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vet + nutrition question?

Tina BTina B Vancouver IslandMember Posts: 2,238
edited 6 August, 2010 in Laws & Legislation
Honestly I would really like to know how "some" vets that have only small amount of training about feline nutrition, and that education they do get is from the Science diet(Hill's) pet food company. How are they able to prescribe a food for an illness, and when that does not work and the cat gets sicker, why are they not sued for Malpractice? For instance our human doctors (GP's) do not get much nutritional education in school either. If they were to prescribe a specific diet, im sure they would loose their jobs. Yes they will tell us to eat less salt or sugar if we are diabetic, etc. but there is no food that is actually made up for our certain illnesses. Dont get me wrong I think that Vets are very well educated when it comes to everything else, but why not food? I really wish they would start doing this, and by experts not pet food company's that are only in it for the all mighty dollar. Then we would not have the problems we are having with alot of our pets, we will be preventing these things, not trying to cover them up with inappropriate food and drugs.


  • Stephanie ChangtuStephanie Changtu MiamiMember Posts: 1,175
    edited 18 January, 2009
    I agree with you, Shadow. Same way our doctors recomend drugs (medicine) when we are sick.
  • Sherry StoneSherry Stone Member Posts: 526
    edited 19 January, 2009
    Don't get me wrong, Shadow, I am in complete agreement with you. But from a legal standpoint, all the vet has to do if he's sued because of this is turn it over to the pet food companies, and all those high priced company lawyers will stand behind all the "research" they've done. Where as with most natural diets, there is not the money put into it because it would cause the companies to either lose money, or else pony up even more to produce raw diets. They seem to prefer leaving that to the few small companies that already do this. And if a vet were to actually go so far as to recommend a more natural diet, and someone's animal died because that person didn't follow the basic guidelines, they could sue. Most likely successfully.
  • Beastie_and_the_BoysBeastie_and_the_Boys Marquette, MI / ChicagoMember Posts: 17,807 ✭✭✭
    edited 19 January, 2009
    Well, from a completely legal standpoint--pets are not considered to be people, we are property. Therefore, assuming that one can PROVE that a diet prescribed by a vet actually CAUSED death, our humans' only claim would be for the actual monetary value for us as property. Humans who can actually provide proof that a veterinarian prescribed diet caused harm plus pedigree papers showing actual monetary value for their cat might possibly earn a judgement for a few hundred dollars in small claims court. But since the average housecat has little to no monetary value, there is really little recourse for the humans who, only too late, believe that they've chosen to feed the wrong diet. :((
  • Cecilia CretaroloCecilia Cretarolo PortlandMember Posts: 267
    edited 19 January, 2009
    I'm in the process of becoming a vet and I have to admit that I'm appalled at how horribly wrong some vets are when it comes to nutrition. I was originally going to just be a vet tech until my vet told me that the animal care industry needs more uncorrupted animal nutritionists. The main problem with the pet food industry is that they court vets who do decide on a nutrition focus with high salaries and the promise of employment as soon as they graduate. This increases the odds that there will be less advocates of species appropriate diets in the professional realm. At this rate though, it's going to take me at least 10 years to get my DVM degree in animal nutrition. At least at that point in time, I'll have been feeding raw to any animals I have for that period of time so I'll have a solid argument as well as a proper education. Since I'm shooting for a long term plan that will hopefully change how the veterinary community looks at the pet food industry, I'll eventually try to do some independent research on the long term results of feeding a species appropriate diet compared to both kibble and wet food produced by several different companies. I guess what I'm trying to say is that there are people who care about this issue and it's just a matter of more of us getting into the veterinary profession. Yes, real changes will take a long time but they will eventually happen if people keep on challenging what the corporations keep on telling us.
  • Beastie_and_the_BoysBeastie_and_the_Boys Marquette, MI / ChicagoMember Posts: 17,807 ✭✭✭
    edited 20 January, 2009
    I don't think you can really sue a vet for malpractice, since pets are not considered to be people, we are considered to be property.:-k Someone could attempt to sue the pet food companies, I suppose. The trouble is, they would have to be able to actually prove that the food caused harm. Obviously, someone couldn't just show up in court and say, "Well, I read on a website that the food isn't so great so I decided to sue because my cat only lived to be 18 and not 30." The only way I can think to really prove harm would be to have a vet do a necropsy and then provide documentation of a definitive link between physical damage and the food in question. I don't even think that would be possible, assuming that the food hasn't been contaminated with a specific pathogen, like the foods that were spiked with melamine. Even if someone were actually able to win a case like that, the suit would basically be for loss of property, and housecats are generally not considered to have much monetary value, if at all. A purebred might get a little more in a settlement, and maybe their human could recoup some of the money spent on vet bills, but even then the financial cost to the companies wouldn't be enough to force them or the veterinary medical system to change. :-/
  • Jennifer SzucsJennifer Szucs ChathamMember Posts: 3,765
    edited 20 January, 2009
    I do agree vets should get much more updated information especially on animal nutrition. BUT what makes me more mad then anything else are these food companies. I will use hills for an example. They are supposed to make food for the betterment of the animal especially for the sick animal right? Well if they are all for our pets then why do they put stuff in their food that they know will make things worse or cause more problems down the road. People that do not know better trust their vet to help them and if their vet tells them this food will help then they will feed it no questions asked they dont know alot about animal nutrition or what makes ingredients good or bad but the vet should know what they are talking about so of course they will buy the food for their pet. Well how can a food company do that. Teach how awesome their food is. Dont they do research and updated research at that? If they did then there wouldnt be as much of a problem. Im more angry at those food companies for selling their food as something that it isnt. Im sorry but if my cat or dog cant have grains and certain proteins im not going to feed a food with no grains and no meat. Cats and dogs need meat. Im not going to feed a food with nothing but starch and weird chemically named stuff that I never heard of before. I will feed something with no grains and one protein source. Theres plenty of foods that are limited ingredients that doesnt cost 50 dollars for a 5 or 6 pound bag that will actually work to! Sorry this subject makes me mad sometimes.:r
  • Paige WillisPaige Willis ChicagoMember Posts: 3,409
    edited 3 March, 2009
    Who writes the nutrition books for vet school? Hills. For all purposes, its a complete diet for a cat. And the prescription food will really take weight off/help at UTI/help a cat with allergies... but as we know now this is not the BEST diet for them. the pet food industry started in the zoo and in the lab. It started with creating a food source for monkeys that they could eat that could be uniformed and recorded. (factoid: it was all large pellet shaped until people complained that it was like watching animals eat their poo!) Anyway... in a zoo or laboratory setting you have a large mass of animals that needs to be fed cleanly, efficiently, evenly and quickly.... hence boring ol' kibble food. Now, these companies moved onto farm animals and eventually got the push from farmers and other pet owners to have food for their companion animals (dogs WAY before cats). Since these were the same companies that had made the lab foods before, they just kept with ol' faithful and kept pumping out the bare minimum cheap but complete food that they could. And there folks, is dog food. Now, as a sidenote... when I say "complete" I'm saying that a dog or cat or monkey or cow can live in it. I'm not saying this animal will be int he best health, for that isn't what it was designed for. Now onto vets--- their part is to mostly assist you in times of health situations and needs. This includes but is not limited to: spay/neuter, ER obstructions and wounds, birthing, age issues (joints, backs, eyes), fleas, ticks... etc.... the common thread in this is that your Dr is not your gym coach is not your nutritionist is not your spiritual life leader (
  • Thea PowellThea Powell Member Posts: 852
    edited 6 March, 2009
    Gosmot's mom talking here. A few years ago I was very sick so sick that one day I could not even lift my arm to call in sick to work. I had been getting blood tests done on a regular basis and everything kept comming back "normal". It took 2 years and a chance meeting my doctor had with anohter doctor, a few days before my appointment with him, to figure out my whole problem was iron defficiency (not anemea) but a defficiency. What does this mean? Well that some people like me will have "moderate to low" iron in thier blood, which would be perfectly acceptable for most people, I was special however and needed more iron in my system as I was showing signs of anemea without acctually having it. It was a brand new and recent study that my doctor had just heard about as it was not even published yet. I took iron pills for a year an was perfectly fine after that . 2 years of hardly being able to drag my self out of bed and feeling like I was going to die, for a pill a day! Am I going to sue my doctor because this information was previously unknown and I suffered?? NO! Same with cats (and thier more difficult than humans - THEY CANT TALK AND TELL YOU WERE IT HURTS) there are so many possiblilties and so little research and vetrenary medicine for cats and dogs has only become so big in the last 20 years or so. Humans have been studied for hundreds of years. Then people are complaining about "HILLS" but it is ONLY the commercial companies who are doing research and who have the funds to do the reseach (are you going to fork over the millions it costs?) And who can say what is the BEST diet? RAW - there is only one "conclusive" study on RAW and that was done in the forty's and was "compared" to purina (or the similar quality) - Don't get me wrong I KNOW raw has it's place but only in rare cases where every thing else was tried and failed. There are no studies to indicate much about that whole high protien situation. I found a great medical vetrinarian web site (actually one of the other catster posted the link in another form) that dicusses the basics of nutrition and why what some people call "JUNK/FILLER" is in cat food, and why it is NOT JUNK at all. I don't know how many people who start these posts regarding nutrition are nutritionist themselves or are just frustrated pet owners who have a beloved pet who is suffering (for some unknown cause) and that the raw or "high protein" is the only diet that worked. But I hasard to guess that the number of the later is over 99%. I understand that you are frustrated I know as a human I've been there, and when you feel powerless to help someone you love it must be all the worse. I am truly sorry for those in that situation. But I feel obligated to mention the oposite side. There are litterally MILLIONS of cats living on the commercial food without issue or problems and who live longer lives than ever before BECAUSE of it. I hate to see those who have had a trial to get so down on that which is working well for the majority and possible leading someone unknowingly down a bad path for them. As with most things Animal nutrition is a personal decision and a complicated issue. The best person to speak with is a VET or the teams animal nutritionist, these people know your pet and thier ailments and, most likely will be the best ones to help ( oh and by the way there may not be a lot of time spent on nutrition in vet school but it is more than enough for a vet to make addequate / excellent suggestions) in making the nutritional choice best for your animal. Finally I would like to point out that I've seen a lot of websites posted and advocated and when truly scrutinized it turns out that it is some one trying to sell something - HUNH isn't that what the "commercial" companies are accused of? - or are UNEDUCATED in feline nutrition or animal nutrition period for that matter who are giving thier opinion or experiance. How much better or reliable is thier information comapared to scientific data and years of education? If these websites are "tickleing your ears" and you like it that is your choice. But please don't get down on the commercial companies just because you don't like what they have to say.
  • Melissa FordMelissa Ford Santa CruzMember Posts: 3,914
    edited 21 March, 2009
    Thank you GOSMOT!!!!
  • Tara WTara W St. PaulMember Posts: 939
    edited 22 March, 2009
    You say \" because of\" commercial food that pets are living longer. I say in spite of it. Just as humans are living longer in spite of our junky, inappropriate diets and sedintary lifestyles. Yes, our pets live safer lives, but I would not say that they\'re living healthier lives compared to their ancestors. And, yes, science has figured out medicines and surgeries to save the lives of pets that would otherwise have died. The same is true for humans. There is no way any doctor, nutritionist, scientist or omnipotent being would claim that humans are living longer because of processed foods, fast food, etc. Easier to take a pill (or feed \"prescription\" food) than fix the root of the problem. \'Tis the American way.
  • Sharon DaltonSharon Dalton Member Posts: 3,728
    edited 22 March, 2009
    This is Blue's mom posting. Gosmot, all I can sayis "Amen!" I did read one article, in Consumer Reports, about several vets that they interviewed. None of the vets were mentioned by name, nor were any cat foods mentioned by name, so there was no incentive for anyone to say anything other than what they truly feel. The most sensible thing in the article was said by one of the vets: "If your cat is healthy and active, the food is doing its job." When questioned about the food they feed their personal furkids, each one of the six said commercial food of the grocery store variety. Homo Sapiens started out eating raw meat, but our life style is way different now, and our food has changed. The same is true of domesticated dogs and cats. We don't go back to eating raw meat because our ancestors did; why should the domesticated nonhumans? My vet gave me excellent advice when he told me that, providing I was offering a "complete and balanced" food, to "feed him what he'll eat." I think those two remarks are astoundingly practical: if the cat is healthy, the food is doing its job; feed him what he'll eat. And, of course, especially now, what you can reasonably afford. Thank you, Gosmot, for a very wise and practical post! =;
  • nati bastidasnati bastidas CaliMember Posts: 470 ✭✭
    edited 23 March, 2009
    thank you , little boy! I am fed a comercial diet , grocery store food. Sure its the most expensive brand , but still grocery store. Its not hills , or anyhting , bc thats imported here and really expensive. In all my life , I have never had a single health problem , not one. All the animals in this country are fed that sort of diet , I'll bet most ppl dont even know what "raw" is. The cats here , are really healthy , in general , animals that live to ripe old ages. You harldy see the sort of health problems you see in more devolped countires , strange food allergies ,cancer and stuff. The vet who said that statment is right. No food is "good" or "bad", just bc it worked or didnt work fur a certain animal. Feed what works fur you. every animal is different , doesnt mean a certain food can be labeled as good r bad. just my 2 cents. purrs, michis
  • Tina BTina B Vancouver IslandMember Posts: 2,238
    edited 1 April, 2009
    WOW, after reading this book I just got, "Not fit for a dog" by Michael W. Fox, Elizabeth Hodgkins, and Smart. It has affirmed everything that I believe about the pet food industry, its not Hype its basic common sense. Gosmot I would really like your feedback on this after you read it. Sometimes I find it hard to explain myself when writing on here, but this book says it all.
