Though I’m a little late, I’m a forgiving sort, so I won’t be mad at myself for forgetting my blogiversary. June 4 marked five years of the SkeptVet Blog! The project has grown in so many ways. In the early days, I was excited to get fifty hits in a day, and in the last year it has been routine to get 800-1000 per day. Still small potatoes by Internet standards, but gratifying nonetheless. My goal has always been to provide a useful informational resource to pet owners and veterinarians, and to provide an alternative perspective on many therapies for which the only information on the internet is biased and unjustified marketing hype. The more people who know the blog is here, the more useful it is likely to be.
I have also expanded to discuss a much wider range of topics, even leaving the domain of alternative medicine more and more often. And in writing articles every week for five years, hopefully I have become a more effective communicator. I cringe when I look at the style and tone of some of my early posts, but I choose to view that as a good sign since it must mean I have grown and changed.
Writing this blog has provided me with opportunities to talk about evidence-based medicine more widely, to veterinarians and students and the general public, through my own lectures and presentations, writing opportunities, and interviews in the media. Hopefully, these activities will add an under-represented perspective, that of science and skepticism, to conversations within these communities about the best way to protect and restore health in our animal companions. I’ve never claimed to have all the answers, but I think I have some important and useful questions.
And writing this blog has certainly stimulated discussion and feedback. I have reviewed the negative comments before because I believe they are instructive in understanding the beliefs, values, and emotions that support pseudoscience and impede the effective use of science to improve veterinary medicine and animal health. But as an anniversary present to myself and those who find this project useful, I thought I’d review some of the positive feedback I’ve received. As well as being fun, this will help maintain the energy needed to keep going, which I fully intend to do. (All comments have been anonymized).
As a side note, another way to maintain this energy is going on vacation, which I will be doing starting this weekend. So activity, including responses to comments and emails, will be pretty light here for a few weeks. Never fear, I will keep up as best I can while I’m travelling, and I will dive back in with responses to your questions and comments and new articles with renewed vigor when I get back.
Finally, I offer a heartfelt “Thank you!” to all who have taken the time to provide supportive comments, questions or suggestions for topics to discuss, and thoughtful, substantive criticism. Your feedback does a great deal to neutralize the vacuous and angry responses a blog such as this inevitably draws and to maintain my faith in the possibility of civil, rational, fact-based discourse.
Thank you very much for taking the time to respond to my email and for providing a thoughtful response. .. Thank you for all the information you provide on your website as well.
Thank you. I asked my vet about XX again after I read your post…. I want to thank you for your honest “second” opinion before I started her on both meds. Knowing the possibility of “unknown” side effects makes me want to rethink…
Thank you very much for the information. .. Again, your advice is much appreciated in a difficult time for us.
I was very pleased the day I found your blog. You have excellent epidemiologic insight, which is rare among vets…. So, I applaud you for your post on media coverage of healthcare research.
Thank you so much for your timely response and thoughtful answers. I greatly appreciate you effort.
Thank you so much for your reply and the referenced article…Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my original email. I never expected to receive a reply, let alone a quick reply. The ACVIM Consensus Statement was extremely helpful.
I am so touched that you have replied so promptly and it is really fantastic to have such a well considered and scientifically based answer. Thank you very much, I truly appreciate it.
Thank you so much for your quick and detailed reply! I will be reviewing the links today. I so appreciate the work that you do and your personal reply to inquiries. I know that you receive a lot of negative feedback but I know there are also many, including myself, that appreciate your time, research, analysis and pragmatic consideration. As a pet owner who loves her dog, I of course am in search of anything that won’t harm but could be helpful beyond the standard of care that we will be doing. I try to do diligent research on any recommended unconventional treatments. Not just for my own dogs but when I am assisting in the treatment of patients at our hospital…This is something I take very seriously. Reviewing your information I hope will help me make the best, most informed decision…
I just wanted to thank you for your blog. I have training in research design and statistical methods, but not as a biologist or veterinarian. I always want to read peer-reviewed research when something is wrong with my dog, but don’t understand the medical terms. Your blog is really a godsend. Keep up the good work!
I had originally intended to reply…in a private e-mail with encouragement and praise for speaking up for the rest of us in the “silent majority.” Its a tough role to play and I continue to be impressed with your eloquence…Keep it up.
I’m so glad to see some common sense in the world. Your blog exposes a lot of the craziness which I really appreciate, especially coming from an MD background… It’s fascinating to me how quickly people gravitate towards alternative medicine, towards theories that sound magical and assume that they are just correct without any scientific evidence to back it up. Thanks for keeping it real!
