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I like my vet, he's a nice guy, however I feel like I need to trust my vet completely to support my position on raw feeding. I am reluctant to find a new vet, but I'm wondering if there is a NON-THREATENING way I could approach or open the topic to him.

Are there any educational links that are pro-raw but also help disprove a lot of myths about raw? I want definately do not want to "bible-thump" my beliefs on him, but I want to try to see if he will open to the idea if I can approach it without raising defenses. He is young, a "new" vet so I'm hoping some useful information can reach him.
 

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I think I already responded to a similar post from you . . . I think you're best of letting it lie. My approach is to learn as much as I can so that if it DOES come up, I can state my position clearly and concisely, while making it clear that these are MY animals and *I* will be the one making nutritional decisions for them. The best way, though, is the old "proof in the pudding" thing. Every time I'm in my vet comments on my animals' sparkling teeth. I've only been seeing him a year (it took me a while--well, 6 years--to find a vet I really liked after I moved, so I was still driving way into town for a while to my old vet), and when he first saw Rachel (dog), he said, when he looked at her teeth, "Oh, she's just a youngster--less than a year old?" "Uh, no," I said. "She's 4." "Oh, wow," he said. When he again commented on Sam's (dog) teeth, I said casually, "Well, you know I switched them all to a prey model raw diet last year. Since then they're teeth have looked better than ever!" He said nothing--what's he gonna say? Stop feeding your dogs in a way that causes them to have awesome teeth like this? :lol:

And yesterday, when Lincoln (cat) was in for annual bloodwork, the vet looked at his teeth and said, "This cat is TWELVE?! He has practically no tartar!" "Yup," I responded. "Remember he's the one who was supposed to have a dental done by my previous vet 18 mos ago--his teeth were NASTY. Then we switched a prey-model raw diet and now they look like this! Never got the dental done!"

"Oh," he said, and shut up.

I am hoping that over time, he'll eventually start asking me for more info on it. Until then, I don't pressure him and he doesn't pressure me. And I keep bringing him critters w/ awesome teeth who are in awesome condition. Time will tell!

Basically, it’s my opinion that vets are there to diagnose and treat illnesses, NOT to be nutritional counselors. I don’t rely on them for that and I make that pretty clear. If I refused to see a vet who didn’t support raw feeding I would be outta luck! To my knowledge there’s only one around here, and his clinic is dirty and out of date. I MUCH prefer my vets to be up-to-date, to have the best equipment, and to have knowledgable and educated staff over supporting raw feeding!
 

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Basically, it’s my opinion that vets are there to diagnose and treat illnesses, NOT to be nutritional counselors.
I agree very much with this, thanks for sharing your thoughts.
 

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I don't think my vet is "pro" raw, but she hasn't tried to talk me out of it or anything. The only time it's come up is when Mak's bloodwork showed that he was ever so slightly low in potassium so she said "Hm, I don't know how you can do this on raw but he needs more potassium in his diet. Our food that we sell is all specially formulated so we know that they're getting adequate amounts, so I'm not sure how you can know he's getting enough on raw food" and I said "okay I'll look into it" and we left it at that.

Honestly I wouldn't bother trying to convert the guy. As the adage goes, "You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink". One person probably is not going to change his mind, even if you do approach it calmly and rationally, and he probably doesn't want to be lectured.

I would probably bring it up if he asks you directly, and if he starts to lecture say "Look, I'm not going to change my mind and if you're interested on why I chose this route over any other, then I'd be happy to provide you with the information that I learned".

Just because he may not be into raw food doesn't mean that he might not be a brilliant diagnostician.
 

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Well, when I took my cat in once, they started listing off all the vaccinations they wanted to give her. I let them know that I wanted the least amount if none at all. They got very defensive and told me that rabies was the law etc etc.
If it's the law, I'll do it, but isn't it my choice how many vaccines to give my cat?

