Sunday, August 29, 2010

An unbiased look at online discount pet medication retailers.

In this episode:

- An unbiased look and online discount pet medication retailers.
- Green energy technology show case: Geothermal energy.

Transcript of this week's episode of The Web-DVM:

Greetings pet lovers, and welcome back to another edition of The Web-DVM. As promised, I will be showcasing a cutting edge green energy technology today, but first, let us delve right into the main topic of our show this evening. Folks, it is no secret that economic times are tough. I know for me, it feels like this recession has no end in sight, a recession that is the worst I have seen in my lifetime, and according to most experts, the worst economic recession since the Great Depression. During these difficult financial times, many families have been forced to make tough choices, cut costs where ever possible, and may have turned to discount online pet medication pharmacies to save what they can on pet medication expenses.

We see commercials, countless web ads, and of course word of mouth knowledge of the multibillion dollar a year online discount pet med industry. 1-800-PetMeds may be the most familiar corporation, but believe me when I tell you, there are MANY, MANY more. Pet Med Express,, and, are just a few large retailers getting their share of discount pet med business. Attracted by the generally lower prices, discount pet med retailers enjoy a big chunk of the pet owning public's business.

The question remains, however, is it safe to use these online discount pet med retailers? Does a lower cost for pet medications mean less quality? Do you really get the medication as advertised? Having so many middle stops from manufacturer to storage warehouse, then finally to customer, does this compromise the integrity of the medications? These are all questions that I will address in this article.

Let me start by explaining that the majority of pet medication pharmaceuticals do not condone the sale of their products online. They do not sell to discount pet med retailers, as they do not want their products handled and sold by them. Pharmaceuticals feel so strongly about this, that they actually submitted a class action law suit against these discount online pet medication retailers in early 2000s trying to legally bar them from carrying and selling their products, one that they lost. In response, pharmaceuticals armed veterinarians with literature and information for us to educate the public as to why it is a bad idea to purchase pet medications from discount retailers, or from anyone that is not a veterinarian or veterinary clinic, period. One recent exception to this general pharmaceutical policy is Bayer. No longer willing to keep out of the multibillion dollar a year discount pet med industry, they recently rescinded their stance against the condoning of the sale of their products by any venue outside of a veterinary clinic. The rest, however, remain steadfast in their stance against pet meds sold outside of vet clinics.

So what is the reason for the big corporate stance against allowing products to be sold outside of veterinary clinics? Pharmaceuticals are after all in the business of making money, and what better way to sell their products than through increasingly popular discount retailers? The reason comes down to a simple two words, “quality control.”

You see, when a pharmaceutical sells their products to veterinary clinics, it is done so in a very controlled fashion. The products are stored with distributors that store the products as dictated by the pharmaceuticals. Specifically, they are kept at a certain temperature and humidity, handled with a certain amount of care, all geared at maintaining the integrity of the product through handling parameters clearly specified by the pharmaceutical and based on the chemical make up of the given medication. The veterinarian actually in most cases orders products directly from distributors and once received, products are stored in a fashion as dictated by the pharmaceutical and/or distributor.

In the case of discount retailers, the products still go to a distributor, but after that, the pharmaceutical no longer has any knowledge of what happens to the product, how it is shipped, how it is stored, and for how long. With many medications, especially liquid flea and tick preventive topical medications having sensitive environmental and handling parameters, pharmaceuticals do not wish to carry the liability nor have their reputations damaged, should one of these medications fail to work or even cause adverse reaction if compromised by poor handling and/or storage. As such, the majority of pharmaceuticals that still choose to not condone selling of their products outside of veterinary clinics, do not guarantee the safety or effectiveness of their products when purchase anywhere outside of a veterinary clinics.

