How to Stand Up to Your Veterinarian’s Bad Advice

Stand Up to Pressure and Ignorance

Ryan and Megan were in a really tough spot in Dr. WhiteCoat’s clinic. Their healthy pup Idaho had just done brilliantly with homeopathy for what I surmised was tick-borne disease, and they’d brought her in for a blood test to confirm her diagnosis.

When the results came in, her titer was positive for two tick-borne diseases, Anaplasmosis and Lyme.

You may recall, a titer is a measure of the amount of antibodies in the blood. I warned earlier about over interpreting these results when they pertain to vaccinations.

Four days earlier, Ida had had a relapse after being well for nearly a month. She became lethargic, lost her appetite (even for treats!) and slept tightly curled up, showing no interest in her usual toys. That’s odd for her, as she’s not quite a year old at this point and normally loves to tear it up.

Even though I was out of the country, Ryan and Megan knew what to do. I’d left them with a plan to repeat the remedy that had brought Ida remarkable health, and they gave a few doses of gelsemium 1M.

Ryan tells me of her response:

We did 3 doses, 2 hours apart. By the time she was receiving her second dose, she was perking up. After her 3rd dose, she was up moving around and eating. In the days that followed her energy has been through the roof! She has shown no symptoms since her dose of September 28.”

Ignoring the Blatant Obvious

Ida and her doting owners were in Dr. WhiteCoat’s office on September 30. She was back to being her full-on vital puppy self for the past two days after her homeopathic remedy, as Ryan pointed out.

When the test results were told them, Ryan and Megan were faced with a wall of allopathic pressure to give drugs.

To say the vet was unimpressed with how we were treating her is an understatement. We were STRONGLY, and I mean STRONGLY recommended to take his prescription of Doxycycline and Carprofen for 60 days. He would not hear one bit about our homeopathic approach and stated that he has seen so much in his practice that it “can’t” work (Never mind the bundle of healthy, energetic puppy he was examining as he told us homeopathic remedies “don’t work”).”

There’s a lot remarkable about this interchange between Dr. WhiteCoat and my clients, but perhaps nothing so blatant as this:

The dog in front of the vet is healthy. Very healthy, full of energy and brightness.

Ahem. I'm not sick.

Ahem. I’m not sick.

In the face of this obvious evidence, Dr. WhiteCoat is determined that this dog needs antibiotics. And anti-inflammatory drugs. For SIX MONTHS.


The blood work is positive for tick disease antibodies. Two titers showed up as high, meaning Ida had responded with an immune response to these tick-borne diseases.

His entire prescription was based on a piece of paper with numbers on it.

And, what’s more, he assured these animal guardians that “homeopathy doesn’t work.” In full view of this bright, healthy young dog, whose history had been shared with him:

  • two months earlier, Ida couldn’t open her mouth. That meant eating and drinking were almost impossible.
  • she screamed in pain if touched about her head or neck.
  • she couldn’t walk well, or get up easily.

He also heard how homeopathic medicine and nothing else was used to get her to this bright, healthy state.

What’s wrong with this picture?

Asking Good Questions

To their great credit, Ryan and Megan didn’t yield to Dr. WhiteCoat’s pressure and instead, asked some good questions.

The vet confirmed that titers only meant antibodies were present in Ida’s blood. Those antibodies could be present from earlier exposure or an active infection. It was impossible to know which.

And, looking at Ida in his clinic, it sure was hard to make a case for a sick dog. Wag, wag.

Here’s Ryan again:

However, he still pushed his antibiotic and anti-inflammatory medications. We did not understand why we should give these to her since,

1.) we don’t know if the bacteria are still present and

2.) she has no symptoms.

He wasn’t able to answer this question for us (emphasis mine). Just kept telling us, that he has seen enough to know the “naturopathic route” doesn’t work when it comes to tick diseases. And if we don’t ‘knock’ the Lymes bacteria down to a level her immune system can handle, it will get into her kidneys causing them to shut down. Something he ‘can do nothing about.’

We by no means meant to be argumentative with him and we are more than willing to do what ever (is) necessary for our dogs. We just don’t understand the benefits of a 60 day course of antibiotics at this point and he got frustrated at our questions.”

Get Out of The Way!

There’s a saying my friend and colleague Dr. Steve Blake is fond of saying:

Those who say it can’t be done need to get out of the way of those who are doing it.”

We live in an age of scientism, loosely defined as “excessive belief in the power of scientific knowledge and techniques.” There are many voices proclaiming that homeopathy can’t possibly work. That it’s ludicrous to consider it, and those who “believe in it” are merely self-deluded fools.

And yet, we see it working on a regular basis to heal animals. Animals. Those sentient beings like us but without the complicated minds that can make things up. “I think I should be getting better, because the doctor gave me that treatment, and you know? I think I am!

That’s called the placebo effect. The expectation of getting better can actually make a human feel better. As you might guess, animals don’t possess this placebo response or any other belief about treatment outcomes. They are ultimately simple and honest in their responses: if the medicine is a curative one, they go on to become cured. If it’s not, their symptoms remain unchanged.

Animals are the perfect proof that homeopathy is nothing short of a miraculous healing tool. Human babies and infants are as well. In the same way as animals, they either get better after treatment or they don’t, devoid of any mental or emotional judgment or belief.

Use Your Words, Sweetheart

So, what do you say to someone like Dr. WhiteCoat who is convinced that the miraculous healing you’ve seen in your animal is not real? That only drugs and more drugs are the appropriate course of treatment?

Ryan and Megan asked what could be expected from using his recommended drugs.

He said, best case scenario, his antibiotics would never rid Ida of the Lymes bacteria. It is a corkscrew shape that drills into the joints, where antibiotics can’t reach.”

My clients have provided you with an excellent example of how to stand up to your veterinarian’s bad advice:

You can ask questions.

“What is the best case scenario if we opt for your treatment?”

“What side effects are possible with these drugs?”

Two side effects are noteworthy with antibiotics and NSAIDs:

And, here’s my favorite statement, that you can and should use when pressure tactics are being used that don’t sound right to you, and your animal is clearly not on death’s doorstep:

“I’ll get back to you if I opt for this treatment. I don’t want it right now. Thanks for your help.”

Go home and research further. Get a second opinion from a homeopath or other holistic vet.

Have any similar experiences of being told by Dr. WhiteCoat what absolutely has to be done? Only to find out the risks of treatment are significant? And the outcome is questionable at best?

Or, better yet, have you opted for natural means to effect cure in seemingly impossible situations?

Share them with the rest of us in the comments. That light has been under a bushel long enough!

P.S. Update on Idaho, Poster Child for Homeopathy

This happy youngster got a two month reprieve from her pain after the late September remedy doses described earlier in this post. On Thanksgiving, Ida started to relapse in familiar ways, and was treated two days in a row with her curative remedy, gelsemium 1M. She predictably bounced back to normal vital puppy status, but started to relapse once more December 23rd.

I told Ryan and Megan that I’d be looking for a deeper acting remedy, one more likely to be constitutional, i.e. addressing all of her illness, inherited and acquired. In sending my chosen remedy (Ida lives in No. Minnesota, I’m in Austin, Texas), I also advised them to go ahead and repeat the gelsemium remedy if she was getting clearly sick before my new prescription arrived.

Miracle of miracles: Idaho got better ON HER OWN, with the remedy mixed and sitting on the counter, but not yet given! Within 12 hours, all of her symptoms of swollen glands and lethargy had left her, and she was back to the rocking youngster we all knew and loved.

Now that’s what I love to hear: disease starts showing itself (symptoms rearing their ugly heads) and my patient is vital enough to thwart it entirely on her own! Whoo hoo!

We are in “watch and wait” mode now, no remedy to be given until she clearly says, “I can’t do this on my own. Please help.” Or, more likely, when her symptoms are quiet, she’s finished her heat, and is ready to take on some more healing.  C’mere, Ida, we’ve got a special treat for you.

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  1. Nora on September 2, 2021 at 12:27 pm

    No idea if you’ll see this, I know this article is old. I have a 16 month old male intact raw fed newf. He’s due(legally) for his rabies. So far I’ve ignored it. He’s not boarded and doesn’t go to dog parks. We are getting a female soon and I’m at the point where I never want to take her in. I can’t find a vet who won’t push shots, heartworm meds or look at me strange for how I feed. Do I just avoid vets unless they really are ill? And the rabies law??? There’s no titer test allowed here in VA

    • Will Falconer, DVM on September 2, 2021 at 9:51 pm

      You’ll most definitely want to join my free Rabies Masterclass, Nora. You are not alone and there are solutions being used by thousands. It’s going up today, September 3, 2021 but won’t be up beyond two weeks, so get registered and dive in.

  2. Dawn on November 16, 2019 at 1:38 pm

    You mentioned Rimadyl, so I felt the need to respond. My Cocker was 18 years old, deaf and nearly blind, but still healthy for the most part and his heartbeat was strong and regular. He was starting to have issues with climbing stairs and walking for long so the Vet wanted to put him on Rimadyl. I did not do my research before I gave it to him and have forever regretted doing so. Within 9 days of starting him on it he began vomiting. I assumed it was the meds and took him off of them and took him back in to the office. Nine days after a good check-up and he now had a heart murmur!! The Vet refused to believe it was the Rimadyl, but I knew it. She wanted me to keep him on the meds. He would not have gotten ill and then all of the sudden had a murmur. That is when I did some research and found out that my Tucker was not the only one to develop a heart murmur after starting Rimadyl. I never put him back on them…but he still passed away six months later. I will never forgive myself for giving them to him at all. DON’T GIVE YOUR DOGS RIMADYL!!!!

