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The role of nutrition in preventative medicine

02 September 2023
3 mins read
Volume 14 · Issue 7


Nutritional requirements will alter through the animal's lifespan, potentially altering healthspan. Having nutritional recommendations at key points of the individual's life is very important.

There are a few fundamentals to good health: being disease free, living in a suitable environment and having good nutrition. Good nutrition can be defined as having no deficiencies or excesses and providing the correct nutrition for the lifestage and exercise requirements of the animal.

A 5-year study showed that discussing nutrition at key points in the dog's life played a large impact on body condition scores (BCS) later on in life (Ackerman, 2012). In 2007, all dogs were recommended to be neutered at 6 months of age, this was irrespective of temperament or breed. Nutrition was discussed at the time of discharge from the surgery, in the post-operative examinations and then 3 months later during a RVN examination. These animals underwent what is now defined as the WSAVA Nutritional Assessment (Freeman et al, 2011) and a nutritional recommendation was given depending on the BCS and weight of the animal, but also the breed and the potential for continuation of growth. These animals were monitored for the next 5 years. The abstract showed that those animals that did not receive the RVN advice at the 3-month post neuter exam were 50% more likely to become obese 5 years later. This was irrespective of breed of dog and whether they were male or female.

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