Candy Pee and Me: How Big Pharma Seduced Me at NAVC

It’s been entirely too long since I’ve posted, and for that I apologize. I’ve been terribly busy responding to nastygrams depositing my checks from Big Pet Food sneering at plebians going to a continuing education conference this past week, and what a week it was.

Like many of you, I read the Indy Star’s expose about the loose strings of pharmaceutical companies (or, in internet conspiracy parlance, Big Pharma) at continuing education conferences such as the one I was going to attend, and also like many of you, I was surprised. And excited. I had no idea this was what I had to look forward to! I thought I was just plunking down a couple grand in fees, airfare, and hotel for a measly week of polishing my science know-how, and here’s this whole seedy underbelly of riches I had no idea existed.

I arrived in Orlando for the North American Veterinary Community Conference with 16,000 of my closest friends energized, ready to be plied with jewels, cash, and cars. Kind of like The Price is Right, but with drugs.

In the past, I’ve wandered the exhibit hall for a breather in between talks, taking a peek at the new products on the market. Sometimes the companies would give us candy, or pens- enough to get us to stop by and familiarize ourselves with the product, but not enough to justify actually changing how we practice medicine. I would have done it anyway. Because becoming familiar with new products is, you know, what we’re supposed to do.

I wanted to start my day with one of the storied free food lectures, hoping to begin my morning with roasted pheasant and perhaps a fluffy souffle. Then I learned you had to get up at 6:30 and the most they could guarantee was that the food was “hot,” so I passed and had a Kind bar instead.

"All we need is cantaloupe and these vets won't know what hit them."

“All we need is cantaloupe and these vets won’t know what hit them.”

After a few am lectures about respiratory distress, where the speaker (and every other one at NAVC) carefully informed us about their financial ties- or lack thereof- to the topics of their talk, I hit the exhibit hall in search of fortune.

Somewhere past the forceps booth and to the left of the lasers, a long line started to snake through the aisles and out into the halls. Whatever they were giving away, that had to be good.

“Excuse me,” I said to the woman at the end of the line. “Is this where they’re handing out free cars?”

“No,” she said. “This line is for Build-a-Bear.”

“This huge line is for Build-a-Bear?” I asked somewhat incredulously. The three men in front of her turned around and to a one muttered something about little girls at home. It’s cool, guys. Everyone likes Build-a-Bear.

buildabear

“Where’s the contest where everyone wins something?” I asked, and they directed me over to the east hall, where a bored looking woman instructed me to spin a ‘wheel of parasites.’ I won a chapstick with a picture of a tapeworm on it.

As I continued to wander, I heard some grumbling from around a corner, where four people were congregated around a woman clutching a big bag. “Where’d you get that?” they asked her, and she pointed to another long line snaking through the hall.

“Is that the jewelry line?” I asked.

“No,” they said. “This is for the stuffed Olaf.”

“Like Olaf from Frozen?” I asked.

“Yes,” a woman replied, “but you have to be careful. They’re really hard to get. You have to go through a screening process.”

olaf

“What sort of screening process?” I asked.

“No one knows,” she said. “All I know is that they keep turning people away who don’t own practices. I think they sell some sort of financial services. It might involve an application and a credit report.”

“I’ve tried three times for an Olaf,” said another woman. “They’re not very nice about it.”

“Isn’t Frozen kind of old news anyway?” I asked, but that was apparently not the right question to ask.

Dispirited, I walked into the booth of a large pharmaceutical company. “If I listen to your spiel,” I asked, “What do I get?”

“Information,” the rep said, pulling out a sheaf of papers.

“No car?” I asked, disappointed. “Or a trip somewhere?”

She dug into her pocket and pulled out some mints. “I have these,” she said, then brightened. “Or a pen! Do you want a pen?”

“I’m OK,” I said. “I think I just need something to drink.”

“They have coffee over by that pet food display,” she said. “I think the line’s down to 15 minutes.”

By this time, the line for the Build-a-Bear had disappeared, and in exchange for giving a journal my email address, I was presented with a small, naked bear.

“We’re having a contest tomorrow for some scrubs,” the booth person said.

“For me?” I asked. “Or the bear?’

“For the bear.”

After an hour or so of this, my tally of freebies was as follows:

-One naked bear

-A bedazzled lanyard

-chapstick

– 15 pens

-one urine container filled with yellow candy (this was actually my favorite)

schwag

“Why do you think these lines for all these freebies are so long, do you suppose?” I asked my friend Kristen. “Are we that hard up for stuff we’d wait for half an hour just for a chance to win a free ipad?”

“You’re veterinarians,” she said. “Of course you are.” Touche.

After a long day of lectures and wandering, I had worked up an appetite, so I set out in search of the free feasts. I searched every corner of the hotel, and couldn’t find a single one. I realized everyone must have gone to the free rock concert instead.

“Free concert?” I said, intrigued. Maybe there was some credence to this Indy Star thing after all! “Who’d they get? Dave Grohl? Bruno Mars?”

