A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of talking to Dr. Stephen Blake, The Pet Whisperer. Thank you, Dr. Blake!
Jenny of Floppycats: How did you get interested in animals?
Dr. Blake: Actually, it all started off at five years old, I told my dad I wanted to be a physician. So that was my mission – to become a physician. So, I never particularly liked school that much but I looked it up and it said you had to have A’s. So, I was pretty lucky that I did. I was excepted into the University of Arizona pre-med program. Pre-med and pre-vet were the same criteria. It is was a bit of a shock for me, since this was the first time I had to really study because of the heavy course requirements.
I got through the first year and then in the second year, I went into the other room next door where I had a chem class and they had cadavers. I’m not grossed out by much of anything but I started standing around these cadavers, human cadavers and I thought to myself, “This is what I’m going to do for the rest of my life?” And so I just decided in that moment after almost two years in undergraduate school and a pre-med program, I wasn’t going to do it. Lucky my lab partner was a veterinary student and he said to me, “Well, you know, why don’t you become a veterinarian?” I had grown up around animals in a farming community and that was fine but I never thought about being a veterinarian. So I said, “No, I think I’m going to jump on a freighter and go to Europe and he replied, “Well, go hang out with a veterinarian and see if you like it or not.” So I said okay, and looked in the phone book, got a vet close that I could just walk from the University. So I went there and hung out with this veterinarian for two weeks everyday after I finished my lab work and I thought it was amazing, what he was doing, it was really fun. The animals were easy for me to related to and see myself operating on them and caring for them as compared to the two legged ones I had seen in the cadaver room. So, after about two weeks of volunteering with this the local veterinarian, my response was “Wow, this is cool. This is what I want to be and do for the rest of my life.” So now, I’m twenty years old and I go, “Okay, I’m going to start looking into it.” My grades were not all that high at that point because I had spent more time entertaining myself than going to school.
It’s turned out that IT is harder to get into veterinary school than into medical school. There’s more competition, fewer schools than for human medical schools. So it was obvious that I wasn’t going to get in with the grades I had. So then I had to apply myself and actually show up for classes and study. So I applied myself for the next two years and applied to three veterinary schools and I was accepted. I got into Colorado State University’s Veterinary Medical School and really found out what studying was really all about. Four years later in 1973, I graduated with a DVM and my life was going to change forever.
Jenny: I know that you got your Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Colorado State and then you also mentioned on your site that you have certifications in acupuncture and in homeopathic medicine?
Dr. Blake: Yes. I’m am certified by the AVH (Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy) as a Certified Veterinary Homeopath and as Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist by IVAS (International Veterinary Acupuncture Society.
Jenny: Okay. And then also you’re working on your Reiki Mastership?
Dr. Blake: Yes. I’m about halfway into the masters program now and I love it and perfect for working on animals as well as two legged critters .I have also studied Bach Flowers, Nutrition, Gemmotherapy, Aromatherapy, Glandular Therapy, Massage and Chiropractics. I figure the more tools I have, the better and more effective I can be as far as helping animals because the animals are all so unique and knowing these different modalities, increases my potential for helping these guy heal. I was trained to use drugs, chemicals and surgery in veterinary school, but it really went against my grain. My dad was anti-doctors, didn’t believe in drugs and he believed in a natural process for healing. So he encouraged me to be the best that I could be but he wasn’t really a fan of this. In my family, we just never went to the doctor and I never took drugs.
So it was kind of a dichotomy for me but I thought, “These guys must know what they’re doing and I will learn how to practice allopathic medicine the best of my ability.” Back in the 70’s, I was dipping dogs with pesticides – Dursban and Malathione. That was the way you treated for fleas and ticks. I was also getting it all over myself and breathing it as I applied it over the entire surface of the dogs. There were no warning other than to use rubber gloves when applying it.
After about seven years of practicing allopathic medicine, I started getting ill. Luckily, I got was introduced to a homeopathic medical doctor through a friend. I didn’t even know what homeopathy was really at the time but I knew it was safe. He diagnosed me as having pesticide poisoning. He told me, “ You need to get out of the veterinary business or your are going to die before you are forty or wear rubber gloves when you touch these animals.” So I went back to my practice and tried the rubber gloves and found that unacceptable for me to be effective with the animals. At that point I decided I’ll just tell everyone they can’t come to my practice if they use chemicals and if it doesn’t work out, I see my practice and find a new profession.
