Same Snake Oil, Different Day

Knowing that I have an interest in investigating the evidence behind claims for veterinary healthcare products, clients and colleagues sometimes pass along materials concerning veterinary supplements, herbal remedies, and other similar products and ask my opinion. Since there are hundreds, if not thousands of products marketed to pet owners to preserve or restore their pets’ health, I can only look into a few. However, the more of these I investigate, the more clearly I see the patterns of disregard for science and manipulation of the consumer that they have in common.

The latest in this category is a collection of products from a company called The website and pamphlet for this company exhibits nearly all of the warning signs of quackery. The company systematically tries to frighten the consumer by suggesting that pets cannot be healthy without their product and that the food and healthcare they are currently getting is inadequate.

Give Your Pet a Fighting Chance

If you are feeding your pet one of today’s popular processed pet foods, then chances are, your pet’s body is depleted of the primary enzyme precursors nature provides abundantly in all living foods.

The fact that we continue to feed our pets such enzyme-less food over an entire lifetime may contribute to the growing list of animal health problems we witness today including; osteoarthritis, inflammation, joint pain, hip dysplasia, pano, OCD, HOD, shedding, hair loss, dry skin, itchy skin, digestive disorders, gastritis, pet food allergies, epilepsy, fatigue, hot spots, and many other stress related symptoms contributed to by a weakened immune system.

The whole “living enzyme” argument is complete nonsense, and there is no evidence for the suggestion that commercial diets are nutritionally deficient or responsible for this long, redundant list of random symptoms and disorders. Some of these problems may be related to nutrition, but that has nothing to do with the claim made here, which is baseless.

But the pseudoscientific nonsense doesn’t stop there. The web site also blames pet food, vaccines, and medications for a variety of ailments, again without paying any attention to the real, and complicated, risks and benefits of these interventions. Classic quack nonsense like claims about the Pottenger cat “study,” about boosting the immune system, about mysterious “toxins” as a cause of unrelated diseases,  and about Candida yeast infections as a common cause of many health problems are all over the company web site.

So, what are they selling with all this fear? Apparently, miraculous panaceas with uncounted benefits and absolutely no risks! Since they aren’t allowed to claim they can actually prevent or treat any disease without having evidence to support it (though they effectively do, despite the Quack Miranda Warning here and there), they promise to “support”

Healthy Joint function, Healthy Muscle Function, Healthy Skin and Coat, Healthy Nervous System, Healthy Immune System, Healthy Circulatory System, Healthy Endocrine System, Healthy Lymphatic System, Healthy Digestive System, Healthy Urinary Function, Healthy reproductive Function, Healthy respiratory System, Healthy organ Function, General Overall Wellbeing

I like how they throw in “Healthy Organ Function” and “General Overall Wellbeing” just to cover any possible body part they might not have thought of. So if you’re afraid the imaginary causes of illness they mention have caused your pets’ problem, or might cause something bad someday, you can take comfort from knowing they this product can treat or prevent absolutely everything (except when it can’t, in which case it’s because of the food, the water, the medications, or anything else except the lack of benefit of their product). 

What, exactly, are the miracle elixirs offered by

Ox-E drops
This consists of 5% sodium chlorite, a chemical related to bleach. Properly diluted, this chemical is a safe disinfectant, killing infectious organisms through oxidation. With a pH of 13, if not diluted the chemical can cause burns, especially to the eyes and mucous membranes. Accidental overdose can be fatal.

The company advertises this as helping in “the removal of potentially dangerous free radicals and toxins,” and claims that is boosts the immune system, supports digestion, and enhances “performance.”  Impressive claims for a potentially toxic disinfectant that is actually an oxidant rather than an anti-oxidant.

As the accompanying quack Miranda warning attests, and a simple literature search confirms, there is absolutely no evidence for any of these claims. Plenty of testimonials are offered, of course, which is always the evidence of choice for products that are based on pseudoscience and have never been tested in any reliable way.

Antioxidant Treats
The antioxidant hype is a common marketing ploy for supplements because it’s vague, and there is enough suggestive preclinical research to suggest the general idea is plausible. Unfortunately, there are few clinical trials which show significant real benefits from particular anti-oxidants in particular conditions, and the evidence is growing that some such agents, such as Vitamin E, can actually increase the risk of disease.

The specific ingredients include Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and a proprietary freeze-dried sprouted soybean meal claimed to contain:

The amount of the vitamins in the supplement are far in excess of what is recommended to prevent deficiency.

Vitamin A- 1000IU (recommended daily dose 50IU/kg, safe upper limit 2,099IU)
Vitamin C- 30mg (recommended daily dose 0, dogs and cats make their own)
Vitamin E- 5IU (recommended daily dose 1mg/kg)

These amounts are probably not high enough to cause harm, but given that most pets are fed diets already supplemented with more than enough of each, the amounts in this product are unnecessary as nutrients. The use of excess amounts of these vitamins as medicines to prevent or treat disease, is not proven, and has often turned out to do more harm than good when tried in humans.

As for the sprouted soybean meal, there is no scientific evidence to suggest health benefits from this either. The company sites a variety of epidemiological studies in humans indicating an association between eating tofu or other soybean food products and lower cholesterol levels, rates of some cancers, and a few other health problems. (They do not, of course, refer to any of the research in humans showing lack of benefit or potential risks from soy supplement products). All of this, unfortunately, is entirely irrelevant to whether or not this particular soy-based product has any benefits for dogs and cats.

The amino acids, vitamins, and minerals listed are all provided in adequate amounts in good quality commercial pet foods. The enzymes are of no benefit, particularly when taken orally since they themselves are destroyed by normal digestion. And none of the phytochemicals have yet been demonstrated to have any health benefits in dogs and cats. So while it is unlikely to be harmful, to is an expensive way to get a few nutrients your pet probably already has enough of and some chemicals that may or may not have any health effects, positive or negative. 

Black Leaf Tincture
This is an herbal product containing black walnut extract, olive leaf extract, and cayenne in 75% alcohol(!). The usual vague and unscientific claims are offered about supporting the immune system, the circulatory system, the digestive system, and so on.

Black Walnut- There is insufficient evidence to support any of the claimed health benefits despite traditional use for a wide range of unrelated problems. There is some concern about possible toxicity, from the walnut itself and from possible fungal contaminates.

Olive Leaf- The evidence in humans suggests some possible beneficial effects on blood pressure and cholesterol levels, but it is weak and not conclusive. There is no eveidence on the possible effects in dogs and cats.

Cayenne- There is a fairly large amount of preclinical research suggesting possible benefits in humans, but little in the way of clinical trial evidence, and nothing in dogs and cats. 

I’ve written extensively about probiotics, and this is an area in which I think some real benefits are possible. Unfortunately, we have yet to develop an adequate understanding of the normal gut ecology to be able to influence it in significant ways, and the evidence for real clinical benefits from specific products varies from weak to non-existent. does nothing to change this. Their product contains a variety of typical probiotic bugs, and there have been no clinical trials to show that the specific combination has any value. The product was tested, however, in a study looking at quality and label accuracy for veterinary probiotics. It was found to contain only 2.7% of the number of bacteria claimed on the label, suggesting even the ingredient claims made for this product may be questionable, much less the claims of health benefits. 

“A Veterinary Study”
The company does claim to have one rather large veterinary clinical study from 1989 showing that dogs with musculoskeletal pain benefit from its sprouted soybean product. The study was never apparently published, and the information provided on the web site does not make it possible to evaluate it extensively. Six unnamed veterinarians apparently diagnosed dogs with “musculoskeletal inflammation” based on their own exams and the opinions of owners. They gave the supplement to 387 dogs, and 340 of them were reported as improved in one of more of these measures: energy, alertness, stamina, appetite, and accelerated healing. Most cases improved within the first week.

This is almost a cartoon caricature of what a scientific study shouldn’t be. No randomization, no placebo control group, no standardized diagnostic evaluation, no objective diagnostic evaluation (all subjective), no clearly defined diagnosis, no blinding, no record of other conditions or treatments used, and no predetermined or even halfway consistent criteria for response. Any high school science class ought to be able to put together a better “study.” If this is the best the company has been able to do in over 20 years, there is absolutely no reason to believe they have any interest in the scientific validity of their marketing claims. 

Bottom Line
These products are being marketed with an impressive number of the myths and warning signs of snake oil and pseudoscience. The theories offered for why these remedies should help your pet range from complete nonsense to vague unproven hypotheses. There is no scientific evidence to indicate any specific benefit from any of these products for any particular condition in dogs and cats. All the testimonials in the world can’t prove any of the company’s claims to be true, nor can they guarantee that the products cannot hurt your pets. Just as there is little evidence regarding the claimed benefits of these products, there is little to demonstrate that they are safe.


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247 Responses to Same Snake Oil, Different Day

  1. Stefanie says:

    These products helped heal my dogs ailments when nothing else did. Products prescribed by her vet only worked for a week or two, but then her symptoms would flair up worse than ever. Scaby/smelly skin, red spots that very obviously bothered her, excessive shedding, bumps all over, just to name a few.
    I stand behind these products 100%. Your article, while articulate, does not take away from the fact that these products do work. You would be hard pressed to find negative feedback from anyone using them on their pets for short term or long term basis.

  2. skeptvet says:

    Unfortunately, the truth is not a popularity contest. After all, bloodletting was also wildly popular for thousands of years, and it actively killed people without helping them at all. Hee are just a few of the reasons why testimonials mislead us:

    Why We’re Often Wrong
    Testimonials Lie
    The Role of Anecdotes in Science-Based Medicine
    Why We Need Science: “I saw it with my own eyes” Is Not Enough
    Don’t Believe your Eyes (or Your Brain)

  3. Blake says:

    Thanks skeptvet for your candid blog about truth and facts vs claims and testimonials. As a pet owner and dog care business owner I am always asked questions about health and nutrition and supplements and food recommendations. My question is this: your statements are true about how presents itself, is there a company or product that does meet tested standards that has proven results?

  4. skeptvet says:

    It depends on what you mean. There are some supplements that have moderate to strong evidence for benefit (e.g. fish oils for allergic skin disease and arthritis), so companies selling those that stick to claims supported by good evidence are certainly meeting the basic standard of truthfulness in their advertising. Similarly, some products have limited evidence or are based only on a plausible but unproven theory. Companies that sell such products only by making limited and appropriate claims are behaving responsibly even if the evidence hasn’t yet shown with certainty their products work. The makers of Ocu-Glo, for example, made only limited, appropriate claims for their product initially, and they only expanded those claims when additional research evidence was available. That is an example of how such companies could and should behave.

