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Article on Vet prescribed pet food

2

Comments

  • terri echolsterri echols kalamazooMember Posts: 4,758
    edited 19 June, 2009
    just talked to my (human speaking) mom-she\'s had more animals across her lifespan, thus visited more vets. the only time she\'s ever had a vet \"push\" a food was for a medical condition-kidney problems, sensitive stomach formulas, etc. and they offered to sell her the science diet for those conditions that were in their office, but also offered to special order...um, Merck\'s? and a couple of other options, and gave her brochures. of course, he also told her that in his opinion they were all equally effective for the conditions, and that in his opinion every cat food that the cat didn\'t catch for itself was pretty much six of one half a dozen of the other. so, my mom bought the science diet. (he now has a wider range of prescription foods-ah, Hill\'s! that was it!-than science diet available...but mother has stuck with science diet for her \"special needs\" pets-no harm, no foul.) and yes, the articles behind the scathing commentary on dr. fox\'s page are real articles. but they\'re harder to find than you think-like i said, i keep getting: \"oops! broken link!\" on some, and just weird results when i plug in search terms...so, some people are going to assume that the \"commentary\" is accurate. also-this \"commentary\" reveals a VERY strong bias. a bias this powerful contributes not only to the tone and manner of expression, but it also to a degree dictates what the so-biased individual will perceive. in other words, if you are emotionally invested in a certain point of view, it will literally be less likely that you will even be able to SEE evidence that contradicts your view. an interesting example...for years, humans miscounted their chromosomes. i forget which direction the error went...either it was reported as 22 or 24 (it\'s 23). and despite microscopic photography that clearly showed 23 chromosomes, for decades these photographs were labeled with the wrong number, even though anybody who could COUNT would know it was mislabeled. but the PERCEPTION, the ASSUMPTION, did not allow the mistake to be seen for several decades. say something with enough conviction, especially if you have some sort of authority, and you will be believed-despite evidence to the contrary. because the evidence to the contrary will not be perceived as valid. or, in the case of the chromosomes, even SEEN-even if it all it takes to disprove the facts is the ability to count. that\'s why i care when someone makes such vituperative statements as the commentator on dr. fox\'s page-was that dr. fox himself? whoever it was, they were presenting opinion as fact. (this is what vets do, and this is WHY.) they were spreading propoganda. i\'m sure, as i said, that all the articles are real. but i can guarantee that there\'s been no attempt to find articles that present conflicting evidence or views. this person has their mind so made up, and their beliefs are so extreme (vets are killing our pets!) that i don\'t necessarily trust them as a source-at least, not without also finding someone who takes issue with them, hoping that out of two radically opposing views i could...find something with validity in the middle? so. while i might buy \"not fit for a dog\", i would probably try to balance it with the equally biased reports from the people he trashes. make sense?
  • Rachel HicksRachel Hicks Littleton/DenverMember Posts: 23,738
    edited 19 June, 2009
    OK I know I'm late weighing in on this topic & I DO realize that often finances etc MUST dictate what our pets are fed. And I really really love our vet (that was mom) but I do NOT think that vets should promote foods or even sell them any more than I feel it is ok for a human vet to promote prescription drugs. There are just not enough checks & balances to prevent the occasional person that ends up profiteering; often through little fault of their own.
  • Valerie DurhamValerie Durham Member Posts: 8,724
    edited 20 June, 2009
    The key is to be proactive. The Internet has more information on illness, both human and animal, than, perhaps, about :-#. You have to do your own research, and you have to be aggressive with your vet or doctor if necessary. If that doesn\'t work, get another vet or doctor. When Harvey had his gum problems, I spent hours--days, even--researching the topic. I ended up taking him to eight different vets to get a diagnosis--and treatment--that seemed right (not surprisingly, this was from a pet dentist). Breeder Daddy scolded me for being so obsessive, but each vet had a different opinion--literally--and I just wanted two opinions to match. Actually, the cat dentist had a totally different take on the matter, which didn\'t match any of the other diagnoses, but she treated Harvey, and his gums, while still pink around the edges, have definitely gotten better. Use the Internet. And/or get a second, or third, opinion.
  • Susan KozielSusan Koziel tamaquaMember Posts: 18,794
    edited 20 June, 2009
    I'm a little late joining this discussion, but still wanted to contribute. Here are my facts, I'll try to be as unbiased as possible. - I'm not a vet, just a loving pet owner who has done her own research after her own experiences. - Had 2 male cats who developed diabetes at ages 8 & 14 - Cats were fed a "good quality" cat food from grocery store - Cats were not related in any way and had previously been in good health. - My vet only recommended a "high protein diet" once they were diagnosed (and they did receive insulin shots.) I believe it was the carb laden food to blame for this. Is it possible that genetics or some other factor caused their diabetes? Sure, anything is possible. But I can't help feel taken by the pet food industry for buying into their claims of "nutritious food." An interesting note - look at many diet cat foods - they are usually higher in carbs! Sadly the pet food industry has been unregulated for too many years and Vets have not had the nutritional training (until recently) that they need. I am not a vet-basher. In fact I am very grateful to my wonderful vet who was able to give us 2 more years with our sweet boys. I thank god for all of us loving pet owners who now have our eyes open & are asking questions, doing research, and demanding stricter guidelines on our pet foods. While we may "agree to disagree" about certain statements, at least the awareness is here now. We are not all a bunch of lemmings blindly following what the pet industry dictates. =D> Now, who wants to discuss cat litter?? Just kidding!!
