Five new tools have been added to a Nutrition Toolkit launched by the WSAVA’s Global Nutrition Committee (GNC) to help the veterinary healthcare team promote the importance of nutrition in optimal pet health. The new tools are:
- Body Condition score charts for cats and dogs to assist in assessing body condition
- A Body Condition video, available in English, Spanish and Japanese, during which a veterinarian demonstrates how veterinary staff or owners can undertake a body condition check
- A Muscle Condition score chart to assist in assessing muscle condition
The downloadable Nutrition Toolkit was launched at WSAVA World Congress in Auckland earlier this year and has become the second most visited page on the WSAVA’s website (www.wsava.org).
Dr Marge Chandler, Co-Chair of the GNC, explains: “Veterinary staff tell us that the tools are helping them to provide better care for patients; to feel more confident in answering questions about pet food and to suggest useful and accurate nutrition websites to which they can direct owners.
We’re delighted to introduce these tools. The Body Condition tools will help owners to objectively assess the amount of body fat on their pet. If they are carrying excess or insufficient fat, their pet’s health could start to suffer so we hope this will be a spur for them to consult their veterinarian for advice.
Measuring muscle condition is also important because muscle loss occurs in many diseases and, sometimes, during ageing. Muscle loss has a negative effect on strength, immune function and wound healing.”
She continued: “We launched the Nutrition Toolkit as part of our strategy to provide practical, non-branded, support to veterinarians everywhere and to help ensure that their clients receive trustworthy, accurate information on nutrition which will help their pets live longer, healthier and happier lives. Existing tools include documents outlining the calorie requirements for healthy dogs and cats and nutritional assessment checklists.
We will continue to add further tools and to translate them into additional languages for the benefit of veterinarians and pet owners around the world.”
The toolkit is available for download at http://wsava.org/nutrition-toolkit.
Based on its importance to overall health, the WSAVA has campaigned to have a nutritional assessment confirmed as the Fifth Vital Assessment in a standard physical examination and for the veterinary healthcare team to provide nutritional recommendations for each animal as an integral component of patient care.
The launch of the Nutrition Toolkit follows on from the Global Nutrition Committee’s first initiative, the creation of a set of Nutrition Guidelines in 2011. These were aimed at helping veterinary staff and pet owners ensure that pets are fed according to an optimal and individually tailored nutrition plan. They have proved successful, securing endorsements from 27 WSAVA member organizations in 16 countries. They have been translated into ten languages and are available for download at http://www.wsava.org/guidelines/global-nutrition-guidelines.
The World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) is an umbrella organization representing 180,000 veterinarians globally through 94 member associations.