A Day in the Life: Heather Berst, VMD


Dr. Heather Berst and her dog, Phoenix.

The one thing all pets do every day is eat. That is why pet nutrition is so important! When I graduated from veterinary school, I spent five years in small animal private practice. That is where I learned pet owners want us to educate them about proper nutrition for their pets. I left private practice five years ago, and I now work as veterinarian for Hill’s Pet Nutrition.

I spend a lot of time educating veterinarians and veterinary team members about what things are important to look for in a pets food, how to feed sick pets, and how proper nutrition can save pet’s lives.

Today I am teaching a continuing education class for veterinary technicians. In the morning we talk about wellness nutrition and in the afternoon we talk about feeding animals with different diseases such as diabetes and kidney disease.

My favorite section is the section about reading pet food labels. It is really surprising for people to learn what is on and what is not on their pet food labels. There is something called the AFFCO statement which is one of the most important things to look for on a label. The AFFCO statement tells us how the food was made and what age of animal should eat the food. Only about two of the technicians in my class had heard about AFFCO statements. We reviewed many bags and cans, and now they should be able to teach pet owners about what the label on their bag of food really means!

As you can see, I am using my veterinary degree in a non-traditional way to help pets feel better and live longer by making sure they receive proper nutrition!


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