Research Chair Focuses on Clinical Nutrition

December 08, 2011 - News Release

An innovative new faculty position at the University of Guelph’s Ontario Veterinary College will ensure that dogs and cats receive the best nutritional care in hospital and that student veterinarians have the tools they need to help future clients make healthy choices for their pets.

“The impact of nutrition on health and disease is an increasingly important area of veterinary science,” said Prof. Adronie Verbrugghe, who has been named the first holder of the Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Endowed Chair in Canine and Feline Clinical Nutrition.

“By paying attention to nutrition, we can delay the progression of disease and help pets live longer and improve the quality of their lives. That’s what it’s all about.”

Verbrugghe starts her new position in OVC’s Department of Clinical Studies this month. It’s supported by Royal Canin Canada Co.'s $3-million investment in the endowed chair at OVC, which is the first of its kind in Canada.

Said Gregory Watine, CEO of Royal Canin Canada: “We’re a dog and cat first company, and we’re confident that our partnership with the University of Guelph will break new ground, leading to innovative nutritional research that will not only benefit sick or hospitalized animals but also help maintain and improve the well-being of healthy dogs and cats around the world.”

Verbrugghe was appointed in 2011 following an international search. Trained at Ghent University in Belgium, she graduated as a veterinarian in 2005. For her PhD, she studied feline carbohydrate metabolism and links to obesity and diabetes. She is a diplomate of the European College of Veterinary and Comparative Nutrition and recently completed two years of post-doctoral research and clinical work at Ghent University.

“We’re very pleased to welcome Prof. Verbrugghe to OVC,” said Elizabeth Stone, OVC dean.

“This exciting new position will help us discover new knowledge in clinical nutrition and to transfer that knowledge to veterinarians working with pets in primary health care practice. In addition, Adronie will play a key role in preparing our graduating veterinarians to develop nutritional programs for their patients and to educate their clients on the importance of nutrition.”

Verbrugghe said she looks forward to the challenge of establishing a new teaching and research field at OVC. She also likes the multidisciplinary aspect of her work, involving fields ranging from internal medicine and surgery to orthopedics and behaviour.

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