Bristol conf. Cancelled.

Nov 9, 2019 at 09:00 — Nov 10, 2019 at 15:30 (GMT)

********* IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT**************

We are amending the event programme to a one day event.  Please bear with us whilst we make the arrangements and update the ticketing information here.

Any questions, please e mail

Thank you very much


This year's conference is yet another milestone for the Raw Feeding Veterinary Society as we move to a two day event.  We simply couldn't fit enough into one day with all the exciting developments in the world of raw feeding !  The programme is at the end of this information.

Our speakers again come from all over the world, covering a wide range of topics of interest to vets and nurses wanting to know more about raw feeding to be able to support their clients' choice for their pet (and ensure their clients aren't making mistakes) as well as seasoned raw feeding vets and nurses wanting to hear the latest research into raw feeding carried out at the University of Helsinki.  For the first time this year, we will be featuring a clinical discussion on managing pancreatitis and looking at tackling common feline diseases using raw food.  The conference gives 5 hours and 45 minutes CPD on Saturday and 5 hours on Sunday.

This year's event will be in the centre of Bristol (the city chosen by polling our members). As parking at the hotel is very limited, you may like to look at this link for discounted rail travel  There are many public car parks near to the hotel, should you need to travel by car.

Please note that this is a conference primarily for veterinary surgeons, veterinary nurses, veterinary technicians, and students of each.  You will be asked to supply your RCVS registration number or student registration (or the equivalent for your country) when you collect your delegate pack, and we will check ticket purchases against our membership list. 
Paraprofessional tickets are available for sale from August.  Any profession allied to veterinary medicine with an interest in species appropriate nutrition and staff of shops actively promoting raw feeing are very welcome to join us.

If you are a manufacturer of raw diets or related products and would be interested in attending our conference, please e mail to discuss how you may join us.  

Saturday Programme

8:30 - 9:00 REGISTRATION

9:00 - 9:45 Nick Thompson " Raw Food -The Current Global Perspective"

Nick Thompson

Nick Thompson is a vet. He passionately advocates for responsible, species-appropriate raw food feeding for pets and has done for the last 25 years. Nick is Founder and President of the international Raw Feeding Veterinary Society ( and has co-authored a pioneering worldwide survey of 79 vets and their experiences feeding raw food. He has organised international raw food conferences for the RFVS since 2012.

In 1999, Nick established his specialist practice, Holisticvet ( Now based in Corsham, near Bath, he offers homeopathy, acupuncture, natural nutrition and herbal medicine for dogs and horses.

His pet topics are gastroenterology and the microbiome, and the misuse of pharmaceuticals in medicine. He loves researching all aspects of human and animal nutrition. 

Nick also shares his passion for raw feeding with a Nutritional Consultancy Service to most of the premier raw pet food companies in the UK. He lectures and consults in Raw Food throughout the UK, Finland, Spain, France, Germany, the Czech Republic, Belgium and the Netherlands.

Nick is married to Elly and has two children, Arthur and Ophelia.  They lives in Wiltshire, UK with chickens, a Snowshoe cat called Ziggy and a Whippet-Italian Greyhound cross (mongrel) called Bluebell. 

When not trying to convert the world to species-appropriate food, Nick barefoot runs, swims and enjoys botching DIY jobs and cutting the incessant lawn of weeds.

Nick Thompson


Nick will open proceedings this year with a review of what’s happening around the globe in the raw food world. 


He’s in constant communication with colleagues in academia, industry and general practice on most continents, so is in a prime position to get the skinny on what’s happening at the coal face north, south, east and west. 


Nick will start the conference off with a light-hearted, but in-depth introduction to some of the characters, developments and gossip he’s had the pleasure of getting to know in his 20+ years in raw and 6 years at the helm of the RFVS. 

9:45 - 10:00 Questions and discussion

10:00 - 10: 30 COFFEE

10:30 - 11:15 Pete Coleshaw "Putting into Practice the Raw Approach to Common Cat Diseases"

Pete Coleshaw

Pete spent 25 years in very mixed practice – small, equine, dairy, with specialist interests in pigs and dairy goats, the small animal time increased as farming declined. He then spent 6 years starting a new small animal practice in North Staffs, developing the feline side of the work.  This lead to him opening an very special cat-only practice in Salisbury in 2013. Pet has been raw feeding for 15 years, his own pets and supporting clients who wish to do the same having seen the benefits.



Let food be thy medicine


In the highly-polarised world of the raw/anti-raw arena the ‘antis’ claim that the ‘pros’ believe raw food to be the answer to every problem. As is always the case things are never black or white. However I believe that a ‘species-appropriate’ diet is indeed the answer to pretty much every nutritionally-responsive condition and can be recommended as such with a degree of confidence.

