Author Topic: Why do they have to get involved?  (Read 839 times)

Offline Pookie

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Why do they have to get involved?
« on: April 04, 2016, 07:26:20 PM »
This can go under the Caring for Cats section, too, but it's usually used more in dogs from what I've seen.  WARNING:  rant ahead.

 rantonoff

A few months ago, I had been looking for places that offered Small Animal Massage programs.  I found plenty for horses (I'd probably need a massage myself after working on a horse) and a handful for small (companion) animals.  One looked really promising, as it wasn't cost-prohibitive and offered a week of hands-on training (compared to either none or months, the latter of which was obviously more expensive).  The hands-on training was in my state, so it was do-able for me, but unfortunately I found the program after it had already started.

I contacted them today to find out when the next session would be and found out that it's currently on hold while the veterinarian board reviews the legal standing of animal massage in my state.  The person running the program didn't want to offer the course and then have some very unhappy students if the vet board decided to restrict the practice (plus they'd have to refund the money).

Just for fits and giggles, I checked to see what states (if any) regulate animal massage, and the link to that information is here: 
http://www.iaamb.org/reference/state-laws-2013.html

Now for my rant:  while I understand you don't want just anyone touching and working on your pet, it annoys the daylights out of me that veterinarians get to decide whether animal massage can be regulated.  Yes, human massage can be regulated and most places require you to be certified and licensed.  But if a person gets training from a legitimate school/program and becomes certified (I don't know if they have actual licenses), why should the vets have a say in whether it should be permitted?  If you look at the list, some states only allow vets to do it.  How many vet schools teach animal massage?  Other states say it has to be done with the vet providing direct supervision.  Ok, how many vets are going to stand there and watch someone massage an animal?  I'm sure they'd rather be actually examining other patients.  And I can't help but think that vets are making these decisions because it's competition to their revenues, and not necessarily what's best for the animals.  Yes, I'm that jaded.   cat2

I admit I'm not being objective, because I had hoped that after getting certified, I could start my own business giving massage to dogs and cats, whether it be to relieve stress, help healing after an injury or surgery, etc.  So I'm a bit hissed that something that could help animals feel better may not be offered in my state, or overly regulated, because veterinarians "said so."

We'll see what happens in my state.  But it's hard to be optimistic, because it seems like they've never met a law they didn't like. cat2

Ok, rant over.   rantonoff
« Last Edit: April 04, 2016, 07:36:42 PM by Pookie »
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Offline DeeDee

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Re: Why do they have to get involved?
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2016, 08:39:30 PM »
 bangshead bangshead bangshead bangshead bangshead

On another side, we'll see what my vet thinks when I tell him that I've started learning TTouch for V&B to see if I can get Vlad to chill out better than his normal 0-to-120 speed.
"In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn't merely try to train him to be semihuman. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming partly a dog." Edward Hoagland
"Thorns may hurt you, men desert you, sunlight turn to fog; but you're never friendless ever, if you have a dog."

Offline Middle Child

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Re: Why do they have to get involved?
« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2016, 05:00:29 AM »
How stupid.

 
Quote
And I can't help but think that vets are making these decisions because it's competition to their revenues, and not necessarily what's best for the animals.

Yep.

Offline Middle Child

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Re: Why do they have to get involved?
« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2016, 05:10:39 AM »
When will you know the outcome of this? Will you continue learning on your own, just in case? I was thinking about it as Dr Becker's daily article addresses this topic today.

What does it mean "regulated" anyway.  You can still do it, but have to do it through a veterinary practice? It might be worthwhile to continue even if that turns out to be the case. 

You might have to travel..offering your services in clinics rather than in your home...

Offline Pookie

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Re: Why do they have to get involved?
« Reply #4 on: April 07, 2016, 12:15:35 PM »
I have no idea when they'll make a decision.  I'm not really sure there's a way to learn how to do massage on my own.  I would prefer to have some hands-on training with someone who knows what they're doing so that I have someone to tell me if I'm using the right amount of pressure, etc.  There are a couple of places that offer online training (and some with hands-on), but they are either cost-prohibitive or distance is an issue.  And I don't know that I want to spend that kind of time and/or money when I may not be allowed to actually/legally do it.

Based on what other states do, regulated seems to mean that someone (the vet boards?) decided who can do the massage and under what conditions.  Several states decided only vets can do it.  Others decided that it could be done with "direct vet supervision."  I'm interpreting that literally, as is the vet has to supervise the massage.  Which is absurd, because when it comes to horse massage, I doubt a vet is standing there while it's being done.  And when humans get a massage, they certainly don't have a doctor watching the therapist at work.

