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Please, I never meant to imply that vets were "getting rich off selling dog food" (or any other aspect of their business) but that if they are providing prescription food for sale, it makes sense to also sell other lines of that food, and that expanding a sales base and increasing volume makes business sense and increases income. If they were losing money, they wouldn't be in business, at least not for very long.

 

If I was selling something, anything, I'd promote it - if I couldn't (in my own good conscience) promote it, then I shouldn't be selling it. And if I wasn't able to make income off selling it, why sell it at all (in a business sense)?

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Dog Food #1: Native Level 2 @ $43/40lbs with 1721kcal/$

Dog Food #2: Diamond Naturals Cicken & Rice @ $33/40lbs with 2039kcal/$

 

1003kcal/$ => EVO Turkey & Chicken

 

 

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Dog Food #1: Native Level 2 @ $43/40lbs with 1721kcal/$

Dog Food #2: Diamond Naturals Chicken & Rice @ $33/40lbs with 2039kcal/$

 

1003kcal/$ => EVO Turkey & Chicken

Interesting. Looks like you don't get much per dollar with EVO, or is it just that the calories are almost all protein and fat? And I pay $30 for 40# of Diamond Naturals Chicken & Rice at the dog boutique-y store where I shop.

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Most of EVO's calories come from meat, meat fat, and some come from the starch in potatoes.

The calories from the other foods come from meat, meat fat, and the starch from cooked grains; calories from starch are less expensive than calories from meat. The cost of fat calories is probably between meat and starch.

 

You have to balance for yourself (and how your dogs fare) the cost and source of the calories your dogs require to meet their caloric needs.

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Both of those statements are myths.

 

The second part was actually a question, not a statement. I'm pretty sure I saw a show on TV about this very topic in the last year and was looking for clarification on that one...

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Here is an interesting article on "prescription diets."

 

Why do you really need A Prescription Diet for your Dog?

 

3 years ago one of my dogs got sick and the vet kept him for 3 days and diagnosed pancreatitis. I had told the vet the dog had eaten a lot of grapes and had thrown up grapes and was lethargic. They sold me I/D diet at a cost of almost $70 for a 40# bag. They also told me to start getting him back on regular food soon as possible. I don't think the dog had pancreatitis but they just dismissed the grapes thing.

After opening my own pet supplies store a couple years ago I have tried to educate myself on pet food. When one of my other dogs went to the vet (different vet) and they needed to keep him overnight and asked if they could feed him Science Diet I said no, don't feed him. I ended up going to my shop and picking up a trial bag of Orijen for him and left a brochure with the vets office. My dogs have been on a grain free food for 2 years now and even though they never had a problem with food with grains, I noticed a marked difference in their coat, condition and even their behavior. Of course this is just my own observation and not worth much, but I do know that I will only feed a grain free food from now on. I have tried different types of GF food and I do like the Orijen best, but even at wholesale prices I still can't afford to feed it all the time.

I will say Orijen is the best seller at my shop with Taste of the Wild coming in 2nd.

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I presonally know of one situation where a prescription diet is the best choice; prevent the reoccurrence of bladder stones when two types of stones occurred simultaneously. Our vet offers recipes for homemade diets for dogs that have had bladder stones. None of the recipes their clients have tried have been able to prevent the reoccurrence of bladder stones (and another surgery) when the dog is prone to have two types. The recipes have worked on dogs that are prone to only one type of stone.

 

 

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Here is an interesting article on "prescription diets."

 

Why do you really need A Prescription Diet for your Dog?

 

I will say Orijen is the best seller at my shop with Taste of the Wild coming in 2nd.

 

Great Article! Thanks for posting it. The only part I'll quibble with is the huge profits for vets. I am telling you that I was just on the Hill's site placing an order & the cost to vets is much more than you'd think. The mark up is pitifully low. As I explained before it is a big hassle for a clinic to manage a food inventory. Unless they use some major real estate to stock & sell tons of the stuff it is just not profitable. Most clinics I've ever been in carry it as a convenience to their clients.

 

 

Do you mind giving a range of the mark-up on a premium food like Orijen? You mentioned that you can't even afford wholesale...it is kind of like that at the vet clinics. Often the staff can't afford to buy Hill's products.

