How do you handle pushback from your veterinarian?

heyitsfae

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I'm super new to feeding raw. Over the past couple of weeks I have been transitioning my boy, Lebowski to a commercial raw diet, just to see if he likes it. He seems to enjoy the food and anecdotally, it seems to keep him full a bit longer than his canned food did (based solely on the fact that his "Hooman! FEED ME!" squawks have greatly reduced in frequency).

From my research and the experience we've had over the last few weeks, I think this is something I want to try for him long term. My hesitation is that I know his vet is not going to be supportive. When we first adopted Lebowski our vet lectured us for feeding him Weruva and instead recommended that we switch him to Science Diet. I had gone into that appointment feeling very good about the diet that I had chosen for my dude but after the lecture, I left feeling like a neglectful parent, "endangering" him with an unstudied food.

I'm wondering how you all handle your vet appointments? Do you have vets who are generally supportive of a raw diet? Have you found vets that are open to having a discussion about it? And if you have a vet who is NOT supportive, how to handle those appointments and have that conversation?
 

Maurey

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If a vet isn’t a nutritionist, or a specialist in holistic care, I let anything I’m told about my pets’ diet go in one ear, and come out the other. Granted, I’m fairly lucky in that most vets where I am are raw neutral, or keep their thoughts to themselves. Just stand your ground, and don’t let your vet pin something that can’t possibly be related to diet onto raw food. Don’t mention transitioning him/his current diet unless it’s going to be relevant for his care at the vet, imo.
 

abyeb

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Hi! I don’t personally feed raw, but I’d like to add on to what Maurey Maurey said. Veterinary nutrition is a board-certification, so you might find meeting with a veterinary nutritionist helpful as you start transitioning to raw. I can see from your profile that you’re located in MA, so I went ahead and searched the ACVN (American College of Veterinary Nutrition) database, and found that there are three veterinary nutritionists in your state: Diplomate Directory
 

daftcat75

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I would hedge your bets and keep some canned food in his diet. Raw sometimes has batch quality issues or supply issues. It will be easier to weather those out if you keep a canned food in his diet. This way you can also point to those canned meals and say, "I'm not all in on raw."

Another reason to keep canned in his diet is that it is more sitter friendly if you have to leave him in the care of another. You can also leave canned in timed feeders for hours if you need to give him a daytime or overnight meal that you don't plan to be awake or present for. Canned can sit in feeders for hours. Raw should never be left out for more than an hour.

Also, the best way to refute your vet's hesitations about raw is with your cat's superior health.
 

IndyJones

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It was my vet that actually recommended switching my old cat to primal pheasant nuggets. She had food sensitivity to both grain and chicken. That meant it was super hard to find anything she could keep down. But the primal nuggets are primarily meat with a few greens and she was fine on that.
 

zobothehobo

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One time I spoke to a vet who told me I was going to kill my cat with raw and I asked her for sources and she short circuited.

But that's how I usually handle it. I ask for sources and research. I explain I've done a lot of reading about cat nutrition and dietary needs and high quality raw food is the obvious right answer for "what's the best to feed your cat," but if they have additional reading for me to do, I'd be glad to take a look at their research and adjust my diet if I see fit based on the research and science.
 

di and bob

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Vets, like physicians, should tell you what they feel is the right thing to do, then it is up to YOU to follow the advice or not. Raw diets are tricky. To the inexperienced, they COULD be dangerous if the right vitamins, taurine, etc., amounts are misjudged or not added in the right proportions. If you know what you are doing and have done the right research, tell them thank you for their advice and then go about your life. I agree with the above, ask for research and sources. Vets and especially their assistants can be wrong, they are human after all. They have their beliefs and you have yours. I got into a heated discussion with a front desk worker at my vets when they 'advised' me I had my cat who had terminal mouth cancer on prednisone too long and was dooming him to kidney failure. I told them he was DYING, do you really think he cared from what? As long as he was doing well, was happy, and eating, I would keep him on it. He lived two more years and died from the cancer, but he had two more years of a happy, loved life......
 

fionasmom

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As I see it, the questions is really handling pushback from the vet, not whether or not raw should be fed, although there is a lot of good advice and observations about that as well.

I don't think that you should feel as if you have been cornered by the vet. You are paying them for their services and should be treated with respect. You should not have been made to feel bad about yourself or neglectful of your cat. This is an intelligent discussion about the proper feeding of cats who are lucky enough to have caring owners and I found it telling that the vet pushed Science Diet at you over Weruva. (One of their foods saved the life of Fiona herself). Vets, and most doctors, are not nutritionists and are not qualified in that area. Those who are have taken special coursework or have additional degrees in that field.

I moderate a support group for GSD owners and the administrative position of the group is not to feed raw; many of the dogs are immune compromised and that is the basic reason. I don't feed it, but do believe that it can be done correctly if you are meticulous about learning how to do it and source good quality food.

I handle vet appointments keeping in mind that the new BMW that the vet is driving was probably partially purchased by my support and I expect likewise. One of my vets years ago was a believer in raw and when I did not want to feed it we both just agreed to disagree because she knew that my pet was receiving excellent care. Your vet should be supportive and understanding and if he is that much of a jerk (which I am sort of picking up) maybe you need to scout around for another vet.

Love the cat's name. Do you have the rest of the characters as well?
 

lisahe

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I think it helps to keep in mind that many (probably most) vets have seen difficult cases where a cat got sick because of food -- be it homemade or raw or homemade raw -- that wasn't fed properly. Reassuring the vet that you're careful about food safety as well as full nutrition is really important. In the end, though, this...
Also, the best way to refute your vet's hesitations about raw is with your cat's superior health.
...probably matters most. FWIW, I completely agree with daftcat75 daftcat75 's suggestion about keeping some canned food in cats' diet. Not only may it be reassuring for some vets but it's really helpful to have that option for odd situations. Edwina had a tooth pulled the other day and I was very glad to have cans to try to feed her in the beginning rather than setting out endless dishes of homemade that she wasn't likely to sniff, let alone eat!
 

HAS

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I feed my cat Tiki Cat (grain free, not raw) and my Vet told me that was a bad idea and to switch to Science Diet. Science Diet is a lower quality food, but is well studied to be safe, which is why Vets recommend it. Tiki Cat meets all nutritional guidelines and then some, and unlike Science Diet, has not ever been recalled... so I just ignored it.
 

IndyJones

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I feed my cat Tiki Cat (grain free, not raw) and my Vet told me that was a bad idea and to switch to Science Diet. Science Diet is a lower quality food, but is well studied to be safe, which is why Vets recommend it. Tiki Cat meets all nutritional guidelines and then some, and unlike Science Diet, has not ever been recalled... so I just ignored it.
The emergency prescribed science diet for kabby once but he wouldn't touch it. He gave me that look like I just served him a bowl of rotting fly infested fruit. This is very unusual for him. He is a hoover normally so I'm convinced it must have been really gross. Can't say I blame him, it smelt like rotten spam.

He is on royal canin so mature veterinary food now for kidney stones.
 

JulietteTruong

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As I see it, the questions is really handling pushback from the vet, not whether or not raw should be fed, although there is a lot of good advice and observations about that as well.

I don't think that you should feel as if you have been cornered by the vet. You are paying them for their services and should be treated with respect. You should not have been made to feel bad about yourself or neglectful of your cat. This is an intelligent discussion about the proper feeding of cats who are lucky enough to have caring owners and I found it telling that the vet pushed Science Diet at you over Weruva. (One of their foods saved the life of Fiona herself). Vets, and most doctors, are not nutritionists and are not qualified in that area. Those who are have taken special coursework or have additional degrees in that field.

I moderate a support group for GSD owners and the administrative position of the group is not to feed raw; many of the dogs are immune compromised and that is the basic reason. I don't feed it, but do believe that it can be done correctly if you are meticulous about learning how to do it and source good quality food.

I handle vet appointments keeping in mind that the new BMW that the vet is driving was probably partially purchased by my support and I expect likewise. One of my vets years ago was a believer in raw and when I did not want to feed it we both just agreed to disagree because she knew that my pet was receiving excellent care. Your vet should be supportive and understanding and if he is that much of a jerk (which I am sort of picking up) maybe you need to scout around for another vet.

Love the cat's name. Do you have the rest of the characters as well?
It’s really mind boggling when I look at the ingredients in Science Diet’s food, both wet and dry. I see so many questionable ingredients listed. I will say, the packaging and use of “science” in their name had me really seeing them as like a medical good for a number of years.
 