Dr. Blake: My clients loved the idea and 90% of them stuck with me on the next part of my journey. Then I had to figure out what to do instead of chemicals .I now knew I had to relearn everything I was taught. I jumped on the bandwagon of education to learn holistic medicine. The problem was there was no continuing education for holistic veterinary medicine in the early 1980;s. All I could find were human holistic information, so I just started studying anything that I could find on human holistic medicine. I then started translating the human literature into treating animals. My own health issues and my relationship with the animals are how I got started 30 years ago on this holistic path. I summary, if I hadn’t discovered about the pesticide, I would I be alive today and we wouldn’t be having this conversation I’m having with you at this moment in time.
Dr. Blake: The animals saved me. That’s how I tell the story. They saved me and then they pointed me in this direction. I had no way of knowing what that would be because I had no concept of what holistic medicine was. I have spend the last thirty years trying to be the best I can be at practicing holistic veterinary medicine.
Jenny: After you decided to go more of a holistic, homeopathic route, of all those studies, do you remember having certain Ah Ha! moments of oh my gosh, you know, this is just common sense type stuff.
Dr. Blake: Oh yes. I’ve had so many, many Ah Hah moments, I cannot remember them all. Much of my Ah Hah moments have been “That is so obvious how did I miss that?” Most of it was because I had been taught a system of medicine that wasn’t enough to take care of the critters optimally. Allopathic medicine has its place but more for emergency medicine rather than for dealing with chronic diseases and optimizing health through prevention. The side effects, that are inherent in the use of Drugs, Chemical and Vaccines make it impossible to manage chronically ill patients without aggravating the condition you are trying to help the animal with.
Jenny: Right. So why do you think that a big pharmaceutical company like Novartis or something like that hasn’t jumped on the homeopathic bandwagon to kind of be the first one at the gate?
Dr. Blake: There’s no money in it. That’s the main thing. You cannot patent these forms of modalities and for that reason alone, there is no money in it.
That’s it. To me, it’s just so simple. I mean, I’m not judging them, I’m just saying there’s just no money in it. When a veterinarian has built up his business around this system of medicine, he must rely on the profits to pay his over head just like any other business. He has a vested interest in providing jobs for his employees and income to support his family. If you want to start promoting homeopathy which one bottle will last you a lifetime and cost you a fraction of drugs and chemicals, you will not generate the amount of money to support your practice. What has to happen is the income stream in practice needs to change from making most of your money off of drugs, chemicals and vaccines to more from the service side and less from the product side. IE acupuncture, chiropractic adjustments, massage therapy, aromatherapy, nutritional support, and being paid for your time rather than from the product side.
Jenny: I could probably assume from some of the things that you’ve already said, how you’d answer this question but I’d prefer just to ask it and that’s what do you think are some of the main problems of mainstream veterinary practices?
Dr. Blake: Well, the biggest problem is that we are not being healing and optimum health is. This is common for animals and humans alike. . So as a healer, how can you possibly help someone if you don’t even know what healing looking looks like or what defines optimal health?
We are taught that healing is just eliminating a symptom or killing a parasite, bacteria, fungi or virus We are taught how to come up with a diagnosis and formulate a drug plan to remedy he diagnosis. That’s basically what we do in allopathy. Allopathic medicine has a place. It’s great for emergency medicine, it’s great for surgery when we need it and it’s more of a system that’s designed for emergency type of situation. It’s not designed for prevention and it’s not designed for dealing with chronic disease, which are what most animals have when they go to a veterinarian for help. Because of its dependence upon drugs, chemicals and vaccines, it contributes to it dis-ease of the animal’s body, because you are either suppressing or palliating with drugs and chemicals and surgery.
In our veterinary oath we taught to prevent suffering and do no harm. The first part is why anyone who chooses veterinary medicine is in it for the first place. The second part is my concern. The fact we are dependent on using drugs, chemicals and vaccines as our only way to treat animals in the allopathic medical model it is impossible not to do harm. This is not our intention but because these products have many side effects (Toxic effects on the animals), we do cause harm by using these products.
Jenny: On your website you said that you can see the use of drugs in surgery having a place in veterinary medicine but their need is much less than we’re led to believe. Can you give some examples of where you do see a need for them?
Dr. Blake: If an animal is hit by a car and it has a problem that is causing a life threatening situation, I am grateful for the surgeon, which I was for twenty-five years.It is a blessing to have the ability to help animals when they are in need of surgery to prevent suffering and save their lives.
