How Times have Changed

(something to think about)

Beware of who can harm your pets!

Times have changed..... and I'm not even sure when it happened, it has been a slow transition over decades.

Growing up ... we always had dogs! The house that my parents built five decades ago has our own pet cemetery in the back yard (yes it is legal in that area). They were all mixed breeds, but they were all greatly loved!

Changing times .....

It may have started with the rabies vaccines and licenses to prove it was current. Then the rest of the vaccines 'to keep our pets healthy' to 'prevent them from getting a disease' we were told. The majority of us grew up with not only rabies vaccines, but distemper, parvo, corona, Bordetella, leptospirosis, kennel cough vaccines and now Lyme vaccine, heartworm preventives and West Nile.

Changing times .....

Our vets treated not only dogs and cats, but frogs, turtles, horses, ducks, cows, goats and sheep! Any animal, there was no limit. Growing up, I know I wanted to be a vet. It would be fantastic to take care of all these creatures that you loved! Then I discovered the years of college that was required, it was no wonder my vet knew so much!

How I loved my vet.... we could call him anytime ..... for anything. If he felt it was necessary ... he would come to the house. If treatment was necessary and you couldn't afford it, he allowed payments. He didn't pull any punches though, he told you like it was! Several times one of us left there in tears. But he didn't put our feelings first...... it was the pets health! Unfortunately we lost a great man a few years back ....... why? because keeping a dog alive was more important to him then taking the time to put his gloves back on. His business continues today ..... with other vets, 'new' vets, 'new' policies, 'new' procedures.

Of course! times have changed!

I guess because of him, I expect more from the professionals I take my companions to today. At least more then what they appear use to giving, for 'today's age.'

How many have heard that a lot of us are referred to as "DONKS"? Stands for 'Dog Owners with No Kids.' Guess we qualify, our kids are grown and have kids of their own now. Then the Guardian Campaign... we aren't 'owners' we are Guardians and Caregivers, our dogs are not 'property' like a piece of furniture ... they are our companions. Here all this time people thought my pets owned me! Yes, times have changed.

Changing times ......

According to the APPMA (American Pet Product Manufacturer Association) there are more Pets then People in the US! What else is changing with the times? Pet Expenditures. (please note Published Facts on right).

I don't know what these figures were like 30 years ago. I know I snuck my dog into bed when ever I could. I shared my food with them, hoping not to get caught. I was told many times: "Stop it! It's unhealthy to let a dog lick you." My dog kisses me on the nose all the time now and I'm still alive.

Changing times ......

Why do we do all this? Because of our love for them... yes, but it has also been proven that medically, pets help lower blood pressure, help relieve stress and depression, and help prevent heart disease... by doing all of that, these non-humans also lower health care costs for humans. Don't we owe it to them?

I could go on stating data and facts from what others have written, but I think most of us have already read them. Guardians and Caregivers realize how times have changed in regards to our feelings towards our companions. Has anyone else?

Instead, I'd rather give you some other not so well published information.

In a report to the World Small Animal Veterinary Association World Congress in 2001 called 'Vaccines of the Present and Future' Dr. Alice Wolf of the United States, states: "The recommendation for annual revaccination is a practice that was “officially” started in 1978. This recommendation was made without any scientific validation of the need to booster immunity so frequently".

Changing times ......

Yes, there has been talk about 'over vaccinating' the last few years .... but this was advised with NO Scientific Validation? in 1978? Who advised it? For what purpose? How much have we spent on vaccinations?

Dr.Wolf began the report stating: "The objective of vaccination should be to prevent or limit infection and disease caused by clinically significant infectious agents. The operative words here are clinically significant." She concluded her report with: "Many biologics manufacturers are currently working on other vaccine products for the companion animal market. When these vaccines are introduced, there will undoubtedly be a barrage of fancy advertising brochures flooding your office and sales representatives working very hard to sell you these products. I encourage you to think carefully about whether there is a real and honest need for these products. Will these new vaccines protect your patients against diseases that you diagnose frequently and that cause them significant morbidity or mortality? Or do you have to search the literature for references because you never heard of this problem before? Please carefully examine the risk/benefit ratio for your patients before jumping on the bandwagon when new products are introduced. When it comes to vaccination, we are discovering that less... may be more... and that the same old thing... may be too much."

Needless to say, her report included a lot more ......
but I believe she summed it up very well.

