Your veterinary nutrition questions answered

November 16, 2020
Caitlin McCafferty, Assistant Editor
Caitlin McCafferty, Assistant Editor

A pet nutritionist answers questions from attendees at the Fetch dvm360® virtual veterinary conference.

During a live session at the Fetch dvm360® virtual conference last week, Valerie Parker, DVM, DACVIM, DACVN, an associate professor of small animal internal medicine and nutrition at Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine, sat down with Chief Veterinary Officer Adam Christman, DVM, MBA, to answer attendees’ questions about pet nutrition.

Q: Do you use Entyce in cats?

Parker: The name of the drug for cats is Elura, which is not the same as Entyce in dogs, but both have capromelin oral solution as the active ingredient (both are also manufactured by Elanco Animal Health). I know that’s a little confusing, but Elura is FDA approved. I have used it and I think it has the potential to be an effective appetite stimulant in cats. There are some adverse effects that have been reported by the company that cat owners should be aware of (most commonly vomiting, hypersalivation, inappetence, behavior change, and lethargy).

Q: What resources do you recommend regarding home-made diets for clients who are unwilling to consult a veterinary nutritionist?

Parker: I can’t stress enough the importance of ensuring that our patients are getting complete and balanced diets because I have seen way too many complications in pets that are not getting completed and balanced [home-made] diets. One of the best places you can send people who don’t want to do the consult but do want to do the cooking is BalanceIt. Owners can use this reputable website—it’s owned and operated by a board-certified nutritionist—to get the information they need to feed their pets a complete and balanced diet. They can even request free recipes. Beyond that, it is important that they speak to a nutritionist if they are going to be doing home cooking.

Q: What is your best piece of advice for veterinary professionals today?

Parker: Don’t forget the basics. Get a diet history, weigh your patient every time, get a body composition, do a muscle condition score. I have so many patients come my way whose veterinarian “never told them” their pets were overweight and it is like a bomb is dropping on them. Don’t be afraid to talk to clients if their pet is overweight.