What role can the veterinarian have in communicating information to clients about proper nutrition?

Answer:

  • Each member of the veterinary practice team has a responsibility to communicate the importance of nutrition to clients. In fact, every member should be viewed as a “nutrition champion.”1
  • Veterinarian’s overall role: Performs a nutritional assessment and provides a specific dietary recommendation (specific food name, form, and amount) for every pet, every exam. Provides committed leadership on proper nutrition for the entire veterinary health care team.2
  • Veterinarian’s specific tasks:
    1. Reviews patient history and conducts patient’s physical exam.1
    2. Completes the nutritional screening assessment (nutritional history, activity level, body weight, body condition score) and discusses the results with the pet owner. If this task is performed by a technician, she/he reviews the findings.1
    3. Communicates the importance of a physical exam and the nutritional assessment. If the patient has abnormal physical exam findings or nutritional risk factors, then she/he performs the extended nutritional evaluation.1
    4. Makes a specific dietary recommendation (specific food name, form, and amount) and nutritional plan for the patient.
    5. Makes certain that the client understands everything that was discussed during the exam. Asks “Have I answered all of your questions?”1
    6. Discusses the patient’s plan and next visit.
    7. Enters all information (including specific dietary recommendation) into the patient’s chart.1
The Science Behind our Recommendations
1. American Animal Hospital Association. Deploy your team. Trends magazine. 2012;28(9)(suppl):S12-S14. 2. American Animal Hospital Association. The convergence protocol: a blueprint to the Preventive Healthcare Guidelines. Trends magazine.  2012; 28(11)(suppl): S3-S5.