I am sure at this point, you are wondering if most pharmaceuticals do not condone the sale of their products by discount retailers, how in the world are getting them? The answer is that they get the products through “black market” sources. Now let me be clear that black market is an industry term not to be confused with the illegal connotation the term generally carries. In our context, black market simply means, “unauthorized attainment,” but as I previously alluded to, the courts have determined that this actually is not illegal. The most common black market source of pet medications is an unethical veterinarian purchasing mass quantities of product on behalf of a large discount retailer for a generous fee. I have, for example, been recruited to be such an unethical go between for large pet med retailers on several occasions, which I have repeatedly declined. Obviously some veterinarians cannot resist the temptation to make that easy cash. The other common black market source for pet medications is overseas products. Overseas distributors in certain countries have lax regulation that allows this.

So what does this all mean for you and your pet? Well, let us break down the purchase of pet medications through discount retailers into pros and cons:


- The medications are generally cheaper than purchasing the same brand from your veterinarian. Veterinarians simply cannot compete with the quantities that large retailers purchase, and the discounts that said large quantities afford them.

- Convenience – products are often shipped right to the home.


- Quality control – the handling and storage of pet medications may be outside of the guidelines set by the pharmaceutical for a given product, thereby compromising its effectiveness and safety. Pharmaceuticals have no control over quality control when sold outside of veterinary clinics.

- No Guarantee – with the exception of products made by Bayer, pharmaceuticals do not guarantee the safety and effectiveness of their products when purchased outside of a veterinary clinic. Therefore, if a given medication purchased anywhere but a veterinary clinic is ineffective or causes a dangerous reaction to your pet, pharmaceuticals do not want to hear it – all you would get from them is a big, “I told you so.”

So the bottom line for you as a pet owner to decide is this: if the money you save on discount online pet medications or purchasing from other sources outside of veterinary clinics is worth the role of the dice of whether or not that medication will be effective and/or safe for your pet is worth it to you, then by all means proceed. If, on the other hand, having an unknown safety and effectiveness for given pet medications is not the way you choose to save a buck, then get your pet medications the old fashion way: from your veterinarian.

On to our green energy segment, today’s showcased green energy technology is geothermal energy. This technology cools and heats homes utilizing the fact that 6 feet below ground, temperature stays nearly constant, despite temperature extremes that may occur on the surface, and regardless of the season. In northern latitudes, this temperature is approximately 65 degrees, and southern and subtropical latitudes about 72 degrees. During the hot summer, these temperature are effective for cooling the home, while in winter, they are effective for heating the home.

The way it works is a network of pipes are placed deep underground through which water is pumped and assimilates the temperature of the ground. As the water is transported back to the home, a geothermal unit transmits the temperature of the water to air that is vented into to the home. In the summer, this will provide air for the home that is significantly cooler than the ambient temperature, while in winter, this will provide air that is significantly warmer than the ambient temperature. The cost, energy consumption, and environmental impact required to power the electric motors necessary to pump the water and air through the geothermal unit is nominal when compared to the cost, energy consumption, and environmental impact necessary to heat and cool with electricity, oil, or natural gas.

The biggest drawback of this technology is the installation cost, which right now runs around $10,000, making it so that it would take about 5 years of energy savings to recoup the cost of installation. One way we can lessen the cost of installation is to make a concerted effort to lobby our elected officials to offer tax break incentives to have this type of green energy to power our homes. For now, communities that have a collective desire to go geothermal, have had success in significantly cutting the cost of installation by forming co-ops, where geothermal installation companies offer large discounts for numbers of households in a given community opting in for their product; the greater the numbers participating, the greater the discounts.

That is our show for this evening. I thank you as always for watching. Please join me next week, when I will be discussing Pamela Anderson, and why she is one of my favorite people. The reason is probably not what you think.

Don't forget to catch my live call-in radio show Wednesdays 9PM EST. Listen via podcast live or archived here:

Blog Talk Radio

Bonus Content

As described on my radio show, here is the footage of the Mary Bale of Conventry, England, callously throwing an innocent cat into a trash bin for no apparent reason. It would be hard to believe if it were not caught on video!

Pet Food Recall

Procter & Gamble (P&G), the makers Iams is recalling a limited number of bags of Iams Proactive Health Indoor Weight & Hairball Care dry cat food as they have the potential to contain Salmonella. The bags in question may have been sold in one or two stores in Loveland, Colorado. The food was sold in blue 6.8 pound bags. These bags feature a code date of 02304173 (B1-B6) and the UPC number 1901403921.

Dr. Roger Welton is the President and chief veterinarian at Maybeck Animal Hospital in West Melbourne Florida, as well as CEO of the veterinary advice and health management website

Monday, August 23, 2010

Season 2 Premier - China leads the world in green energy...wwwhhhaaat??

In this episode:

-Lessons learned from BP Oil Spill?
-Who do we turn to for clean renewable energy?
-The implications of midterm elections.

Transcript of this week's episode of The Web-DVM:

Welcome ladies and gentlemen, to the first show of The Web-DVM’s second season. Again, I thank you all so much for your support, with 36,000 viewers having watched our season 1 finale. Since we last broadcast, a few things have happened. BP managed to cap the well stemming the flow of oil, and now seems to have successfully reinforced the tenuous cap with a static kill procedure, soon to be even further reinforced by a bottom kill procedure. Clean-up and recovery still continues on a massive scale, with many months ahead to make real tangible progress in removing the oil, while likely it will be many years for the environment to fully rebound. Still, we have to be cautiously optimistic at least the leak was plugged and that perhaps this event will be a lesson learned that we must embark in a major way, to get off oil once and for all, and pursue clean, renewable energy sources. I certainly hope that the urgency will hit home far more swiftly and urgently than it did following the Valdez oil spill in Prince William Sound. To be fair, the Valdez happened at a different time, 1989, when certain revelations had yet to transpire. It also did not help that the Valdez occurred with our country under republican leadership that has proven, especially with this latest spill, that they will stop at nothing to protect the oil companies, let them proceed with the least possible regulation, and keep our nation addicted to oil for as long as they can.

Since 1989, our own safe drilling oil reserves have become depleted, making us dependent upon protecting our oil interest in countries that hate us in the Middle East, while making it increasingly necessary to drill in harsh, dangerous, and inhospitable places, such as 1 mile beneath the ocean surface. The consequences of these realities helped lead to 9/11, the Afghanistan War, the Iraq War, and many oil disasters, four in just the past 5 months. That’s right folks, since the BP oil disaster taking up all the news time, there were other major oil spills in Utah in a tributary of the Great Salt Lake, in Michigan in a tributary of the Kalamazoo River which flows into Lake Michigan, and a major spill off China’s port of Dalian.

Ladies and gentlemen, religious fanaticism, tyranny, with their inhumane consequences exist all over the world, yet we do not wage war wherever they exist. We turn a blind eye to inhumanity and tyranny in countries like Darfur, Ruanda, and Zimbabwe, while we feel compelled that we absolutely must bring democracy to the Middle East. Make no mistake, the reason we get immersed in the non-sense that occurs in the Middle East, put our young men and woman in harms way, and attract terrorism on our homeland, is not out of some moral purpose, it is because the Middle East has what we need and crave above all else, large oil reserves. Believe me when I tell you, ladies and gentlemen, if the Middle East had no oil, we would be perfectly content to sit on the sidelines as the countries of that region blew one another to smithereens, as they have done for thousands of years long before oil was ever discovered there.

Since 1989, clean energy technology has progressed by leaps and bounds, well maybe not here, but in most other developed regions of the world. As we speak, having strong government insight, incentive and pressure to move their nations into the new realm of clean and renewable energy, India and China have been well on their way to using green energy technology as a means to not only provide clean energy for the growing energy needs of their populations, but to drive their economies by creating jobs as they lead the world in green energy technology. This paradigm shift began during the 8 years that GW Bush and company did everything in their power to make certain we did NOT partake in that wave, striving instead to deregulate and enable oil companies to keep us pitifully dependent on, and addicted to, their filthy product.

Current republican leadership wants more of that same Bush administration’s drive to keep us in the past, slaves to dirty energy sources that destroy our environment, heat up the planet, and threaten our national security. But from a current party leadership that has tried to block desperately needed financial stimulus and state aid, health care reform, and Wall Street reform, even criticized the President’s huge accomplishment of making BP set aside $20 billion in escrow to expedite Gulf business oil spill claims calling it a “slush fund,” should we really expect any different?

