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One Pet Owners Fight in Australia

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  1. Dyan K.

    Thank you Maria for all you have done. And thank you Susan for bringing us this information and exposing the truth about Australia. This was is not over until we, and our pets, win.

  2. Dyan K.

    Sorry, that should say “this WAR is not over”.

  3. Kay Henn

    They did what? A lifetime ban? I don’t like to think of myself as especially shockable, but — wot? this is official? From a /veterinary/ board?

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      Maria told me they issued the life-time ban in an email and in a phone message. It is official.

      1. Dr. Laurie Coger

        I can’t believe such a thing is legal– how is she supposed to get a legally mandated rabies vaccine? Thinking only from the legal viewpoint…. Wonder what Dr. Barbara Fougere, a noted holistic veterinarian and key figure in the College of Integrative Veterinary Therapy based in Australia would say. (

      2. Kay Henn

        It’s very, very sad.
        And unnecessary — there must be money to be made, even for vets, out of expert consultations on The Right Diet For Your Cat — but it’s easier to keep on peddling poison.

        1. Poodle Owner

          Pushing Poison is a callous reaction.

          Using an extreme story of a very unjust case of retribution against a pet owner (in another country) who tried desperately to save her pet for 2 years, to slam all Veterinarians who’re using a clinically proven product to assist pet owners, is unproductive. Hills Rx doesn’t cure any illness! It isn’t the best option. But it’s better than Meow Mix and Beneful. Who do we run to with an emergency? Your dog is hit by a car. So you’re going to wait around until a Holistic Vet opens up the next morning? Not quite. We go to the Practice open on Sundays and 24 hours. How many holistic Vets do? You might have their cell number IF you are lucky. But my Vet has been there for me, and saved my dog’s life twice. For a pancreatitis attack he suggested a Prescription food. But was more than willing to work with me because of my dog’s allergy to chicken, and because I wouldn’t use pork fat. So we settled on a bland whole food diet for a while. He recovered fine. And we went back to a homemade and raw food plan.

          “Pushing poison” might be your way of describing misinformed and convenient. But language like that is just another reason why we’re seen as fanatics. And turn off newly interested people who might be following this site. Hills Prescription (not off-the-shelf stuff for everyday feeding) is a solution for SOME people unable to customize a proper diet for a recovering pet.

          But the real point of THIS article was the failure in communication (and trust) between a client and all the professionals she depended upon for guidance and support! And by the way, it was in Australia! Which doesn’t say anything for their code of conduct!!

          1. Casey

            You make a decent point, but though hills and royal canin do not make the “worst foods” at all, and even sometimes may help the issue, there are many many far better options that would be far more effective at a far more consistent rate, and I believe what she is trying to say is, veterinarians are not taught this and it is wrong and detrimental. They should be educated in options, not JUST Hills as an option. In that I think her statements are entirely justified.

      3. Kay Henn

        Overlooked this the first time round: a phone message? To a bereaved pet owner, to say “we will not treat any future pet you own”? That’s beginning to sound like something not only unprofessional, but very nastily personal.

      4. Christine

        Has there been any updates on Maria? I’m curious to know if she has been able to obtain veterinary care for her pets and if she is still fighting to stop vets recommending products they have a vested interest in?

        1. Susan Thixton Author

          Yes – there is. New information will be posted soon (hopefully today).

    2. Brenda

      Maybe they are doing her a favor.

  4. William

    We pet owners, all over the world, need to work together and support each other to fight the corrupt veterinary industry and their bedfellows the pet food industry and other corrupt associations.

  5. Christine

    Wow! So sorry that Maria and Princess had to go through all of that and bravo to her for the pushback!!! The whole scenario is shocking on so many levels!!! Outrageous really. Seems that it shouldn’t be legal to completely deny services in the future either. My thoughts are that you have to do your own research on virtually everything in relation to pet and human nutrition ’cause it’s amazing how often veterinary and medical folks don’t know.

  6. Mary Sue

    I hope there are vets who are not members of the Veterinary Surgeons Board of Queensland so Maria can find a knowledgeable vet to treat her pets if she should choose to get another. I guess “for the benefit of animal welfare” only applies to those they treat properly and the animals they choose to treat. My condolences to Maria.

