Fall Issue 2014

by Marcia Hill Gossard ’99, ’04 Ph.D. | Photos by Henry Moore, Jr.

Feeding our patients the very best nutrition got a whole lot easier thanks to a partnership between WSU and the Nestlé Purina Center for Nutrition Excellence program. In the spring of 2013, the Veterinary Teaching Hospital received the state-of-the-art dietary kitchen thanks to a $70,000 gift from Nestlé Purina to the college.

“Nestlé Purina partnered with Washington State University to install a state-of-the-art diet kitchen, which provided a significant upgrade to the hospital’s facilities,” said Emily Cross, Purina Senior Veterinary Communications Manager.

With the diet kitchen, veterinary students, residents and faculty have easier access to a wide variety of therapeutic diet brands for hospitalized animals. A computer workstation inside the kitchen allows students and veterinarians to use special nutrition software to calculate optimal diets depending on a patient’s needs. There are also dispensers for dozens of dry and canned pet foods that makes it easy to prepare the special diets required by hospital patients.

“The organization in the kitchen is very helpful in making diet recommendations based on patient conditions,” said Matt Mickas, WSU small animal veterinarian.

For oncology patients, for instance, who greatly benefit from additional calories and high quality nutrition, the kitchen can help veterinarians easily find the optimal diet plan.

“When animals are really sick they can have food aversions,” said Rebekah Lewis, a WSU oncology resident. “Having a variety helps a lot because we can try different foods.” Lewis explained that maintaining a good quality of life for patients is the goal. “We want them to be as happy and comfortable as we can,” she said.

“By providing ready access to optimally formulated diets, the kitchen enhances the care and recovery of small animal patients,” said Deb Sellon, director of the Teaching Hospital. “It also is a great educational tool to help veterinary students better understand how important nutrition is in a comprehensive medical care plan for their patients.”

Nestlé Purina also supports the WSU Pet Loss Support Hotline, the Veterinary Clinical Communications Program, senior papers, scholarships, and our Transitions Ceremony for third year students.