Pet food giant Mars Inc., which owns the chain of Banfield Pet Clinics, has now purchased the VCA chain of animal hospitals. Reportedly, VCA also has ambitions to take over small pet clinics: “A letter mailed this spring to 2,000 proprietors of small veterinary clinics invited them to consider merging with a neighboring hospital run by VCA Inc., the largest owner of freestanding veterinary hospitals in the United States.”
In 2013, Dr. John Robb contacted me when he lost his Banfield franchise. He said it was because Banfield claimed he had violated its vaccine protocols and had broken Connecticut law by giving half-dose vaccines to his clients’ small-breed dogs. Dr. Robb admitted that he had (and I applauded him). He believed, and had evidence to prove, that small breed dogs were particularly susceptible to vaccine reactions. Finally, his crusade is making big news. Please read Why Big Business is Putting Your Dog’s Health at Risk, published in the respected business publication: Bloomberg/BusinessWeek.
Ironically, Banfield furnished the data for a 2005 Purdue veterinary school study of vaccine reactions in 1.5 million small-breed dogs. Banfield’s own data showed that small-breed dogs receiving multiple vaccines in one visit (a common practice) had a 27% increased risk of an adverse reaction for each additional vaccine. One “shot” can contain as many 5 or 6 vaccines. Add a Bordetella “booster” and maybe Leptospira and you can double the chance of an adverse reaction. Reactions can range from fever to seizures to death. (Learn more about safer vaccinating with my article on Questions to Ask Before Vaccinating.)
Dr. Jean Dodds subsequently conducted a pilot study to prove that a half-dose was sufficient for a small-breed dog. Numerous vets have told me that they regularly give half doses to small-breed dog. It makes no sense that a Great Dane and a Chihuahua would get the same dose.
Please spread the word about this. We may wake up in the very near future with Mars (makers of Pedigree, Cesar, Iams, etc.) owning most of the veterinary clinics. Who will advocate for your dog when the vet who treats the vaccine reaction has corporate ties to the vet who vaccinated your dog?