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  1. Valerie Noyes

    Well Susan, take heart. My favorite vet who practices both western and eastern medicine and DOES have many initials after her name, DVM, CVA, CVCP and CVFT, agrees with you and promotes a raw diet or homecooked depending upon the dog. Or at the very least, high grade canned and kibble. She’s a certified veterinary food therapist and will conduct intensive exams and interviews to determine the best diet for your particular dog. So I know there are plenty of old fashioned plain old DVMs out there, but there is a crop of newer and open minded vets not inducted into the old boy’s club! Hopefully this trend will continue as the old guard retires.

    1. Linda Leonard Hughes

      Hi, I wish I could find a good NEW School Vet here in Western Massachusetts! They still practice what they learned in Vet school and it upsets me! If anyone knows of one that is NEW School please, please send me an email! It is like batting our heads against a brick wall because if you don’t agree with these old school vets they say then can’t work with us! I had two great Vets when we lived in Maine and they even worked together! One was Holistic and one a regular Vet but they really cared about our dogs and wanted us to be happy too! Please anyone have a good vet in this area??

      1. Pacific Sun

        I hope someone in your immediate area will give you a referral. But don’t be shy about asking your previous Holistic vet about a connection in Mass. Quite often they belong to network organizations and continuing educational forums and know one another across counties/states. If your dog is a particular breed you can also ask the local Fanciers club. Many of us use all kinds of resources depending upon the needs of our companions. I had one friend who drove 6 hrs. roundtrip, weekly, for her older dog’s accupuncture treatments. A 16 lb. dog who lived to be 19.5 yrs and the owner was a strong proponent of raw, whole food diets! Also a Breeder and Dog Show Exhibitor with solid success! Good Luck.

        1. Linda Leonard Hughes

          Yes, I did check today and found several Holistic Vets in the area that were not here last year! Thanks for the good advise! Maybe because this is a college area and residents want to see holistic vets for their pets. More and more people are going for natural whenever they can!

  2. Dori

    Susan, I too, have no initials after my name but I trust myself, my research and my common sense more than I do my dogs vet when it comes to the nutritional health of my dogs. I take my dogs to their vet for any medical issues they may have and for their yearly physicals (sans vaccinations). I do not take them to a medical doctor to ask their advice on nutrition. When they do attempt to give me advice or a lecture on what I feed my dogs or what they think I should be feeding my dogs I smile politely and thank them for their thoughts on subject. If I felt I needed advice on nutrition I would take them to a nutritionist not a medical doctor.

  3. Jan Beardsley-Blanco

    Hi Susan, it’s funny ya know – we humans are able to feed ourselves a nutritionally balanced diet, but according to the naysayers, are too stupid to figure it out for our pets! HAHA! so silly, don’t you think!
    you are my heroine – from whenever to whenever – carryon!!


  4. Ann

    Thank you Susan for such an excellent response to another arrogant veterinarian who belittles their clients and might I add that despite the DVM following his name, that does not mean he has any specialized training in nutrition. So just because this vet claims he is an expert does not make it so!

    1. Jemster


  5. Ellen

    An excellent commentary which should be read by everyone with initials after their names, particularly if those initials are “DVM”

    I have dealt with countless vets over the years, both in my animal welfare role and as companion animal parent. And sadly, the majority of these vets have been either ignorant or deliberately misleading regarding the issue of pet foods.The ignorant ones simply go about their business wearing blinkers, while the misleaders are obviously reaping the benefits financially by continuing to promote harmful foods from the companies having the big bucks to fill their coffers.

  6. Pat P.

    The vet mentioned in this article is a sad commentary on many veterinarians in this country. I have not met one, quite that ignorant, though, that I know of. Unfortunately, I have not met a vet with DVM following his/her name, yet, that knows much of anything about pet food, other than the stuff they make money on–and even then, it is only what the manufacturer tells them. My present vet claims to specialize in nutrition, yet knows very little about the ingredients in pet food. I have been looking for a decent vet in Baltimore, Md. for years and have been unable to find one. I can’t even find a decent one who knows much about cats. I have a cat with kidney disease and have no idea what to feed him, (the vet, of course, recommends Royal Canin, which I don’t like and either does my cat) and another one that will only eat one lousy brand, despite what I try to give her. What makes it more difficult is that they will not eat anything, unless I give them an appetite stimulant. Although I don’t expect a vet to know everything about nutrition, I would like to meet one that takes some initiative to know the truth and realizes the problems with the pet food industry–especially when she claims to specialize in nutrition!

