10 + 1 Nutritional Considerations for Dalmatians

Stimulating Appetite

Stimulating Appetite

Even when a patient is willing to eat, they may not be eating enough. Ensuring that the needs of our patients are met nutritionally is vital to a good outcome. If you are a veterinary professional, follow these tips and tricks for stimulating appetite in your patients while they are in hospital.

Read more about "Stimulating Appetite"

Hidden Risk: Aflatoxins in Pet Food

Hidden Risk: Aflatoxins in Pet Food

Recently in the news, there has been a large concern in the pet industry with dog foods potentially contaminated with aflatoxin. An international recall of pet food products was issued in December 2020, as many dogs became ill after eating contaminated dog food. According to the FDA, the recalled products contained potentially fatal levels of these toxins. In September 2020, a pet food sample was found to contain unsafe levels of aflatoxins, resulting in Sunshine Mills to announce a recall of the tested pet food product and other products made with the same corn. 

Read more about "Hidden Risk: Aflatoxins in Pet Food"

Congratulations, Hannah!

Hannah’s thesis is titled, “Effects of additional dietary choline on food intake, body weight and body composition, respiratory quotient, serum lipid profile, and serum metabolic signature in post-gonadectomy kittens.”

Read more about "Congratulations, Hannah!"

Feeding Your Pet Bunny

Feeding Your Pet Bunny

The digestive physiology and diet of the bunny differs significantly from that of the dog or cat. Believe it or not, bunnies' gastrointestinal (GI) tracts most resemble the GI tracts of horses rather than cats, dogs or even rodents. This is important to recognize as an inappropriate diet can significantly contribute to the development of dental or GI disorders.

Read more about "Feeding Your Pet Bunny"

Tooth be Told

Tooth be Told Takeaways from pet dental health month What do you know about dental care for your pet? 

Dental health is an incredibly important part of your pet’s health, whether they are small or large! It is important that gums and teeth are examined by your veterinarian at least once yearly. This will help to ensure early signs are detected and addressed to help maintain good oral health in addition to providing an opportunity to discuss prevention such as tooth brushing and regular dental cleanings. About 90% of patients will develop periodontal disease in their lifetime and this can cause mild to extreme discomfort. Additionally, dental disease will cause oral infections, thus leading to daily production of harmful bacteria that can enter the blood. This causes the release of inflammatory mediators into the bloodstream and subsequently negatively affects the vital organs, including the heart, lung, kidney, and liver. 

Read more about "Tooth be Told"

The Potato as an Ingredient in Pet Foods

The Potato as an Ingredient in Pet Foods

St. Patrick’s Day is around the corner and the celebrations paying homage to Ireland will soon begin! While the majority of these traditions will rely on clovers, leprechauns, pints, and green-themed everything, we also see new recipes popping up favouring the almighty potato. And so, now is a good a time to start the conversation around the use of potato as an ingredient in pet food!  

Read more about "The Potato as an Ingredient in Pet Foods"

Transitioning your horse from hay to grass safely this spring.

Transitioning your horse from hay to grass safely this spring.

Believe it or not, but springtime is coming soon! With the arrival of spring, comes warmer weather, fresh new grass growth, shedding season and more time in the saddle for horse enthusiasts. To help your horse transition from the frigid Canadian winter to spring, this blog post will provide you with some helpful tips.

Read more about "Transitioning your horse from hay to grass safely this spring."

The Benefits of Exercise as a New Year’s Resolution for Pets and People

The Benefits of Exercise as a New Year’s Resolution for Pets and People

Many people are happy to welcome in the year 2021 after a long and isolating 2020. The pandemic has allowed many people and pets to increase their outdoor physical activity and focus on personal wellness, which is amazing. However, on the flip side, many have remained isolated inside together at home; enjoying each other's company but possibly consuming more calories than necessary. With more people working at home, pets may be getting more attention (and food) than they were previously used to. It is not too late to consider a News Years resolution for pet parent and pet focusing on healthy eating habits and exercise!

Read more about "The Benefits of Exercise as a New Year’s Resolution for Pets and People"

Welcome back, Dr. Caitlin Grant!

