Note: The following article appears in the July/August 2004 issue of California Veterinarian and is reprinted by permission of the editor.
Hill’s Pet Nutrition Inc. has pledged $510,000 over six years to sponsor nutrition education programs at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.
The grant, announced last May, will fund a series of academic positions: a lecturer in clinical nutrition, a resident who will prepare for certification by the American College of Veterinary Nutrition (ACVN), and three graduate students—veterinarians who will prepare simultaneously for board certification and a PhD degree in clinical nutrition.
"The School of Veterinary Medicine is looking forward to continuing to advance our knowledge in the field of nutrition," says Brad Smith, director of the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital (VMTH). "We are training veterinary students, residents, and graduate students in nutrition. The funding provided by Hill’s through this agreement makes it possible to move forward faster, and establish clinical teaching programs and services to pets that would not otherwise have been possible. This commitment is indicative of the foresight of Hill’s in advancing the science and practice of veterinary nutrition."
"Hill’s Pet Nutrition shares a commitment to education and is pleased to work in this collaborative effort with UC Davis," says Dr. Karen Padgett, veterinary business channel director at Hill’s. "Through this partnership, we hope to showcase the role of clinical nutrition as an essential component of practicing veterinary medicine."
Nutritional education in the DVM program at UC Davis includes a basic nutrition course in the first year, Nutrition and Nutritional Diseases (VMD 408), and a third-year elective, Advanced Clinical Nutrition (VMD 485), that correlates nutritional problems with clinical disease.
Andrea Fascetti, assistant professor of clinical nutrition in the Department of Molecular Biosciences and principal investigator on the Hill’s grant says, "We want to educate veterinarians to think clinically about nutrition. Scientifically-based approaches to feeding particular diets for various diseases are important in contrast to anecdotal information and unsupported dogma. Hill’s has been supporting educational grants to provide veterinarians the opportunity to get additional training in nutrition for many years." Dr. Fascetti, VMD, PhD, ACVN, ACVIM, is chief of the Nutrition Support Service at the VMTH.
* The grant will support three Hill’s Fellows to encourage practicing veterinarians to come back to graduate school. The fellowships will allow those who wish to become veterinary researchers to prepare for board certification by the ACVN and earn a PhD simultaneously.
* The Hill’s Resident in Clinical Nutrition, while completing the two-year residency in clinical nutrition offered at the VMTH, will work with nutrition cases while completing the training required for board certification by the ACVN.
* The Hill’s Lectureship in Clinical Nutrition will combine teaching of academic course work with hands-on instruction to veterinary students in the Nutrition Support Service at the VMTH. The lecturer will see appointments for an array of patient issues including nutritional care for animals affected with various disease processes and healthy animal nutrition.
Sean Delaney, DVM, MS, ACVN, is currently a Hill’s-sponsored lecturer in the Nutrition Support Service. Dr. Delaney has helped to integrate nutrition with other hospital services at the VMTH. Nutrition Support Service members routinely attend hospital rounds with other services such as Medicine and Critical Care/ICU and give presentations for journal clubs.
The Nutrition Support Service provides consulting services for VMTH patients and all referring veterinarians from California and across the United States. Consultations include recommendations for commercial or home-cooked diets for pets with previously diagnosed diseases or obesity. Faculty members also conduct laboratory analyses to assist veterinarians with diagnoses related to amino acid and mineral deficiencies in pet diets. The Nutrition Support Service also offers online consultations for veterinarians after reviewing blood work and health information about the patient.
The service provides informational brochures written for clients on the management of chronic renal disease, gastrointestinal disease, uroliths, diabetes mellitus, liver disease and obesity. The client information sheets are available online (www.vmth.ucdavis.edu/vmth/clientinfo/info/info.html).