Veterinary Nutrition – Why is it so Important?

Written on February 27, 2019 by Staff Veterinarian

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine by thy food.” Hypocrites

Veterinary Nutrition Services offered at Ethos include:

•          Homemade diet formulation
•          Commercial diet recommendations
•          Critical care nutrition
•          Weight loss programs
•          Providing clients and veterinarians with scientific, safe and unbiased companion animal nutrition information.

Good nutrition is a cornerstone for health and  can play a critical role in illness recovery. Here at Ethos, our veterinary nutrition department headed by Dr Danielle Conway, works closely with your pet’s specialists and primary care veterinarian to make nutritional recommendations. Choosing a diet for your pet can be confusing and the internet can be more harmful than helpful. The latest possible link between grain-free diets and a serious heart condition (Dilated Cardiomyopathy) is a sad example.

Grey Tabby CatDid you know that obesity is not only a huge problem in humans but also for pets? Many pets you see on the street or on TV are overweight. Research has shown that reducing your pet’s weight to ideal can help them live longer and is a drug-free way to help control arthritis pain. Did you also know that feeding a homemade diet that is not complete and balanced can harm your pet? One study looked at 200 recipes available online written by non-veterinarians and veterinarians alike. The study found that 95% of the 200 recipes lacked one essential nutrient, and more than 83% of the recipes had multiple nutrient deficiencies! Chronic nutritional deficiencies can be widespread and lead to immune deficiency, and diseases in the heart, skin, or eyes (just to name a few).

If you would like additional information on what is a veterinary nutritionist please read on.

What is a Veterinary Nutritionist? And how do I get the best possible nutrition advice for my pet?

The internet is simultaneously a wonderful and misleading resource about veterinary care in general and especially veterinary nutrition. The Veterinary Nutrition Service here at Ethos hopes to change that and provide our clients with valid, scientific, safe and unbiased information.

When searching the internet for nutrition information, there are a plethora of people who label themselves as “animal, dog, cat or pet nutritionists.” The credentials of these individuals can range from those taking a few courses in small animal nutrition to those who are self-taught.

The information these individuals present is often their own personal bias or based upon their personal experiences without science or medicine to back up these claims. Many of these people could offer well intentioned advice that could be harmful for your pet because they don’t have the complete medical picture or training when it comes to veterinary nutrition.

These well-intentioned individuals most often do not have the expertise needed to provide complete and balanced nutrition for dogs and cats. When making decisions about your pet’s health, it is best to take advice from knowledgeable veterinarians with a comprehensive understanding of and avoid unfounded opinions and hidden agendas.Dog waiting to get delicious treat outdoors.

So who should you seek out for veterinary nutrition advice? And what exactly is a veterinary nutritionist?

The hard-earned label “Veterinary Nutritionist” should be reserved for veterinarians who have undergone formal residency training in veterinary nutrition; either large or small animal. It is a similar certification process to a board-certified veterinary surgeon or cardiologist. This training typically lasts 2-3 years after completion of college, and veterinary school and an internship.

Dr Conway has completed a residency, is in the process of becoming a boarded nutritionist and possesses the knowledge and creativity to recommend/ create a commercial and/or homemade diets for your pet(s).



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