Category Archives: Industry and Trending

Doc Johnson Do You Take Pet Insurance?

Doc Johnson, Do You Take or Provide Pet Insurance?

If it benefits the customer without hurting me, it would (on my side of the counter) smooth out the ‘seasonality’ of veterinary medicine and spread out the customer’s expenses.  But to be honest, it also means running a great big ‘receivables’ account and chasing people around who miss their premium? If you have ideas that work for everyone in this equation outside of the following, please share.

I am always considering how to do it, if it benefits me AND the customer. But so far it profits the vets and takes advantage of the customers:

The short answer isn’t short, and occurs in two parts.

Continue reading Doc Johnson Do You Take Pet Insurance?

Covid 19: How a 3 Week Lockdown Could Stop the Pandemic

Covid 19: Why, and interestingly HOW a 3 Week Lockdown Could Impact the Pandemic

First, this is a little bit like some Liberal College Students saying “The US should pay for free college educations and free health care” (Not thinking about whether it’s actually even possible.)

So when I mention a 3 week total lock-down for a 99% reduction in virus transmission  – and a hard-stop to the pandemic….I realize that’s never happening because many Americans are thinking: “I’m too young to die from Covid, so…. Who’s going to the beach with me?”

But. If we all went indoors for three weeks – -the virus would infect no more people. While we were all hiding indoors, people at home or in the hospital who are infected with the virus would die or get well (they’re doing that anyway) and at the end of three weeks we’d walk out into a nation where everyone’s either OVER it, or UNinfected.

The following video is NOT banging the “lockdown drum” at all. It’s just an EASY education on how pandemics work and can be managed. Extremely useful.

>> COVID3 >>

Please watch this video on Youtube.

How To Get Medicines Online Without a Prescription

How To Get Medicines Online Without a Prescription

Key points: You’re not encouraged to do this because you may get dangerous or illegal compounds. You could be included in a ‘situation’ when and if these online pharmacies are plundered by the authorities. You’re giving your credit card information to “this kind” of people. Past that, this is not a recommendation but instead, an illustration of what I’ve always said: Online Pharmacies are like the ‘kiddie-pool’ version of real pharmacies.

I’ve always maintained that online Pet Pharmacies are a bunch of stoned clowns sitting in a sweaty warehouse somewhere in Florida. Maybe there’s a real pharmacist working from home, with some Bolivian license and nothing to lose. They sure aren’t LOOKING at the prescriptions.

I went online and bought a pack of heartworm pills from the biggest shots and Pet Medicine vendor out there. No prescription, on Autofill.

I called my dog “Diabetes Boy”, and in the field for: “Last heart worm test” I entered “POSITIVE” and no shots.  Surely this real, “person” pharmacist will read this signalment and kick it out or raise an alarm*.


That was in September and I got a prescription authorization to approve at the time of the order. It was checkboxes. You could give them YOUR fax number and handle that yourself, they don’t care. I simply didn’t respond and waited. I honestly figured that would be the end of it. Salute: ‘Job well done’, online Pharmacy! You surprised me!

It’s March. My order charged out, and shipped. I have a box of Heartguard from France.

What happens, is that the Autofill is not overseen by anyone either. That so-called “pharmacist” who never looked at the prescription authorization to begin with, never noticed “Heartworm positive, no shots”, or the name “Diabetes Boy” and then the autoship triggers automatically at 6 months.

And the thing is, that’s not using a fraudulent prescription or doing something wherein you share culpability in ‘tricking‘ the pharmacy. That’s just legit pharmacy law violation of the highest order.

I wonder if those clowns would autofill Codeine or something really dangerous? So, sure you’d have to wait 6 months to start getting your prescription medications shipped without a doctor’s visit or prescription, but once it was rolling…..think an actual “person” would ever even look, or care?

I’m sure NOT.


*All documentation can be provided to your legal counsel. I’m going to make the investigation into your own quality control cost you something.

