NuVet Supplement=Same Old Snake Oil

A client recently asked me about a product, NuVet supplement, which after a little investigation seems to be the yet another fine example of snake oil marketing. It is quite similar to a product I reviewed not that long ago, Protandim, though all quack remedies share a lot of characteristics (as my reviews of DogtorRx, Supraglan, and others illustrate). Many of these characteristics are classic warning signs of snake oil, and in the case of NuVet, these include:

A “kitchen-sink” mixture of vitamins, minerals, herbs, and other ingredients, some of which are essential nutrients or have individually shown some interesting properties in test tubes and mice, but none of which shown to be safe and effective in treating or preventing any disease in dogs or cats.

This hodgepodge is advertised as treating many unrelated diseases (cataracts, Cushing’s diseases, diabetes, allergies, etc) with good results and no risks. These include:

Vague claims are made about treating “oxidative stress” and “inflammation”, with the implication that “anti-oxidant” and “anti-inflammatory” agents must automatically be safe and beneficial.

Glowing testimonials are offered to support the wild claims made, but not a single clinical study has been done to demonstrate the truth of any of them.

A money-back guarantee is offered, though how this compensates for the suffering or even death of your pet caused by relying on an untested and probably useless remedy isn’t really clear.

Too good to be true? You bet!

What Is It?
The two products NuVet promotes are NuVet Plus and the NuJoint Plus. The joint supplement contains glucosamine, chondroitin, and MSM. I have written about these ingredients before (1, 2) and the bottom line is that human and animal research evidence strongly suggests there is no benefit to taking these products for people or animals with arthritis. Barring contamination with something toxic, which happens surprisingly often due to the lack of effective regulation of supplements, NuJoint is probably harmless and useless.

The ingredient list for NuVet is much longer:

Alfalfa (Canine formula only) Alpha Amylase Amino Acids Beta Carotene Blue Green Algae Brewer’s Yeast Cat’s Claw Chicken Liver Copper Evening Primrose Oil Iron L Methionine Magnesium Manganese Oyster Shell Papain Phosphorus Pine Bark Potassium Selenium (Yeast) Shark Cartilage Taurine (Feline formula only) Vitamin A Vitamin B Complex Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) Vitamin B3 (Niacin) Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid) Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) Vitamin B12 Vitamin C (Ester C™) Vitamin E Whey Protein (Feline formula only) Zinc

Talk about everything but the kitchen sink! The rationales given for the inclusion of each range from vague descriptions of what the normal role of some of the nutrients is in the body to totally unsupported assertions about supposed magical clinical benefits. I will address these claims in a moment.

The story behind the “discovery” of this elixir is either a perfect example of the naïve and unscientific thinking that should warn consumers they are being offered snake oil, or it is a carefully crafted marketing gimmick.

It all began years ago when I was noticing certain changes in my beloved furry companion, Elvis…Even though I had always cared for him and tried to give him the best food available, it became apparent that Elvis needed something more. After several trips to our veterinarian and at a cost that I don’t even want to think about, I was left to try and find a solution on my own. All the medications and changes to his diet wasn’t making any kind of significant difference and I feared my best buddy was quickly slipping away from me. I tried all kinds of vitamin and herbal supplements because I knew there was something his body needed that he wasn’t getting but I just couldn’t find the right stuff.

It occurred to me that, like my Elvis, many other dogs and cats were not taking a sufficient regimen of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants equivalent to advanced human supplements used to fight against the damaging effects of free radicals, which are a major cause of disease. I thought that the right combination, in the exact formulation, using only the highest quality of ingredients, would be required to rid pets of these damaging elements and would create a scenario for greater health and a much longer life span.

Blake G. Kirschbaum President

Mr. Kirschbaum goes on to claim his product is needed because of “obvious” deficiencies in conventional pet diets.

Because most pets lack proper nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in their diet, even when they are getting the top of the line food, NuVet® scientists understood the necessity of filling this dangerous gap. Commercial pet foods can contain harmful “by-products” and useless fillers that can be toxic to pets, causing allergies and serious diseases. This kind of atypical diet creates a scenario whereby their food may actually be creating unstable oxygen molecules known as Free Radicals.

The next step after this brilliant insight was to set up a crack team to develop and promote the magic supplement all dogs and cats apparently need.

I decided to take matters into my own hands and established NuVet Labs®. I put together a team of highly respected scientific, medical and pet industry professionals that had the same goal as I did; to create a nutritional product that would go beyond current supplements that only gave symptomatic relief. Our objective was to make a truly effective nutritional supplement that would attack the root cause of sickness and disease, eliminating the free radicals and other sources of the problem, once and for all. This became my mission and although it took our team 8 years to perfect the formula, we finally got it right. An independent laboratory tested several dogs and cats, varying in age, size, and health conditions, under the direct supervision of a team of veterinarians. 

Our Advisory Team is composed of a veterinarian, a doctor of pharmacy, a pet supplement and pet food formulator, a doctor of optometry, a licensed financial advisor, a litigation insurance administrator and a senior hospital purchasing manager.

Eight years of effort dedicated to solving the root causes of all disease finally vindicated by an unpublished test in “several dogs and cats.” Wow!

I have added the emphasis above to highlight the pre-existing faith Mr. Kirshbaum evinces in the nature of his dog’s health problems (nutrient deficiency and free radical damage) and the solution (the “right” supplement), as well as the astounding arrogance and naïveté  this narrative demonstrates. The very foundational principles behind this product are unproven and scientifically empty beliefs, not well-established principles of health and disease. And the claim being made is that the One True Cause of disease, and its solution, which has eluded all scientists everywhere in the world has now been cooked up by one visionary and his small team of mavericks Not a good start.

