Are some vet rules made to be broken? - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
View Poll Results: Do you occasionally go against vet instructions?
yes 15 78.95%
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-06-2005, 11:37 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 647
Are some vet rules made to be broken?

I'm wondering how many of you find yourself disagreeing with vets and deciding not to follow their instructions. When Spotty was diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease he was prescribed the Hill's i/d diet, both dry and canned. The canned food was not very palatable to Spotty and I found myself asking the vet several times, "Why can't I just feed Spotty Wellness or regular canned food that is highly digestible?" "Why does he absolutely have to eat prescription food?" Neither vet was interested in looking up other pet food companies or reading the ingredients on Wellness or being open minded, they just insisted that I feed Hill's Prescription Diet. So later, I swtiched Spotty to Eukanuba Low Residue Diet because I thought that would be a higher quality food than Hill's(then I learned otherwise) It turned out that Spotty hated the canned food as well. I called the vets and said, Spotty doesn't like the Eukanuba low residue canned food. Can't I just feed him regular canned food? I could even feed something highly digestible with no by-products. The vets insisted on prescription food. So then I searched further for an alternative and the vets said, "Ok, you can feed him any one of the IVD diets." Those are the limited ingredient diets such as Rabbit and Pea, Venizon and Pea etc. Spotty has been enjoying it. Lately I've gotten a bad batch of the rabbit and Pea, nothing really wrong with the food but the texture of it seems to have changed and there isn't as much of that tasty broth that made the rabbit and pea so tasty to begin with. So I've decided to occasionally feed Spotty regular wet food as a treat, the stuff my other cat Rosie eats, either Wellness or Nutro Natural Choice chicken and lamb stew or chicken and turkey etc because as I understand it Spotty only needs to eat highly digestible foods. He's not allergic to any proteins but I will keep him on the same rabbit and pea dry food. I would think that the prescription diets he was originally prescribed are much worse, Too many by-products, corn, corn gluten, I don't get why vets would choose to prescribe this to cats with IBD. I'm very puzzled. Am I being bad, breaking the rules? What do you think
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-06-2005, 12:12 PM
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I believe the rules you are referring to come from a total lack of understanding of certain issues that are involved in these diseases.
Medical dogma is what these rules really are.

1 a : something held as an established opinion; especially : a definite authoritative tenet b : a code of such tenets <pedagogical dogma> c : a point of view or tenet put forth as authoritative without adequate grounds
2 : a doctrine or body of doctrines concerning faith or morals formally stated and authoritatively proclaimed by a church

If the prescription foods are not helpful, it's only natural that you start looking for other foods. You are not doing anything wrong when you do that. (A holistic vet would actually help you find other foods.)

I have two that are so allergic to the ingredients in prescription foods, there is now a reminder in their records at the hospital, so they won't be given those foods even if they have to be hospitalized for any reason.

So, believe me, I understand what you are saying and I would never ever say you are being bad for breaking stupid, meaningless, and downright harmful rules.

If you like limited ingredient foods, you might want to try Prairie. (Many holistic vets recommend it for IBD kitties and they are feeding it themselves to their own IBD kitties.)
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-06-2005, 12:36 PM
Join Date: Jul 2005
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I must confess, yes, I have went against what a vet told me to do. Many of you know my cat Justice and what she's been through with the "pyometra." I couldn't afford to get her into the ER vet and they will not allow you to make payments or hold a check for a few days. With that being said, I was very desperate to help Justice hang on till Tuesday when our vet would be back in the office. I got online and started researching human antibiotics I had here at home. When i found she could take Amoxicillion, I quickly gave her a dose. I called the ER vet cause I was afraid and just wanted some reassurance but all they would tell me was to STOP giving it to her, I was hurting her more than I was helping her. I agreed and told them I would stop giving her the med and then felt like a HEAL for giving the med to her out of complete desperassion to try and save her life. I finally was able to get ahold of a vet that would actually talk to me and who told me to give her the Amoxicillion that it would not hurt her and I had not hurt her by giving her a dose already. He even told me how much I could give her and how often. I then made him aware I had another antibiotic here and he told me to give her that instead, it was a stronger antibiotic. With that being said, I waited for her next dosage and switched the med and done that till Tuesday when my vet was back in the office. When we took Justice in on Tuesday morning, during him checking her out, I explained everything I done over the weekend for her and then pulled out the meds I had given her. I told him the ER vet told me to STOP giving it to her and I was hurting her more than I was helping her. My vet laughed and said, it was a good thing I continued to give it to her because without it, she would have never made it till Tuesday. I was so thankful that I found another vet to talk to and went ahead with my gut feeling and gave her the meds against the ER's instructions. Sometimes when there are desperate situations and if you have access to research something and get all the info you can on it, to each his or her own, it can save a life. I'm not suggesting what I done was right, had it been a med that wasn't right for a feline, I could have killed Justice. All I can really say is, in life, we all take chances, if it's going to save your pets life, research, try to talk to an educated person who is familar with the situation and then try to make the choice that is right for your pet.

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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-06-2005, 01:35 PM
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Sometimes i feel that the vets are just out to get money. Ever nottice how every vet's office sells a particular brand of food that "is the best" and you should "only feed your pets this"?


Also, some things like fleas and ear mites, even hairballs can be treated with at home stuff that cotsts like 2 bucks. Example... put some vegetable oil (just a little!) in your cats ears... it will drown out the ear mites and it is 100% safe for kitty. Hairballs... stick a pea sized ammount of Vaseline on kitty's nose, he'll lick it off, making his insides nice and lubed. Again, not harmful to kitty. if you look in most hairball remedies, perscription or non, they all have petroleum jelly in it.

My vet almost had me bringing pharoah in for surgery cause i thought he ate a toy. I told them he was eating and drinking fine and going to the litter, but my vet told me to bring him in right away for a pricey x-ray. Instead, i did the "wait and see" since he seemed fine, and ends up, he never ate the toy. Obviously i would have taken him in if he stopped eating...

Another thing, when I first got Mioux i thought she was diabetic since she was drinking ALOT. Again, vet wanted me to rush her over to do all sorts of test, but again, i did the "wait and see" cause she was still eating and acting and using the litter normally. Ends up she was just stressed being relocated and she's fine now.
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-06-2005, 01:37 PM
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It depends on the vet, the cat, the owner, and the advice in question.

I think that if you have a good working relationship with your vet, you should be able to ask questions about their reasons for certain decisions. "Because I said so" isn't really a good reason. There have been a few times that my vet has really pushed me to use a certain treatment, and has backed it up with good reasons, so I went along with her recommendation. There have also been times when I've made good arguments against certain treatments, and she has given me the go-ahead for a more conservative approach. In either case, we'll always re-evaluate after a certain amount of time to see if we made the best choice, and adjust if necessary. At Assumpta's last recheck, she spent about 15 minutes with me poring over food charts and giving me some input on what she'd look for in a food...I added my observations on what foods Assumpta doesn't seem to tolerate well, and together we came up with some choices and basic guidelines for making choices. Granted, she was basing her suggestions on the Hill's food line, but she was willing to apply similar lines of reasoning to non-prescription foods.

I think I'd be really unhappy with a vet who made unbreakable "rules." Yes, my vet really strongly insisted that I use Hill's i/d for a few weeks when she first diagnosed pancreatitis, but she also knew that I wasn't at all comfortable with it and made sure that I knew it was a temporary trial, after which we could try other foods and see what happened from there...even though it wasn't in line with her optimal treatment plan. We ended up with a compromise that wasn't everything that either one of us thought was ideal, but that we could all live with.

I think it's a give-and-take that goes both ways, and either a vet or a client who refuses to budge an inch or listen to alternatives only does the cat a disservice.
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-06-2005, 03:10 PM
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My vet thinks an all-canned diet is "terrible", and that raw food for pets is a death sentance

Because he's such a fantastic vet in every other way, those sentiments don't really bother me too much. I've come to expect as much from the veterinary community

And, needless to say, I break both of the above rules
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-06-2005, 03:40 PM
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I took Bumper off Hill's against my vets wishes - and he has been much happier and healthier since. When he was eating Hill's Sensitive - he gained nearly 5lbs, pretty much had to be starving to eat it and would throw it back up anyway (who knows how he managed to throw his food back up yet still gain weight?).

I decided to put him back on the same food as the others were eating and he went back to throwing up about once a week instead of every day... since switching to Evo he no longer throws up regularly... just if he eats too fast or gets over excited.

My vet was so against me doing this that I actually changed vets - he made it out like I was killing him... when anyone who knows me knows I would do anything for my cats... especially Bumps.

My new vet asked me to copy the ingredients of the different foods so we could find what exactly was upsetting him... turns out its a colouring which Hills' Sensitive has more of than most foods. We called a load of companies to see which foods he could eat... and surprisingly the problem came from putting them on to a 'premium food'... cat chow and chicken soup were among the winners so they were fed Chicken Soup for ages.

When Scully was diagnosed with diabetes, the vet told us that a lot of it was just his weight (he was over 30lbs when we adopted him) and we just watched his blood sugar while he ate Chicken Soup with the others with portioned amounts... and after a year, his blood glucose is close to normal (although still higher than it should be). The vet recommended Hills' again (the original vet i went to with Bumper has retired and someone took over her practise)... I explained my problem with Hill's (especially as my cats like to eat each others foods and don't eat enough in one sitting and we are sometimes gone for 15 hours a day so can't guarantee meal times so free feed) and he recommended EVO. But if I hadn't voiced my opinion, I would imagine he would have kept trying to sell me the Hills.

I have gone against my vet a few times - but only when I know its in the best interest of my boys. But, like Bumper, if he will not eat the food, why make him miserable trying when there are better foods out there that are not Rx diets that vets get commissions to sell.
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-06-2005, 06:01 PM
Join Date: Mar 2005
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I did.
When Korbel was first dx as diabetic, well I'm not the type to just sit there. I of course looked up and learned everything I could about diabetes. I switched her diet and I learned to hometest. Both of which my vet was skeptical about. Mainly because she was concerned about me "playing doctor". I assured her that wasn't what I was doing and explained everything I had read and my reasoning behind my choices. It's actually worked out for the best. She has other patients learning to hometest now! I still call in Korbel's numbers to her every few months and she advices me if I need to change the dosage of insulin at all, so she is still VERY much involved with Korbel's treatment.

I think in many cases people have ONE thing that they are interested in and can do all sorts of research. Vets have many different illnesses/systems of many different species of animals. It is literally impossible for them to keep up with the most recent advances of all of the various aspects of animal health.

I think whether or not you always obey your vets instructions aren't nearly as important as having a vet that you can work with and you both respect eachother.

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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-06-2005, 07:25 PM
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If you find yourself disagreeing with your vet more than occasionally, it's time for a different vet.
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-06-2005, 07:34 PM
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Yes, I think some rules need to be broken especially when it has to do with diet. Vets push Hills because they get a insentives to. My cats were on R/D and W/D for years because the vet recomended it. Needless to say they never lost any weight. Eventually they both had intestinal problems which I attribute to their crappy diet. Of course it could have been genetic as they were litter mates but we'll never know. ANYWAY, one of them, Sundance, had IBD. The vets all said Hills and prednisone. I didn't do the food but I did do the pred. A year or so later he developed a heart murmur and the vet said it was a side effect of the pred. I had a fit. Everyone had said earlier the pred. different in cats than people and safe. Well I FINALLY got busy and started doing as much research on IBD as I could. It all brought me back to diet. So I started researching that. I started giving him Wellness (could not get him on raw food as much as I tried. He was the most stubborn cat I've ever had) I added to it: Anitra's Vita Mineral Mix, Vit C, E,A & D (once a week- C daily) grated raw veggies(just a bit), acidopholus and liquid chlorophyll. He also got slippery elm syrup before each meal. And he was no longer free fed. Within a few months I was able to tapper him off the pred. completely and his IBD never returned. My vet was extremely skeptical and I think a little annoyed but the fact is whether it was a fluke or the stuff I did his IBD was gone. And any vet will tell you there's no cure for it.
One of my vet also believes dry food is better but after all the stuff I read I'd never feed it again. Except as a treat.
Vets do not really study nutrition and therefore get their info from the pet food companies which doesn't make for getting any objective data.
I'm sorry this is so long but I feel really strongly about it. I believe so many of the deseases that cats have are a direct result of poor diets and over vaccinating. If you look at the history so many of the deseases that cats get have only become epodemic in the past 30 years or so. Since pet foods have really become an industry (making it as cheaply as they possibly can) and most animals have been vaccinated on a yearly basis. Not to say vaccines are bad. They are necessary but even the vet community is starting to say that they only need to be given about every 3 years. Like they did with rabies about 10 years ago.
O.K. I'll shut up now.

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