Cameron with her horse in a stable.

Introducing…Cameron Commisso

With a new school year starting, we are excited to introduce you to our new team members who have joined us this fall! We will be interviewing our new team members to help you become acquainted with them as professionals, students and people.

Hello, I would like to formally introduce myself to all of you. My name is Cameron Commisso and I am a new master’s by thesis student at the University of Guelph’s Clinical Studies Department with the OVC Pet Nutrition team. Along with formally introducing myself I would like to give you all a little more insight into my life!

A little about myself. Who am I?

If I had to describe myself, I would say that I am a person who puts their heart and soul into everything I do. Whether it be family, friends, work or my education I always give 110% of myself to whatever task is at hand. This strong passion for not only those around me but also the activities I have taken part in has allowed for me to achieve a wide variety of personal goals. In addition to being a kind hearted individual I also grew up with a strong passion for animals and the outdoors. Growing up in a small town in northern Ontario allowed for me to develop a great love for wildlife and nature. Some of my favourite memories are sitting out at our family camp and being able to see moose swim in Lake Superior. This passion for animals continues to grow and has lead me down the path I am currently on with the OVC Pet Nutrition team.

What drives me?

One of my biggest drives in life is my desire to succeed. From a young age my mom always instilled the idea that I could achieve anything I set my mind to. Though I have had my fair share of hardships in my life and made more than a few mistakes I have always believed those were lessons. Without past mistakes I would not be able to develop and grow into the induvial I am today. My drive to succeed is not only for my own desire but also for my family. Though I know my family will support me through all of life’s ups and downs they are a driving force for me to do better and be better. I want to look back on my life and have not only myself but also my family be proud of my achievements.

What lead me to the University of Guelph and a Graduate Program?

Growing up with a strong passion for animals I always knew I wanted to attend the University of Guelph. Due to this back in 2016 I eagerly awaited my acceptance to the University of Guelph. To say I was ecstatic to get my acceptance letter to the Bachelor of Science in Agriculture program is an understatement. During my undergrad I fell more in love with the school than I could possibly imagine. I was able to learn so much about a variety of different animals, and husbandry practices.

Soon after my first two years of undergrad I quickly realized I had a passion for animal nutrition. This new found interest in nutrition allowed for me to take a variety of different animal nutrition courses throughout my undergrad. One of the courses that sparked my interest the most was companion animal nutrition. This course lead me to do my own personal research and eventually reach out to the Dr. Verbrugghe at the Clinical Studies department. Soon after speaking with her I quickly knew that the OVC Pet Nutrition team was for me and instantly sent in my application for a masters position.

What sparked my passion for nutrition?

While taking a variety of different animal nutrition courses throughout my undergrad grew my passion for nutrition a variety of life experiences also lead me to this field of study. Over the past few years the horse I have been working with has had a variety of different health issues. Trying to improve his overall health resulted in us taking a closer look at his nutrition. I read tons of research journals, spoke with industry professionals and tested a variety of different feed regimens to find his perfect mix. Applying my undergrad teachings to the real life experience of an animals personal nutrition and seeing a drastic change in overall health solidified my love for this field. From a young age I knew I wanted to help animals and I feel like nutrition allows me to achieve this goal as it is fundamental to an animals quality of life.

My animals…

Throughout my life I have had the honor of owning a variety of different animals from fish to hamsters to cats and a dog. Currently I own a 10 year old Yorkie-poo named Toby. Toby was my families first dog and he has been the perfect fit for us. Toby is the dog that brightens everybody’s day as he loves to do everything and anything. From meeting new people to going to the vet Toby is constantly happy and ready to take on a new adventure.

A black dog laying on a cobblestone driveway.

Though I haven’t been lucky enough to own them I have had the pleasure to work with a variety of different horses. Earl, is the horse who started my crazy equestrian journey and grew my passion for the sport. I had the honour of working with Earl for over 11 years and was able to not only develop my own riding skills on him but eventually teach beginner riders to fall in love with the sport on this amazing horse as well. Though I have worked with a variety of horses Earl is the one who has left the biggest imprint on my heart.

Cameron posing with Earl, a brown horse with a white stripe down his nose. Earl has a navy, red and white striped blanket on.

Red is the most recent and most famous horse I have had the pleasure to work with. In 2010 Red better known as “Big Red Mike” took home the Queens Plate. After being an accomplished racehorse Red is a much slower horse today though he still loves being the center of attention at any barn. He has allowed for me to develop my knowledge on horse care and nutrition. My experience with Red has allowed me to further develop my love and passion for horses and allows for it to continue to grow on a daily basis. I hope once I finish my academic career to get a horse of my own.

Cameron posing with Red, a brown horse with a thin white stripe between his eyes. Red is wearing a brown plaid blanket. They are in an arena.

What is the topic of my research with the OVC team?

My masters by thesis program is looking at the perspective of raw food diets in companion animals. This is an amazing opportunity for me to further my research as it is such a relevant topic in today’s companion animal diet trends. I am looking forward to my next few years at the University of Guelph and learning more about companion animal nutrition!