*I’m going to try and buy a tylenol-containing therapeutic / medication or perhaps a dog-only flea control for my cat (fatal if given) and see if the “pharmacist” even kicks that out. Remember, I’m not doing this as “me” (a veterinarian). I’m doing this as a regular customer without announcing myself. Just “Erik Johnson” from my home address.

Can you imagine if you could just order some heart medicine for yourself that you guess you need, at the HUMAN pharmacy and they’d just try and get authorization from some fax machine you give them?  Yeah, that’s how it works in pet medicine.


Various images from Garden State Koi Seminar in North Carolina

So I was invited to speak at Blue Ridge Fish Hatchery in Kernersville North Carolina. The event was organized by Thomas Smith at Gardenstatekoi and hosted in large part by Blue Ridge. And as always, I had a great time.
Tom and the gang at Gardenstate, Jess, Tim, Fred, Zac, and Aaron, Kirsten, Casey, Josh, a guy named ‘Timmy Tots’ and all the guys at Blue Ridge Koi (and especially one of their fisheries employees Amanda) are wonderful and so hard working.
I collected a mess of images but that’s nothing compared to some of these folks!  Paul Cuffaro (Youtube influencer and animal lover) was at the majority of the event and probably got the most-best video of the farm as anybody. I don’t see it posted yet (It’s the day after the event) but I’m sure editing takes time. Here’s Paul’s channel.
blue ridge koi farm blueridgekoi dr johnson wet lab class kernersville nc koi farm
erik johnson podcast
Blue Ridge shared their anesthesia mix. I have to qualify a few things but for those of the attendees who wanted to write it down: Here it is.
pod cast
I didn’t MEAN to get Koi. In fact I declined twice being a “good boy” and not wanting to feed the herons any more fish. Then I remembered I had a 1,500 gallon indoor facility.
This cute little centerpiece at the barbecue place we ate at on Monday evening.
erik johnson podcast
Sometimes you can find these half wheel iron sculptures and they go well on top of some wooden arches to define a space, like around an outdoor bonfire.
pod cast
To show us what and how, in the harvest of fish, Randy and Rick arranged for a pond to be seined. So we got to see how that’s done, and we got to see how the fish looked among the premiums.
I’m no fan of Moultrie Feeders, in fact, I don’t like them at all. I believe it’s a company just bringing in Chinese product and pushing it out there. But what’s the alternative? THESE. Texas Hunter. Good enough for Blue Ridge? Good enough for me.
erik johnson podcast
I snapped this because I never thought about making a “bead” filter in a 55 gallon drum but the pattern here gives it away. Not under pressure, but with floating media this makes good sense. I’mma try it at the house I think.
pod cast
Just one of a hundred or more “vats” in firberglass, wood and polyurethane, or concrete block containing hundreds of thousands of fish farm wide. These were Shubunkins.
I snagged this image to remind myself, outdoor tanks that need insulation can be sprayed with it. I never thought of it.
erik johnson podcast
On the bus that carried the group from farm to farm and to lunch and dinner. What fun!
pod cast
This water fall just fills a ‘sump’ of bio blocks under the gravel, making it a “pondless” installation. Pretty. Easy too.
The actual title of the seminar I was with. I spoke on water quality including hazes and healthy water in retail. Also taught a wet lab.
erik johnson podcast
When you go to a Brazilian Steak House they give you a chip that you can put down “red” to say “I’m good now” and “green” means “put meat on my plate” and MAN IT WAS GOOD. Leblon Brazilian Steak House
pod cast
My Swift FM-31 Field Scope. All set up.



Leveraging Illness to Profit With Intent

There is a fish in the ocean called a Cleaner Wrasse, and it is trusted by numerous, amazing kinds of fish to remove disease causing organisms from them.

This cleaner fish does not want anything, it doesn’t hope for fish to get ill, and it doesn’t complicate the relationship. It’s simply “makes a living“ whenever a fish with a health problem shows up. That’s it. Not complicated.

Doctors on the other hand, are a little different.

It used to be that doctors were “individuals”in small towns with a reputation and a good name. Their kids went to school with other kids. They were accountable to the community. What they did reflected on them for better or worse.

Until in 1960, the Supreme Court ruled that corporations could own the doctors.

This broke that bond between the doctor, those things like ‘reputation’ and ‘accountability’ in the community, because the corporations were solely profit motivated.

Behaviors, marketing practices, standards of care, and the “requirements“ of customers who were about to receive care were suddenly determined by non-doctors with long-distance last names, and reputations, who could hide behind, (and blame the mercenary nature of their behavior on) the “shareholders“.
They say: “I personally would never do this, it is mercenary and extortionist, but “the shareholders“ demand a profit on their stock investments.“

That cop-out has been used since the advent of “corporate“ structure.

Some of us remember when Union Carbide destroyed the lives of tens of thousands of people in Bhopal, India.

The cost cutting and deferred maintenance that led to that disaster; while certainly they were decisions made by a couple of key people, that stained legacy does not follow their family-name and their kids, it ended with the corporation. Their individual unethical and even criminal decisions and poor choices no longer reflect on them morally, but they should.

So, where am I going with this?

Veterinary medicine has taken the same turn, because now, veterinarians are increasingly “employee“ and they get cornered by corporate practice to do things that they may or may not think are “in the best interest of the pet.“
Like mandatory bloodwork before they can attempt a surgery in a terminally ill patient. Two views on all radiology even when the penny is obviously in the stomach or the fracture is non-comminuted-transverse and you’re referring: STILL the extra $100 for the second view.
Essentially, the establishment of ridiculous “minimum database“ items that mandate more spending before an appropriate treatment can be instituted.

This experience that I had while practicing in corporate-medicine sums it up perfectly:

An owner might (did) call up and tell me that their cat had a tapeworm. There is a dewormer that controls *all* intestinal nematodes and cestodes. I could have given the cat that pill, and know “for a fact” that it no longer had an intestinal worm of any kind. That’s far more “certain” than any test!!

However, in that particular corporation, I was unable to even dispense that tablet until I had entered the #SKU for a complete physical exam, and a fecal analysis. Only then, did the dialog box for the tablet open up.

That client, unknowingly, ended up spending at least $75 more than they needed to, because someone in Arizona figured out a way to make veterinarians over-practice, and oversell.

I was ‘done’ with corporate veterinary medicine in less than a year. I’d seen enough.

Copyright Trolling by Higbee and Associates

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

It Hurts His Self Esteem When You Tell Your Dog “NO”

Current thought on dog training is never to tell your dog NO.

If he’s savaging a small child, you have to WAIT TIL HE ISN’T and then reward the STOPPING – not scold or discipline the ATTACKING –  because that would negatively impact his stress level and his self-esteem.

Peeing on the floor? Settle in and discuss his actions, help him understand how that impacts others –  DO NOT TELL HIM “NO” – What you do according to some current thoughts and studies is REWARD the “not doing the bad thing”.

Never, EVER tell your dog “No”

It’s better for a dog’s self esteem and future relationships.

When he’s done pooping or peeing on your floor, or tearing up the cushions on your sofa WAIT UNTIL HE STOPS AND REWARD THE STOPPING. Otherwise he could develop ‘daddy issues’.

Think I’m kidding? Read This

Our ancestors did not understand the fragility of a dog’s self esteem and would sometimes protect their children from attacking dogs with towels and umbrellas – further aggravating a dog’s maladjustment.


Heart-Wrenching Study Shows Why You Really Shouldn’t Yell at Your Dog


Veterinary Medicine 2029

Veterinary Medicine of the Future: 2029

In 2029 veterinary medicine will be very different than it is today. In some ways it will be better. In some ways it will be much worse. The “general practitioner” will be gone, so services will be concierge or a la carte from several sources as the market gets fragmented more and more.

  1. To get your shots, (and I know you think I’m kidding) but you’ll be driving to the nearest Autozone parking lot, or Walmart.
  2. Spay & Neuter: Cut rate spay neuter clinics
  3. For a mildly sick dog, you will take him to Walgreen’s, or to Blue Pearl.
  4. For emergencies, Blue Pearl again.
  5. For sick dogs and very sick dogs, you’ll take him to Blue Pearl.

Fact is, Blue Pearl aka Mars Animal Health is going to dominate by 2029 and that’s a VERY bad thing, except they won’t be able to capture the vaccine market from Walmart and Autozone / Waffle House.

And they won’t be doing spays and neuters, either, because for that, you’ll have to drive to a bad part of town and have it done at a “Spay Neuter Clinic” by veterinarians that are, hopefully, licensed to practice in the United States WITHOUT supervision from a US Licensed vet. (Again, you think I’m exaggerating but it’s already happening in Marietta, Georgia.)

So long, family vet.

Within the next 5 to 10 years veterinary medicine will have changed drastically. Or maybe to some people, just a little bit.

By 2029 – A full 99% of veterinarians will be employees. Either as employees of a larger corporation such as Mars Animal Health, or employees in the actual clinics. Meaning, salary expectations for veterinarians will be $50,000-$100,000 less than if you went to school in the ’80s. The number and caliber of applicants to veterinary school will naturally decline in favor of more solvent careers, but that’s OK because most of these veterinarians will be going out into corporate jobs where decision-making isn’t really even in their wheelhouse anymore.

REASON: Corporate veterinary medicine will prevail by year 2029 according to experts, and in corporate veterinary medicine, the veterinarian simply checks off items on an exam, enters bloodwork values into a computer and get a rule out list that specifies what they are to test next. Their diagnostic algorithm is specified as a “minimum database” which excludes things like “instinct ” and valuable “experience“ leaving you in the hands of the corporation that actually programs the diagnostic and therapeutic algorithms that go in the computer.

I recall working for a veterinary corporation wherein I was not even able to choose the suture material I would use to close the skin. We couldn’t even enter a deworming into the computer until we had put in a complete office call at full price, plus a fecal exam. Even though dewormers exist that treat all intestinal parasites.

These veterinary corporations won’t be doing many surgeries, however; because at the same time as they are taking over the role of diagnostic-veterinarian, veterinary surgeries are going down the street to low-cost spay-neuter clinics as if pet overpopulation and roaming animals with a thing anymore. In some metropolitan areas rescue organizations are fighting over dogs that they can rescue. North Shore animal league in Long Island doesn’t have enough animals they fly them in from all over the country (Good on ’em!).

So your 2029 surgical options are likely to be limited to cut-rate employee veterinarians that earned their licenses in the Caribbean, India, can only practice with supervision* in the United States, and/or low-cost spay neuter clinics with substandard cleanliness and surgical gear.

*Tens of thousands of veterinarians from Eastern Bloc countries were out of work after the Berlin wall came down and can’t get licensed in the US. So they’ve come to the US and work as veterinary technicians, and they can perform veterinary surgeries AS LONG AS they’re supervised by a licensed veterinarian, AND the licensed veterinarian puts his or her license on the line for the performance of said surgeries. It’s happening in Marietta GA at low cost spay neuter clinics already.

Let’s say that you would “never use a low-cost spay neuter clinic“… Yes you will, if the more of the public puts the general practitioner out of business on these surgeries leaving mainly low cost spay neuter clinics LOL.

I’m not whining because I’m a one-person practice but in 1999 I was doing 10-12 spays or neuters per full business day and now I do one or two, in 2020. Again, I’ll be FINE. As a one-person practice, I’m payroll-lean. I don’t have 5 veterinarians on payroll leaning on counters waiting for clients.

To make matters worse, the vaccine healthcare discipline is going to stop happening in general practice offices, it’s already going down the street to Waffle House parking lots, real-estate offices (not-kidding)* and festival tents at Pep Boys.

*Proceeds benefit the veterinarian giving the shots. Go figure.

Card-table veterinarians under the auspices of companies like Shot vet, setting up weekend clinics with notoriously subpar recordkeeping, warm and expired vaccine, veterinarians that can’t hold a regular job, but at half the price of the regular veterinarian with a competent staff*, soon your best if not only option for vaccine is going to be in a parking lot.

*At walk-up shot clinics you hold your own animal and examinations are minimal.

Walmart and some of the other big shopping stores are opening minute clinics for veterinary services like lacerations and vomiting. Vaccinations and other veterinary essentials being performed by veterinary employees. You can bet these people really care about what they do on a Walmart salary. Giving shots but having to refer just about everything else. And again, in corporate veterinary medicine you basically do what corporate says, “thinking outside the box” could get the corporation sued, so it is frowned upon. I was literally told “not to do it at all, or check with me first!” by Charles Biersdorf at Petsmart.

If your experience or instincts say skip a step, or use something different, that leaves the corporation open for lawsuits and that is not happening. You will do as they say. I could not abide that and left corporate medicine after nine months there.

“Thinking outside the box” could get the corporation sued, so it is frowned upon. I was literally told “not to do it at all, or check with me first!” by Charles Biersdorf at Petsmart.

Diagnostics, are soon going to come at a very high price because the general practitioner will no longer be brought to bear on a vomiting dog, a dog with seizures, spinal problems or a dog with a significant laceration. Currently, corporations are advertising with items like “laser, CT scan, MRI imaging” not because these items are particularly useful from day-to-day, but they create the image of highly advanced technologies that could be brought to bear to save your pet.

Would you be more inclined to take your pet to a clinic that touts: “Now using the latest in magnetic resonance imaging MRI” or a clinic that says “We can make Xrays”     Seriously. It’s cool. But does it matter? 

So the general practitioner is naturally passed over for these more advanced diagnostics until too late, the client realizes that a $1800 test could have yielded the results the same as a $300 test. Why didn’t they tell you?

With a $100,000 machine to pay for, do you think that diagnostic is going to factor into “every possible case work-up”? You bet!

Veterinary forecast future industry 2029


CT and MRI Advanced Imaging, Does It Really Matter?

Does Veterinary CT or MRI really matter too much, besides the corporate financial ‘bottom line?’ What can the normal client do with most intracranial* results gained from a $1800-$2400 test?

Here’s what it boils down to:

Would you be more inclined to take your pet to a clinic that touts: “Now using the latest in magnetic resonance imaging MRI” or a clinic that says “We can make Xrays”     Seriously. It’s cool. But does it matter? 


CT scans for pet


*”MRI and CT are for MORE than just intracranial imaging” Really? Exactly WHAT can you diagnose with MRI or CT that you can’t diagnose for a fraction of the cost in real-time with a competent, experienced radiograph and US? (For $700/both versus $1800 for one?)

Please understand, I’m BUYING an MRI and a CT machine for my clinic. I’ll have them by the end of 2021. I mean, they won’t WORK, will probably be military surplus from 1975 and will stay in their crates….and that’s okay because none of my clients (hardly ANY clients anywhere) actually NEED an MRI or a CT scan but if I’m going to keep my clients with Blue Pearl down the street making a big deal out of their deep-pockets imaging, I’m going to have to be able to put on my window: “On site MRI” and “On site CT Scan”. It will LITERALLY mean as much (actually as little) to the health of my patients as it will to theirs.

Necessary? No. I’d like to hear one case where CT or MRI “saved the day” for a pet. Diagnosed it? YES. Aided legitimate treatment? Nope*. 

Good for appearances? Yes, according to corporate marketing weasels. 

*There will NEVER be a time when I couldn’t send the cases to Dr Boozer and she couldn’t figure it out with an Ultrasound or Echocardiogram, or send to Dr Filer who couldn’t fail dope it out with a simple Xray or Myelogram for at least half the expense, time, tubing, and twice the accuracy.

