Saturday, January 15, 2022

WSAVA, AAFCO, DACVN? Navigating Pet Food

     For most people, pet food is no easy game. The conflicting recommendations (both online and off) and near-constant onslaught of new selling techniques and novel formulations from companies trying to get a leg up in the market creates a labyrinth of decision-making for consumers. Luckily, there are resources available from a variety of reputable organizations and experts, but even keeping those straight can be confusing. This primer should help lay a foundation to better understand a lot of the buzz in pet food forums. 

Sunday, November 7, 2021

Dog Owners Recount DCM Heartbreak in FDA Comment Docket

     September 21, 2021, the FDA CVM hosted a virtual Listening Session on the Oversight of Pet Food. In addition to the live, recorded session of oral presentations, a comment docket was opened for public submissions and closed 11:59PM EST on 10/25/2021.

In total, the docket has 137 published entries. Broken down by topic:

  • ~20 pertain to the use of 4D (dead, dying, diseased, down) meat in pet foods
  • ~12 are on the subject of transparency and access by the public to FDA (and/or AAFCO) meetings
  • ~12 are in regards to various other issues or general opinions of the FDA
  • Nearly 100 are about diet-associated (non-hereditary) dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM)

Of those, a handful are from concerned pet owners, advocates, and veterinary professionals. The vast majority, however, are the heart-wrenching personal stories of affected pet owners and their dogs, including those deceased, those continuing to battle, and those recovered. These pet owners represent only a minuscule fraction of the over 1100 complaints submitted to the FDA (as of 7/20/2020) and yet they are a poignant reminder that this issue is more than data, statistics, research papers, and debates between academia and industry. 

There are real dogs, real people, real families, and such real heartbreak underlying this investigation. Many of them have called on the FDA to take more action towards this issue.

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

What's in a DVM?


 What's in a DVM?

Are not those whom we call doctor, for any given species, just as competent?

    Veterinarians, much like physicians, dentists, pharmacists, nurses, and others, are healthcare providers. Veterinarians and physicians, particularly, are two sides of the same coin, providing roughly the same scope of services to two different populations of patients: humans and non-humans. But what exactly happens in a DVM curriculum? How does it compare to an MD program? What exactly is the scope of veterinary medicine? Given the frequency with which veterinary professionals seem to find their status as medical professionals undermined, answering these questions is prudent. Let it be emphasized that the purpose of this article is not to disparage any other healthcare profession or to imply the superiority of another. Rather, the aim is to highlight the rigor that is present in both programs and illustrate that veterinarians are just as much medical professionals as any other practitioner, prompted by shared experiences across the profession where our competence, qualifications, and education are routinely questioned.