The WCVM clinical nutrition service is primarily a referral-based service for dog and cat patients.

Our board-certified clinical nutritionist offers a range of services to support small animal patients at the WCVM Veterinary Medical Centre (VMC). 

  • Commercial diet recommendations for all pets
  • Nutritional plans for pets with multiple medical conditions or special needs
  • Customized weight loss plans
  • Customized assisted (tube) feeding plans
  • Critical care nutrition
  • Customized home-cooked diet formulations 

Veterinary Nutritionist

A veterinary nutritionist is a veterinarian who has undergone additional specialty training — usually in the form of a residency — in the field of clinical nutrition.

Residency training involves clinical management of patients as well as research and teaching responsibilities. Additionally, residents must meet certain qualification standards determined by the American College of Veterinary Nutrition (ACVN).

After their training, they must pass an extensive written examination to obtain board certification and receive credentials to be a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Nutrition (DACVN). Board certification gives them unique training and qualifications to offer expertise in the nutritional management of both healthy pets and those with diseases.

For additional information, please visit the American College of Veterinary Nutrition

Formulating Diets

We use a customized approach for every patient. We don’t provide generic or stock recipes, but rather, we create a recipe specifically to meet your pet’s specific nutritional and/or medical needs while trying to balance individual dietary preferences or specific requests when possible.

To do so, we individually review your pet’s medical history, recent bloodwork and unique diet history. Next, the veterinary nutritionist applies his or her knowledge, experience and data from a variety of reputable sources to design a diet that will best meet the individual’s needs.

Ultimately, the veterinary nutritionist uses a computer software program with complete nutritional profiles from standardized food sources to create and adjust the dietary profile containing specific ingredients. 

Scoring Charts

Click on the following links to view internationally-recognized scoring charts for body condition, muscle condition and feces. 

Referral-based Service

The WCVM clinical nutrition service is primarily a referral-based service for dog and cat patients. 

Your primary treating veterinarian may choose to consult with the clinical nutrition service about your pet’s needs and possible options. Your veterinarian may directly refer you and your pet to the VMC’s clinical nutrition service for an appointment with the clinical nutritionist.

Alternatively, your veterinarian may request a personal consultation with the clinical nutritionist to discuss possible dietary options and to request a customized nutritional support plan that they can implement for your pet. 

Nutrition Forms

Once your veternarian has submitted a referral form, you will need to complete and submit the following forms to the VMC Clinical Nutrition Service before an appointment or consultation: 

Our approach for every pet is customized — regardless of whether we recommend a commercial diet or formulate a home-cooked diet. To accomplish this goal, we need to know specific information regarding your pet’s diet history including: 

  • current and past diets fed
  • treats, supplements and other foods
  • your pet's responses to these foods

For example, an accurate and complete diet history may help the nutritionist better determine the correct number of calories for your individual pet so that unintended weight loss or weight gain can be avoided (or achieved if needed).

Additionally, a pet may be expected to respond favorably or unfavorably to changes in the consumption of specific nutrients. The veterinary nutritionist needs to estimate the pet's current intake to determine how best to achieve these changes.

The more detailed and accurate information you can provide us, the greater the chance that we have of providing a recommendation that most specifically addresses your pet’s needs while minimizing unintended consequences.

What to Expect

Most in-person appointments last for about 90 minutes. The goal is to spend sufficient time with you and your pet and to ensure that we address your pet’s needs and answer your questions.

If this can’t be sufficiently accomplished within an hour, an additional appointment may need to be scheduled for a future time. You may also need to factor in additional time for check-in, dispensation of specific diets, supplements or discharge instructions, and check-out.

Recheck appointments are typically shorter and may vary depending on the complexity of the case. 

Our Team

The WCVM Veterinary Medical Centre's clinical team members are dedicated, compassionate people with specialized training and a diverse range of experiences. In addition to providing our patients with high-quality care and support, we are helping to train Western Canada's next generation of veterinary professionals.

Appointments and Referrals

Animal Owners

This is a referral-based service. You will need to have your veterinarian submit a referral form to the Veterinary Medical Centre before you can make an appointment with this clinical service. 

Once your veternarian has submitted a referral form, you will need to complete and submit the diet history form and the nutrition consult form to the VMC Clinical Nutrition Service before an appointment or consultation. 

Referring Veterinarians

Submit an online referral form.

  • Please inform your client that he/she needs to complete and submit the diet history form and the nutrition consult form to the VMC Clinical Nutrition Service before an appointment or consultation.