The Truth Of Athena
Animals are such a big part of our lives, majority of us have owned an animal at some stage of our lives. That temperamental cat that we all love, and that dog that just wants to play all the time, these are the things we love about our animals, they see the good and the bad, they comfort us when we are feeling down, they care about us and we care about them.
We care so much in fact that we created their very own veterinary hospital to care for them when they aren’t well. If a human is not well we go to the doctors for the doctor to treat us in the best possible way. We created veterinary hospitals for our animals, to heal them using the best possible treatment catered to them. We trust doctors and vets and trust that everything they say and do is in ours and the animal’s best interest, because simply we have no idea what is the best course of treatment.
Or so I thought, Recently my Siberian husky puppy (Athena, showed in the pictures) was diagnosed with A cruciate ligament tear (ACL) by my local community veterinary hospital. Upon the vet simply pushing down on her leg (somehow this is categorised as examining).
The vet made the diagnosis ACL tear, his treatment option was immediate surgery. I was in shock, Athena showed very little signs of this diagnosis, however the vet simply wanted to operate, he told me that further treatment is needed and surgery is the only option, resulting in quite an expensive treatment method ($3000 for one leg). This diagnosis did not seem accurate to me, no scans, no other treatment, something was not right.
So upon further research on my behalf I have found extensive evidence that suggests there is no actual proof or evidence to support the best course of action is surgery as a first option. And especially not the only option.
Majority of the time vets will simply suggest surgery as the only course of treatment for an ACL tear, this is entirely false. In the majority of cases these surgeries are unnecessary and potentially harmful to your dog. Studies show that Most dogs will recover fine without surgery, if given the chance. The ACL ligament is an extremely versatile ligament and can restore itself if treated properly. A quick decision to have surgery on your animal is not necessary, after all surgery is always risky and holds many possible complications. If surgery is so dangerous and not always affective, why did my vet suggest surgery is the only option. why would he put my dog in such an extreme circumstance without first trying other methods. Upon doing some research I found a few interesting facts.
These surgeries are immensely profitable for the veterinary clinics and are one of the biggest monies generator that veterinary hospitals have.
Veterinary hospitals are all monitored by oversight boards which have the power to impose sanctions on them, vets have an obligation called “duty to refer” this means that vets when fronted with an ACL tear are obligated to send the animal and owner to an orthopaedic surgeon, and in return the veterinary hospital receives a percentage of all work completed on this case. So lets just recap,
A vet is profiting from referring an animal that does not need surgery as of yet, to an orthopaedic surgeon that will operate and possibly cause extensive damage to your animal, all to profit from a huge pay check, these surgeries range from around $2000-$4500 per leg.
In some cases surgery is definitely needed, however it is not by any means the first option that these veterinary hospitals should be performing. surgery should never be taken lightly and the fact that the veterinary hospitals are handing surgical operations out like they are lolly pops needs to stop.
I wanted to look further into the corruption that is a veterinary hospital, I interviewed another vet in my local community to determine whether or not all veterinary hospitals operate this way, after speaking with a few vets (“all telling me that surgery is the only option) I found Max, he is a vet at another veterinary hospital in my area. Max informed me on a few things. Max has been a certified veterinary surgeon for over 20 years, he has performed almost all of the procedures described for cruciate ligament tear and rupture, max has worked at multiple surgical practices with many surgeons.
“As you mentioned there is no real proof that these surgeries performed are more effective than a non surgical option”. Max also states that in his experience a huge number of patients have been disappointed with the outcome of surgery. In addition max also states that people forget that surgery itself can do more harm than good.
“I have had more than one operation where I have had to amputate the dogs leg due to severe complication during the surgery”.
He goes on to say that he has never had to amputate a dogs leg with the non surgical option.
After discussing with Max I found that not all veterinary hospitals are corrupt and simply out for money, However it does seem to be a huge problem that we are just accepting into our society. My concern is If veterinary hospitals are suggesting such a drastic treatment for this procedure, you have to ask yourself what else are they misinforming us about to simply make money. I understand that a veterinary hospital is operating a business but at what cost to pet owners, it simply feels like duty of care is no longer apparent.
We care about our animals but it seems that veterinary hospitals do not care as much, Veterinary hospitals need to be monitored by a board of ethics, controlling and monitoring what treatment is prescribed. If we don’t change this occurrence, then our animals will continue to receive the most expensive and unnecessary treatment.