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Letter To Antech
Both proponents and critics of "alternative" veterinary therapeutic claims have written a letter to ANTECH voicing their outrage...
Ms. Judy Mullen
Vice President of Services
Dear Ms. Mullen,
ANTECH, a clinical laboratory heretofore known for its commitment to providing accurate and scientifically-validated laboratory diagnostic services for animals, has recently and proudly announced its affiliation with BioNutritional Analysis (BNA). As concerned veterinarians who care about the well-being of our patients, as well our ethical imperative to look out for the best interests of our clients, we are writing to express our concern about your association with this "laboratory." Whereas the literature produced by BNA claims that the analysis is "proven reliable and safe," we note the reluctance to use words such as "effective" or "useful." Even the words "reliable and safe" overstate BNA's proof. In fact, BNA provides services that result in no known benefit to animals, using proprietary methodology that has not been evaluated and is of no proven value.
We believe that the "optimum range" claimed by BNA analysis is a fabrication without scientific merit. Moreover, we find it disturbing that ANTECH's is willing to risk its own reputation by its willingness to call into question its own normal values. The concept of "optimum ranges" demands answers to numerous questions. How does one differentiate day to day normal variations from "an organ system not functioning at optimal efficiency... [requiring] corrective nutrient support?" Furthermore, why does ANTECH apparently no longer trust its own normal values? If ANTECH's "normals" aren't really normal, why should veterinarians trust your lab at all?
We feel that prescribing products based on an unsubstantiated "analysis" is inappropriate for professional veterinarians and that advocacy of such practice cheapens the image of ANTECH. Furthermore, we are concerned about the propriety of giving unknown ingredients, in undetermined does. How is a veterinarian supposed to know if the amount of a particular ingredient contained in a prescribed remedy is appropriate, if it is present, or if there is enough of a substance to cause interactions with concurrent therapies?
We are surprised by the claim that BNA "transfers the cost of treating chronic conditions to the more budgetable cost of maintaining health." According to the sample case posted by BNA, the nutraceutical blend plus symptom-oriented remedies will cost an average of $80.00 per month! The veterinarian can choose to make a profit on these by charging even more exorbitant prices, or simply act as a pick up point for these products, donating the time needed to handle their transfer to the client. Under such circumstances, both client and veterinarian lose. We fail to see any proven benefit that could not be also obtained by prescribing multi-ingredient supplements straight out of the veterinarian's office.
Similarly, BNA claims that "in general, veterinarians utilizing BNA as a wellness program have patients that live longer and experience improved day to day quality of life". Where is the evidence to support such an assertion? Furthermore, how does the health of animals that receive BNA advice differ from patients of veterinarians who use the same sorts of remedies without the "benefit" of BNA?
While BNA is not scientific, it is also clearly not "holistic." For example, one example on the BNA website shows a dog with abnormalities in liver enzymes. The "prescribed" nutraceutical blend contains copper. Strangely, the BNA form does not include copper hepatopathy. Such "cookbook" formulation ignores the whole patient and circumvents the veterinarian-client-patient relationship in a potentially dangerous way.
We feel that ANTECH has an obligation to prove that tests and remedies offered under its umbrella are more that another effort to exploit clients already besieged by difficult choices on how to spend money intended for animal health care. It is sad that the "bottom line" is apparently of much greater importance to ANTECH than is providing legitimate diagnostic services and that simply lining the pockets of the players in this charade is a greater imperative than is ANTECH's credibility.
David W. Ramey, DVM
Susan Wynn, DVM
Robert H. Imrie, DVM
John Kemp, LVT, VTS (Emergency Critical Care)
David McCluggage, DVM
Cynthia Standley, DVM
Equine Medical Associates
Nancy Scanlan, DVM
Vicki Bokum, DVM
John Stone, PhD
Kirk Kolas, B.Sc.
Ontario Veterinary College
Class of 2002
Michael S Peralez, DVM
Saul Green, PhD
Philip Johnson, DVM, PhD
Assistant Professor of Equine Medicine
Diplomate American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine
University of Missouri, Columbia, MO
John R. Dodam, DVM, PhD
Assistant Professor of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery and Veterinary
Biomedical Sciences, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO
Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Anesthesiologists
Randall L. Norstrem, D.V.M.
Crestwood Animal Hospital
Federal Way, WA
Robert H. Poppenga, DVM, PhD
Diplomate, American Board of Veterinary Toxicology (www.abvt.org)
New Bolton Center
Kennett Square, PA