  3. Sharon Buchanan on September 1, 2015 at 8:14 pm

    I recently suspected my four month old pup had a UTI. I immediately started her on D-Mannose but wanting to confirm it, I took a urine sample (not the unvaccinated pup), to the allopath I’ve been using for several years – nearest holistic vet is an hour away. He saw nothing under microscope but sent it off to be cultured anyway. Two days later, yep, “she has a UTI, how much does she weigh?” I declined their Clavamox, the D-Mannose was doing a fine job and I started giving her a natural urinary product. I went in to pay a few days later and they charged me $204 for what was probably all of maybe 15 minutes worth of work. Having seen homeopathy work, I’m done with taking any of my seven cats and four dogs to the allopath unless they’re bleeding to death.

  4. ben on January 12, 2015 at 4:48 pm

    Thanks for such a helpful article. We all need more confidence and power when dr whitecoat is pressuring us to spend our hard earned money on services that will hurt our pet’s health and refusing to tell us safer healthier and cheaper alternatives.
    My extra large mixed breed dog was severely limping on 3 legs and holding up the hind leg. I took him to the vet which in minutes after a high pressure drawer test with my dog squealing in pain, said yes, this is fully torn ccl acl stifle knee joint and will refer a surgeon that can do TPLO within 2 days for $4850+. You must make an appointment for emergency surgery in the next day or so. I asked for alternatives to surgery and was told nothing is available. A fully torn ccl acl stifle joint must have TPLO surgery asap. Dr whitecoat prescribed previcox NSAID very expensive. I gave my dog the previcox and the next morning he had severe stomach pain. I called the vet and he said not to worry about the stomach, he’ll be fine, just call the TPLO surgeon to set up an appt tomorrow. My dog stomach pain was worse so I didn’t give any more previcox. I searched online death by previcox NSAID and saw numerous comments of dogs dying within 2 days of taking previcox. When I confronted the vet, he was very angry that I still had not set up an appt for the TPLO and said my dog would be lame for life and have to be killed if I did not set that appt. I was so angry, so I started researching safer alternatives for TPLO, came across Dog Knee Braces, and ended up buying a custom posh dog knee brace. There are human braces for human knees so why not a dog knee brace for a dog knee. My dog wore the brace for several short dog walks each day, and as the weeks passed, he could walk longer and longer. In a few short months he was walking normally, and soon I put the brace on less and less. My dog healed with a fully torn ccl acl just wearing a dog knee brace for knee support for walks. My vet is very angry that I refused the surgery and got a dog knee brace instead and even madder that my dog healed. I am looking to hire a new vet, hoping to find a holistic vet. Thanks for posting all the questions to ask when hiring a new vet.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on January 12, 2015 at 6:39 pm

      Oh God, Ben. What a load of crap to have to go through to forge your own path to heal your dog. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.
      So, imagine for a minute: if you went into, say, a clothing store, and a salesperson got angry at you because you didn’t want to purchase his recommended 3-piece suit. Angry.
      Where, in any other situation than in a doctor’s office, would you ever run into high pressure and actual abuse as a customer??
      Unfathomable, right? I’d tell this story to everyone you meet, I’d get it on Facebook, I’d especially get it on the local Yelp page for this business, I’d contact Angie’s List, etc. etc.
      No one should be treated to anger when they seek other options in healthcare. That’s appalling.

      • ben on January 12, 2015 at 7:09 pm

        Sorry I refuse to fakebook as it is used by the gov to track the mainstream population and yelp is run by a bunch of extortionists. Any small business gets a complaint and yelp calls them wanting $1,000 to remove the bad complaint. BBB is the same way, any small business gets a bad complaint and they contact the business extorting them to pay $900+ to get an A+ rating. I don’t want to help fakebook, yelp or the bbb to profit either. I would prefer that these extortion and tracking businesses close down by refusing to use them.
        This was just another bad vet trying to get a referral commission from some tplo surgeon. I have always been very strict by refusing vaccinations or most any and all services this vet sells so this conventional vet is obviously mad that he has made so little money from me, as the other patients are closed minded and spend a fortune for vaccinations, allergies, etc I only went to him as he has been the only vet with decent rates to help with minor emergencies as the other conventional vets are much worse and much higher prices.
        Don’t worry I share my story with others with big dogs that may have the same thing happen to them and tell them that the posh dog knee brace works and is safer alternative to surgery. I see dogs out hiking, and always stop to mention it and to warn others not to vaccinate their dogs. Some thank me and say they will look into it and I tell them to sign up for your enewsletter. Others look at me like I am crazy and all I can do is feel sorry for their dog who will die way too soon from overvaccination, etc.
        I did find a holistic vet but then they emailed me that they were moving to another state.
        I only go to the vet for emergencies and even in emergencies I have gotten into arguments over some unnecessary painful procedure they try to sell me in the middle of the night.
        I thank you for these very helpful articles to give pet caregivers the confidence and power to stand up to the bad advice from the whitecoats and make the best decisions for our pets to get healthy and live a long and healthy life many years beyond the poor pets that get conventional vet care and are overvaccinated.
        Most large dogs don’t make it to 8 or 9 if vaccinated yearly as I have seen all my neighbors dogs die so young. I warn them, please on the next dog, seek holistic care so your next best friend can live a long healthy life.
        Thru my dog, I am now learning about holistic care for myself as I like many others are refusing to sign up for obamycare as it requires vaccination and requires chemo, all of which I refuse as I want to live a long healthy life.
        My dog gets me out exercising in nature almost everyday which without a dog, I wouldn’t be so diligent about getting out and about. Now that his acl ccl knee has healed, we are out for long hikes as usual.
        Keep up these great newsletters. I have learned so much from you and the great comments of other open minded pet owners using holistic remedies for healthier pets.

  5. F. Joan Macdonald on January 10, 2015 at 1:52 pm

    Internationally are many, many generations of animals, families never had a vaccination, or need to use allopathic products.
    Healthy people, animals have an Overall Sense of Well-being, and strong immune system.
    Generations of families confidently have had a Classical Family Homoeopath – Classical Family Veterinarian. Consulting in an office, and most often via Internet, telephone and email.
    Little history how, when N. America become this drug, vaccine dependent.
    How the AMA took over America
    Gradually N. A. families – are reading, researching, speaking to international Classical Homoeopathic families – gaining confidence to locate a Classical Family Homoeopath and Homoeopathic Veterinarian.
    Homoeopathy addresses:
    PAST inherited conditions – PRESENT symptoms, conditions – improve overall health in FUTURE with a resistance in future generations to catching infections.
    1) Acute, first-aid, trauma’s, minor temporary infections, ailments
    2) Chronic, recurring conditions
    – failure of the body to recover after acute illnesses, infections
    – inherited, pre-disposition to chronic ailments
    – “Vaccinosis” resulting sicknesses, recurring symptoms
    3) Constitutional Homoeopathy
    – Chronic problems which are overcome by homeopathy treatment Recovery will be aided by improving diet, lifestyle and use of constitutional and complementary, collateral, acute homeopathic remedies
    4) Predisposition
    – unique patterns of weakness in the body from hereditary predisposition to certain diseases and long termed chronic conditions
    5) Maintaining Cause
    – cause of a complaint, symptoms that may be altered by changes in diet, environment, improved sleep habits, healthy lifestyle, home, workplace.
    Becoming healthy overall with constitutional care
    Traditional, Classical Homoeopathy
    “Is a Complete System of Medicine, which takes into account YOUR symptoms and thoughts. Homoeopathy is a personal system designed for YOU. Homoeopathy used for centuries for better health by slowly strengthening YOUR Immune System.”

  6. L on January 9, 2015 at 3:11 pm

    I know how antibiotics work, I’m an RN. I’m not talking about the prescribing of antibiotics for the common cold. Are you familiar with Dr Sam Donta, Lyme disease specialist….look him up, he has a lot of good things to say about antibiotics.
    Have you ever had an infected tooth? Needed a root canal? I can’t imagine treating those conditions without antibiotics. These medications were invented for a reason, that’s all I’m saying.

    • Dede on January 10, 2015 at 2:24 am

      The wonderful thing is there are many natural alternatives to antibiotics that don’t kill of the good bacteria and don’t do harm….colloidal silver, oil of oregano, olive leaf extract, garlic, manuka honey – just to name a few. We resolved a SEVERE upper respiratory infection that was almost pneumonia in a dog using colloidal silver, olive leaf extract, garlic, raw honey and a liquid immune system booster tincture along with a raw meaty bones diet. No antibiotic at all. The dog improved quickly and was eating again in less than 2 days. We continued the treatment for 10 days to be sure it was completely gone and it was.

