Dr. Andrew Jones, the Angry Saint of Alternative Veterinary Medicine

I’ve written a couple of times about Dr. Andrew Jones, a vet from Canada who makes his living selling alternative therapies and “veterinary secrets” online. Dr. Jones was once a practicing veterinarian, not just an online huckster and snake oil salesman. However, despite repeated warnings and fines from the regulatory authorities, he refused to stop making unfounded and illegal claims, drumming up business by claiming the rest of the veterinary profession were incompetent and greedy and suppressing “The Truth” about alternative therapies. Rather than abide by reasonable standards of respectful, professional behavior, he choose to surrender his license to practice medicine.

The ruling against him by the regulatory board sums up how Dr. Jones operated, and how he continues to conduct himself:

This Panel was dismayed, disheartened and discouraged by the extent to which the Respondent, Dr Andrew Jones, expresses a disparaging attitude towards his colleagues and his profession throughout his writings.

The Panel considered Dr Jones’ marketing material a serious example of his unprofessional behaviour in that his marketing material has an all pervading, persistent theme of denigrating other members of his profession in order to draw attention to himself. In his self-laudatory statements, Dr Jones’ constant harangues serve to throw the veterinary profession into disrepute.

Giving up his license undoubtedly freed him to fully indulge his primary marketing strategy, sowing fear and mistrust of science-based medicine in order to sell questionable alternatives and quackery. What is more, it allows him to portray himself as an altruistic “outsider” speaking truth to power and caring only for the welfare of animals and their human companions. He manages to put quite a self-serving spin on his legal troubles, casting himself as a martyr oppressed by malign forces out to crush alternative medicine.

Clearly the College of Veterinarians wants me to stop publishing on the Internet, especially alternative dog and cat health information…The profession loses as the College of Veterinarians has directed disproportionate resources towards prosecuting me, and further muzzled any current practicing Veterinarians who are inclined to speak out. Who wins? A small group of conservative Veterinarians who want to keep practicing Veterinary medicine conventionally, with no room for dissenting opinions.

Ultimately, someone has to make a stand, and I am frankly tired of The College of Veterinarians being the big Bully on the playground that no one is willing to stand up to.

As silly and disingenuous as this image is, it certainly resonates with his supporters, who are vehement, even hysterical in their response to any criticism of Dr. Jones. In a follow-up to my post about Dr. Jones, I shared some of the bizarre and childish comments from his defenders, including these gems:

This idiot must not have much to do, or the jam to say who he is. That makes him a weak minded, useless piece of dog poop!

What a spineless excuse for a human being.

a highly volatile dictatorial site run by a wannabe megalomaniac. A truly disturbed person with a anger management issue venting via their little site to their own personal herd of sycophants. I would dismiss them like a fly on your arm. Just troubled souls with no purpose.

Just another stooge for corporate interests such as big pharma

You are a lying scumbag…… eat dog shit and die !!!! you evil money monger !!!!

Certainly, Dr. Jones sets the tone on his site with his own persistent slurs on the veterinary profession. Posts like “Why I am ashamed to be a vet: a shocking expose of the profession” and “Bad Vets,” and his book, “Veterinary Secrets: How conventional veterinary medicine may be harming your pet and what you can do about it” illustrate his attack-dog marketing style, and the enormous ego it takes to decide that nearly the entire veterinary profession is ignorant or venal and only you and a select few know The Truth.

And for someone whose business model is founded on denigrating other veterinarians, Dr. Jones seems to have a fairly thin skin. His response to my first post about him ignored all the issues and simply whined about my supposed anonymity. And though that little kerfuffle was three years ago, apparently Dr. Jones still harbors some resentment.

He recently wrote a post entitled Scientific Evidence for Homeopathy. This is ludicrously misnamed since he actually avoids scientific evidence almost entirely. I have reviewed the research on homeopathy in detail, documenting the case against it, responding in careful detail to the poor evidence presented to defend it. Dr. Jones ignores all of this, instead choosing to mention one medical institution that has bought into homeopathy, cite one research study (which has been critically reviewed and shown not to be reliable), and finally fall back on the refuge of quacks through the ages—personal anecdotes.

I noticed this post when it came out, mostly because Dr. Jones used a screenshot of a post from this blog to illustrate the science-based view of homeopathy. In the piece, Dr. Jones disparagingly refers to the majority of scientists and the medical profession, including myself, who acknowledge the failure of homeopathy in scientific tests as “so called torch bearers of ‘evidence based whatever’” and suggests that rather than warn the public that homeopathy is quackery we “sip on some soothing chamomile tea.”

Despite the reference to my blog, I didn’t see any reason to respond to the post since nothing of substance was said, and I’ve answered these sort of vacuous clichés many times. However, a reader subsequently pointed out a little detail I’d missed which I thought nicely illustrated the reality behind Dr. Jones’ carefully crafted image. Though he casts himself as altruistic and noble, standing up against the bullies, cynics, and hateful stooges of industry, occasionally little windows open up in this saintly façade. In this case, Dr. Jones couldn’t help but express his real feelings when he captured and named the screenshot of my blog:

http://www.theinternetpetvet.com/wp-content/……asshole.png

Though it’s been three years since I wrote about Dr. Jones, and despite his own “persistent theme of denigrating other members of his profession in order to draw attention to himself…in his self-laudatory statements,” Dr. Jones apparently still harbors some pretty personal anger about the criticisms of him I have made, and he expresses this in as silly and unprofessional a manner as the supporters I quoted above.

