UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine
News & Events

Clinical Nutrition Service Opens in Southern California
Special diets, consultation services available for sick or obese pets

Pets, clients and veterinarians have a new resource for veterinary health in Southern California—the "WALTHAM UC Veterinary Medical Center - San Diego Clinical Nutrition Program."

This new program provides nutrition treatment for ill or obese pets.

Dean Bennie Osburn, WALTHAM representatives, faculty members and special guests launched the service at the San Diego center Friday, March 23. Guests toured the facilities, including a new nutrition kitchen where human foods are prepared for pets requiring special diets.

At this facility, highly trained veterinary nutritionists offer:

· Recommendations for commercial or formulated home-prepared diets to treat diseases that have a nutritional foundation or require dietary intervention

· Individualized weight-loss and weight-management regimens and follow-up care

· Parenteral (intravenous) nutrition formulations

· Nutritional support and consulting on feeding strategies for critically ill animals

· On-site appointments and remote consulting services

UC Davis & WALTHAMAccording to Larry Cowgill, director of the UCVMC - SD, WALTHAM has partnered with the school to provide start-up support to establish the program and secure its success into the future.

"Initiation of the WALTHAM UCVMC-SD Clinical Nutrition Program will provide a unique opportunity to bring advanced nutrition for the maintenance of health and function to the care of companion animals," said Dr. Catherine Woteki, Global Director of Scientific Affairs for Mars, Incorporated, WALTHAM's parent company.

Dean Bennie Osburn spoke of the value of the public-private partnership that the program represents. "The school has had a strong and productive relationship with WALTHAM spanning several decades. This service incorporates the academic expertise and technology with the nutritional product and the commercial distribution of this service to help veterinarians treat critical ill animals. Both partners bring unique attributes together for the benefit of society and our animal companions. I’m pleased to be here with you all today to celebrate this partnership and all of the potential that it offers."

Palmer Taylor, dean of the UC San Diego Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, and David Adler, associate dean, attended the event. Both the School of Veterinary Medicine's veterinary pharmacy and veterinary nutrition programs work closely with the UCSD Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and the UC San Diego Home Infusion Pharmacy to develop nutritional products, particularly for patients recovering from surgery or serious illness. Students from the pharmacy school spend time at the UCVMC – SD to learn about the uses and effects of drugs in animals, which often differ markedly from how medications affect humans.

Saturday, March 24, veterinary nutrition experts introduced area practitioners to the new program at a seminar covering topics such as the feeding of critically ill patients, the nutritional management of obesity, and a review of home-cooked or raw food diets.

The "WALTHAM UC Veterinary Medical Center - San Diego Clinical Nutrition Program" complements the Nutrition Support Service at the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital in Davis. Both locations incorporate research, veterinary instruction, student clinical training and resident specialty training into client services. Veterinarians throughout the country consult with the Nutrition Support Service, one of only a handful of such specialized resources in the United States.

Andrea Fascetti, chief of service, comments, "As we make these services available for the first time in Southern California, our long-term goal is to raise awareness of the vital role of nutrition in animal health."


The UCVMC - SD, launched in 1998, fills a growing need for veterinary services in the Southern California region by providing specialty care not currently present at local veterinary clinics, including kidney hemodialysis, behavior and veterinary pharmacy services.

Mars, Incorporated has been a global provider of high-quality snack, food, pet care and health foods, creating some of the world’s best-loved brands including M&M'S®, SNICKERS®, MILKY WAY®, UNCLE BEN'S®, PEDIGREE®, WHISKAS®, SHEBA® and SEEDS OF CHANGE®. This American company had its humble beginnings in 1911. Mars, Incorporated, with annual sales volume well in excess of $18 billion, has continued to grow over the past nine decades to become one of the world’s largest privately-held companies.

The UC Veterinary Medical Center - San Diego is located at 10435 Sorrento Valley Road, Suite 101, San Diego; (858) 875-7505.