But those tests aren’t ‘snazzy‘ anymore. Now it’s all about the big magnetic tube. Then doubling-back to ultrasound and Xrays to figure out what they just saw on the MRI ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!


I’m upset about Walmart

As many of you know, the pharmacies that operate in PetsMed and Chewie are owned by the same flea bitten, ragtag group of clowns based in Florida that have been tampering with written prescriptions and abusing “pet” quality PHARMACY Law for more than a decade. And as you know I do not allow my credentials to be used by that group of clowns for obvious legal reasons. In the hands of some teenage after schooler sweeping the floor, or some impaired pharmacist rummaging around in the spiral notebooks they use for records, my DEA license could get me in a lot of trouble prescribing controlled substances for the pharmacists wife, TravaShankar KakaPrahbia who got their license in Delhi India, last month. Please understand, I am not talk picking on pharmacists from India, I’m just saying this isn’t some crack team from Tufts University and medical College of Georgia  medical College of Georgia.

So I have been recommending human pharmacy’s! At least if human pharmacies mess up and kill a pet, there’s a penalty. FDA doesn’t particularly care about dogs and cats, so as long as these online pharmacy stay out of the human side, they are not subject to much in the way of regulation.

I always figured that if a pharmacy was competent and regulated enough to handle human drugs, they would be safe places to get animal drugs, right? Nope.

Walmart pharmacy proposes to sell pet drugs; which is fine with me, except they farmed the service out to some little hole in the wall company with a couple of clowns sitting around filling prescriptions out of cardboard boxes.

I would’ve thought that Walmart cared enough about the pet owning public to actually put their high-quality human pharmacists, in a face-to-face environment where the safety of the animal came first. But now, it’s been dumped off on a little ragtag group of so-called pharmacists in a little hole in the wall in Florida, not even licensed in the state of Georgia.

OK, Walmart. “They’re just dogs, what do you care?“

I wanted a human pharmacy to step up and do it right. It’s time that these little, rinky-dink guys selling boxes of European heartworm pills out of the trunks of cars posing as animal pharmacies got put out of business.

Is that so much to ask?


Dr Nyce Goes to Jail

Sadly, while performing very decent “science” and making patentable discoveries in the battle against cancer, Dr Jonathan Nyce allegedly ALSO collected money from pet owners for treatments stemming from his research, and bankrolling further research through his various companies.

No need to go into very much detail because better-researched data exists below: But needless to say, it calls into question the legitimacy of his research and intent by introducing significant bias.

Here’s the latest on this.


Man busted for hawking fake canine cancer drugs

The accused is facing 32 years in prison and $1.25 million in fines for charges related to a years-long con.

dhea researcher jailedA Pennsylvania man is accused of scamming the owners of terminally ill pets out of hundreds of thousands of dollars with the promise of “cancer-curing” drugs.

Jonathan Nyce of Collegeville, Penn., has been charged by indictment with wire fraud and the interstate shipment of misbranded animal drugs for allegedly selling fake canine cancer-curing medications online.

The indictment accuses Nyce of fabricating several companies beginning in 2012, including Canine Care, ACGT, and CAGT, through which he claimed the development of drugs for treating and “curing” canine cancer.

It is alleged these drugs, which were marketed under the names “Tumexal” and “Naturasone,” comprised bulk ingredients, which were blended and packaged by the accused at a facility in Pennsylvania.

“The defendant’s alleged conduct here is shameful,” says William M. McSwain, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. “As any dog owner will tell you—myself included—pets quickly become part of the family. When they become sick, caring owners look for hope, often doing everything they can to keep their beloved pets alive and well.

“The defendant is charged with taking advantage of that nurturing instinct in the worst way possible by defrauding pet owners and giving them false hope they might be able to save their dying pet. That is both cruel and illegal, and now the defendant will face the consequences.”