I read on rawfedcats.org (if I'm remembering correctly) that cats on a raw diet shouldn't need so many vaccines because they would build up a stronger immune system naturally.
 

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First, while rabies vax are technically "the law" in many places, often "the law" really says every 3 years, not annually, but vets still tell clients they have to do it annually. This is the case in TN, for example. TN is a 3-year state, but you wouldn't know it to talk w/ most vets in the state! They all either think it's a 1-year state (it's not), think their county has a county law that is 1-year and trumps the state (none do), or KNOW the law and lie about it. <sigh>

That said, I don't much care about the law re: indoor cats. My dogs are vaccinated against rabies and nothing else b/c there is a SLIGHT chance that they might be exposed to it and a SLIGHT chance that the might get out when I'm away from home and, being lost and afraid, bite someone. Even then, since they're microchipped and covered w/ ID, the worst that would happen would be quarantine if I could not prove that they had been vaccinated according to state law. They are now being vacc'd only once every 3 years (after a great deal of work on my part to "prove" to my vet what is clearly stated in the code of TN), and my older dog (12) will not be vaccinated again. They receive no other vaccinations.

My barn cats are vaccinated against everything b/c they are outside and at risk.

My indoor cats aren’t vaccinated at all. The 2 older ones were vaccinated by the shelter before I adopted them; Jonah has never been vaccinated. I will probably get ONE rabies vaccination for him and that’s it. They are microchipped, so if they got out and bit someone, the authorities would find me and the worst that would happen would be quarantine.
 

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My vet actually support raw but he only supports "right raw diet". According to him, most cat owner want just to give meat to cats, and that's it, and this is what he is against.

If any vet would tell me something about how to feed my cats I'll ask him where he learned nutrition, how many classes, was the professor the employee of a commercial pet food company, which researches does he base the information on nutrition on etc. and let him answer those questions.

I totally agree with previous posters that a vet can be a brillian diagnost and wonderful person and a cat lover and that he just doesn't need to be a feline nutritionist.

Re. vaccinations - just recently I did very thorough research on that and decided I was not going to vaccinate my cats against anything - and they are show cats, and go to shows and stay in hotels etc. It's not vaccines, it's their immune system that protects them.

I'm very confident in their immune system and I'm sure that if they ever get exposed to virus they will not get sick, and even if they will get sick they will recover and become stronger. FIP is considered to be a deadly virus but again, if a cat's immune system is strong, he will not get it and if he gets it, he will not die. And there is no vaccine against FIP.

I do not think it makes any sense to vaccinate against herpesvirus and calcivirus - if my cats get cold (and I'm sure they won't), they will recover - why would I mess up their immune system because of simple cold? And also, from experience, vaccinated cats still get cold and more often and with worse system than non-vaccinated ones.

Why would I vaccinate my cats against FIV if only 2% of feral cats are at risk? My cats are not feral...

What I am afraid is cancer but according to some researches vaccines contribute to cancer, not the other way around.

Actually, I hope (fingers crossed) that I will not need any vet for my boys simply because I plan to keep them healthy. I used vet in the past because I got a sick cat from a breeder, but since then... no need for vet.
 

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Vanessa said:
Actually, I hope (fingers crossed) that I will not need any vet for my boys simply because I plan to keep them healthy. I used vet in the past because I got a sick cat from a breeder, but since then... no need for vet.
But . . . that's kind of my point. :) I think it's ESSENTIAL to maintain a good working relationship w/ a vet b/c eventually you WILL need him/her and that's not the time to realize that you have no working relationship! I assume from the first part of your post, though, that you still go in for checkups? Please continue that. It's not only good to make sure your cat is healthy, but it also results in your being a good, regular client. One can't really expect a vet to go the extra mile for you if you haven't been a regular good client over the years. :)
 

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Sorry but why would I need a vet or "check-ups" if my cats are obviously healthy? I have a friend whose cat is 16 years, not neutered (she is in Russia), has excellent teeth and gums (checked this myself) and has never been to a vet, just no need. The cat is on a raw diet (who doubted that? lol), very active and plays like a kitten and full of energy, and he is a "real" purebred persian, the best kitten from the litter of persians with all possible show titles (the sire was my cat). My own experience and experience of my other friends whose cats are on raw diet is similar - no vet needed.

