Eric Weisman won't stop playing doctor

Accused of practicing medicine without a license, he says he only prescribed good nutrition

"Eric is smart; he's a scientist," says Joe Jeansen, a longtime customer who works as a musician in New York City. "He's got a firm understanding of mammals, and it's pretty in-depth."

  

BEHIND THE SCENES OF the charismatic chiropractor's office, trouble was brewing.

Little Canada City Attorney Trevor Oliver says Weisman's "advice" constitutes the practice of both human and veterinary medicine
Jana Freiband
Little Canada City Attorney Trevor Oliver says Weisman's "advice" constitutes the practice of both human and veterinary medicine
Weisman's vegan pet food, Evolution Diet, can be found on the shelves at several nutrition stores in Minneapolis, and as far away as Hawaii
Weisman's vegan pet food, Evolution Diet, can be found on the shelves at several nutrition stores in Minneapolis, and as far away as Hawaii

The complaints were minor at first. The Minnesota Board of Chiropractic Examiners noted that Weisman was calling himself a "holistic practitioner" on his letterhead and asked him to remove the term from his advertising.

A few years later, the board came knocking again, this time over multiple complaints that Weisman had billed too much for services and charged for procedures that were never performed. Weisman admitted to the board that he didn't typically take the vital signs of his patients and sometimes improperly administered acupuncture independent of any chiropractic procedure. The board placed him on probation for one year.

Almost immediately after the probation began, complaints came pouring in that Weisman was offering excessive treatments with exorbitant price tags. He also gained a reputation around the Ramsey County courthouses for suing patients who wouldn't pay.

"His bills were very, very high—outrageously high," says Paul Phelps, an injury lawyer whose clients sometimes used Weisman for accident-related chiropractic work. "He was trying to get money out of me from what the insurance wouldn't pay."

Bizarre advertisements began popping up in local papers. One implied that Weisman was a part of Fairview Lifetime Fitness. Actually he had just set up shop in the same building.

In one case, a woman claimed that Weisman had advised her to back her car into a wall several times to make an accident look worse for the insurance company, according to an order filed by the Board of Chiropractic Examiners. (Weisman says that if the incident occurred he was likely joking.)

The board placed Weisman on probation for five years and required him to do 300 hours of community service as penance. About two years later, when Weisman still had not completed the community service, the board summoned him back. Weisman had finally exhausted his last chance.

"The board said enough is enough," recalls Dr. Larry Spicer, executive director of the Minnesota Board of Chiropractic Examiners. "We can't even control his behavior with orders. It's time to take away his license."

  

ON THE AFTERNOON OF January 9, 2001, Dr. Weisman and Dr. Spicer met in a conference room in the dreary office building of the Board of Chiropractic Examiners. With them were three other board members, and two representatives of the attorney general's office.

The atmosphere was tense. Weisman's license was on the line.

"Okay," said Spicer. "How did you come by your professional designation as a doctor?"

"By going to chiropractic college and getting a state license," answered Weisman.

"So the presumption is, then, that all things in which you refer to yourself as a doctor derive from the fact that you went to chiropractic college, studied chiropractic, and got a license as a doctor of chiropractic?" Spicer prodded.

"Mmm hmm," said Weisman.

"Then how can you then use that degree to give credibility to what you're doing with regard to pets?"

"Why not?" Weisman answered.

Buoyed by the success of his pet food, Weisman had begun experimenting on the strays he took in. His first, a sickly stray cat named Cranky, was force-fed vegan pet food and a mixture of milk thistle liquid, flax seed oil, and garlic. When she recovered six weeks later from what Weisman believed to be Hepatitis, he took it as a sign of success and began formulating his own supplement regimens. He called it "Metabolic Medicine," a treatment that combined vitamins, minerals, plant proteins, and a low-fat vegetarian diet.

In addition to Evolution Diet, Weisman's website began offering $50 packages to treat cancer, kidney failure, and dementia, not including the price of up to $275 worth of vitamins and supplements. For $100, pet owners could buy a "Heart Disease Emergency Treatment Plan" that included a 24-hour emergency pager number for Weisman. For one client, Weisman recommended a dog receive caffeine enemas for lymphoma.

The buzz soon grew loud enough to reach the ears of the Minnesota veterinary community. The University of Minnesota's Dr. Julie Churchill, an associate clinical professor of small animal nutrition, first met Weisman when he approached her hoping to get her to study the benefits of his pet food. But when she heard he was advocating a vegan diet for cats and ferrets, she wanted no part of it.

"You cannot, capital N-O-T, safely feed a cat a vegan diet," she says. "To use food in a medical way you should really know what you're doing."

