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Table 1: Examples of factors to consider when completing a nutritional assessment.
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Additional resources are added to the toolkit on a regular basis to reflect the latest thinking on nutrition.
The vision of the GNC is to help the veterinary healthcare team and the public understand the importance of nutrition in companion animal health by providing an expert source of accurate nutritional information and recommendations. Its campaign aims to ensure that a nutritional assessment and recommendation is made on every patient during every visit to the vet. All members of the veterinary healthcare and reception team are integral to promoting the value and importance of nutrition in their practice. As acknowledged by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA, 2009, p4),
AAHA (American Animal Hospital Association). 2003. The Path to High-Quality Care: Practical Tips for Improving Compliance. Lakewood, Colorado: American Animal Hospital Association.
AAHA (American Animal Hospital Association),
2009. Compliance: Taking Quality Care to the Next Level - Executive Summary. AAHA Compliance Study Executive Report. [online] Available at: <https://www. complianceexecutivesummary.pdf>.
Delaney SJ, 2006. Management of Anorexia in Dogs and Cats. Veterinary Clinics of North America: Small Animal Practice. 36: 1243-1249.
Freeman L, Becvarova I, Cave N, MacKay C, Nguyen P, Rama B, Takashima G, Tiffin R, Tsjimoto H, van Beukelen P. 2011. WSAVA Nutritional Assessment Guidelines. Journal of Small Animal Practice. 52 (7): 385-396.
   Patient factors
  Dietary factors
   Feeding and environmental factors
   Initial screening evaluation
 • Age?
• Physiological status?
• Activity levels and daily exercise?
• Body condition?
• Body weight?
• Existing medical con- ditions?
   • Conventional or unconventional?
• Suitability for the species and life- stage?
• Complete versus complementary?
• Composition (in- cluding ingredients)? • Feeding guide- lines?
  • Frequency, timing, location and method of feeding?
• Food container and material e.g. Metal bowl, food dispensing toy
• Multi-pet household? • Quality of surround- ings and husbandry?
• Pet’s access to space?
   Extended evaluation
 • Changes in food intake or behaviour?
• Alterations in gastroin- testinal function and faecal production?
• Condition of the skin?
• Presence and effect of any medical conditions and/or medications?
• Laboratory abnormalities?
   • Other sources of nutrients, e.g. access to treats, snacks and table food?
• Type, formulation, energy density, texture and flavour of diet?
• Storage of the diet?
  • Primary feeder of pet?
• Other providers and sources of food?
• Extent of enrich- ment?
• Environmental stressors?
• Presence of conditions and/or circumstances causing fear and anxiety?
  Nutritional assessment identifies risk factors influencing how, and when, the nutritional plan can be implemented. In some situations, focus must be placed on resuscitation and stabilisation with the possibility of feeding being delayed until the patient is haemodynamically stable and any major electrolyte, fluid, and acid-base abnormalities have been corrected. Appropriate laboratory analysis may be performed and any concurrent conditions
such as renal or hepatic disease may require dietary adjustments. A nutritional plan should prevent (or correct) overt nutritional deficiencies and imbalances. Further
to this, a detailed dietary history, including information about the petThe provision of supportive care to address problems involving hydration and electrolyte status, pain, body temperature, vitamin B deficiencies and nausea can result in appetite being re-established in many anorexic patients (Delaney, 2006).
In addition to the nutritional assessment guidelines,
the GNC has prepared a non-branded Global Nutrition Toolkit, again available for free download and containing a number of resources including:
• A body condition scoring chart
• A muscle condition scoring chart
• ‘How to’ videos for performing a feline and canine body condition score
• A diet history form
• A nutritional assessment checklist
• Calorie guidelines for healthy adult dogs and cats
• A hospitalised patient feeding guide and nutrition monitoring chart
• An advice sheet for pet owners on selecting the right diet
• A pet owner’s guide to nutrition on the internet

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