    There is, of course, no panacea that cures many different conditions with zero risks, so nothing is going to be able to meet the standards of evidence necessary to support the kind of wide-ranging and dramatic claims all too often made for products like Nzymes. But there are companies that do a better and worse job of sticking to reasonable, evidence-based claims about their products.

  5. Angie says:

    One day I noticed my 2 year old bulldog was straining to pee but not able to empty his bladder. After an emergency consult, surgery and more consultations with even more vets, it was decided that my dog was probably suffering from an intolerance/allergy to something in his daily diet. I was told that the problem, in their experience, was most likely to have something to do with the meat proteins in his dog food. I was provided with a dog food brand that was “conveniently” being sold through the vet office.

    After the first day of the new food my dog developed horrible diarrhea. The vet reassured me that this was simply a matter of getting my dog use to the new food. Within 3 days of being on the “healthy” food, my dog became so lethargic he wouldn’t get off his mat. He had no interest in his toys, going out for walks, or even treats. Within a few days his skin became itchy/flaky and he seemed to be shedding a lot. Eventually he developed open lesions between his toes and his eyes were crusting shut, all in less than 10 days.

    When I told the vet that I would be discontinuing the prescribed dog food she angrily told me to choose between a dog that was simply uncomfortable or one that would constantly be facing life threatening health issues. Instead, I chose to find a new vet!

    Angry and frightened I was determined to do what I could to save my dog. Having seen first hand how radically diet could impact the health of my beloved pet, I made a few inquiries into the education of vets on this topic. I was probably very naive to expect nutrition to be something that veterinary medicine would address. After all, even most doctors with human patients know very little about dietary medicine. I have come to believe that what vets know about animal nutrition is basically whatever the pet food industry tells them.

    Looking for information on dog nutrition via the internet, I found the NZyme site and what I read there made sense to me. The switch in my dogs food did help with his lethargy but it wasn’t until I received and started using the NZyme products that his health really started to turn around. My new vet was amazed at the difference and now, 8 years later, I still swear by the product and will continue to recommend it to anyone who has an interest.

  6. skeptvet says:

    It can’t be said enough, this sort of story simply doesn’t tell us if these kinds of products are safe or effective. I wihs it were that easy, but it’s not.

    Why We’re Often Wrong
    Testimonials Lie
    The Role of Anecdotes in Science-Based Medicine
    Why We Need Science: “I saw it with my own eyes” Is Not Enough
    Don’t Believe your Eyes (or Your Brain)

  7. Jules Desjarlais says:

    I will be buying one container of NZYMES Sprout granules for pets and horses. Actually it’s for my horse, which has been limping from either a swollen tendon a prognosis from one vet or a Navicular syndrome another prognosis from another vet. I’ve tried a few different products but nothing seems to help. In one month I will give my results to see if this is just snake oil or not.

  8. Christine Donofrio says:

    My Corgie has lost the use of her hind legs. I purchased Nzymes because they implied that instead of a doggie wheelchair that the Nzymes have helped dogs to recover from this disability. I bought Nzymes and used it but my dog is still a paraplegic. In fact she was able to move her legs slightly but now not at all.
    As a pet parent, I do hope for miracles but I realize that there are no answers to the
    condition my pet is experiencing except to put her down. I don’t have the courage
    to do that and so I search and search for something.

  9. skeptvet says:

    Whatever happens, it won’t tell us anything useful about the safety or effectiveness of this product. Anecdotes are both deeply unreliable and almost always positive, even for remedies that don’t work, because that’s the nature of human psychology.

    Why We’re Often Wrong
    Testimonials Lie
    The Role of Anecdotes in Science-Based Medicine
    Why We Need Science: “I saw it with my own eyes” Is Not Enough
    Don’t Believe your Eyes (or Your Brain)

  10. Pam says:

    My babygirl was plagued with allergies and dry skin and ear infections and she was smelly. I have been using these products for over a year and followed the advice on the website about bathing, etc. She is 90% healed. They worked for my dog when nothing the doctor suggested did. Thank you as I was going to put my dog down. Anyone going through what we did will try anything and I’m thankful we did.

  11. Happy healthy no seizure dog owner says:

    My dog was having seizures repeatedly and more frequently. I called the vet and the first visit was going to cost $500 with approx $150 a month possibly for medicine to “help” with seizures. I was desperate. I found the Mymensingh website and ordered the antioxidant treats. I have just completed the first bottle of 60, 1 per day. So far, he has not had a single seizure since I started the treats. Don’t knock it if you haven’t tested it. Your word is only an untried opinion,n I have evidence of proven results….

  12. skeptvet says:

    Actually, what you have is just a story, not evidence. Stories turn out to be misleading in medicine, which is why science has done so much better a job at extending and improving our lives. Did you know that dogs in studies of epilepsy medications have fewer seizures when taking placebos, for reasons that have nothing to do with the fake medicine they are given? Everything is not always what it seems.

