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Consumers and Veterinarians should take note of new FDA Decision

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  1. Marie

    Wow!! This is so ridiculous it’s almost funny. After all, cancer WILL get rid of kidney disease in time. Imagine Purina making anything real for “food.” Excellent point on the prescription diets claiming to treat/cure disease!! 😮

  2. Kathryn S

    and ‘Vegetable Oil’ ?? Really?? by not ‘naming’ it – Rape (canola), Corn/Soy/Peanut/Olive, etc., this leads me to believe it is probably a recycled product from fast food restaurants that use a tremendous amount of oil for frying –

  3. Sherrie Ashenbremer

    I can’t hardly believe this! This is just sad and wrong. So many people out there will put there dog/cat on these foods believing they are doing the right thing. How awful.

  4. Holly

    As we all know, much of what vets have learned about so called ‘prescription diet’ foods ( a phrase trade marked by Hill’s) , they learned in vet school, from Hill’s, the maker of Science Diet pet foods. So they don’t really need, nor want, to know what animal digest is, or what meat by products are. Many vets do ‘cook book’ prescribing when it comes to veterinary foods. If cat A has kidney disease, give it this food. If dog B has allergies, give it that food. I’m constantly amazed by how little some vets know about pet foods, and their effect on our pet’s health. If it’s any consolation, Blue Buffalo now makes veterinary diet foods without the corn and by products. I’ll be interested to see if BB can break through the ‘good old boy’ mentality of some vets that are attached to their Hill’s or Purina RX foods. Time will tell.

    1. Kay Henn

      Hm. Just had a look at Blue Buffalo’s website and couldn’t help noticing the “chicken meal” in a veterinary product. I dunno — if it was me going to the trouble and expense of making sure kibble components were by-product-free, I sure wouldn’t call one of them “chicken meal”.

      Fortunately, my local butcher and weekly market supply an abundance of health-strengthening food I can feed. Not a trace of chicken meal or “natural flavouring” or any of the rest of the stuff nature didn’t intend when she made my dog; )

  5. Ellen Pilch

    Excellent article. It is so sad that most of us put our trust in vets to be giving us what will help our pets.

  6. Sara

    “…including ground alive spent laying hens…” I find this along with the other practices of the commercial food industry horrifying! Where for gods sake are peoples’ consciences?! Shouldn’t our concern for our pets also extend to the treatment of our other animal friends?!

    Obfuscation, manipulation, pandering, lies, etc. no longer surprise me. The FDA is a business.

    1. Jessica

      I commented on that too. I hardly eat animal products because of that. This is a tragedy for our pets and farm animals.

      1. Sara

        It really is a tragedy. I haven’t been able to eat meat, poultry, etc. for a long time and tried to eat free range eggs the store sells. The producer sells BOTH free range and cage and it made me so angry I tried calling then wrote and never heard back. I still can’t eat eggs, but the hypocrisy is astounding. (Have to laugh because I’m quite sure Susan did not intend her article’s comment section to become a place for us to vent about factory farming.)

        1. Jane

          “Free range” or “cage free” usually means they got rid of the cages, but the chickens are crammed as tightly as before. To make this claim, there is usually a very small door at one end…and most of the chickens will be so far away that they will never even know there is a door. Shameful.

          1. Jessica

            It is shameful. Don’t know how to fight it other than drastically reducing our animal products.

          2. Sara

            Shameful is right! Unbelievable! Semantics, huh? Such bastards! Stupid me envisioned…well, never mind. Thanks for enlightening me, Jane.

  7. Hope Valenti

    I applaud Susan for exposing these issues. As the owner of a retail pet supply store (not a chain- my own store)i have said this for years. I could make tons of money selling Science Diet but i dont. And Hills is treated like a great food by all vets. Its like being afraid to take your pet off of it if they ever had a serious illness and it is recommended by the vet. We all feel guilty if something happened. But i try and explain to my customers that protein should be first and there should not be any corn or by products. I believe i have made much headway as i continue to gain new customers. And i am thankful for the pets i may actually be helping get fed great food and educating people everyday about this issue.