  • terri echolsterri echols kalamazooMember Posts: 4,758
    edited 20 June, 2009
    actually i don\'t think it\'s too unusual for a fourteen year old cat to become diabetic...it\'s one of those diseases that if you hang around long enough, and you\'re a mammal, and you have any predisposition toward it at all-it shows up. diabetes at eight is a bit of a different story...don\'t quote me or even trust me as far as you could throw my fourteen pound cat (and please don\'t do that), but i think that\'s a good bit more rare. HOWEVER. there is some evidence in humans that the development of certain diseases such as diabetes or even certain cancers could be triggered by viruses or bacterial infections. your cats lived in the same househould, could have become vulnerable due to the same bacterial or viral infection that was subclinical-you never even noticed they were sick-then years later...:? or it could have been heredity in the younger cat, age in the older cat, and a better (higher protein) diet might have at least kept it from manifesting so early in the younger cat, might have held off some in the older guy, too. diabetes is a complicated issue in any species. it\'s associated with obesity-were your cats obese? but even that association-not all diabetics are obese, not all obese creatures are diabetic. and it\'s pretty definitive that diet does not CAUSE diabetes, per se. there has to be a susceptibility, a vulnerability there-and usually a trigger as well. diet & nutrition are far from irrelevant. but they will not prevent all illnesses, and all illnesses canNOT be blamed on \"bad nutrition\". it would be nice if we had that much control over life & death...unfortunately...:?
  • Annalisa Conserti-JonesAnnalisa Conserti-Jones Member Posts: 5,234
    edited 20 June, 2009
    I don't believe that vets are out to get incentives by certain companies. If that were the case, both vet staffs at the two veterinary practices we've been at would be after us for that, and that hasn't happened. Sure, Boris' vet didn't know about Wellness at first (but she told us that whatever we fed, portion controls and ingredients in the food were key), but the other vets we've dealt with have subsequently known of and approved our choice of food. I have never had food pushed on me... Even the one time Boris was feeling sick and the vet suggested Science Diet A/D as a wet food, she explained that the food was full of glucose, which she would not recommend as a full time diet, but it would do the trick of getting Boris to feel better enough for his own food. It worked where a lot of suggestions from our pet store clerk (we tried weruva, we tried tiki, we tried about 5-6 different foods when Boris stopped eating for about 2-3 days last summer), so I would think she knew what she was doing. At the time I was like "I don't know, it is Science Diet...". The vet's reply? "I know. But it's one more thing you can try, and if it works, it's better than letting him go hungry one more day." I remember I needed encouragement from some catsters anyway, because I had a big problem with it. But we tried it, and it worked, and after a couple of cans of food on successive days, Boris was well enough to start eating his own food again. And now, I'm tagging in some slightly off-topic ranting. I'm glad most catsters were sympathetic to my misgivings above but insisted we try what the vet suggested anyway. It seems as if nowadays those same people don't even visit this specific forum anymore, probably because they don't like feeling lectured about what's appropriate or not to feed to their cat. Some of them might have tried all the food in the world, but had no choice but to stick with a prescription formula. Some of them might want to feed Evo, but it's just not in their budget. We switched to Wellness two years ago, following all the commercial food recalls. I got advice on it on this very forum, but no one was pushing for a certain kind of food, they did understand that not everyone's experiences and circumstances are the same, and that sometimes even the greatest of food isn't going to be an option if your cat won't eat it, for whatever reason (and that above all, starving a cat who won't eat your choice of food should never be an option). Sometimes I wonder how we went from wanting to share with one another what we thought of specific cat food or from educating people who were new to cat ownership about some basic dos and don't from passing value judgment on people who couldn't or wouldn't feed what we thought was appropriate. I now stop reading most threads here when someone routinely says to an OP that if they can't afford X, Y, or Z to feed, they should not have their cats. I would agree to it if you are feeding table scraps to make ends meet. I would agree to it if you're feeding supermarket food that's cheaper than $1 a lb (they do exist, you know). Feeding anything else is at least trying. Finally, ask yourselves this: if you weren't on the web, and the person you wanted to lecture about food was someone in your grocery store, would you approach them and tell them "that food you're buying for your cat? It's crap. You should be feeding [insert food of choice for you]", or would you approach them more gently, maybe strike a conversation to find out why they are buying said food, and go from there, so that you do not offend this person, therefore ensuring that they won't listen to a word you say after that? I know it's the internet, which means that courtesy often goes out the window. But try to remember this: behind each cat, there's a person who loves their cats. They wouldn't be here if they didn't. I commend you for trying to educate them, but please remember that offending them by criticizing them when they fail to live up to your standards will not, in fact, encourage them to try better food for their pets.
