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September 21, 2006



Richard, it is exactly as I thought - thank you for spelling it all out. Also, when I said, "not necessarily a good reason," I did NOT mean it as a slur toward veterinarians. I meant it as a statement about the way our society values skills and rewards them financially. Just think: veterinarians go to school for 8 years, incur hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt (not to mention lost income while they are in school), and earn $50K to $100K per year for saving lives. Baseball players receive college scholarships (if they even go to college) and earn millions of dollars for hitting, throwing or catching a ball. This is lunacy, and I don't know what we can do about it. I'm sorry I wasn't more explicit about the direction of my thinking....

Richard A Jacobs DVM

Ellen, I don't know which of my GP clients your are, but I appreciate your confidence in my skills as a practiotioner and a lover of GPz.
In answer to your questions, I should first point out that it is a documented fact that it is easier to get accepted to a human college of medicine than it is to get accepted to a college of veterinary medicine.
The costs are the same.
I recently read of a vet who graduated with one hundred and fifty thousand dollars of debt.
Her starting salary was less than sixty thousand dollars.
Add to this that this individual, out of school is expected to be an expert in several species while being paid peanuts while a less knowledgeable professional has a starting salary of at least three times of a vet and you have a situation less than conducive to encourage learning about the species that, in reality require a terrific input from a knowledge standpoint but deliver little from a financial standpoint.

You might assert that if they really cared, they'd take the time. But since nearly all of their time is spent trying to find a way to pay the bills, the student loans, all the while trying to have anything that resembles a normal life, learning about a species that doens't do any of the above, isn't all that high on their "to do" list.
No one seems to hold human physicians to the standards they hold vets to.

Your child is sick? Do you call your ped? Even if you do, are you suprised if you are referred to an emergency clinic? Do you think ill of your MD if you are referred to an emergency clinic?

Here's my experience: I love the little GPa. I think that they are one of the best pets on the planet.

I am willing to spend my time and energy to learn about GPs.
From a financial standpoint, it is a net loss.
The amount of time I have spent to become proficcient in GP's will never be recouped.

To the GP lovers out there, I have to ask the burning question: Would you invest time, money or energy in a propostition that you know, right out of the box is a net loss?
This is what treating GPs is all about.

Worse than that, you need to know that if regardless of whatever you do, a GP doesn't make it, it is very likely that the owner will disparage you online.
As a result, a vet realizes that there is actually a disincentive to treat GPs.
There is little return on the time spent learning about GPs and regardless of proficciency, there is a very high likelihood of a negative review.

If a vet treats critters that require no additional study with a net positive outcome, they will look great.
If the vet treats creatures that have a high mortality rate regardless of their expertise, and regardless of the fact that they, from a financial standpoint are a net loss to the practice, one can only ask why in the world a vet would treat an animal that requires intensive additional training on thier own time, without the probability of financial compensation and further the likelihood that should there be a negative outcome, the GP owner is more likely than not to have a negative opinion and a negative post about the vet.

Those who don't treat GPs aren't listed as vets who don't treat GPs.

No crime, no foul. Nothing negative is ever said about their care of GPs.

Those who treat GPs, learn about them on their own time all the while knowing that there is a negative incentive for treating GPs.

Already underpaid, they know that treating GPs is a net financial loss.
Further, they know that it is far more likely that their efforts will resort in a negative review versus a positive review.

Statistics indicate that twenty happy pet owners who have received excellent veterinary care who usually don't post their grattitude are trumped by one angry GP owner who whether or not their anger is justified manage to post such a profoundly negative review that not only is their treatemnt and care of GPs damaged, their care of all pets is damaged.

In other words, the vet who treats GPs has to spend his or her own time learning about a species that is not only a net financial loss just because they treat GPs, they need to know that it is more llikely than not that an unsatisfied GP owner is more likely than not to damage the vets reputation and his or her ability to treat other animals.
Vets who never treat GPs never have GP owners trashing the care they have received.

So, as a vet, it would make the most sense to never treat GPa.

That I love the little squakers does nothing for my bottome line.

But you GP owners should know why few vets want to treat GPs.


You're absolutely right. I moved right down the street (walking distance) from a well-known veterinary practice that has 7 or 8 DVMs. I was surprised to learn that no one on their staff treats "exotics" (such as guinea pigs), so my pigs will be making annual trips (or as needed) back to Dr. Jacobs in Higganum. I am curious about the financial risks & rewards of learning about exotics instead of, or in addition to, cats & dogs. There must be a reason - though not necessarily a good reason - why so few vets bother to learn about the exotics...

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