Last summer, I was asked to take over the Evidence-based Medicine Column (previous the Alternative Medicine Column) in the trade magazine Veterinary Practice News from Dr. Narda Robinson. This was an excellent opportunity to illustrate the principles and techniques of evidence-based medicine in action, evaluating specific medical practices and discussing general issues related to EBM. Some of these columns will cover alternative therapies, but many focus on conventional medical therapies as well, since I have always advocated evaluating all therapies by the same, science-based standards. I will keep a running collection of links to these columns here as each becomes available to the public, as well as occasionally posting those with content that hasn’t appeared here before. Enjoy!
A new perspective on evidence-based medicine
July 27, 2017
Cannabis-based remedies lack reliable clinical evidence for veterinary use
August 9, 2017
Pros, cons of surgical sterilization, neutering options for females
September 14, 2017
Surgical sterilization, neutering options for male cats, dogs
November 21, 2017
Yunnan baiyao for patients with hemorrhage, neoplasia
December 11, 2017
Probiotics and today’s pets
January 10, 2018
Why do we run diagnostic tests?
February 7, 2018
Pheromones’ therapeutic use in animals
March 14, 2018
Evidence-based Medicine is Key in Achieving Ethical Clinical Practice
April 17, 2018
Lysine: A therapeutic zombie?
May 16, 2018
Is tramadol an effective analgesic for dogs and cats?
June 26, 2018
What is a placebo?
July 10, 2018
Uses, evidence, and safety for laser therapy.
August 16, 2018
Assessing claims of vaccine-induced ITP, IMHA
August 29, 2018
Is cancer increasing in dogs and cats?
October 2, 2018
Responses to the virtual mailbag
What is screening and is it beneficial?
Debating raw diets
January 2, 2019
Is there a gold-standard test for adverse food reactions?
February 14, 2019
Is banning “artificial” ingredients based on fear or science?
March 1, 2019
Asymptomatic Bacteriuria- To Treat or Not to Treat?
March 28, 2019
The Veterinary Antivaccine Movement
May 22, 2019
Vegan and Vegetarian Diets for Dogs and Cats
June 24, 2019
A Conclusion on Cannabis?
July 30, 2019
Canned or Dry Food: What’s Better for Cats?
August 22, 2019
Debating Raw Diets
September 9, 2019
Healing with Acupuncture
October 8, 2019
The efficacy of metronidazole
November 1, 2019
Veterinary Homeopathy: Why Are We Still Talking About This?
November 22, 2019
Do pulsed electromagnetic field devices offer any benefit?
January 2, 2020
Is Keto Kind to Pets?
January 28, 2020
Are ACE inhibitors effective in treating heart disease?
February 26, 2020
The efficacy of metronidazole.
March 2, 2020
Early or delayed neutering? What to tell clients
March 27, 2020
From the Trenches: How life has changed since COVID-19
April 23, 2020
Fecal Microbiome Testing
May 7, 2020
What Conditions Might Benefit from Platelet-Rich Plasma Treatment?
May 31, 2020
A closer look at popular pet food myths… and why they are just that
June 2, 2020
Is glucosamine effective for treating osteoarthritis?
July 27, 2020
Acupuncture—A sticking point among veterinary professionals
September 10, 2020
New tools to help make evidence-based clinical decisions
September 16, 2020
Conflicts of interest in narrative reviews can be especially problematic (Diet-associated heart disease in dogs)
September 29, 2020
COVID pandemic exposes science denial—even in veterinary medicine
October 29, 2020
Veterinary chiropractic: A Friend or Foe to Your Patients? (VPN+)
November 18, 2020
Neutering: The risks and benefits in the context of breed, sex, and age.
December 29, 2020
Should veterinarians adhere to scientific standards for acceptable practice?
February 11, 2021
Cannabis products continue to rise in popularity, but is there proof they work?
March 9, 2021
Where does gabapentin fit in pain control?
April 13, 2021
Pre-anesthetic fasting: What’s the right number?
Vaccine questions and resistance
June 2, 2021
Current Lifespan Patterns in Dogs (.pdf)
June 3, 2021
The Process of Aging
August 6, 2021
Tummy troubles: Empirical treatment of acute vomiting
September 20, 2021
How do Fresh Food Diets Compare to their Commercial Cousins?