After looking at Evolution Diet, Churchill reported numerous violations of advertising and labeling to the Department of Agriculture. At one point ads for the diet implied that the food could extend a cat's lifespan to over 20 years (12-15 years is the average lifespan for cats).

At the same time, the chiropractic board was hearing complaints that Weisman was keeping his pets in the office, and sometimes did his chiropractic treatments covered in animal hair and without washing his hands.

Finally, the Board of Chiropractic Examiners launched a full investigation. Weisman was called in for a series of depositions, where assistant attorney general Susan Damon grilled him about the basis of his research.

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16 comments
Weisman
Weisman

This article is a full of lies and deception. All of Eric Weisman's fraudulent criminal charges of practicing veterinary and human medicine along with chiropractic and animal cruelty were dismissed on Feb. 15th, 2012 in Ramsey County Court. Jessica Lussenhop and City Pages lied and misrepresented Eric Weisman throughout this journalistic piece of garbage.

Dan Robinson
Dan Robinson

Back in 2003 after doing hundreds of hours of research on feline nutrition I found a couple of products in the US that claimed to be nutritionally complete AAFCO approved vegan foods for cats. One was Vegecat from Harbingers of a New Age, and the other was Evolution Diet from Eric. Because Vegecat required some work in preparing a complete food, since the product is a supplement to complete the missing components in a vegan diet for cats, I decided to first give the Evolution product a try to see how my feline son would respond. For the first 18 months my 12 year old son was doing fine using the kibble which I tried to feed soaked as suggested. However, in late 2005 I learned the horrors of FLUTD that was most likely caused by the wide variation in formulations that the Evolution product was experiencing in the manufacturing process. After taking him off the Evolution to use the Hill's Prescription Diet for urinary control, a few short months later he succumbed to hepatic lipidosis through starvation, possibly related to his dietary change.

Since that time I have added hundreds of additional hours of study on feline nutrition, adopted a new feline son, and switched him to a Vegecat based feline diet, which has been very successful for the past six years. I monitor his CBC and urinalysis every six months to make sure that his diet remains healthy.

Although Eric appeared to have a well meaning heart, In many of the conversations with him I was disturbed that he was more concerned about the protection of his source of income rather than the quality of his feline product. And since my experience with Eric is only related to the feline products, I cannot comment with any authority about the efficacy of his canine products. I found the formulations of the Evolution feline kibble to change on a regular basis with the palatability becoming a major issue. I was also disturbed by the Gray, et. al., study regarding the two vegan cat food products that showed a deficiency in the nutrient assay for both products. In the case of the Vegecat product it appeared to be a manufacturing error that was subsequently corrected by Harbingers through a procedural change to prevent future mistakes. But in the case of the Evolution product, Eric insisted that the product was fine and that there must have been an error in the research study by the Veterinarians which did not require him to make any changes. This was consistent with my assessment about the wide variation in the formulation of his feline product, which led to my conclusion that the Evolution product was a vegan cat food that I could no longer endorse. In fact, since 2005, I have warned people to avoid his Evolution feline food, especially the kibble. My research indicates that any kibble, whether Evolution or any other dry food, is incompatible with a healthy feline metabolism. The 10% moisture content creates a dangerous dehydration condition that causes or exacerbates gastro-intestinal problems and other related health issues.

I became aware of the many issues surrounding Eric's background back in 2004 and this added to my opinion about his ability to maintain a safe and effective diet for his feline patrons. So it does not surprise me to hear of his recent troubles with authorities.

I currently formulate a vegan feline food product in cooperation with Harbingers using their Vegecat product as a base material. Harbingers has a long history in excess of thirty years of success with feeding both cats and dogs using their specific formulations and recipes. Not only is it possible to safely feed cats a vegan diet that is nutritionally balanced and complete, but it is my personal opinion that the ideal diet for most domesticated cats would be based on the product I have formulated and tested on a small sample of cats. Lacking the funds to do a science based double blind study testing our vegan product, most of my observations are anecdotal and somewhat empirical. However, my gut feeling is that eventually such a science based study will prove that although cats are obligate carnivores, they can be nutritionally enhanced with well formulated vegan foods to provide extended lives that are far healthier than based on conventional commercial foods from the established "pet" food industry.

My personal experiences with these two vegan products have been positive for Vegecat and emphatically negative for Evolution. I know that there are thousands of satisfied Evolution feline food consumers, but I am also aware of a sizable number of very dissatisfied Evolution feline food users as well. I happen to be among the ones in the dissatisfied column. Evolution was a good idea, but it seems to have failed on a number of fronts, partially due to the failures of Eric and his staff. Hopefully the Evolution Diet brand will continue to "evolve" into a better product with some stability in its manufacturing. Time will tell.

