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Another Pet Food Lawsuit

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  1. Sue

    I will never understand these huge companies making sooooo much loot in the false marketing with these brands of food (feed). Am I to understand that these veterinarians know that these foods have no medicinal properties??!! SHAME. It is disgusting. I have not had to buy prescription kibble but I am aware of what they cost and it’s sooo wrong on so many levels. I am rooting for the underdog, being us the consumers and the pets we are feeding this crap to, will it ever end.

  2. Louise


  3. Marsha

    Glad to see someone is noticing that these food do not have Medicinal properties in them.
    You can make your own Holistic pet food to help your dogs out. I studied for over a year to
    find out what human grade foods would help stave off cancer in our greyhound. As they have
    a tendency to get cancer. We are helping our Italian Greyhound that has CHF with human grade
    foods that we make ourselves. Our two vets are cheering us on. Said it was the best thing we
    could do for both of them.


      Marsha, I would LOVE to know what diet you came up with, please. I had a 17 year old hound who was my very best friend from the moment she was born. Her liver values weren’t good, so I created a diet for her. Six months later her liver values were ALL within normal limits and her vet said, “just keep doing what you are doing!” I had her in my life for two more years when I decided that her quality of life wasn’t what I owed her since she could no longer relieve herself outside. I loved her more than words can speak……and miss her terribly.
      I’d love to know what you came up with. Thanks, Wanda

  4. Lori S.

    I feel like there are several separate issues with prescription foods. One is the quality issue, with, as you mention, oftentimes inferior, and even illegal, ingredients being used that should be much better and safer. Another is with price fixing, as they are ridiculously expensive for the quality of ingredients. But another issue is whether these foods do actually cure or treat diseases. I have to say that on that point, I have had success with some of these (though, again, I sincerely wish they were better made). The Purina Veterinary Diet for food allergies and severe intestinal diseases, HA, for example, with its hydrolyzed (broken-down) proteins, actually saved the life of one of my dogs, who could not eat anything else (including home made diets). Perhaps those are rare instances, where the prescription diet really does something special, and typically they are over-hyped. But they can serve a purpose for those special cases.

    1. J Holden

      Looking at the ingredients it does seem inferior. When speaking with varies vets and board certified vet nutritionists you have to understand the how they are made. A lot goes into them being developed for specific conditions. For example proteins may be broken down to help the body absorb the nutrients.
      I hated that my dog was doing so well on i/d because I believed it was inferior. However, there is something about that food which agrees with her. If she stays healthy & thrives that’s all I can ask for.
      They are prescription because they are designed for very specific conditions. Feeding an incorrect diet CAN cause harm.

      I don’t have a dog in this fight. But I do have a lot of experience with dogs and various conditions that Hill’s diets have helped. Being slightly obsessed with what I feed my animals, I have actually contacted them myself regarding their ingredients and sources. They were always very transparent and honest with their answers and explained why they use the ingredients they use, where they are sourced, how they are created, how they improve the recipes, their quality assurance, etc.

      The very first question I ask any & every pet food manufacturer is if their diets are designed by a board certified vet nutritionist. That is always most important.

      As for the price I don’t find that Hill’s canned is anymore expensive than other wet food. (If purchased at the vet or online.) I have bought food with “superior” ingredients costing up to 50% more and had negative results. That’s because the food wasn’t appropriate for that dog.

      I can certainly understand how on the surface these foods look gimmicky, but I believe in science based medicine as a foundation (I believe in holistic medicine as a complementary treatment) and have been pleasantly surprised by Hill’s Rx diets and my dogs’ health.

      Just because there are no meds in the food doesn’t make it less harmful. Think of all the OTC dugs you can buy. A prescriotion isn’t required for them, but they can be very harmful. Even essential oils or Omegas can cause harm. These aren’t prescription and can be bought by anyone anywhere. What is the problem with requiring a prescriotion for an appropriate diet? It probably saves more pets. A lot of people believe they know more than they do. It would be too easy to self-diagnose and treat the wrong thing causing more harm if made so easily available.