    • ben on January 12, 2015 at 6:42 pm

      Re: L says antibiotics were invented for a reason. Of course, $$$$$$$
      Chemo pesticide was invented for a reason $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
      Need I say more……

  7. elle on January 9, 2015 at 3:00 pm

    L, perhaps antibiotics are helpful in some situations, but they are used altogether too much nowadays. If a doctor or a vet doesn’t know what the problem is, their first reaction is to dose it with an antibiotic.
    It is prudent advice to stay away from antibiotics as much as one can. Think about the word antibiotic. Anti=against; biotic=life. It means “against life.” It kills all bacteria–good and not so good. What kills one aspect of life kills all aspects of life. Isn’t it a better option to use a remedy that boosts immunity so that the body can do what it was meant to do naturally–heal itself? I mean, that’s where we want to go ultimately although we may need remedies to deal with the acute problems at the beginning for relief.
    The body was designed to heal itself and sometimes it needs homeopathic remedies to send a message to the brain to boost and speed up the natural healing process. Homeopathic remedies work with the body, not against it. This is a big subject and I would love to see Dr Falconer write a series on this topic. Once you understand how the body works and how to work with it using remedies, not against it using antibiotics, you will find that your life and your pets’ lives will enjoy a quality of life you never imagined.

  8. L on January 9, 2015 at 1:53 pm

    What is wrong with antibiotics? Antibiotics are a good thing, just as a lot of homeopathic remedies are.
    I wish homeopathic vets and traditional vets would agree on some things, because right now I am so confused, I avoid going to all vets unless it is an emergency, and then I go to the 24 hour place.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on January 9, 2015 at 2:11 pm

      Oh, there’s lots wrong with antibiotics, L.
      I’ve written in several posts about them, so if you want to learn more, pop that word into the search box at the bottom of each page [“You Can Find it Here”]. Here’s another interesting theory, based on research in the mouse, tying antibiotic exposure to obesity:

  9. C on January 9, 2015 at 10:45 am

    If the puppy is having repeated relapses, it’s not healthy and the homeopathy may be treating acute symptoms (which is wonderful) but it’s not treating the underlying condition. Why set it up for a (possibly-truncated) lifetime of repeated bouts of pain and misery if it’s possible to cure it completely? I have personally suffered from Lyme Disease that was not treated quickly and now have 14 lesions in my brain, which cause some chronic neurological deficits; I was on doxycycline and another antibiotic for almost a year after damage had already been done to try to prevent *more* damage. Yeah, it wasn’t fun and I needed a lot of probiotics during the course, but at least I don’t now have 24 lesions in my brain and more deficits. Get the puppy treated to get rid of the bacteria completely.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on January 9, 2015 at 1:37 pm

      That’s what we’re going for, C: cure. Cure in a way that no drug can offer, the Whole Ida becoming cured. Please note, in the P.S. of the story, how Ida successfully aborted her last flare up, on her own, without treatment.
      That’s what we’re arming her to do: get the Lyme organism killed herself, with no ancillary damage.
      And, she’s still a work in progress, but we’ll get her there. Of that I have no doubt.

      • Amanda on January 11, 2015 at 5:56 pm

        All medicine is risk assessment. When treating an animal, we must as ourselves is the benefit of treating the animal worth the risk in side effects? Alternatively, is NOT treating the animal and letting it heal on its own worth the risk of the disease not being effectively eliminated? I truly believe that this dog was done a disservice by not being treated with the appropriate standard of care. You say that yourself that Ida “aborted her last flare up, on her own, without treatment.” Yes…but wouldn’t it be better if the poor creature didn’t have to have these painful flareups in the first place? You’re running the risk of doing permanent damage to this dog by choosing to not treat it with the accepted medical therapy. I’m not saying that we should just throw antibiotics at everything, but they are definitely warranted in this case. It would be really nice if we could use homeopathic medicines to “trick our brain” into ramping up our natural defenses, but sadly this is ineffective in many diseases (as peer-reviewed scientific research will tell you). You have treated this dog with homeopathy, and obviously it’s not working as the dog continues to relapse. What does a good vet do when he realizes that his treatment isn’t working? Does he hold steadfast to his ideologies and refuse to alter his course of action? No. He would re-evaluate his patient and his therapy, and do what is best for the patient. Obviously your treatment modality isn’t working, as this dog continues to suffer relapses. Perhaps it’s time to truly see the picture as it is.

        • Will Falconer, DVM on January 12, 2015 at 6:50 pm

          No one is suggesting that Ida go without treatment, “letting it heal on its own.” We’re actively treating Ida, and expecting to cure her.
          “Standards of care” are for those locked into the conventional medical paradigm. Dangerous practice. That’s why a 17 year old girl is in the news right now who’s being forced to take chemotherapy, against her wishes and her mother’s. When you start admonishing people for exploring health care options, you reveal your narrow mindedness and ignorance of viable alternatives.
          The bottom line for anyone who’s been in this as long as I have, or even half the amount of time I have is this: drugs do not and cannot cure chronic disease.
          This isn’t about killing an organism and all being well, and that’s the only acceptable way. Nor is it “tricking your brain” — do you think animal’s brains work that way? That animals “think” they should get well, and therefore do? That’s called a placebo effect and it’s non-existent in animals.
          As to whether Ida’s treatment is “working,” you’d not be able to judge that, not being close to the case.
          Please reserve your judgments and try to maintain an open mind. There’s much more to the world of medicine and healing than what you accept at this point.
          You’re welcome to keep the blinders on for your own health care, and even, sadly, for those in your care, but don’t judge others who see the world as something other than flat.

  10. L on January 7, 2015 at 6:52 am

    I listen to what both have to say, traditional veterinarians versus homeopathic veterinarians. Sometimes I use a combination of treatments and recommendations.
    I have had dogs that tested positive for Lyme and 2 of them had a good response to a couple of courses of antibiotics. No symptoms and 1 is still going strong at age 14. But for 1 dog the Lyme had caused kidney damage by the time it was diagnosed, so it was too late for the antibiotics to have the maximum effect.

  11. A peeved tech on January 6, 2015 at 11:30 pm

    I am a vet tech and there are many exceptions that I take to this article. My main problem is not that this article promotes homeopathy (I don’t know enough about it in general and know nothing about the Lyme treatment they’re using in particular to speak against it) but the overall message that you shouldn’t trust your veterinarian (who most likely has much more education than the average client and most certainly has vastly more knowledge when it comes to veterinary medicine). First off, I want to talk about the owners. If they are so dead-set on using homeopathy to treat this dog, why did they not go to a vet that has knowledge of homeopathic medicine and treatments? This is definitely an area that not all vets choose to specialize in. It is so important for a pet owner to find a veterinarian that they trust and is willing to work with them and their values; this does not mean calling around and finding the cheapest vet clinic (which is how many people seem to choose their vets). For example, the Drs and staff at my clinic discourage (or at least, don’t encourage) the feeding of raw food. However, there is another clinic in the city that has a Dr that does recommend and even sells raw food. Therefore, if you were a person that was determined to feed raw, the other clinic would be a much better fit for your needs. That’s not to say that one clinic is better than the other, they just have different values and opinions. In hand with this, an owner also needs to develop a good relationship with their vet so that they do respect their judgement and advice. This means bringing your pet in for check ups at least once a year (even if not getting vaccinated) and discussing general health, well-being, and preventative measures for the pet. This way the vet knows both the client and the patient well and has a solid foundational relationship on which to work with when illness does occur. They can then tailor the treatment to the patient much more easily and work with the client much more smoothly because they know the client’s viewpoints and values. Second, I know from lots and lots (and lots) of experience that many clients only hear what they want (or expect) to hear. There have been so many times when a client tells me a totally different story than what I know the vet has actually told them. While this may partially be the vet’s fault for not making sure the client understands everything they’re being told and not misinterpreting, it doesn’t mean what the clients in this article are reporting is what actually happened. The Dr. may very well have explained why they recommended antibiotics, but the owners were so sure that homeopathy was the only way to go that they tuned everything else out. Again, this also goes back to finding a vet that you believe and trust and building a relationship with them. Finally, I don’t think the Dr. did anything wrong in prescribing antibiotics to a dog that appeared healthy at the time. The whole nature of Lyme disease is that the acute symptoms come and go, while the bacteria itself hides and is extremely difficult to get rid of. The fact that the dog had symptoms just a few days before the appointment means that the bacteria is still present in it’s body. They also mentioned that the antibody tests aren’t totally reliable, which is true, but they’ve already been treating the dog based on a tentative diagnosis of Lyme disease, so why are they upset when that diagnosis is confirmed? And prescribing 60 days of antibiotics is not overkill. In fact, most treatments for Lyme disease consist of pulsing antibiotics for 30 days at a time every few months, and this can last up to a couple of years. So I guess my big take away from this is the vet that wrote this article is the ignorant one because he’s basically saying that any vet that doesn’t believe what he believes shouldn’t be trusted, even if they are giving sound medical advice that doesn’t necessarily conform to his limited homeopathic values.