  8. Regina

    This is just assinine!!!!!

    My friends got a cat that was overweight. The previous owner had just kept a bowlful of crap food available all the time, so the cat just kept eating the crap. When my friends took this cat to the vet, the vet insisted they sign a contract to get a year’s worth of purina prescription food to help the cat lose weight. My friends did NOT want to do this. They asked the vet what was in the food. The vet could not, would not answer, just kept insisting it was what the cat needed to lose weight. My friends refused to get the purina rx food, knowing that if they fed this cat the same healthy diet they were already feeding their other cat, an actual meat-based diet since cats are carnivores, the weight issue would improve.
    So, the FDA wants us to trust a vet who knows nothing about what is in these rx foods???? The ingredients listed in this article showed a very noticeable lack of meat. How can anything without meat be good for cats?????

    And another time, I was talking to someone who had cats with health issues. I tried to get her to try a more natural diet, with no corn, wheat, or soy, and explained to her that cats are carnivores, so meat should be prominent in their diet. She said that she had been using science diet for ages, and didn’t want to change the food. This woman couldn’t make the connection that all her cats had problems, which were most likely caused by eating science diet. I just think there are people out there who refuse to change away from a brand they have “trusted” for years. In other words, I think people are just stupid. Or too lazy to educate themselves. Or idiots. ugh, I’m just venting here, sorry!

    The fact that the FDA is allowing this is just more proof that they don’t give a damn.

    And Susan, comparing the ingredients, comparing the rx diet to friskies —- WOW!!!!! really, they can mark up the price that much just by shifting a couple of ingredients around????

    Recently someone commented to me that she didn’t understand this “holistic food” for pets thing, she didn’t understand why that was becoming “a thing” that people were going for. I’m sorry, but that kind of person is hard to talk to without my frustration getting the better of me.

    I’m just so frustrated that the government agencies that are supposed to protect us just wind up protecting the crap peddlers. And there are still people out there who remain clueless.

    1. Sara

      Great post!

    2. Mary Marseglia

      Great post as usually 🙂 but there aren’t really any good high quality commercial dry kibble on the market today(other than the higher prices) and only a good couple handful of canned foods that are any good(and even these can cause hyperthyroidism especially in cats) and the best thing “all” people should be feeding their carnivore dogs & cats is a species appropriate “complete” raw food diet. There are a few good pre-made on the market. Too many loaded with veggies which are not as good as most humans believe because we know they are good for humans(omnivores) & herbivores, but truly not necessary in carnivore diets(actually over works the pancreas to produce more enzymes to break plant matter down) and when I say “complete” I’m not talking about your BS from the PFI about “balanced as that is BS since all commercial foods are horrible for our pets” but complete is based on eating lean muscle meats/proper raw fat(not from oils)/organ meats including liver but no more than 5% on liver/green tripe is excellent for your pets/raw meaty bones 2-3x a week(some dogs need more) & powdered egg shells are excellent natural source of calcium(more than bones as well)

  9. Yvonne McGehee

    This is one of your best articles, and understanding is even fuller when read after your other articles, particularly those explaining the items that are by law not allowed in pet food, but that FDA is mandated to ignore in pet food.

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      Hi Yvonne – thank you for your kind words, but I have to make one correction about your comment. FDA is not mandated to ignore laws that govern pet food – they choose to do this all on their own. It is FDA responsibility to enforce the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act – yet the agency knowingly and willfully (to the benefit of some in pet food) does not do that. Just wanted to make that clear for everyone.

