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Article on Vet prescribed pet food

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Comments

  • terri echolsterri echols kalamazooMember Posts: 4,758
    edited 25 June, 2009
    Loki...breaking down your last post you basically "asked": IF a set of seven statements (A-G) are true (some of which can't really be verified, and are therefore basically "if you believe this is true" not if they ARE true) THEN is it ethical for vets to prescribe pet food? for one thing, that's pretty impossible logic-it was basically a spate of propogandized-format opinions. secondly, another point of logic, semantic logic in this case: is it ethical for vets to prescribe pet food is a nonsense statement, because ONLY a vet CAN prescribe pet food. but i begin to believe that this thread never was about exploring a question, but was simply bias masquerading as fact. (or if it began as a question, it went south VERY rapidly.) if you believe you have the answer, at least don't pretend you're asking a question...
  • Teresa ConcannonTeresa Concannon Member Posts: 7,378
    edited 25 June, 2009
    Hunter asked: \"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… I agree with Hunter. As a pet owner with no education and training in medicine, biology, animal nutrition or any other science, I need to rely on trained experts. In no way am I qualified to recommend any particular diet or pet food as the best for anyone\'s cat. I\'ve never had a veterinarian push any particular brand of cat food and don\'t consider it an issue. Veterinarians do recommend that you feed a commercial brand of cat food but leave the choice up to you, the pet owner. I think one important reason most veterinarians tell us to feed commercial pet foods is not because they\'re receiving kickbacks from certain pet food companies or for any unethical reason or even think a brand they sell is superior, but because they can\'t in good conscience recommend any particular homemade diet and don\'t think most pet owners are up to feeding a balanced diet to their pets left on their own. I think vets have seen too many malnourished animals who are fed homemade diets rather than pet foods and some may even sincerely believe that pushing a certain brand of cat food is preferable to that! Without pet foods, most animals would not be fed a balanced diet. Even if you don’t agree that pet foods are the best thing to feed your cat or think you should feed only certain brands and not others, all pet foods have at least the minimum amount of nutrition to prevent malnutrition, although some brands of pet foods are probably higher quality than others, but then again, who really knows for sure? Simply because a company markets its pet foods as having superior human grade and purer ingredients and no inferior ingredient and claims their food is better doesn\'t necessarily mean it\'s true. On a personal note, one of my cats, Kaci, was vomiting up her food every day. After much trial and error, I\'ve eliminated all dry foods and feed only canned food to my cats, mostly certain brands of grain free foods. Eating only certain brands works very well for Kaci and Mittens does well on them too. Based on my own experience, that\'s the best diet for my cats. But I\'m in no position to tell you it\'s best for your cat or that those particular brands are the only good ones out there and you should only feed those brands to your cat, although I certainly do recommend them. It depends on what your cat will eat and how well each individual cat does eating that particular brand of food.
  • edited 25 June, 2009
    I’ll concede the point regarding the difference between “kickbacks” & “profits”. However, the system of “you must buy it from the vet who prescribed it” still seems like a money sink. If a vet gives me any other prescription for my pet’s illness, I can then take that prescription to any pharmacy that I choose, thereby obtaining the best price possible. Not so with these “prescription” foods. I can see how one might think that medical knowledge would help in deciding or recommending a particular diet (indeed, I thought the very same thing). But ask a group of veterinarians exactly what ingredients in these Rx foods make them medically viable, and I’m willing to bet that half of them wouldn’t be able to give you an answer. Medical knowledge is not the same as nutritional knowledge. As far as I know, there are no medical ingredients in these Rx foods, so WHO is it that determines them to be Rx? Veterinarians? The FDA? The AAFCO? Or the very companies that produce them? The original question is NOT mine. It was originally posed on another website by a veterinary journal to its readers. I did, however, rephrase it, incorporating the various points that other posters have brought up throughout this thread. There is no agenda or propaganda involved here. Nobody is pushing anybody else to feed a particular food. Ranting about how that has happened in other threads does not address the question at hand in THIS thread. Perhaps I should have rephrased the question using the various answers that have been given in this thread (again, by more than just myself): “Do veterinarians know enough about pet food to ethically recommend a particular brand of food to their clients?” Yes: 1. Vets have the medical background to determine if an animal needs a special diet. 2. Vets are not stupid; they know what they’re doing better than anybody else. 3. Vets love animals and would not prescribe food that would make our pets sick. 4. Pet food companies have spent lots of money researching their products. 5. The AAFCO & FDA ensure that the products are good for our pets. 6. Veterinary medicine is a business and profiting from the sale of prescription foods does not present an ethical conflict. No: 1. Vets do not receive enough education regarding nutrition. Medical knowledge does not necessarily equate with nutritional knowledge. 