Regarding our President and present democratic majority, while they should be commended for the huge steps in which they have taken our country forward with the passage of financial stimulus, health care reform, Wall Street reform, and being the people’s champion against oil giant BP, they currently lack the political courage with mid-term elections on the horizon, to pass sweeping energy legislation in the face of a country who still has yet to get the message about oil despite all that has happened in the past 5 months: oil is killing us in every way it possibly can. We must embrace green, renewable energy, or get left behind by a world that is!
There is one company in Fremont California that is creating jobs and making a killing on the sale of machines that build solar panels for use in harnessing the sun’s energy for powering buildings and for use in solar energy farms, called Owens Designs. They have clearly jumped onto a green energy future despite the fact that their country and its leaders, have not. They were recently showcased on the Discovery channel where a spokesman said that the majority of business they do is with China, not their home country, a prime example of why China is the world’s leader in moving an entire country to a green, renewable energy future.

You see, with a growing middle class and a massive increase in building infrastructure to sustain them, as well having recently had their own oil disaster to deal with at the port city of Dalian, China understands very well that oil is too dangerous, polluting, and a threat to their own national security to rely on it for their growing energy needs. As a result, the Chinese government has made it their primary mission to attain clean energy independence, making unprecedented investment in wind, solar, geothermal, and energy conservation technology.

I never thought the day would come that China would be more proactive and innovative than the great United States of America. But here we are, the proof is in the pudding, with China and even India already light years ahead of us on clean, renewable energy, and I am disgusted by it. Having been taken hostage by past leadership that made it their mission to maintain business as usual and sell our countries soul to big oil, and with a population that has become increasingly selfish, lazy, and unimpassioned, we are reaping what we have sewn, existing as a nation of oil consuming, polluting, global warming denying gluttons that feel safer to look backward, rather than passionately look forward. It was not this kind of existence that nurtured the greatest innovation and invention in the world as a leader in the industrial revolution, transformed a backward pre-WWII joke of a military to the greatest fighting force in the world in less than 2 years after the Pearl Harbor attack, and landed men on the Moon.

Well I for one am not a US citizen that is happy with the status quo, and demand that we get off of our asses to lead the way on green energy for ourselves and as leaders in the world. I will be being by imploring my fellow citizens to vote this upcoming election, and select candidates that want to pave the way forward, not pull us into the past. I call on all of you to reject the policies of 8 years of GW Bush, an administration that let us get lapped by the rest of the developed world as they pandered to big oil, among a multitude of other policies that drove our country to the brink of destruction. All the current republican leadership has to offer is a return to those failed policies: deregulation of oil, financial institutions and other big business, unpaid for tax cuts for the richest 2% of Americans, repeal of health care and financial reform, and for the Tea Party nut bags, even a repeal of Medicare and Social Security.

Don’t be fooled by Fox News and the party they promote, that just because times are still tough, that we need to put out of touch, jackasses like that back in power. Know that our President inherited a disaster of economic conditions and a culture of political cronyism that a Congress under his leadership has admirably taken action against time and again. When President Obama took office, our economy was shrinking at a record pace, hundreds of thousands of jobs were being lost per month, and the value of real estate was hemorrhaging. Under his leadership, the economy was pulled back from the brink while passing sweeping and historic legislation that moved our country forward. Jobs have been consistently increasing over the past year, and the economy is growing again. Things may not be great, but they would have been a heck of a lot worse, had the party of no been in charge. The stimulus bill that republicans overwhelmingly and vigorously opposed saved 40,000 jobs just in my home state of Florida in 2010 to date alone; indispensable jobs such as police, firefighters, and teachers. Not only are these vital jobs saved, but their income gets spent in my clinic and other small businesses, helping to keep my staff employed and with health benefits, so that they in turn may go out and pump their money into the economy. You see how this works folks? It is not rocket science how government stimulus is both necessary and effective during difficult economic times. Somehow, republicans do not see this, they just think they can tax cut their way out of the mess the GW Bush left, a policy already tried and failed by GW Bush!
When you go to the polls this November, do not forget the abysmal disaster that was republican leadership under 8 years of GW Bush, for the republicans’ current leaders offer nothing more than a return to those policies. Remember that it was our democratic President that held BP accountable, while republicans defended and even apologized to them. Remember who drove us into economic disaster, and who is tirelessly digging us out!

