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SilverStormm

Dr. Jeff, Rocky Mountain Vet

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I LOVE this show!   Can't really find anything to criticize or snark about.  Dr. Jeff is a one of a kind vet and it was so sad to learn that he had cancer.  I cried when he had his wife (Dr. Petra) cut his long ponytail and shave his head there at the clinic.  This season just ended and it looks like his cancer is in remission although he still is not finished with chemo.  I can't wait for the next season to start.

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Dr. Jeff is the Dude of veterinarians! I can't tell you how many thousands of dollars in vet fees I have spent over the years for my furbabies, so I really appreciate how Dr. Jeff strives to keep services affordable. We need more Dr. Jeff's in this world.

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I'm always surprised with how many vets send clients to him when the owners say they can't afford the quoted price. Why not offer a payment plan or reduce your fee for a long-term client? They just lost that business and future business from that client.

I know that these shows set up some of the clients for filming purposes, like I doubt he was the regular vet for that camel, but the referrals from other vets seems so commonplace in his practice.

I really like his requirement for spay and neuter, too. He'll do a reduced fee for treatment, but you have to have your pet spayed or neutered. 

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Dr. Jeff's ability to provide treatment below cost - yet still employ his staff, keep the lights on, maintain the equipment, etc. - is due to having bought a building (in which he would not just practice, but live) in a crappy area and then sold it after gentrification paved the way for a nice profit, relying on volume to make up some of the difference, cutting some non-crucial corners, cultivating a network of donors who help off-set the non-paying/low-paying clients, and, of course, getting a TV show. 

I think he's a wonderful person and vet, but I don't like the perception created in some by the show that it's a simple matter of compassion for vets to offer services pro bono or at minimal cost; for most vets, if they did that, they'd go under, and then they wouldn't be able to help anyone.  That's why many vets stopped offering payment plans; they kept getting stiffed, and it was jeopardizing their ability to keep the doors open.  There are a lot of things that need to come together to make it possible to offer free/low-cost services with any regularity.

I love his firm stance on not contributing to the homeless pet overpopulation crisis, from his work in spay/neuter clinics that really sparked his passion, to the Planned Pethood clinic name, to the "I'll do it, if you also let me fix your pet" policy.

Great guy, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed for his long-term prognosis.

Edited by Bastet
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I don't know if it was said on the show or something I read outside of it, but Dr. Jeff has said that many, if not all, of the spay and neuter clinics are funded by the ASPCA and/or The Humane Society(ies) and his time is the only thing he donates. The drugs needed to anesthetize are expensive, and there is usually a donation of some kind to the buildings they use. He did say on the show that he is comfortable and his kids are comfortable so he doesn't need a large salary, which is admirable.

He also employs veterinarian students who are at the place in their careers to get practical experience, and many of the services offered at low cost are performed by them with a more experienced vet assisting. I'd imagine that they are less expensive to employ, but of course, can't say for sure. 

That said, to take a situation that appeared on the show and apply it to me, if my dog got out and was hit by a car and I took him to my regular vet and he told me that his leg needed amputated and it would cost $4000 OR I could euthanize him OR I could go to Planned Pethood for a second opinion and lower cost options and that office quoted me $600 to $800 with the surgery being performed after a $300 down-payment and payment arrangements for the rest, my vet just lost out on the $800 and my future business. It's possible that the fees are waived or further reduced by the production team, and they are just saying that they were referred, but it just seems to be a regular occurrence on this show.

Having to euthanize a pet that is ill with a low quality of life is a horrible feeling. Having to euthanize a pet that was injured in an accident because you couldn't afford treatment and that treatment would allow a long life if performed would be absolutely crushing. Dr. Jeff has taken the position that he won't allow an animal to suffer or be put down just on the basis of money, and has organized his practice to allow that. The vet that will only treat the animal for $4000 has made a different decision for their business, and while it is his or her right, that person would not be the vet for me.

In real life, my vet bills insurance companies and his commercial farm clients full price, and offers low cost services when needed. He operates on a sliding scale, which may be regional because my medical doctor also has a sliding scale, as does my dentist and my son's ophthalmologist. 