  7. Peter

    The American Veterinary Medical Association’s “Veterinarian’s Oath” concludes with:
    “I accept as a lifelong obligation the continual improvement of my professional knowledge and competence.” Upon which, I will comment no further.

  8. Genevieve

    This brazen attitude/punitive reaction/confidence about wearing their power on their sleeve with no fear of backlash – business as usual demeanour is being manifested in all realms in Australia where the status quo Big Pharma and Food Industry Giants are operating (in other words, everywhere). Medicos, Journalists and TV reporters are likewise not only prompted by their Associations / TV Stations to tow the status quo line, it is usually clear they are expressing deeply personal opinions when they rubbish those individuals who are choosing healthier, better informed, and alternative health/nutrition models. This is the Dark Ages indeed in Australia. The population base in Australia is small, and the individuals who speak out are often drawn into incredibly expensive legal battles, when they have left themselves open in any way to being savaged legally. The money behind the status quo organizations is in a different league to what small organizations/individuals can muster. Website advertising of “alternative” choices/information attracts the attention of, for example, so called Friends of Science adherents, who are all in bed with government appointed officials on Advisory boards where they get away with not expressing conflict of interest as to their bias, etc etc etc. Nefarious business practice as usual. Incredibly depressing. Thank you Susan, and thank you Maria for being individuals who refuse to be cowed.

  9. Tracey

    I am so very, very sad for Maria and horrified by the behavior of the Veterinary Surgeons Board of Queensland. I have seen other FB posts indicating that vets in Australia aren’t good but thought it was just individual cases. This is a whole different ball game!

  10. Pet Owner

    Sincere condolences for Maria and her cat’s difficulties. Especially for struggling 2 years to provide the best care possible. The experience had such a sad conclusion.

    From this lesson, it would seem to be that if a raw diet had been prescribed from the onset diagnosis of her cat’s VERY serious illnesses, then it would’ve been better off. Since a raw food diet was never offered as an alternative seemed to demonstrate (or prove) to Maria the Veterinarian’s preference (and obligation) for promoting Hills’ products! Using this rationale also assumes (or accuses) the Vet of negligently harming the cat in deference to profit making. In the end, it seems Maria was unfairly punished in terms of being the victim of retribution!

    I do think this assumption is a bit harsh however.

    Twenty-two Vets concurred with the original Vet. And rather than being in “collusion” it would seem a consistent evaluation of the cat’s very serious (and perhaps complicated) medical condition. And that there were not a lot of traditional treatment options available. We certainly disagree, but Traditional Vets are not in the business of correcting an illness by diet. RX food can only support or manage a pet through an illness (so that the pet’s regular food won’t do further damage). RX food has well identified chemical values, that can be easily accounted for when doing patient testing and tracking. The pet’s conventional food could vary by batch or change by brand.

    An owner can seek out a Vet trained in both Western Medicine and Holistic Treatment. I did find one, who used complimentary, compatible options. Yet I found that (in the end) this particular (and very expensive) Vet was more likely managing my dog’s life than improving it. While the dog’s Western Vet probably would’ve brought me to a conclusion much sooner.

    In the process of being treated, pets are affected by all kinds of circumstances. Including heredity, innate deficiencies and breed lifespan, as well as other predispositions. Some cats (but certainly not all) eat a starchy, dry diet and develop diabetes, obesity and renal problems. Genetics, activity, the quality or toxicity of PF, water intake, are all variables.

    Right now we’re reading this story at the end of a situation, rather than at the beginning of how it should’ve started. Meaning a Vet is most useful when counseling a new owner during a puppy/kitten wellness check. By being honest and conscientious enough to admit not knowing about nutritional options. But recommending that both of them would be wise for doing outside research!

    At the same time, Traditional Vets are stuck to a certain degree. Not in their defense, but as a matter of reality. The Vets I know can only treat my pet based on research (statistics) and published studies. They don’t have the luxury, capacity or resources for truly independent “creative” (or unique) treatment, that hasn’t at least been started or reported on by another institution, even if it was only experimental at that point in time. Vets doing so on their own, would become too inconsistent among personal clients. With the long term reliability of results being devalued for other clients.

    While (we as Followers) don’t agree with poor quality commercial PF, certainly not a lifetime or solitary diet on it. There are people who simply can’t deliver fresh whole food, or raw diets, to their pets. Especially when they are ill! Granted, that out of Maria’s 23 Vet visits one of them should’ve pointed out another option. But the other issue is that IF a Traditional Vet suggests an alternative approach, and something goes wrong, he could be (or the Practice be) held responsible. A deceased pet, under ANY circumstances, does not produce an understanding or forgiving owner!

    Hills Prescription Diets represent a standardized feeding program that’s clinically proven to be compatible with (BUT IS NOT A CURE) for a pet’s illnesses. That’s the main misunderstanding about Prescription Diets. Because a Traditional Vet isn’t holistically trained (or even informed) he simply can’t recommend raw feeding in a professional setting (where a problem could become a liability). Raw feeding (for us) is a no-brainer. But uninformed people need to be educated.

    Hills Prescription M/D (wet/dry) has about a 50-20-20 ratio, per protein, fat, and carbs. That’s a very high protein, low carb, low fat meal for a clinically manufactured product. Prescription food uses a highly digestible form of protein. And (I’ve been told) is of human grade quality. It also insures the correct balance of vitamins and minerals, and for the corresponding health conditions of the pet. But expecting that an 11 year diet of any old commercial PF (especially dry) would be counter-balanced by a newly established “prescription” PF plan is just unrealistic. The other Vets concurred, speaking more to the cat’s fundamental condition (perhaps with cancer or liver disease as a complicating factor) than their (necessarily) incompetent, intentional or insensitive behavior.

    At any rate, there should’ve been at least a “draw” between Maria and the Australian Veterinary Association. Agreeing to disagree and chalking up the experience as a lesson learned on both sides. However I’d say she took the brunt of a bad experience. But perhaps the Vets were fearful of being held liable for future disagreements in treatment procedures. I don’t defend that kind of thinking; just pointing out both sides of a discussion.

    1. Kay Henn

      “RX food has well identified chemical values.”
      That is the problem with the industrial feed approach: the assumption that what really matters is the chemical values.
      “Prescription food uses a highly digestible form of protein. And (I’ve been told) is of human grade quality.”
      Sorry, what? Have you read the label? Here are the first eight ingredients of the kibble according to hillspet dot com:
      “Chicken By-Product Meal, Corn Gluten Meal, Pork Fat, Brewers Rice, Wheat Gluten, Powdered Cellulose, Pork Protein Isolate, Chicken Liver Flavor”

  11. Teresa Reid

    My deepest condolences go out to Maria for the loss of her precious Princess. So sad she had to endure all that and THEN be subjected to all this. Be banned PERMANENTLY? What in the world is the matter with these people? How can they legally do that? Her pain from the death of her beloved Princess is so heartwrenching. Pray that she wins her case.♥♥♥♥

  12. Dave Moore

    My education has been long and hard. This association has helped me incredibly to learn some of those hard lessons. Through these years I have had many dogs, and more cats that have had Hills Rx Diets recommended by our vets. My pets have told me every time that Hills was not a good idea because they have flat-out refused to eat the stuff. I now know it is not “food”. So we prepared food ourselves to have nutrition nurture them back to health. These have been caring and dedicated vets who were doing what they thought was best for our fur kids. So Maria, stand up for the right that you know and we can make this journey together.

    1. Christine Sauer

      Ditto to that! I have had many a sick cat where Hill’s or Royal Canin was recommended. None liked it. Over the years have bought many bags/cans that didn’t work out. Recently two ate it reluctantly and then developed loose stools. I had to work really hard on my own figuring out what to feed these two since raw was not an option. After many months finally got things going in the right direction, all very expensive!

  13. Poodle Owner

    To read a variety of opinions (experiences) here is always good for the discussion!

    I’ve watched a LOT of PF brands be fed to a lot of dogs. Must be genetic or something. Because some scarf down a meal like they’ve never seen food in their lifetime. I call them “survivalists” who will eat anything. (Mine included, in less than 2 minutes). Others insist on human food and endless rotation.