2. What little nutritional education they do receive is controlled by the very companies that make the food that the vets then turn around and “prescribe”. This presents an ethical conflict. 3. Vets should not recommend one brand of food; they should be able/willing to discuss other dietary options. 4. Pet food companies spend only enough money to make sure their products pass the short term tests required by the FDA. 5. The AAFCO is a loose group of state feed regulators who look to the pet food industry for guidance on how to regulate the food. So this is like \"the fox guarding the henhouse\" 6. The FDA is underfunded , understaffed and very politicized. They cannot be trusted to ensure that pet food is safe or healthy. 7. Profiting from the sale of prescription foods by creating an “office monopoly” is an ethical conflict. I can understand how some might say that I am “biased”. However, I do not belong to any particular group or organization. I am not a vet, nor do I work in the veterinary field. Neither do I work in the pet food industry. My bias does not stem from any agenda or propaganda. My bias stems from my opinion, based on my experiences and personal research. In that sense, I think EVERYONE could be considered “biased”. ;)
  • edited 25 June, 2009
    I also think the key kernel of the question is, \"Do veterinarians KNOW ENOUGH ABOUT PET FOOD...\" I\'ve had pets for over 25 years of my life and, based on my experiences, I don\'t think the average vet really does know enough... I think its a rare vet that actually researches pet food & the pet food industry beyond what they\'re taught at school. Heck, I\'m still learning about it myself! ;)
  • Thea PowellThea Powell Member Posts: 852
    edited 25 June, 2009
    Loki, I am sorry that you think that vets don't have enough educationor knowledge about food because of your experiance. I must say that I have never experianced that from my vets. I have asked many times for information about diet, and found that the answers they provided me was well balanced and informative and helped me choose wisely the food I was going to feed my cats. Yes even though my mother was an animal nutritionist I still prefer to speak with my vets because 1) information has changed in 15 years and 2) they are more precise in the info provided and are patient with my questions. I am a person who offten comes up with more questions as I'm discussing a situation with some one so what would be a 5 min chat with most people turns in to a 1/2 hour discussion with me. I am sorry that you have not had many positive experiances with your vets regarding nutrition. This could be why you are so judgemental of them and, from my point of view closed minded with regards to the subject in general.
  • AshPoGusAshPoGus AlbuquerqueMember Posts: 7,041 ✭✭✭
    edited 25 June, 2009
    Loki, what kind of vets do you deal with? Perhaps you need to find better than the "average vet" you malign. First, you tell of the vet who prescribed food before, or instead of, diagnosing the illness. I'd be concerned "nutrition" isn't the only education that vet is lacking. Then you claim “you must buy it [prescription food] from the vet who prescribed it.” My vet recently volunteered to write a prescription so my mom could try to find hypoallergenic food cheaper than she sells it, whether it be at another clinic in town or on the internet. If your vet won't write a prescription, I agree there's something wrong at least ethically and perhaps legally. In many states, vets are required to write a prescription rather than forcing you to buy medications from them. Some may, however, charge for writing a prescription. I'm aware you say prescription food is not a medication, but if it requires a prescription, then it's being treated as such and you should have rights as such. That does not say the other clinics must sell you the prescription food, but Mom never found that to be a problem the few times she had to get food from a different vet. A prescription (or vet records when a move and transfer to a new vet was involved), along with a good attitude when dealing with the other vet, always worked for her. I will add, though, that the food was for weight control rather than "illness," so that could make a difference. Economics 101: Before accusing vets of "making a profit" (as if that's a crime), did you ever consider that vets themselves may pay different prices for the prescription food, ergo they charge different prices for it? Have you heard of, or ever received, a discount for buying in volume, e.g., 25¢ each or 5 for $1? If you bought the same brand of canned tuna in a half dozen different stores, would you pay the same price everywhere? I doubt it. Many things contribute to the price a consumer pays for a product, the price the retailer paid the supplier being just one of them. But you probably already know that. My vet may charge more for food because her single-vet clinic does not buy enough from the suppliers to get the lesser price larger clinics get. As I already said, she willingly writes prescriptions so her clients can get items cheaper elsewhere, though. She carries a small supply of foods she feels aren't duplicated by non-prescription foods, with hopefully enough variety (different brands and flavors) to satisfy most cats, when she feels one of the prescription foods is appropriate. As far as prescription food not containing medication, they are to be used "only as directed by your veterinarian" because some restrict certain items (phosphorus and sodium, for instance, for CRF patients, who often have elevated phosphorus levels and high blood pressure) or enhance others (potassium for CRF patients, who often have low potassium). Healthy cats don't need these modifications to their diet -- some could even be harmful. Appropriate tests and a diagnosis is needed before prescribing some of these foods. (You may argue whether these foods are good or not -- I'm sure you will -- but many cats have done well controlling their illnesses on prescription foods. No, I don't have numbers and proof, just hearsay, the same that you have for many