    1. Mirel

      Hi Pat,
      I have a cat with kidney dysfunction. She was prescribed Hill’s KD by the vet. Because Hill’s KD caused her stomach issues, I had to go to Hill’s Prescription GD. However, even that unsettles her stomach. So about a quarter of her food is based on a raw chicken recipe using Alnutrin vitamin mix. On the alnutrin website (knowwhatyoufeed) you can request a specially formulated nutrient calculator. i requested one that allowed me to use chicken thigh and skin to keep the protein levels down. So, the recipe includes: raw chicken thigh and skin, liver, powdered egg yolk, broccoli, and pumpkin. The fat and the veggies keep the protein content very low. My cat loves it!! If you are interested in, I can give you the percentages i use for each part of the recipe.

  7. Gitta

    What is scarier than somebody WITH initials not able or not willing to do at least the same amount of top notch research as somebody without initials? If that somebody with initials feels the need to belittle those who do research and can back up their claims. How sad, if that person with the initials has nothing more than advertising experts to back up their claims. But then – if you are in the business of treating sick pets, if your income, your livelihood depends on a steady stream of sick pets, doesn’t it make some sense to push the typical advertising and marketing agenda? Just sayin’ since I don’t have initials either.

  8. Dianne

    Not everyone who has a degree deserves it. Many who do, don’t. Some 16 year olds could think circles around that vet. Does this guy even do any continuing education?

  9. Kenneth Kalligher

    I believe this exemplifies the arrogance of marginal education. Often I find that education is used as a tool to disenfranchise an opposition. Unfortunately, too many people rely on what we all have considered “educated” experts; but what is education? Simply, it is the transfer of information. Education never ends, and it is not delivered, necessarily or exclusively, through institutions of higher learning. Education started with the earliest humans by transferring information of their experiences from generation to generation. Unfortunately we have come to believe that the capital letters on someone’s business card or on their office door or on a license in their place of business means only they have the expertise to advise or even to know. Second and third and fourth opinions are not the result of indecision by the person making queries, but often because of bad advice or faulty diagnosis, even life threatening mistakes by people who have multiple letters behind their names. I find it distressing that someone who is “educated” would make a comment regarding the lack of letters behind ones name. Arrogance is not education, and yet, that is my analysis of people who think that there is only one way to learn and be right, and that would be their way. I know those of us who care about our pets are far more “educated” about the choices we make in the interest of our pets health than any vet I have ever had contact with. I have had countless conversations with vets on my feeding choices, and, for the most part, they are of one voice; and that can only happen through faulty education, but wait, look at their waiting areas, Science Diet and, maybe, Royal Canin. Doesn’t this speak volumes about the information vets are giving to pet parents? My take is that education never ends and hopefully continues throughout our lives. Education is learning, and with learning we find opinions and information is modified by continued research; be it laboratory or experience or books. I have lived long enough to be aware of the myriad of changes in the science of almost all nutritional information for humans. We are stuck in the rut of bagged or canned food for our pet food choices largely because it is convenient. If we have learned anything, it should be that information changes, as it should, and that we simply cannot believe our pet food industry has the altruistic goal of delivering maximum quality of food for pet health. Disappointing, at the very least, to hear of a vet that is unwilling to be educated on pet nutrition, but then again, arrogance is a massive impediment to learning.

  10. Mary Sue

    I did recently hear some good news about a vet in Pennsylvania. Someone I know takes her cats to that vet and the vet does not sell or ever recommend feeding dry food to cats!!!! How great is that? I wish I didn’t live 2 hours away from that vet.

  11. Linda Leonard Hughes

    Having No DVM after our names means we can think and we can love our pets and we won’t cause them harm! DVM is just a title with some education after it! It does not mean you are ethical and it does not mean you will do no harm! I know this! I have lived this! Not the Doctors of Veterinary are ethical! We have lived this several times in our 40 some on years of having dogs! I am a dedicated lover of Dogs and they are members of my family! They are our Kids so I can only say beware of VETS!!! Use you heads and all you can read and ingest about animals! Trust Yourself and love your pets with all of your heart! Blessings, Linda Leonard Hughes

  12. Connie

    A friend of mine said it best, “Some people spend years in school and spend lots of money just to become STUPID!” We were discussing the dangers of dog foods, health decline of dogs, and raw feeding. My dogs eat raw.

  13. susan coyle

    I volunteer for a rescue, non profit. Every dog that is adopted out has a packet of information on care (not too much or it is all ignored). The first page is nutrition! Several of your reports is there, high lited and some sections are underlined. The store I adopt out of has a real savvy dog food rep. who is able to catch many customers and direct them away from the JUNK isle. We do a small part in education but we need more. Thank you for your research. Susan, Hope Ranch Animal Rescue and Sanctuary.

  14. Pet Lover

    The contributor to this article encountered an ill-mannered, thoughtless, rude Practitioner, the subject of which, helped to make a comparative point about the value of common sense experience versus misplaced formal academic training.

