Some of you may have seen the ABC 20/20 episode about veterinarians that aired Friday night.

Here is how we responded publicly on our Facebook page, on 20/20's Facebook page, and on 20/20's website:

"Disappointed in last night's 20/20 episode about veterinarians? Us too. We know that veterinarians are advocates for their patients. They are going to recommend the best care for every pet. Veterinarians are going to make vaccine recommendations for each individual pet based on their lifestage and lifestyle and overall health. Veterinarians have the discretion to recommend vaccination intervals that are right for your pet, whether it be annually or in three-year intervals. AAHA is proud to say that its accredited hospitals follow our standards of accreditation, which include providing general anesthesia to allow thorough and proper examination and treatment for all dental procedures. AAHA believes in the importance of establishing a relationship with your veterinarian and their practice team who recognize that you, as a pet's human, are an integral part of the health care team. As such, your opinion counts in open dialogue and decision-making related to your pet's health. In the future, AAHA suggests news organizations take the time to identify and interview real experts in the veterinary profession."

Some additional inaccuracies in 20/20's reporting:

  •  20/20 failed to refer to AAHA and our guidelines properly, instead referring to us as the American Veterinary Medical Association, even after being corrected by our public relations representative.
  • The veterinarian they interviewed (Dr. Andrew Jones) is an unlicensed veterinarian from Canada who no longer practices veterinary medicine.
  • 20/20 cited the AAHA guidelines as "industry guidelines," yet failed to mention our standards of accreditation that require anesthesia for all dental procedures and anesthesia monitoring equipment to reduce the risk during anesthetic procedures.

We know that this episode was not about you or your practice. The majority of people in the veterinary profession are honest and genuinely dedicated to ensuring pets receive the best care. We encourage our practices to continue doing what they are doing, and to continue being honest and recommending what is truly in the best interest of their patients.


Comments (16) -

Robert Bartlett, DVM
Robert Bartlett, DVMUnited States
11/27/2013 10:37:46 AM #

Great response to a ridiculous story with no merit.  I agree that this program may discourage people from seeking pet care for their animals.  So far, no clients have referenced it.  Thanks for your support!

Dave Langford
Dave LangfordUnited States
11/29/2013 6:00:39 AM #

Journalistic standards in general have been very poor for some time, especially with t.v.
The poor quality and biased job done by 20/20 shows why I also don't watch the "mainstream media" for political stories.
They had a preconceived agenda that was designed to foster interest, not inform or educate in an accurate manner.

Dan Meadows, DVM
Dan Meadows, DVMUnited States
11/29/2013 6:44:43 AM #

I doubt if the airing last Friday night will have much if any negative impact on our profession.  A bit disappointed that the veterinarian that appears on ABC from time to time would say that "unless there is periodontal disease, a pet does not need to have it's teeth cleaned."  The whole idea behind a good "prophy" is to prevent periodontal disease, is it not?  

Mark Riehl, DVM
Mark Riehl, DVMUnited States
11/29/2013 8:19:41 AM #

Robert is correct, a pretty lame story by some disgruntled client who found an ex-veterinarian.  Whole story was that vaccines are only needed every three years and no pet needs over-priced dental care.  Pretty sad excuse for a hack job. No-one has mentioned it here either, probably because 20/20 has lost so much prestige along with viewers.
Now back to doing what is best for my patients

Roni M. Crocker, DVM,CCRP
Roni M. Crocker, DVM,CCRPUnited States
11/29/2013 9:28:32 AM #

20/20's report is unfortunately a prime example of what journalism is today. Inaccurate, misleading, inflammatory and harmful information unleashed on the public. ABC should be ashamed. I wasn't too fond of this network before and now know that little of what they report on their "special news programs" can be trusted as the truth. Peter Jennings would be very sad. Is my staff now armed for bear when it comes to discussing how important dental health care is for pets? You bet they are! We are not in this profession because we all wanted to get rich. We are because we are fascinated with medicine, animals, the relationship animals and people have together, being a positive impact on our communities and providing a great place for employment and development of people in the small business arena. My daughter is going to be the third generation of veterinarians in our family and my niece possibly the fourth. I am so proud of our profession and it's commitment to not only animals, but the welfare of the people connected to them.

Joseph DeLucia, DVM CCRP
Joseph DeLucia, DVM CCRPUnited States
11/29/2013 9:35:57 AM #

This response is excellent. However, I believe that there was a misdiagnosis in the second patient. I had to review the video on line about a dozen times inasmuch as the viewer can not "freeze" the video frames. I thought I noticed that the second patient had an epulis in the region of the right maxillary M1-PM4.  I learned in school that epulis IS a sign of dental disease!  They did not respond to my comments. 20/20 lacks journalistic integrity.

Thomas Watson, DVM
Thomas Watson, DVMUnited States
11/29/2013 4:46:36 PM #

Thank you for your response to an obviously poorly thought out, poorly researched and poorly produced program.  I shouldn't be, but I am still astounded at what various forms of media will do to sensationalize some he said she said story.  One would think that ABC would take a little more thorough look around and actually pay attention to its inquiries before producing something as blatantly unsound as this was on a program that many people thought has some class.  Kudos to Marty Becker for telling ABC where to get off.  I also resented being placed in the same boat as car thieves and unscrupulous bar tenders.  ABC and 20/20 ought to be ashamed of themselves for allowing

Patricia Padilla
Patricia PadillaUnited States
11/30/2013 5:53:27 AM #

     The news says the same exact(almost verbatim!) about the care we are receiving from our human doctors - especially in regard to medications. I would rather go to a veterinarian than a human doctor if it were allowed.

Debbie Conte
Debbie ConteUnited States
11/30/2013 7:04:48 AM #

Over the last 40 years I have cared for and loved many cats and dogs- too many to count. I have encountered many incompetent veternarians that it is just sickening. In the last 3 years we have lost 5 pets due to incompetence, misdiagnoses, neglect and the youngest baby girl was 5 months old. Before a vet touches one of my babies I now research, research, recearch. I am not going to lose another due to their lack of knowledge!! I went as far as writing to the national board because the NJ Board of Vets are just as incompetent and prejudice. I have to laugh when I hear they and all vets are advocates for animals. I have not given vaccines to my pets since their puppy and kitten ones and after 8 years titers where done and they were still protected. I applaud Dr Jones and I wish other vets would learn from him.

CarlaUnited States
11/30/2013 5:30:20 PM #

Please sign, share and support this petition. This is sensationalist and irresponsible journalism. The segment might cause some pet owners to delay or neglect pet healthcare and the pet would suffer as a result of that.

clayton mackay
clayton mackayCanada
12/1/2013 11:35:37 AM #

Looks like as Canadians we have more to be concerned about than just our infamous mayor of Toronto, "Rob Ford". At least in veterinary circles were are now being saddled with Mr. Andrew Jones (no longer licensed, so why term him a Dr. given he can't practice, a good thing!!). Very strange that a national news agency would be using a person that was removed from his province practice list because he refused to follow the guidelines set down by his peers and the public..

clayton mackay
clayton mackayCanada
12/1/2013 12:31:58 PM #

It appears that we Canadians have more to worry about than Toronto's infamous mayor, Rob Ford!! Mr. Andrew Jones (not sure why he is still being termed Dr. given he is no long licensed) has given us another reason for concern. It is also amazing that a national network would find such an individual credible given his removal from the practicing profession by his refusal to cooperate within the guidelines set by the public and the profession.

Dr. Tony Johnson
Dr. Tony JohnsonUnited States
12/3/2013 8:12:00 AM #

Thanks for a measured response to an unbalanced piece of biased and ratings 'grabbing pseudojournalism. This piece undid what veterinarians have been trying to do for decades, and caused further erosion of the public's perception of our profession. And in the process, someone who has championed veterinary medicine for the public was wronged. Dr. Marty Becker, a long time collaborator with ABC on animal health matters, was duped and edited to make it seem like he did not recommend preventive oral health care and that veterinarians are upselling unnecessary procedures. He was flat out lied to, and has since severed ties with ABC (which he has held for nearly 2 decades) over this shameful and duplicitous incident.

Thank you for responding and protecting the integrity of a noble profession.

samcatUnited States
3/22/2014 6:54:15 PM #

The truth is they don't need annual shots. It's killing the animals. I read a book regarding dog and cat shots not by this guy that talked about it.  It's a SCAM folks.  After their kitten shots they are good for life!  It's called over vaccination and is killing them. Tilters show how much of the drug is still in their system if you want to know. My old vet forced me to get rabies or she wouldn't look at my old cat and she had a bad reaction and ended up on steroids (the only thing to stop her reaction).  She ended up dying from renal failure and I ended up having to put her down on Christmas Eve. They then wanted to force me to give my last old kitty a rabies shot to see her and I said no and left.  Indoor animals especially don't need annual shots including rabies. If you have a pet they should be indoors so I don't know about outdoor animals other than to say that is not a good pet owner who does not protect them by keeping them indoors. I actually just left the vet to look for a wholistic one because I'm just not happy with the modern medicine.  The new place does both wholistic and regular medicine.  As a disclaimer to what I'm stating they should be seen every six months to make sure they are healthy. I'm just not a fan of shots anymore. Looking forward to seeing what healthy ways this new vet can treat my cats when needed.

NancyUnited States
7/31/2015 1:34:51 AM #

"Veterinarians have the discretion to recommend vaccination intervals that are right for your pet, whether it be annually or in three-year intervals."

So which one is it? Annual or three year? Why would one vet recommend every year, and another recommend spacing it out more?

KJUnited States
2/1/2017 5:43:33 PM #

"Veterinarians have the discretion to recommend vaccination intervals that are right for your pet, whether it be annually or in three-year intervals."

I didn't see this show, but want to comment on this ridiculous statement by the AAHA.  As someone who lost a pet because of overimmunization in 2004 and has since spent hundreds if not thousands of hours researching this topic.  I am appalled that ANY vet would tell you you must immunize on any regular schedule.  The truth is, many dogs and cats NEVER need another "booster" for many illnesses.  And, immunizing when it is not necessary, causes the body to turn on itself (much like an HIV infection).  They CAN'T recommend anything longer than three years because the pharmaceutical companies (another evil) have only paid to have 3-year studies done.  They will not pay to have longer studies done.  So, they cannot tell anyone that their vaccines are effective past that period.  That doesn't mean they aren't.  If you truly love your pet, check out either Jean Dodd or Karen Becker, both DVMs who practice holistic medicines.  Jean Dodd is funding her own vaccine research, but it is slow going.  If you love your pet, have them titer tested.  However, even if a titer test shows low antibodies, that does not mean they need a vaccine.  Dr. Becker (and many other holistic and integrative vets) believe that ANY antibodies present is reason to skip a booster.  Unfortunately, the AAHA and AVMA have their hands in the pockets of the pharmaceutical companies (much like they do the big dog food cmopanies).  By the way, NONE of them have your animal's best interests at heart or they would NEVER make these recommendations or push the kind of toxic pet food made by these major companies.  Do your own research.  I did and my current dog has greatly benefited.  I lost my last girl at 9 from over immunization and my current girl is 12 and going strong.  By the way, my holistic vet (since she transition from traditional vet medicine) has had almost all of her dogs live to 15 - 17 years of age - even large breeds.  The proof is in the pudding people.

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