Many surgeries are needed but there are also many surgical procedures that are done like de clawing of cats, docking of tails in dogs, ear cropping in dogs, that have nothing to do with the health of animal. The surgical procedures, where you are saving lives, definitely have a place, caesarean sections where the dog is unable to accomplish the delivery without it, obstructive GI issues, obstructive respiratory issues, etc.
The Drug and Chemical side of allopathic medicine make it very limited in my opinion. I do use drugs in very few cases. In my practice I only use a few drugs in less than 1% of my cases. I’ve learned so many other ways to help animals heal themselves, I am not dependent on drugs to help them heal. An example would be diabetes. In my experience, I usually use insulin, especially in cats. I use alternative modalities along with the insulin. My goal is to try to get them off of the insulin but I never just take them off insulin unless they are no longer in need of it to sustain their lives.
Many animals have a seizure disorders. Cluster seizure cases can be serious and have to be on anticonvulsant drugs to control their seizures. Sometimes we have to put them on drugs to help re-stabilize them and then our goal is to try to get them off of it. So, I’m not saying always give drugs for seizure disorders because 99 percent of the time I don’t do that. But the ones that are so bad and they’re on it already, you can’t just take them off of it just because you believe drugs are bad for them.That would be irresponsible on any veterinarian’s part to arbitrarily remove their medication without supporting them and gradually working them off the drugs. I slowly titrate the dog or cat off the drug as they become healthier and no longer need as much or any of it to maintain balance. In the case of shock, fluid therapy and some drugs may be needed to help the animal regain balance, IV therapy for dehydration is another example where allopathic medicine can be very helpful in the healing process.,
Jenny: That makes sense. And I figure that neutering and spaying would be part of that.
Dr. Blake: Yes, that’s a tough one because of the over population issue in our country.
From a health standpoint in the dog, it would be better to not neuter or spay them. The research has shown that neutered males are at a higher risk to cancer than un-neutered males.The only time I ever recommended castration of dog is if he is hormonally challenged or if he has some medical problem which is extremely rare. I would not spay a female dog unless there was medical reason. I feel that if people are responsible caregivers the dogs will not get pregnant. Ideally I would recommend vasectomy for the male and tubal ligation for the female.
Dr. Blake: The cat because of their heat cycle would drive you crazy if you didn’t have her spayed.. I tell people if you’re going to have a cat, you’re going to have neuter or spay them and we’ll do our best to help keep them in balance after that. If they seem to adapt pretty well to being altered. The dog on the other hand, seems to have more medical problems associated with castrations than the cat.
Avoidance, is one of my key points for maintaining optimum health. Stay away from things that potentially can cause damage to your animals. Unfortunately our medical system is based on the products that are toxic to the animals and for that reason, I try to find a way to eliminate these products from being used in my patients. This then removes a potential etiology for their dis-ease. It is a real tough situation because I understand I have this obligation to my profession and I love my profession but I cannot condone the use of drugs, chemicals and vaccines as we know them today because they are harming the animals.
Jenny: You know, I wonder if I should have given my cats the rabies vaccine.
Dr. Blake: Injecting the rabies vaccine into a cat has been scientifically proven that it can cause terminal cancer. This has been known by all veterinarian in the world for over 20 years ago. Number two, what are the odds that your cat is getting rabies? I’ve been a veterinarian for nearly 39 years. I have never seen one cat with rabies, vaccinated or otherwise. The studies show that Rabies vaccine can cause cancer at a rate as high as 1 in a 1,000 cats. Why would I give a substance that causes cancer when they do not need it in the first place?
Leukemia vaccine has also been found to trigger cancer in the cat.. Rabies and Leukemia vaccines are two vaccines I recommend cat owners never give their cats.
Dr. Blake: Should I vaccinate a cat for rabies or not? If I know that if I vaccinate I have a potential of 1:1000 chance of giving my feline patient cancer and his risk of getting rabies naturally is less than 1%, the answer is NO. Every veterinarian in the world knows this and yet they are still recommending annual vaccine. There is no science to this practice of annual vaccination ever. They know that it can cause cancer at very high rate. The worst part is they are not telling the caregivers any of this. I have not met a person like yourself where I tell this story as I just did and when I ask them if any veterinarian has ever told them this before. The answer’s always N-O, no. That to me is unethical. It’s totally unethical and it just demeans my profession.
Jenny: What about your city requiring the rabies vaccination? Do you know ways to get around that?
Dr. Blake: Yes. Fortunately for the cats, most cities don’t. The law of the land all over the United States is that every dog has to have a rabies shot. The frequency differs from state to state and county to county. None of it based on science.
My recommendation to all of you cat and doc owners, is to start working politically to change these laws.. Start at grass roots movement to stop mandatory vaccines for both the dog and the cat and leave it up to the caregiver to decide what is best for their best friend.
Jenny: Well unfortunately I’m not as passionate about that as I am about dry food.
Dr. Blake: If some one told I had to choose between to causes, IE Dry Food and Vaccines as we know them today, I would take vaccines. Vaccines as we know them today are causing more harm than dry dog or cat food in my opinion. If the dry food is not made of good quality ingredients, do not use it. At least you know what is in it and can decide to use it or not. You have no idea of what is in vaccines. The fact it has mercury and aluminum adjuvant, is enough for you to stay away from it because they are both neurotoxin’s and carcinogens. You can read all about this on my website www.thepetwhisperer.com on my vaccine page, newsletters and blog.
Jenny: Do you offer some sort of consultation with people that don’t live in San Diego? That’s where you live, right?
Dr. Blake: My practice has been over 50% phone consultation for over 20 years but I now have a limited practice and no longer am taking new patients.
Jenny: One of the things I wanted to ask you about were the products that were on your website because I kinda got really excited about the flea and tick one. Can you tell me a little bit about the history like how you came about them, why you started on that sort of thing?
Dr. Blake: It goes back to how I got into holistic medicine. The chemicals were killing me and so I
I use expanded cedar oil mainly on dogs as opposed to cats because cats are so sensitive to smells such as essential oils. You can take small amounts of it, the cider oil and just try that on the cat. You don’t spray anything on a cat because cats do not like you spraying anything on them.. But if you took a little bit, rub it on the collar or put a few drops of the oil with some water in your hands and massage it into their coat, they may be ok with it.As long as they don’t salivate or get upset with this you do this daily when they go outside to help them repel the fleas. I go into much more detail on my website.
The dog is much easier to work with. I explain all of this on my website www.thepetwhisperer.com
I do not recommend any spot on topical or chemical based oral flea and tick products.. These chemicals are dangerous to our environment, our animals and are absorbed transdermally by the animal and by anyone who touches the animal after applying it on them. So when your children or you touch your cat; you are absorbing. The RED FLAG should be when a product says,”Don’t get it on your hands, put it on your cat and then take off the gloves and touch your cat or dog, we have a problem.”
Jenny: I know I’ve given them a kiss afterwards, like right on the spot, forgetting that I’ve done it and I’m like, “oh god! This is horrible!”
Dr. Blake: It is absorbed in the body even though they do not tell you this on the label and there are no warnings on the label about what it can do to people. Two people I know personally came in contact with it: one developed seizure because she’s a seizure patient. The second one kissed her cat, or touched her lips and her lips were numb for three hours; same like you had lidocaine.
I have had many clients tell me, “As soon as I put it on the neck of my pet, I can smell it on their breath. .
It is not because the cat can lick it because they cannot reach the spot where the application is made. The only way it could be on their breath is if it went into the body and now is being expelled to the breath.
The real problem is how many adults and children are coming in contact with these chemicals, having neurological problems and no one thinks of this as a potential cause?
I quit using pesticides over 25 years ago and I live in the FLEA CAPITOL of the WORLD, San Diego, California. I all my clients and I can do without them and not have a flea problem, EVERYONE else can do the same. You can do something to stop this insanity by applying Economics 101 rule of Supply and Demand. YOU do NO BUY it, Demand EVAPORATES and Supply is Eliminated. Simple, Simple Simple. Just SAY NO to DRUGS, CHEMICALS and VACCINES as we KNOW THEM TODAY, and We Will Have a DRUG, CHEMICAL and VACCINE as WE KNOW THEM DAY FREE WORLD..
Education is the secret to eliminating these toxins from our world NOW.
Every day I look up on the wall in my office at a sign that says. “Be the change you wish to see in the world !” and then I put an exclamation mark DO IT NOW, exclamation mark”! If we all do our small part in Saying NO .. Then the time will come when we have a world of YOU and ME and the world of YOU or ME, will no longer be the MESSAGE of our LIVES.
Stephen R. Blake, DVM, CVH, CVA