The entire Ontario Veterinary College Nutrition team is thrilled to welcome back Dr. Caitlin Grant to our team as an Assistant Professor and as the recipient of the Nestlé Purina Professorship in Companion Animal Nutrition!

Read more about "Welcome back, Dr. Caitlin Grant!"

Check the List Twice – Find Out What’s Naughty or Nice

It’s the holiday season! This may be a time of year where you get to enjoy your favourite foods and treats, and start to decorate your homes, and maybe include your fur-babies in all the fun! However, it is important to remember that not all human foods are appropriate for our pets. We have a developed a short list of holiday-themed items to avoid giving to your pets over the holidays, and some resources to contact if you are worried that your pet may have consumed something they shouldn’t have.  

Read more about "Check the List Twice – Find Out What’s Naughty or Nice"

Cut the Fat But Support the Cat

Cut the Fat But Support the Cat Dr. Caitlin Grant demonstrates a gap in essential nutrient intake when cats eat fewer calories for weight loss

When treating and preventing obesity in our companion animals, it is not uncommon for caregivers and members of the healthcare team to question: How low is too low when restricting calories for weight loss? Are our cats meeting their nutrient requirements during weight loss?

Read more about "Cut the Fat But Support the Cat"

Understanding nutrients and ingredients

Understanding nutrients and ingredients

It can be confusing to navigate pet food labels and determine whether a diet is appropriate for your pet or not. Often, the presence or absence of particular ingredients are prominently displayed, while the nutritional content of the diet may take second stage. It’s important to determine the difference between ingredients and nutrients in order to evaluate pet foods. 

Read more about "Understanding nutrients and ingredients"

Introducing…Olivia Chiu!

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.

Read more about "Introducing…Olivia Chiu!"

Tricky Treats

We are in that beautiful time between Canadian Thanksgiving and Halloween, where many of our human family members are treating themselves to a multitude of tasty snacks! With all this snacking and indulgence, we of course want to include our pets in the family fun. It’s important to note that treats can be tricky, as there are many ways treats can be a bane rather than a boon to our pets! 

Read more about "Tricky Treats"

Introducing…Brooklynn Liversidge!

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.

Read more about "Introducing…Brooklynn Liversidge!"

Introducing…Dr. Erico Ribeiro!

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.

Read more about "Introducing…Dr. Erico Ribeiro!"

Reflections on the Summer CORE Program

The Ontario Veterinary College offers summer student researchers an opportunity to explore some of the exciting research being conducted here at OVC. This program, the Summer Career Opportunities and Research Exploration (CORE) Program, runs from May until August

Read more about "Reflections on the Summer CORE Program"

On the World Stage, From Home – ESVCN Congress 2020

On the World Stage, From Home – ESVCN Congress 2020

Last week was the European Society of Veterinary and Comparative Nutrition (ESVCN) Congress, presented remotely to maintain the safe delivery of data to the world of animal veterinary and comparative nutrition. Due to the need for the congress to proceed virtually, our team was unable to socialize and network with colleagues from around the world. The virtual format was well organized, featuring session times allowing for a breadth of international attendance.

Read more about "On the World Stage, From Home – ESVCN Congress 2020"

What’s the Scoop on Dietary Supplements?

What’s the Scoop on Dietary Supplements?

Dietary supplements for dogs and cats (also referred to as nutraceuticals = nutrition + pharmaceutical) have been growing in popularity for over 30 years in Canada and the USA.  It’s estimated that between 30% and 50% of pet parents are using one or more of these products for their dog or cat, and that 90% of veterinarians across North America recommend some type of nutraceutical or dietary supplement.  It’s interesting to note that while the dietary supplement industry for both pets and humans has grown into the billions-of-dollars, there is no standardized or legal definition for what is allowed (or isn’t allowed) as a nutraceutical.  

Read more about "What’s the Scoop on Dietary Supplements?"

Congratulations Caitlin!

Congratulations to Dr. Caitlin Grant (ECVCN Resident) for defending her thesis today and successfully completing her Doctor of Veterinary Science (DVSc) with the Clinical Nutrition team!

