Leading Off: A slice of advice on assessing your patients' nutritional status - Veterinary Medicine
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Leading Off: A slice of advice on assessing your patients' nutritional status


The AAHA Nutritional Assessment Guidelines Committee
The AAHA Nutritional Assessment Guidelines for Dogs and Cats were published in the July/August 2010 issue of the Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association with the aim of guiding decisions and criteria regarding diagnosis, dietary management, and treatment in specific areas of veterinary healthcare. The guidelines' specific goals are to
  • Increase awareness in the profession about the importance of assessing nutritional status in dogs and cats
  • Provide nutritional evaluation guidelines to promote optimal animal health and response to disease
  • Supply the evidence and tools required to support nutritional recommendations in animals.

The guidelines provide a series of questions to be asked, body condition and muscle condition scoring systems, and methods of acquiring and analyzing information related to nutritional status. They provide recommendations for healthy patients as well as patients that are sick, including those requiring critical care. There are additional resources provided for veterinarians, veterinary technicians, and pet owners.

The guidelines can be found at http://aahanet.org/resources/NutritionalGuidelines.aspx. Stay tuned—medicine and nutrition are dynamic. These guidelines will be updated to reflect new and innovative techniques and nutritional knowledge for the betterment of veterinary medicine and the benefits of our patients and companion-animal family members.

Joseph W. Bartges, DVM, PhD, DACVIM, DACVN
Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences
College of Veterinary Medicine
The University of Tennessee
Knoxville, TN 37996


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