Monthly Archives: August 2014

My Personal Experience with Veterinary Nutritionists

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I have spoken with many veterinary nutritionists over the years. In 2010, I spent two days with a nutritionist who teaches at a US veterinary college, as part of an intensive, one-on-one veterinary nutrition course. She indicated to me that nutrition plays a very small role in the management of sick pets compared to that of other veterinary treatments such as drugs and surgery.

She seemed totally unaware of the role of poor nutrition in the development of many chronic diseases. And yet she bemoaned the fact that her students did not place much importance in what she was teaching. Why would they waste their time on an intervention that apparently had such a small effect on pet health?

Her function at the veterinary school, besides teaching, was mostly geared toward formulating weight loss diets for obese animals and special diets for pets with food allergies as well as diagnosing and treating the rare case of nutritional excess or deficiency. When I asked her what she thought about the fact that AFFCO food trails last only 6 months and can include as few as 6 animals, she had to look up the protocol to verify these facts.

One of her mottoes regarding pet food ingredients was, “All things in moderation.” All I could think was, “Really? All things? How about a little cocaine? Only in moderation of course.” The point is that there are some ingredients, such as grain, that do not belong in pet food in any amount. With such views from nutrition experts it is no wonder that many veterinarians have a strange view of what constitutes the components of a healthy pet diet.

I have since spent a couple days with a veterinary nutritionist at another vet school. She truly understood the value of real food for pets and was an outspoken opponent of processed foods. Unfortunately, she has recently retired and the last I heard, Hills was taking over the vet school’s nutrition courses. That’s a great way for the vet school to save some money, don’t you think?

What kind of food does your vet recommended?