    Why We’re Often Wrong
    Testimonials Lie
    The Role of Anecdotes in Science-Based Medicine
    Why We Need Science: “I saw it with my own eyes” Is Not Enough
    Don’t Believe your Eyes (or Your Brain)

  13. Ludmilla M Bernal says:

    I adopted a 10 year old American Bulldog from a rescue. Four months after I got her, her rear legs collapsed and she could no longer use them. She had already been diagnosed with a neurological/spinal disorder and now the harness I was using to walk her was only useful to carry her hind area, dragging her paws to where she would go to the bathroom. She began to have bowl and bladder accidents in the house when she tried to scoot toward me to take her out. I found NZyme online and figured I had nothing to loose (120 day guarantee) and a lot to gain. I ordered it. The Youtube testimonials I saw showed a beagle wearing diapers that could not walk, start walking within a week. I was excited. I ordered the product and kept giving her the supplement. After about 6 weeks with no signs of improvement, I was just about to call the company to send the supplement back. However, that morning, I noticed that although she was still dragging her legs behind her, she appeared to be slightly lifting herself from the hind end. I continued with the supplement another week, and noticed when she became excited by the “wheeking” my guinea pigs make, she starting hopping on her hind legs to get close to them. Another week and now she is using her back legs in an attempt to walk when I use the halter to lift her hind end to go outside to potty. She was just dragging her hind legs and paws previously. I had to buy her special booties to protect her paws from getting wounds from scraping the ground. She also began to stand in place for short periods of time. Today she was actually standing to eat her food! I don’t care about your skeptism or your science, proof is in the end result (science is not always correct, there’s always that 1%) I would rather give my pet supplements than all the drugs and antibiotics that many vets use to mask problems instead of curing them, just to have other side effects later creating other diseases….just like the pharmaceutical companies. Have you even tried the product? Maybe you should, before you start assuming it is “snake oil” I love this stuff and am considering taking the human version of it! I will also be sharing my experience with others!

  14. skeptvet says:

    Spoken like a true believer. Unfortunately, this kind of faith-based, anecdote-driven medicine has failed spectacularly throughout human history, and it’s a shame that so many people can’t see that.

    Why We’re Often Wrong
    Testimonials Lie
    The Role of Anecdotes in Science-Based Medicine
    Why We Need Science: “I saw it with my own eyes” Is Not Enough
    Don’t Believe your Eyes (or Your Brain)

  15. Kathleen Foy says:

    I read the pro and cos of any product I consider to try. My crippled dog walks. I don’t know what else to tell you.

  16. Deborah clemens says:

    In March 2016 you wrote that you would be purchasing a container of Nzyme and would leave your results in one month! So what were the results!?!

  17. Denise says:

    I’m researching what to do for my Lhasa Apso dog that suffers from terrible skin allergies. He has had yeast ear infection since he was a puppy. He is know 8 years old! His whole body is now smelly, red and irritated and itchy. We have tried prescriptions from the vet, for steroids, antibiotics, and prescription shampoo, they all work temporarily. But it comes back! We feed him a high protein no grain diet. I was looking for reviews on Skin-eze and Nzyme, when I came across your site. Help! can you offer any suggestions? I’m about ready to try snake oil if it will help! :/

  18. skeptvet says:

    I would strongly consider seeing a veterinary dermatologist. There are three main categories of allergies: fleas (all dogs with skin problems should be on flea control whether you see fleas or not), food (but it’s not about grains, a real elimination diet trial to test for food allergies can be done, but it’s challenging and you will need guidance, and environmental allergens (these cannot be eliminated and this is not curable, but there are many ways to effectively manage the condition, from medications to topical treatments to allergy shots. It’s a lifelong management issue). It is possible to get this under control, but it will likely take extensive and ongoing efforts forever. There is no magic fix. A dermatologist can help you make choices about the best way to manage your own dogs specific needs.

  19. Kay Smith says:

    My malamute mix could not get up and barely could walk. Meds vet gave him were not working. One month after starting nzymes product he could get up. He now acts like apuppy and runs around and is loving life. So many people have had positive results. I’m not sure why you cannot acknowledge that it works.

  20. skeptvet says:

    Such anecdotes don’t prove a this product works just as they don’t prove that bloodletting, homeopathy, prayer, or ritual sacrifice work. Every treatment ever invented has generated stories of apparent success, so anecdotes are the test that nothing every fails. Yet the reality is, some treatments don’t work, so if anecdotes always say they do, then we can’t trust anecdotes.

    I encourage you to read these articles that discuss in much more detail why anecdote simply don’t help us evaluate medical treatments.

    Why We’re Often Wrong
    Testimonials Lie
    The Role of Anecdotes in Science-Based Medicine
    Don’t Believe your Eyes (or Your Brain)

  21. Ryan says:

    Skeptvet is right about anecdotes and testimonials insofar as they do not provide scientific proof that a product works. For that the scientific method must be followed:

    However, what skeptvet isn’t pointing out is that one cannot state “X treatment DOES NOT work” either without having put the product/treatment through a scientific study. Such statements are on par with the opposite statements based on anecdotes.

    The absence of a scientific study doesn’t PROVE the product doesn’t work any more than anecdotes prove it does not. If skeptvet disagrees with this statement he is a NUT. That said, his skepticism based on a lack of scientific evidence is certainly justified, but his “snake oil” allegations – in the face of so many positive anecdotes – are just as ridiculous as the blind belief he is fighting against.

    There have been enough claimed positive results with this product that it certainly warrants further investigation – a scientific study. I’m going to try it for my dog suffering with severe allergies – albeit with a healthy dose of professional skepticism.

    If it works, I will stop using it to see if the symptoms reappear. If they do I will start using it again to see if they go away again. Only after doing this several times, controlling for obvious environmental factors (primarily seasons of year) will I be a “True Believer”.

