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My vet's comments about some claims posted here

Cactus Flower
April 5th, 2005, 01:10 PM
Ok folks, please take the boxing gloves off before reading this. The last thing I want to do is start a fight/argument here. I just thought I'd share with you an interesting conversation I had with my vet. I have a really great relationship with him, very casual- can talk openly about anything- and he always takes care of my dogs first and worries about the bill later. He's really a wonderful man.

The other day I mentioned to him the comment I keep reading here that vets only had one semester of nutrition when they went to school, so they don't know much about recommending brands of dog food, etc. I asked him what he'd say to that. His reply was "Well, I'd ask them how many semesters they had", and he laughed. His nurse chimed in that she only took one semester, too, but that semester was still three months long and very intense.

He told me that in any medical field, continuing education is a must, not to mention the education you get as an intern, then working on the job. Any vet who cares will continue to expand their knowledge, and really has to do so in order to be a good veterinarian.

I mentioned something else I've read here a few times- that vets will sell any food the companies give them to sell at a profit, regardless of nutritional content.

He chuckled at this, too, in his quiet way, but didn't get a chance to answer because his nurse jumped on that one immediately. She was insulted, saying that he's turned down so many brands because they were absolute CRAP, and gave me an example:

Apparently when the Pedigree people approached him, wanting him to sell their brand of food in his office, he told them, in front of an entire waiting-room full of people:

"Anyone who feeds Pedigree to their dog is either starving them or bloating them", thanked the rep for his time, and walked away.

Again, I'm not trying to start a fight here, nor am I attacking those who have made these kinds of accusations in previous threads. I just wanted to give one veterinarian's defense to these comments. I think he deserves his say here, even though it's second-hand through me :) .

April 5th, 2005, 01:15 PM
Sounds like a great vet to me!!!!

April 5th, 2005, 01:22 PM
That's an excellent post CF. I too have had conversations about food with my vet and they do not all take it at lightly as some would like to think!!

Great post! :thumbs up

April 5th, 2005, 01:25 PM
Me too!
I think it's great to have a vet like that, I'm sure lots of people can't talk with their vet like that and get real answers.

"Well, I'd ask them how many semesters they had"
That's a good one... and very true!
Thanks for putting this out there... and I don't think anyone will have a problem with it... it's really nice to get an opinion from a vet, and a great one at that!!

April 5th, 2005, 01:30 PM
Maybe it is different where I live,but I have only seen vets selling Hill's Science Diet,Med-i-Cal and food like that,and yes those companies do teach some nutrition at vet college and yes vets do get a huge mark up.I have not seen Wellness,Natura,Nutro and others teaching at vet colleges and offering big markups for them to sell their products,I wish they would!They should also be more pro-active,I don't just blame the vets.
I mentioned something else I've read here a few times- that vets will sell any food the companies give them to sell at a profit, regardless of nutritional content.

April 5th, 2005, 01:33 PM
My primary vet is really good about things like this as well. In Canada many vets sell Hill's - which is corn based. My Eskimo pup is sensitive to corn and wheat - he can eat it - but let's say he is a smooth operator. I now have him on Fromm's Whitefish and Potato - his choice - he opened the GIANT bag at the store. Must say though, output is seriously down. Wonder how many character traits the Finnish Spitz and the Eskimo share since the Eskimo is also from Spitz line. At least your dog isn't white, living in the Great White North - and making sure he doesn't miss one bit of mud, water, snow etc. on the street - a real landscaper.

Lucky Rescue
April 5th, 2005, 01:38 PM
Vets are just like any other professional - some excellent, some bad and many in the middle.

Vets are medical doctors, just like our own doctors. When we need medical care, we go to them. When we need emotional help we go to a professional in that field and if we need help with our diet, we see a nutrionist, not a surgeon.;)

I've never seen Pedigree for sale in any vet clinic. What I do see is Science Diet and Iams and that is what most vets sell their clients, if the clients ask about food. Personally, I do the research myself and although I trust my vet completely in medical issues, I would never ask what food to feed my dog as she would suggest what is on sale on her shelves.

Cactus Flower
April 5th, 2005, 01:46 PM
Very true, Lucky, but my family doctor can still tell me what the ingredients of a good diet are, what to avoid, etc. Lets face it, we all have a pretty good idea of what to eat and what not to eat, and I'll bet very few have been to a nutritionist.

It's nice to know that Pedigree isn't pushing products in Canadian vet offices.

April 5th, 2005, 01:51 PM
I'm just going to add a little thing to this. The reason why vets sell these brands is that these companies make diets for specific conditions (diabetes, renal disease, heart disease, etc). So they already have them in the clinic.

Plus, these companies do a lot of research to develop these prescription diets. That explains the relationship with the vets.

A lot of vets do not really have the space to sell 10 brands so they keep to the ones they know.


Cactus Flower
April 5th, 2005, 01:54 PM
Good point, hadn't thought about that. The companies themselves are supposed to be the "experts" on dog nutrition. I guess the only "nutrionists" for dogs are the vets and the dog food companies in the first place? Are there actual "nutritionists" for dogs?

April 5th, 2005, 02:02 PM
I've only ever seen Medi-cal and Hill's in any of the vet's offices I've frequented, and just always assumed that since they are made to treat conditions and are prescription foods.. where else would you be able to go to get them.

April 5th, 2005, 02:09 PM
My vet has Science Diet also, but a small supply of just special prescription blends. When Den-Den had HGE, my vet gave me 2 cans of the bland diet with instructions how long to feed and when to start mixing in his regular food. I would not have had the bland diet on hand at home, and I would not have wanted to have to stop at Petsmart to go shopping before taking him home. He didn't sell me additional cans. I don't think he had a large enough supply to be doing that. He did make suggestions what I should buy.

April 5th, 2005, 02:20 PM
I mentioned something else I've read here a few times- that vets will sell any food the companies give them to sell at a profit, regardless of nutritional content.
Vets do mark up but not much on food. The heartworm pills are three times the cost and vaccines are even more. On a 40lb bag of food, if the mark up is $5 the seller is pushing it. Really. If vets marked food up like crazy, no one would buy it there. Heartworm and vaccines have less distribution, so the vets basically have a monopoly there.

Vets are human and being human, they will have knack for some things and not others. My vet is all about doggies and doggie conditions. He can diagnose things really quickly even if he has never seen them before. The vet I worked for was a cat person. Some vets may learn a lot from the little bit of nutrition they get and others may come away with a lot less. That's why it's good to ask around.

About that-- one semester is not long at all. When you consider that for a Biology degree we take three courses on evolution alone in the first year. In exercise science students have to take two or three nutrition classes. There is a lot of information to go through to get a vet degree and nutrition is not a top priority.