  10. Laurie Matson

    I see it like this. Veterinarian’s who refuse to educate themselves on pet food and choose to stock and sell these crap products, may then end up getting sued. After enough law suits, maybe they will educate themselves about these crap foods and stop carrying them. That would be a good punch in the stomach to Big Pet Feed!! Big pet Feed AND Vets need to both be straightened out about these awful products, at least that way we might see change. Not fair to Vets but they NEED to understand why pet owners are switching to raw and home cooked diets. There are many Vets that refuse to stock these products so hats off to them, they won’t have to worry about getting sued. How else are we going to see change for the better with pet food?

    1. Marie

      SO hard to sue a doctor of any kind and win, especially trying to find a lawyer who works on contingency – they won’t touch it because they know they can’t win, most of the time. But I do love the idea! We’ll see change when people start voting with their dollars. Then vets will stop carrying the crap.

  11. Kim Rockshaw

    If people know the history of vet schools and prescription diets (in particular Hills Science Diet) we would all see how amazingly crazy this is. First, we must understand that when vets go to vet school, there are required to maybe take one class on nutrition. And that class also discusses, as an overview, the general properties of many vitamins and minerals . . . .not what constitutes healthy food. When prescription foods were started by the Hills company, for many, many years Hill had exclusive rights to going into the vets schools and promoting their products. . . . companies like Iams, Waltham (now Royal Canin) were not allowed to show their line of pet food. In many cases, these foods had better ingredients and cats, especially, liked them better. Never mind. Hills was in the vet schools and as they STILL DO NOW, WERE OFFERING VET STUDENTS SCHOLARSHIPS, AND FREE TRIPS TO HILLS SEMINARS in places like Vegas. It has always been a mutual “scratch your back” relationship. Now other companies are allowed to speak to vets. But, Hills, still reigns. And make no mistake, vets are not taught nutrition. They are taught to sell prescription food. Most vets know little to nothing about what would be a proper diet for say, a diabetic cat. Some of them still recommend Hills WD, which is full of grain (not the animal protein diabetic cats need). It was sold purely because it was higher fiber . . . and that was supposed to help diabetes (??). Cats with renal failure are sold DRY low protein food, and then the vets tell the owners to give them subcutaneous fluids! (Rather than giving the cats a modified protein CANNED food, with good ingredients which is more appropriate, and then fluids in addition for support.) Vets are also taught to sell prescription food because it is a profit making part of their business. Most food is marked up 100 to 150%! So, to me, it is a joke to have the FDA let the vets decide about the nutritional content, safety and effectiveness of these prescription veterinary diets. Most vets also do not have the time or the inclination to study nutrition or learn about how inappropriate the content of these foods really is.

    1. Marie

      Yes, very great post! Most vets know nothing about nutrition. I remember something from long ago: Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food. It’s as true today as it was in ancient times – more true perhaps. I also understand that it’s the quality of protein for kidney cats, not the amount. When I had geriatric kidney cats, they wanted meat, so I trusted their bodies and gave them high quality meat. Animals do know what they need, with the exception of those who’ve been addicted to crappy food.
      I remember one of my kits who got pancreatic flareups. The vet told me to force feed him Hills AD even though he gagged on it. (Tried it once) I only went for force feeding after 5 days, with sub-q fluid support during those 5 days. I told this vet that he always wanted lean raw hamburger after a bout, and she said no, I should force feed him the prescription diet. I told her, “you want me to force feed him when he wants to eat raw meat?” She hesitated for a moment and said yes. That did not happen. Most allopathic vets, from my perspective, should be ignored on nutritional issues.

      1. Sara

        Scary! And, awful. I got the same b.s. from vet who diagnosed one of my cats, too. It sucks because it’s our cats (animals) that suffer.

    2. Sara

      So glad you posted! Never knew about the funding among other things you mentioned. Talk about quid pro quo…

  12. Dr. Amy

    Great post! thanks!
    I am a believer in healthy, wholesome, whole foods as “medicine”, both for myself and my dogs. Mostly as preventative but if a dog or whoever is already sick, getting them on the appropriate whole food diet full of anti-oxidants and using whole food sourced probiotics can go a LONG way to helping the body heal itself.