    • Anna on January 8, 2015 at 8:14 am

      I have asked vets before about side effects of medications and was told there aren’t any. I said well I ask because the chart (ad for Convenia) on wall says there is………..another time I asked same question, nothing on the wall this time, different drug, but same answer. I came home and looked it up for myself. There were indeed ‘possible’ side effects.
      Not all vets are like this, but there are enough of them out there. My experience was in our own little area, 2 different clinics for different animal.
      I dont understand when, if asked, they respond with basically an outright lie. Do they think we are lowly peons with no brain of our own because we aren’t vets? Shouldn’t it be their DUTY to inform us, (especially if asked)?
      Which brings another question to mind, sorry if it’s off topic, but why is it ok, actually it is not required for vets to report adverse reactions?????
      To the Peeved vet tech, I respect your knowledge and work which I could not do and you make some points, BUT don’t forget the animals we bring in are OUR pets, we have a right to ask questions and get answers. As well it is a closed mind that can’t see there could be more than one way to treat something. For people that have trust issues with vets I’m guessing that it has come mostly from their own experiences and not Dr. Falconer.

      • Will Falconer, DVM on January 8, 2015 at 7:12 pm

        Some good observations, Anna. I suspect in earlier days, I wouldn’t have been aware of side effects to the drugs, either. And, I suspect it’s easier to say, “None,” than “I don’t know, but I’ll look it up.”
        Adverse reactions: the good news is that you and everyone who experiences one can report them: Sounds a little clunky (send for a form, then snail mail it in), but there may be better links that allow online reporting. We all have a responsibility to track adverse events. Please don’t ignore this right and responsibility. Big Pharma has even less regulation in vet medicine than it does in the human field, so we need to get the word out, grass roots style, if we see something go wrong after a drug or a vaccine has been given.

      • A peeved tech on January 8, 2015 at 10:50 pm

        I agree with you, they should tell you if there are side effects. If I’m ever asked by an owner, I either tell them, or find out for them. A lot of times the vets even remind me to mention them when I take the prescription out to the client. However, if there were severe side effects that were common and/or worse than what we’re trying to treat, we wouldn’t use the drugs. We also try to mitigate side effects as much as possible, for example by running bloodwork before prescribing NSAIDS.
        Also, the vet should also be reporting any adverse reactions. We always do, if for no other reason than that the company usually ends up paying for the treatment. In the 5 years that I’ve worked in clinics, I’ve only seen one truly horrendous drug reaction (ie not just swelling/vomiting/diarrhea, but full out organ failure) and the drug company paid all the bills to have the pet go to the vet college, see a barrage of specialists, and go through some expensive treatments. At the size of clinic I work at, we see about 50 pets a day and so seeing only one severe drug reaction in all the animals that have passed through here, I think that’s pretty good odds.
        Anyways, this is all completely off topic from what my original point was, which is treat with homeopathic or contemporary medicine, I don’t care. As you are all quick to point out, there’s more than one way to treat a problem so don’t condemn a vet just because they’re using the method that they know versus one that they don’t.

        • kat vogel on January 14, 2015 at 2:16 pm

          for the peeved vet tech, the point you are missing is that the reactions to shots and meds may not present themselves for a very long time! Just because you don’t “see’ it doesn’t mean illness is not there!

    • Will Falconer, DVM on January 8, 2015 at 5:48 pm

      If you read the first paragraph, you’ll see why these folks went to this vet: I recommended they get blood work. They weren’t there asking for treatment at all. That’s significant, especially in light of the vet’s strong arm tactics and his denial of the good results the owners reported from homeopathic treatment.
      I’m definitely calling into question what is accepted medical practice. That’s what this site is at least partly about. Treating a patient with blanket antibiotics, regardless of the diagnosis, and with a prognosis of likely failure sounds pretty ludicrous to me.
      If vets are so vastly superior in knowledge to the average owner, why are some 60% still recommending annual revaccination for their patients? It’s been known for decades now that this is neither efficacious nor safe, and the major vet organizations stopped recommending it decades ago.
      That’s the larger goal of this site: to arm animal owners with facts that allow them to make sound health decisions on behalf of their animals. Many times those facts are being callously ignored by well educated vets.

      • A peeved tech on January 8, 2015 at 11:34 pm

        The amount of time that antibodies last after a vaccine is given varies from dog to dog. Some may well have immunity for the rest of their lives, while others may only have it for a few years. The problem is, doing titre tests is much more expensive than the actual vaccine itself, which is why we recommend a three year rotation because that is the minimum it is guaranteed to last. We do have some clients that elect to do the blood test instead, and we usually push for it if the dog has health problems that we don’t want to exacerbate by vaccinating. However, it is incorrect to say that all dogs have lifelong immunity after their initial puppy set, because that is simply not the case. Only just recently did we run a titre on a dog that was due for it’s vaccine (I’m unsure if it was parvo or distemper) and they came back with an insufficient reaction. If you’ve ever worked in an isolation ward full of parvo pups, you’d make sure that your pet’s immunity was sufficient to ward it off. To top it off I think it is also outright negligent to not vaccinate your pet for rabies. 55,000 people die from rabies every year (mostly in Africa and Asia) and the main source is dog bites. One of the main reasons it’s so rare for people to get infected in North America and Europe is because of widespread vaccination of pets. Vaccinating your pet for rabies not only protects your pet, but also your family and community as a whole.
        And finally, vets and techs are pet owners too. We practice what we preach. Any self respecting vet wouldn’t do or recommend anything they wouldn’t do for their own animals.

        • Will Falconer, DVM on January 9, 2015 at 1:27 pm

          I’d recommend you learn about titers and their limits. If you’re interested, here’s a page devoted to that. In brief, low titers don’t mean immunity has run out.
          Vaccinating an animal for rabies who’s already been vaccinated for it is negligent and unnecessary when you understand this.
          I have to laugh when vets propose more rabies vaccines as a means of “protecting” families or worse, “my vet techs and staff.” They’re missing a fundamental understanding called Duration of Immunity. But that’s not surprising: we weren’t well trained in immunology as vets, and I’m sure tech training was no deeper than what we received.

          • A peeved tech on January 9, 2015 at 11:58 pm

            Everything in that article we learned in school. I would have been a lot more impressed if you had referenced a study in which animals with low titres were exposed to the disease and a full immune response was mounted without the animal getting clinically sick. I’m not interested in hearsay and anecdotal evidence. Titres might not be perfect, but they’re certainly not useless, and in my opinion, better to be safe than sorry.

          • Will Falconer, DVM on January 10, 2015 at 5:07 am

            I’m confused. You learned everything in my article in school and yet you subscribe to the idea that a low titer means more vaccines are needed?
            If you actually read the article, you’ll see that’s a mistake in your understanding.

          • Anna on January 12, 2015 at 4:17 pm

            Thanks for posting the link about titers Dr. Falconer. I’ve done titers a few times on our pets. The most interesting one was the one done on our 10yr old dog who hadn’t been vaccinated since she was around 1yr. (due to HA). Surprise! She still had a good level of antibodies. I wonder if the vets that still want to vaccinate every yr. or 3 yrs. would do the same thing to their own human children. Isn’t it the same principle? That it just isn’t necessary.
            Peeved Tech, are you aware of the study being done by Dr. Ronald Schultz?

          • Will Falconer, DVM on January 12, 2015 at 7:11 pm

            Nice, Anna. Pretty amazing how long some of those titers last. And sure, it’s no different in humans. It’s why we don’t get postcards every one or three years!

          • kat vogel on January 14, 2015 at 2:21 pm

            well, here’s one for you to chew on! My girlfriend works for animal control and it is mandatory for employees to have the rabies vaccine and they do accept titers. When she took her newborn in for his first exam she asked for a rabies titer for him and YEP! Amazing!

          • Will Falconer, DVM on January 14, 2015 at 4:58 pm

            Remarkable, but yes, that blood is shared and I guess those antibodies could cross the placental barrier just fine. This is what’s called “passive immunity” and it won’t likely be long-lived. Much like immunity via colostrum drinking, this gets the newborn a temporary immunity to deal with the world that mom was exposed to. Handiest when you’re a farm animal, delivered into a less than hygienic environment.
            Thanks, Kat. Pretty interesting.

    • Dede on January 8, 2015 at 6:47 pm

      Most of us subscribe to this newsletter because we also believe in homeopathy and natural pet rearing. Personally, our family has chosen natural living for us humans, too. It’s been absolutely amazing. Our only regret is that we didn’t know this years ago.. Our first pack of small dogs didn’t have the benefit of this. We used Dr. Whitecoats and were so brainwashed that we obeyed his every word. Fed kibble and pet foods, re-vaccinated every 3 yrs, gave them drugs and chemicals…the whole horrible mess. Consequently, our dogs all suffered poor health, severe vaccine damage, and either died or had to be euthanized by age 12 yrs. We spent thousands on trying to get them healthy and rid them of the problems and diseases they had – allergies, cancer, impacted anal glands, repeat ear infections, seizures, liver disease and kidney failure. We spent around $30,000 on them yet it was to no avail. With natural pet rearing, a raw meaty bones diet and homeopathy, our vet expense for each dog now is only a yearly wellness exam and blood work; less than $400 each. They’re vibrant, vital, healthy, happy, pest-free, odor-free, no ear infections, no anal gland issues, have sparkling clean teeth and more. This only comes from proper nutrition and natural living.
      Yes, conventional vets are educated but they’re educated by the very people who make products that destroy the health and lives of animals – big pharma and pet food manufacturers. They don’t know how to restore health or how to keep it. The know less about how the immune systems works than most owners here. When you have incorrect information, your advise isn’t worth much. They know a small amount, but it doesn’t work out well for their patients. Look at the state of animals today for the evidence; there’s no denying all that’s been done wrong.
      Those of us choosing the natural path have usually been down the conventional path at least once and don’t ever what to reap those results again. A wise person learns from their mistakes; the fool continues doing the same thing but expects a different outcome. That’s what conventional medicine and living is doing.