Does It Work?
The underlying theory that all these disparate chronic diseases for which scientific medicine does not have a definitive cause or cure are caused by oxidative damage due to poor diets is nonsense. While free radicals exist and do cause cellular damage and even disease, this little core of real science has been rebuilt into a bogeyman that bears no resemblance to the truth. Like all overly broad and simplistic ideas, the oxidative damage hypothesis has proven far less robust than initial enthusiasm for it would have suggested, and many purported anti-oxidants have turned out to provide little benefit in preventing or treating disease, and even in some cases have been shown to be actively harmful (e.g. 3, 4, 5).

While many of the individual ingredients in the product are essential nutrients, there is absolutely no reason to believe that they provide any health benefits except in cases in which a pet is deficient in a specific nutrient. Providing excessive vitamins and minerals to prevent or treat diseases is seldom beneficial and, again, sometimes actively harmful (e.g. 6, 7, 8).  And there is extensive evidence to show that while commercial diets are by no means perfect, they are not the deleterious pile of toxins and garbage described by those who are trying to sell supplements (e.g. 9, 10).

As for the other ingredients:

Alpha Amylase: There is no truth to the claim that digestive enzymes are beneficial for normal animals (11)

Bluegreen Algae- There is no reliable evidence to support the health claims NuVet makes for this ingredient (12). And some species of bluegreen can be highly toxic, especially to dogs (13).

Brewer’sYeatst- A source of B vitamins, but not an effective flea control product (14).

Cat’s Claw- There is weak clinical evidence in humans of anti-inflammatory properties to some of the chemicals in this herb, and there are also reports of serious side-effects (15). There is no controlled research evidence to show safety or any benefits in dogs and cats.

Evening Primrose Oil- There is limited evidence for benefits treating eczema in humans, and otherwise no solid evidence of benefit for any other disease (16). It may be a good source of essential fatty acids, which could theoretically have some benefits for allergic skin disease or arthritis. Obviously, the claims concerning cholesterol and atherosclerosis are irrelevant since dogs and cats do not suffer from this disease.

Papain- There is limited evidence for benefits of papain in humans for shingles and sore throat, and no reliable evidence for any other benefits (17). There is no reason to believe it has value as a “digestive enzyme,” and the limited research on it as a hairball remedy in cats and rabbits has not shown any real benefit.

Pine Bark Extract- There is some laboratory and animal model evidence that chemicals in this extract have anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant activity, but actual clinical benefits have not been demonstrated in human or animal clinical trials (18). As always for any chemical with real physiologic activities, there is the potential for side-effects (19). I am not aware of any clinical trials investigating the use of this ingredient in dogs or cats.

Shark Cartilage- Shark cartilage has been proven ineffective for advanced cancers of various kinds, and there is inadequate evidence to show benefit for any other condition (20, 21). The harvesting of sharks for this supplement as well as for food contributes to the decline of threatened and endangered shark species (22).

And finally, as well as most important, there appears to be  absolutely no published research evidence of any kind evaluating the safety or purported benefits of this product. That is not a good sign.

Is It Safe?
As indicated for the specific ingredients above, harm can result from indiscriminate use of even essential nutrients. The amounts of each ingredient in the final product are not made available to the public, so it is impossible to evaluate the safety of the doses even for those ingredients for which safe and unsafe levels have been established.

Due to the inadequate regulation of dietary supplements and herbal products, it is impossible to ensure the accuracy of ingredient lists or the absence of dangerous contaminants, both of which have been real problems for such products (23, 24). There is also no formal system for collecting and evaluating reports of harm from such products, so the only assurance of the safety of the product is the word of the manufacturer.

Bottom Line
This product is a hodgepodge of nutrients, herbal ingredients, and nutraceuticals thrown together with no clear logic or rationale. The claims that many pet diseases are due to toxins or other deficiencies in commercial diets and to oxidative damage are unsupported by any real evidence. Only a few of the specific claims for the ingredients in the mixture are backed by research evidence, and the quality of this is generally poor and only available for humans. The advertising of the product contains many of the hallmarks of snake oil marketing, but it does not contain any research evidence at all concerning the safety or effectiveness of the product, because none appears to exist.

While I have no reason to doubt the sincerity of the manufacturer of this product, I believe it is unethical to sell a product with no research establishing the safety or efficacy of the product for any disease and with little to no research even into the safety and efficacy of its constituents. Promoting the product with unproven or outright false claims about pet nutrition and disease designed to instill fear in pet owners and with wild and ridiculous claims about the effectiveness of the product for numerous unrelated diseases is wrong regardless of how sincerely the manufacturer believes in their own pseudoscientific theories. Any responsible manufacturer of a medical therapy should be expected to demonstrate their claims through rigorous science before profiting from the desperate need of people with sick pets.









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187 Responses to NuVet Supplement=Same Old Snake Oil

  1. zyrcona says:

    Dear SkeptVet,

    A friend who enjoys conspiracy theories and the idea that natural things and folk remedies are better than synthetic medicines keeps suggesting to me a product called Verm-X to use as a wormer on my dog. I have looked at the website and I can’t find any trials mentioned anywhere, any lists of the worm species it’s supposed to be effective against, and when I can find information on the ‘active’ ingredients in it, they appear to be misspelled Latin names of common culinary herbs and weeds. The product also bills itself as ‘an internal parasite control’ rather than a wormer, which to me sets alarm bells ringing. Could you perhaps do an article on this?

  2. skeptvet says:

    I’ll look into it. Thanks for the suggestion!