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My son is a veterinarian. He has 4 full time vets and one part time vet. Plus 16 other employees. They do a lot of pro bono work with local rescue agencies and also less fortunate people who do their very best to care for their pets. At the end of the day, this is a business with bills to pay, employees to pay, insurance to pay, power bills to pay, taxes to pay, etc, etc. He works about 60 hours a week, does surgery at midnight on a Friday night when a dog has been hit by a car and stays late almost every night when people come in at the last minute. He has a wife and child who have given up a lot of family time to support his career. How many people have shown up at your house at 6:00 am on a Sunday morning with her sick dog in her  arms demanding that you treat her on your kitchen counter?  

Forgive me for being a bit on edge but having seen my son get sick so many times from working his ass off in his hospital, I'm really tired of people complaining about the cost of taking care of the animals they chose to have.

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At the end of the day, this is a business with bills to pay, employees to pay, insurance to pay, power bills to pay, taxes to pay, etc, etc. 

Of course it is, and I'm not disputing that. Dr. Jeff is able to work with low-income people, many of who seem to be homeless who adopted stray dogs, because he works with grants and uses veterinarian students to help provide services, along with other business practices to keep his expenses low. A lot of his clients seem to be people who would not get care for their pets at a veterinarian without his payment options. I don't think every veterinarian out there should work pro bono with the homeless. 

On this show, every episode seems to have a person who took their pet to their regular vet and are given the options of a high dollar amount, euthanasia on an otherwise healthy animal, or to go to Dr. Jeff for his clinic to provide the service at a lower cost with payment arrangements. If my dog was in an accident, my vet would not euthanize him because I couldn't pay a large amount, he would work with me, because he is not going to put down a healthy animal because of money. Neither would Dr. Jeff, and it sounds like neither would your son. You get full pay from people who can afford it, and put the animal first.

Once those vets refer to Dr. Jeff, they now get zero dollars and I don't understand it. That makes no sense to me, especially when they are dealing with a long-term client. While I wouldn't expect someone to work for free, I'm more disturbed by someone putting down an animal that can be saved instead of working on a payment plan because they may get ripped off a few grand; I don't think I would want them as a vet any longer. You can file suit and garnish wages to get your money if it comes to that; you can't bring an animal back from the dead. 

I have worked 60-hour weeks, 20-hour days, and have volunteered time, money and services. I think most people have, at least more people have then have not. Reality television makes it seem like the earth is full of narcissistic jerks who don't care about others, but I don't think that is the norm. At least it isn't in my experience.

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Many times in 15 years, my son has had clients who didn't want to spend the money to care for their pets, not that they couldn't afford it but just refused to do it. If it was what he considered a "viable" animal who could still live a good life if given the proper care, he'd have the owner sign papers giving the animal to my son. Then he'd do whatever work necessary to make the pet healthy and adopt it out at no cost to the new owners. 

 

He's also worked out payments as low as $10.00 a month for those who are in reduced circumstances. I just hate it when these "reality" shows are not truthful although I really do like this program. I think it's done for dramatic purposes but many people will take this for the truth. 

 

Most veterinarians are good, compassionate people but there's only so much they can do.

Oh, the stories I could tell about the owners my kid has had to deal with. You would not believe it. He's actually fired some who have verbally abused his staff or refused to pay the bill that they signed a contract to pay.

oy, vey. 

Thank you for your thoughtful, considerate comments.

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Goodness. I was a little afraid to open this thread in case it was bad news about Dr. Jeff's cancer.

But good for him. We know whatever money he gets from the show will be used to expand his business and provide additional help to animals and owners. Another vet show last night featured a dog that had to be euthanized because the owner couldn't afford care for him, and you know Dr. Jeff would never let that happen.

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49 minutes ago, lordonia said:

Goodness. I was a little afraid to open this thread in case it was bad news about Dr. Jeff's cancer.

But good for him. We know whatever money he gets from the show will be used to expand his business and provide additional help to animals and owners. Another vet show last night featured a dog that had to be euthanized because the owner couldn't afford care for him, and you know Dr. Jeff would never let that happen.

My thoughts, exactly.

Dr. Jeff is my favorite TV vet, if only for his commitment to helping people with limited means.

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1 hour ago, RealityCheck said:

I just saw a commercial for the new season of Dr Jeff, Rocky Mountain Vet.  It's premiering Saturday February 4th.

That is very good news, RealityCheck!

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I emailed Dr. Jeff's clinic last year telling them that I want to volunteer on their next trip to Mexico. (I live about 2-3 hours from the Cali/Mexico border)

And I have many years of experience working for veterinarians and also veterinary medical diagnostics. I never got a response to my email :(

I'm going to try again. If given this opportunity, it will be by far, my best accomplishment in life! 