    Keep in mind however, that if our pet becomes acutely ill (without explanation) the first people we are going to run to are those with initials behind their names! No, I don’t want the technician or the office assistant treating my dog. Anymore than I want the minimum wage employee at a pet supply store prescribing my dog’s diet. But I DO want all the tools at my pet’s disposal to make him well, including the research & experience behind a solid career of treating very sick animals. Our website here (and I speak as a Supporter of it) can’t be in the position of alienating any Readers. We can’t afford to do that. MOST of all we want to encourage everyone, especially the highly trained and best educated, the ones with degrees, to read these articles here ~ because it’s the only way to progress.

    The comments above are harsh. Usually it’s the idealized young person with a deep love for animals who studies all those years to become a Vet with a strong desire to help. It’s a long tough, expensive road and not all cases they will encounter in their practice end up happily, some being extremely gut-wrenching. Worse than that even is dealing with the distraught owners who lose their companions unexpectedly. How much income can be worth all that amount of grief over the years of a full career??

    So I think we should approach these professionals with respect. Few Readers here were born with an innate knowledge of what’s best to feed their animals. For even more it’s taken dozens of articles to be truly convinced (by so much evidence) that the PFI is not the consumer’s friend. Vets no more want to see (or enable) sick animals in their practice than do doctors want to see sick children in their care, just because it ensures a lifelong income. That’s crazy thinking. So, we need to keep presenting evidence and reality, which is just what Susan has listed above in terms of regulations, permissions and compliance policies. These are not in the best interest of our animals, but whose fault are they? When you come across a Vet who is convinced that Science (or the equivalent) are the only answer, show them (or link them to) the evidence which is about how food “waste” is chemically altered to pass as “feed.” Remember that “feed” is designed to sustain livestock animals until slaughter, but not necessarily, for a long healthy life term. Remember that protein can be diseased, decaying and exposed to additional toxins/chemicals before slaughter. No, you don’t need a Vet to admit (in your presence) of what he/she probably already knows fundamentally. I mean who could pretend to imagine that the pick of A1 Quality human food is actually being sold for pennies on the pound, compared to retail human food? And know which PF brands support college grants and research. So what they DO need to see are the SPECIFICS pointing to the reasons WHY that “feed” is so cheap. If that’s the way “you” became a Believer, then that’s the way the next person will become one also.

    Respect the profession, share the knowledge and support the people during their own transition to reality-based nutrition. Most of all, it’s going to be your own healthy, long-lived pet who will convince them that you’re doing things right, while they read the pet’s correctly balanced blood panel and analysis charts.

    1. Peter

      The problem is that pet food is not sold for “pennies on the pound,” many so-called “premium” foods are simply made by contract manufacturers, and when you realize that nearly $2 for a “tuna fish size” can translates to more than $6 a lb., things look different. It costs just as much if not more than A1 quality human food. And many of those foods have been recalled, are often short weighted (yes, I documented this, and got no response from the company), and have been “reformulated” over and over in an ongoing effort to achieve “least cost mix” protocols. The current trend is to increase moisture content, so that when you open the can… there is so much water, you can’t get a decent “serving” out of the product.

      As to the topic of “respect the profession,” you are correct, and I do so. But the question has to be asked, why do so many pet guardians engage in a continual “who is your vet?” dialog? Everyone seems to be searching. And often, it is a result of being charged (in my area) nearly $80 for a quickie exam (after waiting in an overbooked office) where often, we don’t really get much, and little opportunity to even “talk.” I’ve posted elsewhere in this discussion about my own vet being “fired.” I’ve found a good one, who respects me (and that I try to be informed on the topic at hand), allows that I do research, and ensures that test records like those you mention are waiting for me at the desk. I spend a lot of money there, but we do have a good exchange and a mutual respect.

  15. Ellie

    I hope you sent this article to that vet. Shame on him! As most vets receive a 6 week course that consists of very little actual pet nutrition I would say that they are also quite uninformed. That course is in “animal” nutrition, not dog or cat nutrition. It is general, not comprehensive.

    One thing you can be sure of is that these veterinarians are surrounded by pet food company propaganda throughout their education. Pet food companies help subsidize veterinarian schools and the connection is never severed. When a vet starts their own business or joins an already established business the pet food companies are right there to help them on their way to indoctrinating clients.

    I have worked in human health care for many years and can assure you that human physicians are just as much in the dark about nutrition as the veterinarians. They receive no training in human nutrition throughout medical school. It would probably scare you to know what medical school actually entails these days. When a physician decides a patient needs some nutritional information they usually send the patient to a nutritionist that has far less education or they hand them a diet sheet they have pre-printed from some nutritionist site.

    If human physicians actually linked nutrition with disease we would be a far healthier society. Instead nutrition is for the most part a subcategory in human health and few listen to the nutritionist, instead a script pad is used to treat the symptoms instead of dealing with the root of the problem.