I did try do my own review from primary literature, but I do not know the journals or the field at all, so your review was exactly what I was looking for, thank for that! My local vet now has a few extra facts to consider…As for the rest of your site, I enjoyed that too, and I’m very thankful that you take strong, and informed standpoints on CAM issues.
Good luck, and keep up the good work!
I wanted to drop a quick note to thank you for taking the time to post your thoughts and observations regarding various common and/or popular veterinary treatments…The net is long on anecdotes, short on science. Finding your blog has gone a long way towards filling the gap.
Just a quick thank you for your website and blog site. I’ve followed your sites for a while, and your citations to sources and reference materials are helpful in allowing me to share your information to family, friends, and our vets. The (sometimes) desperate urge to “do something” for our ailing pets clouds the minds of owners and vets alike, it seems. And some have a very hard time getting out the cloud.
First I wanted to thank you for posting your lecture, I shared it far and wide and hope that some of my colleges and friends were able to get what I was able to get out of it…Thank you for your response, your response far exceeded my expectations and I appreciate that.
You are doing a great service to pet companions of all stripes! we just struggled with putting down our beloved dogs in the past year, and the pressure to do all sorts of extraordinary but probably not effective treatments for them made it much more stressful.
Thank you so much for taking the time to reply! Your message has helped very, very much. We (pet people and their pets) are fortunate to have someone as thoughtful and generous as you are.
I’m new to your website as of today, came across it while searching for evidence-based information on dog food. What a great find! I completely appreciate your world view…Thank you for providing such a great source of well-researched and thought out information.
Just a quick note to tell you of my appreciation for you site. For years I have tried to educate my clients about the problematic proof supporting many of the alternative therapies other clinicians have been promoting… keep up the good work…
I appreciate your articles and perspectives. It’s so difficult to know how to best care for one’s pets in the face of so much contradictory information out there. .. Thanks so much!
Want to thank you for all of your efforts. Greatly appreciated and just hope that the folks who should be reading your site, somehow find it.
Thank you so much for your response. It is quite disheartening that there are so few veterinarians who are willing to speak out against organisations such as the American Council of Animal Naturopathy.
Skeptvet has superpowers It takes not only a extensive knowledge of vet medicine but the ability and time to put in writing that knowledge so others can understand the issues. I have seen other vets with extensive general small animal and human medicine knowledge. I have seen other vets that were great writers. But never a vet that had both knowledge with his ability to write. I find it difficult to believe only one person is at work here in this blog. It’s amazing what one person in the field of vet medicine is capable of accomplishing if they have the knowledge, training and dedication to do it.
Thanks for keeping it real, skeptvet, it’s frustrating to read some of the rants that occur here by those with an obvious ax to grind.
Skepvet, I’ve enjoyed the dialogue between yourself and dfg. I also appreciate your blog as source of information.
Thanks for the science-based common sense!
Thank you, Thank you !!! For writing such a clear, well documented and intelligent and thorough response and work.
Thanks for taking the time to compose this article…Your review was applicable and timely.
Hiya, just wanted to say and thanks. I’m getting a kitten and was considering a barf diet, but after doing my research, and coming across your site, I’m relieved to say I won’t be feeding my pedigree any raw food.
I just found this blog, and I’m so glad I did. There is way too much woo and pseudo-science out there for people who genuinely care about companion animals to wade through when trying to make informed choices on anything from medication and nutrition to training techniques.
Caveat emptor. Skeptvet, thank you for taking the time to elaborate. I found it helpful and I hope that others will as well.
Thank you for providing this valuable perspective.
I am still looking for the product I need. But, in the meanwhile I read your blog, loved it. Made perfect sense to me. And such a perfect way to confuse the writers, with fact.
Thanks for what you do generally, and specifically for providing a clear and reasonable overview of the literature on this issue. Like you and many others, I find the lack of quality controlled research here unfortunate
I am SO happy to have found your website! Will be following faithfully form now on. Thanks!!
Excellent blog post, as always, Skeptvet. Thank you for all you do.
Thank you again for producing this blog. I’m sharing this entry as part of my ethical duty to spread knowledge about the inefficacy of homeopathy.
Thanks for yet another well presented summary of the fallacies of magical thinking,
Thank you so much for this excellent summary based on SCIENCE.
Someone needs to stand up to faith masquerading as science, and people who would try to twist evidence to support their own agenda. Someone needs to hold the high ground when such people start flinging ad hominem abuse and sarcastic crap in defence of their idealism. But it’s so hard, and most of the time it’s a thankless task. I feel for you.
Thank you so much for offering a balanced view point of this.
Thanks for the facts. I trust a well argued appeal to reason and peer-reviewed evidence over the numerous emotional online sources decrying the substance.
Thank you thank you thank you ! The Dr. Dean Edell of veterinary medicine