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Old 04-23-2017, 12:12 PM   #1
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Default Do veterinarians get kickbacks for selling dog food?

This is a question that comes up and is answered repeatedly, but it seems to be a myth that won't die, so I created a separate thread to set the record straight. The answer is “no.” The people who promote this conspiracy theory never provide any evidence that it is true. However, there is plenty of evidence to show that it is NOT true, primarily testimony from numerous veterinarians. Of course, the avid conspiracy theorist doesn't trust what vets have to say anyway, or they pick and choose what to believe. It's a free country, and people are free to harken back to the good old days before veterinarians, when dogs only lived to be a few years old. (Within reason, because animal welfare and public health laws sometimes set limits on how much a dog's health can be neglected, or how often they need to be vaccinated.)

Here are a few links and quotes about the dog food kickback conspiracy:

https://thunderjump.wordpress.com/20...omment-page-1/

This article starts out as biting satire, but makes the following conclusions:

The only thing that vet students get from food companies during school is a student price on the pet foods and maybe a pizza lunch with a noontime “talk” about a nutritional topic sponsored by a company. That’s it. Yes, they appreciate the discounted food. They are, after all, making zero income while attending four years of vet school. The discount is a drop in the ocean as far as cash for the major companies; they can afford it, and they hope to leave the students with positive feelings toward their diets.

But to take a pizza lunch and imagine that this forgettable ‘perk’ will spread out to influence the entire career of a veterinarian, to invent kickbacks and biases and thoughts of unethical behaviors is just… silly. Some people have a little too much time on their hands.

I feel that I have to stock certain diets because I actually believe that my patients will benefit from them in the management of certain diseases. Most of these diets are marked up 40-60% (lower than the pet store markup). If I pay $30 for a bag, I sell it for $42. Of that $12 in apparent profit, though, most is eaten up in the costs of having the stuff in the clinic, so the clinic pockets about $3 per bag. None of that goes into my pocket. It makes up part of the 10-12% profit margin that most veterinary clinics show. We use that money to reinvest in equipment and upgrades for the hospital. Any salary increases for the veterinarians also comes out of that 10-12% of profit that the clinic makes.

The food companies don’t care about me or my clinic. They don’t pay me anything to sell their foods. They are too busy selling about a thousand times as much food to my local pet store to spend one second thinking about me.

The food companies aside, I don’t understand how people can really believe that a vet takes a “kickback” on food sales and is making money hand over fist on it… but will still go to that vet. If you really believe that your vet is that unethical, walk. You cannot trust anything he says, ever, about anything. If he’ll accept money for selling you something, that’s corrupt. In fact, if you really believe this is happening you should immediately make a complaint to your local veterinary medical board, because this is illegal in most areas.


I'm in Vet School! A rant (prescription, science, teeth, treatment) - Dogs -* - City-Data Forum

I am a current veterinary student, and have also worked in 3 separate clinics (including 1 large and 2 small animal) for 12 years, so that is my background.

Regarding nutrition classes: all school are different with different requirements, so I can only speak for my own. At my school (in the States), we are required to take 2 nutrition courses. There is a 3rd available that is an elective. It is not taught by food representatives. It is taught by a professor who has more letters behind his last name than most (including a Bachelors in animal nutrition, DVM, Ph.D. in nutrition, and board certification in nutrition). He has active research in nutrition focusing on small animal, as well as numerous publications in peer reviewed journals. Never, ever has any food rep taught even a portion of a single class. That would NEVER be allowed. Food reps ARE allowed to come on campus and host lunch seminars, in which students are invited, but not required or even encouraged to attend. These seminars exist to educate and (of course) promote their products.

No vet that I have ever worked for has EVER received a "kickback" for carrying/selling a prescription diet. They carry these diets because they believe it to be the best for specific conditions based on available research and have had success with it in the past.

To think that vets are idiots because of the diets they promote is laughable. Vet school is extremely difficult to get in to and only top students get in. To think that we are able to complete the rigors of vet school only to be absolute morons when it comes to nutrition because we don't skim the internet for some stay-at-home mom's version of pet nutrition is again, laughable.

The are claims that vets are only out to make money is completely false. For the amount of schooling we put in, we are among the lowest paid professions. Anyone in it "just for the money" would be in a different field. Rest assured, we all love animals and have their best interest in mind!



A Vet's Guide To Life: The Great Veterinary Food Conspiracy?


What irks me and many other vets is that many of these pet owners seem to get the feeling that there is a great conspiracy in veterinary medicine where food companies completely dominate education on nutrition and gleefully influence the weak-willed veterinary community into blindly recommending their diets, which everyone knows aren't really that good.

I think every veterinarian is familiar with these discussions and comments. The words may vary but the sentiment is the same: "Pet food companies teach the nutrition classes and sponsor the research, therefore what vets learn about animal nutrition is wrong." That's the essence of this "conspiracy" about manufactured pet foods. Unfortunately for the detractors of common foods, there is no validity to any of these claims.

Let's start with the classes. Pet food companies absolutely do NOT teach the nutrition classes in vet school. Veterinary colleges utilize professors that are specialists in their field and are independent of any for-profit company. Various vendors and companies have given lunchtime lectures at schools, but that is not related to classes and are always voluntary. The curriculum is also determined by academics to meet standards of education and testing in the field. These companies have absolutely no influence whatsoever over the content of these classes. I challenge anyone who feels differently to find an official for-credit veterinary nutrition course taught by someone working for a food company.

Here's the gist of the argument from people like those whom I've quoted above: Many thousands of veterinary specialists, researchers, instructors, and general practitoners are merely dupes of the food companies and have no ability to think for themselves or really investigate the issues. Only the small handful of vets who are against these foods really know the "truth" and are the only enlightened ones. And of course all of the breeders, pet owners, and people on forums know more about animal physiology and diets than the huge majority of the veterinary profession. Also, all of the pet food companies could care less about our pets, don't really have an interest in quality nutrition, and are merely trying to market crappy food as cheaply as possible to the ignorant masses.

If this were true it would require an incredible conspiracy between food companies and veterinarians, as well as incredible stupidity among veterinarians. Does this really seem likely? Doesn't it make more sense that the nutritionists and research is valid and these foods aren't really bad?


I'm no longer following the other thread on the "Pet Fooled" documentary because peoples' responses were leaving a bad taste in my mouth. However, for anyone to say that vets are uneducated on animal nutrition and that they are taking kickbacks from Royal Canin and Hills is irresponsible and in my opinion, they owe the members of Yorkietalk an apology.
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Old 04-23-2017, 02:20 PM   #2
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I actually took my vets price and went to a few of the online places you can buy Callie's prescription food and there was only a difference in cents and my vet was actually cheaper. Thanks for posting.
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Old 04-23-2017, 06:37 PM   #3
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Ask anyone in the pet food business: treats are much more profitable than food. The food is just the draw. The hope is that the customer will buy treats and accessories while shopping.

I'm much more concerned that my Yorkies insist on picking up a bag of CET chews when we visit the vet. Our vet is a mercenary and puts those bags in plain sight at the checkout counter so that I can't leave without buying one.

Seriously, there is no incentive for food companies to give kickbacks to vets to carry their food. Sure the companies benefit having their brand seen at the vet's office, but they don't need to pay the vets extra to carry it.
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