There are of course plenty of constraints. Simply getting a cat to eat raw can be a challenge in itself – things getting more challenging again in a multi-cat household where cats are group fed, since each will have its own dietary preferences. But species-appropriate is always a compromise since a 100% natural diet would consist of live prey. So what degree of compromise is acceptable under any particular situation?

We therefore need to establish the dietary goals for any condition to be treated e.g.  reduced carbohydrates or increased protein levels, and consider the options we have to achieve this – which may or may not include processed or raw foods.

However before progressing there is, in my view, a fundamental step that every vet or veterinary nurse advising on diet should take before proffering any advice on dietary change : “What is the cat currently fed?”. Then, and only then, is it possible to make a solid recommendation. The concept of “it’s got kidney disease so it needs ‘renal’ diet for life” is misguided and frankly incorrect.

These days the informed client is aware of industry pressure to sell ultra-processed pet-foods just as they are aware how human junk-food is damaging to their own health. The trust in our profession is being severely eroded by the almost-universal insistence that veterinary purchased diets are ‘best’. However those of us who use species-appropriate nutrition as our medicine must have a clear rationale behind our choices of diet that can be explained to our clients and be justified when questioned by fellow ‘non-believer’ professionals. One tricky situation I occasionally meet is the urolithiasis patient that has a (‘prescription’) dietary-recommendation made by Mssrs Hills et al – how do we handle that?

This presentation is very much a practitioner’s approach to the subject and will hopefully provide you with ideas and support in managing these many challenges.

11:15 - 11:30 Questions and discussion

11:30 - 12:00 Moddie Lambert "Bone Content in a Raw Food Diet, How to Get it Right"

Moddie Lambert


Moddie Lambert BCCSDip. HthNut is a qualified Canine Nutritionist with over 7 years’ experience of tailoring enhanced raw feeding solutions for dogs of all breeds. 


As a dog and cat owner all her life, her passion is helping owners to get the best outcome for their dogs through a balanced, natural diet.  Seeing her own three dogs and cat thrive on a raw diet was behind the inspiration to qualify in canine nutrition and support others in finding a diet that naturally supported canine health and wellbeing.


Moddie's high levels of empathy with animals, particularly dogs who have health issues arising from their diet, means she is now sought out for her advice and consultancy on numerous raw feeding information sites and forums.


Moddie will be speaking about on bone content and what this should ideally be.  In her opinion, 10%, which most people and raw feeding manufacturers advise, can be too high for some small dogs and can cause considerable problems. She is a great believer in tripe being an essential part of our dogs’ diet and there are many problems it can help with. 

12:00 - 12:15 Questions and discussion

12:15 - 13:15 LUNCH

13:15 - 14:00 Morkel Pienaar "How to Successfully Incorporate Raw Food into Private Veterinary Practice"

Morkel Pienaar BVSc CertVOpth MRCVS


Morkel Pienaar is a director of the Wylie Veterinary Centre Ltd in Essex and a founding member of the RFVS.

Morkel qualified from The University of Pretoria in 1997 and moved to the UK shortly afterwards. He has been working in small animal practice ever since and in 2003 gained his Certificate in Veterinary Ophthalmology.

Morkel has a keen interest in Nutrition and the role that Nutrition plays not just in the recovery of sick patients, but also in maintaining health and preventing degenerative disease. 


Morkel is one of the owners of the Wylie Veterinary Center and its Hospital Director. The Wylie Veterinary Centre is a fully accredited Veterinary Hospital employing almost 100 people and has an associated Wellness Centre, focused on preventative health and species appropriate nutrition.

At Wylies we have been advocating species appropriate fresh nutrition for almost 10 years and have seen the benefits this brings to our patients, our clients and ourselves.

Morkel will be speaking about the practicalities of making Raw Food and species appropriate nutrition part of our daily clinical practice as well as part of our business plan. He will discuss some of the novel approaches they have used to educate their staff and clients about the benefits of Raw Food and how to do so safely in the home. Morkel will also explain how they have made Raw Food an integral part of the preventative healthcare programs they offer to their clients and the innovative ways in which they are changing the way they practice Veterinary medicine in order to be incentivised by Health, rather than by disease.

14:00 - 14:15 Questions and discussion

14:15 - 15:00 Katie McCaul "The Challenges of Raw Food Education"

Katie McCaul

My career began as a veterinary nurse which gave me valuable experience including running clinics, dealing with company representatives and managing a team of nurses and vets. I very much enjoyed my role and gained a knowledge and understanding of animal health and wellbeing.

After leaving practice I was lucky enough to complete a BSc in Animal Behaviour and Physiology. This taught me about the evolutionary path our domesticated pets had been on and how innate behaviour and physiology are the key to happiness and health.

My most recent role as research and development manager at a Pet Food Company, has been an education into the pet food industry. Leading me to achieve a diploma in Naturopathy.