Why would I want to "maitain" relationship with a vet for let's say 15+ years "just for the case"? As we used to say in Russia "we wil treat hemoroid when it comes up", lol.

My point is that if a cat is healthy - looks healthy, acts healthy, eats healthy, then he probably is healthy. Why pay money to somebody (vet) to tell you that???? :).

I have a friend here who has cats the same age as mine and she takes them to the vet all the time - check-ups, vaccinations, boosters, blood work, whatever. And she gives them Revolution treatment every month "just for the case". And she keeps her cats in a tent when we stay in hotels at shows - so that they are not exposed to any bacteries or germs and won't get ear mites. And she uses medicated shampoo after each show just for the case cats may pick up a cell of ringworm.

Differ from me she invests tons of money into her cats (vet bills), and does it make her cats healthier than mine?:). Sorry but I think she messes up cats immune system and may need more money for vets in the future (JMO). I also think that she is a "dream customer" for any vet, LOL.
 

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Vanessa said:
Sorry but why would I need a vet or "check-ups" if my cats are obviously healthy? I have a friend whose cat is 16 years, not neutered (she is in Russia), has excellent teeth and gums (checked this myself) and has never been to a vet, just no need. The cat is on a raw diet (who doubted that? lol), very active and plays like a kitten and full of energy, and he is a "real" purebred persian, the best kitten from the litter of persians with all possible show titles (the sire was my cat). My own experience and experience of my other friends whose cats are on raw diet is similar - no vet needed.

Why would I want to "maitain" relationship with a vet for let's say 15+ years "just for the case"? As we used to say in Russia "we wil treat hemoroid when it comes up", lol. ).
Well, here's why.

(1) Once a cat reaches middle age, annual bloodwork should be done. Many conditions which are treatable and even curable if caught early are NOT treatable if caught later. The ONLY way to diagnose these conditions early on is labwork. Having labwork done when the cat is younger (2-4) is a good idea so you have baseline "normals" for that particular cat. The lab's normals are an average of the results for apparently normal cats, but your own cat's normals may be different. For instance, raw fed cats often have higher normal BUNs than kibble/canned fed cats due to higher protein content. Knowing that your young, healthy cat, with normal creatinine, has a high-normal BUN will mean that when the cat is older you will have something accurate against which to judge his bloodwork.

The conditions which are most often found early thanks to labwork in outwardly normal-appearing cats include kidney disease, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, and liver disease.

(2) Even young cats can develop problems, and you may not see them but the vet may find them on abdominal palpation or other parts of the physical exam.

(3) We get people on this forum all the time who are having a major veterinary emergency and who cannot pay for it. Usually they do not have a regular vet who knows them and trusts them, so the vet is reluctant to extend them credit. I have never had a vet who was unwilling to extend me credit, but that’s b/c I go out of my way to establish a relationship w/ my vets. It is more than worth $30 per animal for annual exams to ensure that each animal has an up-to-date record w/ my vet, that my vet knows and trusts me, and that my vet knows that I pay my bills.

(4) The simple fact is that if we want vets to stop pushing annual vaccs for everyone, the ONLY way they can do that and still stay afloat financially (so they will BE there when we need them) is if we go in for annual exams even though we don’t need or want annual vaccs. My vet has bills to pay and a family to feed just like I do, and I want him to not only be there when I need him but also to have a high-quality, well-staffed practice with the best equipment. Why would I NOT want to pay for that? :)
 

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Was it a vet who told you that annual bloodwork is that necessary along with checkups?:)))). If I was a vet I would tell you the same (wink, wink):))))

Sorry I'm just taking different approach and will spend money and time on keeping my cats healthy rather than paying to a vet. Good nutrition, fresh water always, no vaccinations, lots of fresh air (I put them on the balcony or deck in a cage for as long and often as I can), lots of playing sessions - running, jumping, whatever, stress-free life full of fun and love - and I'm not going to worry about their health because I'm confident that they will stay healthy long (cancer is my only concern but I don't think I have any control over that issue and can do anything to prevent it).

