Dr. John Robb, founder of the Protect the Pets movement, is a veterinarian for over 30 years and world famous almost overnight (more about that shortly). Dr. Robb attended the veterinary school at the University of California, Davis, in the early 1980s, followed by a one-year internship at a private practice in Connecticut, the New Haven Central Veterinary Hospital. Dr. Karen Becker’s interview with Dr. Robb sheds some light on his fight against profiteering and over-vaccination in veterinary medicine.
“It’s true I’ve come in the public eye more recently,” says Dr. Robb. “But honestly, I’ve been fighting to be a veterinarian my whole career. The drive profits in veterinary medicine has really become a problem, especially with the advent of companies like Veterinary Centers of America (VCA) and the Mars Company coming in and owning veterinary hospitals.
These are businessmen and businesswomen. These are people that want to make profits but don’t necessarily have the best interest of the pets involved. And unfortunately, the veterinary establishment, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) and other organizations, seem to be joining forces with them instead of putting their hands up and saying, ‘We have a problem here.'”
‘I’m Hurting My Patients With These Vaccines’
Like all veterinary students, Dr. Robb was taught in vet school that vaccines are good and prevent disease. But once he was a practicing DVM, he began to see vaccine side effects such as life-threatening anaphylaxis, as well as longer term vaccine-related disorders.
“I started to research on my own. I came across veterinarians who had been showing that vaccines caused a lot of serious side effects, including hemolytic anemia and cancer at the injection sites. I had a problem now. I’m a veterinarian, and I’m hurting my patients with these vaccines.”
Dr. Robb began changing the way he did things in his practice. For example, he lengthened intervals between vaccines, and lowered the does because it was clear to him that small pets couldn’t handle the same amount of vaccine as larger animals.
Increasingly, Corporations Dictate How Veterinary Medicine is Practiced
When he bought a Banfield Pet Hospital practice, Dr. Robb realized the franchise was very frequently over-vaccinating. So he put his own protocols in place, including “smaller dogs receive a lower volume,” and only one vaccine per visit. He also didn’t give all the vaccines the franchise recommended. Then Mars Petcare bought Banfield, and Dr. Robb explains what happened next:
“They basically came in and said, ‘Look, we want your franchise back. In fact, we’re buying all the franchises back. We control the doctors. We’re going to give you about a third of what it’s worth and you’re going to leave. Maybe you can go open up another hospital.’
I said, ‘I’m not going anywhere. I have 15 years left on my contract. You can’t tell me how to practice veterinary medicine, that’s my job, so get out.’ But they took my franchise anyway. They said if I didn’t go quietly, they would report me to the state board, because I was lowering my vaccine volume and they said it was against the law. And so they did. They reported me to the Connecticut State Board of Veterinary Medicine.”
Buck the System? You’ll Be Handcuffed & Taken to a Psych Ward
Mars/Banfield sent a letter to all 5,000 of Dr. Robb’s clients stating that their pets weren’t protected (immunized). So Dr. Robb contacted his clients as well, and recommended they have their pets titer tested to show they were protected. That’s when the situation really escalated.
“They put armed guards in front of all the PetSmarts in Connecticut,” Dr. Robb explains. (Banfields are located inside PetSmart stores.) “Two sets of armed guards, one paid for by PetSmart, and one paid for by Mars. They made a big scene and tried to blame it on me.”
The first time he attempted to visit his practice, Dr. Robb was handcuffed to a stretcher and taken to a psychiatric ward. The second time, he was arrested for handing out literature on titer testing to prevent his patients from over-vaccinating the dogs he had already titered and knew were protected.
“It ended up in federal court. They lied to the judge and said, ‘We were offering titers.’ They did everything they could to not do a titer. They injured so many pets, some died, because they revaccinated all of them. It was part of a cover-up. I was vaccinating correctly and they didn’t want anybody to see that their pets had immunity.
The fight with Mars was in front of the state veterinary board, who had copies of all the scientific articles I had collected on vaccines, because I provided them to them. They told me they didn’t care about science. These are veterinarians and they don’t care about science? They said I broke the law. Even if I have to kill my patients, I have to obey the law.”
A Movement to Return Morality to the Veterinary Profession
Dr. Robb has turned these unfortunate event into a meaningful change. He and his wife used their retirement savings to start the Protect the Pets movement in 2006. “It was never to make money,” says Dr. Robb, “but to bring morality back into veterinary medicine.”
Pet Parents Are Coming Forward to Tell Their Stories
Veterinarians have no legal obligation to report adverse reactions to vaccines, but pet parents are coming forward to tell their stories and driving this change, because they’ve had enough. Veterinarians like Dr. John Robb and Dr. Karen Becker are working to amend the rabies laws and bring morality back to a profession gone wrong where vaccines are concerned.
Become a Partner in the Protect the Pets Movement
“Even as we’re talking here today,” says Dr. Rob, “there are pets out there being injured, dying, and being given injections they don’t need. It’s happening right this minute, and there’s no time to waste. Lives depend on education, encouraging each other, and taking action steps such as contacting state legislators. You can look me up on Facebook, John Robb, for more information.”
You can also reach Dr. Robb at 203-731-4251, or contact him through his website. The first goal is to amend the existing rabies laws. There are 200 million pet parents and advocates, and 40,000 members of the veterinary establishment. As pet owners, we should be able to make decisions for animals in our care.
An Important Distinction: We’re NOT Anti-Vaxxers
It’s important to point out that we’re not anti-vaccines. There’s a huge difference between too many vaccinations and protective vaccinations. We’re not advocating never vaccinating your pet under any circumstances. We’re advocating the smart use of minimal vaccines to create immunity against disease in puppies and kittens, with follow-up titers for the lifetime of the pet. This is about the danger of over-vaccinating cats and dogs.
Some veterinary vaccines are substantially more toxic than others. It’s your job as your pet’s advocate to know enough about the subject to make the best decisions for your animal companion. And if your vet doesn’t respect your opinion and point of view, consider finding a new vet.
To learn more about Dr. John Robb, the Protect the Pets Movement, and Titer Testing as an alternative to vaccines, visit Dr. Becker’s website.