      • Will Falconer, DVM on January 9, 2015 at 1:31 pm

        I really appreciate your “before and after” story, Dede. This obviously goes way beyond empty theory for your family. You’ve felt the pain of conventional “prevention” practices and spent your way to a very dissatisfying outcome with conventional treatment plans.
        To be on the other side of this with a whole new pack, not to mention the healthier humans in the mix, and see the results, speaks volumes.
        Hat’s off to you and your School of Hard Knocks education. I’m so glad you’re sharing the path with us.

  12. Dede on January 6, 2015 at 10:57 pm

    At first, it is hard to stand up to Dr. Whitecoat or any “expert” who acts as if they’re practically God. Information is power and the more we know, the better off we are. I agree with Dr. Will about standing our ground; when they know we won’t back down and are willing to take our business elsewhere, they usually have a change of mind. If they don’t, it’s time to find a new vet. We searched long and hard to find a 100% natural vet but have been successful at last.
    Since all of our dogs have suffered vaccine damage, hubby and I decided years ago that we’re never again vaccinating or re-vaccinating any living creature in our family. We started by calling every homeopathic vet in our area. By that, I mean within 200 miles. We didn’t bother with those listed as “holistic” after our experiences with those types turning to be “fauxlistic” instead. We found a homeopathic vet who is 1 hour from our home. I called their office and asked if they’d take clients who chose not to vaccinate at all and not to re-vaccinate animals who’ve already been vaccinated. The response was “of course.” We took our dogs in for a yearly wellness exam and blood work, which gave us a chance to talk with the vet and find out what his real beliefs are. Thankfully, he’s truly a homeopathic vet and agrees with our decision to never vaccinate the new naturally raised pups we’ll be getting. My recommendation is to call every homeopathic vet in your state to find a true homeopathic practitioner and one who will work with you on never re-vaccinating. It’s worth the drive and you only need to see them once a year for them to be able to give you a vaccine exemption document and to treat your animals without having to physically see them every time. The rest of the time, you can do phone or email consults as needed. We’ve done this for our guys and it’s been successful every time.
    Another fabulous article, Dr. Will. It’s a joy to read each newsletter and the helpful comments from other natural path people. Blessings to you all.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on January 8, 2015 at 5:34 pm

      I really appreciate your journey and commitment, Dede. It sounds like you’ve made it work.
      I’d only add that if you don’t have a homeopath in driving distance, you can still work with one by telephone/email and ask an honest local vet if he/she would be willing to work as needed when diagnostic needs arise or perhaps emergencies. Most, if at all open minded and approached with an offer to be part of your health care team, would say yes. It’ll take a bit of interviewing to find the right one, but they are out there.
      Just be real up front: “We won’t be vaccinating or buying food from you, but would you be willing to do XYZ for us if needed?”

  13. Tricia on January 5, 2015 at 8:04 pm

    Thank your for highlighting Ryan and Megan and showing that we aren’t alone.
    Because when you are actually the one standing there in front of Dr. Whitecoat – a person with years of study and “credentials” – and you are opposing them, telling them you are making your own decision to do something different, it feels like the loneliest place on the planet.
    5yrs ago, I was literally shaking as I walked out the veterinary oncologist’s office. I had just been told my 2yr Great Dane had 6-9 months to live (which was false) and then was given a very stern talking to for declining chemo and radiation. I was left in a room to “think it over”. When I declined again I was told the vet “in all good conscience” could not continue treating my dog. How crazy is that? I got fired. Today I laugh because at 7.5yrs Mona is a vibrant, playful, energetic dog. We showed them!

    • Will Falconer, DVM on January 5, 2015 at 9:39 pm

      Whoa! Now that’s pressure tactics! “Send her to isolation, and then tell her you’ll leave her on her own if she doesn’t agree.”
      And yes, we did show them, and they should hear about this. Even a letter and some pictures. They should be ashamed of behavior like this and, being humans, it’s never too late to rub the stool in their noses. They’ll get the lesson on some level.

      • Tricia on January 6, 2015 at 11:43 am

        A letter is not a bad idea. I’ve often wanted to have another go with that vet, with me in a better emotional place rather than in shock and sadness. I think a letter would do me some good- get it off my chest so to say. I’ll include a picture for sure as Mona recently made a local magazine spread. Glossy coat and all. Thanks.

        • Will Falconer, DVM on January 6, 2015 at 12:39 pm

          Oh, bless her heart! The Dane who beat cancer and went on to be a model! Sounds like a story anyone would be proud to tell.

  14. LR on January 5, 2015 at 4:47 pm

    I was given a 2 year old Australian Shepherd named Piper, about 10 weeks ago by a very reputable breeder/trainer, who minimally vaccinates, feeds exclusively raw, and only lets her dogs go to homes that do the same. The breeder’s friend is a holistic vet who knows and treats all the breeders’ dogs. Piper was given her first and only rabies vaccines about 2 weeks prior to her transfer of ownership to me, to be in compliance with our state rabies vaccine law. I was told by the breeder that Piper also had a lot of exposure to ticks this fall.
    I didn’t have a reference point for what was normal behavior or activity for Piper, her being new to me, under stress with a new home, and recently receiving a Rabies Vaccine.
    About 3 weeks after I had owned Piper, while in a training class the vet also attended, she came to me, stating that she knew this dog well, and she felt that Piper looked “Lymie”.…not moving or acting right.
    She strongly recommended I put her on a month of minocycline immediately. I was shocked with this news and asked the vet if she ever used homeopathy to treat Lymes, and she said no. Feeling at a disadvantage since I didn’t know the dog or the vet well, I promptly got the script and gave this antibiotic to Piper.
    Within the first 5 days on this med, she had an aversion to food, seemed reclusive, fearful, timid, and often curled up in a ball in her crate, as though her gut hurt. Upon researching this med, it was apparent that Piper displayed all the side effects listed, including vomiting. I discontinue it, since I couldn’t imagine how damaging another 25 days on it would be for her. I also suspected a Rabies vaccine reaction. I decided not to notify the vet, but to “First Do No harm”. I turned to homeopathy. I chose the remedies I felt were appropriate, Ledum, Lymes Nosode and Lyssin. I also gave her about 1-2 oz. of colloidal silver twice daily for 1 month. Within about 4 days from starting my regiment, I saw rapid and drastic improvement! I had a new dog! She moved beautifully, ate enthusiastically, and was energetic, engaged, affectionate, and playful! When the vet and breeder saw her again 14 days after the minocycline was prescribed, they could not get over the improvement in her! Well, I believe the improvements came from the homeopathic treatment, raw diet and colloidal silver, and a young healthy dog with a good immune system. As noted in this month’s newsletter, even Dr. Whitecoat didn’t even have confidence in a 60 day course of antibiotic treatment for Lymes, so it is doubtful that just 5 days on the antibiotic did any good, but it appears to have caused harm. I’m very glad I stepped out and tried other healing modalities, more tried and true than Dr. Whitecoat’s advice.In no way am I implying that this holistic vet is not truly holistic, she is wonderful, and Lyme’s is scary…I just got great results with homeopathy in this situation, and I am pleased….. Piper is quite pleased too!

    • Will Falconer, DVM on January 5, 2015 at 6:05 pm

      Bravo, LR! Way to follow your instincts and find a better outcome than where this pup was heading on the drugs.
      p.s. the timing of her illness makes me wonder if the rabies vaccine effected her immune system in such a way as to let the Lyme take off.

      • LR on January 5, 2015 at 9:28 pm

        Dr Will,
        I completely agree with you on the rabies vaccine timing… perhaps it kicked the Lymes into play. Exact same scenario happened to me with another dog. Add to that the stress of a new home and owners! Thats where I think the reclusive and timid behavior manifested itself.
        Thanks for inspiring me and so many others!

  15. pamela on January 5, 2015 at 3:50 pm

    Thanks so much for all this great info – and for letting others share their stories and info with us! Every little bit helps. I’ve been trying to raise and treat our animals naturally since 1993. Far too many times, the WhiteCoat expert has either not helped or caused outright harm. We’ve had experiences with cancer, yeast, kidney disease, milary dermatitis, liver failure…. not all responded well, and it hurts b/c we love them so much. It’s scary trying to figure all this out by myself! Tracker, (30 yr old horse) developed Moon Blindness (uveitis) in one eye. The vet said he was too old for surgery, but that eye really needed to come out. Instead we used homeopathy, herbs & colloidal silver. Took 3 mos to get it healed that time. The same eye has gotten infected twice since then, but he’s nearly 34 and still has it. Sarcoids are non-malignant growths which itch, hurt and bleed; believed to be of viral origin. Our vet warned us that they would just return if surgically removed….I think he has probably had 30+ sarcoids in the past 2yrs. But instead of growing huge and interfering with movement and eating, we’ve given him anti-viral herbs and made an ointment. Couldn’t find anything about homeopathy for sarcoids – would love to try it if anyone has any suggestions!

