About our Service

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Frequently Asked Questions (pdf)


Please note that we cannot provide any advice for a specific patient unless you are a veterinarian or a current patient of the Nutrition Support Service. If you have an urgent issue that requires prompt attention, or if your pet is a current patient, please call (530) 752-7892 to be connected to the Nutrition Support Service technician.

Clients within traveling distance to the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital can arrange a direct appointment with the Nutrition Service. Appointments are especially beneficial for patients in which traditional nutritional approaches have proven unsuccessful or for clients with a special interest in nutrition.

The Nutrition Service also conducts remote consultations through the primary veterinarian. Veterinarians can contact the Nutrition Service by telephone and many of our services are provided via telephone, email, videoconference, or fax.

Direct appointments
In order to strive for the most precise recommendations with positive outcomes, a minimal work up of the patient’s health status must be performed prior to an appointment with the Nutrition Service. This generally includes a physical examination, complete blood count and biochemical panel including a T4, and may also include imaging, urinalysis, and biopsies depending upon the patient’s condition. Contact the Nutrition Service for more information.

Remote consultations
Unfortunately, unless a relationship has been established between the client and the Nutrition Service clinicians with a direct appointment, advice regarding disease management for specific pets cannot be provided directly to clients. Consults must be initiated by the primary care veterinarian who has the most current knowledge of the patient. A summarized medical history and detailed diet history, in addition to recent laboratory results are usually required prior to the initiation of a consultation. Client communication for such cases is handled by the primary care veterinarian.

Contact the Nutrition Service (530) 752-7892 or nssvetmed@ucdavis.edu.

Our Customized Approach
All cases undergo extensive medical record review, as well as evaluation of the dietary history including treats and supplements. The process can be quite involved, as strategies and products are evaluated for both safety and efficacy in light of clinical experience as well as through research including scientific literature review. This preliminary assessment is followed by quantitative computer analysis of data. This process ensures the development of a comprehensive and truly customized nutritional management plan.

The Nutrition Service provides:

Home-prepared recipe formulations
Specialized computer software is used to design customized recipes that meet the needs of individual patients using common human foods. This process involves evaluation of the medical history of individual patients, as well as the application of knowledge, experience and a large amount of information from a variety of sources.
Download "What will my recipe look like" (pdf) 

Client home-prepared recipe evaluations
Recipes are analyzed and adjusted to ensure that they are balanced and appropriate for the individual patient.

Nutritional supplement evaluations
Supplements are reviewed for evidence of published data supporting safety and efficacy of the product for the species of interest and the intended use.

Weight loss plans
Customized diet programs to achieve controlled weight loss are critical to minimize hunger and avoid muscle loss.

Nutritional counseling
Feeding strategies for disease prevention, management and/or treatment for specific patients are discussed with consulting veterinarians and during direct appointments.

Critical care nutritional support
Customized formulations and feeding guidelines for enteral support (tube feeding) as well as for parenteral (intravenous) administration are available. The Nutrition Service also provides patient monitoring guidelines to consulting veterinarians.

Commercial food recommendations
The Nutrition Service provides assistance in selecting appropriate commercially available food options for patients in various lifestages and those with specific diseases.

What is a Veterinary Nutritionist?
The American College of Veterinary Nutrition comprises veterinarians who have undergone specialty training in the field of nutrition. Many have a graduate degree in nutrition in addition to their veterinary medical degree. All have completed extensive residency training which involves intensive clinical, teaching, and research activities spanning at least two years. Trainees are required to pass a written examination in order to obtain board certification. These specialists are uniquely trained in the nutritional management of both healthy animals and those with one or more diseases. Members of this specialty college add the suffix “Diplomate ACVN” or “DACVN.” Members are also frequently referred to as “boarded nutritionists.” The UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine is fortunate to be supported by several boarded nutritionists and veterinarians training for the specialty. The large group of veterinarians enables the Nutrition Service to have unique programs such as a veterinary student rotation, an outside consulting service for practicing veterinarians worldwide, and an active receiving service for referred cases from general practitioners and specialists in other fields.