My dog recently got diarrhea and a bacterial infection with an unknown source.
My vet severely criticized Nutrience Sub Zero and DogsWell Happy Hips ordering me to stop using them and all natural high end foods as he claims they are all garbage.
This goes against the 5 star ratings on this website.
Here’s the kicker: He recommends Hill’s Science diet which not only killed my friend’s cat but is generally agreed upon to be of terrible quality.
I’m just a somewhat intelligent layman and he’s a qualified doctor but I highly dislike how the general consensus from a variety of sources is recommending against the very brand my vet is pushing.
This is Canada btw and we generally have better laws on professional conduct so I don’t think he would be taking in kind bribes of any sort.
What are you feeding your dog now? My dogs do well on Nutrisca Salmon and Chickpea as a base, I have been using it (canned and dry) for my dogs, for 3 years now, no episodes of diarrhea. I know, it is made by Dogswell.
Was the Hills Science food one of the prescription diets? Maybe there were other factors involved in the cat’s demise.
Perhaps you will find this site helpful http://skeptvet.com/Blog/category/nutrition/
I’ve been feeding her Nutrience and Dogswell up until today.
Right now I’m feeding her Royal Canin prescription diet for GI issues.
The vet supports two brands. Royal Canin and Hill’s Science diet.
It is possible the cat died due to other factors as I don’t know all the details but my friend is a pretty smart person with a science degree. It certainly does not qualify her as a veterinarian of any sort but it does prove she has some level of critical thinking skills.
Regardless of what killed her cat Hill’s Science diet is poo poo’ed in almost every source I’ve read.
You can’t believe everything you read on the internet but I find dogfoodadvisor to be fairly rigorous compared to other sources and I also know that human MD’s are often not super great sources to get human nutrition information from.
So I’m kind of stuck on what to do.
For now I will follow the vet’s advice because well….he’s a vet but I’d like to find a vet that specializes in nutrition but I don’t know where to start.
I know in the US there’s a college graduating veterinary nutritionists with links to their practices but in Canada I’m not sure there’s such a thing.
Thanks for your link as well.
I have used Royal Canin prescription foods in the past, with good results (when recommended by vet) 2 different types.
However, I usually end up adding something tasty to it (like a bite of chopped up cooked chicken, otherwise, it seems boring.PitloveMember
Sascha- Not all vet’s are alike. The one that I bring my dogs to has never once pushed a prescription food on me, even the hypoallergenic food for my pitbulls skin problems he has had. I told him I was feeding Fromm and he felt that was a great choice.
Dog Food Advisor is not a bad source of information, but it is only one source. It should not be taken as bible. You can research via the internet what boarded veterinary nutritionists have to say about the issues going on with your dog. Some of them, like Dr. Susan Wynn, have their own website where they provide nutritional information. I even read the Hill’s and Purina nutrition information just to see all sides of the spectrum. I have even agreed with some of what they have to say. It does sound like seeing another vet that might be more willing to work WITH you rather than just dismiss all of what you are already doing for your dog as wrong, would be helpful.
Personally, and this is only my opinion based on my own dog, depending on what exactly the GI issues are and how severe they are, I find you do not need a prescription food to fix them. Example; my dog threw up 7 times on a Sunday and we simply fasted him for the night and hes been fine ever since. The only vet (in PetSmart) that was open wanted him to go on a prescription food, JUST by talking to me on the phone.
thanks for your feedback.
I hate to be that annoying Google University graduate thinking he knows better than someone academically trained but my ******** detectors go off when he recommends only 2 brands out of a large portfolio of brands.
They also go off when someone refuses to answer questions. On the flip side of the coin I understand every doctor doesn’t have time for every internet conspiracy theorist and listening to their(my) nonsense but at the same time I heard the human MD’s spend something like 2 weeks on nutrition.
If vets spend a similar amount of time then hell, *I’ve* spent more time than that reading papers, websites and speaking with trainers, walkers and pet owners.
At the same time I realize the sheer hubris of me as a layman questioning a medical professional.
I think I will take your advice and get a second opinion, but that second opinion would only be one more vet. What I want is a veterinary nutritionist. Someone academically trained specifically in nutrition and I have no idea how to go about finding such a person and I find if I ask any doctor about a specialist they tend to get offended and blow me off.
Doctors are great people, but they often have huge egos.
Thanks. I already checked and this is an American organization.
They do have links to graduates in Canada, but there are only two hundreds of miles from me.
A lot of them do phone consultations, no matter where you are in the world. Anyway, your dog may stabilize and it won’t be necessary. Give it a little more time.
