Feeding tube lab: A hands on experience for student veterinarians

Feeding tube lab: A hands on experience for student veterinarians

The annual Tube Feeding Lab was hosted on a cold Monday night recently by the Ontario Veterinary College’s (OVC) Nutrition Club to give students a chance to learn more about feeding tubes and the value they provide in helping patients unable to eat adequately on their own. This year’s event featured four stations: tube types and how to select the best option, technique tips for placing tubes (using models), choosing and preparing diets to administer through tubes, and developing feeding plans (including calculations). This is a meaningful workshop for student veterinarians because they get to engage with the Clinical Nutrition team and like-minded peers interested in furthering their knowledge about feeding tubes and nutrition support for sick patients. They also gained experience with feeding tubes, saw what they looked like and how to place them. The workshop was designed to help students discover how they can apply these skills when they go out into practice and aim to provide the best care for their anorectic patients.

Feeding tube model station at the annual OVC Tube Feeding Lab. Pictured here are our dog, (Pegasus) and cat, (Ned) models. These models were acquired with generous funding from Nestlé Purina Canada. Follow this link to learn more about Nestlé Purina’s contribution, and the development of the models.

“I thoroughly enjoyed the feeding tube lab. It re-enforced things like nutrition calculations and esophagostomy tube placement. I liked learning about different types of feeding tubes and what the different indications are to use them as well as the diet station. I had never really thought about all the things we should consider when choosing a diet for tube feeding!” Alexandra Lytasz

There were 24 students, and most were members of the second and third year of the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Program at OVC. Three members of the Clinical Nutrition team, Dr. Sarah Abood (DVM, PhD, Associate Professor, Nestle Purina Professorship in Companion Animal Nutrition), Dr. Francisco Poblanno (DVM, DVSc Candidate, ECVCN Resident), and Alicia Lorch (RVT, CCRVN, VTS (Nutrition) Candidate), helped organize and run the stations. Pizza was provided with support from Nestle Purina Canada. The OVC Nutrition Club is planning a body condition scoring lab in the month of February.

Alicia Lorch (RVT, CCRVN, VTS (Nutrition) Candidate) explains to student veterinarians how to place a feeding tube using one of our state-of-the-art dog models.

Student veterinarians exploring and preparing a variety of pet food options with Dr. Francisco Poblanno (DVM, DVSc Candidate, ECVCN Resident). Students tested how easy or difficult each food would go through different sized tubes. This part of the workshop is always messy!

If you are ever concerned that your pet is not eating enough, please check with your family veterinarian. A pet that is not eating all its food may be sick. If you are looking for more information related to inappetence in pets, you can reference our blog post on stimulating appetite.

Written by:

Sarah Abood, DVM, PhD, Associate Professor, Nestle Purina Professorship in Companion Animal Nutrition

Reviewed by:

Adronie Verbrugghe, DVM, PhD, Dip ECVCN, Associate Professor, Royal Canin Veterinary Diets Endowed Chair in Canine and Feline Clinical Nutrition

Shawna Morrow, BScH, MSc candidate

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