  • Tina BTina B Vancouver IslandMember Posts: 2,238
    edited 20 June, 2009
    This kind of pertains to the subject of how food industries work this by and large does include the pet food industry. This movie just released today called Food Inc. Do you know that 85% of our food contains Corn.:-O Link to movie site and trailer
  • terri echolsterri echols kalamazooMember Posts: 4,758
    edited 20 June, 2009
    boris: =D>=D>=D> well said! reminds me of an ad i saw, where this little kid stands in front of an auditorium of kids and trashes some other little kid...something that would never happen in an actual school auditorium, but happens every day on the net. \"if you wouldn\'t say it to their face, don\'t say it online.\" sort of the post-post-modern caveat to \"if you can\'t say something nice...\" well...85% of our food contains some form of corn as preservative, fixative, sweetnener etc. that does not mean that 85% of what we eat is corn. it DOES however mean that people like my roommate and our former roommate (melinda) who are allergic to corn-are pretty much always sick. corn is not just in our foods. it\'s in toothpaste, medicines-prescribed and OTC-and makeup, among other things. melinda has finally gotten so exasperated by the constant migraines-from taking medicine that contains corn-that she actually went to the trouble of figuring out which medicines had corn in them, and either having the company send her the same thing processed without corn, or had the doctor prescribe something which was commonly processed without corn that did the same thing. she\'s having less migraines, yes. but-dig the irony-she\'s having a hard time finding a medicine that will adequately control her blood sugar that does not contain corn. so...she\'s having to check her sugar more often, or she will get...well, she\'ll get migraines. (catster hq: a rolling eyes emoticon...PLEASE!) corn is not \"demonic\". it will not kill you or hasten your end. but the less varied the diet, the less healthy the diet-for omnivores like us, i mean. and it\'s absurd that some of the food industry giants are trying to draw a Cloak of Secrecy:-$:-#:-$around their operational practices...well, the law didn\'t pass the first time. and we have anti-trust laws for a reason. really, what they need is competition...and the green movement-renewable energy, reducing carbon footprint, more organic lifestyle-might be able to take it on. i think it\'s beginning to make a dent...but it will improve, i predict. right now, it\'s just more expensive to buy healthy, and prohibilitively expensive for people like me to buy organic and free-range. but. as renewable energy sources multiply, as the whole philosophy of how we tread upon the Earth begins to shift, the prices will come down. i really think so.
  • Valerie DurhamValerie Durham Member Posts: 8,724
    edited 20 June, 2009
    Julius--\"Sadly the pet food industry has been unregulated for too many years\"--is that really true? There has to be SOME kind of regulation about what animals eat. Put it another way, we have food regulation regarding human foods, but we all know they are full of additives, preservatives, antibiotics, and who knows what. And don\'t forget that if you eat at McDs, you are not unlikely to get a Big Mac that includes tasty things like cow dung. I\'m not a vegetarian, myself. But the reality is that even fruit can pose a health hazard--in Japan, we scrub the fruit (apples, pears) with dish detergent to get off the nasty chemicals. This is not a personal attack on Julius. If I had the time and the energy, I\'d research it myself on the Internet. But I would like to know the basic facts--such as whether cats are eating unregulated food.
  • terri echolsterri echols kalamazooMember Posts: 4,758
    edited 20 June, 2009
    from what i\'ve read, it\'s not that the food is unregulated-it\'s that many things are allowed under the regulations that humans find...distasteful. there ARE certain regulations, certain bars the pet food companies have to clear. but the bars are kind of low. and, there are ways to cheat-like adding melamine to create the illusion of a high enough protein percentage, which resulted in...well, too many of us know.:(( no, there is nothing comparable to the FDA...and our pets are eating the food that goes to slaughterhouses that has been deemed \"unfit for human consumption\"...and that\'s all the pet food companies, to my knowledge. everyone uses rendered meat, from a variety of sources. but think about it...we have the FDA, we humans. and what it mostly does is state that certain things must be done in a certain way. because the FDA is government, there is a certain amount of oversight that non-governmental regulatory agencies can\'t provide...as in, break this and you\'re breaking the law. however...pet food companies do have some concern for quality control. if they slip up, then the mightiest vote of all wipes them out-the power of the checkout counter. the FDA ain\'t all that, in everything. it is made up of humans, who can be bought off-government workers who get little respect for a demanding yet tedious job are vulnerable to becoming corrupt. and what do we have besides the FDA? well, the quality control workers from the companies who make our food-just like in the pet industry. we have an extra barrier in the FDA, but it can be breached. i\'d like to see the bar raised a few notches, and things made a little less muddy, so that the standard across the board would rise. but to be fair? do YOU eat a one hundred percent optimum diet, scientifically calculated for longevity, healthy bones, teeth and urinary health? (or whatever is on the kitty food commercial?) i think we might just getting a tiny bit too obsessed, here. i\'d like to see some real research from neutral parties, people who are just...curious. some serious, long-term longitudinal studies comparing significant samplings of cats from this diet, that diet, raw, dry, wet, mixed. everything we have is anecdotal, from every side. (double blind would be potentially unethical-what if the person had a personal problem with the brand they were feeding for the study, and was having to feed it anyway, all unknowing? i know there are some people who will never feed Menu foods again, for example, no matter what. and double-blind wouldn\'t be of much use in anything but testing different brands...you\'re gonna know if you\'re feeding kitty dry, wet, a mix of both, raw & dry, raw & wet, raw, dry & wet. also-is it necessary to protect dogs and cats from the placebo effect? granted that owners who are strongly biased in favor of the method they are using are liable to perceive benefits which are not there-and thus report what they cannot help but see. (humans had the wrong number of chromosomes for decades, remember?) but, if it\'s a good study, there will be objective testing. not: how shiny does my mommy say i am compared to before we started on SpffyCat Canned? how active? how stinky are my poos?:-O more like: muscle tone. bone density. weight. presence or absence of dental caries. incidence of diabetes? at what age? presence or abscence of struvite stones? pet food companies are doing studies like these, but they\'re sort of haphazard and they have no control...they\'re basically just quality testing their formulas. so yeah, it could get better. but to say the pet food industry is completely unregulated is inaccurate. less regulated than the human food industry, yeah. completely unregulated-no.