    1. Acroyali

      Agreed so much, Dr. Amy!

      What people in general don’t understand or won’t deal with is that true healing takes time. Masking the symptoms with prednisone and allergy pills don’t. Our society demands quick “fixes”. Many feel that the disappearance of symptoms means cured when, sadly, the opposite is true.

      It’s taken me well over a year to truly, truly heal one of my pets (with the help of a like-minded holistic vet, of course.) His symptoms have been gone for quite some time, but occasionally manifest in other, more subtle ways. If only people would stop wanting the quick, easy fix and would take a few minutes to learn what true holistic care is, I think the rx diets would be a thing of the past.

    2. Sara


  13. Terri Janson

    FDA stands for Federal Death Association…..

    1. Marie

      Love it!!!

    2. Sara

      How apropos 😉

  14. Peter

    And the made-up term “brewers rice,” which is just a name AAFCO has created to make broken bits/fines of junk rice sound better than they are.

  15. Jessica

    Is anyone else disturbed by the fact that we are grinding up chickens alive? Sigh…I’m glad veterinarians are finally not allowed to claim their crappy food cures kidney disease and UTIs.

    1. Marie

      Nightmare disturbed! It’s horrifying. And I understand that all chicken comes from these little conveyor belt chicks, unless the label says otherwise. 🙁 Last night my husband was eating pork ribs, and I probably should have waited until he was done to tell him they came from a pig in a cage so small that it couldn’t turn around and that the pigs chewed the bars bloody in their madness to move and live normally. He claimed it couldn’t be true because King Soopers wouldn’t do that. Ha! The label will say “farm raised” or “humanely raised” or something to indicate not factory farmed. Whole Foods always has humanely raised meats for our carnivorous fur babies.

      1. Jessica

        Yea I hardly eat meat because of it. That and the stunner is allowed to fail on some animals! But look its changing already! As we care more about pets farm animals will follow!

        1. Marie

          I agree! You know Jon Stewart of the Daily Show? His wife, Tracey, wrote a book called Do Unto Animals, and after he quit the show, he and his wife started a farm animal rescue. If a guy so publicly visible and so highly respected takes that stand, there is more hope!

          1. Sara

            Ohhh, what a great title and how wonderful to be able to create such an important rescue! Thanks for sharing ☺

      2. Mandy B

        We started shopping at Whole Foods in general after watching some very disturbing Netflix documentaries on factory farming and GMO’s.

        1. Marie

          Me too! Can’t afford to buy most of their stuff, but I definitely buy meat for the kitties there! I LOVE their attitude about humane sourcing. People don’t have to eat meat, but our precious carnivores do. And I wouldn’t dream of feeding them regular grocery store meat – so toxic! That’s my issue with defining feed grade in the first place – those higher up the food chain (people and pets) are eating what those precious food animals are being fed. It’s SO WRONG.

          1. Sara

            You’re right about that! Although I don’t eat meat or poultry, I know my cats need to eat meat and want to ensure their food is ethically sourced, too.

          2. Acroyali

            Interesting information about Whole foods. Our town doesn’t have one, but I may have to do some traveling as feeding my animals pastured meat (I have 11 in total) is getting to be a bit difficult as far as sourcing goes. Does whole foods require a membership? (like Sam’s, Costco, etc)?

          3. Sara

            No, no membership fees 🙂

      3. Sara

        It REALLY is horrifying!

        Let’s see…the FDA chooses not to regulate what the manufacturers’ put into our pet food and those companies are small potatoes compared to big agra…hmm…

        1. Marie

          Yes! And still we have the issue of feed grade for the food animals that go into us and our pets, if we aren’t aware of it. I think there still is a horror movie online called Earthlings. I couldn’t stand to watch it. I know it. I believe in bearing witness. Those of us who care bear witness, but that doesn’t mean we have to watch after we know. It’s positively sickening! Scary about big agra! If it weren’t for “owned livestock,” we would have animal rights in place by now. I look forward to the day these torture mongers go under, out of business because too many people know and care.

