Category Archives: Philosophies

Philosophies in Veterinary Care, examples include Euthanasia and other weighty decisions and practices

Any Skin Case Can Be Fixed

It’s important that you know I’m not being sarcastic when I say I can fix (almost) any skin case.

I’m being serious; but I’m also discounting the fact that some of what I am saying may come at the expense of the pet, or at the expense of your wallet. Specifically, I’m talking about giving antibiotics and steroids to dogs with itchy, infected skins and they do well. For a month.

Or, sending you to a dermatologist who gives your pet four medications, a shampoo and a new food to eat: Limited antigen diets, antihistamines, antibiotics, Bravecto or similar, Apoquel, and a shampoo with antifungal and antibacterial properties. Which translates into, literally, treating for everything.

The dermatologist route (as listed above) flawlessly addresses:

  1. Ringworm
  2. Bacterial pyoderma
  3. Mange mites, dermal and intestinal parasites
  4. Allergies both topical and dietary
  5. Atopy

Besides skin cancer, nothing else happens that wouldn’t respond to the above.

Here’s the skinny on why we might be doing something “in between” with antibiotics, a cortisone and some Cytopoint.

ITCHY SKIN CRASH COURSE_drjohnson_com_simpleskin



Dogs That Are Very Heavy But Barely Eat At All

Dogs That Are Very Heavy But Barely Eat At All

These cases are often Hypothyroid but there are other possibilities. For example, appetite suppression occurs in overweight dogs. It’s mother nature’s way of preserving their lives when being predated by a swift predator. The thalamus and other brain structures curb the appetite to keep the animal “fighting fit” but that can be overridden by taste buds and ‘delicious’ foods. With stuff on top.

This document helps owners understand how and why the dogs might barely eat, but are heavy nonetheless.–-Johnson-Vet-Services.pdf


The Decision to Euthanize a Beloved Pet

When it’s about that time, to let a pet ‘go’ because it’s suffering is going to be endless and incurable, people struggle with the decision about “when” and “if” it’s time. What is “suffering”? Does a dog or cat have to be “in pain” to be put down? You know, a pet can do a LOT of suffering without being in ANY pain at all. For example, being blind and deaf AND scared all the time. (Some dogs aren’t.)

So I wrote a simple, objective “check list” of 20 points you may not have thought of.

The first ten points ask you questions with a telling answer. And the second set of questions have an answer that ALSO suggests the right course of action.

Is It Time?


Veterinarian Dr. Michael Mason, My Mentor

Dr. Michael Mason, Veterinarian

This practice honors Dr. Michael Mason who was my mentor from 1981 to 1992. The best that I am in veterinary medicine came from those years and that worthy veterinarian.
Dr Erik Johnson

In 1981, I went to work at East Marietta Animal Clinic (which still exists by name) on old Wylie Drive which is now a Sports Authority parking lot. My folks drove me over on July 4th, 1981 and we found Dr Mason walking dogs. (Even if you’re closed, the dogs still gotta walk!) and I ‘interviewed’ and he asked if I could start Monday and that was it.

Veterinarian Dr Michael Mason

Veterinarian Dr Michael Mason
I’d love to know where that old surgery table is now!

Dr Michael Mason was a solo veterinarian practitioner who’d been in business for almost 20 years at that point. I was 16 years old. I worked afternoons, summer and other school breaks, and weekends. Every holiday would find me walking dogs at the clinic.

Dr Mason, (who’s still alive and well) taught me a ‘busy’ work ethic. We weren’t allowed to sit around. He said he never wanted to see me with my hands in my pockets. I remember lots of things he taught me.

More than that, he SHOWED me (by daily example) how to “be” in veterinary medicine. Honest. Forthright. Treat the dogs and cats like you’d treat your own. If you mess up, apologize and tell the truth. Never say anything bad about other veterinarians. Always keep learning.

And then another thousand things about people, pets, practice, so many philosophies. Here’s an example: “Never call a “cage” a “cage”. Call it a ‘compartment’ because that sounds so much better than ‘cage’.  He’s absolutely right. The kind of things that stick with you.

My parents gave me a LOT of core skills to do well at Dr Mason’s clinic, but he taught me everything I needed to know about being a Veterinarian. I am indebted.

Doc Johnson

Nov 22 2019

Veterinarian Dr Michael Mason

Ajax Is Getting Cataract Surgery When He’s Ten: Why?

Why Ajax Is Getting Cataract Surgery When He’s Ten

I believe there are four things that “age” a dog and make him take his place on the sidelines of life. They creep up on you and they are variably obvious and occult.

Four things that accelerate aging in dogs:
Why I am having cataract surgery done on my dog when he is 10:
I think there are four things that make all dogs sideline themselves. I think that these are those items:

  1. Slowly progressive arthritis
  2. A sore mouth
  3. The physical inability that results from overweight
  4. Diminished vision

That being said,  as you know, I take managing a low weight in dogs very seriously, I spend a tremendous amount of time in my website with information about how to feed dogs for a lower body weight, fixing many of several of the reasons that they get fat, how to keep them slender, all withOUT a tremendous amount of exercise or effort.

My dog Ajax has the slightest shadow of ribs showing. And because he eats an ultra low carb diet he is not even ravenous all the time. Feed them naturally and they will achieve a natural body weight. And a natural body weight is streamlined to effective hunting and effective avoidance of larger predators.

With regards to sore mouths, it’s hard to tell sometimes. The dog still has to eat and owners believe that just because the dog still eats that his mouth does not hurt. If you lift his lips and look, in many of the older dogs, their mouth‘s feature exposed roots, loose teeth, substantial amounts of tartar, infection and pus. Some dogs have bleeding gums. They can’t ‘limp’ to show you that their mouths are sore, and they won’t stop eating because EATING is their most basic hardwiring. Nothing but death or impending death stops a dog from eating.

The reason dogs have such terrible mouth’s when they get older is because they produce less saliva and the owners often avoid a dental scaling because of the ‘anesthesia risk’. Times have changed though, and the anesthetic risk is minimal and we take precautions to avoid losing any pets under anesthesia, hence the fact that we have never lost one under anesthetic.

So by maintaining a low body weight, a healthy and painless mouth, keeping him from experiencing progress of soreness from arthritis (which is inevitable), and permitting him clear vision into his later years I believe he will remain more engaged than a dog without those advantages.

The third reason for old dogs to sideline themselves is overweight. It’s simple, they are just old and they are becoming weaker and as weaker animals with a large body to move around it becomes difficult and so they stay down. With that inactivity, they start to put on more weight and it is a vicious cycle that carries them swiftly to the grave. It takes less strength to pick up a lighter body.

Fourth and finally, I think diminished vision is a huge factor in the self-sidelining of older animals.

That is the reason when Ajax is 10 years old I am going to have a cataract surgery done for him.

Yes, all dogs begin to develop cataracts when they are eight years old and they are gradually progressive until they are blind at 13 possibly 14. At least following statistical norms. By the time he is 13 or 14 most dogs aren’t really even dependent on their eyes anymore having mainly given up.

That is the reason I believe that giving Ajax a clearly sighted eye at the age of 10 will keep him engaged and more active into his later years; and the economy of pre-emptively performing a cataract surgery which is about $2000 for one eye, will provide years of benefit. In other words, I will be preempting one of the things that makes old dogs sit on the sidelines.

So by maintaining a low body weight, a healthy and painless mouth, keeping him from experiencing progress of soreness from arthritis (which is inevitable), and permitting him clear vision into his later years I believe he will remain more engaged than a dog without those advantages.

The best thing about this, is that these techniques and concepts are not denied to anyone. Start saving now for the cataract surgery and I’ll send you to Dr King when it’s time. And the other stuff is TECHNIQUE not money.

Doc Johnson

Post script:  Of course I cannot afford to drop $2000 on Ajax’s cataracts in his 10th year as a lump sum. That is the reason I have already started to put together a small pickle jar to save for that. By the time he is 10 years old, I will pay Dr. King in quarters and ones! LOL





Dog breeders and mouth breathers

I wanted to make a comment about certain dog breeders The majority of whom say that veterinarians are predatory and money gougers. “Veterinarians should do this for the love of the dogs!” ….they have the nerve to say this, while cage producing one of the most intelligent and caring animals that we know of, like a farm animal and selling it to literally *anyone* with the proper size checkbook, saying that they are doing it “for the improvement of the breed” and calling other people predatory and gougers??, you don’t see breeders giving away the puppies for the cost of production, do you?
Considering that they are raising something that didn’t cost them any money since they bought the great grandparents two years ago, and might be $16 to register, and feeding the crappiest cheapest dog food they can get their hands on and immunizing out of warm cardboard boxes of expired vaccine, how can they charge much of anything at all? For the love of the breed?