    Sadly, we see a different but much worse picture in animal nutrition. The vets are totally dependent on the pet food companies for financial assistance as well as for prescription foods. This situation should be totally illegal but instead it remains a corruption that few seem to notice.

  16. Gail

    I had the same thing happen to me. A vet who came to assist with my horse began telling me that raw feeding of dogs is bad. Her client was just feeding meat and nothing else. Yes, that is not right I told her but that doesn’t mean raw feeding is bad. She told me dogs are omnivores and when I disagreed and tried to explain they are scavenging carnivores or opportunistic carnivores and why, she told me I don’t have the education that vets have. She had just met me so how did she know who I was? She told me I could be turned into the vet board for practicing medicine. I know not all Chinese medicine vets are this way, but it seems in our area they think dogs are omnivores and must have a substantial amount of fruits and vegetables in their diet. Ummm. Not so.

  17. Marsha

    My old vet who retired loved the fact that I made our dogs food.
    My new vet is younger and he is fine with me making our dogs food.
    I have even helped him out with his dog on what you use for diarrhea
    He wanted to give my a paste for diarrhea and I told him, no think you.
    We use organic pumpkin. Works great. He said that he had never heard of it,
    but was willing to try it with his dog the next time. He is at least open minded
    unlike other vets.

  18. Peter

    My cat’s vet of 7 years was “retired” from her practice. The founding partner, who she had been at odds with for many years, could no longer tolerate her forays into advocating education on the basics of pet food, because in the end, it did not support his profit objectives. In short, her clients (which were, of course, then his clients), did not meet his profit profiles.

  19. Catherine Toth

    I have some thoughts on this as a nurse and the wife a family medicine doctor. In med school we used to joke that P (pass) = MD. You just have to pass, you don’t have to be top of the class and you still get MD after your name in the end. Now there are a few differences. Someone in undergrad that can get into med school cannot necessarily get into vet school–they only take the top of the class, we had as least one doc who would have preferred to be in vet school, but couldn’t get in. Second, to get a prime residency (specialty) you have to be top of your class–ophthalmologists, orthopedics, neurologists, etc. I guess my point is, your general vet probably was not the top of his/her class and that is okay, my husband wasn’t and he is a great doc. (really bad test taker, really good doc)
    After school they have to take responsibility for their own continuing education. Some states require more/less for maintenance of license. Unlike medical docs (just recently because of the Sunshine Act) they are aggressively marketed to by the pet food industry under the guise of “continuing education.” If they are busy and use that as their primary form of continuing ed for nutrition that is all they will know.
    Now remember, they are generalists, (not specialists, those positions went to the top of the class docs) so they have to know the anatomy and physiology of many small and varied companion animals. (I’m ignoring large animal vets here…just image what they have to know!) They have to keep up on all new advances in vet medicine for several species. By comparison, my husband takes two weeks a years for continuing ed classes, his employer has monthly workshops and he reads journals for leisure. On one species! So, I guess I’m saying cut them some slack.
    I don’t shove it in my vet’s face that I home cook. If he were to recommend Science Diet or Hills, I would say I would pick it up at a later time but that I had written down his recommendation. I know that human patients do this all the time to my husband–don’t take the cholesterol meds but rather red rice yeast. He thinks they are crazy and they think he is tied to the drug companies. (Which he cannot be, hasn’t seen a drug rep in 5+ years, they are not allowed in his office.) Sounds similar–except I don’t think he would ever be so rude as to tell the patient, he would just keep checking their cholesterol and if their way works great–if not, maybe time for meds?
    Again, in my long drawn out way, I am saying the best way to educate our vets without getting in their faces (no-one likes that!) is to show them a healthy dog/cat by doing it our way. The proof is in the pudding. Show that the lab results come back to normal and the symptoms go away, without the rx diet from their office. Less talk, more action. Doctors of all kinds are impressed by results.
    Stepping off soapbox now.