I don't think that all those kidney deceases, liver problems, IBDs just come from nowhere - there are certain reasons for those deceases. Cats are cats and it takes *efforts* to make them sick. Personally I consider commercial food and dry food especially and vaccinations are *responsible* for many deceases including those kidney/liver/stomach/IBDs/allergies that you mentioned.

I also chose approach to educate myself in cats deceases, not to just count on vet, and I found it much more productive and efficient. Vets are not Gods, their knowledge is limited, and sometimes one can find more updated information on some issue than an average vet knows. If I ever need a vet it will probably be for x-rays/ultrasound/tests/prescriptions but definitely not for checkups.

Also, I do not care at all how vets make their living, it's none of my business, and if it was my business, I would mind them making living from declawing, vaccinations, selling dry food and prescription diets... but it's their business and their right to do whatever they want like it's my business to decide how often to go to vets if ever.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I see both sides, however I do lean more towards Vanessa's position. Vets are not gods, they maybe good at a few things because of their education, but they may not know other aspects of cat's lives. Vets care for a variety of animals, there is no way they will know everything about every species, let alone your individual kitty.

I think it's good to have a good relationship with everyone, not just a vet, however I would not go running to a vet everytime there is a small change in my cat. It's borderline "bible-thumping" behaviour for others to make me feel like I am a bad cat owner simply because I do not agree with the majority in vet worship and that particular approach to feline welfare.

However, I do believe that if there is suspected illness or something that I cannot handle, a vet with the appropriate knowledge and access to equipment that I do not have is appropriate.

Much like doctors for humans, western treatments vs alternative or holistic treatments are highly debated. There are people spilt on both sides, but all those who would like to balance these approaches. There is a reason science has advanced, to help the progression of the species, we cannot disregard that and should embrace them, however we also cannot deny the fact, that natural remedies and a natural lifestyle goes hand in hand.
 

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Hey, it's up to you. I feel very strongly that annual labwork in older cats is absolutely essential. Any good vet or human doctor will tell you that, and it's not just about their making money (vets make very little on the send-out labwork). It matters to me to keep close tabs on my animals' health, and I keep my own detailed records (I've had vets refer to my records instead of theirs, LOL!) of all visits and testing.

I absolutely agree that diet is the main cause of many problems that vets routinely see -- kidney disease, diabetes, IBD, etc. But all beings age and all organs start to fail even for cats on a raw diet. There is so much we can do now to extend life while also improving quality of life, and I certainly want to know if something is wrong long BEFORE my cat is feeling badly if at all possible. Labwork is a non-invasive and relatively inexpensive way to learn a great deal about the health of a being. :)

If you guys read my posts, you'll know I'm far from a vet-worshipper. ;) Quite the opposite in many situations, in fact! Having worked for vets in the past, I know both the good things and the not-so-good about the profession. But when push comes to shove, I have been glad to have a good vet on my animal's side on many occasions, and it's worth a lot to me to establish and keep that good relationship. Heck, I have a Harry and David's Tower of Treats sent to the clinic at Christmas. ;) And I've rarely considered a trip to the vet a waste of either time or money. Even if all that is restored is peace of mind, that’s worth something to me.

Finally, if all the folks who feed raw and have healthy pets stop going to the vet, how will vets learn that this is the best, most healthy way for pets to eat? My vet sees my glowing animals with glitteringly white teeth and comments on that – I mention casually that they eat raw. As time goes by, that WILL sink in. That matters to me.
 