  • Thea PowellThea Powell Member Posts: 852
    edited 1 April, 2009
    i'll look into it and let you know shadow. give me some time though M i'm reading the rebels of irelnd rightnow and am only getting in about 40 pages a day as i can only read while on the bus.
  • Niki MattsonNiki Mattson St. PaulMember Posts: 20,360
    edited 2 April, 2009
    Way to go Gosmot! Calypso, that's great, you go for it, my Mistress is learning how to be a Vet Assistant, and they don't have to know as much as Vets or vet Techs, but she's a little older, she be almost 50 before she got out of school! I'll have to have her check out that book too, she will have a nutrition course, but unfortunatly, it's a short course (she's studying at home thru Penn Foster and already got it in the mail) I'm kinda disgusted with Hills too, Squeakers was on Hills for the last year of her life, she was eating N/F. the last couple months of her life she didn't want to eat it, and I don't think it helped her much, just took money out of Mistress' pocket
  • Valerie DurhamValerie Durham Member Posts: 8,724
    edited 8 April, 2009
    We all love our kitties, and some of us, I suspect, are feeding our cats better diets than we eat ourselves. But don\'t forget that not all cat owners, however much they love their cats, are able to feed them the diets that are currently touted as the most nutritious. For some people, it\'s an economic issue. For some people, it\'s because they don\'t live in the U.S. and don\'t have access to a large variety of foods. (In Japan, Science Diet, Royal Canin, IAMS, and Eukanuba are cutting-edge.) As for raw, some people can\'t get access to a variety of meats (in Japan, we have every kind of sea creature imaginable in our supermarkets, but only a limited variety of meats). I have a mild physical handicap that, along with my work schedule, makes me unable to cook for myself, much less mess around with raw. If you take this argument to its extreme, you can end up saying that people who can\'t feed premium foods or raw shouldn\'t have cats in the first place. But that, of course, is nonsense. Cats should not just be for the well-to-do or the physically sound. (Of course, a person who is incapable of feeding their cat at all, due to economic or physical limitations, is a different case. But we\'re not talking about that here.) You have to put the human\'s concerns into the equation as well. Vets aren\'t the only ones with limited knowledge about cat nutrition. As I\'ve written on other threads, cat shows usually have a cat food company as one of their sponsors (the CFA usually has Science Diet), and as a result, breeders/exhibitors tend to feed their cats Science Diet. (This is partly because of those samples given out at cat shows--you get a free twenty-pound bag of kitten food that usually costs $50, and you want to use it, you know?) Now, these are people who are spending thousands of dollars to make their cats Grand Champions or Regional Winners. A healthy cat is a must. I\'m not saying that Science Diet is as good as premium foods, but the cats I see at cat shows are all beautiful and healthy-looking. I don\'t think you can just dismiss this with \"Well, they must just have good genes.\" Maybe they WOULD look better eating Wellness or raw, but they don\'t look so bad on Science Diet or Royal Canin, either. In any event, I\'ve been surprised to find that the breeders I talk to aren\'t aware of the premium food revolution going on in the U.S.--especially because CFA exhibitors tend to be quite savvy about cat health, and have a good knowledge of English (as the CFA is U.S.-based). The main point I wanted to make is that there are many people who WOULD prefer to feed their cats better food, but are unable to do so for various reasons. And, in addition, I would like to add that not every cat owner has the time, energy, or computer skills necessary for researching cat nutrition; call them naive, call them lazy, call them simply human beings (no human being is perfect, after all), but it\'s easy to believe your vet or pet food companies that give you free samples. Should vets get better education regarding animal nutrition? It certainly sounds that way. Let\'s hope that in the near future, vets will be better prepared to give good nutritional advice, and that quality foods will be more readily available to all pet owners.