The worst thing a salesman could say about a dog food is: “your dog will love it!”

If your dog loves it’s food, chances are it’ll eat too much of it and seem hungry all the time.

I see a lot of fat dogs and I get this conversation alot:

Them:  Is it OK if I put a little bit of wet food in my dogs dry food?
Me: Why would you put wet food in his dry food?
Them: To get him to eat!
Me: Why? Is he all skinny and losing weight?
Them: No, he looks normal.
Me: Then why would you coax him to eat and go over that normal body weight? If you get him to take food when he is not actually hungry, he is just going to put on weight and wear out his hips and knees earlier.

If I could get my customers to let their dogs eat what they need, and not what they want, I would die a happy man.

Every time I euthanize an old dog because he’s broken down in the hips and back, I think of my own pet’s mortality. So I want to delay putting YOUR dog down as long as I humanely can. And that’s with healthy mouths and low body weights.





Rinky-Dink Pet Pharmacies Can’t Match Human Pharmacies Safety

Rinky-Dink Pet Pharmacies Can’t Match Human Pharmacies Safety or Integrity.

Did You Know that the so-called “Pharmacy” operating within Chewy, Petsmart, PetcareRx and Petmeds is the same company?

To be honest, I felt like Chewy (especially) really sank to the next level when they hopped into bed with that gang.

The most annoying thing about these p.o.s. “pet” pharmacies:

When they see their advertisement on TV and go to their site, people start looking around and they see stuff they think might be good for their pet.
So they order it. Because you can. You can order anything those pharmacies sell, of your own volition.

But often, it requires a prescription, so the Pet Pharmacy (supposedly a human being there, ha ha ha!!!) sends me a prescription to authorize.

And sometimes it’s for something that would kill the client’s cat SO FAST, it wouldn’t even get to my office in time for stomach pumping.

It doesn’t work that way at human pharmacies: People can’t just walk up to a human pharmacist and say “I think my pet needs this, please send prescription authorization to my Vet.” Pet Pharmacies oblige this CONSTANTLY. What idiots.

I get prescription authorizations for:

  • – Flea control that kills cats (Products for dogs only)
  • – Nsaids that kill cats (Acetaminophen in the formula)
  • – Two of the same category (redundant) medications,
  • – Two antagonistic medications for heart conditions because ‘my grandfather takes that and I thought it would help my dog”,
  • – A dose on thyroid medications so low that it wouldn’t help a church mouse, (Owner and Dr Google just guessed the dog had thyroid problems)
  • – Heartworm pill refills for three years in a row with the prescription date LITERALLY hand scratched out,
  • – An authorization for brand Vetoryl when the generic would have been a quarter the price. (I should have let the client pay for the $50 stuff instead of pointing him at the $12 stuff)
  • – Heartworm pills at $4 off per box while *we* were running a buy-two-get-one from the manufacturer at the office.
  • – Authorizations for fake heartworm pills.
  • – Fake authorizations for real heartworm pills. (Yeah, these onlines will take almost handwritten prescriptions <> )
  • – Heartworm pills with Dutch (?) labeling from South Africa or something?

There’s more, except the number of instances is rarer.

One of these days they’ll go in and take the licenses away from the so-called “pharmacists” working in those shops. But tbh I doubt that would impede the big wheels turning in that industry.

People can’t just walk up to a human pharmacist and say “I think my pet needs this, please send prescription authorization to my Vet.” Pet Pharmacies oblige this CONSTANTLY. What idiots.

So I said all that to say this: Use a human pharmacy instead of a “pet” pharmacy. There are SEVEN human pharmacies that do animal products. They’re on my website <>. They’re VIPPS accredited (not just dot-pharmacy domain holders) and they’re legitimate.






How We Put Dogs and Cats To Sleep At Johnson Veterinary Services

How we put dogs and cats to sleep…

One night when I was in college a million years ago, I was eating pizza and drinking beer. I grew more and more sleepy as the beer took hold. Finally, I went to sleep with a bite of pizza in my mouth. To be honest, it was fantastic. (Til the next morning)

Years later, as I wrapped up my doctorate degree in veterinary school I contemplated the traditional way that animals are normally put to sleep.

Traditionally:  A shot is given into the vein of their front leg, and they drop off the needle inert. Just a couple of seconds. From struggling against the needle to ‘gone’ in an instant.

