Putting Nutrition Into Practice—A Discussion of Pet Nutrition Recommendations, Compliance and Product Selection - Episode 1
Diet recommendations for your patients
When every pet is unique, how do you find the best diet for your patient? Martha Cline, DVM, Diplomate ACVN, and Korinn Saker, DVM, PhD, Diplomate ACVN discuss what questions to ask to find the best option for your patient, including when to consider prices.
View the full video transcription below.
Adam Christman, DVM, MBA: Welcome to the DVM 360s Insight discussion titled putting nutrition into practice a discussion of pet nutrition recommendations, compliance, and product selection. I'm Dr. Adam Chrisman, chief veterinary officer here at Fetch dvm360 and I'll be your moderator for the sessions. Our presenters today are Dr. Korinn Saker and Dr. Martha Cline. Welcome doctors.
Martha Cline, DVM, Diplomate ACVN: Thank you.
Korinn Saker, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVN: Thank you.
Both Cline and Saker: Yeah, thanks for having us.
Adam Christman, DVM, MBA: Thanks for coming here. This is so much fun. Okay, so those of you that may or may not know, let's look a little bit about our friends. So, Dr. Korinn Saker is a professor of nutrition director of the nutrition program and served as chief of the Health and Wellness Center at NCSU's College of Veterinary Medicine. She received her BS from Purdue University, MS in animal nutrition from Clemson University, and the DVM from the University of Georgia. Following 5 years of mixed animal practice, she completed a PhD in nutrition, and a clinical nutrition residency at VMR CVM, where she spent 12 years as a clinical nutritionist and Research Professor before moving to NCSU to initiate a veterinary nutrition program in 2007. She currently divides her time between clinical work, teaching, running a clinical nutrition training program, and pursuing research interests focused on nutrition for health and disease. Additionally, she is active in building initiatives focused on diversity and inclusion. She works closely with the small animal primary care service at North Carolina State's College of Veterinary Medicine and various local general veterinary practices. She continues to be actively involved in leadership roles for veterinary and human nutrition professional organizations. My goodness, that's a mouthful right there. Her career has included 4 US patents from research and nutritional immunity and oxidative stress, authored 1 book chapter, has over 145 peer-reviewed research publications, presented clinical and research topics nationally and internationally, and has leadership roles in professional veterinary nutritional organizations such as ACVN and AAVN. So, thank you so much for being here.
Dr. Martha Cline is also with us, too. She's a graduate of the University of Tennessee's College of Veterinary Medicine. She completed a small animal rotating internship at Oradell Animal Hospital in Paramus, New Jersey, and then returned to the University of Tennessee for a small animal Clinical Nutrition residency. She's board-certified with the American College of Veterinary Nutrition (ACVN). In 2013, she joined the staff at Red Bank Veterinary Hospital in New Jersey, where she currently practices small animal clinical nutrition full-time. Dr. Cline is also a member of the specialty advisory board for Compassion-First Pet Hospitals. Dr. Cline is the past president of the American Academy of veterinary nutrition. She has lectured on topics surrounding veterinary nutrition at regional, national, and international conferences. Dr. Cline has authored and co-authored several book chapters and peer-reviewed articles in veterinary nutrition. In 2021, she served as the chair of the AHA task force from the nutrition and weight management guidelines. She is the co-editor of the textbook, Obesity in the Dog and Cat. In her spare time, she enjoys running with her English pointer, Dave. She also shares her home with her husband and 2 orange cats, Jake and Charles. That's wonderful.
So, our objectives for today. We are going to determine criteria to include appropriate diet recommendations to clients, we're also going to ascertain the roles of that in our support team in efficiently communicating a diet to clients. We're also going to identify opportunities to maintain revenue in the hospital within veterinary nutrition. Finally, we're going to employ soundbite communication when explaining the value and importance of nutrition. Okay, so let's get into the down and dirty and we're going to talk about nutritional recommendations. So, my friends, every pet is so unique, every pet is so unique, and expenses don't necessarily equal quality. So, when we're trying to find the best diet for that individual pet, can you tell me what that means? Where expense doesn't necessarily equal quality? Martha, we will ask you.
Martha Cline, DVM, Diplomate ACVN: Yeah, so it's just as simple as what you're saying. There are going to be diets that may be very costly to a client and that particular diet may not be as high a quality diet is maybe one that we're going to see at a lower price point. Also, there are going to be pets as individuals where they may do better on different diets compared to other animals. And they can follow all kinds of different price points. So, for me, when I'm communicating with a client initially in the exam room, one question I may ask them is where do you buy your pet food? Because that may give me some insight on where that client is going to be purchasing their food, and maybe to help guide those recommendations a little bit more.
Adam Christman, DVM, MBA: I like that. Do your clients ask have similar questions, too?
Korinn Saker, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVN: We get this question a lot and part of it is educating people on what they perceive as the word quality. So, quality, a lot of times, relates to cost for many people and as Martha indicated, where they buy their pet food—if they're running to a boutique type pet store, then all the states are going to be very expensive. But that doesn't mean that the nutritional quality of them is any better than the pet foods that you would purchase at a grocery store or a Walmart or Target—something like that—and having a better understanding of what you mean by quality. I think this is one of the key aspects of figuring out, "Do I need to pay that much money for that product?" [or] "Is my pet going to be healthy and maintain a good quality of life if I pay $3 to $5 less a bag or $10 less a bag or a case of food?" So, definitely where they buy [the pet food] at is a good starting point to have a conversation about.
Adam Christman, DVM, MBA: Right, because we're all in this together, you know, we all love our animals; the human animal bond is so strong and the last thing—I always find, as a general practitioner—they don't want us to judge them if they have or select a diet that may not be of expensive quality. Do you feel that in your expertise? Like, [when clients say], "Don't judge me, doctor, I get them [or] I give them this or whatever," because [they think] that you are going to perceive that it's cheap so it's not good food. Do you find that in your experience?
Korinn Saker, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVN: Oh definitely, and understanding that a lot of the pet food companies have multiple tiers of food. Their top line might be the most expensive, and you have to only purchase it at a boutique pet store or your veterinarian. Then a couple lines/tiers under, they're using the same ingredients, they're using the same level of quality control, and they're using the same guidelines for formulation. So really the benefit to the pet and the quality of the food isn't any different but the packaging might not be as fancy, and the marketing aspect of it might be downplayed a little bit.
Adam Christman, DVM, MBA: And Dr Cline, are they're inexpensive diets that have been through similar guidelines and testing that we held these standards for?
Martha Cline, DVM, Diplomate ACVN: Yes, absolutely. So, there are going to be high-quality diets at many different price points, including lower price points. When we look at the market and the individuals who are buying food, they're not going to fall all into the same category, they're not all going to be the same type of person that's going to walk into a fancy pet shop to buy food. So, it's important that we do have high-quality foods that are being made at a lower price point so those who aren't going to be able to or may not want to spend as much money on their pet’s food, can still have access to good quality products.
Adam Christman, DVM, MBA: I had a client that asked me she had an expensive diet that was there and it was actually lacking certain things that I would see in more of the less expensive diets. Have you noticed that too?
Korinn Saker, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVN: From time to time, yes. You know, that's something that I think has to do with the marketing aspect of it as well and the client not really understanding what's key for their pet in regard to nutrients.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai