Saturday, November 6, 2010

Interesting Documentary on CBC Television tonight

There was a really interesting documentary tonight on CBC about pet pharmaceuticals - you can watch the whole episode online - at Pet Pharm - Doc Zone CBC-TV - it features Dr. Nicholas Dodman and Dr. Ian Dunbar going head to head over the topic.

Dr. Dodman says some things that I don't agree with - he infers that there's 4-6 million animals ending up in shelters in the US because of behaviour problems and that could potentially be fixed with medications - which is utter bullshit - almost all animals end up in shelters because of the sins of their owners - and nothing to do with the problems of the animals - when you adopt an animal from a shelter - 90% of them have absolutely no problems whatsoever, and they integrate into your family with very little problem - all they need is the love and attention that they weren't getting in their former life and they blossom into the animal they were supposed to be. So Dodman saying that in the documentary was very very disingenuous.

He also said that he sees the cases that dog trainers and behaviourists won't touch - and then they showed video's of very obviously neurologically damaged dogs - horribly spinning daschshunds and a english bull terrier that was bent completely backwards trying to get at his tail - of course trainers can't do anything with those dogs - they are medically sick - and of course medication might be able to help those dogs. Duh! Those are also the dogs that are good candidates for being put down because there's nothing left that can be done for them - they ARE the animals that end up in shelters that are put down for compassionate reasons.

I learned a few new things watching the documentary though - and it's definitely worth the 45 minutes of your time if it's something that interests you.


  1. I checked it out, I thought it showed a good representation of both sides of the coin.

    Meds / training.

    Always interesting stuff, while I don't agree with medicating animals for behavioral problems, it was a good watch.

  2. When dogs lash out, are destructive, compulsive or self-mutilate, it is almost always NOT because there is pathologically something wrong with the dog, but because the past, and/or present living circumstances are creating fear and anxiety.
    The reasons are many: neglect, deprivation, overcrowding, under- or overstimulation, incompatible social group members, performance pressure, harsh training methods, unpredictable and unavoidable pain and the threat of it - which literally can drive a dog to insanity.
    To drug such a dog, while the causes why the dog misbehaves remain unchanged, is the same as shocking a dog into desired behavior.
    Although kinder, it is a quick fix solution demanded by the owner and offered by the pharmaceutical industry. At least, call it what it is: acting in self-interest - not on behalf of the dog.
    Ian Dunbar is bang on. The environment needs to be changed so that it is working for that individual dog, and typically problem behaviors diminish or disappear. If, in the interim, certain drugs can help take edge off, and allow the dog to relearn and gain trust, I am all for it.
    But drugging without dealing with the root of the problem, in my opinion, is not an effective solution.