  • terri echolsterri echols kalamazooMember Posts: 4,758
    edited 1 July, 2009
    ah, here we go again with the \"evil vets\" hypothesis. every site i\'ve visited that is AVM affiliated, every vet i\'ve spoken to without an axe to grind, says that there is really no way to recommend any particular food over another-except in the case of prescription diets. think about it. would you rather feed your cat a diet that prevents his kidney stones or addresses his sensitive stomach or sensitive skin or what-have-you...or would you rather pill your cat every day for the rest of their life for a chronic health condition when it isn\'t necessary because there is food out there that will accomplish the same thing? and no, i don\'t believe that all the pets are getting sick because their food is crap. cats and dogs were fed table scraps before there were ever commercial pet foods of ANY kind. premium foods are a new development. yet, those cats and dogs survived, and often to ripe old ages. jake died at seventeen, katie at twenty-they were friskies kitties for most of their lives. the animals i\'ve had that died young died because of car accidents, cruel humans, or in the case of one young cat, FIP. my father\'s dog when he was a child, teddy, lived to be sixteen...and just didn\'t come home one day. food: table scraps. why are we stressing ourselves out and frightening others by spinning conspiracy theories? please. pet food companies are there to make money, true. this isn\'t evil, this is business. they DO research, they DO quality control testing, it is sort of in their best interests not to kill off their client base. and it honestly just makes me want to scream when people posit that veterinarians are deliberately prescribing food that makes our pets sick. some of these threads remind me of my cousin, with her hallucinations of people following her. she really sees them, you know. she speaks to them. she\'s terrified of them, they infuriate her, and she structures her day around them...won\'t leave the house, won\'t drive down that street, etc. but they\'re not really there. not saying the people who post \"vet/pet food company\" conspiracy theories are schizophrenic. i am saying that it seems to be a lot of emotion and a lot of energy based on...still waiting to find out what it\'s based besides a list of people who share the same opinion.
  • edited 17 July, 2009
    Kaya, I question your motives in necromancing this thread. It was started in Jan. (long before that "other" thread) and continued through April. So, 3 months after the last post, you suddenly feel the need to weigh in? :-k Furthermore, I don't see how your comments address the legalities of the issue.... as others have already done.
  • Jordan SpivaJordan Spiva Los Angeles,CAMember Posts: 355
    edited 23 July, 2009
    Yes I am VERY upset with the vet profession. Those prescription diets are junk, considering the fact cats are carnivores, those corn packed diets aren't appropriate for them. Nutrition needs to be be taught be experts, I agree and for a longer period of time. I really wish a company like Wellness or EVO would teach vet schools nutrition.
  • Tina BTina B Vancouver IslandMember Posts: 2,238
    edited 26 July, 2009
    Oh this thread is still alive?? No conspiracy theory here, read the book I listed and it may give you a different view of things.
  • Thea PowellThea Powell Member Posts: 852
    edited 27 July, 2009
    Sorry Shadow, I still haven't read the book. I can't find it at a reasonable price (talk about profit making industries) and I won't buy it untill I can find it for about 10$ (I normally buy my books for under 5$ - I love the 80% off table at my local chapters). I will read it and weight in.
  • SonnyBono BucherSonnyBono Bucher Member Posts: 3,534
    edited 27 July, 2009
    I have found that \"most \" vets are just in it for the money, all they talk about are the vaccinations and you can buy those at the Farm and Feed Store. I believe in order to get your license to be a Vet , Nutrition should be a priority and should take longer than a week or two and not taught buy a pet food company, of course they are gonna say their food is the best but just go online and check it out for yourself, we have to be a little smarter than the vets when it comes to food,IF our food and pet food came from the good old USA I truly believe we wouldn\'t have this problem. In other words listen to your vet but do some research on your own.
  • Niki MattsonNiki Mattson St. PaulMember Posts: 20,360
    edited 27 July, 2009
    Here are a couple other good books I found after Mistress finished that nutrition course, one she found advertised in the back of Cat Fancy magazine, in their book club: The Ultimate Pet Food Guide: Everything You Need to Kmow About Feeding Your Dog or Cat by Liz Palika and Foods Pets Die For: Shocking Facts About Pet Food by Ann N. Martin.
  • Thea PowellThea Powell Member Posts: 852
    edited 28 July, 2009
    Sir Sonny, With All due respect I must point out that Medical Is a french company Based in Canada when you talk about the "good old USA" are you excluding developed countries such as France and Canada? I must say that France is much farther ahead in animal rights than USA and Canada combined. Hills is also an American based product (I'm not sure where thier factories are though). But these two companies are the most maligned. So when you talk about if it is out of the USA I'm not clear what your getting at. If your talking about source product then yes much comes from indonesia and china. But how does that affect the out come of the product if it is "Grade A" or "Human Grade"? I understand that the scandle was not because the large companies them selves knowingly brought in substandard product - they were duped. I can garantee you know that all source product is not tested for quality prior to be added to the food. I've said it before and will continue to say it. It is not in the intrest of the pet food companies to do harm to the pets.
  • SonnyBono BucherSonnyBono Bucher Member Posts: 3,534
    edited 17 August, 2009
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