At the same World Congress Dr. Lauren Trepanier of the United States gave a report on 'Avoiding Adverse Reactions.' Dr. Trepanier starts off with: "Adverse drug reactions are defined as any undesired response to therapy and may involve either therapeutic failure or toxicity. Although the overall incidence of these reactions in veterinary patients is unknown, dogs and particularly cats are susceptible to adverse drug reactions for several reasons:

Species differences in drug disposition or action compared to humans.
Lack of suitable drug formulations for small patients.
Changes in drug dose requirements because of age or disease state."

Overall incidence is unknown? Wonder if she meant what a survivor of an adverse reaction might encounter later in life, that they wouldn't have if they hadn't had the adverse reaction in the first place?

According to the FDA/CVM: "In common terms, an adverse drug experience (ADE) is either an undesired side effect, or the lack of a desired effect. The Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) defines an ADE as 'any side effect, injury, toxicity, or sensitivity reaction (or failure to perform as expected) associated with use of an animal drug, whether or not determined to be attributable to the drug."

What I've noticed, it seems the top two symptoms of adverse reactions is vomiting and diarrhea. Years ago when dogs were allowed to run lose, yes..... they may have gotten into something. But not today, it's illegal to let them run lose in most areas ....... even though some may still escape.

The FDA/CVM does produce electronically the Cumulative/Annual Report which lists 'reported adverse reactions' possibly related to the chemical name. Unfortunately, we don't know how far behind it is.

"To avoid adverse reactions,
change in drug dose requirements because of age."

I've seen warnings for puppies, but SELDOM for older dogs. So when is a dog 'old?" I've researched and found - that can depend on breed and size (note chart to right I found). I know our companions live a lot longer. When I was growing up, 6-7-8 years old was normal, now it is double! It is nothing to see dogs 10-12-14-16 years old!

Is that from all of the vaccines? New medications? Newer technology?
Or is it because WE treat them different?
That they aren't 'just dogs' anymore - they are our Companions!
Times have changed!

Let's see who is involved in our companions health: President Bush! November 18, 2003 he signed the "Animal Drug Users Fee Act". "this law establishes a funding system for the new animal drug review process that is similar to that established for the human drug review process over a decade ago." They go on to say: "The fees collected for these services will be directed toward the FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) and will be used to provide additional resources for its animal drug review program. The goal is to achieve shorter, more predictable review times by increasing the review staff at CVM and building better management systems. As a result, FDA anticipates substantial savings to the industry in regulatory review and developmental expenses-without compromising FDA's high standards for safe and effective products."

Goal is to achieve shorter review times?
Substantial Savings to the industry?
I for one, would prefer putting it to HIGHER standards for safe and effective products.
Then maybe, we can get accurate death rates ...
to doses 'given' not doses 'sold.'

Then we have: Guardians, vets, vet boards, drug manufacturers, their sales representatives, and the FDA. We also have other manufacturers for food and supplies, breeders, and groomers. All of them have Mission Statements and Vision Statements, (besides the Veterinary Oath on the side that vets promise) that include words like: 'well-being of companion animals', 'protecting', 'assuring', 'improve safety and quality', 'value and integrity', 'effective', 'longer', 'healthier', 'values and respect.'

Is this really what our companions health is about today? or is it more about money? Dogs don't know about money, could care less about it. They just want love ....and they trust us to take care of them.

Who knows our dog, our pet, our companion better then we, as Guardians do? The sales rep that goes to tell the vets everything they have been taught to say by the manufacturer? So the rep can make a living? The drug manufacturers, who tend to make a lot? or the FDA, who has been educated and trained to know how to read reports? Maybe .... our vet! ......... if you find one that takes the time to listen to what we, the Guardians have to say rather then anyone else. Where is the respect? where is the integrity? Where is the value? Not where it use to be ..... or where it should be.

Times have changed .....

Maybe, it use to be that we the consumers and Guardians didn't question what we were told. Maybe we trusted 'professionals' to know. Maybe..... The FDA claims to approve only safe drugs, but what was the recent number on the Cumulative/Annual report? it doesn't matter what drug..... pick one! I wonder what happens to all of the tests that fail, before a drug is presented to FDA for approval, do they get reported also? We seem to have some difficulty getting some answers even from our FDA.

Times have changed .....

