Monthly Archives: May 2014

Veterinary Nutrition Indoctrination

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Hills, Purina, and Iams are ingrained into the consciousnesses of every veterinarian from their professional infancy to their grave. Processed food is in our blood – Yuck. How can you expect a veterinarian to be open to the idea that real, raw food is anything but dangerous for pets?

Veterinary college programs include nutrition training which would seem to be a great thing. The basis of well-being is a healthy diet. We cannot expect our pets to build strong bodies with powerful immune systems without the needed raw materials.

Additionally, we now know that nutrients turn on and off genes and often control the genesis and progression of disease. Unfortunately, the nutrition education in veterinary schools is heavily influenced by pet food manufacturers. This gives veterinarians a skewed view of nutrition.

Industry Influence

 Veterinary students learn about dog and cat nutrition from a book written by a major pet food company. The nutritionist that teaches them has usually had their education underwritten by a major pet food company. Major pet food companies provide free food for vet students and also the teaching hospitals where they are learning about veterinary norms.

Who has money to fund research into pet nutrition? You guessed it, the major pet food companies. Most continuing education for veterinarians regarding nutrition is sponsored by pet food companies. They also have an obvious presence in the exhibit halls of all veterinary conferences.

The Last Thing on Our Minds

Out in practice, most veterinarians do not give much thought to a pet’s diet. We’ve been trained that the pet food companies know what they’re doing, so why question it. Nutrition is complicated with all those nutrients needing to be perfectly balanced. The pet food companies have the experts to get it done right. Besides, we are so busy keeping up with new drugs and surgical procedures that there just isn’t much time for the trivialities of nutrition.

Any vet who does think of diet is going to go with what they know – processed foods. And, the pet food companies have a scientifically prepared diet for just about every disease. Never mind that the ingredients are totally foreign to the animals consuming them. Industry-sponsored studies show these foods are best.

It is a shame that many veterinarians have lost their common sense. It should be obvious that a diet of strictly processed food could never provide all the nutrients that an ancestral diet does. We know for ourselves that eating more fresh foods and less processed foods is the healthiest path. How could the same not be true for our animal patients?

Is There Hope?

My hope is that the grassroots, raw pet food movement will cause more vets to see the light as they encounter healthy animals being fed these diets. Perhaps the conventional nutrition programming can be unlearned and the eyes of veterinarians opened to the truth.

Have you had any interesting conversations about nutrition with a vet?