          1. Sara

            You are absolutely right, Marie – spot on!

            I cannot watch the documentaries, either…the animals’ suffering is too much to bear and the images won’t go away (suppose that’s the point.)

            Hopefully sites like Susan’s will begin to educate people and they, we will take a stand and grow from here. It’s also a great place to find other concerned people about animal welfare.

          2. Marie

            Yes, ’cause here we are gathering already! Susan is one of the bravest most devoted person I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. And she has all of us spreading the word with her. I tell my sister, my friends, my neighbors, anyone who will listen to join and support her crucial work, and at some point, public attitudes will change. We’re all relentless and passionate ’cause we love our angels! We love all of them, even ones we’ll never know. It’s us, people like us, that will change it.

      4. Sara

        It really is unbelievable, Marie. Thanks for sharing.

    2. Sara

      Jessica, it is all sickening. “Human” needs to be removed from the word humane.

      1. Jessica

        Yes it is. Luckily Americans are waking up and I think some of this might stop soon. But we need to demand more from the FDA. I might blog about factory farming, would anyone be interested in that?

        1. Marie

          Absolutely interested! You’re educating people! And that’s awesome!

          1. Acroyali

            Here, too!

        2. Sara

          Jessica, I would be.

      2. Marie

        Agreed! Except we are evolving into the new human. I understand human consciousness has evolved more in the last 20 years than it has in the last 10,000 years or more. The new human, like us, is humane. We just keep on spreading the word. Some won’t listen; some don’t care; maybe they’ll fall off the planet. We can hope. Imagine the FDA, big agra and the corrupt of AAFCO falling off – LOL! Comic relief.

        1. Sara

          Too funny, Marie 🙂

          1. Marie


    3. Acroyali

      Very disturbed…do people really lose all humanity when dollar signs are involved?

      1. Sara

        Seems to be 🙁

  16. Christine

    After my cat had 3 stones removed the vet said she must stay on prescription urinary SO (moderate formula) by royal canin. I’m worried to change it & need to find a solution to replace this food healthily. Please advise. Thank you in advance.

    1. Marie

      I agree! It might help to know my holistic vet has me using Tinkle Tonic made by Animal Essentials. It’s for my husband’s kitty who had struvite crystals – maybe not the same. But his vet put her on the same diet as your kitty is on, and I told him it’s not real food. Plus it’s dry – never helps with kidney/bladder issues to feed dry. Kibble is just bad for cats. Your holistic vet can tell you what kind of stones they are and advise accordingly. The Tinkle Tonic is also great for chronic renal issues.

    2. Sara

      I’m so sorry to hear your kitty had 3 stones removed, you must have been worred to death for her. May I ask what you were feeding prior to the stones’ discovery?

      My male cat was neutered while extremely young, the shelter had it done before I adopted him and I’d read he might have issues as a result. Shortly after I adopred him, he seemed to have trouble urinating and the vet said to put him on, yes, Hill’s Science Diet, C/D dry if he wouldn’t eat the canned version. I looked at the ingredients and told her there was no way I would feed my kitten food with that “crap”! She thought I was crazy. I went to her because I feared he had a block at that time, thankfully he didn’t.

      I changed his and his sisters’ wet and dry food, bought a water fountain and haven’t had an issue since. I think the food he was fed at the shelter was the issue. Prior to his problem, I’d been feeding very high quality food, just couldn’t get them off kbible as they became addicted to it at the shelter 🙁

    3. Acroyali

      Not bladder stones, but I had a cat get crystals in his urethra causing a life-threatening situation two times before he was 3 years old. He was on Royal Canin (waaay before I knew all this stuff.) He’s been raw fed for many, many years now with no crystals to date. I do watch him closely, though. My holistic vet and I talked about what he could and shouldn’t eat (as much of) for his problems. Definitely recommend finding a good HV!

