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Why nutrition is my north-star as a veterinarian

Posted in Our Community @ Jul 23rd 2021 - By Dr Matthew Muir
Why Nutrition Is My North Star As A Veterinarian V2

I grew up in the country, and I’ve always had an interest in natural feeding because I saw that's how all the animals were fed where I grew up, and I loved seeing how healthy and cared for they were. 

I'm an animal lover at heart, and the story goes that I said I wanted to be a Vet when I was three. By the time I went to veterinary school I already had experience with caring for animals. Out on a farm, the way to care for an animal when you don't have access to veterinary medicine is to focus on nutrition. I’ve been a Vet for 11 years now, and that insight has guided my entire career.

Without a focus on nutrition, health problems don't improve

Before going into practice, I did a dissertation in nutrition, and I quickly realised that without a focus on nutrition, health problems didn't improve. I started researching the role of healthy nutrition and as a vet I started implementing everything I was learning with my patients, making it the foundation for their health care plans. I was seeing great results already, but I knew that I couldn't just wait for people to come to my consulting room and ask about their dogs’ nutrition.

The opportunity to empower pet owners

When Anna (Anna Podolsky, CEO of Lyka) asked if I'd be interested in joining Lyka Pet Food and helping her mission to transform dogs’ diets, I was excited to be able to give people better options and better information, to make empowered decisions about their pets’ nutrition.

Partnering with Lyka was a way that I could extend the reach of my own research and positively impact more families. We’ve worked to develop proven, nutritional and healthy home-cooked style meals for dogs, and the changes our pet parents have seen, the stories they’ve told us, have shown we’re on the right track.

The importance of a healthy diet and gut microbiota 

Living in an age of information and social media, people have been able to see and understand the holistic outcomes of a healthier diet. It's emerged in human nutrition, with the mainstream understanding of the role of the healthy diet and the importance of looking after the gut microbiota. 

But with this major interest in wellness for humans, people are left with a question; if we’re making better decisions about our nutrition, and the food we eat, why are we still feeding one type of processed food to our dogs?

People want their pets to live a long, happy life, free of chronic health problems that are challenging and that they might struggle to live with. I think people are looking for a common-sense preventative approach to keeping their pets well for as long as is naturally possible, and nutrition is a clear way to do that. 

The emerging recent studies and research regarding digestibility of wholefood diets, the role of fresh ingredients in preventing cancer and atopy, as well as the use of low glycemic load diets to prevent obesity is intriguing and should not be ignored. 

Nutrition is an evolving science

It's important for people to understand that nutrition is an evolving science. We're all constantly learning more, and it's important to ensure open and respectful communication channels exist between vets and pet guardians when it comes to nutritional recommendations. Ultimately, pet guardians are the primary health care providers for their pets so they must be comfortable with their veterinarian’s advice. It’s an opportune time for vets to embrace the emerging evidence and offer solutions that resonate with pet guardians who wish to align how they feed their furry family members with how they feed themselves. This could very much  be in the best interests of pets and building stronger vet-client relationships. 

About Matt

Dr Matthew Muir is an Integrative Veterinary Surgeon with 10 years of natural feeding clinical experience. He holds a double degree in Veterinary Science and Veterinary Biology in 2010 with first-class Honours from Charles Sturt University.

Prior to graduation he completed a one-year field research project into the role of the microbiome and diet in promoting animal health, in addition to this he has completed further studies in Sustainable Food Development.

He’s an advocate for animal wellness and Lyka’s co-founder and Head of Product. He has travelled the world exploring animal health and practised as a vet in Australia and England. In addition to his work at Lyka, Matthew is a Clinical Director at his thriving Integrative Holistic Vet Hospital, All Natural Vet Care in Sydney’s Inner West. He also has recently completed a volunteer program at Taronga Wildlife Hospital and works as a steward for animal conservation with Planet Decent.

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