Dan RobinsonVegan Cat Institute

Azar Attura
Azar Attura

I tried a vegan food for my cats years ago-- I don't remember if it was Evolution -- all I know is that they refused to eat the canned stuff, and the dry food was so very hard it would have broken a tooth. So I tossed it with no regrets.

Becca
Becca

This man is a vile sociopath. And to be clear his wife is NOT an animal rights activist. I've been vegan 11 years and I am an animal rights activist and I am APPALLED by this idiot's behavior and his CRUELTY to the animals in his care. The cat who was walking on her JOINTS???!?! My god, I cannot even imagine the pain she must have endured before dying from MALNUTRITION in this man's care. YOU ARE A HORRIBLE HORRIBLE HORRIBLE HUMAN BEING. As I responsible pet guardian (1 dog, 2 cats, 1 rat, 3 foster rats) and a longtime activist for animals I am disgusted and outraged.

Phoenix
Phoenix

First Law of Holes, Eric Weisman: Stop digging.

-- On second thought, keep it up.

Weisman
Weisman

My name is Eric Weisman. Jessica Lussenhop, the woman that wrote the article on me assurred me she when she asked me for an interview that she would be balanced and "not present a negative point of view in my case". I explained to Jessica Lussenhop that I did not want to speak to her under any other condition. Jessica told me she would incorporporate stories from an emergency room specialist and a dentist that I have assisted successfully on numerous occassions with their sick pets and some human disorders. These reports did not appear in her "fair and balanced article". Jessica Lussenhop told me that she would use reports from a number people that I had successfully assisted that she did not use in her story. Jessica Lussenhop is both deceptive and a liar and her report reflects the cheap tabloid journalism that you might expect to find in a cheap flesh selling newpaper like City Pages. The health professionals mentioned are only some of the many thousands of people I have provided nutrient procedure information to for over 30 years in human disorder cases and over 15 years for dog, cat and ferret disorders that were not responding well to conventional medical therapy. By far, most of the time I spend with clients is voluntary and I give free information and provide free assistance to homeless and sick animals for at least between 1000 and 2000 hours per year, every year for about the past 15 years.

Weisman
Weisman

My name is Eric Weisman. To me it makes good common sense to administer nutrients to a sick person, dog or cat because many studies have shown sick humans and other animals often have nutrient deficiencies. Numerous studies have proven that nutrient deficiencies are linked to genetic, cell and organ damage. I perform experimental procedures using combinations of nutrients and other entities to assist humans, dogs, and cats that are in a state of disease. I always explain to clients that my nutrient procedures are not inteneded to be a cure, treatment, diagnosis or prevention for any disease. The FDA has not evaluated my procedures. I explain that I am a scientist and not a physician, or veterinarian. By far most of the information service I provide for clients is voluntary and costs them nothing. I volunteer offering people nutrient procedure information easily a thousand to two thousand hours per year helping people with their afflictions and / or those of their cats and dogs. Included in this volunteering are many free follow up calls to help make sure proper adjustments are made or referring to a health professional if things are not going as hoped for. For 20 years, I have rescued and sheltered homeless and sick dogs, cats, ferrets and others. I have payed for their neuters, spays, food supplements, placement advertisements and veterinary treatments. I have helped many of those animals while using them as subjects for my own nutrient compound experiments and procedures to assist them when veterinary treatments were not working well. I found that most of my own procedures are far less toxic, less expensive and often more succesful then veterinary treatments. Everyday, I work on my own cases with our older and sick pets. I also provide information on my procedures to people all over the US almost everyday. The nutrients and other entities that I use are not medical or veterinary in nature and they never have been. I have developed these combinations of nutrients and other entities to assist the body in helping it repair itself. In no way are these procedures medical or veterinary. I often get calls from people that are disatisfied with the types of veterinary or medical treaments they are recieving or they do not have sufficient funds to pay for conventional treatment. I ask people to explain what the condition is that they are dealing with. If the conditon appears to be an emergency, I ask people to go to an emergency medical facility and then call me with an update so I can provide them with more accurate information. I often encourage people that I talk to follow up their cases with physicians and/or veterianrians so that they can get a blood, biopsy or more accurate perceptions of the conditions they are dealing with. I recieve a small income from selling supplements that are used in my nutrient procedures. I have also charged a small fee for offering information about my experimental nutrient based procedures. I do not tell people what to do: I tell them what I have done or what I would do. What I do is provide information: Not treatment. I have assisted mostly non-health educated individuals, but non-veterinary human health professionals have used my procedures for their own pets succesfully on numerous occassions. Again: what I provide is information and not treatment. Over the last 30 years I have done nutrient experiments with humans and animals that have various disorders.

