An October 4th news broadcast on CBC Marketplace titled, “Barking Mad,” shined a negative light on the veterinary profession. The segment took a dog with a hidden camera to ten Toronto veterinarians to see what health recommendations were suggested in the first check-up. According to the show’s host, the veterinarians all provided various recommendations that did not align. The host also “surveyed” the ten veterinarians asking them various questions about vaccinations, exams and medication. They made several anecdotal statements based on the ten veterinarians they questioned, calling the data “black and white.” Nothing is “black and white,” as the report suggests.
Trupanion disagrees with the statements and overall accusations made against the veterinary profession in this news broadcast. This is not what we have seen in our 15 years of experience with veterinarians. We have hundreds of thousands of pet health claims that contradict this newscast and much evidence of the incredible value pet owners receive from the work done by veterinarians who have treated, healed and in some cases, saved their beloved pet.
CBC Marketplace compared the veterinarians’ recommendations to the opinions of an outspoken critic of vaccinations, and declared them facts. They surveyed and evaluated only ten veterinarians out of 12,500 currently in small animal practice in Canada. This is .08% of the general veterinarian population. The real story should be about the other 99.92% of the population, the veterinarians that serve nearly 10 million pets each year. We know them as an extremely honorable and trustworthy group of people. We expect there will be an outrage from pet owners who have had generations of pets lovingly, competently and compassionately cared for by their family veterinarian, who charged only a fraction of what an MD would charge for the same procedures. Veterinarians have long subsidized the high quality of care pets receive in North America and it is unfair for CBC to attack the most trusted professionals. The data cited is narrowly constructed to advance a negative point of view.
The average salary of a veterinarian was $82,040 in May 2010 according to the Occupational Outlook Handbook. The average debt of new veterinary graduates is $150,000 (JAVMA September 15, 2008). They use medicine and equipment that costs the same used in human medicine. Often acting as the ultimate safety net for the care of pets in disadvantaged circumstances, many discount their salaries and pull from their own wallets to pay those costs for their patients.
It’s disheartening to see this respected and trusted profession criticized through a sensationalized news story by some members of the media that fails to display tangible evidence to back their statements. Just as CBC surveyed Toronto veterinarians, we set out to survey our policy holders in Canada in an effort to provide evidence of the quality care and attention veterinarians provide our pets. However, unlike CBC’s sample size of 10, we surveyed thousands of policy holders.
We sent policy holders in Canada an e-mail survey with 3 short questions. Of those who responded, 93% said they always receive a great level of service and care from their veterinarian. When asked if they trust their veterinarian to give the best veterinary care, 94% said yes. Lastly, 93% of respondents said they would recommend their veterinarian to their friends and family to treat their pets.
We support veterinarians across the world and stand by their practices as they continue to maintain the health and wellness of our four-legged family members.
Please share your stories and experiences in the comment box below to show our veterinarians support.