I thought, “Wouldn’t it be neat though, if the animals could feel like they were eating pizza and getting sleepy from beer?“ 

We decided to give a morphine shot and then give the dog delicious treats to eat. I mean, that doesn’t always work because not every dog still feels like eating at that particular moment. But for those who do, the combination of morphine and pizza has got to be amazing!

After the morphine shot, the pet falls into a deep and natural sleep. Most of them even snore. At that point, without discomfort or anxiety, I put them on the exam table and give the second shot which sends them to heaven.

Usually, before that happens, my staff will have explained what your options are for the remains. Such as cremation with ashes being returned to you, or, cremation without ashes being returned. The cemetery offers a resin paw print that they take from your beloved companion. I think those are awesome. Plus a great picture of your dog five years ago, and you can have favorable memories. I am not much into urns and ashes.

Frankly, a little container of ashes is a bummer to me.

Earlier in this discussion I made a reference to dogs going to heaven.

I want you to know what heaven looks like for dogs.

  • When lawyers die, they go to heaven where they are reincarnated as cats. Cats that are severely visually impaired with extremely short legs, and severe eczema.
  • When dogs go to heaven, they find themselves in the green pastures full of fat blind cats that can’t get away (the lawyers).
  • When politicians die, they go to heaven, and they are reincarnated as rats. Rats that are blind with really stubby legs. And fleas.
  • When cats die, they go to heaven, and find themselves in green pastures full of fat blind rats that can’t get away (the politicians).

So, I don’t want you to feel bad for your pet when it passes. Somebody has to collect our pound of flesh from the lawyers and politicians!

Homeopathy and the Experts in Those Fields

The leading veterinary “expert” in raw diet nutrition:  Retired human pharmacist.

The leading veterinary “”expert” in canine and feline endocrinology: Retired human dentist.

The leading veterinary “expert” on the internet:  Dr. Karen Becker


  • Do they have useful information? Yes.
  • Are they correct a lot of the time? Yes.
  • Can they intelligently piece together conclusions and interpretations of the data based on practice experience and real life trends and statistics? No. They function in a world of exclusively paper processing. Dr. Becker is the exception, she still handles animals and has practiced medicine in actual private sector.

My only problem with Dr Becker is two fold:

She endorses “experts” without thoroughly fact-checking their information and she doesn’t notice when these “experts” present flawed information, conclusions, and make hazardous recommendations. My second problem is that she is distinguishing herself by incriminating “veterinary medicine” as a profession, basically saying “The world would be a better place if veterinarians were as highly realized and caring as I am” which has a small grain of truth in it, but GLARINGLY while she is bagging on how “we” do it, she is providing alternatives that ignore important facts and consequences. Distinguishing yourself from your profession by slamming it is easy, and all-too-common.

Homeopathy is a huge, spinning mish-mash of reckless, anecdotal, and unprofessional recommendations and quotations from studies that, VERY often extrapolate from human research to animal research.
Fact checking is MISSING and lay-authors especially trap themselves in tornadoes of information and start drawing conclusions and relationships between cause and effect that eventually mire down in absurdity and ineffectuality.

Honestly, here’s the thing. When everyone in the homeopathy / integrative area of veterinary medicine is pulling random, wild ‘research’ extrapolations out of their asses; it’s unlikely you’ll encounter agreement with everyone else unless you kind of take a vote. “Becker’s saying blah – –  we should come in line”  And then you get “Fact by Proxy” meaning that a group of naturopathic vets running as a pack have to agree on what’s a viable fact and what isn’t.

And ignore that fact that when you leave the ovaries in a female dog she has a HIGH chance of getting mammary hyperplasia / neoplasia in later years. So much so that EVERY case of breast cancer I have ever seen in dogs was in intact female dogs. Yet, our retired human dentist endorsed by Dr Becker asserts that being intact into later years has no association with mammary tumors. Should have fact checked that. And then, when you do a spay that spares sex hormones, (tubals) you still get heats. Oops, better just completely OMIT that complication from the articles (every single article) that extol hormone-sparing spays.

And all these articles by these human-retirees “qualified” because they’re doctors? (so are Spanish Lit professors) talking about behavioral and weight related issues with spayed and neutered dogs?

Caesar Milan would be the first to tell you crazy dogs are crazy because of what HAPPENED to a dog and whether it has an alpha.

And I’ll be the first to tell you that FAT dogs are over-fed.

Doc Johnson