Now in 2004 and the years leading up to it, what as companion Guardians and Caregivers do we expect? The Companion Petition with all of the signatures shows part of what we expect. How do we go about it to get them?

There are no short cuts, at least no safe ones.

We, as Guardians and Caregivers have the right to ask questions, we have the right to ask for tests, we have the right to file reports ........ *I* for one will never go back to being an 'owner.'

Times have changed ......

In this day and age we can make arrangements for our companions in case something should happen to us. We can even leave them our estate if we want to! But we can't be trusted with knowing the 'truth' of drugs and Adverse Reactions?

Times have changed ......

We walk into a professionals office and we expect to be given answers, not 'maybe', 'possibly,' 'probably,' or 'I think.' It was only while thinking about writing this that I thought back to how many times I've been told that in the last 8 years. How many times I've heard, that others have been told those same words. If we start to ask questions, we may be told they are going to charge us double for taking up so much of their time. We may be told 'they know their job' and to 'trust them'. Then they 'assume' we don't want to spend extra money for tests. They 'assume' what we want for our pets. It is 'assumed' that we believe what ever we are told .... like we use to ...when we could trust them.

Times have changed ......

It is not safe for them to 'assume' anymore. Thanks to modern technology and the Internet ...... we can learn ourselves, it just may take longer. Knowledge is power and knowledge is safety.

Times have changed .....

The FDA came out with an article called "Emerging Issues." Stating that it use to be (in old days) it was the vet that reported adverse reactions, today it is from the public. They say it is because of the Internet. Yes.... maybe...... or MAYBE ... because the vets aren't doing it and we have to! Our dog gets ill or dies after a new medication, our vet says he doesn't believe it was from the medication. We call a manufacturer to file a complaint and get a case number ourselves and can be treated rudely! Questions like: How do you know it was from our drug? do you have proof? wasn't your dog ill when you took him to vet? Excuse me, do your job, fill out the complaint and give me a case number PLEASE.

Times HAVE changed!

Our companions ARE part of our family. People are spending thousands of dollars trying to save a member of their family from adverse reactions. Adverse reactions which could have been avoided in the first place with just a little bit more time, a little bit more money for a little more testing to PROVE, and not guess.

Times HAVE changed!

Let US decide if we want to take a chance after knowing the possibility of reactions. Let US decide if we would rather run some tests to see what shape our companion is in. Let US decide!

We pay 'professionals' to KNOW the diagnosis and then RECOMMEND the treatment and then let US decide!

Times have changed!

Everyone has heard the saying, what GOD is spelled backwards......
Well it isn't VET orMANUFACTURER or REP or FDA.
It's still DOG!

It's time to get with the times!

Laurryn Simpson~





Published Facts:


56% homes had pets



62% homes had pets

49% homes had more then one pet



65 million Dogs


39% homes have one dog



41% of Dogs sleep with Guardian



51% of Guardians consider their pet part of their family



1994 Pet Industry

$17 billion

2003 Pet Industry

est $31billion


2003 Breakdown in US
Food - $13 billion
Vet Care - $6.7 billion
Supplies/Med -$ 7.6 billion
Live Purchase - $1.3 billion

Services $2.4 billion





Veterinarian Oath

Being admitted to the profession of veterinary medicine,

I solemnly swear to use my scientific knowledge and skills for the benefit of society through the protection of animal health, the relief of animal suffering, the conservation of livestock resources, the promotion of public health and the advancement of medical knowledge.

I will practice my profession conscientiously, with dignity and in keeping with the principles of veterinary medical ethics.

I accept as a lifelong obligation the continual improvement of my professional knowledge and competence.






Suggested Ages

to start

'Geriatric Screening"

15 lbs
16-50 lbs
51-80 lbs
80 + lbs







USA Today

World Small Animal Veterinary Association

Dr. Alice Wolf

Dr. Lauren Trepanier

FDA: "Users Fee"

FDA: "Emerging Issues"

Companion Petition

Estate Planning for Pets





Per FDA Greenbook

Drugs Approved in:



October 2000

Top 10 professionals and occupations considered most honest by the American people

1) Nurses (73%)
2) Pharmacists (69%)
3) Veterinarians (63%)
4) Medical doctors (58%)
5) K-12 teachers (57%)
6) Clergy (56%)
7) Judges (53%)
8) Policemen (52%)
9) Dentists (52%)
10) College teachers (52%)



Veterinary Market Statistics 2001