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So glad to see Dr. Jeff back to his normal self! His bad knees never stopped him and cancer didn't, either.

The new clinic is so nice and I love the doggie mural outside.

Goodness, poor fat cat Auren with the two previous abdominal surgeries. Stop eating inedible things!

Now for the judgy portion of our program:

  • Chaotic dog fight and running into the road = off leash. Maybe the owner dropped her leash at some point but it sounded like neither dog was properly controlled.
  • Neptune the parvo dog not getting her full vaccinations. The owners obviously adored her, so come on. They've learned the hard way and hopefully some viewers are now more aware.

I continue to be amazed that so many animals with crushed bones and other very painful injuries are so quiet and accepting of human interference.

Just the thought of a wallaby jumping, crashing and peeing all around the house made me anxious.

The Wild Animal Sanctuary has tours, if anyone lives close. Fifty-five tigers, 73 lions, and over 150 bears! The website has rescue stories, which I foolishly read and soured my day.

Edited by Lord Donia
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It's great to see Dr. Jeff again - I really missed him!

It is ridiculous for ANY state to allow the private ownership of exotic animals; the sheer number of rescues at The Wild Animal Sanctuary is proof of that.  Bad enough that they have to deal with animals from zoos and other sanctuaries in trouble; but from idiots who think they can keep them as pets?  Criminal.

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18 hours ago, Willowsmom said:

I'm so done here. Jeff really believes he's God. He shouldn't believe his own press.

Bye.

 

11 hours ago, LittleIggy said:

Huh?

Yup.  I've seen nothing to suggest Dr. Jeff thinks he's God.  But from my posts, anyone could assume that I think he IS a god.  ;-)

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Those larvae were stomach-churning! I couldn't believe the bunny just sat there and let Jeff squeeze away. And to the owner: Please, gurl. Those "black spots" are called fleas. Kind of well known and easy to recognize.

It was interesting to see the vet tech use that plexiglass shield on the cat who was having hip surgery. He just wasn't having it, which you know must happen a lot but which we rarely see on vet shows. And gosh, the clinic only charged around $400 for surgery that the other vet quoted at $4000? I kind of don't know how Jeff stays in business sometimes.

Not that a trailer isn't small, especially for two people, but I was a little surprised to hear Jeff grouse about it, only because he used to basically sleep on a cot in his old apartment and doesn't seem like he much cares about creature comforts. The apartment turned out very nicely and it was typical for Jeff to postpone finishing it because the clinic needed the funds more. And good ol' Hector doing some of the finishing work himself. He really is a part of Jeff's family.

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^^^ I think the trailer situation went on for quite some time; it was different when Dr. Jeff was a single guy and in good health.  In addition to the move, he had a relatively "new" relationship and was recovering from what had to be a grueling regimen of cancer treatments.  Also, he lost his lovely long locks of hair - the source of his strength and awesomeness!!!  ;-)

Dr. Jeff has often said he thinks vet services are far too expensive, and that he caters to people (like me) who are on a fixed/low income, but he also mentioned he has some clients who can afford to pay more, and happily do so in an effort to help others less fortunate.  His practise has a large staff and does a high volume of procedures; none of them seem to be getting filthy rich, but they probably all subscribe to Jeff's philosophy to some extent.  I think the experience and training they get working in such a facility is invaluable, and I hope those who leave the practise take some of that philosophy with them.

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I just love this series, and I'm so happy that Dr. Jeff and staff have returned.  Between Dr. Jeff and Dr. Pol, I could happily watch for hours.

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Nemo's owner may have been among the most clueless pet owners I have seen on this show.

1) Doesn't get her first cat fixed

2) Doesn't fix the kittens the first cat had (Nemo was a year old and still intact -- definitely old enough to mate with his mother and any sisters Clueless Owner kept, as well as to start spraying nasty tomcat spray all over her house)

3) Doesn't notice or fix the wrapped umbilical cord remnants strangling Nemo's leg (it takes a long time for a leg to be completely killed like that)

4) Takes extreme convincing that a nicely amputated leg will be better for the cat than dragging and bumping around 3/4 of a dead, useless leg which has already become injured and infected.

She did seem to love her cats but had absolutely no idea how to take care of them IMO.

