The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) recently released Nutritional Assessment Guidelines for Dogs and Cats (available at aahanet.org/resources/NutritionalGuidelines.aspx). A team consisting of five veterinarians and two veterinary technicians developed the guidelines to reinforce the important role nutrition plays in maintaining pets' health, as well as improving their response to disease and injury. Here are a few ways you can put the guidelines to use in your practice.
1. Veterinary technicians, study the guidelines and adopt nutrition as one of your key focuses. This will improve your client and patient care and increase your value to the practice.
2. Help ensure nutritional assessments are incorporated into the routine care for every patient. Technicians, ask the veterinarian if you can help assign body condition scores and take nutritional histories.
3. Every member of the team should be familiar with the guidelines in order to educate clients about proper nutrition. This allows you to better educate clients and build client relationships, which in turn increases client compliance and productivity. This ultimately makes the entire veterinary team, as well as the client and the patient, happier.
Julie Legred was a member of the guidelines development team.