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  • Author or Editor: Amanda M. Floerchinger x
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Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To determine what perceived factors prevent small animal general practitioners from discussing pet nutrition with clients during healthy and sick pet appointments.

SAMPLE

403 veterinarians in small animal general practice.

PROCEDURES

An online survey was used to gather veterinarians’ opinions on perceived barriers, knowledge levels, and confidence regarding pet nutrition discussions.

RESULTS

Reported barriers to discussing nutrition during healthy pet appointments included client resistance to changing brand (149/359), time constraints (146/359), misinformation online (138/359), and difficulty keeping up with products (132/359). Reported barriers to discussing nutrition during sick pet appointments included client cost concerns (101/349), pet not accepting new food (99/349), and time constraints (83/349). Veterinarians reported discussing nutrition less during healthy pet appointments, compared to sick pet appointments, and were significantly less confident with their knowledge regarding nontherapeutic food, compared to therapeutic food. Veterinarians also reported that they perceived conversations about therapeutic foods to be more positive than conversations about nontherapeutic foods, and veterinarians with more years in practice more commonly reported that there was nothing that would dissuade them from discussing nutrition. Veterinarians who reported barriers to discussing nutrition described a need for resources and reliable information for health-care teams and clients.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Results demonstrated a substantial gap between veterinarians’ assertion that nutrition conversations are indicated and the frequency with which they discuss nutrition during appointments. Veterinarians reported that they felt their nutrition conversations were frequently positive; therefore, it is important to overcome barriers to engage with clients about pet nutrition.

Open access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

Evaluate whether general practitioners’ formal small animal (canine and feline) nutrition instruction in veterinary school and the amount and type of continuing education engagement affect perceived self-reported confidence and frequency in discussing nutrition with clients.

SAMPLE

403 small animal veterinarians who responded to an online survey distributed through the American Animal Hospital Association.

PROCEDURES

Veterinarians were surveyed regarding perceived amount of formal instruction received in veterinary school, interest, time committed to self-education, and confidence in both self and staff knowledge in small animal nutrition.

RESULTS

Of those veterinarians who responded to the survey, 57.1% (201/352) reported they received “none” or “very little” formal instruction in small animal nutrition, while 151 of 352 answered “some” or “a significant amount.” Veterinarians with more formal instruction and veterinarians who reported spending more time in self-education had increased confidence in their own nutritional knowledge (P < .01) and that of their staff (P < .01).

CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Veterinarians with self-reported significant formal instruction and veterinarians with higher continuing education engagement were more confident in their knowledge and their staff’s knowledge regarding therapeutic and nontherapeutic small animal nutrition. Therefore, it is important for the profession to address veterinary nutrition education gaps in order to increase the veterinary healthcare team’s engagement in nutritional discussions with their clients for both healthy and sick pets.

Open access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association