Things That Disappoint and Things That May Be “Overpromised”

Snake Oil?

Usually not. But there are things out there that are not “all that great” or, in fact, don’t perform at ANY level close to what they are purported to. This will be a growing list of things that fall short of being “Worth the money and time” spent on them.

What’s the point? Well, people spend money and time on these things, and if they’re not “up to par” they are wasting valuable resources (especially time) when a pet is supposed to be improving –  but they won’t.

This section ALSO includes products and services which rely on ‘placebo’ effect. Be careful: Many things in this list do not use placebo effect. Mainly pet-supplements and certain dog foods rely heavily on placebo effect.


I did some testing on Melafix when it first came out. I set up several systems and then cultured the water with live fish present. We got all the usual microbes including Citrobacter and Aeromonas in the usual, small quantities. We used the Melafix per label instructions for several weeks with interim / serial / periodic cultures of the environment for the various microbes, expecting to see a decline in some population. There was no effect. All microbes present at the beginning of the study were still present during and after. Any antibacterial claim comes from in vitro testing. And was absolutely NOT borne out in vivo testing. During the study however, it was noted that the fish WITH sores and lesions healed “overall” at a slightly faster rate than those fish in the control groups. This might have led researchers to believe that the germs that were causing the lesions were declining. It is the hypothesis of those associated with that testing that the Melafix may have soothed and accelerated healing as eucalyptus oil is known to do. So it’s not entirely without worth. I find it irritating to the fish, as they cough and struggle on addition of Melafix and I subscribe to the idea that the discomfort and extra mucus made in response to the irritation isn’t worth the benefits. I’m a veterinarian that treats fish. #drjohnson,com #savingsickfish,org


Author: Dr. Erik Johnson
Dr. Erik Johnson is the author of several texts on companion animal and fish health. Johnson Veterinary Services has been operating in Marietta, GA since 1996. Dr Johnson graduated from the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine in 1991. Dr Johnson has lived in Marietta Georgia since 1976.