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^^ Many vets get paid by these manufacturers to push these foods, especially Science Diet. Wasn't there just a show or something on TV that exposed dog food and talked about how vet students aren't actually taught proper nutrition in school, just a manufacturer coming into the classes and pushing their 'healthy' balanced dog foods?

 

Are you talking about the video at TAPF?

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I presonally know of one situation where a prescription diet is the best choice; prevent the reoccurrence of bladder stones when two types of stones occurred simultaneously. Our vet offers recipes for homemade diets for dogs that have had bladder stones. None of the recipes their clients have tried have been able to prevent the reoccurrence of bladder stones (and another surgery) when the dog is prone to have two types. The recipes have worked on dogs that are prone to only one type of stone.

 

I think the article was using a play on words; IOW, "Do you need a Prescription [written] for your pet's food?"

 

But to touch on the stones topic- You don't mention the type of stones but Ca Oxalate stones are generally regarded as non diet responsive (these stones have become more common thanks to highly acidifying diets made for the other common stones- Struvite/Triple Phosphate). Some small breed dogs are inherently prone to these due some defect in the liver &/or oxalate metabolism. There is a homemade diet called Fuzzer Food that purports to control CaOx stones, YMMV as I have never used it.

 

Current thinking says that Struvites are caused by bacterial infections. The bacterial metabolism alkalizes the urine & when added to concentrated urine stones develop. So getting rid of the infection & certainly increasing fluid intake will go a long way to get rid of these stones too.

 

I think the main point is that you don't need a magic Prescription diet from some food company. Any problem can be remedied with a homemade diet.

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The stones were oxalate and struvite.

 

Not sure if you are still battling stones/crystals or if you are even interested in an alternative but in case anyone else is...

 

Here is a Newsletter that directs you to Leslie Bean, the creator of the Fuzzer Food Diet (just scroll down to the crystals/stones part). Leslie also owns the K9KidneyDiet list and is extremely helpful for those of us who have dogs sick with Renal Failure. My Gilly has been battling Renal Failure since last October & with the help of Leslie (& others in the group) her kidney values are the lowest they have been in almost a year- less than 1 point above normal last time we checked! :D Even as a veterinary technician for more than 20 years & I have learned so much from the folks in that group.

 

HTH,

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Costco has started carrying a grain free kibble called Pelican Bay. 30lbs for $30.00. I can't find anything about it online (but I am all drugged up due to a pinched nerve so I could easily be missing something.) Any thoughts on this?

 

Ingredients:

Salmon meal, peas, potato, salmon,chicken fat,flaxseed, natural flavor, sweet potato, dicalcium phosphate, canola oil,potassium chloride,salt,tomato pomase, cranberries, bluberries, choline chloride, minerals (zinc proteinate, iron protienate, copper protienate, manganese protienate, cobalt proteinate, selenium yeast) yeast culture (saccharomyces cerevisiae, enterocccus faecioum, lactobacillus acidophilus, aspergillus niger, bacillus subtillis), taurine, chicory extract, vitamins (vitamin A acetate, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, niacin, d-calcium, pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin supplement, folic acid, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement), yucca schidigera extract, calcium iodate, rosemary extract

 

Nutrient:

24% Crude protein

15% Crude Fat

4% Crude Fiber

10% moisture

150mg/kg Zinc

0.4mg/kg Selenium

150 IU/kg

3.7% Omega 6 Fatty Acids

1% Omega 3 Fatty Acids

50 million CFU/lb Lactobacillus Acidophilus

35 million CFU/lb Enterococcus Faecium

900 million cells/lb Saccharomyces Cerevisiae

 

Calorie Content Metabolizable Energy (calculated): 3400kcal per kg or 340 kcal/cup

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Costco has started carrying a grain free kibble called Pelican Bay. 30lbs for $30.00. I can't find anything about it online (but I am all drugged up due to a pinched nerve so I could easily be missing something.) Any thoughts on this?

 

Wow, that looks pretty good. Wish Sam's would start carrying something other than Kibbles n Bits! :angry: (Have to have a Sam's membership for work)

 

ETA: All I could find on Google is that it is a Taste of the Wild "clone".