Read more about "Congratulations Caitlin!"

GANS: Fuelling Wellness Symposium

GANS: Fuelling Wellness Symposium A summary of a day unlike any other! Fuelling Wellness Symposium

The Fuelling Wellness Symposium was the final day of the Global Animal Nutrition Summit. This event was to provided a platform for open and inclusive pet nutrition and collaboration, open to all skilled pet professionals. To optimize attendee’s educational opportunities, three streams were offered; the veterinary, paraprofessional and equine streams. Attendees were able to attend multiple streams and even return to view other streams after the recorded live sessions were posted.

Read more about "GANS: Fuelling Wellness Symposium"

8 Things I Learned From The Global Animal Nutrition Summit 2020

From August 11-15, I had the pleasure of attending the virtual Global Animal Nutrition Summit. This event highlighted valuable nutrition research from incredible people all over the world. Although I wish I could highlight every presentation given, below are a few things I learned during this international conference, more to follow later this week!

Read more about "8 Things I Learned From The Global Animal Nutrition Summit 2020"

Global Animal Nutrition Summit 2020 (GANS2020)

Global Animal Nutrition Summit 2020 (GANS2020) Update from the OVC Pet Nutrition Team

From August 12-15th, the University of Guelph was proud to be the first virtual host to the Global Animal Nutrition Summit (GANS). This event was very special to the OVC Pet Nutrition team, as Drs. Adronie Verbrugghe and Sarah Abood were two of the co-chairs of this summit. Additionally, all the members of the OVC Pet Nutrition team worked hard behind the scenes to make this event a success.  

Read more about "Global Animal Nutrition Summit 2020 (GANS2020)"

Introducing the CAVN!

The OVC Nutrition Team is so pleased to introduce the Canadian Academy of Veterinary Nutrition (CAVN) to all of our readers! The CAVN is a group of veterinarians and veterinary technicians with a passion for nutrition.  It’s 12 fellows include board certified veterinary nutritionists, veterinarians who have completed a residency in nutrition, residents in training to become board certified, as well as veterinary technicians who have received their specialty training in nutrition –in Canada! To say this group loves nutrition is an understatement and it was this shared passion that brought the founding members together in August 2018 to form the CAVN. 

Read more about "Introducing the CAVN!"

Before you fill the bowl…

Before you fill the bowl…

When you go about cooking dinner for yourself, do you first wash down the surface before prepping food to make sure it’s clean? How about when you go out to eat, do you check to see if your plate and utensils are clean? When it comes to feeding your pets, do you do the same with their food and water bowls? 

Read more about "Before you fill the bowl…"

Program for the Global Animal Nutrition Summit (GANS) is now live!


The Ontario Veterinary College and Ontario Agricultural College of the University of Guelph are proud to be hosting the Global Animal Nutrition Summit (GANS). A conference designed to bring leaders in animal science, comparative nutrition and veterinary nutrition together for the first time ever. This global nutrition summit is a collaboration between eight international animal nutrition organizations.

Read more about "Program for the Global Animal Nutrition Summit (GANS) is now live!"

2020 AAVN Symposium

2020 AAVN Clinical Nutrition and Research Symposium Update from the OVC Pet Nutrition Team

From June 10th – 11th the American Academy of Veterinary Nutrition (AAVN) hosted its 20th annual meeting and first virtual AAVN Clinical Nutrition and Research Symposium. While the event was originally scheduled to be held in Baltimore (USA), the global pandemic with COVID-19 forced organizers to change to a virtual format. Fortunately, this did not detract from a great program with excellent research presented on a wide variety of topics: feeding methods in horses, renal care in senior cats, dietary interventions on the canine microbiome, and obesity prevention, treatment, and communication.   

Read more about "2020 AAVN Symposium"

Thinking Outside the Bowl

In the Before The Bowl Blog, we will aim to share two to three new posts per month, something which can be used by veterinary team members and pet caregivers alike. We will try to bust myths, share new information on veterinary and pet nutrition as it becomes available and explore new feeding trends.