Hmmm…I would be interested in a phone consultation.
Hi sascha k,
The difference between what veterinarians recommend and food ratings sites such as this one occurs because different criteria are valued. Ratings sites usually focus on the ingredient panel and use that to rate the diet. Veterinary nutritionists and PhD nutritionists overwhelmingly report that you can not tell anything about he quality of the diet by looking at an ingredient list.
The following quotes are from Dr. Remillard a board certified veterinary nutritionist taken from her site petdiets dot com
“Sorry. The ingredients list cannot and should not be used to assess the quality of a dog food. Please disregard the self proclaiming pundits who say you can. It simply cannot be done. In fact AAFCO and FDA guard against it.”
and “I recommend pet food brands that have high quality control procedures and monitoring in place. A review of the ingredient list on a pet food product is not a good way to evaluate or rank a pet food regardless of how hard or detailed some people have tried to be. The pet food bag information lacks the necessary information needed to fully and accurately evaluate pet food quality.”
Veterinary nutritionists ask questions like “Does the company employ a veterinary or PhD nutritionist? Who formulated the diet? Is a nutrient analysis available? What is the digestibility of the diet? What quality control is being used? Can the company answer basic nutritional questions correctly? Does the company invest in nutritional research? Is the marketing material appropriate? …..
You can find information on how nutritionists would recommend you to evaluate diet at wsava dot org/nutrition-toolkit Scroll down to the bottom and you’ll find the link to selecting the best food for your pet.
Sadly what I have found is that foods that are rated 5 star are often made by “marketing companies” by that I mean the company has little to no knowledge of nutrition but know how to make a food that people will buy. The founder of Blue Buffalo reports he got into dog food manufacturing because “ “Slap on a good label, come up with a slogan, and off you go,…..There were already a lot of smoke and mirrors in how pet food was advertised, and that was the sort of stuff we were good at.”
When you look at companies from a perspective of nutritional knowledge/ ingredient testing/ quality control which are the criteria veterinary nutritionists are using to measure a food’s quality a whole different perspective is gained.
So when a veterinary nutritionist was asked, “I have a 20 week old black lab. What is the best food to feed him?” Dr Remillard answered “I would suggest a Large breed growth food from either Purina, Hill’s or Royal Canin given there are no regulatory requirements for such a food but each of these companies have done and continue to do original research on preventing developmental bone disease in large breed dogs.”
General practice veterinarians often take recommendations from the specialists in their respective fields and so likely will recommend the foods that the specialists recommend.
Hope this helps to explain why veterinarians recommend the foods they do.
Dr Remillard’s website is petdiets dot com and there is question and answer forum you might find helpful. Dr Weeth has a blog at weethnutrtition dot wordpress dot com that has several general articles on food evaluation.ElMember
Focusing on nutrition without regard for the ingredients that are used to provide that nutrition is as bad as focusing on the ingredient list without regard for the nutrition those ingredients provide.
I have a novel idea, how about those “Veterinary nutritionists and PhD nutritionists” you love, get together with those “marketing companies” you look down upon, and create dog foods that use fresh human grade meats and vegetables to provide a nutritionally balanced, minimally processed, diet for dogs!Jenn HMember
Aimee you are absolutely correct about not just looking at the ingredients, but all the other things like quality control and who designed the diets, etc.
It takes me forever to decide on new foods because of the labeling. They often have minimums listed and usually I need to the max. For instance I have a large breed puppy. I don’t need to know the min calcium nearly as much as the max.
I also want to know where the ingredients are sourced, do they use co-packers…none of these are on the bags. Most of the time they are even on the website.
This leads me to email companies directly with a list of about 15 questions and I ask whatever they have left out.
Most companies have been very forthcoming.
As for vets recommendations…ugh. I’ve been having that same problem w/ my vet. I’ve been going to them for 20+ yrs. The owner is now on the board for Science Diet. They have been pushing it a lot lately. Not only are the ingredients just fillers, but they now have a new head honcho at Hill’s that thinks chicken feathers are fine to feed and is using crap ingredients because it’s cheap.
I don’t know if OP realizes that Hills and Royal Canin are the same company now.
Just remember that what works for 1 dog doesn’t always work for another. I have 3 dogs and they have 3 different diets.AnonymousInactive
Hills and Royal Canin are not the same company.
“My dog recently got diarrhea and a bacterial infection with an unknown source.”
Was this an acute issue? Cause sometimes dogs just get into something and it passes (fingers crossed) How’s the dog doing now? Any luck getting a nutritional consult?
