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Specialty training at OVC enhances animal nutrition and wellness

Prof. Adronie Verbrugghe, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, with student veterinarians.Specialty training at the University of Guelph’s Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) is enhancing understanding of pet nutrition and its impact on companion animal health and wellness.

Veterinarians play an important role in educating pet owners about nutrition,” says OVC Dean Jeff Wichtel. “Expanding veterinary expertise and research in companion animal nutrition is vital as nutrition is increasingly integrated into the day-to-day delivery of veterinary preventive healthcare and clinical medicine.”

OVC is one of only three Canadian veterinary colleges with a clinical nutrition service and the only one offering a residency program in clinical nutrition, adds Wichtel.

In addition to training in the clinical nutrition service in the Companion Animal Hospital at the OVC Health Sciences Centre, the residency program includes an important applied research component focused on cat and dog nutrition.

“Good nutrition is vital to help prevent disease and is an important cornerstone of successful treatment plans for animals who are ill,” says OVC professor Adronie Verbrugghe, who specializes in pet nutrition. “Veterinary nutritionists play an important role in increasing awareness around good nutrition for pets and nutrition-related health problems, such as pet obesity, both among veterinary health professionals and pet owners.”

A professor in OVC’s Clinical Studies department, Verbrugghe is the Royal Canin Veterinary Diets Endowed Chair in Canine and Feline Clinical Nutrition, and a European Veterinary Specialist in Veterinary and Comparative Nutrition.

In her research, Verbrugghe explores how pet nutrition affects metabolic pathways, inflammation and immunity, as well as the microbial environment in the gut – all of which are factors in obesity.

New funding from Royal Canin Canada, a leader in tailored health and nutrition products for dogs and cats, will further expand capacity in the clinical nutrition residency program at OVC, supporting a Doctor of Veterinary Science (DVSc) student to begin in August 2021.

The student will also enroll in a nutrition residency for the European College of Veterinary and Comparative Nutrition (ECVCN) or American College of Veterinary Nutrition (ACVN).

“At Royal Canin we know that precise nutrition has a profound impact on the health and well-being of cats and dogs – both in maintaining health and in mitigating disease. So, we are proud to help increase the number of board-certified veterinary nutritionists in Canada. We see this as an important means for better access to expertise and shared knowledge within the veterinary profession, for the greater benefits of canine and feline health”, said Dr. Arnaud Christ, Scientific & Corporate Affairs Director for Royal Canin Canada.

For more information on pet nutrition at the Ontario Veterinary College visit Pet Nutrition @ OVC