  3. Ray says:

    Your distorted view of nutrition is totally unfounded. Research has proven the value of supplements and if you are truly a licensed vet you would know that. How many classes did you take in school that put down good nutritional advice? I think you are a quack and have no idea about pet health and anyone that uses your services is putting their pet in jeopardy. Nuvet Plus saved the life of my little mutt and if you read the testimonials of thousands of pet owners maybe you will be able to educate yourself a little more than this senseless babbling!

  4. skeptvet says:

    You can say all the silly, nasty things you can think of, but they don’t amount to an actual argument or evidence. Given that you believe testimonials are reliable evidence, you clearly don’t understand how science works, so you are hardly in a position to question anyone else’s grasp of nutrition or to claim “research has proven” when you don’t actually present any to support your claims.

  5. RICHARD says:

    Sadly, I think you are the one who doesn’t “understand how science works.” There is no lab in the world that will perform the rigorous trials you require on herbs and supplements; there is no funding for it, as these products are not restricted or patented.

    I do not disagree with your concern about inadequate regulation of herbs and supplements. I just think you are confusing and wasting that valid message by your irrational demands for “clinical trials investigating the use of this ingredient in dogs or cats.” Your strident and derisive tone may make for good blogging, but do not lend to a well-reasoned conversation.

  6. skeptvet says:

    Well, we can agree to disagree about tone, which I think is really an irrelevancy. I’m happy to have reasoned discussion, but some people find saying “I think you’re wrong” strident and unreasonable.

    I think the excuse of “There is no money for research” fails on several levels. For one thing, it is untrue. I have written often about the huge profits in the dietary supplement and herbal medicine industry. This industry has also been found to spend a much lower percentage of profits on research than the pharmaceutical industry, largely because there is no regulatory requirement to prove safety and efficacy. I think it is unethical to profit from unproven healthcare products and make little to no effort to scientifically evaluate their safety and efficacy. If the drug companies did this, it would never be viewed as acceptable, but the supplement and herb companies seem to get a free pass on this one.

    The other issue is that it matters little whether or not there is funding to do the research, that doesn’t change the fact that without the research we don’t know if these things are safe or effective, so we are gambling with our patient’s health. I don’t think playing roulette in this way is justifiable.

  7. Alberta Turk says:

    Snake Oil did nothing for my 9 year old poodle pretty costly snake oil

  8. v.t. says:

    Richard, I am confused. Why wouldn’t you want a regulatory body overseeing unproven (and possibly very harmful) herbs and supplements in veterinary medicine? We’re seeing every day how untested herbs and supplements are harming humans, and finding out so many are unnecessary, despite the claims by Big Supplement and alt practitioners.

    Another fact, pets are not humans. If herbs and supplements are to be prescribed, based on science based medicine, we need proper formularies, precautions, contraindications with other drugs, weight-based doses and a plethora of other parameters. Cats, for example, cannot metabolize many compounds. Big Supp and Big Herb haven’t shown they care about research, safety or efficacy, and that doesn’t bother you?

  9. Dan Timmel says:

    Dear SkeptVet,

    Thank you for your analysis of this product.

    We just purchased a puppy from a very conscientious breeder, who bought the sales pitch, and requires owners to use NuVet. I did not think to ask her if she is compensated by NuVet Labs, because I knew nothing about the product until we got home and I read the brochure. I only caught about half the red flags you point out, but that was enough to prompt a search. Luckily your post came up in the first results.

    While the sales brochure makes it clear (thankfully, for those who are looking for it) that NuVetv is not an evidence-based product, I do not have your knowledge to understand the risks of the untested ingredients in unlisted amounts. Thanks for that information. I reluctantly conclude that we should not follow the breeders instruction in this matter. Which will be awkward, because I do not think there is any chance I could persuade her of the risks, let alone the waste of money. My choice is thus to give my new puppy a potentially harmful substance, or lie to the breeder when we next check in with her. My resentment of the situation this puts me in is directed at the manufacturer, not the breeder. Like many people, her very strong feeling of commitment to the animals is transferred to a product that says all the right things to mirror her values and feelings.

    I have learned in professional experience counseling families of pediatric cancer patients that for most people who make decisions on a subjective basis, there is very little avenue through reason to influence their opinions. And what avenue there may be is mediated by first establishing a relationship. That is very hard to do over the web, so you will always have detractors. We know from the extensive research around the Meyers-Briggs temperament inventory that just about half the population tends to make decisions subjectively, based on feelings and values, while the other half tend to varying degrees to make decisions based on evidence and logic (not always scientifically ‘logical’, but using reasoning). I guess if you can just help half your readers, you are still doing a great service. For me, spotting the Cochrane Reviews in your links was verification of your approach.

    So, thanks again.

    Are there any ‘vitamins’ I could give with the Eukanuba Puppy Growth food that are least not harmful? It occurs to me that I would feel better saying that ‘yes we are giving the vitamins’.

  10. skeptvet says:

    It certainly does put you in an awkward position when your breeder insists on something that makes littles sense or for which there is no real evidence.

    In general, comemrcial dog foods are formulated to be nutritionally complete, so the chances of any micronutrient deficiency are quite small. No supplement should be needed with these diets because they are already supplemented during production. Unfortunately, beyond the level of nutrients needed to avoid deficiency diseases, there is little information about optimal levels of micronutrients or other dietary consitutuents, and we rarely know if more of any specific substance is beneficial or harmful. Recnet work in humans suggests vitamin supplements are rarely beneficial in the absence of gross deficiencies, and in fact they raise certain health risks in some cases. This article links to a number of studies or other information on the subject. So I usually recommend no additional supplementation if a complete and balanced formula is fed.

    If you want more information on the subject, you might look for a board-certified veterinary nutritionist near you or take a look at the web site for the nutritionist Dr. Rebecca Remillard, which has a nice section of common nutrition questions, including discussion of the issue of supplementation.

    Good luck with your puppy!