Talien

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When vets hear "raw diet" they apparently think "I'm going to buy some raw chicken breast and cut it up as food". Usually once you show them that you aren't just another moron with no clue they'll tone it down, probably still try to lecture you on why the low quality and grossly overpriced "prescription" foods are better though.
 

Tik cat's mum

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I don't feed raw but have been given the talk from my vet about putting my two on monthly flea, worming treatment. My cat's have never had a problem with me paying less and buying it online. So I just tell the vet yes I know what your saying about it being easy to get a reminder but I have one on my phone. Like others have said let your cat's health do the talking.
 

goingpostal

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My vet has no issue at all with me raw feeding but if I were you I'd probably say something like the cat is fed a variety of AAFCO approved wet and leave it at that. I'm not a fan of vets that push SD to everything though.
 

Silver Crazy

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My niece is a vet of over 15 years and openly admits she has no training or knowledge of cat nutrition..she learns from me.
If a vet criticizes you about raw feeding I would tell them to get lost. For gods sake what is their natural diet.
 
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heyitsfae

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A huge thank you to all of your for taking the time to share your experiences here.

Something that I wasn't expecting when I posed this question is that the thread really brought to light that whether we go on the raw journey or not, my current vet might not be the best fit for me. Tik cat's mum Tik cat's mum brought up the flea and tick conversation; I've had that one too except my vet pushed back when I asked for a physical prescription so that I could order Revolution from Chewy as opposed to through their office (it's MUCH cheaper through Chewy).

The Science Diet incident was almost identical. My vet's office sells Science Diet and she was pushing to switch him over and just buy his food from them (not even prescription food, mind you; just the normal Indoor Cat formula).

Over the years, I think these little incidents have lead to a feeling of distrust in my vet. It feels like she prioritizes the bottom line of her clinic over what is actually in the best interest of my furbabies (and my wallet!). I don't feel like there is room for a dialogue about anything let alone something semi-controversial like a raw diet. If I don't take her advice, she has this way of making me feel really ashamed of my decision and like I'm a horrible owner. My kids go to the vet regularly, are always up on their shots and preventatives, I spend a small fortune buying them what I think is best food that I can, I feel like I'm a diligent owner but without fail, I leave each appointment feeling like garbage about something.

abyeb abyeb recommended seeing a nutritionist and I'm going to do that, that's wonderful advice! I want to do what is right by my kids and there are pros and cons to raw and I'd feel better arming myself with knowledge (pro or con) from a neutral third-party who isn't trying to sell me a product. And in the meantime... start the search for a new vet that I feel comfortable with and will be able to trust and respect their recommendations.

PS - fionasmom fionasmom We just have a Lebowski. He's a super chill guy and my husband wanted to name him The Dude but that didn't quite flow so we went with Lebowski as a nod to the movie as a whole =)
 

Willowy

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For gods sake what is their natural diet.
Sure but their natural lifespan is ~5 years so that's not the best argument ;). I'm sure vets see a lot of poorly-done homemade diets ("all she'll eat is deli turkey!" etc.) so it's understandable for them to be suspicious, but if the vet is still super cranky about it after you explain what you're doing to make sure it's balanced, then it's probably best to find a new vet on the grounds of irreconcilable differences.
 

John Perram

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I'm super new to feeding raw. Over the past couple of weeks I have been transitioning my boy, Lebowski to a commercial raw diet, just to see if he likes it. He seems to enjoy the food and anecdotally, it seems to keep him full a bit longer than his canned food did (based solely on the fact that his "Hooman! FEED ME!" squawks have greatly reduced in frequency).

From my research and the experience we've had over the last few weeks, I think this is something I want to try for him long term. My hesitation is that I know his vet is not going to be supportive. When we first adopted Lebowski our vet lectured us for feeding him Weruva and instead recommended that we switch him to Science Diet. I had gone into that appointment feeling very good about the diet that I had chosen for my dude but after the lecture, I left feeling like a neglectful parent, "endangering" him with an unstudied food.

I'm wondering how you all handle your vet appointments? Do you have vets who are generally supportive of a raw diet? Have you found vets that are open to having a discussion about it? And if you have a vet who is NOT supportive, how to handle those appointments and have that conversation?
First I would maybe look for another vet. Sorry my old vet was terrible with felines.
Here's a link with raw cat food I have used.
Natural pet
 
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