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Pet Food News
on May 2, 2012

Vet addresses common pet owner misconceptions about pet nutrition

Dr. Michael Watts addresses petfood allergy management, ingredients and more

Many pet owners have misconceptions about veterinarians and may be reluctant to seek or follow their advice, says Dr. Michael Watts, a veterinarian and owner of Clevengers Corner Veterinary Care, in an online article.

In the article, Dr. Watts shares an email conversation he says that he had with a friend, regarding petfood allergy management for his friend's cat and a veterinarian's advice.

Dr. Watts says his friend wrote: "I think there’s a big 'conspiracy' out there among vets or maybe the newbies get brainwashed in vet school with all that corporate money. I think my cat might have food allergies (losing a ton of hair, itchy) but took him to the vet anyway...We ended up with a newer vet and he was saying we might have to put him on a big brand prescription diet — the hypoallergenic one. He was shocked when I told him I’d never feed my cats that junk food. The first ingredients always seem to be 'chicken byproducts' and fillers like corn... It makes me sad to think of all these people out there listening to this vet and using big corporation food when they can just feed their pets a high quality, good protein diet."

Yet, according to Dr. Watts, veterinarians that sell veterinary diet petfoods make very little money doing so, typically US$1 per bag or less.

"Large companies are simply better at being sure veterinarians have the most up to date information on their diets, so that might be your 'conspiracy,'" Watts says. "In addition, many veterinary therapeutic diets are actually superior for treating specific conditions than anything that can be found over the counter. However, the ingredient lists are formulated by board-certified veterinary nutritionists and other scientists – not the marketing department."

Watts also says that studies have shown that beef, chicken, wheat, soy, lamb, milk and egg have been the cause of more allergies in pets than corn has. Watts says that cooked ground corn is actually a highly digestible source of carbohydrates, protein, antioxidants, and essential fatty acids.

"Unfortunately, the niche market petfoods have demonized it to a point that I don’t even waste my breath with clients anymore. Either a client will take my educated recommendation or they will ignore me, listening to 'Dr. Google' or propaganda from specialty petfood manufacturers," Watts says.

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