November 4, 2021
Why research can be so satisfying.
November 16, 2021
Risks and Treatments Surrounding Cancer
December 3, 2021
What does the evidence say about feline fitness and dog aerobics?
February 1, 2022
Genes, environment, and DNA sequence.
February 8, 2022
Revisiting the world of canine raw diets
March 1, 2022
When in doubt, cut it out! But by how much?
April 13, 2022
Learn the Truth about Carbs and Cats
May 26, 2022
Does Music have a Calming Effect on Pets?
June 28, 2022
With the alphabet soup of certifications veterinarians add behind their degrees, I have not seen the cVMA and would like to know what it means.
It stands for “certificate in Veterinary Medical Acupuncture.” Since I am quite skeptical of acupuncture and critical of many of the claims made about it, I elected to take a certification course run by Dr. Narda Robinson at CSU so that I could honestly say I had thoroughly and fairly considered the arguments and and evidence presented by defenders of the practice. I blogged the experience of the course here, and while it didn’t do much to change my views on the subject, it was an interesting exploration of a controversial topic.
I noticed Veterinary Practice News pulled the controversial online Dr Poll article written by a lawyer. I thought it was well written and very informative. Probably their most important article with maybe the exception of your articles. Good luck.
I find it suspect that this article omitted any mention of the studies done in regards to long term benefits of OS procedure.
If you read the article, you will note that I specifically said I wasn’t going to talk about risks and benefits of spaying in general because 1200 words is barely enough space to talk about the evidence regarding the differences between the specific procedures. I have addressed the debates about whether and when to spay in detail elsewhere. For example:
This collection of all my articles on neutering.
My detailed review of the research evidence on risks and benefits of neutering
A good prospective randomized study would be take litters of lab pups. Spay 1/3 of them Leave 1/3 of them intact and start 1/3 of them on Cheque drops (mibolerone) and follow them out. My guess is there might already be prospective randomized trials that compare spay vs Cheque drops that were done just before upjohn almost released this drug in dog food thirty years ago. I tried to find such studies on the internet with no luck. Who ever owns Upjohn now might have them if they exist. Since most animals, human nurses included,
seem to live longer with their ovaries it would be interesting to see the results of these studies
human doctors thought a few years back human ovaries should go also.
Now that there are no male stray dogs sitting in your front yard when your dog comes in heat the reason most of my clients want their dog spayed is to avoid blood on the bed sheets twice a year. In most of the free world, except the usa, vets have a shot they can give dogs to keep them out of heat. If studys have been done to see what’s safer spay or the shot(suprelorin) I have not seen them. Suprelorin for dogs have been coming soon to the usa for over a decade. Not sure of the politics behind that. The reason given why the fda would not allow mibolerone in the dog food was because a study showed a lot of humans eating dog food.
I find it both terrifying that an ever-growing segment of the population automatically considers anyone who calls themselves a “skeptic” to be negative, suspect, evil, hostile to them personally (as opposed to unwilling to instantly swallow whole whatever their particular cherished belief) or any combo of the above. If the goal of education in the last several decades was to encourage critical thinking, it has failed dismally.
Then we have online definitions such as: “Sometimes people are skeptical just because they don’t believe something, in spite of scientific evidence.” I wouldn’t call such people skeptical, I’d call them anti-skeptical –determined to hang on to beliefs despite proof to the contrary.
Or a site that apparently explains: “why people are negative, pessimistic and skeptical,” which again paints skeptics as bad.
I prefer (credited to Steven Novella): “A skeptic is one who prefers beliefs and conclusions that are reliable and valid to ones that are comforting or convenient, and therefore rigorously and openly applies the methods of science and reason to all empirical claims, especially their own.”
Why are people so scared of evidence-based ideas? I’m having to get a new physician (mine retired) and was startled to see in one bio that the doc “favors evidence-based medicine.” The fact that a physician finds it necessary to spell this out is appalling, though I assume it weeds out those who would waste his time seeking homeopathy, de-toxing, “cleansing,” and all the other ludicrous snake oils of today. I’ve spent my life in science, as a vocation & avocation, and cannot understand why so many are determined to navigate the realities of life using utter nonsense as their guides. Or why they become deranged when someone tries to provide a some evidence-based facts. Makes me despair of the future…and the near present, for that matter.
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