How do you handle pushback from your veterinarian?

Tobermory

“What greater gift than the love of a cat.”
Staff Member
Forum Helper
Joined
Dec 13, 2017
Messages
6,615
Purraise
19,466
Location
Oregon
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.
Your description of the interactions you’ve had with this vet remind me of a similar experience I had with a vet practice in Colorado. I was seduced by the shiny new building! But I just felt like the vet didn’t have my cats’ best interest in mind (she had to pay for the shiny new building) so I switched to another vet (in an older, kinda shabby but immaculately clean building :) ), and she was wonderful. She discussed things with me: options about weight loss and kinds of canned food for chubby Lily, treating Max’s diabetes, behavioral issues. And she listened.

My current vet knows I feed raw. He has a copy of the recipe I use. And while he may not be enthusiastic about it, he’s respectful of my choice and approves of the recipe. He also works with me to save me money. He found a much cheaper source for the insulin I was buying for Max and saved me hundreds of dollars.

You want someone with expertise, of course, but someone who discusses, listens, respects. I’m glad you’re looking for a new vet!
 

neely

May the purr be with you
Veteran
Joined
Dec 22, 2005
Messages
16,244
Purraise
37,736
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.
You sound a lot like me, i.e. I've had cats for umpteen years and always do my research whether it's the vet's background, a health issue or in your case, the diet. A very wise feline specialist we went to years ago told me not to feel uncomfortable asking for a particular vet in the practice even if I have to wait until they have an opening. Unfortunately she passed away too young which is why we had to find another vet. Bottom line, go with your gut!

Our present vet is also a feline specialist and at one time I was feeding our cat raw food at dinner. She was not an enthusiastic advocate but was not opposed or judgmental since she knew I was a conscientious cat mom. Our cat loved his raw for about two years but then when he developed some unrelated health problems he flat out refused raw food. :nono: I slowly transitioned him to canned food which he now accepts wholeheartedly.

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.
You bring up an interesting point since our GSD had an autoimmune illness, hence immune compromised. The specialty vet that was treating him said he is not opposed to the BARF diet at all but due to our dog's illness he was concerned about salmonella. However, he told us it was up to us which is what I expected. It's perfectly acceptable if a vet explains the reason for their recommendation but does not belittle the client.

This has been an interesting thread with lots of good advice from other members. :thumbsup: heyitsfae heyitsfae Please keep us updated on Lebowski's diet and whether you decide to switch vets.
 

P+P's Meom

What if I don't want to stay calm?
Adult Cat
Joined
Apr 28, 2019
Messages
190
Purraise
290
Location
Edge of an Iowa Corn field
When I fired our vet of almost 5 years, I decided that I was going to actually interview them instead of just picking one. (I don't ever do that with my doctors!)

I started with the only Cat Only vet in town. I called and made a consult appointment to talk with the vet and see if we could work together or not. He spent a leisurely 30+ minutes talking with me - not to me. I asked questions and he didn't look down at me for doing so. He's not a fan of homemade food, but is supportive if it's nutritionally complete. (I'd brought a copy of my recipe and AAFCO guidelines to give him.) I was so impressed with everything about him, that I hired him on the spot.

There are so many differences between the first vet and the vet we have now - all positive! One of the best decisions I've ever made.

Don't be afraid to stick up fur your baby!
 

LadyLondonderry

TCS Member
Adult Cat
Joined
Jul 14, 2018
Messages
279
Purraise
348
I searched for this topic after Sylvie's checkup at the cat hospital this morning and appreciate the experiences everyone has shared.

Her vet has a specialty in geriatric feline medicine and I like her very much; she also cared for my previous cat, who lived to 21.5. She told me today that she is not in favor of raw food for very young or very old cats (Sylvie will turn 15 in May). But she stopped short of telling me to stop feeding raw altogether; she just recommended that I feed more of the canned food and less of the freeze-dried. I'm not sure she understood that I reconstitute the freeze-dried food with plenty of water, because she told me to keep an eye out for dry stools and said that more canned food would help by providing more moisture. I will explain that again when she calls with the blood work results.

Sylvie is overweight, but all other aspects of the physical exam were totally normal, and I think her generally good condition speaks well for what she's being fed--canned (Rawz rabbit & pumpkin) in the morning and freeze-dried raw (Primal pork and occasionally duck) in the evening. She loves the Primal, especially the pork, which is a food/flavor that is very hard to find in canned food. And she is intolerant to chicken, which is very hard to avoid in most canned food.
 
Last edited:

daftcat75

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Sep 7, 2018
Messages
11,174
Purraise
21,661
I searched for this topic after Sylvie's checkup at the cat hospital this morning and appreciate the experiences everyone has shared.

Her vet has a specialty in geriatric feline medicine and I like her very much; she also cared for my previous cat, who lived to 21.5. She told me today that she is not in favor of raw food for very young or very old cats (Sylvie will turn 15 in May). But she stopped short of telling me to stop feeding raw altogether; she just recommended that I feed more of the canned food and less of the freeze-dried. I'm not sure she understood that I reconstitute the freeze-dried food with plenty of water, because she told me to keep an eye out for dry stools and said that more canned food would help by providing more moisture. I will explain that again when she calls with the blood work results.

Sylvie is overweight, but all other aspects of the physical exam were totally normal, and I think her generally good condition speaks well for what she's being fed--canned (Rawz rabbit & pumpkin) in the morning and freeze-dried raw (Primal pork and occasionally duck) in the evening. She loves the Primal, especially the pork, which is a food/flavor that is very hard to find in canned food. And she is intolerant to chicken, which is very hard to avoid in most canned food.
I think the concern here, or at least my concern with feeding commercial raw to an elderly cat is that commercial raw can be very high in bone content and elderly cats can have difficultly with constipation. I love the Rawz rabbit (& pumpkin.) I think feeding the two of them is going to be better than feeding one of them alone. (By this, I mean separate but different meals like you are already doing, not mixing canned and raw in the same meal.) But if she does start to have constipation problems, you might want to look into Stella and Chewy Selects which are boneless frozen patties that you can bring to prey temp by putting them in a baggie and submerging them in hot water for a few minutes. Aside from that, there aren’t very many boneless commercial raw options. Darwin’s Lamb is another option. Their other flavors are not boneless. And Alnutrin finally made an egg-free premix (vitamin A coming from squash) in case you have to go the homemade route at some future point while still avoiding chicken ingredients.
 

LadyLondonderry

TCS Member
Adult Cat
Joined
Jul 14, 2018
Messages
279
Purraise
348
But if she does start to have constipation problems, you might want to look into Stella and Chewy Selects which are boneless frozen patties that you can bring to prey temp by putting them in a baggie and submerging them in hot water for a few minutes. Aside from that, there aren’t very many boneless commercial raw options. Darwin’s Lamb is another option. Their other flavors are not boneless. And Alnutrin finally made an egg-free premix (vitamin A coming from squash) in case you have to go the homemade route at some future point while still avoiding chicken ingredients.
Thank you for these suggestions, daftcat! I will keep them in my back pocket in case any constipation problems develop.

Sylvie did get constipated when I first gave her freeze-dried raw and was so pleased with her energy level, coat condition, etc. that I got carried away and fed her nothing but freeze-dried for a while. So I added some canned food back into the rotation and now keep a closer eye on the bone content. That's one of the reasons I favor the Primal pork (6% bone) over the duck (10% bone), even though I can mash up the duck nuggets with my bare hands, while I usually have to attack the pork nuggets with a mortar and pestle.
 

lisahe

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Mar 23, 2014
Messages
5,448
Purraise
4,096
Location
Maine
That's one of the reasons I favor the Primal pork (6% bone) over the duck (10% bone), even though I can mash up the duck nuggets with my bare hands, while I usually have to attack the pork nuggets with a mortar and pestle.
Oh, this is so familiar. I use a meat tenderizer on the Primal pork nuggets! Wham!
 

LTS3

TCS Member
Veteran
Joined
Aug 29, 2014
Messages
19,210
Purraise
19,666
Location
USA
I use a can of soup :crazy: I put the freeze dried food into a sandwich bag which then goes into a thicker freezer bag and then smash away.
 

P+P's Meom

What if I don't want to stay calm?
Adult Cat
Joined
Apr 28, 2019
Messages
190
Purraise
290
Location
Edge of an Iowa Corn field
LadyLondonderry LadyLondonderry

I think there's a difference between stating an opinion, and insisting that "I'm the vet, not you. I'm right, you're wrong!" The first one cares about the patient. The second cares more about their fragile ego.