  11. cz says:

    The only thing I can say it these 2 products have made a huge difference in my 12 year old dog. I have tried to go without because of the cost but my old dog just struggles to get around without, so I always go back. I know 3 other people that have also had remarkable results and would not do without even with the cost. I was just ordering more directly from NuVet when I saw your unwarrented statement. Maybe you should talk to some real NuVet users before slamming the product. Whatever is in the product…it works!

  12. v.t. says:

    cz: Maybe you should talk to some real NuVet users before slamming the product.

    Why? Those would only be anecdotes, not evidence.

    Whatever is in the product…it works!

    How do you know? What does it work for? How do you know you’re not being merely subjective and your dog really isn’t benefitting at all?

  13. Melanie says:

    Thank you Skeptvet for your insight and knowlege about nuvet plus. i, like many other pet owners, grasp at anything that might help their pet when a problem arises. My black lab has had a couple canceds removed. she now has fatty tumors. i do not feed her any table scraps and she gets fresh veggies and fruit as treats. she has allergies which wefe defined by blood tests so i have changed her food and as much of her environment as i can. nuvet came up first for the search i did. i scoured the site and bought into the marketing. went thru the first 90 days supply in 45 days at the suggestion of them to kick start the process. first bottle gone. i call them to order a second bottle as mayb it needed more time. but i ask the cs rep y there r no negative comments on their site. i said u cant tell me over all the yrs u have been in business that there are not a few people this didnt help… because it isnt helping my very simple issue. all the testimonials on their site r for worse than what i m dealing with and i see no improvement with something simple. i was accused of being argumentative and looking for a reason not to buy the product. i took my lab in for a check up… her kidney enzymes r up. they were fine b4 nuvet. i m discontinuing this product and appreciate the candidness and honesty of your comments. in addition… i m interested in your research in protandim. i have friends, a chiropractor, beginning to sell this and the canine stuff. i have gone to a couple seminars and i too think the presentation is vague. they keep hounding oxidative stress. i just want something to help get rid of fatty tumors… if there is such a thing ;( boo to nuvet

  14. Kelly says:

    I started my 7 year old lab/mix on Nuvet last week she was diagnosed with anaplastic carcinoma of the nasal cavity. I have to say that her nose stopped running and she has her energy back. When I was reviewing information about Nuvet another site came up for Tumexol, are you familar with this product? The man behind this product has some back ground but he claims that Tumexol helps fight against cancer. What are your thoughts on this product.

  15. Kelly says:

    Sorry, the name of the product is Tumexal.

  16. Jane says:

    I would love to know what your education is to be giving the advise you are giving. Are you like the Pet Food Adviser that has given himself the title when has no education in pet nutrition what so ever and is truly a human dentist.
    I have 7 of my dogs on NuVet Plus, 2 on NuVet Joint. The difference I have seen is amazing. NuVet is in NO way snake oil.
    As well as a friend of mine has a dog with lymphoma. The dogs lymph nodes were huge, one the size of an orange. After putting him on NuVet the one the size of an orange is gone, the others are about 1/3 the size they were.
    Don’t know where your info comes from but I have first hand proof, with not just one animal.

  17. skeptvet says:

    As for my education, you can find it through my FAQ page, but I’m not sure why you ask since I doubt you would change your opinion no matter what my credentials are. Nor should you, since individual expertise is not itself evidence. On the other hand, individual experiences such as yours aren’t reliable guides either, as I’ve discussed often before.

  18. Leanne says:

    Dear Skeptvet, thank you for your investigation of the NuVet products. I have a pug who has suffered with allergies for most of her life, she is 8 y/o. She licks her paws excessively and suffers from chronic ear infections. I have tried supplements, prescription medications, diet changes (including raw food diets) allergy shots, homeopathic veterinarian remedies… all to no avail. I was just about to give this product a try, as I am desperate to make her more comfortable. We did go the blood test route, which I was told upfront, is not completely accurate. These less than reliable tests showed evidence of my pug being allergic to grass, various trees, flea saliva, dust mites and venison. I was more frustrated than ever with that information. It seemed as if a plastic bubble was our only hope of ridding her of itchy paws and ear infections. I currently have her on the 4th brand of grain free, high quality kibble. Sorry to be so long winded, but my question is, have you done any research on the product, DinoVite? It is even more expensive than the NuVet products and from what I’ve read, it includes a grain based ingredient, which seems to defeat the premise that grains are one of the most common culprits of allergy in dogs. Any feedback you can give me is greatly appreciated! Thank you.

  19. skeptvet says:

    I’m sorry, but as far as I can tell from a quick perusal of the DinoVite website, it is just another untested mixture of vitamins and other nutritional supplements, and there is no reason to believe it will be of any help to your dog after the failure of so many other therapies. I would strongly consider seeing a veterinary dermatologist (again, if you already have) to discuss a management plan for your dog. Allergies cannot be cured, and they can be tough to manage, but there are new strategies emerging all the time, and sometimes a comprehensive plan combining a number of specific interventions can be of great help.

    Good luck!

  20. Mary says:

    I recently went to a Holistic vet that prescribed 2 products for a skin & coat condition for my puppy. I was wondering if you know anything about these two products: Catalyn 90 & Canine Dermal Support (from Veterinarian Supply) since they are supplements and not RX. Thank you in advance for your input.

  21. skeptvet says:

    Catalyn 90- multivitamin with a hodgepodge of other ingredients. No specific research on this product (as usual), but there is no evidence a multivitamin is beneficial to dogs unless they are fed an extremely unusual diet with nutritional deficiencies, and there is gowing evidence in humans that multivitamin supplements can cause harm.