      1. Sara

        Thank goodness you were able to catch the issue and save your cat. How frightening for you both! And, it was the food that caused it? In my initial reply to Christine, I confused kidney stones with urinary issues. Do you make your own raw or? I want mine to eat raw, but it’s been a challenge enough getting them to eat wet food.

    4. Sara

      Christine, I’m sorry I confused kidney stones with urinary crystals. I do hope you are able to find a resolution.

  17. Mandy B

    In my experience with Feline Kidney Disease, which 2 of my 4 cats now have, vets push the prescription food. I have 2 different vets that believe I’m doing the wrong thing by no longer feeding it. There are new studies out that showing that a diet full of empty carbs and low protein are doing more harm to the kidneys and other organs than good and also causing muscle wastage. I belong to a CRF group on Facebook and most members have moved to feeding a high quality high protein diet (wet or raw). If the cat’s phosphorus is extremely high, they add a phosphorus binder to the food to bring it down. Many of us also use Azodyl, which is a probiotic created to help filter out toxins so they don’t have to process through the kidneys.

    1. Marie

      Thanks Mandy! I saved your info on Azodyl! For someday if I need it. Great resource!

  18. Trouble

    I feel like I’m a little late in seeing this particular article, but it’s interesting, given something I recently found out while on a weekend trip to NYC…… I was walking around NYC, and wanted to check out some of the local pet shops in the area. The second shop I went into seemed, at first glance, totally awesome (only because they keep the good foods up front, but still sell the crap stuff on the shelves further back in the store… Booo…..)… but I noticed in two separate sections, they sold the Hill’s Prescription Diet foods (the Hill’s stuff is mostly what I saw), and also had some Prescription diet foods by Purina and Iams. I’ve worked in pet stores a long time, so… I know prescription foods when I see them.

    These foods, the *prescription* foods (yes, emphasis on the prescription part, lol) can only be sold to pet owners who have a valid *prescription* for that specific food, whatever it may be… correct? This is what I’ve always been told, what I’ve always read…anywhere and everywhere I go. Out of curiosity though, I asked the guy that was working there, “Hey, do people needs prescriptions from their vets in order to buy these foods? The Hill’s Prescription foods and whatnot?” Without hesitation, he said, “Nope.” I said, “Really? So anyone can buy this stuff?” He said, “Yeah, sure. You don’t need anything special to buy that food.”

    I was floored by this. Is this something that pet stores can do? If they can, why don’t more stores do it? Hell, stores like Petco and PetSmart could make a killing on selling prescription foods without a prescription! (I’d know… I can’t even count how many people would ask if we sold those foods at Petco, and I had to tell them no, because they needed a script for it from their vet, or needed to buy it from a vet’s office.) So please, if I can be enlightened about this whole thing, that would be awesome. Selling prescription foods without a prescription – allowed/possible… or not? If it’s not technically supposed to be done, then is there documentation anywhere stating this? I’d love to see it if there is. 🙂

    1. Holly

      No, you don’t need a script to buy ‘prescription’ foods. The reason they tell people that is #1- they have to buy it from a vet #2 – many formulas are for a specific health issue, and feeding the wrong one to a dog or cat that doesn’t need it can be detrimental to their health. An example is Hill’s K/D diet. it is for animals with kidney disease as is very low in protein. Cats need high protein, so feeding that food, over time to a healthy cat , can cause issues. Hill’s actually trade marked the term ‘prescription’ diet, so no other company can use it. In my opinion, they’re all garbage, with the possible exception of a diet to break up struvite crystals. That actually helps and is usually fed for a short period of time.

      1. Marlene Patrick

        We had to have a prescription for Hills Science prescription dog food as Petsmart would not sell it to us otherwise.

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