School List – 7 Great Schools with Vet Nutrition Programs

Many veterinary programs provide a course in nutrition, but not all of them make nutritional services available through their teaching hospital or otherwise work to emphasize the role of nutrition in animal care. When these services are provided, they say things about what the school thinks about the role of diet and nutrition in helping treat illness and in promoting animal wellness. When compiling this list of seven great schools with veterinary nutrition programs, we looked at exactly these types of things. Yes, fundamental nutrition courses are important but so are nutrition services programs and faculty members who are certified through the American College of Veterinary Nutrition.

Ohio State University
Address : Columbus, OH

Ohio State University offers nutrition support services such as consultations for home-made diets and special recommendations for patients who are suffering from cancer, kidney disease, heart disease and other ailments. An indoor cat initiative has even been launched to support the health and well-being of indoor cats. Students in the school's veterinary program may be able to learn from Dr. Tony Buffington, a DVM who has both his master's and PhD in nutrition and is a professor with the school's department of veterinary clinical sciences. Dr. Buffington is also a diplomate with the ACVN.

University of Missouri
Address : Columbia, MO

The University of Missouri offers a two-year residency in clinical nutrition based out of its teaching hospital. The resident will be mentored by a diplomate of the AVCN and emphasizes small animal clinical nutrition in their work. Students working on their DVM will be required to take a Veterinary Nutrition course and later can take many different elective courses, including one such as Small Animal Nutrition. This elective entails two week sessions of clinical blocks and allows students to perform nutritional assessments, create feeding plans and monitor outcomes. The staff at the small animal clinic at the school includes two veterinarians who specialize in nutrition.

Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine
Address : Blacksburg, VA

The Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine has two faculty members who are DVMs and certified through the ACVN. Students in the DVM program at the school take Veterinary Clinic Nutrition in their second year and then can take other classes such as equine nutrition, farm animal nutrition or small animal nutrition.  Nutritional consultation services are provided through the school's veterinary teaching hospital. A clinical nutrition residency is also available that allows residents to complete either a master's degree in veterinary medical services or a PhD in nutrition. While working as a fellow, students complete the requirements to become board certified by the ACVN.

Tufts University
Address : Medford, MA

Students attending the DVM program at Tufts University in Medford Mass., could have a chance to work with Dr. Deborah Linder, who heads up the school's obesity clinic for animals and is a diplomate with the ACVN. The school offers Clinical Nutrition Services out of its Foster Hospital for Small Animals, providing nutrition for animals hospitalized for critical care, oncology, surgery or other reasons. Consultations related to dietary formulations, reproduction, weight loss and other issues are available to pet owners. Two-year fellowships in small animal clinical nutrition are available and provide students the opportunity to move toward eligibility for ACVN certification.

UC Davis
Address : Davis, CA

The University of California, Davis has two professors of nutrition on staff, two residents and a nutrition service technician. Dr. Jennifer Larson, who instructs the school's teaching hospital is a diplomate with the ACVN and has a doctoral degree in nutritional biology. The school offers a residency program in small animal clinical nutrition in which 70 percent of a resident's time is spent at the teaching hospital focused on clinical nutrition. The residency also partially fulfills requirements for certification through the ACVN.

University of Tennessee at Knoxville
Address : Knoxville, TN

The University of Tennessee at Knoxville has three DVMs on staff with expertise in nutrition. One of these, Dr. Claudia Kirk, even received a PhD in nutrition and is a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Nutrition. The two other nutrition DVMs also are diplomates of the ACVN. The school has a nutrition services department through which students may be able to learn about obesity management and how to help veterinarians provide critical care support to hospitalized patients. Homemade diet formulation is also available. All students in the school's DVM program need to take Veterinary Nutrition as a required course and Small Animal Nutrition is offered as an elective.

Cornell University
Address : Ithaca, NY

Students enrolled in the DVM program at Cornell University may have the chance to work with Dr. Joseph Wakshlag, who is the section chief in clinical nutrition and certified with the ACVN. Dr. Wakshlag completed his own residency in nutrition at the school from 2000 to 2005. Students might learn from him through his work with nutrition services, which is provided through the school's hospital and promotes optimal diets and healthy recoveries. Specialized formularies are also available to assist with disease management or weight loss.  Students in the DVM program can take classes such as Veterinary Nutrition and Applied Dairy Nutrition for Practitioners.

Methodology

Many veterinary programs offer comprehensive education to prepare future students for professional careers. When it comes to nutrition, however, not all schools offer electives for nutrition or have professors on staff who are certified with the ACVN. When deciding what schools to put on the this list of seven great schools with vet nutrition programs, we used a combination of the following:

  1. ACVN certified professors: Six out of seven of these schools have staff members who are diplomates with the ACVN. That wasn’t clear for one school on our list, the University of Missouri, but that school did have veterinarians on staff that specialized in nutrition.

  2. Nutrition courses: Nearly all of these schools offered a basic course in nutrition and some even had additional electives available. A listing of courses were not available for all schools, so this information was simply not verifiable for these.

  3. Nutrition services: Many of the schools on this list make nutrition services available through their teaching school. These provide hands-on opportunities for residents and also may provide teachable moments for veterinary students.

  4. Residencies: Several of these schools offer residencies in nutrition or small animal clinical nutrition to students who have completed a DVM program and want to specialize. These residences help them complete many of the requirements to become certified with the ACVN, but also, indirectly, help promote the field of animal nutrition at the school and beyond.