Story time:
Four years ago, my cat was at our vet clinic for the 3rd time in as many months. He was in ever-worsening pain for no apparent reason. At that point, he cried/yeowled and was inconsolable for hours a day, every day. Vet did blood-work, no physical exam or urinalysis, and came back to inform me that Pitter had a GI bleed and was in renal failure.

She stated that I was literally killing both of my cats by making their food myself, and I needed to feed them *******. When I repeated, for the third time, that feeding commercial food was not an option, she actually walked out of the exam room in a huff. I called after her, "but he's in pain!" She said she told me what to do, and I refused, therefore everything was on me.

(C'mon! Just a change in diet would'nt've helped if he'd actually been in renal failure! And she never asked my reason for being so against commercial food . . .)

We had a friend come with us that day. She looked at me, as shocked as I was by what had just happened. She asked what I was going to do? I said I'm gonna put on my biggest smile, pay the bill, and never come back. Once we're out of earshot, I'm gonna scream every cuss word I know . . .
:argh:
I asked potential new vets their opinion of home-made food and I chose our current vet. He said that he while he doesn't necessarily agree with it, as long as what I'm feeding is nutritionally complete, he has no real problem with it. Yes! A vet who respects my opinion and knowledge!
:yess:
A long, long four months later, we finally had a diagnosis for Pitter. He has pancreatitis, ibd, and mild kidney disease. None of those are food related and not once was I urged to feed any commercial or "prescription" food.

In my opinion, (FWIW) it doesn't sound like your vet is "pushing back" as much as just stating their opinion. If nothing else, just come out and ask!

I think very few vets actually condone food that's not "commercial." That includes feeding raw as well as home-cooked.
:dunno:
 
Last edited:

Maurey

Maine Coon Madness
Top Cat
Joined
Jan 21, 2021
Messages
1,587
Purraise
1,800
If you’d like to keep feeding raw without having to do a lot of research/spending a lot of time with initial prep into making it complete, while still keeping phos low, I’d suggest looking into EZComplete or Alnutrin with eggshell calcium. You just add a powder to raw meat (or raw meat and liver) in the correct proportion, freeze it, and defrost as needed. Not as convinient, sadly, but to my knowledge there aren’t any FD foods with eggshell calcium.

To the original topic of the thread, took my 4.5 year old to the vet for his annual work up yesterday, and the vet was very pleased with his condition. Just waiting for them to email me his bloods, but his urinary system including his kidneys looked great on US. She said she was really impressed with the effort I put forward to provide the cats with a varied, complete diet, which was very nice to hear. That said, most vets are pro-raw or at least raw-neutral here — they’re only concerned whether it’s complete. You get more vets against kibble only diets than raw-only diets where I live, which is a refreshing change of odd.
 

Lazy Orange House Cat

TCS Member
Adult Cat
Joined
Sep 20, 2021
Messages
164
Purraise
128
Location
Ontario, Canada
When our current veterinarian took over the practice, she and I would butt heads a lot over Montgomery's diet. I don't remember what he was eating at the time, but it wasn't working and we were trying to find something that would. I finally said to her, that I didn't care if I got his food from the clinic, from my workplace (I work in a pet supply store), from the competition, if I had to go all the way to the other side of the town, or if I had to learn to make it. I didn't care if it cost fifty-nine cents a can or it cost four dollars a can, I just wanted to find his Goldilocks food. Since then, we've had no problems.
 

BaileyCat

TCS Member
Young Cat
Joined
Dec 17, 2019
Messages
66
Purraise
64
Location
USA
It drives me nuts that so many vets don't "get it" that cats are strict obligate carnivores and need to be fed accordingly.

Anyway...
All our pets are fed balanced raw meals. On occasion balance cooked meals. The vet(s) will go on an on about how extremely healthy our cats are...teeth are in great shape, good muscle tone, bloodwork awesome, etc....and then lose it when I tell them they are fed raw. Even worse, if one of our geriatric cats are having an issue the vet will be so "focused" on the raw diet that things don't always go well.

