Q: Tell us about WSAVA Global Nutrition Guidelines.
Dr Gregg Takashima: The Global Nutrition Committee (GNC) began in 2010 with the initial task of developing the WSAVA’s Global Nutrition Guidelines, which were first published in 2011.We have also created a nutritional toolkit containing 21 tools for veterinarians. The goal of our Guidelines is to help the veterinary healthcare team and pet parents to ensure that dogs and cats are on an optimal nutrition plan, tailored to their individual needs.We also want to remind veterinarians of the value of conducting a nutritional assessment. It is really important to ask pet parents – ‘what do your pets eat?’Not just their food, but treats and supplements as well, because what they eat in total will affect their health.
Q: How does the GNC toolkit help veterinarians?
Dr Gregg Takashima: The tools we offer explain the components of a good nutritional diet in a neutral and unbiased way. They also help practitioners to discuss nutrition with their clients and staff.
Q: How should pet parents approach nutrition?
Dr Gregg Takashima: We advise pet parents to consider ‘total nutrition’ and not be taken in by the latest fad.Unfortunately, even in the US, there are many commercial pet diets that don’t list their ingredients clearly and may not be nutritionally adequate.
Q: Tell us about nutrition for prevention and cure.
Dr Gregg Takashima: Good nutrition really helps to prevent illness.For instance, if a dog or cat is overweight, we can put them on a weight loss diet. Diabetic pets requirediets with reduced carbohydrates.
On the other hand, diets can also cause illness. For example, if you feed your pet only raw meat or diets which are high in calcium or phosphorous, your pet could develop bone problems. It is really important to consult your veterinarian to discuss the optimum diet for your pet, particularly if they have a disease or condition which requires management.
Q: What are the challenges faced by veterinarians and pet owners?
Dr Gregg Takashima: One of the key challenges is that there are many misleading or inaccurate statements available on the internet so it’s important that veterinarians and pet parents seek out unbiased information.
Q: What is the WSAVA GNC focusing on now?
Dr Gregg Takashima: In addition to updating our Global Nutrition Guidelines, we are working on providing more continuing education to veterinarians and especially veterinary students.
(Dr Gregg Takashima is a member of the Animal Care Group of Lake Oswego (ACGLO), which is a collaboration of several veterinary services providing cardiology, orthopaedic surgery, physical rehabilitation, emergency, and mobile &hospice care, along with general medicine. Dr Gregg believes that creating a culture within the veterinary practice and profession that nurtures and embraces the human-animal bond through the practice of veterinary excellence and compassion will benefit human, animal and environmental health)