    Dermal Support-a lot of glandulars which, as I’ve writtena bout elsewhere, do not have good supporting evidence of benefit, and a hodgepodge of seemingly randomly chosen herbs and supplements.

    This is the sort of everything but but the kitchen sink approach to medicine that makes no sense and seems frankly reckless to me. It is irrational to throw together a dozen ingredients each of which is unproven and the combination of which has never been tested and then assume you’re going to help rather than harm the pet. I wouldn’t waste your money until they can come up with some real evidence these things are safe and helpful.

  22. Diane says:

    Leanne, I would definitely take skeptvet’s advice if there is a veterinary dermatologist within driving distance of where you live. I used to work with a dermatologist and she helped many, many dogs whose owners were at their wit’s end. A dermatologist can help you stop spinning your wheels. For example, ruling out possible food allergies requires a level of strictness you may not realize–even the tiny amount of meat flavoring in a Heartgard pill can defeat your efforts; and rather than eliminating one ingredient (grain), the key is to eliminate almost all ingredients (leaving just a couple). So don’t despair, there is more that you can try, but you’ll get a lot further with less frustration if you have a dermatologist’s guidance. Your vet can help you find one, or you can search using this link:

  23. ccfox says:

    I will tell you that the difference this had made in my bulldogs health is wonderful. If you own a bullie you know the cost of their upkeep. I have no more bubbles between their toes, less shedding, butter hips, stool that is better formed (used instead of probiotics) and I can go on and on. This is a wonderful product for both bulldogs and pugs, you will see the difference even if you feed the royal canine that is the best dog food on the market for these two breeds.


  24. skeptvet says:

    So if I tell you that space aliens captured me and gave me a magic powder that cured all my pets’ ills, should I expect you and everyone else to believe me just because I tell the story? Anecdotes are just opinions, but all they prove is that you believe something; they don’t show that what you believe is actually true. That’s what science is for.

  25. Jenna says:

    Wondering how you could say this about something without realizing how many Dogs it has helped. Our dogs have been taking this product for over 2 years. My boxer Abby had terrible allergies that made her lose most of her hair and she would bleed all the time from her paws. She was practically bald, and itching and scratching constantly. After 2 months of nuVet, she started to regrow her hair and her paws stopped bleeding. Now, 8 months later, she looks like a show dog and has absolutely no allergy issues.

    We were giving her allergy shots, she was on med after med, and we trialed what seems like hundreds of different foods. We spent a fortune trying to get her well again. A friend recommended trying it out, and it was the only thing that made her better. You can’t write what you’re saying about something that you don’t know about first hand. Their product is my Abby’s lifesaver. I think it’s sad that you say something like this about a company that has helped so many.

    And wondering why you have avis rental car discount codes and travel coupons at the bottom of your site? That seems “skeptical” to me.. Just sayin.

  26. kevin says:

    My dachshund was diagnosed with pancreatitis about a year ago. After a month of strict dieting his enzymes went down to 600 from 640 (any over 400 is pancreatitis).
    Dude is 13 and acts like a puppy thank God. Vet says don’t bother with more tests if he’s feeling that good. I will continue to purchase this snake oil.

  27. skeptvet says:

    Of course, I see that happen all the time without this snake oil. But you are free to believe whatever you like.

  28. v.t. says:


    I hope you understand the seriousness of pancreatitis, it is an excruciatingly painful disease and difficult to manage because oftentimes it becomes chronic. The symptoms vary with every episode and without proper treatment, it can be debilitating and deadly if acute turns to systemic (which can affect any organ and complicate matters greatly).

  29. Robert says:

    The breeder of our Newfoundland would only guarantee the health of our new puppy if he received a daily tablet of NuVet Plus. The breeder stated that the pup was having some loose stools when we picked him up but knew we would be able to get this resolved since we’ve had many large dogs before. After three months of multiple vet visits, diet changes and samples set off to Purdue, it was found that these NuVet tablets were causing the explosive diarrhea. Now at nine months old the pup is doing fine and staying away from this product. I consider NuVet Plus to be a poison. We’ve contacted the breeder and others who have purchased puppies are experiencing the same symptoms.

  30. chris says:

    Hey skeptvet have you heard of “Nupro” ? it’s another supplement I keep hearing that’s real “good”

  31. skeptvet says:

    Sounds like the usual hodgepopdge of stuff.

  32. Lisa says:

    You are being so hypocritical. Anyone that says anything on here in favor of NuVet you pay no attention to what they are saying and you completely slam and insult them. If my pet was gravely ill and you told me “space aliens came down and gave me this magic powder and it cured my pet” I might try it out of desperation. At that point what have I got to loose? Most people are willing to try anything when they are at their last option, as most people love their pet’s dearly. What’s wrong with that? How do you think any cure is discovered? It’s by trial and error first, then come the scientific studies to find out why it works. Penicillin is a great antibiotic for most people, but I am highly allergic and it will land me in the hospital if I take it. What makes you think NuVet is any different? I works for some and doesn’t for others. I do know first hand that it cured my cat of IBD and gave the other 2 more energy and the shiniest coats I have ever seen. It worked for my animals, so is that not my own “scientific” study? Sure I don’t have numbers for you or anything like that, but please by all means come on over and “scientifically observe” that my poor cat is no longer exploding out her butt 5 times a day and it’s because of NuVet because I didn’t change anything else. Just because it worked for my cat, does not mean it will work for someone else’s, but why not let them find out for themselves? If there is something out there that can give people a glimmer of hope when their beloved pets are not well, why hate on it? If you had any compassion for people’s pets at all, why not tell them that it might help, and if it doesn’t then at least you tried all options available to you, without forming your own opinion first.

  33. skeptvet says:

    If my pet was gravely ill and you told me “space aliens came down and gave me this magic powder and it cured my pet” I might try it out of desperation. At that point what have I got to loose?

