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In our article today, we shall look into the WSAVA nutrition toolkit and how it helps us make better and healthier diet choices for our pets. This Nutrition Toolkit was amongst WSAVA Global Nutrition Committee’s suite of tools created after the introduction of the Global Nutrition Guidelines back in 2011. The toolkit contains practical supports for the vet healthcare team to conduct nutritional evaluation and approvals on your cat or dog more competently.

For most of us as humans, eating healthy is the first priority. It is the best way to ensure an exultant life. But has it ever occurred to you that your dogs or cats need healthy eating to thrive as well? Gone are the days when pets survived on table scraps and leftovers which is why WSAVA has provided info to help our pets live better, happier, and longer.

Established in 1959, the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) is a global veterinary community that focuses on better pet nutrition. Since its founding, the agency boasts 115 vet association members globally. WSAVA currently represents over 200k companion animal vets. Their partners include Purina Institute, zoetis, MSD Animal Health, Hill’s, Royal Canin, and Furry Tail while KNVD, BSAVA, and NSAVA are its member supporters.

The nutrition toolkit from WSAVA comes in handy for health educators as well as pet nutrition experts in teaching pet owners how to choose the best diet for their companions. From how to shop and prepare food for your dog and/or cat as well as muscle and body condition score, there is a lot to learn. By the end of our review, you will change how you feed your pets for the best.

WSAVA Vaccination Toolkit

The WSAVA’s Global Nutrition Toolkit offers standards for the vaccination of small companion animals like dogs and cats. The association, therefore, set up the Vaccination Guidelines Group (VGG) to help develop dog and cat vaccination strategies with global application. The guidelines were first published in 2007 after the VGG convened for the first time in 2006 and have been accepted on a national scale where such rules never existed. 

The VGG concedes that the keeping of pet small animals is susceptible to significant variation in practice and associated economics throughout the world. Despite the variation in vaccination practice between growing and developed countries, the vaccination toolkit clearly recommends that all dogs and cats receive the benefit of inoculation. This, in turn, provides herd immunity that reduces the possibility of the outbreak of an infectious disease.

You can read more about WSAVA vaccination guidelines here on the NCBI website.

WSAVA Global Nutritional Committee

The Global Nutritional Committee (GNC) is made up by a global team that brings together veterinary pros from around the world. The vets have a common passion in educating owners and vet healthcare team members as well as pet owners on pet nutrition and its benefits. Dr. Marge Chandler and Gregg Takashima DVM (Oregon’s The Parkway Veterinary Hospital owner) are the co-chairs of the GNC.

The WSAVA’s GNC is responsible for updating the Nutrition Toolkit that helps equip vet pros with new info on pet nutrition so they can educate their customers with confidence. Recently, the committee issued a reviewed version of its Selecting a pet food tool. The tool emphasizes on the significance of the info found in pet food labels as well as manufacturer’s contact info. Another notable progress is the infographic tool that speaks about the potential risks of feeding your pets raw diets. You can download these WSAVA resources on optimal pet nutrition for free here on the WSAVA site.

WSAVA Nutrition Chart

The WSAVA Nutrition Chart was also a part of the Global Nutrition Guidelines suite of tools after its launch in 2011. You can find both the body condition score and muscle condition score in WSAVA’s official website or their resources section. The nutrition chart will help you understand how much calorie or food your cat or dog needs to thrive well.

WSAVA Nutrition Body Calculator

Your dog or cat nutrition is among the key considerations in keeping them in good condition which is where the WSAVA nutrition body calculator comes in handy. A body calculator helps you know what and how much to feed your cat or doggie. You can bet on this info given the GNC’s knowledge and confidence in pet nutrition. In addition, nutrition helps manage various diseases which is an indication of its recognition as the 5th vital assessment.

You can read more about this on WSAVA site here.

WSAVA Body Condition Score Cat

According to the WSAVA body condition score for cats, your feline friend can either have an under ideal, ideal, or over ideal weight. It explains how your cat’s body should be like in all these cases so you can easily develop an optimal feeding schedule for your feline friend. That way, you can easily monitor his or her weight to make sure that he maintains an ideal weight.

Here is a table to summarize the info:

Body ScoreUnder IdealIdealOver Ideal
DescriptionRibs easily visible on short haired cats. Minimal or no abdominal fat pads & severe abdominal tuck. Lumbar vertebrae & pelvic bones easily felt & seenWaist behind ribs, slight abdominal tuckWell-proportioned body. Ribs can be felt with slight fat covering.Waist seen behind ribs but not pronounced.Minimal abdominal fat padRibs felt with slight excess fat covering. Present but not obvious waist & abdominal fat pad. Abdominal tuck present.Ribs not easily felt due to moderate/excess or heavy fat covering.Moderate abdominal fat pad, rounding of the abdomen with prominent fat pad.Heavy or extensive fat deposits over the lower back area & distention of abdomen with no waist.

Information source: wsava.org

A body condition score (BCS) refers to a number assigned to your dog or cat based on the evaluation of fat at a few key locations on their body. Depending on the hospital, it can range from 1-9 or 1-5 where a BCS of 1 show that your feline or canine buddy is unpleasantly half-starved, possibly at risk of death from starvation. At 5 or 9, your pet is severely overweight probably from overfeeding or improper diet.

WSAVA Muscle Condition Score

Wsava provides a muscle condition score chart for both cat and dog parents. You can assess your dog or cat muscle condition score (MCS) by visualization and palpation of the skull, wings, spine, and scapulae. Typically, you first note muscle loss in the epaxial muscles on each side of the spine. On other body parts, muscle loss can be more variable.

Wsava grades its muscle condition score under normal, mild loss, moderate loss, and severe loss. Check out here for your cat’s MCS and here for your dog’s as published by Tufts University.

Remember that your dog or cat can have significant muscle loss even when they are overweight (above 5/9). On the other hand, your cat or dog may have low muscle mass which is graded as under 4/9 yet suffer minimal muscle loss. As such, we recommend that you evaluate both the BCS and MCS of your doggie or kitty every time you take them to see a vet.

WSAVA Savvy Cat Owners Guide

This WSAVA guide for savvy cat owners is aimed at helping those people that can be easily misled by the internet where nutrition discussions are a hot topic. Given that nearly over 75% of all homes in America have computers at home makes this info very accessible. With the help of skilled vets and pet nutritionists, savvy cat owners can use this guide with trustworthy info to feed their pets appropriately.

If you want to understand how to surf better and filter the best info on feline nutrition, you can read these WSAVA guidelines here. Even best, the group provides you with web addresses of some helpful, accurate sources of data on cat nutrition. 

WSAVA Savvy Dog Owners Guide

Not all dog owners have accurate information on the best nutrition for their pooches. And given the availability of such info on thousands of websites, savvy dog owners can be misinformed. That is where this WSAVA guide comes in handy to help you understand what you should look for when surfing for info on your dog’s nutrition since most of the info is unregulated. In fact, topics on canine nutrition ranges from excellent to average and genuine fraud.

If you want to learn more about your dog nutrition, that information is available on WSAVA nutrition toolkit here. 

Conclusion

With 60 years of experience via expertise from professional veterinarians, WSAVA provides useful info for both vets and pet owners alike. And based on the success and global coverage they have (which is still growing), the organization via its Global Nutrition Committee has continued to revise its Nutrition Toolkit to equip vets who help educate pet owners. That way, they can practice healthy and safe pet nutrition practices that ensure their well-being. You can go through their resources provided in their site above to learn more about proper pet nutrition.

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