Barriers to Better Food Discussions with Vets

Those of us who are committed to feeding cats better need veterinary allies. Diet, after all, is a big thing to get wrong. It’s only natural we’d turn to the presumed experts on the subject to help us sort through the choices.

The results of a survey published by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) in July 2022 suggest that there are some serious barriers to getting to there from where we are now.

Obstacles to Vet-Client Nutrition Communication

The AVMA article shared the results of its survey of 400+ veterinarians in small animal general practice. It summarized opinions it gathered on perceived obstacles to, knowledge levels about, and confidence regarding pet nutrition discussions. A snippet from the abstract of the study:

Despite nutrition being 1 of the 5 vital assessments of small animal health, veterinarians reported on our survey that they are not discussing nutrition at every appointment and if a nutrition discussion does occur, it happens more frequently during a sick pet visit. Still, even when addressing a client regarding a sick pet, only 50.3% (186/370) of veterinarians reported discussing nutrition more than half of the time.

I’m glad AVMA made an effort to better understand what keeps vets from having vital health conversation about diet with clients. People are eager and ready for sound, unbiased information from veterinarians on issues that will help them make informed decisions about how and what to safely feed their cats.

Vets are who we turn to, usually first, when we’re looking for guidance on how to feed our cats. It’s exasperating to see that despite the overwhelming data to the contrary about dry food, most vet clinics are still selling and therefore implicitly endorsing dry food. That’s a strong message that does great harm to cats.

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