Nutrition is the latest weapon in helping critically ill animals
By Margaret Combs
Tufts Veterinary Medicine Magazine – Winter 2000
When battling for the life of a critically ill or injured animal, today’s veterinarian reaches for a number of front-line supports, including ventilators, defibrillators and a battery of stabilizing medicines. Now, in addition to these, Tufts veterinarians are engaging an unassuming but very effective weapon: Nutrition.
Unlike 10 years ago, when a critically ill patient was allowed to go days or weeks without eating, Tuft’s veterinary nutrition specialist Dr. Lisa Freeman now checks in on a daily basis soon after a patient’s arrival. By delivering nourishment as early as possible, Freeman’s goal is to bolster the odds of a successful recovery.
“We know that animals who are nutritionally supported are less prone to infection, better able to heal after surgery, and they’re stronger,” says Freeman, who holds degrees from both the School of Veterinary Medicine and the School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts. “Critical care is an area in the hospital where nutrition can have a huge impact.”
Advancing the link between nutrition and critical care, Tufts, with support from Ralston Purina Pet Products, this year established the world’s first residency in veterinary emergency/critical care and nutrition. Funded through the Purina College Program, the four-year residency was matched to Dr. Daniel L. Chan, a 1998 graduate of Cornell University. Chan will spend the next four years conducting research and doing medical consultations at the Henry and Lois Foster Hospital for Small Animals as well as at Boston-area hospitals.