Now, despite having veered into the political a bit in my inaugural episode of season 2, it is my intention after having said my piece, to be a bit less political this season, since the BP oil spill kind of dragged me in that direction in the last several episodes of season 1. However, since the environment, wildlife, and our natural treasures are well within the scope of this animal based program, I plan to do my part to impassion our citizens, by dedicating a small portion of each show to illustrating a cutting edge green energy technology each week for the next several weeks, so stay tuned! Armed with this knowledge, you can pursue these technologies for yourself and your communities, as well as pressure your elected leaders to create policy amenable to making these technologies available and affordable.
That is my show for this Sunday, August 23, 2010. Remember, I also have a live call-in show that airs Wednesday evenings at 9PM EST at my blog at, where listeners and viewers may call toll free to ask me questions or offer comments. See you next week.

Dr. Roger Welton is the President and chief veterinarian at Maybeck Animal Hospital in West Melbourne Florida, as well as CEO of the veterinary advice and health management website

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Pamela Anderson proves time and again that she is a friend to animals.

Live call-in number 1-877-878-1435

In this episode:

**3 days until a the new season of The Web-DVM begins***

A day in the life of a veterinarian My crazy day!

Dog has a bladder full of stones...and owner has no financial ability to do anything about it.

Once again, Pam Anderson proves she is a great friend to animals! Her latest efforts

Listen via podcast live or archived here:

Blog Talk Radio

Watch via streaming video live or archived here:

Sorry Folks, webcam malfunction this week.

Bonus Content

Pamela Anderson Links:

Dr. Roger Welton is the President and chief veterinarian at Maybeck Animal Hospital in West Melbourne Florida, as well as CEO of the veterinary advice and health management website

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Live Call-in Show Wednesday 8/11/2010 9PM EST: What discount veterinary clinics mean for your pet

Live call-in number 1-877-878-1435

In this episode:

**12 days until a the new season of The Web-DVM begins***

-"Marinating" cat now off the menu for good! Don't miss the incredible story of Navarro the cat!

-Prescott Valley - Arizona Puppies born in back of police car.

-What discount veterinary clinics mean for your pet Information you need to know before committing your pet to so called "discount" veterinary clinics

Listen via podcast live or archived here:

Blog Talk Radio

Watch via streaming video live or archived here:

Discount Vet Clinics? - Broadcast your self LIVE

Bonus Content

Photo of Navarro, now Oliver, the cat, safe in his new loving home

Dr. Roger Welton is the President and chief veterinarian at Maybeck Animal Hospital in West Melbourne Florida, as well as CEO of the veterinary advice and health management website

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Live Call-in Show Wednesday 8/4/2010 9PM EST: When owners don't comply

Call in number:(877) 878-1435

Just over 2 weeks until Season 2 of The Web-DVM begins! (Monday, August 23, 2010)

In this episode:

Man’s life saved because dog chewed off infected toe while he lay drunk: You’re not going to believe this one!

Science Daily Report: Just the smell of predators, like cats, induces fear and stress for mice and other small rodents. What this means for your house cat.

Poor compliance is the number one reason for treatment failure: When owners don’t comply

Listen via podcast live or archived here:

Blog Talk Radio

Watch via streaming video live or archived here:

When owners don't comply - Broadcast your self LIVE

Bonus Material:

Thousands of Gulf region pets turned into shelters because of economic distress resulting from BP oil spill.

Rescue a pet in need today - Gulf Animal Shelter Links:

Dr. Roger Welton is the President and chief veterinarian at Maybeck Animal Hospital in West Melbourne Florida, as well as CEO of the veterinary advice and health management website