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    Feral/free-roaming cats and trap-neuter-return/TNR: critiquing the opposition with science, facts, and evidence.
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« Know the opposition: 'Why are you blaming the shelters?' | Main | 'I didn't call the vet because...' »

20 February 2013

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BC

We seem to be being "fed" a lot of pseudo science lately regarding animals and their diet. From outrageous literally "garbage" research on the predation of cats (now there is a raw diet) to the extermination of species including the wolf- which now causes them to exterminate coyotes. This is
Nothing more than Headline Grabbing fear supported by very cleverly disguised elitist agendas who want the return of Jurassic park while making money off the commercial food Induced disease states we are now seeing.

Thank you for your insight-and intelligence!!

YesBiscuit!

Brought to you by the organization that hearts the gas chamber.

Dogthusiast

The politics and corporate greed and agenda behind these altered studies or spins on the analysis make my blood boil. Not only that, but the attitude of vets propagating the false information to the masses. I'm not sure why it makes me angry enough to spend an hour responding to comments by anti-raw in a year old Readers Digest article, http://www.rd.com/slideshows/50-things-your-vet-wont-tell-you/, but I did that a week or so ago! (Not only did the article promote avoiding raw, but was also anti-no kill... maybe that's why I spent so much time adding a dozen verbose comments on the matter). It's shocking how many vets believe pet guardians are not capable of understanding nutrition so processed food is the only valid option (and yet, we are capable of feeding ourselves and our children - but can't figure it out for our dogs and cats?) Anyway, thank you Christie for your level-headed and logical article on this study. -- Jen

H. Houlahan

Other than in the fevered imagination of the pet food industry, what raw-feeder feeds the same meal of muscle meat from one species day in and day out?

Janipurr

I think most of you are missing the point. I was a vet tech for 25 years, and have worked in places where people are so poor they couldn't afford $45 to euthanize their sick dog, and where people are so wealthy that they didn't think twice about dropping 20 grand to remove their cats brain tumor.

The point is, dog and cat nutrition is more complicated than just what kind of meat you are feeding. Cat nutrition is different than dog nutrition. Ratios of amino acids are just as important as quantity. But all of you know this, and do the required study to make sure the homemade diet you concoct is balanced and healthy--because you the people who read this blog by and large inhabit the extreme end of animal care. *The great majority of pet owners are not YOU.* You have to remember that.

Most people will not take the time to do the study. Most people want to take something off the shelf, open it up, and feed it their pet. If you tell these people that a raw diet is good, they will go down to the store, buy a package of stew meat, and stop there. These are the people that the AVMA are targeting. MOST people are casual pet owners, they aren't dedicated enough to take the care necessary to safely convert store bought ingredients into a healthy diet. Plus, keep in mind that grocery stores assume that the meat you buy will be cooked before you consume it, which kills a majority of the bacteria it picks up along the way. Cooking the meat before feeding it would kind of defeat the purpose of feeding raw, wouldn't it?

So, yeah, I think you are missing the point that the AVMAs message isn't meant for you.

Christie

Janipurr, that is no excuse to mislead people. If you can't make your point with truth, then your point is itself not valid.

I said right in the post that I don't have a problem with the AVMA discussing food safety issues as they related to feeding our pets. And I don't, although I wish they did a better job of addressing the problem at its source rather then simply lecturing pet owners.

What I object to is LYING and TWISTING FACTS to manipulate people. I don't care how good your intentions, that's always wrong. And all it does is weaken your credibility when it's discovered.

So, back to my opening sentence: If veterinarians want people to trust them, they should avoid misleading us.

As a completely separate issue, I don't agree with you that people are all lazy and stupid. Sure, some are, but plenty of non-extreme pet owners -- most of them, in fact -- are perfectly capable of, and would like to, understand more about how to feed their pets. In my decades as a pet writer and columnist, I have been flooded with emails and, before that, actual mail, from readers who want to discuss all kinds of animal nutrition issues. None of them is an "extreme pet owner." You are really selling pet owners short.

Barbara Saunders

Re: the exchange just above between Janipurr and Christie. I read a piece in Scientific American about just this sort of misleading. It's been done to humans, too. Apparently a decision was made that the American public was not sophisticated enough to understand the difference between kinds of carbohydrates and kinds of fats. Instead of trying to explain that, we got, "Eat carbs! Reduce fats!"