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Our dog has been on SO since her surgery several years ago with no reoccrance of crystals (we check annually). We've worked with this particual vet for several years on many difficult issues and even an ABCA health & genetics study; I trust his judgement. I will take a look at the newsletter.

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As Cindy points out, you can go to homemade (been there, done that), but the veterinary diets do have their place. Mark mentions crystals, and I found that crystal problems were easily resolved using one of the so-called prescription diets. Same with cats in renal failure (not solved, obviously, but quality of life improved and lifespan increased). I will note that none of my animals have ever particularly liked the Science Diet foods, but I have used some of the Purina veterinary diets with great success, as the animals actually ate them! My 17-y.o. cat will actually eat the Royal Canin low-protein canned food, and she's pretty darned picky.

 

But for things like losing weight or upset stomachs or the like, I think there are plenty of good alternatives that can be bought or made for much less than what you'd pay for a veterinary diet. I imagine there are some folks, though, who simply like the convenience of feeding a food that's handed to them, no matter what the cost or quality.

 

I mainly just wanted to point out that veterinary diets do have a place in the scheme of things, but like everything, it's up to the consumer/pet owner to educate themselves and consider the alternatives that are best for their individual pets.

 

J.

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Anyone who knew me & Pete way back when, knew Pete's story. It's almost ten years ago that Pete (the dog in my avatar) entered an 8 month period that was a roller coaster ride, a period where at the start I was losing my dog and at the end I came away with a different way of looking at what we feed our dogs, what we feed ourselves.

 

It involved me taking him off a prescription diet on my own, without any input from my vet.

 

In March of that particular year, I was gone for two weeks on business. Pete and I had never been apart for that long. He was 11 yrs. old. I left what appeared to be a healthy, never-a-sick-day-in-my-life Pete and came back to a dog who just didn't feel good and went downhill from there.

 

So this is part of what I wrote for the Morigins website. If I could afford to, I'd still feed that food. Pete's story was nothing short of miraculous --- because I knew my dog and made the decision to pull him off vet prescribed diet.

 

It was the end of March when I came home and found that Pete, while ecstatic to see me, was not feeling well. Watching him I noticed he was urinating blood, and much to his embarrassment, had accidents in the house. I immediately called my vet and took him in. His prostate was enlarged, but because the swelling was even bilaterally, my vet told me that chances were it was not cancerous. His urine was so bacteria laden and cloudy, the staff at the vet's office thought I had used a contaminated container. The examination revealed he had pneumonia and a blood panel revealed kidney function was slightly off. The urinalysis showed the urine glucose to be 1000+. Since he didn't show symptoms of diabetes, we just put him on 2 weeks of antibiotics which cleared up the bacterial infection and he soon felt better. Four weeks later, he crashed again. Once again his urine was bloody and cloudy with bacteria. Urine glucose was still over 1000 and kidney function was still off slightly. The beginning of May he was neutered and his prostate problems and blood in his urine were no longer an issue. But Pete still had recurrent UTI's. The end of May, lab results showed that the origin of the bacteria in his urine was e-coli somewhere in his urinary system, more than likely in the bladder. Antibiotics were unable to eradicate the e-coli and only took care of the problem symptomatically. He would bounce back after a round of antibiotics only to have symptoms reoccur a short time afterwards. The urine glucose remained high. Normally that would have indicated diabetes, but since he displayed no other symptoms of diabetes, we did not treat him for it.

 

