8 May 2008

UQ’s School of Veterinary Science has stepped up its focus on animal nutrition through a stronger partnership with premium pet food maker Hill’s Pet Nutrition.

This co-investment has been welcomed by the Head of School Professor Jonathan Hill, who sees the partnership benefiting veterinary education and facilitating improvements in nutritional management of companion animals.

Hill’s Pet Nutrition has partnered for several years with UQ’s School of Veterinary Science, including providing funding for a part-time senior lecturer in clinical nutrition, Dr Scott Campbell, and a full-time clinical nutrition support service veterinary technician, Natalie Harvey, both UQ graduates.

They will teach and consult on a range of specialist nutritional issues primarily for cats and dogs through UQ’s Small Animal Clinic and Veterinary Teaching Hospital, St Lucia.

Hill’s Technical Services Veterinarian and UQ alumna Dr Delisa Appleton said the company looked forward to enhancing the nutritional advice given through the clinic and teaching hospital.

“To my knowledge, this is the first time that a full-time small animal nutritional technician will be based at a university”, Dr Appleton said.

“The reason we are doing this is for the betterment of not only the patients but the whole veterinary profession.

“Hills want to really impact upon the nutritional knowledge of veterinary students but also make nutrition an important part of every case that goes through the hospital.

“It’s a win-win situation for everybody involved; for the patients, for the clients, for the new vets coming into practice, for vets already in practice and for our own company because that’s what we’re all about.”

Dr Appleton also said Dr Campbell was the only American Board-Certified Small Animal Nutrition Specialist in Australia.

Ms Harvey, 23, from Taringa, started in February as the nutrition support service technician.

“People and the community are starting to realise that veterinarians are the best resource for nutritional guidance for their pets and that they should always approach their vet for nutritional advice,” Ms Harvey said.

“This is about creating better nutrition, not pushing products.”

Ms Harvey was the Bachelor of Applied Science (Veterinary Technology) dux in 2007 and also won the Hill’s Pet Nutrition Buddy Award, an award given for achieving top marks for an online veterinary nutrition course.

Hill’s Pet Nutrition also sponsors The Veterinary Leadership Experience for UQ Veterinary Science students, which aims to help vet students develop key, non-technical life skills such as social awareness, teamwork, communication and personal leadership.

Hill's sells its premium pet food range exclusively through veterinary clinics and pet stores across Australia.

The Hill’s partnership is tangible support for the new Veterinary School, to be constructed on the UQ Gatton campus in 2009.

Media: Dr Appleton (0410 601 177, delisa_appleton@colpal.com), Ms Harvey (0419 794 607, n.harvey1@uq.edu.au), Dr Campbell (0448 044 826) or Tegan Taylor at UQ Communications (07 3365 2659)