Lack of knowledge and education about supplements isn’t the only reason many traditional veterinarians advise staying away from them. There is, without a doubt, a lack of regulation on these products. Just like with food labels, companies are unbelievably TRICKY about labeling their products. Are you even giving your pet what you think!?!?!
There are HUNDREDS of companies out there, which means THOUSANDS of products. It’s impossible for veterinarians to keep up. It kind of stinks, because often people are asking veterinarians – including myself – about products when they are at the clinic…. and that’s what we preach….. Right!? Please ask your vet before giving your pet any supplement or medication!!!!
Then what answer do most of us give…. “Ummm, we’re not sure about that product.” Which is a true . There are so many out there!!! When practicing at the fast pace of traditional medicine, discussing supplements is very low on the list for many veterinarians.
You might have also heard, “I f you keep them on a quality diet, no supplements will be needed.” They likely aren’t saying that, because they don’t care, it is because in school we get little to no education on supplements… and nutrition for that matter. American culture and Western medicine is geared toward … if there is a problem, here’s a pill to “fix” it….. = problem solved. Rarely are we taught to ever look into underlying causes or a nutritional change to address the issues. It’s the AMERICAN way! We want an easy quick fix, that special “magic pill” that makes everything go away!!!
Its kinda cool to see how that culture is slowly but surely changing. Many of us are seeking out more natural treatment options. Even better, looking into changes we can make in nutrition that can elevate the cause of the issue, or at least dramatically improve these chronic conditions.
Once we get over the hurdle of knowing what changes we need to make to improve our pet’s life, the next problem arises. As previously mentioned, there are thousands of products out there for our pets. One huge concern is many of these companies have NO testing, NO standards, inadequate records, and NO specifications set. That is why I have few companies that I trust. The main one I use I have actually visit their facilities myself and discussed products with veterinarian on staff. I’m not saying there are not other good companies out there, but I advise to do some research for each product you buy, and see if they can answer or provide info on the previously stated issues. The TV show “Frontline” and the well-known newspaper “The New York Times” did an investigation in 2016 on over-the-counter supplements sold online and in stores such as CVS. They randomly sampled 44 nutritional supplements . They found that 60% of the supplements contained ingredients not listed on labels, and 1 in 3 proved to be outright fakes. That was enough to scare the heck out of me. If human supplements were that unregulated, I can only imagine what the pet ones are like! Pretty terrifying stuff!!!
If your veterinarian doesn’t have information or recommendations for you on products you’re interested in or on nutritional supplements or changes you may make to improve your pet’s health, it doesn’t mean they aren’t a good vet! They are working super hard to keep every pet they see healthy. Veterinarians are just expected to know SO much information. They are your
pet’s dentist, ophthalmologist, internist, dermatologist —- it’s a lot we ask from vets already. So don’t be too hard on them if they are cautious of supplements or vitamins … they have their reasons. There are veterinarians out there that have special interest in this area, however. Seek them out. All healthcare for our pets should come FROM VETERINARIANS, not random chat rooms, FaceBook, the neighbor, and online forums!!!! Do you know many of my most deadly emergencies as a veterinarian is from people giving their pets products they read about “online” or was told by a friend “ was fine” - scary sad stuff.
Lastly, I would say on the flip side – there are some really great Holistic/Integrative veterinarians out there. HOWEVER, there are extremes on every side. If you work with one of these veterinarians, and they are advising to not listen to your traditional veterinarian or advising AGAINST vaccines, or believe ALL medication is bad then run….. and run fast! I truly believe in the integrative approach to medicine. Using both traditional and holistic medicine at the appropriate times can really improve our pet’s health.
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