Some states allow the practice, or at least don't have any rules against it.  My state's in a "gray area" right now, but I'm under the impression from the program I contacted that some vets were giving the therapists a hard time, or were telling their patients that the practice isn't allowed, which is why the vet board is now reviewing this.   :(

You might have to travel..offering your services in clinics rather than in your home...

The plan was to travel to the patient's home.  My home has a lot of steps, so I don't think it would ideal for people or pets to come here, and as long as I'm fairly local, I have no problem traveling to them.  I had also considered asking the local vet practices if I could come there for 1/2 - 1 day a week so that I could be in one area, and the people in that area could come to me instead of me bouncing around the county.  I don't know if the vet would be willing to give up the space, or how much they would charge me for the space.  These are not large practices and that's a room they could use to see patients.  Hmm . . . though thinking out loud here, if they're in surgery for the morning, do they really need the exam room?  Some of these places only have 1 vet, or maybe 2 . . .

Another idea was the local pet food stores -- perhaps they would let me set up in their store (in a quiet corner, preferably) so I could be in one place for a day or so.  Again, I don't know how much they would charge, but it was a thought.  But the main plan was to travel to the patient.  I was also going to offer Reiki and Reflexology to my patients as well, but as add-ons.

But all of this means nothing if they decide to regulate it out the wazoo.  And the program I was looking into, which is on hold now because of this, was both affordable and in-state.  Most of it was online with 1 week at the school for hands-on training.  I could swing that.  The other programs . . . not so much.

Backstory:  one day I was sitting at a light and saw the van next to me advertising animal massage.  I'd never heard of it before and thought that was really interesting.  I also wondered if it would have helped Pookie in his last weeks.  Because of the tumor's location, he could really only sleep with his head turned one way.  Perhaps massage would have helped his neck and shoulder muscles a bit and made him more comfortable.  And I began to think about how many other animals could benefit from it, and all the different circumstances where it could help.

The link to Dr. Becker's article is here:  http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2016/04/07/pet-post-operative-massage.aspx  Thanks for mentioning it, MC!

P.S.  I just read the comments to that article, and someone said that they (states/vets?) ban "charging for the massage."  SERIOUSLY?!?!   bangshead bangshead bangshead bangshead bangshead
« Last Edit: April 07, 2016, 12:30:03 PM by Pookie »
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Offline Pookie

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Re: Why do they have to get involved?
« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2016, 05:34:20 PM »
Update on the status of small animal massage in New Jersey (http://www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/vet/Minutes/vetmin_022416.pdf#search=animal%20massage):

Quote
LEGISLATIVE/REGULATORY
1. The Board reviewed a number of inquiries and correspondence concerning unlicensed individuals performing massage therapy with
animals. These items were tabled from the December 2015 meeting for research and discussion with Regulatory Analyst Chuck Manning.

The Board reviewed the statutes and regulations governing veterinary medicine, and was also referred to the regulations of the Massage Therapy Board.

Under the Board’s statutes and regulations, massage therapy for the treatment of any condition (physical or mental) of an animal constitutes the practice of veterinary medicine. The Board determined to respond to the inquiring parties that anyone who graduates from the animal massage certification program that they would be prohibited from performing treatment or therapy on animals unless they are under the direction and supervision of a licensed veterinarian.

In addition, the Massage Therapy regs state that licensed massage therapists are prohibited from performing massage therapy on animals because it is considered the practice of veterinary medicine. Pursuant to N.J.A.C. 13:37A-3.1(b)(2). It would, then, also seem that licensed massage therapists would not be permitted to perform animal massage either.

On a motion by Dr. Croman, seconded by Dr. Adler, the board found that animal massage therapy is within the scope of practice of veterinary medicine in the State of New Jersey. The Board directed the executive director to send a letter to the correspondents with this information.

 :'(  I just don't get it.  Massage therapists that work on humans aren't considered to be doing anything "within the scope of [human] medicine."  They're not diagnosing, treating or prescribing anything.  So why is it a different world for pets?  Do the vets feel threatened somehow?  I don't see how massage could be a threat, other than maybe prescribing/selling fewer drugs because the animals are more comfortable or have less pain.

This is just so sad.  The ones who really lose here are the animals.  :'(  Where do you even begin to try to change the minds of these people?  :'(
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Offline Middle Child

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Re: Why do they have to get involved?
« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2016, 06:30:08 PM »
Quote
Do the vets feel threatened somehow?  I don't see how massage could be a threat, other than maybe prescribing/selling fewer drugs because the animals are more comfortable or have less pain.

Yes, they see:

1) a potential loss of income if a pet responds to massage and doesn't need "traditional" treatment

and

2) they see a way to generate more income, by being in charge of the therapists.

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