      “Let your food be your medicine.” These diets are created by people who know animal nutrition and diseases. I reluctantly believe that they do help and are worth the cost and inconvenience.
      I don’t believe every single dog food company has an agenda of pulling the wool over our eyes.
      I know for a fact that a lot of science, research and time is put into the improvement of dog food & animal health. This is not an inexpensive process.

      1. Reader

        I know it’s not popular to say this. But I do agree with you. Especially how you expressed your thinking. IMO, as long as the Vet doesn’t say, “this” food (and nothing else on the planet) will “cure” your dog’s ailment, I think the Vet has a right to make a “suggestion.” Especially when the Owner has tried everything else.

        I didn’t want to keep my dog on medicine too long. And I was worried that an “only” chicken & rice meal wouldn’t be enough over time. Hills Prescription included vitamins and minerals he needed. As I said in the post below, my dog’s sensitive stomach (and intestine) completely flared up. Bad diarrhea 4 times a day! On a really long haired breed, it’s just murder to deal with. And worse, they can dehydrate quickly.

        Hills Prescription Z/D was only “suggested.” I called Hill’s about the quality of the protein, which they said was human grade. They also said the hydrolyzed protein was very easy to digest. I wasn’t happy about all the corn starch, but a commercial food just HAS to have a binder. After 4 months, he went back to raw, and home cooked food.

        I don’t know about their OTC stuff, and have a feeling that, that kind of food could be a lot of hype and overpriced! But it certainly would be an evil world if Hill’s INTENTIONALY neglected their responsibility for making a “supporting” diet for a seriously ailing dog, that might allow him to return to normal more quickly. Rather than fully blaming a Company it could be that the Vets are wrongly “promoting” these Hills/Science Diets JUST to keep the clients tied to their Practice. I would put more blame on Chains like “Banfield” for writing endless prescriptions for food that can only be obtained in that way. When the dog’s condition doesn’t warrant that treatment at all.

        My Vets have also told me, that the Prescription Diets are formulated in a way that allows (good) Vets to understand more about the dog’s ailing condition, without the distraction of an unfamiliar or inappropriate diet. (Some dogs just can’t handle fish for example, or whatever). It also encourages an Owner to feed reliably and consistently, which is something the Vet can count on, when looking at the Dog’s condition. In other words, eliminating being able to eliminate just one more variable from their analysis.

        1. Peter

          The problem is that many of these prescription foods are corn-based, and while veterinarians and “researchers” will insist that only a small fraction of dogs are “allergic” to corn, that is probably very wrong. It would be fairer to state that “a small fraction of dogs are DIAGNOSED as ‘allergic’ to corn.” The typical methodology for identifying allergic response is very flawed. And also does not incorporate awareness of the issues of “storage mites” and mycotoxins, etc. when evaluating corn as a base for pet foods. Many of these prescription foods are little more than grocery-store formulations in terms of quality. Veterinarians DO prefer them in terms of “reliability” and “predictability” and that in part stems from the fact that the companies own their manufacturing facilities, and can therefore “guarantee” the ingredients and the “quality” thereof.

          1. Reader

            It is true, I would not trust a “prescription” food from any other maker than Hill’s (and I’m not talking about Science Diet OTC at all!).

            Particularly untrustworthy would be Purina, Mars, Royal Canin and Iams,, etc. It is only my feeling (obviously) that all these companies can’t be putting in the same amount of research effort (as Hills) into their respective products. For one thing, It would be very expensive. And trying to do, so might even produce conflicting results anyway. Meaning what company could determine “exactly” the same scientific findings as all the others? In terms of marketing I think they’re trying to duplicate what Hills is already set up to do, in order to attract their own share of the “prescription” PF market. And once upon a time, there really WERE many fewer “prescription” products out there from which to choose.

            Therapy for humans (as in medicine for people) which I understand should NOT be confused with the intention of “Prescription” PF that we’re already discussing, is also flawed to some degree. In other words, many therapies do have side effects (as the pharmacy brochures eagerly point out). But (as an example) is it better to control blood pressure with medication, than not, just because of some side effects?

            Of course, I would prefer to be assured that the “corn” used in Hills is of a better quality grade. As I fully understand the issue of Mycotoxins (which nobody had even bothered discussing until it was brought up by TAPF). Yes, some dogs may be very susceptible (sensitive) of course. And that’s where the Owner and the Vet must customize the approach.

            All I can say, is that I needed a “bridge” to get my dog transitioned from a worse state, back to his normal. And that was quickly achieved, without him seeming much worse for the wear. No Owner should ever take anything at face value, do research, as questions, and be interactive with your Vet’s approach, in the best interests of your own dog.

  5. Jean

    In which court is this lawsuit being filed? I didn’t see the details. I don’t doubt that it is real or that there are valid reasons, but a lawsuit must be filed in a specific court, on a specific date, and assigned a specific docket number, if my understanding of such matters is correct. And usually there are one or two cases or incidents that get the ball rolling, so to speak.

    I have wondered about prescription pet food for some time now. Vets and clinics must be getting some sort of payments or perks because I’ve almost never gone away from an appoint without having had a recommendation for a specific kind of food. Some kinds I can understand, but others, I have wondered about.

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      This is very real, filed in a California court. There is a link above to the actual court complaint.

      1. Dianne & pets

        Thanks for links. I hope it gets lots of publicity because I expect it will end up with a settlement and gag order instead of in court.

  6. Dianne & pets

    Is the stuff in red a quote? The grammar in it is quite bad. Have they actually filed anything yet, or is this at the stage of determining if there is a possibility of the law firm making money? I hope it happens.

  7. Jude

    I will most certainly join this class action lawsuit. Years ago, I believed my vet that we had to give our dogs Purina prescription renal kibble dog food, as they had kidney failure. I was not happy to give any Purina product to any dog, especially mine. Our male ate it for quite some time and then refused to eat it anymore. Our vet then sold us the canned version and it smelled so bad that it almost made me vomit, so my husband had to feed the disgusting food to him. Not long after that, we switched him back to his regular food and he did just fine.

    Our female ended up with pancreatitis, so I made her food from then till the end of her life.

    I have a lot of guilt over what I have fed our dogs over the years, all with the erroneous belief that they were eating high quality food. Now our present dog is given only Honest Kitchen dog food. She is doing wonderfully on it, and I have no guilt!

    Thank you, Susan, for bringing this to our attention.

    1. Anna

      Jude, I also have a dog who had a bout with pancreatitis, and have been strong-armed and guilted into feeding him nothing but Hill’s I/D canned and kibble since April of this year. I had been feeding him home cooked up until he got sick (after about three weeks of being bombarded with a bevy of vet prescribed meds for fleas, antibiotics and Apoquel for skin infections, and also a run-in with a toad.) I am not happy with the idea that his vet insists I feed him this stuff for the rest of his life, exclusively–and after reading the ingredients, am VERY unhappy with all the “junk” carbs in it, especially since he is yeasty. I am very interested in a home made, low fat diet that is balanced.

  8. joan johnston

    Thank you so much Susan!! It’s always bothered me that vets sell this stuff and charge so much for crappy food.

  9. Becky

    The crazy part is they sell OTC food with the same ingredients as prescription for 1/3 the price. Shame Shame

  10. Cheryl

    Thanks for sharing this. I plan to spread the word by sharing this. Thank you for all that is being done to expose how consumers are being duped.

  11. Robin

    I guess you have to have some common sense. I never believed the Hill’s I buy for my baby had any actual medicinal value; however, she has improved digestive health, controlled weight, and improved skin. If I have to pay a little more to be assured that she’s being fed good quality food, so be it.