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^^^ Yes.  Allegedly, poor Nemo "just started" showing signs of discomfort, but I can't imagine anyone letting it go that long without proper medical attention.

It was nice to see Dr. B (the other Dr. Jeff) starting to do surgeries.  Dr. Petra and Dr. Jeff were awesome in the way they encouraged him and were there to help if he got into trouble.  I think Dr. B enjoyed broadening his horizons, just as the staff enjoys learning more about exotic animals from him.  He's a great addition.

It was very sad to hear the dismal statistics about wolf hybrids.  Breeding them really should be outlawed.

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Hoo boy, @Peanutbuttercup and @walnutqueen, I agree about Nemo's owner. I DVR'd all three of the new season's shows to date, and finally sat down to watch them this afternoon. I was kinda growling at Nemo's owner, but I really liked the mother and daughter who rescued the gray parrot and brought him in to get his beak fixed. Which says a lot, because I'm not really a bird person and I loathe the NE Patriots while the bird's owners are huge Pats fans. 

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All I know about parrots is what I've seen on vet shows, but they're such a contradiction. So hardy they can live 60+ years, but so delicate they can die from stress or simply being put under anesthesia. It was interesting that shaving down the bird's beak had to be done in multiple sessions several weeks apart.

You have to be a seriously dedicated pet owner to take on anything in the parrot family!

Edited by Lord Donia
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Parrots are an enormous responsibility (and should be left in the wild), and bring enormous joy.  They often bond to their people even more intensely than even dogs or cats; so when they outlive (or outlast) their people, the emotional toll is a tragedy.  That's why I loved the mom/daughter duo - they knew the African Grey would need both of them.

My wild bird rehab mentor also rescued parrots of all sorts (20+ ranging from little conures & loris up to the big macaws), and I had the singular joy of making their acquaintance.  I can tell you that each bird has a unique personality, and has every bit as much affection as a dog or cat once it bonds with you.  I had many "favorites", including brash and very shy cockatoos, but my special boyfriend was an African Grey, who was undoubtedly the cleverest creature I've ever encountered.  Oooh - he also tried to "feed" me (the sexy little monster man).  I could wax poetically about birds all day long.  :-)

Shelly's "We lost the leg" made me bark with laughter.

 

ETA - the beak shaving had to be done in several sessions because the beak had grown abnormally - probably due to neglect (i.e. not being properly trimmed on a regular basis) and malnutrition.  It is usually a fairly simply procedure, performed by adept caregivers or vets, much like talon trimming.

Edited by walnutqueen
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1 hour ago, walnutqueen said:

Parrots are an enormous responsibility (and should be left in the wild), and bring enormous joy.

I often get very sad seeing the range of exotics kept as pets.

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23 minutes ago, Lord Donia said:

I often get very sad seeing the range of exotics kept as pets.

I always get sad AND mad at any exotic "pet" - and don't even get me started on domestic pet breeding whilst millions of wworthy pets are euthanized or relegated to rescue cages.

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On Monday, February 20, 2017 at 5:24 PM, walnutqueen said:

I always get sad AND mad at any exotic "pet" - and don't even get me started on domestic pet breeding whilst millions of wworthy pets are euthanized or relegated to rescue cages

Amen Walnut Queen! Dr. Jeff is 100% on track with spaying, neutering (low cost or free) as the only solution  to ending pet overpopulation. And bless every animal shelter, every animal lover who adopts rescues, and the rescue people that endlessly try to achieve that goal. 

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2 minutes ago, chenoa333 said:

Amen Walnut Queen! Dr. Jeff is 100% on track with spaying, neutering (low cost or free) as the only solution  to ending pet overpopulation. And bless every animal shelter, every animal lover who adopts rescues, and the rescue people that endlessly try to achieve that goal. 

I want every single vet to insist on spay/neuter, and a moratorium on all breeding, if only for ONE year - it would barely make a dent in the millions of lovely animals who are routinely euthanized every year, but it would be a start.  There are many ways our world needs to change; this is just one ...

The Church Canon of the pagan/heathen walnutqueen ...   :-)

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OMG! I'm in love with the cute cat guy! ;-) Aww, he loved his sweet kitty so much. Poor kitty had quite a cast to lug around.

You could tell Shorty was back to normal when he was barking away at everyone in the park.

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12 hours ago, LittleIggy said:

OMG! I'm in love with the cute cat guy! ;-) Aww, he loved his sweet kitty so much. Poor kitty had quite a cast to lug around.