I only have so many choices of vets in my area, soooooo I feed a can of food every so often. Kinda like taking the human kids to McDonalds every so often. :) When I am asked what I feed, I can honestly rattle off "some raw, cooked, and canned food." Pretty lame, but it works for all involved.
 

daftcat75

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Sep 7, 2018
Messages
11,174
Purraise
21,661
It drives me nuts that so many vets don't "get it" that cats are strict obligate carnivores and need to be fed accordingly.

Anyway...
All our pets are fed balanced raw meals. On occasion balance cooked meals. The vet(s) will go on an on about how extremely healthy our cats are...teeth are in great shape, good muscle tone, bloodwork awesome, etc....and then lose it when I tell them they are fed raw. Even worse, if one of our geriatric cats are having an issue the vet will be so "focused" on the raw diet that things don't always go well.

I only have so many choices of vets in my area, soooooo I feed a can of food every so often. Kinda like taking the human kids to McDonalds every so often. :) When I am asked what I feed, I can honestly rattle off "some raw, cooked, and canned food." Pretty lame, but it works for all involved.
I always recommend keeping a canned food in a raw fed cat’s diet. One meal a day or every couple of days. Often enough so a transition won’t be necessary if you have to rely on canned for a period of time. It makes weathering out shortages (supply and production) and changes easier. If you forget to place an order (or the order is delayed) for the meat or the supplements, or you forget to make a new batch before the last runs out, you can easily put down a can of food without a transition until you get raw back on track. It also makes it easier for someone else to feed your cats if you travel or one of them has to stay in the hospital.
 

Cat McCannon

TCS Member
Alpha Cat
Joined
Mar 28, 2021
Messages
612
Purraise
1,334
Sure but their natural lifespan is ~5 years so that's not the best argument ;)...
Heh. But their lives are being cut short by misadventure, the environ, parasites and disease, not from a lack of nutrients in their natural prey.

I feed Belle wet, commercial raw, freeze dried raw and raw and keep things mixed daily. She's fed three small meals a day and a couple even smaller snacks (usually as bribes). We've had her a year and a half and she's been to the vet three times- spaying and check ups. The last time we took her in, the vet said she's healthy and thriving and to keep doing what we're doing. The first vet responded positively when I mentioned feeding Belle raw, the second cut me off and said "Keep doing what you're doing." The second seemed to be a "Get it done and get you out" sort of fella (the clinic uses doctors on rotation).

Getting to the original question about dealing with vets pushing an agenda- I am my cat's best advocate. I hire health professionals to advise me as the the best practices, but it's my responsibility to do what's best for Belle,
 

maggie101

3 cats
Top Cat
Joined
Apr 20, 2014
Messages
6,180
Purraise
7,206
Location
Houston,TX
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.
Just last night I forgot to put away cans imagine what it would have been like if it was raw! I go to bed earlier because I feed my cat Maggie in bed. She is a slow eater especially around my cat peaches trying to steal her food. 5 cans to throw away
 

daftcat75

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Sep 7, 2018
Messages
11,174
Purraise
21,661
Just last night I forgot to put away cans imagine what it would have been like if it was raw! I go to bed earlier because I feed my cat Maggie in bed. She is a slow eater especially around my cat peaches trying to steal her food. 5 cans to throw away
Betty is a serial nibbler. I open a 3 oz can for her in the morning and it takes her twelve hours to eat 2/3 of it. Overnight she does better and often finishes all three ounces. I would love to feed her raw. But she needs to like it well enough to eat it in an hour. I will not leave raw food out for her even if cats come back to prey hours after a kill. Betty would not survive with a second cat in this house. Other cat would always be eating her food.
 

LadyLondonderry

TCS Member
Adult Cat
Joined
Jul 14, 2018
Messages
279
Purraise
348
I ordered some Lotus Pork Pate in order to approximately replicate the taste of the Primal pork nuggets. Sylvie scarfed it up and then promptly barfed it up. I cleaned up the barf, tossed out the remaining Pork Pate, and served one of the usual Primal pork nuggets. All is well. For now at least, I'll be sticking with the Primal and donating the rest of the canned pork to my vet tech/cat sitter, who has many cats to feed at home and at the cat hospital.
 

Stressedcatmom

TCS Member
Young Cat
Joined
Jan 30, 2022
Messages
32
Purraise
18
The best nutricionist/gastroenterologist in my country does not recommend raw diet for various reasons, incomplete, parasites etc. He does recommend natural diet tho, meaning cooked meals (just not only meat)
 
Top