How To Make Assessments

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WSAVA Nutrition Toolkit

Following on from the launch of the WSAVA’s Global Nutrition Guidelines in 2011, its Global Nutrition Committee (GNC) has developed a suite of tools. These include practical aids for the veterinary healthcare team to make nutritional assessment and recommendations more efficient, such as a diet history form, hospitalized patient feeding guide, body condition score charts, and calorie recommendations for dogs and cats.

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WSAVA Nutritional Guidelines

A global initiative to standardize five vital signs as part of the standard physical examination for all small animals. These are: Temperature, Pulse, Respiration, Pain assessment and Nutritional assessment. Other language versions include Traditional Chinese and Simplified Chinese.

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2010 AAHA Nutrtional Guidelines

The American Animal Hospital Association recommends these nutritional assessment guidelines because good nutrition enhances pets' quality and quantity of life, and is integral to optimal animal care. Incorporating nutritional assessment into regular animal care is critical for maintaining pets' health, as well as their response to disease and injury. It requires little to no additional time or cost.

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Muscle Condition Score: WSAVA Canine

Muscle condition score is assessed by visualization and palpation of the spine, scapulae, skull, and wings of the ilia. Muscle loss is typically first noted in the epaxial muscles on each side of the spine; muscle loss at other sites can be more variable. Muscle condition score is graded as normal, mild loss, moderate loss, or severe loss. Note that animals can have significant muscle loss if they are overweight (body condition score > 5). Conversely, animals can have a low body condition score (< 4) but have minimal muscle loss. Therefore, assessing both body condition score and muscle condition score on every animal at every visit is important. Palpation is especially important when muscle loss is mild and in animals that are overweight. An example of each score is shown below.

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Muscle Condition Score: WSAVA Feline

Muscle condition score is assessed by visualization and palpation of the spine, scapulae, skull, and wings of the ilia. Muscle loss is typically first noted in the epaxial muscles on each side of the spine; muscle loss at other sites can be more variable. Muscle condition score is graded as normal, mild loss, moderate loss, or severe loss. Note that animals can have significant muscle loss if they are overweight (body condition score > 5/9). Conversely animals can have a low body condition score (< 4/9) but have minimal muscle loss. Therefore, assessing both body condition score and muscle condition score on every animal at every visit is important.

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Body Condition Score: Purina Canine

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Body Condition Score: Purina Feline

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WSAVA Diet History Long Form

An example of a patient history form incorporating diet history and nutritional assessment for use in veterinary practices. In PDF format called, "Extended Diet History Form" by the World Small Animal Veterinary Association.

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WSAVA Diet History Short Form

An example of a short diet history form created by The World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA). In PDF format titled "Diet History Form".

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AAHA Sample Nutritional Questions for Exam Room

A unique perspective on how to best implement the AAHA Nutritional Assessment Guidelines For Dogs and Cats in practice. Emphasizes the importance of identifying the most useful questions to ask clients and "what to listen for" in their answers. Provides over a dozen sample questions with interpretation of responses.