5 Questions for a Nutrition Specialist

Nutrition specialist Martha G. Cline, DVM, DACVIM (Nutrition), Senior Manager for Veterinary Technical Communication at Nestlé Purina PetCare, answers the five questions.

Martha G. Cline, DVM, DACVIM (Nutrition)

Martha G. Cline, DVM, DACVIM (Nutrition), is the Veterinary Communications Manager of the Professional Engagement Team at Nestlé Purina PetCare.

1. What made you choose your specialty area?

I worked for the University of Tennessee Veterinary Nutrition Service the summer between my first and second year of veterinary school, which gave me an excellent introduction to the world of veterinary nutrition. I also looked for various opportunities during my time in veterinary school to improve my knowledge base of clinical nutrition, including elective studies, external and internal rotations during my clinical year, and becoming a Purina Student Representative. By the time I reached the end of veterinary school, I was sold on pursuing a residency in veterinary nutrition and was fortunate to complete it at my alma mater, University of Tennessee.

2. What is one thing you wish you could tell general practitioners regarding your specialty?

There are so many good opportunities to practice good nutrition at the GP level. I would encourage general practitioners to seek out continuing education from a Board-Certified Veterinary Nutritionist who can provide many great tips for clinical practice.

3. What is one thing that clients (pet owners) could do that would make your job more satisfying?

Be prepared to give us a good nutrition history. When I’m taking a diet history, I want an owner to tell me everything they are putting in their dog or cat’s mouth throughout the day. This is not only their main diet but treats, food for medication administration, supplements, and medications. I know it’s not always easy to disclose extra foods, snacks, or rewards, but it’s important for us to have this information to make the best recommendations for their pet and ensure they are on a proper diet.

4. What is the most rewarding part of your job?

In the clinic, it’s being able to help severely sick animals find a diet that works well for them and can help better manage their disease. There are many examples, but several cases with protein-losing enteropathy come to mind. My experience in industry has provided many opportunities to serve the “greater good” in veterinary medicine. Providing education and support to veterinarians to help them make the best choices for their patients has been very rewarding.

5. What advice would you give to someone considering your specialty?

Look for different networking opportunities in veterinary nutrition. This can be accomplished through attending nutrition-related events or setting up external rotations. There are some great organizations like the American Academy of Veterinary Nutrition that have free student membership and an annual symposium.

Photo courtesy of Martha Cline



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