You could tell Shorty was back to normal when he was barking away at everyone in the park.

I know, cat guy was so sweet! So glad Shorty got his mojo back. Kind of sweet to see his owners crying with relief when the whole vet bill was so low.

I thought the expedition to the yak ranch was cool. Those beasts are huge and those horns are scary!

And, I thought they did a good job with the teachable moment about dental health. Obviously the family loved their big white fluffy dog, but they'd neglected her teefs to the point that there was decay, then infection, and so much bone loss that the dog's jaw fractured. I was happy that Dr. Jeff could fix the fracture, and then I was happy to the hear the dog's owner say, in the followup scenes, that she'd learned the lesson and is now going to be proactive in taking care of her pets' teeth.  

Edited to add: I don't know about cats, but in my experience dogs can be very stoic about pain. And my vets have said that too. My little dog was maybe 3 years old when at his annual checkup the vet said his teefs were looking really in need of cleaning and there was gum inflammation. The ensuing dental surgery turned major - as in, "there went my vacation funds" major. Three extra teefs in his little mouth, two or three abscesses, so all those extractions, plus the regular cleaning, then the followup meds. Oy! And I felt so bad, but as the vet said, dogs are so stoic they often won't give signs of pain unless it's really awful. So I didn't take that fun trip that year, and ever since I've kept watch on the pup's mouth and he's had cleanings as required. 

Edited by Jeeves
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Didn't sweet cat owner guy's cat only stay at the vet's overnight? He was bereft! He and his cat were both adorable; she had a really inquisitive and friendly air about her.

Dr. Jeff kind of threw some shade at the original vet for not immediately stabilizing the leg, too.

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11 hours ago, Lord Donia said:

Didn't sweet cat owner guy's cat only stay at the vet's overnight? He was bereft! He and his cat were both adorable; she had a really inquisitive and friendly air about her.

Dr. Jeff kind of threw some shade at the original vet for not immediately stabilizing the leg, too.

The first vet should have at least splinted it.

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21 hours ago, Jeeves said:

I don't know about cats, but in my experience dogs can be very stoic about pain. 

Yep, they sure do, and many other species as well. It's a defense strategy so they won't look weak and ripe for some other animal to attack. You'd think that domestic animals might have let go of that reflex in the thousands of years they've spent in our company, but they don't. It can be heartbreaking when they don't get medical attention in a timely manner because of that.. Been there. :{

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8 hours ago, LittleIggy said:

I couldn't believe Shorty's bill was so inexpensive. 

I believe the clinic must have cut it  - and it's possible the clients had paid something upfront. 

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Thanks @Jenkins. Very interesting article. The producers must be carefully editing around any rough spots because I don't remember Dr. Jeff swearing a lot or badmouthing others. It's obvious he has little patience for the often phony setups and storylines of reality TV, but that makes me like him more.

I should probably give credit to the production crew. Considering that there are probably 3-4 sound, lighting, and camera people filming in cramped exam rooms, plus all the producers hanging around, the finished product is always smooth and professional. I assume they film most of the scheduled appointments after clinic hours since it's never crowded, but they're there for some emergencies as well.

How is it that there were 11 seasons of Emergency Vets and E-Vets and I don't remember any of it?! Alameda East sounds familiar so I'm sure I watched at least occasionally. Goodbye, brain power.

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I saw on the promos for the next episode, that Dr. Jeff and crew were filmed on a visit to National Mill Dog Rescue, near Colorado Springs. I follow and support that organization, which does amazing work getting dogs out of those puppy mills. They get a lot of "worn out" or rejected breeding dogs from the mills, who would otherwise be killed. They also get younger dogs too. Dogs are so amazing; even after living for years in wire cages with no socialization, it's amazing how quickly so many of them adapt to soft beds, and kind touches, and getting to walk on soft grass. Stuff we take for granted but mill dogs don't get.

Anyway, I'm glad the show is going to NMDR, and I hope it does a good job of education about what those mill dogs endure. 

It won't be part of the Dr. Jeff episode, nor was anybody from his clinic involved, but just yesterday NMDR rescued an amazing number of dogs from a horrible hoarding situation in Kansas. 

EDITED to add: When I say "wire cages," I mean just that. All sides of the cages, including the floor, are wire. Just wire. The discomfort is appalling to think about and it can damage the dogs' feet.

Edited by Jeeves
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