Letter to dvm360: Lets talk about the real problems in veterinary medicine
A dvm360 reader makes a case for other problems in the profession.
The article “Too many veterinarians?” in the September 2014 issue was an interesting article, but there are a few important topics missing. No one really identified the serious problem of drug and supply price increases. In the last two years we have had serious supply problems and 1,000- to 1,200-percent generic drug price increases.
I think the alleged oversupply of veterinarians is a myth so far. It is a convenient excuse for a poorly performing practice not adapting fast enough to the new veterinary medicine. For example, as a profession we are not educating clients to the need for wellness care in senior and geriatric patients. I blame myself and my staff for not seeing a senior cat for three years. If we did everything for each client's pet that we should we would all be overwhelmed with business. I think too many 15-minute appointments are contributing to this lack of client education too. We need to evolve ourselves to a pure service-based profession. The days of pumping vaccines and pushing drugs for profit are over. We need to stress prevention and wellness medicine as being more economical in the long run compared to the alternative expensive crisis management medicine.
The more frightening development over the last two decades is the heavy reliance of the veterinary schools accepting corporate funding to keep their doors open as government funding diminishes. For example, I would have to deprogram a new graduate on the entire concept of nutrition, as they are brainwashed in school from freshman year on. Entering students do not have the critical thinking skills or a knowledge base to defend themselves from this corporate influence. Corporations also control the research done at our schools in return for research grant monies. If a researcher publishes the wrong data, they are blacklisted and get no more grant money. This ends their research career. This is an unethical and amoral situation. It prostitutes our noble profession and sacrifices our profession's integrity for corporate profit.
Yes, we have problems in veterinary medicine but they are not what this article illustrates.
Ronald W. Gaskin, DVM
Main Street Veterinary Service