Sunday, September 21, 2008

Prescription diets for pets - another view

I hear it every day and to me it is amazing how many people ask and listen to their vet when they want to find out what they should feed their pets. Now, don’t get me wrong, the vet to us pet owners is regarded as highly as our own doctor. We just pretty much assume our doctor knows what is good for us and respectively our vet will tell us what, including the food keeps our pet healthy. Once a long time ago I read an article on this subject. But, I believe I didn’t even have a pet at that time, I wasn’t as critical about pet food back in those days. What inspired me and made me recall the article was today’s mail. In it I found again one of those reminder post cards from my (by now) previous vets, asking me to bring in my dog for its vaccination. By now this must be the 5th or 6th reminder I am getting. My vet doesn’t know yet that he isn’t my vet anymore. But I wonder, does he mail these cards because of his veterinarian conscience and “professional obligation” to worry about my pet or are his relentless mailing efforts more driven by a more business oriented desire to generate profits? If the first applies, maybe I need to reconsider the switch I made to the new vet, because then it sounds to me like he does indeed care about my dog.
Could the second one be the case? After all, a vaccination is pretty lucrative: There is first of all the actual shot, not cheap, but that is what it costs. I don’t have any options here. Then there are so many add-ons, every vaccination visit makes you feel like you are buying a car, there are so many options to buy and how often do we end up buying those whether we need them or not? For my pet it is a ridiculously overpriced flea & tick collar (I found the exact same collar on the Internet for half of what my vet charges) and many other “great things and services”, all for the sake of health. For the sake of my wallet too, I just ended up spending $200 for a visit which should have been $35.
If my vet’s persistent mailing is business oriented, then I have to wonder, where else does he use his great business sense to run his successful vet business? No, I am not accusing anyone of any wrong doing, I couldn’t substantiate that anyway. It’s just my mind playing games with me. However, there are many reasons why that could be the case. Like the many rumors we hear every day. Like for example how comes our vet gets so many favors from pet food manufacturers? I think this would be a justified question. After all by now we know these big commercial pet food manufacturers are Wall Street driven and profit oriented. They wouldn’t waste a penny on golf outings or trips to some sunny islands for the vet community if it wouldn’t make any business sense. After all, remember they are so profit driven, they don’t mind selling killer pet food in order to make a nickel (or Millions of them) without thinking twice about the well being of our pets. So, there you go, something somehow doesn’t add up. But once more, let me make clear, it is a rumor, and I guess we never will be able to find out the whole story on this so apparently lucrative business relationship between our vets and them. Hence, I give my previous vet the benefit of a doubt.
But here is another reason, which I would say is more fact driven rather than rumor based. We continue to learn that the number of pets suffering all kinds of medical conditions like allergies, irritable bowel syndrome, kidney breakdown, hip dysplasia and now even cancer, to name just a few, is increasing. One of the reasons is definitely commercial nutrition. This is a fact, because any medical condition that reaches epidemic levels, crosses breed lines, and is seen all over the country must be of nutritional origin. Even veterinarians appear to be in agreement with this theory. Isn’t that the reason why they order you to put your pet on a veterinary prescription diet? I would think so. They know, that commercially mass produced pet food is based on profound errors in its concept itself, which is affecting dogs and cats. They know that in nature, dogs and cats have survived for thousands of years on natural prey being their nutrition without the need for veterinary intervention. They know that commercial nutrition is omnivore directed. Even the guys who make it admit that. Now, why should we presume that prescription diets are formulated around different premises as commercial nutrition? Ask any veterinarian, he shouldn’t have a problem to confirm that. Why does the industry ignore the fact that our pets are carnivores? Omnivore directed nutrition, when fed to carnivores, results in profound deficiencies of vital nutrients. Additionally, omnivore-directed nutrition may include dangerous plant poisons that no carnivore would encounter on a daily basis in the wild.
Now back to the original question: What is the real motivation for a vet to prescribe a diet based on a totally wrong concept? One of which he knows is going to cause problems? Why do pet owners come to me daily looking for alternatives to the food their pets have been prescribed by their vets? Why do their pets, while one problem seems to get cured now after a while of being fed the prescription diet all the sudden show symptoms of other ill conditions? Wasn’t their vet aware of what we just talked about? What made him prescribe a wrong medicine?
Every time I am waiting at any vet’s office they are selling prescription and vet recommended food in quantities which make any retail pet food store owner jealous. So why are they selling a product of which they know it is going to make a pet sick? Is it like the “one hand washes the other” kind of principle? Like, ok, I sell your pet food, the pets get sick and then I cure them. A smart vet indeed, he cashes in twice, on the sickness causing food and later on his actual profession.
And now tell me, do you wonder that I am getting suspicious? I for my part sure hope I am totally wrong and would certainly prefer to trust my vet unconditionally. Because if I can’t trust him, that would mean I can’t trust my doctor neither. But whom am I going to listen to at times when I don’t know how to help my pet or myself?

No comments: