Is our Vet Industry broken?

Author: Louise (proHOUND Co-Founder)

Vet practices, when it comes down to it, are operational businesses. As a minimum, they require revenue to cover high overheads & direct costs and pay their hardworking staff. Most people are happy to accept that this means ensuring the health of their pets costs money.


...but what level of health is that?


A non-standard trip to your local vets (for perhaps a red eye or maybe a tummy rash) seems to always result in a round of antibiotics and “prescription” food. Often a pack of anti-inflammatory medication too. Practices must sell goods in order to break even. That’s why there’s now flea, tick & worm monthly payment plans for pets that don’t have fleas, ticks or worms – to supplement that gap. None of this is personal - it's just the way this mature industry is. The same goes for “boosters” – humans are not given booster jabs for diseases like hepC or MMR because the science of immunology doesn’t vary per species.


Pets are often given ‘food’ that is not only wildly species-inappropriate, but which also contains chemicals such as mycotoxins which are contributing to the pandemic of pets with cancer. This combination has a negative impact on a dog’s health and creates a recipe for the never-ending return trips to the vet, which likely wouldn’t be necessary if animals were fed species-appropriate food. It can become a vicious circle.


Sadly, vets are subconsciously influenced at a very early stage in their career; they are not always professionally trained in nutrition but are instead trained to robotically advise that all dogs and cats are to be fed bags of dry supermarket nuggets, blindly and without question. The marketing behind these brands is shocking: often a bag of ‘breed-specific’ kibble is actually the same as another type supposedly suitable for another breed when you look at the ingredients. Kibble manufacturers also infiltrate the vet practices; just watch this clip from Dr Karen Becker for the insider scoop.


proHOUND fully comprehends one of the reasons why a lot of vets are against raw feeding – it is sadly not correct to feed your dog ONLY tripe or ONLY chicken carcasses, for example. 
Please refer to our website and the myHOUND portal for plenty of resources, workshops and information about how to feed a fresh diet – it isn’t as expensive, inconvenient or complicated as is widely perceived!

Most holistic vets are actually mainstream vets who have merely invested a lot of time into a particular field. Their business models have to be very different; they actively discourage the feeding of biologically inappropriate ‘food’, injection of boosters and the use of flea, worm & tick treatment. That’s because they know it’s overall pointless at best and detrimental at worst. 

Holistic vets charge for their time and their appointments are a case of quality over quantity (number of customers per hour). They will generally allocate half an hour to one hour of their time to a client; it is common practise to leave having purchased nothing but their time but it is likely the client will leave armed with a shopping list!


The word ‘holistic’ is key – they take into account the entire medical history of the pet, perhaps some of their social history too and even how they were bred. They are capable of tailoring their medical advice to the individual, therefore providing a bespoke service.

To summarise, there are two completely different business models for traditional vs. holistic vets, but traditional vets dominate. What would the pet food industry look like if Great Britain, for example, refused kibble, boosters and unnecessary flea & worm ‘preventatives’? The vet industry would certainly be very different, perhaps even broken. It wouldn’t be ok to break the mainstream vet industry – they are irreplaceable in case of injury or emergency. Kibble manufacturers also hold too much power in the pet industry to be angered.

proHOUND’s advice is thus to research carefully, ask questions and take note of who is giving advice.
Please be aware that even the best holistic vet still isn’t an expert on training, so refer to a different sort of professional for your behavioural questions.



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