The FDA is recommending placing limits on supplements for our pets. It is headed under the Draft Compliance Policy Guide and is called Labeling and Marketing of Nutritional Products Intended for use to Diagnose, Cure, Mitigate, Treat or Prevent Disease in Dogs and Cats.
Following are some of the recommendations of particular interest to us as pet lovers.
1. The product is made available to the public only through licensed veterinarians or through retail or internet sales to individuals purchasing the product under the direction of a veterinarian.
2. The product is not marketed as an alternative to approved new animal drugs.
5. The product does not include indications for a disease claim (eg. obesity, renal failure) on the label.
6. Distribution of labeling and promotional materials with any disease claims for the product is limited so that it is provided only to veterinary professionals.
7. Electronic resources for the dissemination of labeling information and promotional materials are secured so that they are available only to veterinary professionals.
Regulatory Action Guidance
Districts should consult with the CVM Division of Compliance, Post-Market Compliance Team (HFV-232) prior to taking regulatory action against dog and cat food products that claim to diagnose, cure, mitigate, treat or prevent diseases.
Priority for enforcement attention should be given to products that:
1. Are marketed as alternatives to approved new animal drugs.
4. Are made directly available to the public circumventing the role of a licensed veterinarian for provision of directions for use, supervision of treatment and evaluation of the treatment outcome.
These are the highlights of the FDA recommendations.
What does all this mean? Well, for starters, it gives veterinarians who are not knowledgeable about supplements the power to decide what and/or if your pet needs any supplements. Example: I’ve had vets tell me that glucosamine/chondroitin is useless when I have proof positive that it works. My GSD, Quanah, had one ear that flopped over for the first 4 years of her life. I started her on G/C for her hip and elbow dysplasia. After a short time, the ear flopping was corrected. Since G/C is used to strengthen cartilage and Quanah’s ears are made of cartilage – well, need I say more. I’ve also added Omega 3 to the mix. Her legs and hips may not be perfect, but she’s not suffering and in pain since I began this regimen 6 years ago.
If these recommendations go into effect, they have far-reaching consequences. Manufacturers of supplements, pet foods, drugs and more will feel the effects. Veterinarians will be bombarded with questions and requests. And of course prices to the consumer will increase considerably.
And the FDA’s recommendations are similar for human supplements.