Kim Egan
Kim Egan

"Before he hangs up, Weisman can't help mentioning some new accreditations and awards he's recently received: a 2011 certificate of appreciation from the Physician's Committee for Responsible Medicine.

When contacted for confirmation, the physician's committee explained that it had given the certificate to Weisman as an honorarium after he made a monetary donation.

"Unbelievable," Weisman says. "I interpreted it as for my stance on cruelty-free testing.""

That one passage explains a lot, both about his credibility and the credibility of the PCRM. Both he and the PCRM rely on junk science and anecdotal evidence for their "medical" advice. The truth is that a very small percentage of the PCRM membership is actually comprised of medical doctors (I've heard 10% for a recent figure) and their actions are obviously based on their agenda (veganism) an monetary gain.

JMZoss
JMZoss

I ran into this guy when he had a booth for his pet food at my co-op and he freaked me out. He had a really strange aura about him.

Co-op. Aura. I sound like a hippie.

benji
benji

Leave the acupuncture to the acupuncturists....I for one would not trust a Chiropractor that took a 100hour course in acupuncture to give my pet or self acupuncture....Acupuncturists have 3000hours of training-Who would you rather see ?

Johnny
Johnny

Must be related to that perennial fake psychologist, Brad Jesness......

Dr. Stavit Measom
Dr. Stavit Measom

I am the dentist that Ms. Jessica Lessenhop interviewed over the phone. My name is Dr. Stavit Measom. I received my DDS from the University of Michigan (#1 dental school in the country--we alternate spots with Harvard Dental School). I have had the pleasure of using Dr. Weisman's advice and Evolution dog food. I rescued several dogs from being euthanized in Miami. I live in Detroit, so after flying the dogs back to Detroit, I called Dr. Weisman for advice. One of the dogs was extremely sick--he had mange, roundworms and was underweight. I worked with a local vet and I had miraculous results using Eric Weisman's protocol. Basically, in addition to the vet's prescribed meds, the dog received the nutritional supplements that Eric Weisman advised. I followed this protocol to the tee, and today, that dog is happy and healthy. Even the vet was extremely surprised that his skin had cleared so quickly (she thought she would have to prescribe steroid, which she didn't since he healed up so well). Eric Weisman NEVER charged me a penny for his advice since I was doing dog rescue. I called him and emailed him so many times and never did I get charged nor did he complain. He always made me feel like the animal involved was the most important thing in the world. Such sincere caring is hard to find in any health professional. And when we do find it, we must treasure it, for if we don't, we may lose something that may never come back. So, before anyone stomps on anyone else, please look first--you may be making the biggest mistake of your life.In peace,Dr. Stavit Measom, DDSP.S. I am considering becoming an Evolution Dog Food distributor, since I think very highly of it (as do many vets I have spoken to). I would like to see more people feeding this to their dogs. The farm sanctuary we volunteer at uses Evolution dog food for all of their dogs, while turning down free dog food that is meat based. Every dog that I rescued loved this stuff and gained weight and health by eating it. And, seriously, have you smelled it? It's amazing aroma will delight you.

Becca
Becca

And what about the cat who DIED from malnutrition in your care, you psychopath? You are horrible, you are an uneducated person who tried to pass off a load of crap to gullible people--and animals suffered for it. I am not religious but I hope you burn in hell. You are the kind of idiot who make us intelligent vegans look like complete assholes. Ugh, this article just breaks my heart, when I think of all those animals who suffered at your hands.

lycantropho
lycantropho

@Weisman hi Mr weisman this is raphael from pennsylvania, what a shame and how dumb I am that after many things you said dint make sence I almost fall for your medical advise for my ferret and you call your self a Cientist now I strongly beleave my ferret will die because your medical advice you should be in jail my friend and I will notifie the authorities in your state and the outrageos fees you charge, now it makes sence to me what hapend to my ferret and how many times you ask me if I was willing to spend money for my pet. please if anyone wants to know the story write to me at ralphijunior64@gmail.com dont trust this man.

guest
guest

Sir, sometimes the more you try to convince someone that you're not crazy, the more you reinforce their opinion.

Becca
Becca

Did you not read? PCRM simply sent a thank-you for a donation, like they send to EVERYONE who sends is a donation. Why don't you actually read some of the REAL STUDIES done by actual doctors associated with PCRM--don't judge them by this idiot! I've been vegan 11 years, as has my mother--somehow she's light years ahead of others in her age group in the health department...hmmm....

 
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