At another vet visit the end of May, we also discussed his kidney function. My vet said the numbers were still low enough that there was no need to be overly concerned. However, kidney failure has to start somewhere. We discussed putting him on an "early kidney diet" by Hills. I readily agreed and began feeding him this vet-recommended diet. Throughout June, I noticed that in spite of rounds of antibiotics whenever the UTI's reoccurred, Pete just did not bounce back like he once did. He was losing weight and overall appeared to be a dog that did just not feel well. He would give an obligatory thump of his tail when fussed over, but was mostly content just to lie in his spot, and come down to eat and go outside----not the Pete that everyone knew. The weight continued to melt off him. He would stumble going upstairs to his favorite spot to sleep the day away. I'd have to prop up his rear and occasionally had to help him upstairs. In mid-July, he fell going upstairs. My regular vet was out of town and I called another of my vets to get him in. Getting out of the car, Pete stumbled and fell. I picked him up to carry him in. He appeared to be too weak to walk on his own. When we weighed him, Pete was down to 39 pounds. No wonder he felt so light. He should have weighed 48 lbs. I explained to the examining vet what we had been through the last few months. A blood panel, urinalysis and x-rays were taken. X-rays showed some arthritis of the spine. The muscles in the rear legs were atrophying. Blood work-up showed, once again, kidney function was slightly off, blood glucose was normal. Urinalysis once again showed a high bacteria count and high glucose count. The vet was stumped. Referring to the urine and blood glucose, what Pete was showing was symptomatic of Fanconi's syndrome, a disorder unheard of in border collies, and was actually more common in a couple of other breeds, such as the Basenji and Norwegian Elkhound. High urine glucose and normal blood glucose are the classic symptoms of this disease. The constant irritation of the sugar in the urinary tract opens the way for bacterial infestation, which is what we'd been seeing and treating. According to the vet, there is no cure for Fanconi's, that it could be hereditary, congenital or acquired.

 

I got on the internet to find as much information as I could on this disease. I found a site, sponsored by the national Norwegian Elkhound club of America for Fanconi's syndrome. It referred to studies being done by a vet at the University of Pennsylvania, a Dr. Urs Giger. When my regular vet got back into town, I showed her what I had found out. She got in touch with Dr. Giger and we collected a urine sample from Pete and overnighted it to Dr. Giger. The results came back that Pete was only 30 % symptomatic of Fanconi's, that while he would certainly die with the disease, he wouldn't die from it. According to my vet, Pete would have to be treated with antibiotics every time the UTI's occurred, for the rest of his life. To me, as long as I had my dog, I would do whatever it took.

 

One day, the beginning of August, Pete for the first time refused his food. In my house, that's when you hit the panic button. He now had a sunken-in look and his eyes looked tired. I made up my mind that for whatever time Pete had left on this earth, I would at least, allow him to enjoy his food. I was preparing myself to lose him. It's at that time, I quite accidentally came upon Morigins. I read the literature and thought, what have we got to lose, and I began Pete on this diet.

 

In the meantime, I had e-mailed Dr. Giger back asking about treating Fanconi's, if it could possibly be treated with diet. He said no, but did refer to a study done that indicated that some border collies tend to have B-12 deficiencies and that B-12 injections might help. This was mid-September and Pete hadn't been on antibiotics since August. He was now eating nothing but Morigins. He was also beginning to look and feel better and I had thrown out the rest of the "early kidney" diet. Once again, he was looking forward to meal time.

 

And then, the beginning of October, I knew I was doing something right. One morning, coming down for breakfast, Pete let out a big whoop and chased the cat down the stairs. In mid-October, I had him working sheep again. His outruns were just a little slower (but then he was going on 12 yrs. old and had arthritis of the spine), but he had the heart, the stamina to get the job done and it was one tired but happy and well-satisfied dog that walked off the field with me that day, almost as happy as his owner. Before the end of the year, I had another urinalysis done on him. Urine glucose was within normal limits. According to everything we had been told, this would be a problem that would plague him to the end of his days. According to the lab work, it wasn't there anymore.

 

In May of the following year, after nine months of feeding only Morigins, we had another blood panel and urinalysis done. Kidney function was now within normal limits and urinalysis still showed normal glucose level. Fanconi's Syndrome, the disease he was supposed to die with, symptomatically no longer existed.

 

On November 1, 2003, Pete will be 14 years old. His hearing is going, his muzzle is almost all white, his voice is changing, he sleeps the long deep sleep of old dogs but he still bounces down the stairs for breakfast, herds sheep and puts pesky pups in their place.

 

Just as Pete and I had a lifetime of discoveries, apparently it continues. Because of Pete, I found Morigins. Because of Pete and Morigins, I now think in terms of "good" instead of "good enough", when it comes to feeding my dogs. Because of "Morigins", Pete, my timeless dog is a healthy, happy senior citizen, still my best buddy, my once-in-a-lifetime dog.