    1. Kenneth Kalligher

      There is a lot here, but in cutting to the chase, it is hard to give a vet some slack when they actively decry a diet they know nothing about. I get the multiple species angle, but most vets are treating cats and dogs and the food they sell in their lobbies are for cats and dogs. These foods are not available except to the veterinary trade, so even a little thought should provide some insight into why these pet food companies make this only available to the very people they have educated (I am being kind here), brainwashed, into, themselves, believing what the industry has for decades been trying to do. It isn’t enough that the convenience of opening a bag or a can and scooping the contents into a bowl would persuade most people to use these commercial products, but no, they must denigrate people who are willing to go the extra mile by preparing their own food for their pets and who have made a sincere and focused effort to provide the very best nutrition they can afford. It is hard to demonstrate competency when the only criteria the vet can understand are the capital letters behind one’s name. Dialogue with arrogance is a fruitless effort and so, say I, why try. I have been seeing the same vet for over 25 years and really like him. I see him, however, as an advisor, not an authority. I bring my dogs to him every several years, just to make myself feel good and keep him apprised of my animals overall condition. He NEVER finds anything wrong with any of them. Every time he sees my dogs at the end of the visit he asks what I feed them, I answer, the same, raw! He just looks at me, reflectively, and says nothing. He has given up on the food dialogue with me and the results speak for themselves. But I know that hundreds of his clients walk out of that clinic with Science Diet under their arms. My wife and I recently rescued 2 small yorkies, one of which had a clinical diagnosis of Hepatic Microvascular Dysplasia. She weighed only 2 lbs and was extremely ill and not expected to survive. After much blood work which seemed to support the diagnosis, what do you suppose was the food course? Yep, Hill’s Prescription diet l/d. She was so ill, that I couldn’t interest her in food at all, nothing! She was dying so we went for broke. I prepared her a raw diet of organic pork and force fed her with little hope she would survive. After a couple of weeks she began to improve and my food regimen changed to the raw pork, milk thistle, raw organic egg yolk and raw organic chicken thighs. It has been six long months, but we now have a very active 2# 6 oz girl full of life. I have never taken her back to the IM vet she was seeing because it was just a battle of feeding regimen I can not believe in. Note that I have not said anything about vaccines and will leave that rest for now. I do respect my vet and wouldn’t hesitate to call him for any accident or misfortune my animals may experience, but food choices…NEVER!
      So, cut them some slack…nope. They don’t want dialogue about home prepared diets they want to lecture about the dangers and that conversation is just plain wrong. We handle raw food every day. Just prepare it with the same hygienic procedures you would prepare any meal…no problem.
      OK, and now, I am off the soapbox.

      1. Kelley

        I don’t think (as an enlightened, informed group) we get anywhere by cutting people off at the knees. “Hey, you’re a Vet who should know better but you’re useless when it comes to nutrition!” How far are we going to get in terms of dialogue if and when Practitioners choose to read this site?

        Couple of problems with the above thinking includes the following: A Vet’s clientele is mixed. YOU happen to be at the positive far end of knowledge and experience. You’re able to feed RAW pork to a deathly sick pet, and you know how to dose Milk Thistle, and have access to ORGANIC raw eggs! Due to your expertise and access you were very, very fortunate in treating this animal. But how does a Vet give those kinds of instructions to (for example) an older client who can barely purchase Frozen Food Dinners for his or herself? Or give instructions to a busy young parent relying on “Fast Food” cheats throughout the week? I’m not saying that is healthy food for anyone, but it’s a reality for many. (In our one size fits all discussion) are we expecting Vets to be able to prescribe individualized whole food diets for a myriad of complicated, very serious pet illnesses, to prescribe to a range of clients who can’t even feed themselves well enough?? Nooo, but they should be willing and able to hand us off (if we’re capable) to specialized nutrition authorities (like JFFDs), but then that’s only if we can manage it as well.

        Let’s touch base on some middle ground here. One, is acknowledging that a discussion (oh great, now it sounds like what the entire Country wants) about wholesome pet diets must exist. To the Vets who shut down their clients the minute they refuse to maintain their pets on Science or speak the words RAW, then forget them, walk out the door, and find another “New School” practitioner or one who can offer you some respect. Meaning that the Vet should at least be somebody who is willing to support your efforts and who will honestly evaluate the results of your pet’s recovery! But in the midst of doing that, remember you are taking responsibility for the treatment of your pet, while that particular Vet doesn’t feel he/she is in a “scientific” position to do the same! There is risk and accountability involved. For better or worse, what Prescription Diets offer, is the data behind their use in treating specific conditions. Now these are true (and I didn’t say perfect) Prescription Diets, that have an “existing condition versus an expected response” hypothesis. For the clients who can’t cook, who don’t believe in “human” food for their pet, or can’t afford whole, organic, or locally produced (safe) foods, what DO you do with an animal that has an immediate, life threatening case of (for example) pancreatitis? Do you (as a Vet) refuse to dispense a product (because of a brand name that we object to) that may at least give that particular pet time to recover? I fear that when some Professionals are reading all our comments, that we don’t take into consideration very specific circumstances and experiences that they do encounter.

        Now what happens is (and it’s very unfortunately!) is that because the Prescription Diet MAY have played a significant role in the pet’s recovery, under certain conditions, then the OWNER feels it’s necessary to transition to that brand for all future maintenance. And THAT is exactly where the Vet should draw the line. No pet can be maintained in optimum health for a lifetime of eating overly processed, monotone ingredient diets! But where and how do these Vets even begin to become informed? Especially if it’s not through a Scientific Approach or Institution? Apparently nowhere, since there doesn’t seem to be any logical discussions going on, correct? Wouldn’t it be useful if some controlled studies were to be put into place? But that’s tough when these big brand names are SUPPORTING the industry of Veterinary Medicine!