    It is a shame skeptvet hasn’t done this himself before bashing a product with so many positive anecdotes behind it. If he had, and provided his results, I would be much less skeptical of skeptvet’s “snake oil” claims.

  22. skeptvet says:

    I’m sorry, but this sort of critique makes no sense and completely misses the point. For one thing, you’re complaining that I am declaring the product ineffective without scientific evidence to demonstrate this, and that’s simply false. Here’s my conclusion about the product from this post:

    Bottom Line
    These products are being marketed with an impressive number of the myths and warning signs of snake oil and pseudoscience. The theories offered for why these remedies should help your pet range from complete nonsense to vague unproven hypotheses. There is no scientific evidence to indicate any specific benefit from any of these products for any particular condition in dogs and cats. All the testimonials in the world can’t prove any of the company’s claims to be true, nor can they guarantee that the products cannot hurt your pets. Just as there is little evidence regarding the claimed benefits of these products, there is little to demonstrate that they are safe.

    What I’ve said is that the theoretical justifications are unproven at best and often obvious nonsense and there is no scientific evidence demonstrating safety or efficacy. So your complaint is directed at a straw man, not anything I’ve claimed. You can’t criticize me for making a claim I haven’t actually made., The statement that “there is no good reason to think it works” is not a claim that it is ineffective, simply a recognition that the only evidence is anecdote, which is unreliable.

    Secondly, you begin by acknowledging that anecdotes aren’t proof of claims, and then you say you’re going to generate an anecdote (since starting and stopping a treatment in a single patient with no control group, no blinding, and no objective outcome measures is just trial and error, not a scientific study) and then you complain you can’t take my critique seriously if I don’t have a personal anecdote about the product. This is both an inconsistent and invalid argument. Anecdotes don’t prove anything, and all you’ll have after your haphazard trial and error “experiment” is another anecdote. This won’t justify any claim for or against the product any more than the anecdotes already out there do.

  23. L says:

    Dog with severe allergies going on for 4 seasons/1 year that hasn’t responded to treatment by the regular vet. Go to a board certified veterinary dermatologist.
    In my experience, that was the only thing I found that worked.

  24. Joe Sanford says:

    SkeptVet is a good name for you to go by because like most vets that I have encountered and quite a few medical doctors as well. If it is not proven in some highly publicized and costly journal of medicine it couldn’t possibly have any lasting benefits to your pet or your own health. We have a 7 year old Yellow Lab/Pyrenees mix who went from 92 to 60 lbs while his human momma was pregnant with our first child. A lot of his ailments were attributed to stress and after 3 ultrasounds, and upper and lower GI series and $4000 later, the diagnosis was inconclusive and the only next step was either exploratory surgery or euthanize. He had gone through all the probiotics, multiple “Science” foods that were high calorie then low calorie but mild, etc. etc. but he would still not eat and keep weight on. He got to the point where he could not longer use his hind legs and our poor baby was wasting away. We had made an appointment to do the unthinkable because we did not want him to suffer, but I spent what was going to be his last night, taking him for car rides and sleeping with him in the floor and realized he was NOT ready to give up. So as I should have done months before I started doing my own search for anything that could help and I came across the Nzymes website. I thought what the heck its just another $30 and we have already spent in excess of $4000 with NOTHING to show for it. Within a week of taking 2 pills a day, his appetite returned, he is currently eating 5 cups of Freshpet food per day and steadily gaining weight. He can now stand on his own, use the bathroom by himself (I had to hold him up to go before and sometimes he would not even make it out of his bed). Now he is the first one out the door again to go outside or to jump in the car for a ride (he has two brothers 11 and 15 year old black labs) and he is again “one of the boys”. So anecdotal or not, proven science or not, or “just a story” or not. He will get two of these pills for the remainder of his natural time here on this earth. Waste of $$ you probably think, but I think the $4000+ of invasive testing and high $$ medicines and food were a waste of time and ALL of them were supposedly “proven” and administered by the “specialists” in the field. So use all the “bloodletting” etc. analogies that you want but this story ends without having to bring our baby boy home in an urn and instead having a member of our family back…something our 9 month old little girl appreciates, because she already loves her 4 legged brothers!! SO your claim that ALL these positive responses that are being posted on your website are simply anecdotal when you might could gather enough evidence from the whole lot of them to create a reasonable “test group”. Just because you did not conduct a double-blind controlled study does not prove that the products are ineffective or unsafe, you provide no more scientific evidence than the “stories” being posted here, but you simply “suggest” there are “signs” of “snake oil”. Why not test the product? Why not gather some actual data? Why not try to see what is apparently benefiting these animals in these anecdotal stories rather than simply writing off the product as nonsensical snake oil. Maybe try to be a positive light caring for pets rather than be forever a skeptic. Another anecdote for you…almost 2 years ago our now 15 year old lab presented with signs of a large mass in his belly and he could barely walk or breathe. The “SKEPTICAL” doctor who saw him at the emergency vet on a Sunday morning (who even contacted one of our “regular” vets for a consult) said well for $4600 we can operate and he will have at BEST 3-6 months to live. I again “talked to” my eldest child and we decided to take him to HIS regular vet the next morning (his regular vet is not so skeptical). $1400 later that day he “delivered” at 9.5 pound tumor that had taken over his spleen. Our 100 lb boy trotted out of recovery a mere 5 hours after surgery and now 2 YEARS later he still acts like the youngest one of the “pack”, he too loves his new baby sister that he would have never gotten to meet had we listened to the skeptics!! Anecdotal?? Maybe but then again he’s alive along with his younger brother…so call me a victim of being sold a boat load of snake oil and I’ll tell you I couldn’t care less because my boys greet me every morning and every evening with wagging tails and smiles on their faces…Now excuse me while I got purchase another bottle…