I am passionate about supporting owners in their choice of feeding and aim to provide unbiased support covering raw, home prepared and commercial diets.

If your pet has specific nutritional requirements or health issues or you just want to improve on your existing feeding regime please feel free to contact me.

The boom in raw feeding over the last 6 years has left the veterinary profession in its wake with a lack of education.

A profession that is heavily reliant on scientific research found itself without a reference or guidance on how to support their raw feeding clients. The raw movement has been client driven and many owners feel very passionately about their decision to raw feed. Owners feel a lack of support from their practice and in turn the practice will lose clients.

For many years we have debated the concerns over raw feeding at veterinary conferences without addressing the absolute need for education. Addressing common issues such as the practicalities, safety and nutritional balance will equip practices with the knowledge to support owner’s choices and ensure risks of raw feeding are minimalised.

Providing unbiased Nutrition CPD to vets and nurses is the key to opening their minds to this different way of feeding for pets. During my talk I look at the current options open for vets and nurses wishing to educate themselves in raw feeding. I explore how as a society we can help move the conversation on from debate to informing veterinary practices how to help.

15:00 - 15:15 Questions and discussion

15:15 - 15:30 TEA

15:30 - 16:30 Open discussion

16:30 - 17:30 AGM

Sunday Programme

8:30 - 9:00 REGISTRATION

9:00 - 10:00 Anna Hielm-Björkman "Latest Research News from DogRisk"

Anna Hielm-Bjorkman


Now adjunct and assistant Professor (Small Animal Surgery) Anna Hielm-Björkman works at the University of Helsinki in Finland.  DVM and Veterinary Acupuncture certification (IVAS) 1992, where after she had her own general practice for 13 years. In 2007 she defended her PhD theses on complementary therapies for dogs suffering from chronic pain due to OA, including work on nutrition, nutraceuticals, acupuncture and homeopathy. Nowadays a lot of her work involves canine nutrition, epidemiology and –omics. She also leads the research on cancer sniffing dogs at WiseNose Ry. Anna is/has been supervising 10 PhD students and over 60 DVM theses. She is a keen lecturer, both nationally and internationally. Her life-work is to be a game-changer in preventive medicine, both for pets and humans and to combine evidence based methods with controversial questions. Now her main projects are around raw food diets and ketogenic diets for dogs. 

The newest canine raw food research from the DogRisk group at University of Helsinki"


Assistant Professor Anna Hielm-Björkman will talk about the newest research from the group. Anna will talk about both the nearly non-existant raw feeding risks and ways to prevent disease by feeding raw: She will open up the newly published article about the risk of transmitting diseases to humans from the pat's raw food, based on an internet questionnaire answered by 16.000 raw feeders from 81 different countries. The association between modifiable factors around the puppy's birth, often diet, and atopy will also be described. She will also bring a questionnaire to the audience...

10:00 - 10:15 Questions and discussion

10:15 - 10:45 COFFEE

10:45 - 11:45 Susan Thixton "It's not Food, it's Feed - The Regulation of Pet Food in the U.S.A"

Susan Thixton


If you are a pet food manufacturer, you probably cringe when you hear the name Susan Thixton. If you are the FDA or State Department of Agriculture, you probably sigh 'oh no, it's her again' when Susan calls. But if you are a pet food consumer, you are relieved to know she’s fighting for the safety of your pet’s food.  

Susan Thixton is a pet food consumer advocate - one of just a handful of advocates in the US that fight to hold the pet food industry accountable to existing food safety regulations. She is the founder of Association for Truth in Pet food – a pet food consumer stakeholder organization which holds advisory position on several pet food regulatory committees. Susan is the author and co-author of several books, the publisher of the website,, and Association for Truth in Pet Food. 

It’s not Food, it’s Feed – The Regulation of Pet Food in the U.S.A.


The U.S. has a reputation of being a global pet food safety leader. The reality is far from that. We have government agencies that allow kibble and canned pet foods to violate federal and state law, while raw pet foods are held to higher standards than that of human food. As challenging as regulations are to understand, they are significant for the overall safety of pet food. In this talk we'll cover the basic regulation of pet food in the U.S., we'll disclose the legal loopholes allowing hideous waste to be disposed of in pet food, and disclose the industry influence over the entire regulatory system. 

Why would you want to learn about the regulation of pet food in the U.S.? One reason is laws in each country are very similar. But the most important reason is we can't change the future of pet food until we fully understand what we're up against. 

11:45 - 12:00 Questions and discussion

12:00 - 13:00 LUNCH

13:00 - 14:00 Various Speakers on Current Topics affecting Responsible Raw Feeding

14:00 - 14:30 Questions and discussion

14:30 - 15:30 Clinical discussion: Pancreatitis


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Unfortunately tickets are no longer available for this event.