Maybe you can find some tips here, under general guidelines. http://www.homeovet.net/dynamic/php/downloads/dog-c8470f2c75dbe4b683205c3919ee2310/dog_diet_complete.pdf
Thank you for all your posts.
Diarrhea has been going on for 3+ weeks now. She’s on 4 shots, 6 pills, a special diet and picking up one more pill today.
It’s a pretty severe case and the cause is unknown.
Her blood results came back clean though, so that’s a good sign.
Her spirit and temperament are unchanged which is another good sign.
Her morning poop was a little soft. Evening poop like gellato (sorry) and then midnight poop just brown water.
Yesterday’s midnight poop was the first non liquid poop so seems to be getting better.
Vet is recommending against Nutrience Sub Zero and it seems nuts.
I found another vet willing to work with me. He acknowledged the financial ties vets have to Royal Canin and Hill’s.
Then again I do trust my current vet means well and again he is a medical pofessional. I’m just an idiot who has an internet connection.
“I found another vet willing to work with me. He acknowledged the financial ties vets have to Royal Canin and Hill’s”.
That would be a red flag to me, prescription foods have helped a lot of animals get through a rough patch, you could always look into other options later. I tend to lean toward science based veterinary medicine these days.
http://skeptvet.com/Blog/2015/08/veterinary-medicine-is-a-business-and-that-includes-alternative-medicine/ excerpt below
“The bottom line is that financial bias is a real issue in veterinary medicine at all levels, and it has to be investigated and managed. However, this is not the same as saying there is widespread fraud or a sinister conspiracy involving vets and companies that do business with them. There is no reason to believe that the majority of vets are doing anything other than the best they can to help their patients and clients. And there is absolutely no reason to believe vets offering alternative therapies are any less subject to financial bias or any purer in their motivation or behavior than vets practices science-based medicine”.
Thanks for writing. I’ll explain my thinking below.
I tend to be skeptical of vast global conspiracies myself but there is something to be said there. While financial ties are natural in any business, why is it the top contributors are the ones being most heavily (and often exclusively) being pushed? They want me to believe out of the hundreds of products available on the market, only 2 pass muster?
I’ve compared the ingredients of Hill’s Science diet and Nutrience Sub zero and while I’m no doctor, nor biologist I can tell the difference between grain filler and meat.
Just compare the ingredients below:
I am not shopping for a vet that will confirm my biases but I’m looking for one that will discuss the differences in ingredients, the mass recall deaths, the research and the financial ties with me without shutting me down.
I understand a vet is a medical doctor who doesn’t have time to cater to every dumb question by an internet “genius”, but my personal feeling is that when someone doesn’t want you to ask questions there’s a problem.
I trust absolutely no one. I want the vet to distill the research to me in layman’s terms on why he/she is making the dietary recommendations. And yes this includes vets recommending the diet I prefer. Right now all I’ve got to go on is authority. It could well be that Hill’s and Royal Canin is the only commercial dog food anyone should feed their dog, but given all the available information detailed above I want an explanation for my objections.
As for the new vet I’m talking to he wasn’t implying there is a vast conspiracy of vets twirling the mustaches in the darkness. Only that there is verifiable evidence of strong financial ties and that some vets perhaps push these 2 diets a little harder than the quality of ingredients warrants.
My source isn’t some naturalnews hippy woo, but the Wall Street Journal:
And in case you were wondering I am following my vet’s advice to a “T” in dog food.
They know more than me so I’m going with his advice.
However I do want my questions answered eventually
Ask SkeptVet a question, he has helped me immensely with his explanations. Read through some of the blogs and comments over there.
I had some concerns regarding the rabies vaccine and what I read over there has helped me to make decisions.
BTW: The link you provided won’t let me read the full article unless I register (pay?)
Everyone wants to make a buck, lol.
PS: I had a dog that had loose stools till she was 9 months old, tried various dog foods, couldn’t afford to go back and forth to the vet at the time. She was in good shape otherwise.
Then it just stopped. Was it a virus? Who knows.
I will! Thanks for the recommendation.
Sorry about the link. Works in US and Canada, but I guess it’s a pay site overseas.
EDIT: found the link. Thanks. 🙂
- This reply was modified 4 years, 10 months ago by sascha k.
Well, if you click on the blog that you are interested in, or just go to the current blog and explain that you are posting off topic, scroll down to the end of the comments and you will see: reply
Hope this helps, I’m not so great on the computer…
It’s sad really I couldn’t find it. I should know better.
PS: Your question may not show up right away, sometimes they screen…and then it may take a while for the doc to respond, so check back.
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