Veterinary Practice News recently posted an article from disgruntled veterinarians wanting to regain their position of being “the authority in animal nutrition.” Borrowing a line from the late Rodney Dangerfield, some veterinarians are saying…“I can’t get no respect.”
The Veterinary Practice News post stated: “Clients relying on internet sources and word of mouth get confused about pet nutrition and health, but veterinarians can be a trustworthy voice of reason. “Dr. Google, by so-called experts, is rampant, and we are no longer the only opinion on animal nutrition and health,” said Joseph Wakshlag, DVM, Ph.D., Dipl. ACVN, Dipl. ACVSMR. “We can get drowned out by the white noise on the internet,” he said of veterinarians. “We need to re-establish ourselves as the authority in animal nutrition.”
So who did Veterinary Practice News go to in order to make their point…to influence practicing veterinarians to turn to for pet nutrition and health advise? Royal Canin, Science Diet and Purina.
Royal Canin’s advice to veterinarians…
“Laura Pletz, DVM, scientific services manager at food maker Royal Canin USA, thinks the internet’s fast lane will lead befuddled pet owners to their veterinarians for nutrition advice.”
Fact Checker: Royal Canin’s Dr. Pletz statement is a little misleading. ‘Befuddled pet owners’ are befuddled at why so many veterinarians are selling/promoting pet foods containing ingredients that violate federal law (per their legal definition). Pet owners are ‘befuddled’ why so many veterinarians are recommending highly processed food for cats and dogs when human doctors recommend (human) patients avoid processed food.
Hill’s Science Diet advice to veterinarians…
Dr. Ellen Lowry of Hill’s Science Diet: “Veterinarians should caution their clients to be wary of terms such as ‘gourmet’ or ‘human grade’ on pet food labels,” Dr. Lowery said. “Marketers use these terms to make the product appear healthier and appeal to human appetites, but they don’t have any meaning in regards to safety or quality of the pet food.”
Fact Checker: The statement by Hill’s Science Diet Dr. Lowry is FALSE. Human grade on pet food labels is legally defined by AAFCO and has been verified by FDA for 9 years.
Purina’s advice to veterinarians:
“Misinformation poses a big problem, said Jason W. Gagné, DVM, Dipl. ACVN, senior manager of veterinary technical marketing at Nestlé Purina PetCare Co. “The field of nutrition is continuously dealing with misperceptions regarding the quality of certain ingredients, such as grains and byproducts,” Dr. Gagné said. “Much of this is fueled by inaccurate information on the internet and by advertising that portrays them as negative. It is important to remember that grains and byproducts provide essential nutrients and help complete and balance the nutrient profiles of cats and dogs.”
Fact Checker: The statement made by Purina’s Jason W. Gagné is FALSE. Though some ‘inaccurate information’ to the quality of pet food grains and byproducts may exist, much of the information is true. Most grains in the US are GMO and pet foods have been found to contain the herbicide glyphosate. Pet food byproducts are allowed by FDA to be sourced from dead/non-slaughtered or diseased animals; there is NO “misperception regarding the quality” of these waste ingredients.
World Small Animal Veterinary Association’s advice to veterinarians…
And the Purina veterinarian “recommended tips from the World Small Animal Veterinary Association, which has documents that help veterinarians and clients choose food from a reliable company.”
“WSAVA notes that all pet food labels must contain factual information, but clients should be alerted that the label also serves as a promotional tool. That means some label information, such as the use of unregulated terms such as holistic, premium and human grade, “is of little practical value in assisting nutritional assessment” WSAVA states.”
Fact Checker: The statement from World Small Animal Veterinary Association is FALSE. Again, human grade on pet food labels is legally defined by AAFCO and has been verified by FDA for 9 years.
If veterinarians want to become “the authority in animal nutrition”, for starters they should get their facts straight. When false information is provided to educated pet food consumers, your credibility goes out the window.
Next, veterinarians need to stop turning to industry as their sole source of pet food information. Hint to veterinarians: industry is using you. You are little more than a marketing tool to them.
Friend Rodney Habib says it best in a new video…
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
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