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There is one point I would like to make.

Talking about "a vet" who has to pay bills, feed his family, pay his student loan etc.... he should NOT be interested in our cats staying healthy. Please do not get me wrong and I know that there are so many wonderful vets out there etc. etc., and off course I generalizing and not saying I am right or something - it's just that health of our cats and wealth of vets do not go hand by hand.

So vets who LEARNED that raw diet is good for cats and keeps them healthy... will they embrace the idea of raw feeding and will advice their customers to feed raw? Or will they tell the cat owners to feed dry? Or will they "care" because in the end they are not feline nutritionists?

Probably if I ever have to go to vet I'll try to go to holistic vet with traditional education... don't know.

And again, in my opinion it's not vets or bloodwork or vaccinations that keep a cat healthy and protect against illnesses, it is their immune system, and building up strong immune system is essential, so that if they get sick the immune system could put a strong fight and win...
 

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Vanessa said:
Talking about "a vet" who has to pay bills, feed his family, pay his student loan etc.... he should NOT be interested in our cats staying healthy. Please do not get me wrong and I know that there are so many wonderful vets out there etc. etc., and off course I generalizing and not saying I am right or something - it's just that health of our cats and wealth of vets do not go hand by hand.
As I've said many a time on the forum, there are some pretty major issues w/ the profession, not the least of which is that Hills (the Science Diet people), Royal Canin, Purina, etc. all contribute MASSIVE amounts of money to vet schools, and in return, are allowed to dictate the nutritional curriculum. I have some pretty major issues with this!

However, I don’t believe that vets “know” that dry food, carbs, etc. are bad for cats and push them anyway. The problem is that they are educated poorly in this area. The ones who do the research on their own and come to a different conclusion are the exception, not the rule. The others, like my vet, honestly do think they are offering the best options for their patients when they sell Science Diet. I don’t agree with that, and I try to remedy it. Increasingly, more vets are thinking outside the box and hopefully things will change over time. But it WILL take time because vet schools are not going to give up the millions of $$ they get from pet food manufacturers easily!
So vets who LEARNED that raw diet is good for cats and keeps them healthy... will they embrace the idea of raw feeding and will advice their customers to feed raw? Or will they tell the cat owners to feed dry? Or will they "care" because in the end they are not feline nutritionists?
I’m not sure what your point is here. . . There certainly ARE vets out there who believe that raw feeding is the way to go. I choose not to choose my vets based on this issue for reasons already explained.
Probably if I ever have to go to vet I'll try to go to holistic vet with traditional education... don't know.
Up to you! That’s not something I look for, mostly b/c the “holistic” vets I know of around here don’t have clean, up-to-date practices, and that’s more important to me personally.
And again, in my opinion it's not vets or bloodwork or vaccinations that keep a cat healthy and protect against illnesses, it is their immune system, and building up strong immune system is essential, so that if they get sick the immune system could put a strong fight and win...
I never said otherwise. Bloodwork is diagnostic, not protective. ?? Not sure what you’re getting at. The fact is that feeding raw and doing everything right does NOT ensure that your cat will never develop diseases or illnesses. It may decrease the likelihood but it’s not a free ride. So I intend to continue doing what I can to catch problems early. I don’t see any reason NOT to, basically. My cats are certainly worth $200 a year in bloodwork once they reach age 10-12. :)
 

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For me it's not a matter of money. I paid 4K for one of my cats (he came from Germany), and my another cat cost me not that much less. I spend thousands and thousands dollars on shows and grooming supplies - I'm trying to make regional win with both of my cats and probably will succeed. A few hundred and even a few thousands dollars in vet bills will not make huge difference in my overall cat expenses.
 

