parents become more informed to provide a healthier life for the love of our lives, our pets.

  17. t on November 23, 2014 at 7:58 pm

    Thanks Kerrie. Very helpful. I forgot to mention that too. I never let the vet or technician take my pet out of sight. I have heard the horror stories from other dog lovers in our dog hiking group who said the vet tech takes the dog to the back, and loads the dog up on vaccines then brings the dog back, saying oh by the way, we gave your pet all their vaccines while we were in the back. Or just gives them a bill loaded up with vaccine charges, and they are so angry that the vet lied to them, never asked for permission to give the vaccines, etc.
    Another horror story, is a lady said they took her big dog to the back and were not treating her dog well and were being way too forceful, as she could see thru the tiny exam door window. She was so upset, running to the back to get her dog, and it was a huge argument over how her dog was treated and telling the owner she was not allowed to go to the back. Another reason to never give your real home address to any conventional vet just incase something unexpected happens and you need to gather your pet and leave.
    The other horror stories I have heard were when one said they did not want their dog vaccinated, so the vet called the local animal control to go to their house to fine them for refusing to buy the vaccines.
    So I can not state strong enough, find a real home address that is not yours in the phone book, an address on the other side of town. Animal control is very dangerous. They go after many good people who believe in healthy pets. And remember animal control and the animal shelters main mission is to kill pets. So they don’t care that you want a healthy pet.
    Another tip, if animal control ever comes by your home, never answer the door. As many counties are sending animal control to knock on doors of known pet owners, the list they get from the local vets, to make money for the county to charge fines to make money for the county. A pet license and a rabies license is just a tax for the county to make money.
    Remember the rabies vaccine is for profit not for protection.
    Big Veterinary Pharma makes millions in profits from that dangerous rabies vaccine.
    Like I said you must be your pet’s guardian. Meaning you must guard your pet from those that want to cause harm for profit to your pet.
    And you are not alone, along the way, I have found many other informed pet owners who are pet guardians too.

  18. Kerrie on November 23, 2014 at 7:25 pm

    I did the same as T . Laid it out and said if you want my business this is what I need from you. In my chart it says NO Vaccines, no removing animal from exam room to do blood tests or other tests. No topicals, No HW drugs, No antibiotics, no pain medication( one of my dogs had a very hard time with a pain med , didn’t want to wake up I thought he was going to die)There are a lot of No ‘s but there are no time wasting discussions about these things. We have an ok working relationship, I wish she was more open minded. I see her out and about more than the office and she always mentions putting the dogs on something. My question to her is always, “Why don’t you like my healthy dogs?”

  19. Louann on November 23, 2014 at 7:07 pm

    I know it is frustrating, but there are many ways to socialize your pup without going to formal puppy school or play dates. The local park is a great place as well as dog parks and pet stores. All are full of people and other dogs which are the things you want your dog exposed to. If you know how to train your dog in a positive manner, then you don’t need a class. If you don’t know this, then you can go to class (most classes are actually designed to teach YOU how to teach your dog) without the dog. You can also hire a trainer to come to you. but just getting out there with your dog and letting him/her meet other dogs and all sorts of other people in a positive manner is what socialization is all about!

    • Kerrie on November 23, 2014 at 7:37 pm

      I agree Louann. I train my dogs myself . I also compete in sports with my younger dog and one is retired. HD and Lowes are pretty good about letting dogs come in. Some outdoor seating at restaurants allow dogs. There are plenty of places they can go that is not a formal class

    • Will Falconer, DVM on November 24, 2014 at 4:57 pm

      Excellent advice, Louann. Socialization is a phenomenon, not necessarily a class.

  20. Meg on November 23, 2014 at 6:34 pm

    ​Thank you for your most wonderful blog and I think it’s your best one yet. I especially enjoyed the human touch you give to the “owners” of these marvelous animals who are part of our lives, and the part about being prone to overly worrying really struck a chord. With multiple caregiving tasks and souls to tend in this household, things can get out of balance. Disempowering is truly what worrying boils down to.
    On another note, please do write more about India! Very intriguing place.

  21. t on November 23, 2014 at 6:25 pm

    I have learned thru the years that there are conventional vets that have a No Ask policy if you Don’t Tell policy.
    Just say your pet had all the vaccines last year at a low cost vaccine clinic or visiting a relative and took your dog to some vet there. That seems to work pretty well and of course you don’t remember the name. I find one must be in control at the vets. You are hiring this vet for their services. If they refuse to work with you as a team to keep your pet healthy, then you have the right to fire them and no longer use them, and find another vet.
    We are members of numerous dog groups, such as local dog hiking groups, etc, and many informed dog lovers, either skip from vet to vet when needed, or drive an hour or two to see a real holistic vet that is not a drug pusher or vaccine pusher. Many pet lovers say never ever give your real home address, just give a real address out of the ph book that is not your address, and never give them your real ph, so if there is an argument with the vet or a disagreement, you can pay for the office visit, leave and never use the vet again, if they were pushing vaccines or pushing drugs on your pets.
    When I have a bad experience with any vet being a vaccine pusher, I share it with others at our local dog groups, to warn others that a vet is a vaccine pusher, and when anyone finds a vet that has a No Ask No Tell policy, that info is also shared, so the vet that is not a vaccine pusher will get some new patients so hopefully they have the brains to figure out that they can increase their flow of patients with a No Ask No Tell policy for informed pet owners. Money does talk.
    Vets I have had to use locally, have learned that we control the vet visit, if they want to keep us as a patient. We discuss what we want done, and what we will not have done until we research it. If they start back talking us, then we tell them, if you want to keep us as a patient, then you will need to work as a team with us, or we will hire another vet.
    That seems to back them off, get the service we need. One has to be watchful, as conventional vets have tried to sell us tests we don’t need, sell unnecessary surgery like ACL CCL dog knee surgery our dog does not need etc . The conventional vets will do a big sales job for any dog that is slightly limping and try to push ACL CCL cruciate ligament knee surgery immediately and sell it for $3000-$4500 when dogs can heal much more safely wearing a custom acl ccl dog knee brace.
    Do your research first before buying anything from a conventional vet. Be in control.
    Be in charge.
    You are the guardian angel for your pets, and don’t let anyone sell you anything that can hurt your pets health. Money talks, and if a conventional vet refuses to work with you, pay the office visit, and leave and take your money elsewhere.
    There are conventional vets that want your money and have the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy and are willing to work with you. But if possible try to find a real holistic veterinarian if you can. Go to the closest vet if there is an emergency.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on November 23, 2014 at 6:32 pm

      Voting with your pocketbook: A principle I hold dear, T. Thanks for making some excellent points.

  22. Lyn on November 23, 2014 at 5:51 pm

    SF Bay Area is roughly 75 miles wide and 100 miles high. If your correspondent is anywhere near the southern portion, suggest she try http://www.thewesterndragon.com.

    • Elizabeth H. on November 24, 2014 at 10:57 am

      Western Dragon is excellent and really the only “true” holistic option I’ve found in SF Bay Area. Lots of vets do “acupuncture by the numbers” and have minimal training, don’t really understand TCM, etc. But Dr. Sara is the real deal, does a lot of cancer dogs.

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