  • Teresa ConcannonTeresa Concannon Member Posts: 7,378
    edited 20 June, 2009
    The FDA does regulate pet foods: FDA-- Regulation of Pet Food FDA-Animal Feed and Food Regulations FDA-- Regulation of Pet Food Labels It's not that there's no regulation by the government; the pet food industry is definitely regulated. I do think the government relies too heavily on AAFCO feeding guidelines and too much self-regulation by the pet food companies. I don't think the regulations and laws are tough enough as is (Congress needs to pass stricter laws) and don't think the existing regulations are strictly enforced either. The FDA has been underfunded and understaffed for years. And very policiticized. :(
  • Teresa ConcannonTeresa Concannon Member Posts: 7,378
    edited 20 June, 2009
    There are animal nutritionists.
  • Teresa ConcannonTeresa Concannon Member Posts: 7,378
    edited 20 June, 2009
    There are animal nutritionists. Wikipedia-Animal Nutritionist Some animal nutritionists specialize in pet nutrition and will make up diets for your cat or dog (for a large fee). They can usually be found at university veterinary schools and specialty vet clinics. I assume they have studied feline nutrition and know something about the subject? :D I agree that there's an urgent need for neutral, scientific studies about pet nutrition and the best foods/diets for cats and dogs. The question is, who is going to fund these neutral studies? One other thing. If we say that veterinarians don't receive enough formal instruction in school about pet nutrition and we're suspicious of and question *mainstream* veterinarians about their opinions on pet foods and the best diets for our pets, then why do we so willingly accept the opinions of other veterinarians (who presumably have no formal training in pet nutrition either) when they criticize the type of diet and foods we feed our pets and advocate for other, less mainstream diets -- e.g. raw diets -- for our pets? Just wondering.
  • terri echolsterri echols kalamazooMember Posts: 4,758
    edited 20 June, 2009
    cool, mittens...was taking everyone\'s word for the: \"cats and dogs have no FDA protection!\" SNAP!%:D% yeah, knew there were feline nutritionists, and that like human nutritionists, they\'re a specialized niche...thus not covered by pet insurance, probably, even if you HAVE pet insurance. but the feline nutritionists presumably got their knowledge from some sort of scientific, replicable, studies, right? so somebody has done something. some knowledge is there already, and just needs to be taught to the vets...more than just a couple of hours, or whatever. as for who would pay for the studies...what about the AVM?:-k research for human medicine is underwritten by drug companies, so it\'s not completely beyond the pale that the pet food companies are doing research-why wouldn\'t they, if they care, if they\'re trying to improve their product? the reason we don\' t hear more from the pet food companies about their research isn\'t necessarily because it\'s shoddy, biased, or inhumanely conducted-it\'s more likely that the information is considered proprietary knowledge, and cannot be disseminated publicly. but the AVM...or private foundations? the information would not be proprietary, because it would not be one particular pet company. human research is supported also by grants and donations...is there money out there for that?:-k
  • Susan KozielSusan Koziel tamaquaMember Posts: 18,794
    edited 21 June, 2009
    Spike - sorry the pet food industry clearly IS regulated, but not to the standards that I feel it should be. My emotions got the best of me on that last post. Kaya - My boys were not obese, but they were overweight. And yes, I agree that age & other things do play a part in diabetes. But I do believe that the food was a definite part of the puzzle. I think I was definitely naive when I adopted my first cats. And I think many of us are. We have good intentions, but are a bit clueless because we don\'t even KNOW what to look for on the labels. Initially when I saw that my boys were gaining weight (pre-diabetes) I switched them to the diet version of their cat food. They didn\'t lose an ounce. I cut back on the amount and threatened my husband with divorce if he gave them treats. Still no results, just had 2 cats bugging us for food all the time. Little did I know that the diet version of that particular food was worse for them. My point was just that there is alot of ignorance out there (myself included!) and I don\'t mean this in an insulting way. Many people just don\'t KNOW all of this. How could they? I\'m not saying that everyone should feed their pets the most expensive diets. You do the best you can. If someone adopts & cat from a shelter and essentially saves it from being put to sleep, they\'re ok in my book, no matter what kind of food they can afford. I\'m just happy that we have these forums to share info with each other. Yeah, sometimes what we post is wrong or not entirely correct, but it gets the mind going & starts the conversations.
  • Susan KozielSusan Koziel tamaquaMember Posts: 18,794
    edited 21 June, 2009
    Maybe they should use the funds that go towards cloning animals and use it towards nutrition research instead ;) (jk)
  • terri echolsterri echols kalamazooMember Posts: 4,758
    edited 22 June, 2009
    yeah, julius...witness my older sisfur\'s \"the FDA is not involved in cat & dog food industry\". D\'OH! which caused someone who knew better to post, which moved the discussion along...just as your statement that \"pet food was unregulated\" got things going...we know what you meant (now), but even being inaccurate can be instructive. i wonder if we could find a way to make cat (& doggie) nutrition research more important? less of a niche thing? some companies that produce dairy products have improved the diet of cows so that they will...um...emit less methane. this is good for the envirnoment long-term, and saves the company some money immediately according to some complicated carbon emissions calculus. BUT: the altered diet, necessary only in winter, balances the first rumen (ok, sure) which results in less methane production-and cows with shinier coats and which require less veterinary care for illness. WELL. can we make a case for kitty poo or pee as it currently exists being harmful to the environment, and thus research must be done on a diet that makes their emissions less negative?:-k (this has been jadyn liana, the black smoky member of the mystic michigan kitty krewe. don\'t tread on me. i bite. should that be my new motto?)
  • Thea PowellThea Powell Member Posts: 852
    edited 22 June, 2009
    Kaya, My mom was an animal nutritionist (she had to quite about 15 years ago due to alergies) but she worked with vets and did not charge rediculous prices. I have recently been going through struggles with my cat food (MEDICAL changed the preservitive in thier food) and had to change. My vet suggested Science diet which worked for the cats but not my budget, during this time I found a local company who delivers pet supplies to your home and was having my litter delivered I was speaking with the guy and he told me that they had what they called a "vet" diet cat food at like 1/2 the price of Science diet that aparently worked on the same issues as the SD. I got as much info as possible and then forwarded it all to my mother to ask her what she thought. Her response sort of shocked me. She told me that the ingredients and the nutritional info does not mean as much as people think she said that the most important issue with animal food it the raw ingrediants NOT WHAT but WERE and QUALITY. I was rather surprised at that and that she told me to try this food as it could work well for my 4 legged family members. Her other thing about the food was HOW my INDIVIDUAL cats reacted. so far so good. I agree with BORIS (hi) that it is hard to come to this form anymore (I've also gotten a lot of good advice here) because it feels like it is nothing but cat fights because every one is sure thier point of view is correct and no one should disagree. I think in the end the point of this forum that SHADOW (love the new pricture) started was is it ethical for vets to sell catfood. I think this is the same issue as is it ethical for Doctors to perscribe meds that they got "perks" from. My opinion is that how would we ever advance in anything if people did not produce promot and try?
  • terri echolsterri echols kalamazooMember Posts: 4,758
    edited 22 June, 2009
    as long as my doctor is knowledgeable about a new drug or its new, off-label use, does it bother me that he gets free office supplies or whatever, plus samples in order to encourage him to prescribe it? i think for the most part the \"perks\" work to keep the product-which is unfamiliar-in mind. oh, you have pain and i\'m holding this \"Cymbalta\" pen...you have a history of depression...we could try the Cymbalta (he explained why, asked if i agreed), and we will...but i need for you to get in and see a mental health professional soon-i won\'t prescribe more than a month for you, i\'m not a psychiatrist. but this should get you started, let you know if this works for you. that\'s pretty much word for word how i ended up on Cymbalta, which works brilliantly for me. vets and pet food...see no difference between providing samples in doctor\'s offices and providing samples of food for vets. getting your product into awareness is key-and while drugs and pet foods can and do advertise, they know that the last and first word is the doctor and the vet when it comes to drugs and pet food. so they just try to make the doctor and the vet aware of their product. this is not unethical. this is advertising. if you start paying the doctor or vet for pushing your product-that\'s crossing the line. and honestly, it\'s not that hard to tell when your doctor is pimping for a drug company, and i wouldn\'t imagine it would be that hard to tell when your vet is doing the same for a pet food company. in neither case is the professional\'s judgment still intact-just change practitioners. :?
  • Tina BTina B Vancouver IslandMember Posts: 2,238
    edited 22 June, 2009
    Ok then lets put it this way, ask yourself is it ethical for a vet to prescribe food to you that is not tested, and they are using you as the guinea pig sorta speak, but they dont actually know that they are doing this. They think that product has gone through all the testing and such and think the product is gauranteed. Sure they are getting kickbacks from it, who wouldnt want free pet food for yourself and your staff, and oh and free golf trips. Is this right? I dont think so, but that is my personal opinion. Then when something happens to the pet the vet doesn't know steps to take as they dont think its the food, so then they just give meds to cure, when they could have prevented with a diet change. Once again I am not bashing vets, I think that a change needs to be in order for the way they are taught in school and by whom, and I know this seems like a pipe dream, but for the FDA to be more strict when it comes to pet food, as our pets are like family to us. With human Doctors it is a little different as the meds they are prescribing have gone through testing on people that were paid and willing to go through the testing trials. Are your pets and you being paid to test these pet foods (prescribed or not)? No you are paying big bucks for a product in their office, that has not been thoroughly tested for a long period of time on more than just a few animals. I sure hope that people want to visit this site, theres nothing wrong with a good debate, we dont need to get nasty. I think its good to get others opinions, I dont want to argue I just want to educate and get educated, more and more the better.
