Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Student Paper#1 Canine Joint Mobility Diets

During my years as a professor teaching veterinary students nutrition, the assignments they hated the most was any that involved math and the comparing  of nutrients in a diet to determine if the diet was complete and balanced based on some nutritional standards(AAFCO, NRC or Ancestral). They would generally get confused by the fact that each company would list their nutrient analysis in a different manner: e.g.. as % As Fed, as a % of Dry matter, as Units per 100 or 1000Kcal, to complicate this further they will site the Guaranteed Analysis (Min or Max), the Actual Analysis or A Typical Analysis.

In order to make valid comparisons each diet must be brought to a common denominator, including the selected requirements. Because such comparisons,  if done correctly, are time consuming. This type of time consumption does not pay much to a busy veterinarian, so is seldom done except by academics. To make a little easier for the students I developed Excel spread sheets, these are quite crude and the math is simple but comparisons can be done. I am sure any one skilled with spread sheets can take these crude sheet and improve on them. You can also use them to evaluate a client's pet's diet against the industry standards. Unfortunately, I do not have a clue how to publish them on this blog so you will have to contact me if you are interested in one. I would like to charge a nominal fee of $20.00 US; which you will donate to the WCVM Bursary fund for students who find themselves financially strapped during their DVM program. But I am not sure even how to do that except by e-transfer. If enough of my readers show an interest I am sure I can figure something out.
If interested please e-mail me at

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A series of student papers evaluating and comparing veterinary therapeutic and wellness diets with equilivent over the counter diets (OTC)

Introduction to The Series
Veterinary associations and  colleges have formed lucrative and mutually beneficial partnerships with the multinational  pet food companies. These affiliations leave veterinarians accountable to the public, as trained professionals, to the verify the claims made by these companies.  As a result , veterinarians have become spokespersons for the pet food industry a responsibility  that should not be taken lightly. Since the melamine disaster and the increasing popularity of alternative diets, dramatic changes are occurring within in the pet food industry as their market share is being slowly eroded.  As advocates of the industry, veterinarians must understand nutrition  and its role in wellness and in the pathophysiology and management of disease.
I asked my fourth year nutrition elective students to independently review and compare  veterinary diets and over the counter diets used to manage pet wellness and common problems diagnosed in pets.These papers reflect the frustrations the students had trying to analyze, interpret and appropriately compare "across the board "the information provided by the companies on their websites and through their customer service representatives. Often the actual science behind the diets eluded them.This exercise demonstrated to them how difficult it would be for a busy small animal veterinarian to do; but necessary in order to advise clients appropriately and  independantly.