    What you have to lose is you can make your pet worse, especially if you use this kind of snake oil in place of medications actually tested scientifically. You either believe science gives us the most reliable knowledge in medicine, or you believe in everyone making up whatever they want to believe. Anecdotes don’t mean much and dismissing them is not being hypocritical, it is demonstrating an understanding of how we gain real, reliable knowledge of the world.

  34. v.t. says:

    Lisa, false hope. Quacks sell false hope because they have nothing else to offer.

    How do you know that NuVet CURED your kitty with IBD? Did your vet actually rule out other causes? Surely you understand that many, many GI and inflammatory issues can mimic IBD but are in fact, not IBD.

    Energy levels and shiny coats. Healthy animals usually have both. It doesn’t take dubious alternative products to produce energy and shiny coat.

  35. Lisa says:

    Wow, my bad. You’re right. I must have made up in my own silly mind that I cleaned up explosive diarrhea off of WHITE CARPET every day, several times a day, for 7 months. I can’t possibly know anything about my own pet’s condition, or know that nothing the vet gave me or recommended worked. Not to mention I got tired of giving my vet most of my paycheck. What was I thinking!?

    I didn’t have the heart to return her to the shelter I got her from because I made a commitment when I adopted her, even though I was at my wits end. So I tried something my vet didn’t recommend. I must also be imagining that I no longer clean up poop all day long.

    What I find so insulting with your comment is how my experience is not considered “real, reliable knowledge.” I apologize for being so inferior to you. Whether it was NuVet or magic space aliens, she is better and NuVet did not make her worse. And just for the fact that I don’t have to scrub diarrhea all day, every day, I will continue to believe the “quacks.”

  36. v.t. says:


    I couldn’t be more happy your kitty is doing well (I’m very partial to cats as well as strongly advocate shelter adoptions). The point I’m trying to make (and that I asked for, were other conditions ruled out?) is that just because the diarrhea resolved, does not mean it was a direct result of the NuVet. IBD is oftentimes incredibly difficult to diagnose, and most owners do not opt for expensive diagnostics (such as an endoscopy w/biopsy, ultrasound, etc in difficult cases) – and there are half a dozen things that can cause the same symptoms. An equally effective treatment for some cats is simply change of diet with or without anti-inflammatory medications – other cats require additional treatments.

    Your vet could have tried to throw the book at this condition, I was trying to ascertain if IBD was a definitive diagnosis – and since we don’t know exactly how he approached diagnosis and treatment prior, the use of the NuVet only, seems rather weak for evidence.

  37. skeptvet says:

    No need to apologize. My experience isn’t any more reliable than yours, which is why I rely on science. The difference is that I understand the limitations of all unsystematic individual observation, including my own, and you don’t. That is not your fault, of course, but likely the fault of the same education system that allows most Americans to reject the evidence for human evolution or global climate change.

  38. ASD says:

    So is there anything you recommend to aid in our new additions health? Nuvet was recommended to me as well..after research I can’t give it because I’m skeptical. Anything besides a good diet?

  39. skeptvet says:

    Preventative health care involves all kinds of interventions depending on the details of your pet and his/her lifestyle, so I would encourage you to talk with your local veterinarian. Preventing obesity, which is the #1 health problem in most pets, appropriate nutrition, appropriate socialization and behavioral management (since the most common reason people surrender their pets is behavioral problems), appropriate vaccination, dental care, activity and enrichment, and many other things can support good health, so there is a lot you can do apart from “magic” supplements like this one. Good luck!

  40. James Oglesby says:

    Dr. Skeptvet: Some years ago I began a jogging program,eating a healthy diet and drinking lots of skim milk. Time went by–I began getting severe calf cramps. I remembered giving pregnant ladies vits and calcium for this malady back in Med school. Taking extra calcium prevents this and still does. Legend has it that tea from a bark of a south american tree helps chills and fevers in malaria. Now I hear that a colloidal silver solution can cure malaria. I have no axe to grind. You have a tendency to come across as an all-knowing scientist who accepts nothing but what you have ascertained to be the one singlular truth (not unlike preachers of certain belief systems). If you were to admit that there are other possibilities out there, even though you personally don’t ascribe to them. Even admit that something might work even though the mechanism is unknown to you, I think your negative bloggers might give you a little slack, and they might be more receptive to your advice. My Grandmother said : ” more flies are attracted to honey than to vinegar” Otherwise, I respect your knowledge, expertise and advice. Good on you. Keep up the good work.

  41. skeptvet says:

    I think you misinterpret my position. I have an open mind, and most of my “negative” articles merely criticize strong claims made without evidence.It’s not that these things don’t work, it’s that people freely claim they work without evidence, and that’s dangerous. Arrogance is believing your own experience is superior to the objective evidence of science, and humilty is accepting we are all limited in our ability to judge the nature of reality without the assistance of scientific methods.

    Similarly, I have no pseudo-religious faith in a singular truth. Simply believing that some ideas are true and others false isn’t a sign of fanaticism. After years of careful thought and study, I have concluded that the scientific method is, while not perfect, the most reliable path to knowledge about the world, including the nature of health and disease. It is the method I believe superior to the alternatives (intuition, anecdote, tradition, etc), not a particular theory or position on the details I espouse.

    And as for honey and vinegar, while I attempt to be substantive and poilite, the fact is that saying “What you believe is not actually true” can never be honestly couched in a way that doesn’t offend the belever. That doesn’t mean there is no value or purpose in saying this when it is the case.