    • Kathi Richards on January 5, 2015 at 4:23 pm

      Pamela, I don’t know about a homeopathic remedy, but there is a lot of discussion regarding the use of Turmeric, on the Turmeric Users Group on FB, and it’s effect on sarcoids. It is a closed group with the intention of people sharing their stories about how turmeric works or doesn’t for themselves and the critters in their lives. You might want to look into it too. Many tools in ones toolbox can be helpful. Blessings

    • Will Falconer, DVM on January 5, 2015 at 6:01 pm

      Hi Pamela,
      I’d highly encourage you to consult with a homeopathic vet on this horse. Sarcoids are part of a larger picture, especially with the history of uveitis. See my Resources page to find one, and don’t hesitate to work by telephone if need be. With good prescribing, you might just get the whole horse well, and keep the eye “till death do you part.”
      One preventative tip: do not vaccinate this horse! Both the growths and the eye disease are likely associated with vaccinosis.
      And, in general, it’s good to be scared about treating chronic disease. It takes training to do this well, while you can learn acute prescribing quite easily and do a whole lot of good for animals in your care. That’s what my course teaches. The chronic stuff is challenging for guys like me, even, at it now for over 20 years!

  16. Wendy on January 5, 2015 at 2:17 pm

    After my dog had TPLO surgery they wanted to put him on Rimadyl, I asked if I could instead put him on homepathic Zeel, and to their credit they agreed I could. As for Lyme and other tick diseases I treat it with Ledum 1M 3 pellets for 3 days and that results in a negative.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on January 5, 2015 at 3:01 pm

      Hi Wendy,
      So, “a negative:” does that mean you’ve only seen a positive titer test and no symptoms? And the test changes after you’ve dosed with ledum?
      I keep hearing about ledum for this disease, but in my hands, it’s never made a significant dent. I guess I just haven’t had enough ledum Lyme cases come to me.

      • Wendy on January 5, 2015 at 7:09 pm

        Hi Will –
        As I live in the Northeast, my dog has been positive for chronic Lyme, though never symptomatic as I hike with him. By negative I mean in terms of a C6 test or Cornell Multiplex test (the test you do after an Accuplex 4 or Snap 4Dx), which shows no evidence of disease after the Ledum treatment.

        • Will Falconer, DVM on January 5, 2015 at 9:34 pm

          I see. I’d be very cautious with this, as you are also “treating numbers” as opposed to treating a sick patient with specific symptoms. That’s not homeopathy and could backfire.
          A better course would be to find this guy’s constitutional remedy with the help of a homeopath, and expect his resistance to build and get him out of chronic Lyme disease.

  17. Paula on January 5, 2015 at 12:45 pm

    I’m fairly new to the natural path and have only had to deal with a couple smaller issues, although I’ll have to find someone to help with my dogs pollen allergies. I live in a small area and I am quite sure I’m the only raw feeder. There are a couple ‘fauxlistic’ vets but they don’t really offer anything different for their increased price tags.
    My dog ended up with a bladder infection but because she showed all her symptoms backwards to usual I didn’t know until it was quite set in. She didn’t want to have bowel movements and I figured it was because I recently switched to raw. She was skittish about a couple things but I figured it was because she had lost her dog friend and cat friend she’s known her whole life. She urinated normally, no crying, no straining. then we had a fresh snow and pink at the end. I thought perhaps a stone, because the pink would go and reappear with the bowel movements.
    Vet wanted to put her on antibiotics but I was not going to do that until I knew it wasn’t a stone, or something more innocuous. I had to reschedule for an ultrasound . . . but while I was there, OH NO! Her vaccines are six years overdue! (She’s seven, and honestly my family never re vaccinated after one year and we’ve always had long lived animals, but after both my dog’s reactions I’m not even doing that anymore.) So I stood there trying to decide, cause he was really annoying me with his antics, if I should bring the vaccine warning to his attention and threaten to have his diploma, or just leave. But I must have had a look in my eye cause he very quickly backtracked and started explaining why I didn’t really need them. (And rabies is not mandatory where I live, I’m sure I would have never heard the end about it if it was.)
    Vet visit finished I took her to the lawn nearby for a quick piddle where she got boostered for free.
    I did end up putting her on antibiotic, but only because the bacteria made a pocket in the bladder neck and I just couldn’t get it. I prevented it from climbing though.
    More recently she got a wasp, I think, cause I didn’t actually see it but she’s gotten them before and she has a nasty tendency to swell the eye on that side and roll the lashes in. She hadn’t rolled the lashes yet and I’d been playing with homeopathy, (too bad it didn’t work for the bladder infection but I know how to pick remedies better now and I know how she shows it) she seen my little case come out and wagged her tail at it, (she’s not usually much of a wagger just to show how happy she was to see it). Gave her a couple apis 30c and just kept an eye on her. Within ten minuets she was opening the eye to peek at things and within an hour it was as if it had never happened. 🙂

    • Will Falconer, DVM on January 5, 2015 at 2:59 pm

      Love it, Paula. That’s a great use for homeopathy, and it doesn’t take much training to help an animal out of an acute illness like a sting and its attendant swelling.

  18. Cindy on January 5, 2015 at 12:24 pm

    I have used only holistic vets locally for the last 15+ years. On the thankfully rare occasions when my dogs were actually sick, they all reverted immediately to pharmaceuticals, surgery recommendations, etc. If I asked for holistic things to try first, they would tell me there were none. They were only holistic for well dogs. None of them seriously used homeopathy, and one told me he didn’t believe in it. So I learned to do some of my own research.
    I had a dog whose anal glands would get blocked. The holistic vet told me I had to have them removed and tried to scare me into it. I found a homeopathic remedy, and also began adding pumpkin to her food and she never had another problem with them during the next 13 years of her life. In another case, my dog had bleeding in his eye. The holistic vet told me to immediately take him to an allopathic opthalmologist. In that case, maybe I should have, because he became blind in that eye, but I did try some research first. I waited two days and took him to the eye doctor when his eye swelled, and he had to be on prednisone for the rest of his life, which was very short, about 6 or 7 months. I tried working with a long distance homeopath, not Dr. Falconer, but that didn’t really help him.
    So my problem is that if I don’t have a vet who is really skilled and committed to holistic care, then I can’t trust their recommendations and am forced to be my own vet, which is frankly kind of scary.
    I’m glad to have started working with Dr. Falconer who I trust will be able to help my dogs holistically and guide me in choosing treatments.
    Maybe another question to ask a prospective holistic vet is how they would use homeopathy. if they are totally against it, maybe they really aren’t into helping the body heal naturally.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on January 5, 2015 at 2:54 pm

      Hi Cindy,
      Holistic only for healthy dogs likely means they haven’t retooled and learned a new modality. I started that way (you have to start somewhere…). I studied Dr. Pitcairn’s book first, and recommended natural diets and a smattering of remedies without really having had training. Still got some nice responses, which told me how significant the usual food being fed was in sickness.
      Homeopathic vets are still way too few, though we are slowly growing as more take the training. If you ask a prospective vet how they would use homeopathy, an honest one would admit he hadn’t trained in it, and so couldn’t comment, and certainly wouldn’t use it without proper knowledge. But, as you say, if they get defensive or say it couldn’t possibly work, you’d at least know you were in the wrong clinic.
      Love your dog’s response to the remedy you chose for the anal gland problem. Whole lot better, cheaper, and more satisfying than surgery, wasn’t it?

  19. Laura Tomaszewski on January 5, 2015 at 11:05 am

    Great article!. Enjoyed all the responses as well. Just getting started with homeopathy. Almost done with Dr Falconers beginner course through Dogs Naturally. I live in.a small town in Illinois and my bet “tolerates” my choices. Very difficult to find homeopathic vets in my area.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on January 5, 2015 at 12:26 pm

      Welcome, Laura, and glad you’re taking the course. You’ll be able to do much for your animals in acute situations with this knowledge and remedy kit.
      Many times, having a local vet who’ll do diagnostic work but working with a homeopathic vet is a great combo. The latter needn’t be in town.
      Tolerance is a good start. Glad you found at least that.

  20. Tabitha on January 5, 2015 at 10:35 am

    I love your message about sticking up for yourself, Dr. Falconer.
    I’ve been on the other side of the issue many times, too, where I’m trying to tell pet guardians NOT to use the strong meds but they insist! Can’t tell you the number of people who demand antibiotics “just in case,” or so they it will make the people feel like they’re doing “something.”
    Sigh… It’s probably going to take a long time to reverse the marketing messages and dogma the public has been fed for the last 100 years.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on January 5, 2015 at 12:24 pm

      Wow. Never imagined that. I think it may take hanging out a better defined shingle, Tabitha. And/or not carrying those drugs.
      I’ve never been asked for strong drugs, but people know more or less what to expect when I call myself a veterinary homeopath.
      I came late to the party of understanding just how damaging antibiotics can be though. Just today in Dogs Naturally Magazine (or was it on Facebook?) I read a researcher who thought there may be life time consequences of taking this class of drugs. Gulp.