  25. skeptvet says:

    Sadly, you miss the point. The reason to doubt anecdotes is simply that in all the thousands of years we relied on them, we consistently chose ineffective treatments and never made any significant improvements in our health or longevity. The improvements in both since we began to use the scientific method instead of trial and error is enormous and unprecedented. Science simply works better than “try it and see.” I’m glad your pet is doing well, but that doesn’t validate Nzymes nor invalidate all the conventional therapies you feel you wasted your money on. Medicine is imperfect, and when people tend to give out credit or blame to whatever the last thing they did was before a change, for better or worse. But none of that matters once you’ve made up your mind based on one experience. I could trot out a hundred anecdotes of people who tried this or other such products and got nothing from it, and that wouldn’t change your opinion, so there’s no point in trying.

    I will say, though, that it is silly to suggest I shouldn’t ask for evidence from the company that’s making millions off of the product but should, instead, produce it myself. If you think the tests and medicine you believe failed your dog don’t work, why don’t you do a study to prove it? Because there’s no reason you should, of course. The burden of proof should lie with those making claims for something, especially if they are also making money on it. If you want, I’m sure your vets could show you the evidence and anecdotes that led them to choose the therapies they tried, but again this wouldn’t matter to you because the only evidence that counts is your own experience. That’s fine for you, but it isn’t a good way for the rest of us to make decisions about this or any other product.

  26. Kurt says:

    So basically, people can tell you that they used this stuff and it worked, but because you don’t believe it, it can’t be true?…

    Clearly we have all been hoodwinked by seeing results with our own eyes.

    Obviously they are trying to sell a product and it is an American company, but that doesn’t mean that it is completely useless, it is the only thing we tried that actually worked, so that is that for me. To each their own.

  27. skeptvet says:

    It’s not that it “can’t” be true, only that such stories don’t tell if such products work or not. If you accept anecdotes as proving things, then alien abduction, bloodletting, and every single medical therapy ever invented all work. It’s a test nothing eve fails. The reason we live longer, healthier lives than any humans in history is because we understand this and have learned to use better methods than trial and error. So despite your disbelief or offense at the idea that what you see with your own eyes might not be true, it’s a pretty well-established fact in medicine that you benefit from as much as anyone else.

  28. Kurt says:

    I’m not offended bro, I am just saying that if it works, it works. I’m not going into ghosts or aliens, but you do realise that bloodletting actually works. If it doesn’t, then why do Olympic athletes get hijama done to them?

    Belief and perception definitely play a role in things like this otherwise there would be no such thing as the placebo or nocebo effect. Although I will admit, I don’t know how they would apply to the dogs themselves.

  29. skeptvet says:

    Well, the evidence is clear that bloodletting does not have benefits and does have severe risks, so you’re simply factually incorrect on that point. That’s why bloodletting has gone from the mainstay of Western medicine for 2000 years to a marginal folk practice abandoned in favor of science-based medicine by almost everyone everywhere. Athletes have all kinds of magic rituals to make them feel more confident about their performance, from pseudomedicine like cupping, hijama, kinesiotaping, etc. to less medical-looking rituals like prayer or stereotyped sequences of movements when preparing to compete. Belief is just a feeling, not evidence. Saying “If it works, it works” is just another way of saying “If someone believes it works, it works” and that’s false.

    As for placebo effects, the evidence there is also robust that they can influence the perception of one’s subjective symptoms (pain, nausea, fatigue, etc) but they cannot change objective disease outcomes. That’s why there isn’t alternative medicine for preventing death from acute bleeding or preventing pregnancy; it’s fairly obvious in those situations that it doesn’t work, and placebo effects can’t fool us as easily as they can when dealing with subjective outcomes.

    I encourage you to read these articles that discuss in much more detail why anecdote simply don’t help us evaluate medical treatments.

    Why We’re Often Wrong
    Testimonials Lie
    The Role of Anecdotes in Science-Based Medicine
    Don’t Believe your Eyes (or Your Brain)

    In terms of placebos in animals, they mostly involve people believing things work when they actually don’t. The animals aren’t fooled, but we are, and we speak for the animals.

    Caregiver Placebo Effects

  30. Kurt says:

    Alright, actual results don’t count in your mind. Got it.

    God bless.

  31. skeptvet says:

    No, sadly you don’t get it. The reluctance to accept our own fallibility and the unreliable nature of our observations is one of the major reasons quack medical therapies persist.

  32. Denise says:

    My 11 yr old Golden Retriever has been on Nzymes treats for almost 12 months – seizure free. She was on Zonisimide for 5 yrs prior to that and would have an occasional seizure. Not 1 since starting Nzymes. I haven’t experienced ANY side effects. She is very healthy and active, no signs of arthritis. The End. I’m a believer in the product, and I just wanted to add to the success stories.