The result was an increase in obesity and, over time, mortality.

Accurate information isn't necessarily harder for "unsophisticated" people to learn. It may be more difficult for lazy and/or unsophisticated educators to teach! That's no excuse, however.

Loganbacon

My boys get meat I grind myself, supplemented with probiotics, enzymes, bone meal, vitamins, and other food-based multi-nutrient supplements. I've done a lot of trial and error and this seems to work best for them. I alternate proteins, keep it fresh and they have nice coats, good energy, good digestion (little gas despite being breeds known for flatulence)and good vet check-ups. No allergies. Life would be much easier for me if I could just throw them a pre-made raw patty from Nature's Variety or Primal or one of the other brands, but either they don't like it or it doesn't agree with them. I think feeding is just one of those things where your mileage may vary.

Dogthusiast

@Barbara - Agreed. I know this is straying even further, but society wound up with fluoride in our tap water by this same kind of logic. And the funny thing is, it does nothing for our teeth and is essentially poison (no escaping it without a whole house filter either - it will enter the system through skin in the shower). Freedom of choice about what we do for our own bodies or those of our dependents should be a fundamental right. This twisting of the truth, lies, misleading, and trying to "protect" removes that right.

Cee

Great post Christie. The kind of nutrition information I've heard from most vets I've dealt with is putting so many cats at risk it is unbearable. Even vets that know better are using the excuse that people aren't going to listen to them, but how do they know if they don't try? One more educated vet we saw said she needed to make a living, that is why she still sells kibble and Rx food. I do know of a unique clinic that refuses to sell kibble for cats, but he is in the minority. (The clinic also doesn't declaw and has quadrupled their profits, getting lots of referrals).

Despite having access to the Internet, many people still get a lot of health and nutrition information from veterinarians, so the publishing of misleading information by veterinary associations is unacceptable. When you look at many of these associations there is an obvious conflict of interest because they and their members receive money from commercial pet food corporations.

My family is currently caring for a cat that the owners were going to have put down due to litter box and health issues. They had been feeding him a "prescription diet" (a trademarked marketing term). The cat had symptoms of diabetes. We had him tested and confirmed. He had become diabetic due to eating the weight loss kibble. I have the cat's previous health records where the old clinic even wanted him to slim down from 28 to 18 pounds, still much too large. He is currently a healthy and active 14 pounds. He has regained his strength and has had NO litter box problems.

With permission of our vet, my family and I worked with an independent diabetes specialist and got the cat treated, then into remission (off insulin), something our new vet told us most vets don't know how to do.

I was so thankful that I knew diabetic remission was possible because of the research I've been doing since the poisoned pet food scandal of 2007. We did not and do not feed any prescription foods, even to maintain the diabetic remission. We also maintain our cats' weights and get the fatties to slim down without using Rx foods. Our cats are ready to switch to balanced raw homemade but we don't yet have the equipment.

I have to say we have not been able to trust the veterinary industry going back 20 years now, since my mother, an educated health professional, took her cat in to have her spayed and declawed and was not made aware of the nature of the declawing surgery beforehand; she would not have consented if she had known.

It is pretty clear to us that the true health and welfare of pets is not the first priority of the majority of veterinarians.

CathyA

Oh, I don't know about the whole issue of greedy vets, lying, trustworthiness, etc. Certainly I can express displeasure about vets with the best of them.

I think the real issue is that vets are not used to consumers having an opinion about what they do. You bring a pet in and they shoot them up with what they think is the most appropriate thing. Because they are the vets......and you're not! At some point or other one would hope that rational discussions with vets about our pets' health and treatment would occur outside of finances. But you can't go in armed with nothing more than headlines such as "RIMADYL KILLS! ANTIBIOTICS ARE BAD!"

I think long ago someone decided we're too dim to understand science. And I think that most people are intimidated by it. Thus no one bothers to explain anything any more and we just get the party line.
In most cases this sells people short, though too many people today can't seem to digest anything larger than a Tweet. And do no investigating on their own. Time and time again I've seen people tell me that the facts of an issue are "all over the internet" and give a Google page of "references". Which invariably turn out to be the exact same text repeated over and over. It's ironic that this is the same tactic that the powers that be uses. Multiplying garbage to infinity doesn't prove anything.

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