  • edited 22 June, 2009
    I'm also thinking a "human doctor" probably receives more education on human nutrition than a veterinary student gets on animal nutrition. I don't think the comparisons are exactly equatable. The comparison was made that if a human doctor can tell a diabetic patient what foods to eat, why shouldn't a vet tell a client what to feed their animal? The difference here being that the human doctor would not necessarily "prescribe" a certain brand of foods... could you just see a doctor "prescribing" Lean Cuisine, Weight Watchers, or NutriSystem? No. What they usually do is give the patient a list of generally healthy foods, and then recommend seeing a nutritionist. Then the doctor might prescribe medications to assist with the patient's particular condition. There is no "medication" in prescription pet foods. In general, veterinary students receive very little education on animal nutrition. The small amount of education they do receive is usually presented by the big commercial pet food companies. Even much of the research at veterinary schools is subsidized by the big commercial pet food companies. This is why I say education is subjective: the student is only as good as the teacher. It's not likely that veterinary students are given an in depth look into the pet food industry, or FDA regulations (& weak enforcement), or even given to question the AAFCO (heaven forbid!). Why do vets "prescribe" pet foods? Because that is what they have been taught to do.... by the very pet food companies that make the "prescription" food. The rare exception is the vet who has stepped outside the box, and furthered their own education on animal nutrition from other sources.
  • Tina BTina B Vancouver IslandMember Posts: 2,238
    edited 22 June, 2009
    My thoughts exactly Loki!=;
  • Valerie DurhamValerie Durham Member Posts: 8,724
    edited 23 June, 2009
    Two points. First, the food that we get at the supermarket is almost guaranteed to be contaminated in some way--antibiotics in meat, pesticides on fruits and vegetables. Not to mention all the weird \"additives\" in other foods. Two: American GPs (not psychiatrists) are a little bit too eager to give out samples of antidepressants. Antidepressants work for many people, but they can screw up an already slightly screwed up brain. I see my pdoc twice a month, and we work together trying to find what works for me (not much, so far), but when I was in America after my mother\'s death, my GP gave me a six-month prescription for an antidepressant, even though he knew that he wasn\'t going to see me again. Actually, he was a good doctor, but on this point I think he was irresponsible--but the situation was representative of mental health care in the U.S. And, may I add, the \"newer\" kinds of antidepressants have probably NOT had as much clinical research as was needed. Ever heard of Prozac rage? It really does exist; the key is to be closely monitored by your doctor--not your GP, but your pdoc. From this perspective, I can\'t really say that \"prescription\" foods for cats are necessarily bad or overprescribed in comparison with human meds. What I CAN say is that animal nutrition studies are going to improve in the near future.
  • Thea PowellThea Powell Member Posts: 852
    edited 23 June, 2009
    Shadow who told you that to food is not tested? As I understand it all these foods are tested (no not third party) and are regulated by a gouvernment. Also please remember that these pet food companies do have on staff animal nutritionists and vetrinarians. They are doing long term studies and can back up thier claims with data. Since the recent issues with tainted food many of the companies have moved to third party testing for the quality as well. And where as there is not as much focus on animal nutrion as some people would like in vet schools thier is enough for vets to determine which companies they are willing to work with. My vet office for instance carries three different companies in thier office and my Mom's vet that she worked for all those years ago carried two and they were different from the companies that my present vet uses. This goes to show that nutrition for animals varies as much from person to person as well as vet to vet.
  • terri echolsterri echols kalamazooMember Posts: 4,758
    edited 23 June, 2009
    i doubt that a company is pushing a food to a vet that has not gone through their own quality control testing-which, if they have any sense, is pretty rigorous. pet food companies aren\'t in it to kill animals or make them sick-if nothing else, it would sort of be counter-productive. (not to mention sort of evil.) people HAVE been known to take shortcuts and cheat in the name of the almighty dollar (or yen, or whatever)...and in those cases i don\'t imagine the pet food companies are informing the vets-\"hey, there are some sup-par ingredients in this shipment-we had to cut corners to meet overhead.\";) if the vets are being lied to, they can\'t tell US what THEY don\'t know. also, this sort of thing doesn\'t just happen with pet food-our animals are not being singled out for harm because they don\'t matter/no one cares/ or there\'s no FDA regulation-they DO matter, many millions of people care, and there IS FDA regulation. it happened recently with peanut butter-the salmonella scare? e coli in lettuce. and remember the poison baby formula? THAT formula was delivered to mothers trying to feed infants in the wake of a natural disaster...babies died. there are always going to be people who cut corners or just plain cheat...and there is, sadly, no way to catch all of these before they hit the market. the ONLY response is prosecution of those individuals who did idiotic things like use melamine in pet food or baby formula (!) when that is prohibited-and punitive damages awarded. and when something goes wrong out of just being sloppy-there should be some sort of sanction there, too-just not as extreme as when people oh, put poison in food in order to make it cheaper to make. and honestly, sometimes, crap just happens. the sickest i have ever been as an adult was the result of crap, literally, happening. some sort of barge carrying sewage for processing had a little accident, and raw sewage went into the city\'s water supply-too much for the system to handle at that part of the \"flow\". complicated-they published diagrammatic explanations in the paper to explain the \"fluke\" accident-the word \"fluke\" was a bit overused, but apparently it was sort of a million to one thing. so...the city sent out warnings, but it happened early in the morning and people weren\'t really paying attention yet. there is no civil defense system for: water system contaminated. just