  12. nancy shea

    Well then what do I feed my dog? She is 11 years old and has been eating Hills ID prescription dog food since she was a puppy, She cannot tolerate anything else, has a very sensitive stomach and on and off bouts of diarrhea. This is so discouraging.

    1. Erica

      Try The Honest Kitchen, it’s great for dogs with sensitive stomachs. It’s real food!

    2. Butch

      Feed what works for your dog and don’t believe everything you read on the internet.

    3. Reader

      The Honest Kitchen is a wonderful, reputable, hard working company! They are transparent in every way! And deserve all the business they earn. But a word of caution. Try out a sample bag of the recipe first. When they removed alfalfa and substituted with peas, my dogs could not longer handle it. I called the company several times. And they really didn’t have a fix. Said try added pumpkin, more moist, less moist, etc.. I don’t know if it’s the peas, or potency of the ingredients. But like other Followers have been writing, some dogs just have a sensitive stomach, and need a very simple meal. The only way I could settle down my younger dog, was a few months on Hills Z/D. I don’t know why it works, but for interim feeding it does. Now he’s back to one meal of raw food a day, and one cooked home made meal, with lots of good stuff in it. But the binder is real sweet potato and parboiled brown rice.

    4. Peter

      Nancy, if you’ve been feeding your poor dog I/D for her entire life, the bacterial load of her gut would decline, that is, the bacteria “not needed” to digest anything other than I/D would “die off.” That is why, well-meaning parents may take their dog home from the shelter, and he can get “sick” when they feed him “good” food, it is too much of a change. You can do far better than that overpriced prescription food. Try a freeze-dried food. It would be cheaper (despite the price on the bag) and in one step, you would eliminate many colorings, additives, and preservatives that stress her immune response. A good quality krill oil is miles better as a skin/allergy supplement. Broccoli and/or other vegetables easily steamed provide fiber and have no calories. We made this change for a severely challenged dog and he is crazy for it and really enjoys his meals. Before you change, look into a saliva/hair analysis to determine her immune response, then you can simply choose a freeze-dried food that does not have the proteins or other ingredients she may not tolerate well.

      1. Regina

        Thank you Peter, Your response to Nancy was excellent. Any vet that would want to keep a dog on RX food for its entire life because of “sensitivity” has been too lazy, or just not cared enough, to find a solution to what could be a temporary problem.
        Ultimately, REAL food keeps our pets healthier!!!!

  13. Peter

    A nutritional specialist may prescribe one of these foods based on the specific issue of manufacturing, that is, that the companies may not use “co-packers.” On that basis, the food would be the “only available” food in which the ingredients could be “guaranteed” to be present and of a certain quality.

  14. Rosemary

    My Vet told me to try the allergy hills diet food and I refused now she is indifferent to me. Both my Papillons have sensitive stomachs and are allergic to too much. The last two years I fed them raw alternating with different sources of protein every few months and cleaned their bums every time they went out ! I thought I was doing them good and they would get used to this. This year I started home cooking with added probiotics and ground flax seed and still are currently having to clean bums! I stopped kibble two years ago. I don’t feed grains a known allergy or veggies too often as I heard that dogs don’t have enzymes to break them down . I’m frustrated that my Vet won’t help me unless I try her prescription diet food which has know allergins to my dogs. Help?

  15. Pat P.

    I would love to see these companies “slammed” for their deceptive practices. I don’t like the ingredients of most of these foods–the GMØ corn, excessive carbs, low quality protein, illegal rendered by-product meals and fats, dry kibble. The foods are cooked at extremely high heats to attempt to kill various bacteria (which they don’t), but they do kill off nutrients which are sometimes “added back” with cheap synthetic vitamins. Occasionally, the companies may add some known supplements for certain conditions, but the quantities are very low (usually at end of ingredient list) and, probably, of negligible benefit. They, also, use unhealthy ingredients to temporarily solve health issues; i.e., sawdust (powdered cellulose) to stop diarrhea; table salt to increase water consumption for urinary tract infections; corn gluten GMO, when protein is low, etc.

