The Revision Guide for Student Nurses (Part I)

Nutrition & Feeding

Nutrition is defined as the process of taking in nutrients and assimilating and utilising them.

A nutrient is a food or a substance that nourishes.

The provision of optimal nutrition will promote health and longevity and is therefore an important topic for the veterinary nurse. An excellent working knowledge of this subject will enable you to provide the best possible diet for in-patients under your care. You will also be able to proffer useful advice to clients seeking information regarding diet and nutrition.

Nutrition is a subject that appears in both Part I and Part II of the RCVS Veterinary Nursing Syllabus. It is covered here in depth to include the Part II topics (Nutritionally Induced Diseases, Dietetics in Relation to Disease and Feeding According to Lifestage).

It may also be useful to refer to the General Nursing Chapter - Module Two - The Provision of Optimal Nutrition for Recovery. In addition, the Obstetrics and Paediatrics Chapter gives information regarding the nutrition of neonates.

Learning Objectives
The learning objectives of this chapter are:

  1. To understand terms and definitions and calculations relating to nutrition and energy requirements.
  2. To understand the significance of the essential nutrients necessary for optimal nutrition of domestic species.
  3. To gain a good knowledge of the nutritional requirements of small mammals, exotic species and birds.
  4. To understand the importance of minerals in the diet, and to also recognise the dangers of deficiencies or over-supplementation.
  5. To understand the importance of vitamins in the diet, and to recognise the dangers of deficiencies or oversupplementation.
  6. To correctly select, prepare and present various diets for healthy cats and dogs.
  7. To correctly select diets for animals with disease conditions.