of your claims. I'm neither ready to dismiss all prescription foods as bad nor accept them all as good, at this point.) I cringe when I see cats in these forums routinely advising to go against a vet's advice and feed something other than what the vet has recommended. As Hunter points out, they do not have the full history. What I don't understand is, how does your experience with vets in any way entitle you to categorize vets in general? My mom has had some bad experiences with vets so she won't take her cats to those vets, but she doesn't categorize vets as bad because of it. It's your experience, your opinion, which doesn't seem to be the experience many of the rest of us have with vets. Yes, you're entitled to give your opinion, but you so seem intent on tainting everyone's opinion of vets to match yours that your opinion is being summarily dismissed, in my opinion. Sorry to add so much more hot air to this thread. ;) :b:
  • edited 25 June, 2009
    quote: ... I have never experianced that from my vets... ... my mother was an animal nutritionist... ... I still prefer to speak with my vets because 1) information has changed in 15 years and 2) they are more precise in the info provided and are patient with my questions And this would be YOUR bias, my dear. It also explains why you seem to take these conversations so personally, and are very quick to defend vets when you perceive some slight against them. That\'s fine, but I\'ll not engage in name-calling. I\'ve said very clearly that I think my vet is an intelligent person, and talented within certain aspects of her field. But unfortunately, pet nutrition doesn\'t seem to be one of those aspects. And I have yet to meet a vet that didn\'t give me the \"standard\" answers on the subject. I am not out to malign vets as a whole, but I do indeed challenge those who have themselves closed their own minds to the realities of pet food & the pet food industry. Those vets who\'ve stepped outside of their educational \"box\" (I\'ve heard they do exist, though I\'ve not met one yet), do get kudos in my book. =;
  • Tina BTina B Vancouver IslandMember Posts: 2,238
    edited 25 June, 2009
    Hello all Im the one that started this thread quote from Kaya "but i begin to believe that this thread never was about exploring a question, but was simply bias masquerading as fact" Sorry Kaya but It was a question I was looking for everyones opinion on this question. I also did not force any one food on anyone in this thread. Sure I have made recommendations to others in other threads and other forums about diet, and I get thanks for helping them. When I first joined this site sure I was angry, not at owners but at the pet food industry. I do not get angry and argue with people, I just try and help them if they ask, and try and direct people to educate themselves on feline nutrition, as we cannot always rely on our vets for this purpose, they are not nutritionists. I find it odd that they are prescribing a food that needs an RX but yet the ingredients are the same as what you would buy in a grocery stores, usually full of carbs.
  • Thea PowellThea Powell Member Posts: 852
    edited 25 June, 2009
    Loki, I'm not sure I understand what you ment by MY bias. I truely don't have one. I choose to feed my cats what I feel is best for them and I do not try to push that on anyone else. I do defend the petfood industries when I read comments that malign them. I understand that some pets (people) have been hurt by this industry ( and i use the term hurt VERY loosely). But some pets(people) have been hurt by the raw food fad that is sweeping the world right now. I've mentioned before that I have suffered due to the industry. I also have mentioned that I have done tons of research and chose to stay with the comercial food but to change the brand. I will NEVER tell some one not to go raw (when I asked about it my vet even offered to provide me with recipies inorder to properly feed raw), I also never tell anyone to disregard thier vets reccomendations as only they and thier vets know the full story. The only reason I've ever mentioned the fact that my mother was an animal nutritionist is to let people know that I'm not full of informations just off the web but that I have a well rounded understanding of why certain things are benificial and how the whole nutrition works from discussions with a professional. I would also like to point out that some recent advice I received from this professional (my mother) was "Try it and see", sometimes that is the only advice they (the experts/professionals) can give because every animal will react differently to different things, nutrition is a huge game of trial and error. It is for this reason I don't react in an angry fashion towards comercial pet food companies, not to vets, nor to those that advocate raw/homecooked. I do get concerened with strongly worded postings that seem to attack vets and pet food companies because when I read them I feel like I am watching someone's face turn red from thier frustration and or anger, I am concered for the person who's writing the post as this can not be healthy for them and as one of my coworkers is constantly reminding me stress affects neurological cells and they don't regenerate. So to sum up no I am not biased, yes I do try to point out another side to the story.
  • Tina BTina B Vancouver IslandMember Posts: 2,238
    edited 26 June, 2009
    Ok everyone since I started this thread I think that I get to close it. I dont want this to turn into a big fight, and I dont want catster to have to come and close it down. So lets all agree that we disagree and leave it at that. Now if this was just a regular forum, and not Catster I'd say debate away, but hey we have to go by Catster's fun rules. So end of discussion ok, and thank you all for your input. Purrs, Shadow|^|
  • terri echolsterri echols kalamazooMember Posts: 4,758
    edited 26 June, 2009
    purrrobably best...thanks for the information, shadow.:-h
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