the news. internet wasn\'t really that huge a phenomenon back then-it existed, but we didn\'t have a computer, and most people we knew didn\'t either. and...people died of e coli poisoning in rather startling numbers for a major american city near the end of the twentieth century. crap-literally-sometimes just HAPPENS. there were people who wanted to bring the river boat captain who was in the wrong place at the wrong time and apparently contributed to the accident up on charges-but the point was made that there really was nothing irregular or wrong with him being there at that time...it was just unexpected. you can\'t prosecute someone for not being clairvoyant. without a certain climate of trust, people cannot do business. our vets cannot be expected to hire corporate spies to check into the business practices of every pet food company whose product they recommend-and that\'s just about what it would take to catch some of this before it became a problem. i believe in penalizing people if they don\'t do their jobs-i don\'t believe in penalizing people for not being superhuman. unless a veterinarian has some reason to believe a food has never been tested, they have no choice but to proceed as if the food has gone through all of the quality control \"vetting\" :D that it was supposed to. i HAVE had veterinarians say that \"this food is new, this is what the company says about it\" and then give me their take on other products they\'ve used from that company. that\'s giving me all the information THEY have-which is really all they can do, isn\'t it? as for the sidebar on antidepressants: yes, they may very well be being overprescribed in the u.s.-AND conversely, they might be being underutilized in other areas of the world. certainly we need to take another look at prescribing psychoactive drugs to children-we\'ve had some tragic lessons in that-as well as paying more attention to our patient\'s psychiatric histories when we prescribe ANYTHING. last summer, as some of you may remember, my GP prescribed Chantix as a stop-smoking aid. well, it was working well...except that i became psychotically depressed and began hallucinating.:-/my doctor noticed my symptoms-kinda hard to miss them-and prescribed zyprexa, even though i told him i had never experienced anything like this in my life, and was concerned that there was something more going on. the zyprexa-an anti-psychotic-did help some. not enough. i started doing some research on drug interactions, since some of my meds had recently changed-and discovered that Chantix should be prescribed with extreme caution to people with OCD, clinical depression, or bipolar. i have OCD, i am bipolar. my doctor knew this. delved further, going to some autism support sites-discovered that others on the autism spectrum had experienced enough difficulty with Chantix that although there was no FDA warning re: autism and related disorders at that time, the FDA was aware of the problem and was considering how to respond. so, maybe he could be excused for not knowing about Chantix and autism-but he was fully aware of my OCD and mood disorder-prescribed Chantix anyway, and chose to believe my florid psychosis was a \"new manifestation of (my) bipolar illness\" rather than listening to me saying: this ain\'t right. ON THE OTHER HAND: i should have investigated each new drug i took into my body, and not just blindly trusted the doctor. after a couple of other idiotic mishaps, i changed doctors. but I could conceivably have educated myself via the internet and avoided the whole Chantix disaster. (yes, the samples came with product information, and they probably had cautions concerning psychiatric diagnoses and the use of the product-but, my glasses were broken and the warning insert was written by cousins of the keebler elves) to recap this monster post: there are dishonest people out there-mercifully not that many-who cut corners and engage in prohibited practices that have led to both humans and our animals getting sick and dying. they do not advertise their \"methods\"-so there is no way for a doctor, vet, grocery store, warehousing chain-ANYONE BUT THOSE RESPONSIBLE-to know that the product has been diddled with, mishandled, contaminated, or just not taken enough care with. and what you don\'t know, you can\'t tell the public. the public-we-need to educate ourselves when and where and how we can. sometimes, this can help. sometimes-crap happens.
  • Valerie DurhamValerie Durham Member Posts: 8,724
    edited 24 June, 2009
    Regarding human mind meds--\"Crazy Meds\" will tell you more than you will need to know. They have information on all the meds, including the prescription inserts, and med interactions and side effects. They are a bit hostile, but I can guarantee that they have more information than your pdoc. The problem is not just cat food. Things have improved (?) since 2007. Actually, medical knowledge is advancing...probably faster than we think. As is veterinary knowledge. Nothing is ever perfect, and in a good world, things get better. As for corn--this has been a big nutrient in America for its entire history (remember the story of the first Thanksgiving?). Do cats need corn--probably not. But some cats (as I\'ve learned from Catster) actually like it. That does not necessarily mean that we should not seek a corn-free diet. But--and I know I\'m in the minority about this--if your cat likes corn, I still am not convinced that this is a \"junk food\" craving. Yes, avoid the Fritos and potato chips. And yes, cats don\'t eat corn \"in the wild,\" but when was the last time that your average domestic cat lived \"in the wild\"? Several thousands of years ago. Today\'s feral cats will eat anything that will give them nutrition. This is not meant as a hostile post. I am doing a lot of thinking, and trying to do the best I can by my cats. All of them have lovely fur, are extremely energetic, and...get this...one famous Maine Coon breeder I have met has said that Japanese Maine Coons simply do NOT live to be 20 years old. The average age of death is in the early teens. Is this due to diet? To heritage? (Responsible breeders avoid interbreeding like the plague.) We don\'t know, but I can assure you that this was not a \"backyard breeder,\" but one of the top breeders in Japan. Cats, like Humans, do not live forever. Cut to the chase here. Your vet PROBABLY knows more about cat nutrition than you do, however spotty his/her education was in vet school. But, unless you do a lot of Internet searching, you are not going to know more than they do--at least regarding food aimed at kidney disease, etc. Do the Internet search. You will get the necessary information. And then you can deal with your vet.