    But one thing to keep in mind, is that manufacturers intentionally flavor PF (one of the main points of “feeding trials”). We’ve never seen a reluctant-eater dog refuse Little Cesar. It is the go-to emergency plan to get a little nutrition back into the Poodle. But I cringe at what must really be in it, to be that reliably irresistible! But once they’re eating again, then also have additional home cooked food as well.

    To assume Rx food is automatically bad just because a dog refuses to eat it, can be misleading or unwise. I honestly don’t think Hill’s is producing negligently dangerous food for very sick animals. Maybe off-the-shelf stuff isn’t so good. But Rx is clinically demonstrated to support dogs through an issue or an illness. Of course that doesn’t mean it should become their lifetime diet either. Unfortunately a lot of owners become lazy, and choose the easiest solution.

    My dogs eat one raw and one home-made meal a day. My younger dog developed a sensitive stomach & intentional issue that wouldn’t clear up while eating his regular food. Didn’t want to use medicine long term either. Finally Hills Rx “Sensitive Stomach” was recommended. Hill’s told me it was human grade quality chicken, and hydrolyzed for easy digestibility. There wasn’t much else in it actually, except for protein, a binder, vitamins and minerals. Took about 8 weeks to return him to normal. But now he can eat anything again! I think he just had to get over the inflammation and irritation. Kind of like we eat a very bland diet while we’re super sick.

    1. Kay Henn

      “Hill’s told me it was human grade quality chicken, and hydrolyzed for easy digestibility. There wasn’t much else in it actually, except for protein, a binder, vitamins and minerals.”

      This is what the Hills website says about what’s in it.
      “Brewers Rice, Chicken Meal, Whole Grain Sorghum, Cracked Pearled Barley, Pea Protein, Pork Fat, Soybean Oil, Chicken Liver Flavor, Dried Beet Pulp, Lactic Acid, Potassium Chloride, Iodized Salt, Flaxseed, L-Lysine, Choline Chloride, vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of Vitamin C), Niacin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Biotin, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement), minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Copper Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite), Taurine, Oat Fiber, Mixed Tocopherols for freshness, Natural Flavors, Beta-Carotene, Apples, Broccoli, Carrots, Cranberries, Green Peas.”

  14. Pet Owner

    I have been told that Prescription Plan Food by Hills that is prescribed by vets is food to help sick dogs and cats. Usually it is due to in the past that pet parents feed their dog and cats cheap pet foods from the supermarket and they develop diseases later on in life. I am wondering if this is the case with the pet owner and her late cat in australia and she got sick and then had to go to dozens of vets trying to find out what was wrong with her. A lot of times when a cat is used to junky rich cheap food it is hard for them to switch to better nutritious premium cat kibble that is balanced and made in its own faculty in USA.

    1. Pat

      Do you know how many times the HSD line has been recalled because it had been contaminated? That stuff is bad for cats.

      1. Pacific Sun

        First off, I appreciate your concern, so thank you. I’ve been following PF for nearly 10 years. Second, mine is a dog. And I know cats are a lot more food sensitive. I’m referring to the prescription (sensitive stomach) formula, and not the off-the-shelf kind, sell it to every pet owner who walks in the door. Yes, I could make a very short list of the PF brands that have never, ever been recalled or had any issues whatsoever. Nevertheless, I was assured by the company, in writing, this recipe uses human grade (or chicken fit for human consumption) because another issue with my dog, I did not want! It’s hydrolyzed protein for easiest digestion. There was hardly anything else in it (except a binder). And that’s exactly what my dog needed at the time, a temporary break from his raw food diet and home cooked meal (for whatever, strange reason, it worked). And third, if there HAD been an issue with that particular HSD food? I would’ve been on that Vet Practice like nobody’s business. For them taking full responsibility. [ I don’t put up with any nonsense. ]

  15. Robin

    This is Australia? Jeeeez! More bullying tactics. Silencing a doctor for advising diabetic patients to quit sugar and processed foods and this lady being struck off from pet care (apart from her own) because she dared to question the establishment. OMG! I sometimes wish I was much older so I don’t have so long to put up with this crap from drug, food and grain industries. We’ve given our power away and they are now extremely powerful. It’s up to us to learn for ourselves and thank goodness there are enough people now writing and speaking about it.
    Best wishes, Maria, for your fight with these parasites.

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