  33. Norma Jean says:

    My dog had an old injury from being hit by a car when a puppy, before I rescued her. It had not healed correctly, and because of how it had healed, she was a poor candidate for corrective surgery. However, two different vets recommended it even though they said the odds were no better than 50/50 of it working. Because she is very active and jumps on all fours (even now, as a 10-year old dog) out of excitement at simply getting fed, I did not opt for surgery. Since the odds were 50/50 anyway, and it was likely she would do further damage by jumping, and not wanting to sedate her for two months while it healed, it did not make sense. She limped on 3 legs for 3 years until I found Nzymes while doing internet research. After less than two months on the product, she stopped limping. That was over 2 years ago. Nothing else changed, so there is no other explanation. I think it is hard to debunk results when there is no other explanation. I will continue to buy Nzymes for her as long as she is alive.

  34. skeptvet says:

    I’m glad your dog is doing well, but I’m afraid there are lots of other possible explanations. I would recommend looking at some of the many reasons I’ve discussed for why such anecdotes can’t be relied on to show us what works and what doesn’t.

    Why Anecdotes & Testimonials Can’t Be Trusted

  35. Sabra says:

    Is there a way I could get in touch with you? I had several questions. I sent you an email, but I never got a response. I know you have a lot of people who want to talk to you, but I can’t find answers to my questions anywhere.

  36. skeptvet says:

    The contact form should be working now. I had a bit of a glitch and missed messages for a few weeks, and though I thought I had caught up on them, I might have missed yours.

  37. Ron says:

    My pup was mostly healthy up until a few months ago. She was born missing a leg, but was healthy. The last 4 months she has been lethargic and picked up a ‘cold’, and contracted a papilloma virus.
    No matter what was tried: rest, changing diet, medication did work.

    I purchased some natural remedies, and administered to my dog. After about two weeks she was ‘visibly healthier’, had ‘more energy’, the papilloma was gone, ‘not sick anymore’ and grew back the leg she was missing. Amazing!


    For all of you who don’t understand the purpose of/how to conduct & interpret scientific studies and or clinical trials work and the need for the information/ data to be peer reviewed (or reviewed by a regulating body); don’t come on a scientific-based page and spew non-scientific stories and expect not to get criticized. You ‘saying’ you pet got better does not substantiate the herbal remedy was an effective treatment. Your stories sound as absurd as what I wrote above.

    Correlation does not imply causation

  38. Mike V. says:

    To understand what Skeptvet means, you should all Look up Adam ruins everything,( The weird reason that we think vitamins are good for us.) He explains the pseudoscience of the point that is trying to be made here. I am currently researching my own dogs arthritis and what to do. If I cannot find an absolutely positive fix I would surely try my hand at snake oil or any other homeopathic remedy just for the reason of I have nothing to lose and everything to gain. I agree with Skeptvet that this company should do the responsible thing and get a formal and proper study completed to keep its clients and others as best informed as possible. If they are so sure that the product works then why don’t they just do it to quell the critics? I have seen companies spend far more for less reasons. I am a research nut when I try to find something out and like most others in today’s technologically informed world. But I will reserve judgment for reviews that do not include the negative views. These can be filtered or removed. I hold the negative reviews in higher regard when researching opinions because I want to know why something didn’t work and this is what I should look out for.

  39. hannah says:

    wish i read this blog a few years ago. I would not have been so stunned by the 2016 presidential election!

  40. Julie Gillim says:

    So let me get this straight your dog has a skin condition and she was smelly and you were going to put her down because of this??? What kind of pet parent are you to put a dog down for these reasons? I am glad your dog is better but I still don’t understand why you would even contemplate putting your dog down because of these problems they are not life-threatening.

  41. Rebecca Gahman says:

    You are just plain wrong about these products. I had an English bulldog with A LOT of issues. Chronic urinary tract infections, ear infections, allergies, gnawed her feet to the point I had to put booties on her. I was desperate and found the Nyzme site and thought I had nothing to lose. I followed their recommendation for different food, gave her the antioxidant treat along with the Bac Pak and sprouted granules. Nothing to it, not much at first and in her morning food. It took 3 months but I took her off of her antibiotics and took the booties off. No more infections, no more gnawing, plus she had tons more energy. Oh, and she had hip dysplasia and afterwards she was much, much better. Basically a different dog. I swear by this company and tell all my friends. Who BTW have had their own successes with their own pets.

  42. skeptvet says:

    Yes, the subject of “But it worked for me” has been discussed many times before. I understand why anecdotes are persuasive, but I also understand why they can’t be trusted since they are a test nothing ever fails, If we have to believe your story, then we have to believe every other story about every other product out there, and that leads us nowhere.

    Why Anecdotes & Testimonials Can’t Be Trusted

  43. Kari says:

    I have 3 vets I use on a regular basis, all who have seen Pollie and treated Pollie. Pollie is a 4 pound Chihuahua who was born with deformed hips, legs, knees, spine, crooked trachea and an enlarged heart. She has had 2 FHO hip surgeries to walk. She is 9 years old and has been on heart meds since she was age 2. Vets did not think she would live to be a year old. Then once placed on heart meds, they said with her heart being so enlarged, it will just one day stop working and they said she may have a year or two on the heart meds but now she is 9 years and one month old. She’s recently had a small stroke. It’s paralyzed her left front leg and her back legs have always been smaller and criss cross when she walks due to the deformity. She’s been falling down and unable to walk at all. I took her to the vet and they did laser therapy on her. I took her home without much hope from the vets that she would improve. I started her on Nzymes and after 2 days of not being able to stand up to eat, she stood and ate. She’d been walking on that left paw knuckle instead of the pad. She is now putting her paw down on the floor instead of it bending and walking on top of it. I’ll take this quackery any day for my baby. I don’t need a scientific study to prove to me that it works when there was no other hope. She’s a miracle as it is, but using the supplements has only shown me signs of improvement.

