Are we honestly surprised?


California reporter Rick Romero is often good-naturedly credited with filing incredibly obvious news flashes on the hilarious website

California reporter Rick Romero is often good-naturedly credited with filing incredibly obvious news flashes on the hilarious website Recently he is credited with covering studies that showed that some teens don't tell the truth about drug use; cold temperatures can cause water pipes to freeze; and bathrooms are frequent havens for lewd graffiti artists. Apparently Rick Romero was able to sneak into the Bayer Veterinary Care Usage Study and file a jaw-dropping report.

The blue-ribbon commission detailed six major reasons for the recent decline in veterinary visits and the first three were financial: 1) the economy is tough, so 2) pet owners are concerned about their ability to afford veterinary bills, and therefore 3) pet owners sometimes check online first for free information (even though it is frequently incorrect or incomplete).

It seems the commission found that unemployed pet owners and those with lower incomes were less likely to go to the vet. You could have knocked Rick over with a feather! Who would possibly have imagined that the economy might have been involved? It certainly hasn't affected any other aspect of life. Amazing! (The committee is investigating the feasibility of running veterinary Blue-Light specials and Midnight Madness sales as one possible solution.)

Rick's editor shot down reasons four and five: 4) the widely held erroneous belief that cats need less attention in general and so don't see the vet very often, and 5) "fragmentation of services" (possibly committee-speak for competition between veterinarians). His editor explained that vets have been harping on those old issues for decades, and they were quite unlikely to be valid reasons for any recent declines in veterinary visits. (They may have been added to pad out the report.)

Years ago when some vets were wailing about the rampant over-vaccination of our pets, wiser, seasoned, intelligent vets warned that altering vaccination protocols would result in fewer trips to the vet, fail to improve pets' health, and even possibly cause a decrease in the overall health of our dogs and cats. Of course, in the end, wisdom and sanity were sacrificed on the altar of political correctness. Fast forward to 2011 and the committee finds that reason six (and probably the only valid non-economic cause for a decline in veterinary visits) is the client's belief that regular visits are no longer necessary. Since the vaccination protocols were "fixed,", 24 percent of dog owners and 39 percent of cat owners see no reason to visit the vet unless the pet seems overtly ill. But at least the 0.001 percent of the pets that might have developed injection site sarcomas were saved! Now that's goooood medicine!

So it seems Rick may have his story after all. Headline: Veterinary Medicine Reduces the Reasons to Go See the Vet and Then Wonders Why Veterinary Visits Have Declined! This is Rick Romero reporting.

Dr. McLaughlin is a practitioner in Plano, Texas.

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