Oh, the places in the Midwest you’ll go

When I was in college, I worked for a very prestigious urologist. I think most of you remember that. The Viagra researcher from Beverly Hills. Anyway, he had a beautiful office in Santa Monica, a home in Beverly Hills, and as a pre-eminent ED expert he was flown to male sexual dysfunction conferences all over the world, you know, Bora Bora, Fiji, Reykjacik, where he would stand flanked by, and I’m not joking, two enormous blue pillars and talk about how Viagra would change the world. (Well, he was right on that count.)

When I told him I wanted to go to vet school, he laughed at me. He asked why anyone would want to roll around in bales of hay when they could be human doctors and roll in dough. Then he said, and he was dead serious, that there were no female sexual dysfunction experts out there and if I hurried up, we could team up and be the Dysfunction Duo and conquer the world.

And then it was my turn to laugh. Can you imagine? I mean, I can’t imagine. I would rather spend the rest of my life palpating cow ovaries in a frigid barn than…well, do whatever you want with the rest of the sentence there. I think we all know my point. My point is, life could have taken a much different turn but things are fine and dandy here, thanks.

Besides, I get to travel. We all know the long standing rumor about pet food companies sending veterinarians to Hawaii, which I’m not against per se, but I pretty much know all the pet food companies now and NONE of them have plants there. I’ve suggested it, though. In the meantime, I’ve gotten to go to some very sexy pet food locations like Mason, Ohio; St. Louis, Missouri; and Topeka, Kansas. And next week- hold on to your shorts- I’m going to OMAHA.

Yes, next week I’m going to tour the Natura plant, which manufactures Innova, Evo, and California Natural- three brands, by the way, that I’ve deigned to include in my dog food rotation, so I am very excited to see the facility and see what they have to say.

It’s a good time to go, what with all the stories in the news about the Diamond recall (which this brand is not affiliated with.) I’ll ask any sorts of questions you want, about how they were affected by the merger with Procter and Gamble, about their manufacturing safety record, their thoughts on recalls, sourcing domestically versus internationally, you name it. I like getting into the details and learning how companies work, and I think those that have chosen to be transparent with independent media such as bloggers are doing the right thing.

I know that as long as I write about pet food I will end up going to places where pet food is made, which tends to not be those sorts of places with oceanfront property. But that’s OK, because- and I’m not even joking- I really would like to see Nebraska. I have my boots ready and everything.

So what do you all want me to ask? I leave Tuesday.

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  • http://twitter.com/Susanrae77 Susan Rae Scott

    I used to feed my diabetic cat Evo and thankfully we were able to keep her off of insulin for a while. However I started getting bags where at least a quarter of the bag was nothing but powdery crumbs. After the second bag, I complained to the pet store about it and was told that Evo had corrected the problem. 2 bags later I was still dealing with it. So I switched to Wellness Core and my cat is back on Insulin. Is it related? I don’t know but the switch to Wellness and going back on Insulin both happened around the same time. Very frustrating, especially when she seemed to prefer Evo over Wellness.

    • Summer

      I was just reading my boss’ lecture notes from a seminar about trying to manage diabetes with food. Now this was for dietary management at initial diagnosis, but EVO was on their recommended list, as many of EVO’s offerings are high in protein and low in carbohydrates. I can’t find the conference notes online, but here is an article that is similar…
      http://veterinarycalendar.dvm360.com/avhc/content/printContentPopup.jsp?id=695179

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=694042340 Susan Scott

        Thanks for that. I would like to switch back to EVO if I knew the quality was better. Hopefully by now they have actually fixed the problem that caused the food to be so powdery.

  • http://twitter.com/thepetfoodguy JT akaTHE DOG FATHER

    I’ve heard from someone else that visited the Natura plant that it is VERY clean

  • Lorie Huston, DVM

    LOL…I grew up in Omaha. Still go back to visit often. (I still have family there.) Have fun! It’s a great city, although I think the Natura plant is in Fremont just outside of Omaha.

    • http://www.pawcurious.com Dr. V

      yes, yes, it’s Fremont, but I like saying Omaha better and that’s where I’m flying into, so close enough. Aren’t you going to Ohio next week?

      • Lorie Huston, DVM

        I am going to Ohio next week and I’m looking forward to it too. Everybody knows Omaha, nobody knows Fremont. Have fun in Omaha :)

  • Lsarabethl

    I am very curious to know what they make of the diamond recalls – specifically if they can relate whether the short comings were outright negligence or they fall into the “spit happens” category.

  • Noelle Kathleen Barrick

    I have a question for you, Dr. V., rather than Natura. You mention that you have a “dog food rotation.” How often do you rotate and how do you do it without causing upset tummies?

  • Traci

    I live in Omaha! You’ll have to check out the Henry Doorly Zoo and the Old Market area! Enjoy your stay!!

  • http://fourwhitepaws.net/ Thecatguy

    I just wanted to validate your choice, you made the right career choice. Say hi to Warren for me.

  • txcatvet

    When I was a veterinary student, I worked for Natura as a rep on campus. Been to the plant a couple of times as well. They are the most transparent, honest company about everything that goes on there. You will be amazed by how they built the plant and how they make the food. Much nicer than some of the Hill’s plants (including the one in Belgium) that I have been to as well. And they will tell you exactly what they think of the recalls and how they prevent that sort of thing from happening as well – the quality control is incredible. When I first started working for them, it was right after the recalls in 2007 so it was a frequently discussed topic then as well. Don’t forget to see if they’ll take you to the testing center!

  • Lisa W

    I’m definitely interested in the merger. Sophie eats Evo and I’m concerned that standards and practices will change.

  • Becky W

    How do I know when I read a label where the actual ingredients come from? It’s all well and good to know where it’s manufactured, but where does the actual “stuff” come from? Would also be curious about your rotation! Thanks, Becky

  • jeanne

    i have a general question about dog food, that’s not specific to Natura. why do so few brands/companies carry a beef-based food? i’m guessing it’s cost, but i am curious. our puppy has a chicken allergy/sensitivity and she doesn’t like seafood based foods. since hamburger and rice are always the go-to when her stomach goes crazy, i figured a beef based food might be just the ticket. and i found two – made by the same company, thate venison/bison based. we tried the higher end of the two, and it’s worked miracles for her. her energy level is through the roof, she hasn’t gotten sick since she started eating it and she rarely has gas now. but there are basically no options. as i said, it’s probably due to costs, but for people in our situation, we’d gladly pay.