 

ETA - I also believe prescription diets have their place.....

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I was recently looking at renal diets...Hill's dry renal for dogs: first four ingredients are brewers rice, pork fat (preserved with something really effective), dried egg and flaxseed. HUH!? Sorry, it may be good for the kidney, but it sure ain't good for the dog.

 

Most interesting story, Vicki....I'll have to look into that one!

 

diane

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I was recently looking at renal diets...Hill's dry renal for dogs: first four ingredients are brewers rice, pork fat (preserved with something really effective), dried egg and flaxseed. HUH!? Sorry, it may be good for the kidney, but it sure ain't good for the dog.

 

Yes Diane,

 

You are right. Low protein renal diets are often dangerous for the patient. I still can't figure out why the big companies promote foods so obviously incompatible with life. The minimum requirement for protein is 1mg/# of body weight for dogs. At amounts lower than this the body starts breaking down muscle tissue for survival and the downward spiral begins. This is even more of an issue with obligate carnivores like cats.

 

A wonderful resource, Dog Aware, has all the details with references. When you have a dog in renal failure & you are searching for something, anything, that may keep your dog healthy & with you longer, it is quite disturbing to learn that there is NO commercially available food that can do that. They are at best formulated with garbage; at worst, they can actually contribute to a earlier death!

 

Current thinking has found that Phosphorus levels are the real problem for failing kidneys. One can formulate a perfectly acceptable low phosphorus diet at home without restricting protein below the magic 1g/# low minimum.

 

Sorry to hijack this thread but this topic is obviously near & dear to me :)

 

Vicki,

 

Pete was beautiful boy. Your story had me in tears (for multiple reasons). Sounds like he was a great personality too. Here's to finding more than one dog of a lifetime! :D

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Great Article! Thanks for posting it. The only part I'll quibble with is the huge profits for vets. I am telling you that I was just on the Hill's site placing an order & the cost to vets is much more than you'd think. The mark up is pitifully low.

 

...So then my question is, "Why do ALL the vets around here carry Science Diet?"

 

I believe that most people accept what they are told, unquestioningly. This has been my experience with just about every facet of life: dog food, automobile purchases, even human medical care. If someone says it with authority, people accept it, sometimes with disastrous consequences. It continually frustrates me, this lack of questioning most intelligent adults display.

 

I don't think vets are immune from this "authority told me so" syndrome. So, is it possible that simply being exposed to Science Diet throughout training, plus the culture of "vets sell SD," explains why all the vets sell it?

 

Mary

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...So then my question is, "Why do ALL the vets around here carry Science Diet?"

 

I believe that most people accept what they are told, unquestioningly. This has been my experience with just about every facet of life: dog food, automobile purchases, even human medical care. If someone says it with authority, people accept it, sometimes with disastrous consequences. It continually frustrates me, this lack of questioning most intelligent adults display.

 

I don't think vets are immune from this "authority told me so" syndrome. So, is it possible that simply being exposed to Science Diet throughout training, plus the culture of "vets sell SD," explains why all the vets sell it?

 

 

Few (none?) are expert or even knowledgeable in all fields. It takes time & energy to learn enough to have the knowledge of what is best for your dog or how to fix a transmission in your car or upgrade the RAM on your computer.

 

Most vets do not want to be nutritionists. There is so much information that unless one takes a particular interest in nutrition then it is easy to just go with the flow & focus on surgery skills, diagnostic skills, etc. Things that pay the bills. Until people start asking for info (& questioning the answers) and are will to pay for better nutrition info then it will not likely be a priority. AND Hill's has a huge marketing machine. They have been around for ages & are well respected in the field. They were the first company with science behind their products & vets like published studies :)

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I just finished reading "Feed Your Pet Right" by Marion Nestle and Malden Nesheim. Very balanced, objective, and good source of information, as well as quite readable (and amusing). They address many of the issues raised in this thread.

 

They do suggest that the vet schools consider the ways many medical schools are now handling corporate involvement re the perception/reality of undue influence upon practice and research.

 

Susan

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