Monday, July 13, 2015

A series of 4th year student papers written in 2010

These papers were written in 2010, by my students as an assignment for their 4th Nutrition Elective. The data, results and conclusion drawn from this paper can be compared to the diets presently available from the same companies, to determine if any modifications of the2016 diets were made by the same companies. If changes have occurred have they cited the research to support the changes? One major change has been the sale of Iams to Walthams.

Introduction   to the Series (written by Meg Smart DVM, PhD)
Veterinarians are spokespersons for the pet food industry. A responsibility that should not be taken lightly. As advocates of the industry, veterinarians must understand nutrition and be able to judge independently what is best for the clients and their pets. In the past, veterinarians have left this responsibility in the hands of the industry and now the time has come for  the profession to take over the reins.
Our professional associations and veterinary schools have formed lucrative and mutually beneficial partnerships with the pharmaceutical and pet food industry.[i] These affiliations leave us as veterinarians accountable to the public, as trained professionals, to the verify the claims made on our behalf by these companies. The Canadian veterinary medical Association suspended the operation of its pet food certification program in 2007. In the fall of 2007 a brief survey of CVMA members indicated that:
  • “— 82% of CVMA members surveyed think the CVMA should continue to be involved in the certification and on-going monitoring of pet foods ensuring they meet nutritional standards.
  • 85% of CVMA members surveyed want the CVMA to be actively involved in the certification and ongoing monitoring of therapeutic diets distributed through veterinary clinics.
  • 84% of CVMA members surveyed support CVMA involvement in potential new federal regulation regarding pet food.” [ii]
An article appearing in Veterinary Economics  suggests that during these tough economic times, veterinary practices need develop strategies to grow their revenue. One opportunity is to increase the sale of therapeutic diets. Client awareness and education can be accomplished by “a nutrition advocate” position to increase this market. This individual must be well educated about the therapeutic diets sold; in order to serve as liaison between the veterinarians and clients.[iii] But who will educate this advocate ? Data have shown that while veterinarians place between 35% and 45% of patients on therapeutic diets, less than 7% of pets remain on the diet year-round. If owners have to come to the clinic each time they need more food, most will only keep their pet on the diet for about 3 months.[iv]

The consumer is becoming more concerned about ingredients|
·       The type and source of the ingredients included as well as excluded
On a daily basis,veterinarians dispense therapeutic pet foods . An over the counter pet food label bearing a drug claim is subject to enforcement action. The FDA exercises "enforcement discretion" in the case of veterinary therapeutic diets. Regulations allow pet food  companies  to convey information to veterinarians on the therapeutic function of a product provided a valid veterinarian/client/patient relationship exists. The assumption is that veterinarians' medical and scientific training is sufficient to enable safe and appropriate use of the product by clients. Most veterinarians are not aware that the FDA has not reviewed or verified  these claims  Despite this, manufacturers of therapeutic diets may have extensive documentation. The Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC),under the auspices of the American Veterinary Dental College, provides  for a fee protocols to and reviews data from companies with regard to dental plaque and tartar control claims and allows use of its seal of acceptance for products that pass. No other independent organization oversees therapeutic diet claims for products sold in the United States. or Canada  Dietary supplements are not considered foods but if used in animals still come under the scrutiny of the FDA. Although FDA does allow some supplements  on the market as "unapproved drugs of low regulatory priority" based on its determination of reasonable expectations of safety, it is not obvious by their labeling which products have passed  [v]
 This paper will review the steps a “nutritional advocate” should go through to evaluate and compare veterinary therapeutic diets in an unbiased manner. Unfortunately no uniformity exist on how the companies present their data. Data must be altered , assumptions made and questions asked so that proper comparisons can made and conclusions drawn.

Data Collection:
The companies websites, product keys and product information hot lines can be used to collect  data. The information collected should include the guaranteed analysis, the actual or typical analysis, the energy density of the diets , the feeding guidelines, the product claims ,  the ingredient list, the actual science behind the diets.
Building a Spread sheet
Spread sheets have made “number crunching” much easier with less mistakes than by the pencil and calculator method

[i] Canadian Veterinary Medical Association web site
[ii] 2007 annual Report of the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association
Jeff Rothstein, DVM, MBA

[iv] 2009David Dzanis and ,Kris Pratt Focus on Nutrition — Regulation of Pet Foods in the United States
[v]  2009David Dzanis and ,Kris Pratt Focus on Nutrition — Regulation of Pet Foods in the United States

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