Today I had an interesting exchange with a client about her cat’s nutrition. After being diagnosed with a urinary condition, the cat was put on a veterinary diet designed specifically for that medical problem–and now she’s doing great! The interesting part of the conversation was when I was informed that the “guy” at the pet supply store warned her against feeding her cat veterinary diets as they contain corn which will cause kidney failure in her cat! Outrageous moments like this are very difficult for anyone who has devoted their professional lives to animal health. Veterinarians and technicians with years of education and decades of experience being told that “the guy” at the store is making her doubt what we are saying. We, the veterinary team, are science-based professionals. We only stand behind something (whether it’s a drug, a food, or medical recommendation) when it has been proven through unbiased scientific studies that it is true. The veterinary diets that we “sell” (at ridiculously low prices for what WE pay for them) are specific diets that have been developed over years with large amounts of money invested into them by the companies that manufacture them that results in the most reliably consistent formulations designed specifically for an individual pet’s needs.
So to the “guys” or “girls” at the pet shop whose only job it is to sell and whose education in animal health is likely limited to google searches on the internet or to what the last salesman told them–just stop it. We understand you have a job to do but trying to convince your customers that the vet is selling them stuff that’s bad for their pets is outright insulting. And to the well-meaning pet owners who “just aren’t sure who to believe anymore”–in a world of “alternative facts” and the endless stream of information on the internet where anyone can post anything online regardless of fact or proof–please remember that the veterinary community is made up of educated, caring veterinarians, technicians, and assistants who have devoted their entire livesto animal well-being, including years of formal and continuing education. They work long, hard hours every day providing medical care to all kinds of animals (and emotional care to their owners), often giving their own time and investing their hearts and souls into their professions. They go back to work at 3 am to check on the sick puppy and they volunteer at spay/neuter clinics to help control the overpopulation of pets. In the little free time they have they read the latest medical articles on diseases, medications, behaviour, and yes–nutrition, to be able to provide the best care to their patients. That “guy” at the store…..He literally just sells stuff.