Are veterinary services being “humanized”

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“If Nature had wanted animals to be on the same level as humans, Celine Dion would have her nails done in a grooming salon and my dog Virus would be signing in Las Vegas!” (The Guy in an interview on January 10, 2014 at 98,5 FM in Montreal)

I just finish reading a newspaper article in the Montreal Gazette entitled ” Could your energetic dog really have ADHD?” in which it is written that according to a study published in the Veterinary Journal in 1993, Andrew Luescher claimed that, as it’s the case for humans, dogs could suffer from the Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder . Mr Luescher has only encountered 6 such cases in North America in dogs.

I then asked myself this question: ” Are veterinary services being “humanized”"? Personally,  I am somewhat ambivalent , in that I am open that traditional veterinary medecine moves forward to new frontiers and at the same time I remain critical of the financial issues implied in opening new markets (and very lucrative ones!) for the animals. Here is what I mean…5 Vet Services images

I am confident to state the animal brain is (to the level of minor differences) quite similar to the human one (how its built and how it functions) as whether you are humans or an animal, you have a reptilian brain ( ie: fight or flight) and a limbic brain (the instincts) with the difference that animal do not have a frontal cortex developed (the capacity to rationalize and let’s face it…sometimes some humans would be better off not being able to rationalize anything!).

Also I am of the opinion that on the basis of this premise, the animal is capable to feel human’s emotions (except for disgust since you need rational capabilities to justify why you hate some one, and again animals are not capable of it) and that capacity to feel  (except that the mosquito doesn’t feel a thing when it strikes at us!), for the animal, a wide range of human emotions. Best example of this is about zoo therapy or the number of cases of communications between an autistic child and an animal or a military with PTSD being able to cope withy stress full situations because a dog is right next to him!

1 Vet Services downloadSo why would it be possible for a veterinarian to push forward science limitations and learn always more about animals. Yes it’s important to remain open and bring science forward as long as parameters based on logic, the wellbeing of animals and ethics are being the guardians of these scientific advances. This is where I draw the “line in the sand”…wellbeing of animals or simply financial gains!

On the other hand, I am sceptical on the basis of certain medical theories, such as an example, the fact that Society is “pumping up Ritalin up kid’s systems” as soon as they start showing any signs of restlessness inst6ead of getting them to practice sports, when it is known that the benefits of practicing any kind of sports outweighs going the “pop a pill and pray for positive results” route! It happens that sometimes taking a pill resolves all problems and…is it the always the case? I do not think so!

With animals, we are talking about a 58 to 64 billion dollars a year market, so the financial temptations are huge for certain “special interest groups”! On the other hand, if science could just show us that with animals, biologically and scientifically (maybe even according to genetics…after all, an anti allergy vaccine is about to be tested because the gene sequence of the enzyme present in the animal saliva causing allergic reactions has been established) a pharmaceutical approach could be used with animals and ensure their wellbeing (under proper dosage for the animal obviously!) …wouldn’t it be marvellous ?2 Vet Services images

Also, let’s look at the “push” towards always creating new disease and medication for humans so every thing can be “categorised” (without forgetting that we depend less and less on our instincts…except that our instincts have never killed us… on the contrary it’s what saves us most, if not, all of the times!( our limbic brain)).

In conclusion, how do you think Society could act (more than react because in this case it would most likely be too late!) in the appearance of humanizing veterinary services?

4 Vet Services imagesWhat is your opinion on this matter? Participate in great numbers since it is our responsibility towards animals that we form an opinion about this instead of leaving the faith of the wellbeing of animals in the hands of others (with different interest at heart!)


The Guy


  • Annie

    You bring up some good points here. However, I think that ‘humanization’ of pet treatments has been put in place for quite a while already…for profit yes, in some cases, but but mostly created by demand, on the basis that most people ‘humanize’ their pets themselves, calling them their ‘babies’ and ‘part of the family’. Many pet owners would accept nothing less!! I also disagree with Ritalin or other drugs treating hyper-activity in children (except maybe in very rare extreme cases of proven brain or neurological disfunction), because like you say, lack of exercise, diet (ie. too much sugar intake)and discipline is usually the cause, so drugs are just the ‘easy way out’ to avoid responsiblity.
    Same with pets, if you exercise, feed, and train them properly, there should be no need for drugs to compensate (except maybe in very rare exceptional cases where there is clear evidence of neurological disfunction).
    This is really a 2-sided issue for me…
    I personally believe that chemo therapy for animals with cancer(costing up to $30,000) is a bit much, but at the same time, can not judge someone who would do ANYTHING to save the life of their pet…because to them it is loved like a child, like family. The love of a pet is so unconditional, contrary to that of humans.
    So I’m on the fence with this issue… I both agree that humanization of pet care has it’s good and bad sides, is both extreme, yet justified.

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