  • edited 24 June, 2009
    First of all, can we please quit bringing in discussion regarding human medical practice? It is not even remotely comparable to veterinary practice and trying to make such comparisons is not constructive dialogue regarding the subject at hand. quote: As for corn--this has been a big nutrient in America for its entire history (remember the story of the first Thanksgiving?). a. Corn has been a staple in America FOR HUMANS... b. The corn of today does not even remotely resemble the corn/maize that was eaten at the first Thanksgiving.... physically, genetically, or nutritionally. The question of our domestic felines longevity is not the question at hand. The question is: IF a. The AAFCO guidelines for canine & feline nutrition are outdated, politicized & not independently verified, AND b. The FDA regulations are based on said AAFCO guidelines, AND c. Said FDA regulations are also politicized and weakly enforced AND d. Commercial pet food companies test their products only to the bare minimum to comply with said outdated AAFCO guidelines & to squeak by notice from the FDA, AND e. Said commercial pet food companies control the education veterinary students receive in regards to pet nutrition AND f. \"Prescription\" pet foods DO NOT CONTAIN MEDICATION AND g. Veterinarian clinics receive \"bonuses\" from said pet food companies for stocking their food... THEN Should said veterinarians, taught by said pet food companies (who are more concerned with their bottom line), ETHICALLY be PRESCRIBING pet food? Seriously, does nobody else see the ethical dilemma here? And I\'m sorry, but at this point my vet DOES NOT know more than me about cat nutrition. HERE\'S WHY: When my vet recommended Hill\'s \"low residue\" diet for Pippin (before we even knew what the cause of his issues was), I asked her what \"low residue\" meant, what ingredients were considered \"low residue\". She could not tell me. She literally had no answer. Pippin had initially become extremely constipated after eating the Hill\'s \"dental formula\", so I was reluctant to put him on yet more SD. Nevertheless, she assured me that the canned food should be fine. Guess what? Pippin became constipated again on the canned food. When I asked my vet what it was in the food that was making him constipated... She could not tell me. Again, she had no answer. So I took Pippin off the SD, did some research (lots!) and decided on a raw diet (note, I do realize not everyone is up for that - personal decision). We eventually did determine through testing & biopsy, that Pippin had liver damage as well as a nasty bacteria in the liver. No thanks to the food he\'d been \"prescribed\". My vet is a very smart person, a talented veterinary surgeon, & knows what medications work for which illnesses... BUT she is no nutritionist. And I truly do not think she should be \"prescribing\" pet foods.
  • Melissa FordMelissa Ford Santa CruzMember Posts: 3,914
    edited 24 June, 2009
    I hate discussing food with you cats. You all get so angry and do exactly what you say the vets are doing. Pushing the food you think we should feed. you are not veterinary nutritionists either! And to set the record straight again (probably for the 100th time) vets and their staff DO NOT GET KICKBACKS!!! In fact, I pay more for my cat food if I buy it through work than if I go through a pet store. Now, vet students do get free Science Diet but that ends once they are no longer students.
  • edited 24 June, 2009
    Hunter, nobody is pushing a certain food here (I DID mention that my food choice was PERSONAL). What we ARE doing, is asking a question.... a question that you have not addressed. Perhaps your vet clinic doesn't get "kickbacks", but when I call around to various vets and get a half dozen different prices quotes for the same food, that tells me that someone is making a profit. Oh, and when they won't sell you the food unless THEIR vet has "prescribed" it (which would, of course, require a visit & examination), that sounds to me like yet another way to profit. Ethical?
  • Melissa FordMelissa Ford Santa CruzMember Posts: 3,914
    edited 24 June, 2009
    Loki, Veterinary medicine is a business and what each individual clinic decides to sell their food, medicines or services for is their own business. Profit is the only way these businesses stay afloat. They won't sell you the RX food because it's a prescription diet. If you want to buy it from them you need your vet to write you an RX just as you would if you were buying medicines from a pharmacy or, yes, you need to have a physical exam. As far as my clinic not getting kickback...I have worked in half a dozen vet hospitals in the last 20 years and have yet to see kickbacks from any one of them. PROFIT is different that getting kickbacks. You may not be pushing your food choice on anyone here but in the majority of the topics on this forum food is being pushed or you are told you feed your animals crap. I refuse to get berated for feeding the food I choose and that is why I do not typically come into this forum. I hate the bashing of people for the choices they make. Again, trying to tell people what food to feed their pets is not being helpful. In fact, one could be inflicting more medical problems because you don't have the full history of the animal. And remember, many of you are saying that vets aren't nutritionists and shouldn't be telling you what to feed your animals…neither are you. You are merely pet owners who have tried a particular food that works for YOUR animals. It may not work for ALL animals. One should always refer to their vet for advice. Now, having said that, you vet should be willing to discuss food other than those they sell. If they refuse to do so then it may be time to seek the advice of a different vet. Is this the question to which you were referring??? "Do veterinarians know enough about pet food to ethically recommend a particular brand of food to their clients?" Even if you think not don't they have a medical background to help them make informed decisions about what to feed an animal?? How about this one? "Do pet owners know enough about pet food to ethically recommend a particular brand of food to random people on the internet?? I don't think so…
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