The impact of nutrition on health and disease is an important area of veterinary science. By paying attention to the nutritional needs of our patients, we can maximize their health, performance and longevity. We can also use nutrition as a cornerstone in treating medical conditions such as kidney disease, gastrointestinal disease, obesity, or skin disease.

Over the past 18-24 months, the relationship between a serious heart condition (dilated cardiomyopathy or DCM) and pet food has generated a lot of questions among pet owners and their family veterinarians. Our nutrition team has found this handout by Dr. Rebecca Remillard to be balanced and informative.

The Clinical Nutrition Service is comprised of Dr. Sarah Abood, Assistant Professor, Dr. Sarah Dodd and Dr. Caitlin Grant (residents and graduate students in nutrition), and Shoshana Verton-Shaw, RVT, VTS-Nutrition. Dr. Adronie Verbrugghe is the Service Chief and Associate Professor in Clinical Nutrition.  We work closely with other clinical services at the Ontario Veterinary College Health Sciences Centre (OVC HSC) to assess the nutritional needs of patients, as well as to develop appropriate diet plans for patients during hospitalization and/or recovery at home.

Options Available to Veterinarians

The Ontario Veterinary College is one of two veterinary schools in Canada with a Clinical Nutrition Service. Unfortunately, at this time, we do not have the resources to offer consultations to non-OVC clients.

We understand that a complete and balanced homemade diet is of the utmost importance, so we’ve listed some options below for non-OVC clients. A complete list of board certified nutritionists can be found at the American College of Veterinary Nutrition (


What does the Service offer for OVC clients?

  • Optimal commercial diet and dietary supplement selection for specific medical conditions
  • Nutrition support for critically ill patients, including tube feeding and parenteral nutrition (i.e. intravenous nutrition)
  • Evaluation and formulation of homemade diets
  • Customized weight loss plans
  • Customized nutrition programs for different life stages, reproduction, performance, etc.

The initial appointment will take 60-minutes and includes:

  • Review of the pet’s dietary history
  • Review of the pet’s medical history and diagnostics
  • Body condition and muscle condition scoring
  • Discussion of pet owner concerns
  • Determining key nutritional factors for the patient
  • Determining energy requirements for the patient
  • Discussion of dietary options for the patient (e.g. commercial diet, homemade diet, or in some cases a combination of both)