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Regular vet visits are important in catching diseases early. Like was already mentioned many diseases can be cured when caught early but are fatal if caught late. By the time YOU notice symptoms it may be too late. Vet visits do not mean vaccines, whether or not to vaccinate is your choice. Many or most cats will be fine without vet visits because thy never have any serious problems, vet or no vet they'll be fine. But for those who do end up with something regular vet visits may be the difference between life and death. I also think it is really nice for vets and clients to have a good relationship, I think it would be great to have a vet who knows your pets and you really well. I mean when we go to the vet our vet has no idea who we are, I mean he has my cat's chart but that's it, we're practically new every time (we don't go often, it's not my choice).

I don't know, I want to be a vet and I really look forward to those clients who'll come to me after getting a new dog or cat and who I'll see every year and watch them grow and develop. Clients who will call me whenever they have questions or concerns and who trust me. So perhaps that is influencing my opinion a bit.
 

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I just got Lincoln's annual bloodwork back. It's VERY reassuring to know that all his thyroid numbers are in the low-normal range, his BUN and phosphorus look great, and his glucose is right where it should be. His creatinine (one of the kidney health indicators) is perfectly normal (1.9, N=0.6-2.4) but it's up slightly from his baseline labs in 2004 (when it was 1.4). I'm not especially concerned about this, and neither is the vet, esp. in light of normal fasting BUN and phosphorus, but it does bear watching, just in case.

Labwork is like a little window into the animal's physiology--to be able to see how well things are working without surgery is wonderful.

Another point: Hyperthyroidism, which is not caused by diet at all, and which hits rawfed kitties at the same rate as others, is one of those things that, when caught early b/f it can cause damage to other organs, is COMPLETLELY curable via I-131 therapy. There is some indication that it's caused (or contributed to) by environmental factors that most of us cannot control. A friend of mine who feeds raw, and has for years, and does EVERYTHING right, has now had 2 cats become hyper-T. In both cases, the problem was caught very early -- there were SLIGHT elevations of the T4, and my friend insisted on additonal testing and nuclear scanning – the scans showed without doubt that the cats were hyper-T and they were both treated ASAP w/ I-131. Neither showed physical signs prior to diagnosis. They recovered fully and have never looked back. If she hadn’t been as anal about getting the labwork done and insisting on followup, it might have been years before they showed signs, by which point organ damage might have resulted.
 

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~Siameseifuplz~ said:
I don't know, I want to be a vet and I really look forward to those clients who'll come to me after getting a new dog or cat and who I'll see every year and watch them grow and develop. Clients who will call me whenever they have questions or concerns and who trust me. So perhaps that is influencing my opinion a bit.
That's certainly what I want as a client! My vet saw Jonah the day after I rescued him out of the road at 3 weeks. The receptionist emails me asking about him, and they love getting his videos--the whole staff enjoys that. When he goes into the clinic he's like a rock star, LOL! That means a great deal to me.
 

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I haven't done serious research on hyperthyroidism but seems like 80% of cats have it. According to the article I read there is no need for treatment if a cat shows no sympthoms.

I'm sure there are tons of other articles and tons of different opinions.

What I *see* in your friend's situation - vet got the money for the exam and bloodwork and later for another test and medicine (hopefully nobody doubts that vets do get money from selling drugs). After that the cat (who never showed any symptoms, by the way) became "fine". Result - happy owner ("yeah, I spent all this money but it worked and my cats are healthy now!!!") and happy vet (plenty of money into his pocket). Were cats really "sick" with no symptoms? Will they ever become sick? Did they really need treatment?

I do NOT insist in any way that I am right in the above described situation but I know very many situations like this and almost got into one myself. Many pet owners trust vets and do not bother to seriously educate themselves. Breeders on the other hand rarely go to vets (and only for n/s, C-sections, x-ray etc.) - just because they know a lot and are able to treat cats themselves in case they get sick. And usually they have MORE knowledge on particular common deceases than any vet because they know their breed and can adjust diagnosis/treatment accordingly - not many vets can do this.

So no, I'm not convinced so far :D but my cats are both 1.5 years old so I have "some" time to think before they become seniors :D .
 
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