    Using dry kibble for cystitis or a urinary tract infection (when sufficient moisture levels are crucial) is counterproductive, IMO hurtful–but not uncommon.

    I don’t like the fact that most veterinarians know very little about animal nutrition most of which is taught to them by the “prescription” pet food company, Hills, who, also, often wine and dine new vets, providing “free” products. Both Hills and Royal Canin will provide the vets biased research. Except for the rare vet who does their own objective studies, most of the rest only are provided info from these companies.

    I don’t like the fact that it is difficult to walk into any vet office in my city that doesn’t carry one of the above brands and “push” them on clients, unless (as in my case) they express their dislike of them.

    Unsuspecting pet caretakers are provided “prescriptions” for feed-quality pet products, believing they are essential to the health and welfare of their ailing pets. This is inexcusably misleading and wrong!

  16. Cindi F

    I have a cat who almost died from a urinary blockage so the vet said I should use Royal Canin S/O. I have a dog with digestive issues the vet put him on a Royal Canin and he has been hungry all the time (I was using Orijen for the cat and dog). I am really afraid if I switch my cat he will get sick again, but I seriously hate giving my pets these foods. Is there a way to know which kinds would be good for urinary health and sensitive stomachs? Thanks for sharing this Susan.

    1. Pacific Sun

      In the ’60’s we had a miniature poodle (who, as I look back on it now, probably had pancreatitis, although people also call such things as a sensitive stomach.) He also had a heart murmur. If that dog ate one single table scrap he’d get sick. But it was before prescription pet food. Our old time, very wise Vet told us to feed him a lean protein. At the time, (and which they’re not now) baby lambs tongues were available (gag, if you will, but apparently they were nutritious). We cooked them in celery water (no onions) and maybe another veggie. Chopped them up, and fed them with the broth over Friskies Fives (kibble) at the time. He also got a pet vitamin/yeast tablet. As he aged, he also ate cottage cheese and rice. He didn’t have a lot of extra muscle on his bones (he was petite anyway), but plenty of energy and smart as a whip! He lived a very long, (and apparently) happy life, loved to play ball, and walked endlessly where every we’d take him. Isn’t it strange, we have so many more nutritional options now a days, but just as difficult a time figuring out a proper diet.

    2. Deep Search

      You can contact the manufacturer of a pet food and ask if they can guarantee that their food will keep your cat’s urine at a desirable pH. And you want to be sure to only feed wet/hydrated foods so your cat is taking in adequate amounts of water. Some brands that state their foods will keep a cat’s urine within a healthy pH range: Halo, Eagle Pack foods, Wellness, and Nutri Source PureVita. I’ve primarily fed my cat who had struvite crystals Holistic Select– originally started by Eagle Pack, now both are a Well Pet brand along with Wellness. He did well on Halo Impulse, too. I’ll also feed him foods that are reportedly “good” for cats who have UT issues– like Weruva and Hound & Gatos. I just want to feed him foods that are primarily meat, not fish, without added fillers or carbs/starches.

      Supplements with added methionine will lower the pH of your cat’s urine, but then you want to monitor your cat’s urine pH so it doesn’t become too acidic. And giving your cat a glucosamine supplement will help reduce irritation and inflammation in their bladder/urinary tract.

      If you are afraid to take your cat off the prescription food, try slowly adding small amounts of a new food to see how he takes to it. You should find a vet you can talk to about alternatives to a prescription diet, like giving your cat supplements or vitamins, so you can get professional guidance.