  44. skeptvet says:

    And as always, while I am glad that things are going well for your pet, unfortunately this kind of story says nothing about whether or not this or any other supplement is safe and effective. Such anecdotes exist for every treatment ever invented; it’s a test nothing can ever fail. If this were enough, we wouldn’t have had to wait thousands of years for the discovery of scientific methods to see the dramatic improvements in human health, longevity, and well-being brought about in the last two centuries.

    Please consider looking at some of the reasons why stories like this aren’t reliable.

    Why Anecdotes & Testimonials Can’t Be Trusted

  45. Gonzo says:

    So what would be a better treatment for Oral Papilloma Virus for a dog? I was about to purchase the NZYMES Papilloma kit but have also just started my dog on a round of Thuja and Echinacea. (He is on day 2)

    3 drops Thuja (once)
    10 drops Echinacea (2-3 times per day for 3 weeks, rest one week, then again for another 2 weeks)

    I just want this shit to go away bc he is unable to be around other dogs which sucks bc we use to go to the park often…

  46. skeptvet says:

    Unfortunately, there is no good evidence to suggest any treatment reduces the duration of outbreak or shedding of virus. Several that have seemed encouraging based on anecdotal evidence (such as azithromycin) turned out not to have a benefit. So as frustrating as it is, what usually happens is that the outbreak goes away whenever it naturally does (anywhere from a couple of weeks to several months) and then whatever was done last before it goes away gets the credit! 🙂

  47. Kristin says:

    **Please help. I have a boxer that has some sort of allergies. I have spent thousands at the vet and pet stores. I would like to try some products, but not sure what I need. Looking forward to hearing from a pet owner.
    Thank you

  48. L says:

    Make an appointment with a veterinary dermatologist, asap, get the dog properly diagnosed and go from there. If the skin condition has been going on for 1 year/4 seasons and has not responded to treatment from your regular vet, I would ask him for a referral to a specialist.
    Use the search engine here to look up “allergies”, I think you will find some helpful information.

  49. Ron says:

    @Gonzo – The virus (in most cases is harmless), and will clear up once your dogs immune system recognizes the antigen can develop acquired immunity/ resistance to the antigen (virus in this case). My pup got the ‘same’ virus, and it took about 4 months for it to clear up (but she wasn’t in any pain or discomfort, nor did it impede her daily activities). What you should be aware of is the age of your dog, and that the ‘lump’ is indeed a virus and not something else. A young dog may be susceptible to the virus, as its immune system is not mature, an older dog may get the virus if its immune system is suppressed for some reason.

    @Kristin – as previously mentioned, make an appointment with a vet/ animal dermatologist. In the meantime, You can attempt to limit the dogs exposure to certain foods (and maybe even certain things in the environment) that you suspect may have elicited an allergic reaction; then slowly re-introduce certain foods back into your dogs diet (once you notice the symptoms have subsided). Adding some herbal remedy will not provide the information you need, in order to determine what your dog is allergic to (and may provide further complications). Also be very careful when you goto pet stores and what the sales people are telling you may help. Chances are those sales people do not have any experience in immunology, and are going to give you not proven advice on how to remedy the situation.

  50. SkeptPerson says:

    A little hazy on what SkeptVet is concerned with. Is it that Nzymes products are no good because of their lack of scientific evidence provided to back up marketing claims? People’s anecdotes are really a mirage? The fleecing of America? What are people supposed to do for their pets when the “scientific community” doesn’t come through for them? What’s the course of action to take? And by the way, haven’t all of the vet prescriptions given to people for their pets which haven’t worked had all of the scientific evidence before they went to market? So why didn’t they work? Using the weather man’s excuse that the weather didn’t turnout as predicted because predicting weather is an imperfect science doesn’t wash either. The answer is simple, prediction is nothing more than a guess, just like scientific studies, anecdotes, and Sasquatch. What people need are contingencies. What are the possible things that could work, not just one thing that is aimed at, which could either be a hit or a miss. My 15 yr old lab mix has no use of her back legs now yet she still enjoys seeing people, being petted, and is excited about treats. She eats and drinks well. Her life has shrunken to going potty on the liners we have on her bed and us changing them each time and being carried outside just to sniff the breezes. I believe she gets lonely when we’re not around but is comforted by our presence. What’s science or snake oil going to offer her? How long do we let this go on? It affects our lives and our other dog’s life due to the restrictions of care. There is no magic shot or surgery science has to fix her. So do we pull the plug? Get a wheel chair for $400 or some snake oil for $40? You see, no vet has come through with any kind of contingency consultation that gives me any informed options. So they continue to prescribe Rimadyl for pain at $56 a bottle for 30 day quantity which I’m sure had all the scientific protocols done prior to marketing and I get to join a rebate club with the manufacturer. Now what was that about snake oil? Medical science is an inflated term used to justify doctors and vets charging high prices. Kind of like accounting, there is no real algorithm for success, just a prediction. But hey, just call me a skeptic.

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