There was a long pause as my friend flipped through the conference brochure. “38 Special,” she said.

38special1

“38 Special?” I replied. “Are those guys still alive?”

“Apparently.” Pause. “My dad’s gonna be so jealous. He almost took a cruise with them last year.”

Hungry and alone, I went to my room at 10 pm and decided to order room service. After 15 minutes on hold, I placed an order for a Cobb salad and was told it would be an hour and a half, because shutting ourselves in our rooms alone with our papers is apparently a popular choice for veterinarians. I’m so predictable.

 

Pawcurious: With Pet Lifestyle Expert and Veterinarian Dr. V.

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Jane Wiedlin, Gina Schock Help Muttville Senior Dog Rescue

As members of the ground-breaking all-girl group The Go-Go’s they’ve performed on stages around the world, and on February 6th Jane Wiedlin and Gina Schock will band together with fellow…



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DogTipper

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No More

It was no choice
That set this course

Astep, astride
The road abides

And through its length
I cried,

‘Oh beauty burns
Your trail etern.

The silence of your roar
That swept me neath

No more. No more.’

——–

YBD’s Notes1:  The west coast walk was long and hard, harder than any stretch of the road we’ve been on before.  But the much bigger lesson here is we’re in this together if we have a ghost of a chance to eradicate cancer in us and our companions in our lifetime, puppy up damnit

YBD’s Notes2:  Happy XMAS
THE JOURNEY CONTINUES

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Administering Medications Topical, Suppository and Inhalant Medicatoins

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God Said | Dog Quote Poster

This poster is available at Rover99.com – God said, I need somebody strong enough to pull sleds and find bombs yet gentle enough to love babies and lead the blind. Somebody who will spend all day on a couch with a resting head and supportive eyes to lift the spirits of a broken heart. So God made a dog.

The post God Said | Dog Quote Poster appeared first on A Place to Love Dogs.

A Place to Love Dogs

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Deflategate Scandal Spreads to an Animal Shelter in New York

Deflategate is no longer a problem only for officials at Super Bowl XLIX. Or, for that matter the ref in Puppy Bowl XI.

The controversy hit Westchester County in New York this week, as evidenced in this clever video released by the Westchester SPCA.

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“Oscar the running back” plays with a deflated football, leading to an investigation (Courtesy Westchester SPCA)

As reported by Kitty McGee, the SPCA’s football team, The Adoptables, is apparently under investigation for playing with deflated footballs. The evidence is laid bare –- using the scientific testing method of a prodding finger –- and the suspects are not talking, especially Dutch the quarterback, who was downright Marshawn Lynch-esque in his refusal to answer reporters’ questions.

But the most mischievous offender was Hootie the cat, who uses stealthy methods to pin the blame on a teammate.

While the New England Patriots’ debate continues, there’s no doubting the effect on the footballs in Westchester: They’re perfect for playing the snow!

Read more dog news on Dogster:

About the author: Jeff Goldberg is a freelance writer in Quincy, Mass. A former editor for MLB.com and sportswriter for the Hartford Courant who covered the University of Connecticut's women's basketball team (Huskies!) and the Boston Red Sox, Jeff has authored two books on the UConn women: Bird at the Buzzer (2011) and Unrivaled (2015). He lives with his wife, Susan, and their rescue pup, Rocky, an Italian Greyhuahua/Jack Russell mix from a foster home in Tennessee, hence the name Rocky (as in Rocky Top).


The Scoop | The Scoop

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Keeping Your Dog Bed Clean with a Kurgo Duvet

OK, let’s just say it like it is: dogs can be dirty. And this time of year, when snow, slush, and rain can mean muddy paws, some of that dirt can wind up on your dog’s bed. And winter…



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DogTipper

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Answer to January 2015 Photo Quiz

Answer to January 2015 Photo Quiz
The recommended treatment is early removal of the flea under sterile conditions either by curettage or by needle extraction. After extraction, topical antimicrobials may be used. For the most severe forms, oral administration of thiabendazole at 25 mg
Read more on Journal of Clinical Microbiology

The Economist explains
The trajectory has already been calculated for the rock. They have a bus schedule for the next one. Instead of being a pilot, these astronauts become passengers on Nature's rocket ship. They are the flea on the dog. A flea on a very large intergalactic
Read more on The Economist (blog)

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Sanders the fox with Sarcoptic Mange Aug 6th through to August 29th 2013

A photograph story with video at the end of a fox in the care of the National Fox Welfare Society. The video shows Sanders the fox suffering terribly with Sa…
Video Rating: 5 / 5

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Puppy Ad Pulled from Super Bowl

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy Just heard that GoDaddy has pulled its controversial ad from the Super Bowl after a huge negative response. The ad was previewed on The Today Show, where the hosts expressed their horror. Then a Change.org petition was started, which drew over 42,000 responses. […]


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