Have you wondered why your vet pushes the food they sell in their clinic for your pets’ diet?
Or why they always ask you what food your pet is on?
Why they push a new drug like it is the only drug on the market?
Why some snark at you when you tell them you are feeding raw?
Or some will shame and lecture you on the dangers of raw feeding?
Some will flat out tell you that you are wrong, while others passively mail you a letter on why raw feeding is terrible?
Or why some vets will discourage you from looking into alternative forms of treatment?
Twenty years ago, I started researching holistic alternatives for my dogs, including the raw diet.
This post is about following the money. It is about the connection between individual pet food companies, drug companies, universities or colleges, vet associations, and their alliances. It is about gaining some understanding of the questions above. If we know why then it helps us to guard ourselves from being taken advantage of. It helps us to make informed decisions. It gives us choices. With knowledge, it empowers us pet owners, to have a hand in the health of our pets. In the end, whatever choice you make, you can feel good that it was not a blind one.
There are a vast amount of detailed information out there about the connection between the vet clinics and pet industry. I’ve included several links at the end of this post to direct you to more information on this topic that I found quite interesting. Thus, I am not going to go in-depth in this post, but only to provide you a summary.
Firstly, I am not against conventional veterinarians. Of course, we need them! They play a vital role in diagnosing and treating illness and disease in our pets. One day, I hope we abolish the stigma of alternative health for pets, where both conventional and holistic vets can work together. A few are already doing so as they realize that combining both methods is really not such a bad thing. I believe many are trying their best to help the way they consider to be the most effective. Like any industry in health, you are going to come across open and closed-minded individuals, good and bad intentioned. However, I also believe some are under pressure to promote an indoctrinated narrative.
In my opinion, there are four types of vets:
a) The vet who adheres strictly to the training they received during school, believing in nothing else other than what was taught to them to be the only correct information.
b) The vet who is open-minded to the possibility of alternative methods but has no interest in learning or practicing it. However, tolerates their customers decision to supplement non conventional support.
c) The vet who personally does their own research, furthers their knowledge in alternative health, is comfortable being a conventional vet, and is respectful and supportive of the freedom of choice for pet owners and is willing to work with them.
d) The vet curious to satisfy their appetite believing there is more than just the conventional methods. They go on additional years of extensive training in various fields, including nutrition, and eventually become a holistic vet.
Diet and Drugs
Conversations I have had with dog owners made me think, wonder, question. When people told me that their dog had this ailment or that ailment, their vet put them on the diet food stocked in their clinics. It did not improve their dog’s condition very much. I wondered why they were spending enormous amounts of money per month on a particular science kibble diet. The only diet they would have to feed their dog indefinitely till the end of its life. So they were told.
What was unusual at the time, was that the majority of the pet owners agreed the food helped, but only to the point that the condition was manageable. In other words, the condition was not cured. A few said that it did not help but created further health problems in which they had to administer drugs. Others have said their dogs’ condition did improve.
Of course, there is no guarantee that every dog will respond positively to the same drug or treatment. Like people, some of us respond well, and others do not respond at all to the same treatment. But after talking with them further, I noticed the ones who have said their dogs’ condition improved or was manageable were also administering drugs to control the disorder. Their vet had prescribed daily drugs to give their dogs along with the change in diet. A friend had once told me before taking his dog Max to the vet; he had tried switching to several different types of kibble to no avail. When he put Max, who had severe allergies on the vet promoted diet, it helped a little bit. But it cost him a fortune each month. He received a type of new antihistamine drug; he wasn’t quite sure exactly what else was in it but said that the vet told him to administer it to his dog daily. It helped quite a bit with the insane scratching, although he has to keep his dog on it for the rest of its life.
Now, I am NO detective, but…could it be that maybe, Just maaaybe…the antihistamine in the drug is what helped the itching, thus masking the symptoms? Not curing the problem. Not dealing with the cause. Just managing it. Could it be that the vet food they promote is not the cure-all for every condition? That it could be another glorified kibble?
I did a little digging. It involved deep digging at some point. Some rocks were right near the surface, and others were hidden way deep down. These are the rocks I’ve found:
There are a few major pet food brands in vet clinics. Pet food and drug companies fund lab research, university programs, particular vet clinics, vet nutritionists, vet medical associations, and alliances. The university or college program brings in the pet food company’s representative and, or their employed nutritionists, to teach the future vets about ‘nutrition’ in relation to their brand of food. Not bias, right?
Pet food company funds/compensates vet clinics. They send sales representatives to promote their products with incentives. Vet clinics sell this food. Vets push this food. Not bias, right?
Pet food company funds specific lab and research studies. Again not bias, right?
Pet food company funds vet medical associations and their alliances.
Pet food companies sometimes fund vet conferences and events. You get the picture.
The same thing goes for the drug companies. And so on.
It’s a conspiracy!
But is it?
I looked into the vet program curriculum in a few universities. In the four year program, there was only 3hrs allotted in the nutrition course at one of them. Another had somewhere around 7-14 hrs. Another partnered with one of the pet food companies that are in vet clinics offering the 4th year student to receive training from that specific pet food company at their quarters.
When it comes to nutrition, there is a lack of proper training and knowledge.
Extra! Extra! Raw Food Diet Bad!
The very pet food companies in vet clinics have an article on their website saying how dangerous it is to feed a raw diet. Of course, they would! Particular articles that talk about the dangers of raw feeding come from websites of the very organizations profiting off your pets chronically deteriorating, drug-dependent health. Affiliated gov’t organizations, veterinary associations, a few mainstream media sources – we all know how trustworthy they are. (Sarcasm) If you take a look and see how these organizations are linked, it makes sense, the reason why most conventional vets lack knowledge in raw diets and why they discourage it.
I made this chart to try to give you an easy visual to follow. It looks boring, but I think it’s simple enough. You should’ve seen my previous one! It looked like an algorithmic lightsaber fight.
I understand vets are under much pressure as well from these organizations to promote a particular food, product, drug, or insurance. But how ethical is it to push their narrative by way of insult, shame, or scolding their clients? It’s not.
So the next time your vet pushes their pet food diet or a specific product on you, ask yourself: Why? Who? Where? What?
Why are they pushing it
Who is funding or compensating them
Where is it from
What is in it
Follow the money. Dig into it. Be aware. And after all, that, if you are okay with the information you have, that is completely fine. If you are not, then it is up to us to keep the Vets accountable and ethical.
If you want to learn more about this topic, below are several links that will direct you to more detailed information.
This article is asking if it is ethical for vets to sell pet food. Click on the link to read about it: https://www.foodfurlife.com/blog–news/is-it-ethical-for-vets-to-sell-pet-food
Dana Scott. Dogs Naturally Magazine. About prescription diet dog food revealed. Click on the link to read about it: https://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/calling-bullhit-prescription-diet-dog-food/
Susan Thixton. Pet Food Safety Advocate discusses how you can respond if your vet pushes their sponsored pet food and how vets are encouraged by the Pet Nutrition Alliance and Vet Associations. Click on the link to read about it: https://truthaboutpetfood.com/if-your-veterinarian-recommends-a-pet-feed/
Dr. Doug Knueven, DVM. Holistic Vet at Beaver Animal Clinic. He discusses industry influence in his article Veterinary Nutrition Indoctrination. Click on the link to read about it: https://drdougknueven.com/?p=300
Jane Anderson discusses the hidden link between vets, universities, and pet food companies. Click on the link to read about it: http://www.rawlearning.com/vetinfo.html