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Dr. Dana Varble on Pet Store Sales, Veterinary Visits and Identifying Pain in Cats on WGN Radio


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Listen HERE on my WGN radio Steve Dale’s Pet World radio show to North American Veterinary Community Chief Veterinary Officer Dr. Dana Varble as we discuss her views of pet stores sales, selling dogs, cats and rabbits. Dr. Varble agrees that no responsible breeder or source ever sells to pet stores, but puppy mills (and their brokers) sure do.

One assertion by some in organized medicine is that veterinarians are unified as opposed to bans on pet stores selling dogs, cats and rabbits. Actually, I suggest the reverse of that is true.  I’ve spoken on air with Dr. Adam Christman, chief veterinary officer at DVM 360/MJH Life Sciences (FETCH Veterinary Conferences) – like Dr. Varble, an undisputed leader in veterinary medicine – has helped to lead the charge quite successfully in New Jersey for that state to ban sales of dogs, cats and rabbits at pet stores. He tells me here on WGN radio.

Veterinary Professionals Against Puppy Mills began solely because individual veterinary professionals have been astounded that some of their associations support pet store sales, and therefore support puppy mills.

Dr. Dana Varble

Dr. Varble and I talk about the lack of transparency, as pet stores don’t want you to know where the animals are actually from. Even if they offer information, it simply may be untrue.

One defense in support of there being no need to ban pet store sales is that there is a lemon law in Illinois (and many other states), which indicates you can take the pet back. That might have worked 20 years ago because it was thought that is all that could be done. However, why return a sick animal to the pet store? What will happen to that animal if returned? Besides, people don’t want to return this beloved family member – companion animals are washing machines to be returned. In fact, by returning then, we’re teaching our children the wrong lesson.

Pandemic and Veterinary Visits

Some data does suggest routine veterinary care is on the decline because of the pandemic. We talk about the real issue of routine care, it is important. And missing vaccines is not only a real problem for animal health, but also potentially for human health. Rabies we no longer see in the U.S. solely because it’s the law to vaccinate, and the vast majority of people do it.  If that changes, potentially our health is at risk. Leptospirosis is a disease which can sicken people as well as pets.

Signs of Pain in Cats

September is Animal Pain Awareness Month and we discuss some of the MANY signs of pain in cats, in particular. You may be surprised at some of these signs of pain which we describe.

Dr. Robin Downing (a world renown expert of pain in companion animals) and I present a free Winn Feline Foundation webinar, For Me to Know and You Never to Find Out: Cats in Pain at 10 am (CT) as we take a deep dive into this topic. Register HERE.

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Steve Dale is a certified animal behavior specialist who has been a trusted voice in the world of pet health for over 20 years. You have likely heard him on the radio, read him in print and online, and seen him speaking at events all over the world. His contributions to advancing pet wellness have earned him many an award and recognition around the globe.

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