  17. Deep Search

    I wondered how common it was for vet clinics to promote brands like Hill’s Science Diet over every other pet food. The vet I’ve gone to for years put fliers up around their clinic stating that Hill’s is the best because their food has been tested more than other brands. The info sheets also tout the goodness of the corn in their diets. I like the veterinarians there well enough, but they can push the food pretty heavily. When I was caring for a once feral kitten who was underweight, the vet wanted to feed him the Hill’s kitten food they sold because it was tested to “ensure growth.” It wasn’t even a prescription diet. The kitten recovered fine– he had ringworm so when he started feeling better with treatment his appetite returned.

    I have two cats with urinary issues and even when they have been on kibble that is designed to “relieve stress” or keep urine at a good PH, my cats still had serious problems. The only thing that ever helped with their issues concerning cystitis and urine crystals was excluding kibble and giving them wet food, sometimes supplementing freeze-dried meat. Cutting out kibble was also the only way I was able to get my cats who put on some weight to slim down– I feed them canned foods that are basically all meats, human grade. With the prescription diets even the wet food has things like wheat, starches, rice, soy, vegetable matter, and cellulose/fiber added. So you don’t really know how much of it is meat and what is plants or filler. And the urinary prescription foods would still contain fish, even though fish is supposed to be avoided as it could cause UT irritation.

    I’ve had more issues managing the stress levels of my two needy male cats in a multi-cat household, but the prescription diet for UT stress did not seem to make a difference. The canned diet for urinary care stress is primarily pork liver and way down the ingredient list it has added tryptophan and casein, which I’m assuming are the stress-relief components. I want to feed my cats primarily muscle meat, mostly lean. I’d rather add supplements to good, clean food than feed them a diet that seems to be mostly fillers.

    Certainly there are animals who will need a specific diet for a medical condition. But it just seems ludicrous that a vet can’t recommend a more natural, appropriate diet for a cat or dog. A human doctor wouldn’t tell a person with health issues to eat only one prepackaged processed food forever.

  18. Lemoncake

    Aside from ingredients my main issues for these diets were mostly because even though I found a otc food that my cat did amazing on my vet insisted i used l/d and k/d diets for him after saying its great to see he was symptom free LOL

    Plus l/d and k/d diets say not to use them long term but when you have a chronically ill animal you kinda have no choice but to use them or go for an alternative, seeing as my cats symptoms are gone on an otc why would i overspend on a diet that might not do as well

  19. Mark Roberge

    Has anyone lost their animals to cancer while feeding them Royal Cannon Urinary SO? I only fed 2 of my cats the SO for 10 years. I lost both cats 3 months apart. One had tongue cancer and the other had throat cancet. The cats only drank distilled water and I do not spray insecticides in the house. I saw on A blog Royal Cannon purchases their fat content from a company that adds BHA to the product. BHA is known to cause cancer.

  20. Diane

    Have you even read the research behind these foods? You might want to become better informed before spreading misinformation. Please also listen to your veterinarians. They went to school to learn this information just as human doctors do. And they are definitely not in it for the money as they are $250,000+ in debt and making very little compared to that (definitely nowhere near what human doctors make)

  21. Diane

    Not to mention that all those pet foods touting grain free is good are lying to you and just trying to get a piece of this new fad. The is research that is showing that grain free diets are causing heart disease. Once the pets have gotten off the grain free diet, the heart started to heal. Only problem is it will never heal back to 100%

  22. Kay

    This lawsuit will go nowhere. The reason these diets cost so much is because of how much research is put into them. Often times these are in development and studied for 12 years and sometimes more, before even hitting the market. So like with any drug, there are higher costs associated with developing these. I can assure you these diets WORK. This lawsuit will go absolutely nowhere as these companies have extensive research to back their claims.

    Ironically , there have been no studies that have proven benefits of grain free diets or raw diets are superior, yet there is proven research that they are detrimental to pets (for example, DCM in young dogs being fed grain free diets, or risk of food poisoning in humans and pets with raw diets ).

    This is laughable

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