      • Tabitha on January 6, 2015 at 3:14 pm

        The demanding drugs experience has been while doing relief work in “conventional” vet clinics, not so much with people who seek my services doing alternative med :).

  21. Susan Dailey on January 5, 2015 at 4:59 am

    Standing up to any Dr. is hard great article. I recently had my own experience my pup lost her pups, my vet told me it was because I feed raw they probably had no bone structure to survive . Its so hard to say anything while your getting scolded why don’t you listen I’m only the vet she says. I just believe different, but feeling alone.

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

      Oh, Susan, I’m so sorry you have to put up with this. It sounds like it’s time to shop for new vet services.
      Something was wrong with your bitch, sounds like. It could have been raw food, but only if it was unbalanced. Be sure you’re following some good raw feeding guidelines. You may want to take the Raw Roundup I mentioned in my newsletter if you have any doubts.
      And it could have been other reasons than the food. Try to find a holistic vet and at least a cohort of like-minded folks to surround yourself with and exchange ideas with. Natural rearing is a lot to go it alone and there’s no reason to these days. You are far, far from alone.
      Thanks for stopping by, Susan. We wish you all the best in your journey.

      • Julia on January 5, 2015 at 7:13 am

        Susan, don’t despair. If they really had no bone structure it could have been a genetic defect like OL (Osteogenesis imperfecta) or other. Nature has a way of sorting. Find a new vet, your are the customer and not to be scolded.

    • Dede on January 6, 2015 at 10:33 pm

      My heart goes out to you, Susan. Don’t blame yourself. Vaccines are a big factor in both infertility and birth defects. We’ve become friends with several dog breeders over the years and all of them have told us about problems they’ve had with females unable to conceive, entire litters being stillborn, birth defects showing up when they’ve never had it before, etc. I agree with the experts who say vaccines have altered and damaged the DNA of all who’ve been vaccinated. Makes sense; injecting toxins, disease and cells of other species is surely a recipe for disaster. It’s obviously unnatural. Our own vet has told us about pups he’s delivered who were born without limbs or eyes. He even had one born without a brain. I agree with Julia; time to find a new vet. We happily and highly recommend homeopaths like Dr. Will.

  22. Julia on January 5, 2015 at 4:03 am

    My longhaired dachshund is now 9 years young and a picture of health.
    When he was 1 1/2 ys he had surgery for a small oxtail bone he had swallowed, it had apparently got stuck in his duodenum. The procedure of course included all sorts of medications. About a month or so later he had strange swallowing or breathing problems, as if something was stuck in his throat. In panic I raced to the vet who diagnosed tonsillitis and (mis)treated him with antibiotics and cortisone. On the way home, still in the car, Joe had glassy eyes, developed a temperature and only then appeared to be really ill for a few days. Well, that passed. A few weeks later his head swelled up & he developed incredible itchiness after we had been for a walk. Again I raced to the vet, Joe got prednisone injected and tablets to take home. About a month later the same thing happened. Thinking this might be an allergy, I asked the vet for an allergy test, but he quickly gave the little guy a shot of cortisone and then told me, he couldn’t do a test once cortisone had been given. He suggested I buy an exclusion diet that he sold in his practice. I made an appointment for an allergy test in a few weeks time. It turned out that Joe was allergic to all sorts of grasses, house dust mites etc. The vet informed me that Joe would have to be on prednisone for the rest of his life, as allergies in dogs are not curable.
    No way! I took the prednisone tablets and had them in my pocket for the next year, just in case.
    As I live in Ireland and am not aware of any holistic vets here, I started to read about homeopathy – I got hooked as we were successful right away. The next time when Joe’s head swelled up and he became itchy all over, he was given a remedy, and after a few repeats his symptoms disappeared. In the last 8 years we have been to the vet once for teeth cleaning, a check on a sore knee and for a wrong diagnosis about a deathly heart condition – which was not confirmed by a canine cardiologist a few days later, after I had spent almost a whole weekend in tears. Remedy for that was Lachesis 6C in 1000 ml water, 2 drops once a week for a while. Three years ago Joe got a rabies vaccination, so that we may travel off this island. Six weeks after the shot he developed greeny yellow discharge & sheath inflammation. Ailments from vaccination? Mercury cured it quickly. The rabies vaccine is due this week, and although not compulsory here, he has to get it so we can travel to Europe. I will ask if perhaps less can be injected.
    When pressured about neutering, I nowadays say that he is a stud dog (he isn’t), so no more pressure there.
    When asked about vaccinations, I say that his vaccinations are up to date and that my daughter took him to another vet for his shots & I don’t know where the papers are.
    The proposed knee surgery – I will think about (another vet told me no surgery is necessary).
    All in all we are doing very well with lots of walks, good raw food which is mostly organic, good fresh well water, the occasional organic raw milk & homeopathy.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on January 5, 2015 at 5:29 am

      Bravo, Julia! Yours was a long path of discovery, and you’ve come a long ways down it, sounds like.
      I’d love to know how closely health certificates to get to Europe are examined. Often times in the States, a recent certificate, written by a vet close to travel time, but with older vaccination dates is never an issue. Might be worth a trial yourself with this approach, if you have someone who’d write it for you. Nothing illegal about it, it’s a statement of fact.
      My strong hunch is that you’ll be able to travel with this in hand and no questions will be asked. And that’d be way safer than a “little bit of vaccine,” which is indeed risky.
      Thanks for sharing your experiences and keep us posted, will you?

      • Julia on January 5, 2015 at 7:20 am

        Dear Will, by now I am too biased to become friendly with a vet who would write an honest certificate 🙂
        To my knowledge nothing but the EU passport with the vaccine’s barcode & vet’s stamp are accepted. New regulations even require these to be laminated (in new EU passports). We may try next time to get titer testing & a cert.
        Thanks to Joe we are on a never-ending homeopathic journey, with lots of stories. Including my cat’s last days in a peaceful home environment, supported by homeopathic end of life remedies. I like to think he had an enjoyable death, surrounded by his loved ones incl. my dog, he was alert & joyful, mostly pain free, to the last day.

        • Will Falconer, DVM on January 5, 2015 at 8:46 am

          Leave it to the Brits to get anal about certificates. Are you saying there’s an EU passport for your dog??
          But yes, explore all options. Titers would be great. A “little bit of vaccine” is likely just as damaging as a full dose, when we’re looking at vaccinosis.
          I’m glad Joe has been such a great door opener for you. Neat home animals can do this for us.

      • Todd on January 5, 2015 at 9:03 pm

        Hi Dr Will,
        I recently had to complete health certificates for some servicemember’s dogs going to Germany with him and his wife, and was amazed at how complicated it has become now, thanks to the European Union. The USDA office faxed me 19 pages of instructions on how to complete the 7 or so pages of the certificate, which was very wordy and detailed. The dogs were in great health, despite a standard vaccine history, but the whole process was daunting to all involved. I served as a US Army vet in Germany from 1990-93, and it was much simpler to send animals back to the states in those days, or over to Europe, than it is now, thanks to regulatory veterinary medicine.
        Todd Cooney

        • Will Falconer, DVM on January 5, 2015 at 9:51 pm

          Wow, it really has gotten out of hand then! Thanks for the insight, Doc. I wonder if any titering is acceptable. I fear not.
          19 pages of instructions?? If I ever get a client needing to make this trip, I’m referring them to you!

  23. Annie on January 5, 2015 at 12:17 am

    The best I have been able to find is a vet who respects my views when it comes to treatment. I went to see several vets when I first rescued my dog – she wasn’t sick but I booked her in for a check up – this allowed me to get a sense of their ‘philosophy’ without the pressure of a sick dog in front of me. It took me six visits to find a vet who did not pressure me into vaccination. The vet I ended up with while not a holistic vet respects my opinion and I can work with him if Cara needs his help.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on January 5, 2015 at 5:22 am

      Nice work sorting, Annie. And brilliant that you went for a “well check up.” No pressure.
      The vaccination question will probably be the easiest place to start, as your experience bears witness. And, even if you have to compromise somewhat, you’ve found someone you can work with.
      That leaves the door open for working with a homeopathic vet, should you choose to at some point. If sickness comes, you want treatment that works with your animal’s innate intelligence, and many of my colleagues work from a distance.
      Thanks for sharing your valuable experience.

  24. Sherri Cleek on January 4, 2015 at 11:19 pm

    When trying to find a holistic or homeopathic vet, what are some good questions to ask the clinic prior to making the appointment? I’m worried that the vets in my area are “fauxlistic” vets, and I would like to winnow them out. Thanks!

    • Will Falconer, DVM on January 5, 2015 at 5:14 am

      Hi Sherri,
      Great question! Here are a few:
      1. What’s your recommendation on vaccinations?
      2. Specifically, my dog has a history of prior vaccination. Would you recommend more? If so, how often and why?
      3. Name your three top food choices for my animal.
      4. What do you recommend for fleas?
      and, perhaps the most important,
      5. If I choose to not take some of your recommendations, how will that color our relationship?
      That should get a good discussion started, and you’ll pretty quickly be able to discern whether the vet will be a good fit for you.
      Anyone else add to this? Several of you are quite qualified, so don’t be shy.

      • beth on January 6, 2015 at 11:23 am

        What is your general protocol for treatment/support of “allergies”?
        This is my #2 question, my #1 is vaccination protocol and considerations.

        • Will Falconer, DVM on January 6, 2015 at 12:36 pm

          Good one, Beth. As someone posted here recently, many view them as incurable, and assume life goes on with steroids or worse immune suppressants. One can only imagine the damage done with long term use of these drugs.

  25. jb on January 4, 2015 at 10:27 pm

    I had a Lg Haired Dachshund develop a large mass on her neck below one ear. I took her to a conventional Vet & his diagnosis was cancer. Even though the lab results from a needle aspiration stated that no cancerous cells were detected but, cancer could not be ruled out. Which sounded strange to me, probably a CYA move on Lab Tech’s part.
    This Vet said he could do a more in depth tissue biopsy but, if he was going to sedate & make an incision it would be better to go ahead & remove the mass & be done with it.
    Well, I did not have a warm fuzzy about this expensive procedure & told him I would think about it. He became irate that I would not immediately concede to his authority.
    I left with my companion & found a homeopathic Vet. Took her in the next day & after an exam she was given one dose of a homeopathic treatment & was informed she had a swollen lymph gland. Within 36 hours the gland had returned to it normal size & never flared again.
    I called the allopathic Vet to report what had transpired & how my Girl was doing fine. He refused to believe me, so I pick my Girl up, put her in the car & went to see Dr Whitecoat.
    Even after examining her, he refused to admit he was wrong about the cancer diagnosis.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on January 5, 2015 at 5:07 am

      It’s good you went, anyway, JB. Your efforts were not wasted. Every chink in someone’s closed mind armor helps, it lets a bit of light in.

      • Amy Lambert on January 5, 2015 at 10:50 am

        That is shocking to think about – and it is wonderful how you followed your own sense of what would be best for your pet! Good for you and how sad for that vet that his badly informed ego would persist in-spite of the truth.
        Good for you and your lucky pet!

    • Regret A Vet on January 9, 2015 at 2:58 pm

      “Even after examining her, he refused to admit he was wrong about the cancer diagnosis.”
      A vet admitting he was wrong? I didn’t expect anything more.

  26. Jane Jones on January 4, 2015 at 8:46 pm

    My husband and I have had similar experiences, too many times to count! We just use Dr. White Coat’s diagnostics, and then usually use homeopathy and herbs. We just quietly tell the veterinarians “not now, maybe later”. For years they have noticed how well our cats and dogs are doing, and how well they have healed from diseases, or had their lives extended with great quality…but they will not “see”, they just won’t!
    Tommy was a very special cocker spaniel who owned my heart. He was lethargic so I took him in for testing. He had pretty serious renal failure. I asked the vet what we could do, and he said, “bring him back when he is worse.” REALLY!!!!! As soon as I got home, I made an appointment with our veterinary homeopath, and as soon as the remedy arrived, I gave it to Tommy, and 20 minutes later he as chasing his beloved ball. He lived, I mean, really LIVED for 5 more years! We had to repeat the remedy a few times, supported him with supplements and herbs, and subcutaneous fluids. The conventional vets never responded when they saw his improved renal numbers and quality of life….they refused to “see”.
    There are two things that really bother me about this.
    1. The other pets who go to these vets and get the same diagnosis will get a death sentence, with a crumby quality of life, and much distress and sadness for their people. That’s unacceptable.
    2. Veterinarians are intelligent people who worked really hard to get through all of their expensive training. Clearly they had some curiosity and passion for caring for animals…what happened? Where did that curiosity, intelligence, and passion go?

    • Will Falconer, DVM on January 4, 2015 at 9:06 pm

      Good questions, Jane. I think they get caught up in the business end of things and forget their original intent. I’ve got a serious letter to the editor of a vet journal that I’ll be blogging about in the near future that shows this quite clearly.
      But it’s much the same in lots of fields. We tend to lose sight of early priorities when we hunker down and try to make a living at a “job.”
      That and a whole lot of hubris among doctors. Allopaths especially tend to feel that what they don’t know can’t be true or real, somehow. If it was, wouldn’t we have been taught about it in med school? Wouldn’t it be widespread, in every hospital, etc? So, minds remain closed, paradigms don’t shift, and the older one gets, the greater becomes the attachment to what’s familiar and comfortable.

      • Jane Jones on January 5, 2015 at 4:03 pm

        Thank you for your reply. It certainly shows compassion for those closed minds, and the wisdom to know that we can continue to try to create change, but with allopaths it may not happen. I understand making a living at a job, but I don’t understand how so many have sold their hearts. I look forward to your blog about it. And really appreciate the support that you give for those of us who do occasionally deal with “them”.

  27. Susan on January 4, 2015 at 8:46 pm

    Homeopathy is the only way we fly here, me AND my dog. I won’t set foot in an allopathic vet’s office.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on January 4, 2015 at 9:18 pm

      The family that heals together, ______.
      Good on you, Susan. And your lucky dog, too.

  28. Darci on January 4, 2015 at 8:21 pm

    My dog also tested positive for Anaplasmosis. Dr Falconer is looking after her and she is doing just fine. The Dr. (WhiteCoat) did say, upon looking at the results…”see thats why we like to give the heart worm drugs” Me..Ahhhh!!!!!!!! Ya that would have been better. (sarcasm) He wanted to treat her allopathically but I chose Homeopathy. I’m not sorry. Great blog again Dr. Falconer.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on January 4, 2015 at 8:57 pm

      Thanks Darci. Nice to hear all’s well in your part of the world.

    • Jackie on January 4, 2015 at 9:24 pm

      Way to go Darci!

  29. SharonZee on January 4, 2015 at 7:32 pm

    Excellent article! I have stories,too, about using homeopathy on farm animals. A pig once got something icky (starts with an ‘e’ but I can’t remember the full name) from eating wild turkey poop. He had a fever and broke out into a rash. I called the vet, but gave the porker Belladonna 30c before the vet got there.
    By the time the vet showed up the fever broke. (Yes, I was taking the pig’s temperature). Told the vet what I had done and he went off on me, lecturing me about the dangers of digitalis. He didn’t get it about the homeopathic Belladonna.
    The vet was sure the pig had mange, just positive about it. So positive that he came back the next day as a welfare check. Of course by that time I’d done my own research and found out what the pig was sick with.
    I figure that if animals, with no preconceived notions about anything, get better using homeopathy, it is proof that it works. I’ve used various remedies on pig, dogs, my horse, and sheep, besides the humans in my life.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on January 4, 2015 at 8:56 pm

      Nice, Sharon. Cool to hear of the farm animals getting benefits, too.
      I’m sometimes asked how much of a remedy to give a big dog.
      “Dose is the same for a shrew or an elephant,” is my stock reply. It turns a head now and then, but opens the floor to discussion certainly.

      • Misha Jennings on April 23, 2018 at 3:11 pm

        We are in a similar situation with our boy dog. He is 7 and was diagnosed with Anaplasmosis 4 years ago with no symptoms. A couple weeks ago he began acting different and by last Thursday had a bit of a cough and was pretty lethargic. He is normally vibrantly healthy and so full of energy like that of a one year old pup. He was running a high fever so we took him to the vet. They said his anaplasmosis had flared up and he had a secondary respiratory infection. The vet prescribed 30 days of doxycycline. We were so worried about him, we have given him the antibiotic for 3 days and though he is feeling a bit better, he is wiped out and doesn’t want to eat much. He will eat raw fruits and veggies (his normal treats), so that is what I’m feeding him for now. Along with probiotics, greens and fresh coconut yogurt. Just wondering if there is a homeopathic remedy might help rid his body of the anaplasmosis? Normally we are all natural/herbal all of the time, so having him on the high dosage of this antibiotic has been hard on him and me. Any thoughts would be so appreciated.

        • Misha Jennings on April 23, 2018 at 3:18 pm

          Also wanted to add that prior to taking him to the vet I had been giving him manuka honey and coconut oil 3x/ day along with oregano oil in coconut oil 2x/ day. We have continued the honey and coc oil for him. Also when he is awake, he has energy to get up, go outside and go potty, eat a bit, get lots of love and he has even chased a couple squirrels in the yard. After moving around however, he is wiped out and lays down to sleep. I know he is healing, but it is awful seeing him this way. It is 100% opposite of his norm. Just hoping that homeopathy/ natural medicine could help him.

          • Will Falconer, DVM on April 23, 2018 at 3:55 pm

            Misha, while homeopathy can help him, this is decidedly not “what’s that remedy?” time. It’s time to hire a professional homeopathic vet, one who does mostly or only homeopathy and can help you by telephone. This will take skill, more than one remedy to cure him, and treating the “whole dog” until he’s cured. Nothing DIY about this situation.
            I’ve got a list of colleagues who can help in my free Homeopathy Short Course, under the Recommended Resources towards the end. Don’t pass go, get in there and hire a pro.

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