Dr Jones likes to characterize those who criticize his nonsense or his method of promoting it as angry, threatened, or somehow acting on malign personal motives. In the past, Dr. Jones characterized my criticism as expressing “a strong dislike” of him. This is merely a projection of his own narcissism. I have no personal feelings about Dr. Jones, and his claims and actions do not directly affect me in any way, neither personally nor professionally. I believe he is either deluded or dishonest in many of his claims, such as the claim that homeopathy has any therapeutic value. And I believe pet owners and our animal companions would be better off if he were not spreading misinformation on the internet. But he has the right to spread it, just as I have the right to identify it as the nonsense it is.

If Dr. Jones chooses to claim publically that science-based veterinary medicine is useless or harmful and that other veterinarians are misguided or venal, and he does so in order to sell his own products, he ought to expect some criticism. If he really believes in what he is peddling, he would be far more successful in defusing this criticism by backing up his claims with real evidence, rather than making silly, snide comments about “evidence-based whatever” and sneaking grade-school insults into his posts.

 

 

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5 Responses to Dr. Andrew Jones, the Angry Saint of Alternative Veterinary Medicine

  1. v.t. says:

    Not only is Jones still delusional, it appears he is also suffering from the burning stupids.

    Most conditions that quacks propose homeopathy for, are already self-limiting conditions, so very easy for them to proclaim miracles. Duh, Jones! Your so-called personal anecdotes prove nothing.

    The naming of the image is just another of Jones’ sore loser tactics.

  2. ilovemyweenie says:

    I’m not a doctor, or a vet, nor do I play either on TV, but it seems that this fellow needs to see one–preferable one who specialized in mental health. I have had to sever a couple of “friendships” over very similar behavior, so I wonder if there isn’t a cluster of conspiracy-type behaviors that really do constitute some type of illness? This is not meant to denigrate mental health or treatment in any way. I wish these people would seek help for their rather delusional ideas. My friends were nice people, but their rantings and suspicions of all things “mainstream” became too much to endure.

  3. ilovemyweenie says:

    preferably–not preferable (I think autocorrect does that!–now who is suspicious?)

  4. Dr. Jaimie Johnston says:

    Wow. Agree to disagree and let it be.

    I live in an area where people LOVE their pets – yet have little knowledge about how to care for them. When someone has financial constraints – they don’t take their pet to the DVM regularly – if at all. Thus – they have few good resources of healthcare and maintenance information. Sadly, its the innocent ones who suffer the most; the dog didnt chose the situation it’s in.
    Dr.Jones’s work – at least helps to fill this need. I assume you dearly care for all animals – and hope that you can acknowledge that many live in pain or suffer because of a lack of healthcare access and informed owners. Destitute people cling to their pets in less than perfect situations; I don’t see that changing in significant numbers.
    With that said, it would be awesome to have more resources of veterinary health information provided in layman’s terms.
    In human medicine – we give out advice and teach all day in all mediums and in all subjects. I have often wished DVM’s did the same. I think its better now than 30 years ago… but its still not as ‘out there’ as human medicine. Compliance is always an issue I get it – and I also respect that ‘DIY vet care’ has higher risks – as the owner doesnt feel the pain. But we’re never going to get 100% compliance with office visits.
    In my heart, I think some care is better than no care. And – if I can get an owner providing the ‘some care’ – I’ve made progress – because now the animal has their attention for its basic health needs. It is a step in the right direction – and may be the only step taken.

    I would love to have another YouTube channel from a DVM – filled with sound advice that seeks to fill the gaps. Please, provide us with YouTube videos that you feel are safe for pet owners. I find that a 3 min video is a quick way to instruct and demonstrate – thus great to share with pet owners.
    An example- the one I post free flyers about is heat stroke. Many people believe that ‘he’s laying down & not even panting – he’s OK”. Then they want to submerge him in an icey bath.
    You are in practice – so you can get footage – with consent naturally. Please PLEASE share with us what you see. “This dog has distemper and this is what it looks like – this is what is causing it – this what the dog is feeling – and this what the outcome will be. Prevent this – vaccinate your puppy!” Its a STRONG message.
    I live in an impoverished ex-steel town. Not many readers here – so videos are excellant.

    We REALLY need good sound pro-active veterinary guidance – and not just “take it to the vet” – again I get the wisdom there – but it aint happening far too often.
    People NEED to be informed and maybe scared enough to comply. They dont SEE what you see daily – until its too late. Consequently, they make bad decisions. So – show it to them. You are in a position to provide that level of education to the public – don’t be shy about it. Some care is better than no care – and it is a step in the right direction for the comfort of so many innocents. People are horrified at the sight of an ailing animal – its a powerful tool – and one that perhaps needs used more often.

    Publically ripping on another’s work doesn’t look good dearest doctor. Sorry. Its a bad message – perhaps a hasty emotional one. Raise the bar – present the challenge as the professional of excellant caliber you are: ”without DVM care – this condition progresses to THIS” – and then show the public. Isn’t that your true intention here?

    Be well.
    Dr. Jaimie Johnston, BSN, RN, DAc, LAc, CAA

  5. skeptvet says:

    I think you’ve skillfully missed the point here. Dr. Jones lost his license not for giving advice for free but, as you put it, for “ripping” the work of other vets. He promotes himself by claiming that mainstream medicine is venal and misguided. He then provides advice which is often simply false or misleading. This is not “good pro-active veterinary guidance” but someone proclaiming themselves to be better than their peers and then misleading the public with bad advice. This is not the solution to the barriers between people and high-quality medical care for their pets, and anyone who cares for animals should feel obligated to criticize such behavior.

    If you read the rest of the blog, you will find plenty of guidance and advice, though I’m not much of a filmmaker, so videos aren’t my forte.

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