Read more about "Thinking Outside the Bowl"

When a Little Means a Lot

Our team's work was recently showcased at the Canadian Nutrition Society's Annual Conference, hosted virtually this year. MSc student, Hannah Godfrey, had the opportunity to present her study, Choline supplementation lowered body weight, body condition score, and daily food intake compared to a control in post-gonadectomized kittens. Despite it's potential health and behavioural benefits, spay and neuter surgery has been demonstrated to increase the risk of obesity. By supplementing growing kittens with choline after their neuter surgeries, dietary choline might provide a preventive effect against obesity.

Read more about "When a Little Means a Lot"

A Growing Problem

Some may consider a few extra pounds on our furry companions to be little cause for concern, but our team, alongside the surgical, clinical studies and Smith Lane Animal Hospital OVC teams, demonstrated data to refute this. MSc student, Amanda Santarossa, and Dr. Adronie Verbrugghe, published a study showing that patients who experienced the rupture of their cranial-cruciate ligament were more likely to be overweight or obese. As anticipated, the patients with a cruciate ligament tear were found to have a decreased amount of muscle mass in the affected limb and a greater amount of fat. A cruciate ligament tear will result in instability in the joint, pain, reduced function and may require surgical correction. Entitled, Body composition of medium to giant breed dogs with or without cranial cruciate ligament disease, the study was just published in Veterinary Surgery. Congratulations to Amanda, the OVC Clinical Nutrition Team and collaborators!

Read more about "A Growing Problem"

Leaving No Bowl Unturned

In a recent study published in Veterinary and Comparative Oncology, our team surveyed owners of pets undergoing treatment for cancer to evaluate the prevalence of unconventional diets and supplements, finding a greater number of pet owners with pets undergoing cancer treatment were exploring alternative options as part of their treatment program. The abstract, Unconventional diets and nutritional supplements are more common in dogs with cancer compared to healthy dogs: An online global survey of 345 dog owners, was published and studied by our gradate, Adriana Bianco and our own Dr. Adronie Verbrugge, Dr. Sarah Abood, OVC's Dr. Jason Coe, Dr. Paul Woods, and Dr. Anthony Mutsaers.

Read more about "Leaving No Bowl Unturned"

It’s What Inside That Counts

Research previously conducted on mice concluded differences in microbiota in obese vs. lean mice. This feline study, recently published in BMC Veterinary Research by our own Dr. Adronie Verbrugghe and our prior DVSc student, Dr. Moran Tal, along with OVC's Dr. Scott Weese, sought to investigate the microbiome of obese cats who embarked on a weight loss program. Entitled, Bacterial fecal microbiota is only minimally affected by a standardized weight loss plan in obese cats, the study concluded that little change was demonstrated in microbial populations following a successful weight loss program.

Read more about "It’s What Inside That Counts"

Ask, And You Shall Succeed!

In a study recently published in the Journal Of Veterinary Medical Association, OVC's Dr. Jason Coe, in collaboration with our own Dr. Adronie Verbrugghe, found that the key to taking an accurate nutrition history is all about asking the right questions. Entitled, Effects of three diet history questions on the amount of information gained from a sample of pet owners in Ontario, Canada, the study examined the effects of three diet history questions on the amount and type of diet-related information gathered from pet owners. To assess the effect of each question asked, the history taken as a result of each question was compared against information collected via a diet history survey. Using broad, open questions or requests that invite expansion from pet owners, for example "Tell me everything Fluffy eats in a day", are the best approach for gathering diet-related information.

Read more about "Ask, And You Shall Succeed!"

My Cup Runneth Over

Congratulations to our team members, Alexandra Rankovic and Dr. Jackie Parr, who coauthored a published study investigating the inaccuracies of measuring cups for preparation of a pet's daily food ration. Along with the Ontario Veterinary College's Dr. Jason Coe as the lead author, their paper entitled, Dog owner's accuracy measuring different volumes of dry dog food using three different measuring devices, was published in the BMJ Journals Vet Record.

Read more about "My Cup Runneth Over"