    You also make a few references to claims which are themselves untrue or misleading, so they don’t support your point about open-mindedness very well. Cinchona bark for malaria for example. An entirely different bark was used in So America for all kinds of fevers, not just those from malaria. It didn’t work for any of them. When it became rare and difficult to get, Europeans substituted cinchona bark, which also didn’t work for most fevers but accidentaly did have some affect on the malarial parasite, though not nearly as much effect as modern medications derived from scientific research into the causes of the disease. So this is not an example of the wisdom of keeping an open mid, but merely an example of how if we make enough wrong guesses, we’re likley to make a right one by chance once in a while. Science is a much higher percentage bet if one is trying to find treatments for disease.

    Similarly, there is no evidence colloidal silver cures malaria (if you are aware of any clinical studies of this, please share them), so this seems more an example of how easily people believe unproven claims than of why we should keep an open mind.

  42. Pamela Stansbury says:

    I was also skeptical of Nuvet in the beginning… The breeder had my Rough Collie puppy on Nuvet Plus when I got him.. I reordered and continued to use it for the next 6 months. Then I decided not to reorder and saw the difference a few weeks later.. His coat was not nearly as nice and he began having stomach upsets at least once a week.. I reordered and within 2 weeks the stomach upsets stopped and his coat returned to gorgeous.. Will no longer be without it. Just my personal experience. I would not continue to order I did not see the results for myself.

  43. Lisa says:

    Arrogance is also believing you know everything about everyone. I am not American and was not educated on the American education system. I do understand evolution and I am not blind to the fact that climate change is happening as we speak. How dare you assume you know anything about my intelligence level just because I have a different opinion about how to take care of my cat. If you put your opinion about something on the internet for the whole world to see (not just America, might I remind you) you are going to get a whole bunch of opinions about it, and not every single one is going to agree with you. It is dangerous to assume that just because science, or anyone else for that matter, said so that it must be true. I refuse to believe science alone as proof, as there are still things that scientists do not understand and cannot understand, because there will always be some level of human error and it is absolutely impossible to know everything. And before you jump all over me for that one, no I am not talking about “faith.” Don’t forget science also once told us the world was flat. Get a life.

  44. skeptvet says:

    I’ve never said anything about your intelligence, so you made that up and your anger is your own problem. You might be a genius for all I know, but that doesn’t mean you’re right.

    It’s fine if you disagree with me, but it’s ridiculous to assume that I won’t respond to your comments critically, so again your taking offense is your own problem. Just because science isn’t perfect doesn’t mean the alternatives are better, and we’ll just have to disagree about the value of personal experience.

    What you don’t seem to understand is that the arguments against things you claim to believe in (evolution, climate change) are justified in exactly the same way you ar ejustifying your claims here. If you use the same methods of supporting your claims as others you accept are wrong, doesn’t that suggest those methods aren’t necessairily very reliable?

    No matter where you were educated, you clearly have significant misconceptions about how we generate reliable knowledge about the world, and you are clearly unwilling to even listen to the suggetsion you might be wrong about how things appear to you. So I can’t see the point of further debate.

  45. Lisa says:

    I am not unwilling to listen. I just believe in gathering information from all aspects before I make a decision about something. I said I understood evolution, not that I was trying to prove it. I honestly don’t have a clue where we came from, and who can say for sure. I will not believe something just because someone tells me to, that is my right, same as it is yours. As for climate change, I don’t need a scientist to tell me the ice caps are melting. I can see that with my own eyes. Just as I can see that my cat got better. I have nothing else to go on, other than that, and I am not trying to say it will work for the next person. The only argument I was trying to make was that just because there is no current scientific evidence to prove NuVet does not work, doesn’t mean that it can’t work. Maybe it can and it just hasn’t been proven yet. Or maybe it can’t and I just got lucky. Either way my cat is healthy and if my experience can maybe, possibly help someone else, isn’t that a good thing? You say there are no studies to prove it does work, well have there been any to prove that it doesn’t? And even then, how many previous theories have been disproven, even after everyone believed them to be true? All I was trying to add to your blog was that I had a good experience with it, that’s it. There is no further debate. I have my opinion and you have yours, thats the beauty of free thinking. Thank you and good day.

  46. Lorna Reed says:

    I stumbled on to this SkepVet Blog while searching for a product to remove tear stains from my dog. I had been entertaining the thought of trying NuVet’s product and looked at the order page and saw it had no specific place to order such a product, the orders offered were for one or two products. So I called. Surprise. No tear stain product, but what they offered “should” work. I don’t want ‘should” I want WILL. I am still looking for the product I need. But, in the meanwhile I read your blog, loved it. Made perfect sense to me. And such a perfect way to confuse the writers, with fact. If you have any suggestions to help my search, let me hear from you. I have the necessary education and brain cells to understand most things, otherwise I can make grunting noises. Thanks for a delightful read. L. Reed.

  47. NuVet User says:

    I have had my dogs on Nuvet for about 1 yr now. They were all in top health to begin with because they have the very best diet and they get lots of sunshine and exercise with a lot of love and mental stimulation to boot. I was told about NuVet by a very good friend. I can tell you this, I imported dog and he came in with Kennel Cough, I had all of my 6 week old puppies on NuVet and not one of them caught this very contagious virus! To me, that was amazing because all of our beloved dogs live in the house and the Bordatella virus can be deadly to babies. About 1/2 of my adults dogs caught it but it only lasted a few days rather than weeks. There was no throwing up vile, no runny noses and no gagging. No-one had to be taken to the vet. I had experienced Kennel cough one time before this, it was several yrs ago and a new puppy that I had just bought picked it up from the vet’s office. He got very sick very fast, he went from normal in the morning to a runny nose by that evening and then I had to rush him to the ER vet because he passed out. Turns out his throat had swollen and when he looked up it blocked his airway and he would pass out. It was awful, I thought he would die, he was at the ER vet for 2 days. The cost of the stay and the treatment was approx $3000. I was so nervous I would relive that experience but luckily, that did not happen and I contribute that to the immune building properties in NuVet. It is pricey but no more so than other supplements that are filled with artificial ingredients and sugar and many other things that I would never feed my dogs. You are entitled to your own opinions but I would like to know how you can insinuate that NuVet may harm our pets. You say they have no scientific evidence that it works, where is your scientific evidence that the amount of herbs and minerals are harmful or toxic. You say they are making claims without scientific research but you are pretty much throwing them under the bus when you are doing the same thing. Where is your scientific research that NuVet does not work or that it is harmful. Here are some Human drugs that have been scientifically tested and they have been used on humans with tragic results. Some have even caused DEATH! There are currently Class Action Lawsuits against them. The newest ones are as follows:

