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December 4th, 2013 Volume 4, Issue 49 Follow Us Facebook Twitter Youtube
If Dogs Could Talk

Small Fish…Huge Pond: Holistic and Raw Food vs. Traditional Veterinary Medicine

by Evan Price

In late August, Amber, Rob, and I traveled to Kansas City, Missouri for the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association Conference (AHVMA).  Our goal was to link up with vets who are open-minded to raw feeding, ask them to recommend our food to their clients, post their information on our website (so our customers could potentially find a holistic vet in their area), and ultimately: help more and more pets live long, happy, and healthy lives.

What I did not realize was that this year, the conference for holistic vets was being held in the same convention center as the conference for traditional vets. In fact, the only separation between both events was a large curtain.  Some of the traditional vets wandered over to the holistic side, and many of them looked like they were in outer space.  



I had heard rumors about what was on the other side of the curtain, but what I found shocked me!

As I snuck behind “enemy lines”, I felt like a deer in headlights; the showroom floor was MASSIVE.  Every conceivable animal business was there: food companies, pet insurance, companies that produce surgical instruments, pharmaceutical companies, even companies that provide loans to get new vet practices started.  The Hill’s Science Diet booth even had an education center, teaching vets about canine nutrition (I found this funny, yet tragic).  The traditional side was ten times bigger, filled with booths that cost $50,000-$100,000, not counting the equipment.  No wonder it commanded 85-90% of the foot traffic.

Meanwhile, back on the small side of the curtain, I was having fun with the vet students.  You see…veterinarians are only required to take one classroom hour of canine nutrition, which is generally done by a guest speaker (usually a Hills or Purina rep).  One might think that more education than this is given, but one would be wrong.  As they would approach our booth, I would ask them “So…have you had you canine nutrition classes yet?”.  Every single response started with “Well…um” (not a good sign).

But these vet students are the ones that can be impacted and made to listen to the idea and concept of feeding a raw dog food diet. The vets who have been practicing the same way for 30 years are a lot harder to break through to than the ones still finding their bearings.  And they are not to blame either.  How can we expect someone to go against everything that has been taught over a lifetime?

I think the only real meaningful way to break through to veterinarians in mass is to reform the curriculum.  What would happen if vet students and techs were given more info about canine and feline nutrition in school?  What would happen if the Hills rep was counterbalanced with a BARF rep, and we let each vet decide which path to take?  

While this works in theory, the reality is that far too much money is at stake to allow raw feeding to become the standard.

But...there is a bright spot to all of this.  While we are in no way the majority, the raw community IS growing.  There were at least 8 other raw food companies present.  There were acupuncture, acupressure, and reiki practitioners.  There was a company that makes mobility devices for handicapped pets, and another that made a periodontal supplement for gum support.  The varieties of raw/holistic/homeopathic treatment options are becoming increasingly popular for a reason…people are seeing the benefits of non-traditional pet care.  I didn’t even mind being positioned right next to a competitor…I was just happy to see that there are others who share our passion AND our philosophy.

We even had a chance to meet one of our new vendors, face-to-face.  Wapiti Labs is our supplier of elk antler chews, which was our “Product of the Month” for October.  They also supply us with a canine Mobility supplement, as well as with some other homeopathic tinctures.  We had already been planning to carry their products, but it was nice to have the opportunity to actually meet the people on the other side of the phone.  

There are many great people working for great companies with great pet products, and we are lucky to have found another wonderful partner to help us in our commitment to helping pet parents raise healthy, happy, and thriving animal companions.

All in all, the experience was eye-opening to say the least.  While I was disappointed at the disparity between the AHVMA and the traditional veterinary practice, I remain hopeful that one day, the gap may be closed.  In the meantime, the struggle to educate people (and vets) continues.  

Until next time…happy BARFing!

                                              
                                               
Evan Price is a Raw Pet Food Specialist for BARF World Inc. He is a true dog lover at heart with a particular interest in Daschunds. Evan is also an avid sports enthusiast and bridge player. For more articles like these and to learn more about the benefits of raw food for your pets, sign up for The Intelligent Pet weekly e-zine at The Intelligent Pet.


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add2ABG
Brighthaven's Adoptable Dog


Dear Friends,

This poor baby has only TWO MORE DAYS LEFT at the shelter before being euthanized due to overcrowding and because he is blind and about 13 years old. He is a neutered male and so very, very sweet. He is at the Merced County Shelter #A112198

Please spread the word and contact: Dana (ddulaney2@gmail.com) if you know of someone who will take this little guy in.

 


--Just a very quick update on 2 of our featured furry friends from former eZines--


Leo
I know you all wondered but Leo is in a wonderful loving place and will be moving this week with all his friends (12 of them!) from New Jersey to Oklahoma on a 5 acre farm.......what a lucky guy!!



Aslan
Just a very quick note to let everyone know that Aslan left the vet's office yesterday and went to foster care in San Francisco. Many thanks to Family Dog Rescue for taking him into their foster and adoption program, and to Marlane for getting him from Fremont to SF.

Susan Hoffman
BrightHaven Rescue Coordinator
susanh@brighthaven.org
Pet Alert!
Dogswell Recall 11/20/2013 - True Raw Choice - recalling Dehydrated Pet Treats For Salmonella.
Dogswell Recall 11/6/2013 - Bailey's Choice - expanding its voluntary recall of its chicken dog treats because of possible Salmonella.
Dogswell Recall 9/11/2013 - Joey's Jerky - voluntarily recalling Chicken Jerky due to Salmonella after 21 people identified with the same strain of the illness.
Dogswell Recall 8/30/2013 - Nestlé Purina PetCare Company - voluntarily recalling 3.5 pound bags of Purina One Beyond due to possible contamination with Salmonella bacteria.
Bark Out Loud


What's In A Name - More Than You May Think

An article by the Boston Globe highlights new trends in dog names as well as delving deeper into the reasons why we choose them. Unlike names for children, which trend from celebrity and upper classes, pet's names originate from sports, cartoon characters, animals, and even foods!

CLICK HERE to read on.


Wags Of Wisdom

It often happens that a man is more humanely related to a cat or dog than to any human being.
Henry David Thoreau
The Foot

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