        Therefore, YOU the client are the starting point. And a TAPF website like this one is another opportunity. Refer it, link to it, talk about it! Is it your job or responsibility, of course not. But do you want healthier pets long term, yes! So the more people who speak up (exactly through the education that you’re being a part of right now) the less product that Vet Office will be able to sell. And the more healthy pets the Vet will be seeing, who, when the owners are asked the same question that you were, can say with pride ~ I feed whole food or raw and these ARE the scientific results of my pet’s recovery!

        It begins, one-by-one. So have patience.

        1. Kenneth Kalligher

          Hi Kelley, Please remember we got to this dialogue because of the thread where a vet told one of his clients not to pay any attention to Susan or sites like the TAPF. Unquestionably, veterinarians, pet food companies and government regulators are reading this website and paying close attention to what is being said. For the most part, however, the arrogance of “letters” will not permit them to join a thoughtful and respectful dialogue. Your point about the mixed clientele of the profession is exactly the point! Most people know very little about their own nutrition let alone their animals. Vets need to get out of the pet food business, which by some reports provide up to 40% of their revenues. There is no incentive to provide good nutrition advice to their clientele when they make no money from it; notwithstanding the education provided to them by the pet food companies who have a huge stake in perpetuating the faulty education. We humans, choose to make decisions daily about what and where we eat. Personally, my choices NEVER include fast food. I am blessed with a wonderful wife who cooks constantly and much of our foodstuffs are purchased as fresh organic raw materials. We choose to prepare home diets for our pets {6 dogs & 1 cat}. We are living on Social Security income only and have no supplementary income, so, we make these choices by eliminating the unnecssary items such as cigarettes, snacks, alcoholic drinks to mention a few. Sourcing and feeding raw food for our animals is far cheaper than purchasing kibble or canned food from unknown or questionable sources, it is not an expensive choice! It is a time consuming choice, but less expensive. It is not difficult, but, of course it takes longer than opening a can or scooping out some kibble. Same can be said for the human fast food or TV dinners…they aren’t cheap just more convenient. Our animals do not get to choose “junk” food, we give it to them. So, we can choose to feed them healthy or unhealthy. Our pet lives have changed dramatically in modern history when the largest single killer of dogs over 6 years of age is cancer. Not a pretty picture moving forward, but it is our choice. And, as to the question of what do expect of our vets when there is a life-threatening issue regarding something like pancreatitis, the cure is certainly not in a can of Science Diet and that is where the problem is. The problem with scenarios is they often don’t address the real problems of our pets illness or sicknesses or diseases. Nutrition is everything! The veterinary profession needs to step up and be a leader in this process by continuing education in the science of nutrition and that cannot be driven by education delivered by the pet food companies. This is a serious problem in our current pet population and both veterinary science and the pet food industry know it, but theirs is an unhealthy and symbiotic relationship. That needs to change. Veterinary science needs to be just that, science!, not advertising.
          There was a time in the not too distant past when commercial dog food was not readily available and expensive; and people fed table scraps and raw meat and bones. There were vets then, and none of them sold dog food and I remember that. I have owned and been around multiple dogs all my life and our pet population is worse off today than ever. I think we get there a couple of ways. Aretha was right…R-E-S-P-E-C-T! But, it will take much more; and denigrating Susan and many others just like her who really care about this is not the way. Susan has tried desperately to crack into the circle of outer defense for the pet food industry which includes our government agencies and, for now, she has met little acceptance…that is not respect! Telling clientele not to listen to her or other advocates of pet health…is not respect! My gosh, even the most respected veterinary immunologist, Dr. Ronald Schultz, in dog vaccines can’t seem to crack into the protocols for animal vaccinations. His work covers over 40 years of research and he is pre-emminent is his field. Why? Well, maybe, just maybe, it has something to do with income again. We have to be more prudent in our trust for veterinary advice and practice. I applaud the profession for how far it has come in the management of some serious animal defects, but nutrition is not their speciality and it should be! Dialogue, yes, but not when it is denigrating to people who have the science and research with them but no letters after their name. Education is the transfer of information, not the scoffing of anyone for the sake of arrogance. So, sorry, I just can’t get there with you, this profession needs to hear it…no matter how negative!