    Resperdal- causes males to grow breasts. The medical term for this is Gynecomastia.

    Yaz-The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Adverse Events reporting system indicated serious side effects such as heart arrhythmias, electrolyte imbalance, hyponatremia, hyperkalemia, stroke, gallbladder problems, blood clots, embolisms and sudden death following the use of Yaz and Yasmin in some cases.

    Here are many others that have had Class Action Lawsuits:

    How much good did the scientific studies that were performed on these human drugs do for the people and families affected by these medications.

    For our beloved dogs how about the Trifexis drug? You can look anywhere on the internet and find people that had healthy dogs who took Trifexis and died! I know a lady who had her dog on it, each month she gave it to him and he would have seizures a few hours later. Her vet told her this was a safe treatment for fleas tick and parasites and that it could not be the Trifexis. I looked it up thinking there had to be a link and I found many articles about dogs that died on this drug: Here is just one of many:
    I suggested that she take her dog off of it and he has never had another seizure, that was about 6 months ago. I am pretty sure before that drug was made available to vets to prescribe to our dogs that it had to be scientifically tested.
    Here is a lawsuit against a vet who allegedly prescribed a common scientifically tested drug Rimadyl w/o explaining the side effects and according to the plaintiff it killed their 3 yr old dog.
    Point being…. even scientifically tested drugs are not MIRACLE CURES! They could also be considered snake oil. Any drug or herb or supplement can be harmful or deadly to any person or animal who may have an allergy to one of the ingredients. I will tell you that another friend of mine started using NuJoint and she was able to wean her dog off of Rimadyl and another medication he was on. He is 12 and he could barely move. With the NuJoint, she said he now runs and plays like he is a puppy again.
    Not all drugs will work for all people and/or pets and scientific research does not guarantee safety. I feel that you are taking away hope of many who believe what you say because you are a vet. Just as most humans tend to believe everything that their doctor tells them. It is dangerous and irresponsible to us and our pets to blindly believe and follow advise of Doctors and vet’s just because they wear the white coat. After all who benefits from sick people and sick animals. Not the people, not the pet owners and not the pets! It is up to us to use what you seem to consider our low IQ’s because we were educated in America and do our own research and homework not just take the word of the whitecoats before we decide to give our innocent trusting animals drugs or supplements. As for me. I will continue on the NuVet because I have not seen one Class Action Lawsuit against this company and I have not heard of one dog or cat that it has made sick or killed. I have heard of many great results from people that I personally know and I have had my own experience. I am sure that there are a huge number of animals that are on the NuVet products it is highly recommended by the very people who use it. So maybe you should not worry so much about scientific tests and worry more about actual results because according to the information that took me less than 10 minutes to research it does not look like scientific research proves the safety or the effectiveness of any drug or we would not have so many Class Action Lawsuits, would we?? I have given you several examples of health issues and deaths caused by your scientifically tested medications, I would love to see you post one article that proves NuVet harmed or killed one single pet. If you can’t do this then maybe you should just stop bad mouthing a great product that has done so much good for so many four legged children.

  48. skeptvet says:

    Fine, so we do extensive studies on medicines, we weed out most that are harmful but despite the research, some cause unexpected problems later on. That would seem to suggest that medicine is really complicated and we need even more and better quality research to ensure safety. But instead you suggest we just try stuff and see what happens because that’s safer? It seemed to work for your dogs so that means we don’t need any scientific research and we should all feel safe using it? That’s ridiculous!

  49. v.t. says:

    Testimonials from others who likewise have no proof of safety or effectiveness but use their personal belief system instead for evidence, along with “research” otherwise known as University of Google, – does not make a claim true.

    It has happened with supplements and herbs for as long as it has happened with medicine. It always seems like a super idea, until statistics gathered many years later on the health of patients indicates the product is/was: a) useless or b) harmful.

    Supplements and herbs don’t get a pass, and certainly do not get a pass just because people make wild claims without supporting evidence. There is new evidence all the time (thanks to science), that many supplements and herbs are useless and/or harmful.

  50. Julie says:

    I feed my dog a home a diet consisting of chicken, chicken livers, eggs a variety of vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, kale etc. and steel cut rolled oats. He gets blueberries blackberries strawberries bananas any fruit that I eat he gets. He also gets I heaping tablespoon of pumpkin and Greek yogurt along with vitamin E and fish oil. I also crush the eggshells for calcium which he gets approximately a teaspoon every day. When I told my vet about his diet she suggested a multivitamin just in case. I went to the nuvet websiteand thought it all look pretty good so I called them. During the conversation I explain what I was feeding him and that I didn’t want to give him too much of any vitamins and was there anyone I could talk to about that. The woman’s response was these are all water soluble and your dog will just expel if not needed. Well that alone was a big red flag for me…buy our expensive vitamins and he’ll just pee out what he doesn’t need what bs.
    Thanks for all that you do I appreciate it…Julie

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