Saturday, September 16, 2017

Evaluating Nutrional Research for Pets - Update by Meg Smart DVM, PhD

 Nutrition an Ancient Science is the Cornerstone of All Animal Research
The first organisms formed on earth survived if they could extract the necessary nutrients available from their environment for their survival. The science of nutrition is as old as life. Because of this association nutrition is found to impact on or influence many diverse disciplines. These complex relationships makes large scale nutrition research in both man and their companion animals difficult to control. On the other hand, small controlled studies are limited in their application to the general population.
Nutrition is the cornerstone for all scientific research done on live organisms. Any research involving live plants, insects, microbes or animals is first and foremost a nutritional experiment. Unfortunately this concept is not held by many in the scientific community who study the impact of their experimental design on the research animals they use... The diets for these animals are often not described or they are commercial diets formulated to meet the book requirements for the animals studied. And not necessarily the genetic groups the researchers are using. The argument is if the diets are the same for all control and  treatment groups then there is not a problem as they are investigating the impact that a certain pharmaceutical, vaccine, genetic mutation, or myriad other alterations have on a certain outcome. But what if the genetic mutations have different nutrient requirements than the original organism, could this impact negatively or positively on the outcome of the research result? We have determined through research what the basic nutrient requirements are for many species of plants and animals.  But these survived, grew and reproduced on foods long before nutrient requirements were known.

My 50 Year Career as an Academic Teaching Veterinary Students: What Nutrition Means!

Not Fit For a Dog
Marion Smart DVM PhD

I am privileged to be a co-author of “Not fit for a dog! The truth about manufactured dog and cat food.” This book opens a new and exciting chapter in my academic career as veterinary clinical nutritionist. I have always been an academic and I would like to share with you my background and my thoughts about nutrition, the pet food industry, the veterinary curriculum, and our profession.
Nutritional education of veterinary students has changed very little over the last 40 years with the primary emphasis being on food animal production and feed stuffs. At the same time, the demographics of our students and society have changed from rural males to urban females. In keeping with these changes, the veterinary curriculum has adapted to the shifting demographics and the advances made in pharmacology, traditional medicine and surgery. Yet in most veterinary colleges, small animal nutrition is subsidized by — if not wholly dependent on — lectures, brochures, pamphlets and samples from major pet food manufacturers.