      2. Linda Leonard Hughes

        Thank You for backing up what I believe in! We haven’t given Vaccines for over five years now! I will continue to home feed them and even give then some gradual raw. Your advise is a lesson to all of us! I have stayed away from commercial dog food for a very long time! Lost two dogs from the poison from China back in the late 90’s and 2000’s. People still don’t get it about bags and canned dog foods! Sad with our own food supply slipping now! Turkeys and Chicken from China and most likely feed with Melamine! Lets all keep trying to help each other and Keep the Faith!

      3. Ellie

        Thanks for saving that little Yorke. The breed has been so mistreated by disreputable breeders. So many are suffering genetic abnormalities.
        While I do do raw feeding I must say I would never have thought to give the little girl pork of any kind since I have found that too much fat in any meat can throw them into some bad gastrointestinal upset. I’m so glad it worked for you and her.

        1. Kenneth Kalligher

          Just a note concerning your fear of fat in pork. I have been using raw ground pork for years as part of a raw regimen for our dogs. I buy pork buttons (pork shoulder with the bones and fat removed) and visually, the only fat is directly over the flesh portion. What I buy has very little fat and if some pieces are what I consider to be too much I trim it to the flesh before grinding. If I were feeding only my Yorkies I wouldn’t hesitate to purchase pork tenderloins which only have 1 gram of fat per oz raw; and actually, pork has the least amount of fat per gram of any meat, including chicken. I think too much has been made of both high protein and fat being bad for our pets. My raw based diet works really well for me and in the years I have been doing the raw my dog’s and cat have not needed any vet care.

          1. Ellie

            I do agree that protein has been made a bad guy in the diet of dogs that suffer liver problems and other health challenges. The so called specialists don’t consider that most pet foods contain low quality protein that is much more suspect than quality, fresh protein.
            Pork is not something I know much about so your information is very interesting and I will be looking into using more less fatty cuts of pork in our raw diets.

  20. Reader

    The above (Catherine Toth’s) is such a good comment and nice to know the thinking from an inside perspective. If we can’t get Vets to take the right nutritional classes during Vet College then continuing education is the only other answer. But how do we wean them away from the Big Name Brands’ (propaganda) courses? “Ellie” always makes the point that good nutrition is the foundation (requirement) for good health and yet MDs seldom address “convenience packaged” foods (filled with sodium and sugar) versus whole foods. Yes, it’s important for professionals to continue their education partially through reading, which means we have (as TAPF Supporters) a greater responsibility to get these articles in front of our Vets. While “Catherine” is correct, that the evidence of our own healthy pet (through examinations, balanced blood and urinanalysis panels) will support our actions! However, it’s necessary to make the distinction that we ARE using whole foods in our pets’ diets, and not “Fast Food” or “Hamburger Helper” (pre-convenience packaged) type substitutes! And this is the distinction that inexperienced Vets probably don’t get, or worry that their clients will misinterpret, …. thus their reluctance to avoid commercial PF.

  21. Leisa

    Dr. Strombeck (DVM, PhD) is a professor emeritus at UC Davis. He has a wonderful website that has many diets, and is full of useful information regarding feline/canine nutrition to include special needs. His recipes have carbs and are cooked; I know that many purists do not cook or provide carbs. However, I have recently been using his recipes to complement my RAW feeding. Whether you agree on the composition or not, I believe that the information on his site is one of the most comprehensive that I’ve seen. But you can judge for yourself. My sense of all of ‘this’ is that pet nutrition is much like human nutrition, there are many pockets of beliefs that are different, but ultimately support the same outcome.

    Regarding initials…..I saw a D-V-M initialed individual with a you-tube channel stating that dogs only need 1g of Ca per day. (He also has a book for sale, which I would never buy.” AS I understand them, the NRC requirements (1985) are 119 mg per kg of body and much higher for puppies. So these initials behind names are no guarantee that information is reliable. That is the case with any profession. There are non-stellar folks in all professions, which is why there are ethics, self-regulation and sanctions. Sigh….

    Anyway, sites such as this perform an important role in helping to parse through fact and opinion. My goals in feeding my dogs are simple: (1) don’t spend more time on their food than my family’s; (2) don’t spend more $$ on their food than my own; and (3) do no harm. It is the latter that has sent me down the rabbit hole of understanding Ca:P levels. And in my research I have stumbled upon a great many helpful places such as this. Thank you!

  22. Pegg Bauer

    You can place the following letters after your name: NADF. For “not a damn fool.”

  23. jeanne braverman

    help – i have a 9 year old yorkie who has had pancreatitis in the past and
    have been on a low fat – low protein died…
    HILLS science diet ID restore wet and WD dry.
    she hates this food but i do not know what food is best for
    her to prevent another bout of pancreatitis.
    any help greatly appreciated.
    jeanne b

    1. Kenneth Kalligher

      Hi Jeanne,
      I am very sorry to hear about the problem with your little Yorkie. I have 3 Yorkies, one is 5 and the other two are almost 4. One of the 4 year olds is a very tiny 2# 6 oz little girl that we rescued along with her brother. She was very sick when we got her and the former owner handed her to me saying she was dying. She was listless and unable to move. I first gave her some organic honey and took her immediately to an emergency vet in our area (July 4th weekend) she was diagnosed with Hepatic MVD, which was the second diagnosis she received of the disease. She was put on the standard vet prescription diets (2 of them) and she would not eat the food. We tried desperately to get her to eat, but nothing. I did force feed her, but it was really fruitless and she was not going to survive. I already had 4 dogs, 3 german shepherds and a Yorkie that I had been feeding raw for years. Never had any issues with the other dogs, so, why not I thought, little Elle is going to die anyway, she continued to fail. Long story short, she survived and is today a little bundle of energy on a totally raw diet, which is home prepared. I would never feed a processed prescription diet to any on my animals. For Elle, I grind organic pork tenderloin (1gram fat/oz), ground organic chicken thigh (no skin, 1.1 gram fat/oz). As you can see there is inconsequential fat in these meats, fed raw of course) Roasting will increase both fat grams by about 0.5 grams/oz. I add other small amounts of foodstuffs to Elle’s diet, so it is not only meat. If you study these foods, there are enough enzymes in raw food to digest the consumption of either fruits, vegetables or meats and the animal need not use any stored enzymes to do the job.
      There are, of course, other issues when trying to decide how to care for your pets. Age, weight, vaccines, exercise, genetics and environment are all considerations, but diet, in my opinion, is crucial to the maintenance of your pet’s health. Pancreatitis can be a really troubling malady, but it is my belief you will never find a fix or cure in a bag or a can. You might want to read some of the links I am providing just to see the other side of treatment options; they, of course, will lead you to others.
      Best wishes for your Yorkie going forward, she should have many years left.

  24. aimee

    While I do find the original posters vet’s choice of words unfortunate, I think I may understand what was trying to be conveyed. I have found that those with degrees in nutrition, veterinary nutritionists and PhD animal nutritionists evaluate diets differently from others.

    As an example, when at a major zoo I saw that Hill’s Science Diet was being fed along with fresh foods. Why??? I was told it was because their nutritionists evaluate food used in the zoo’s nutritional program based on a product having a consistent nutrient profile, high nutrient bioavailability and exceptional quality control and Hill’s met those criteria.

    Using those criteria I myself have been greatly disappointed when evaluating pet foods that others rate very highly. For example, The Honest Kitchen’s foods appear awesome until you look at them as a nutritionist would. Looking at their posted nutrient profiles it is easy to see the company doesn’t understand very basic nutritional concepts. For example they halved the as received numbers and report them as the as served resulting in 2 very different profiles on a dry matter basis. In some cases their reported profile falls far below AAFCO( see Keen’s profile and compare arginine and Vit E to AAFCO). As for bioavailability…. well many food components come out the same way they go in! After feeding THK I noted my dog’s stool output doubled. I checked my dog’s output, put 20 pieces sweet potato in..get 20 out.. celery in… celery out. What is the purpose of beautiful human quality ingredients when the way they are processed prohibits them from being digested and utilized by the dog?

    After looking at foods as a nutritionist would I can understand why vets recommend diets that others would dismiss, and dismiss diets that others recommend and I do not see it as a lack of education as much as I see it as an education that values different things.

    Now some will say that vets look for what they do in a food because they are indoctrinated by or unduly influenced by BPF in their education. (The presence of BFP in vet schools and access to students I’m sure varies by school. I asked five vets from four different schools and none of them were taught by anyone having any type of affiliation with BPF.) However if that were the case I’d expect nutritionists without any BPF influence to come up with very different food recommendations. Yet as in the case of zoo nutritionists that isn’t what I found

    1. Ellie

      The problem is not that vets are being taught by pet food companies. The problem is that the vet schools are financially supported by pet food companies. The schools receive generous amounts of product from PF companies as well. The vet student is surround by PF throughout their education. The use of real food in the diet of the animals they treat is not even considered.
      Our vets are totally dependent on the pet food companies for standard diets as well as prescription diets. Nothing else is considered for treatment.
      Human physicians are totally dependent on drug companies for information about the prescriptions they write. The pharmaceutical companies educate the physicians about the medications. That is the way the system is set up. This kind of situation is much the same as what we see veterinarians have with pet food companies. Vets depend on pet food companies throughout their careers and it takes some thinking outside of the box to consider alternatives.
      This system does indeed create a certain mindset about commercial pet foods. Even the general public has been conditioned not to question why they feed their pets a strange looking substance that can sit on a store shelf for months at a time. The food industry has humans eating substances that have also been so altered from nature that they do not resemble any real food item so why would they question a pet food company?

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