The Perceived Importance, Emphasis, and Confidence in Veterinary Nutrition Education of First-Year Canadian and US Veterinary Students


Veterinarians play a critical role in providing nutrition consultation and supporting clients to adopt healthy dietary habits for their pets; thus applicable, informative nutrition education in veterinary schools is essential. The aim of this study was to explore incoming veterinary students’ perceived importance, emphasis, and confidence in the veterinary nutrition education they will receive. First-year veterinary students at all 5 Canadian and 5 randomly selected US veterinary schools were invited to complete a 31-item questionnaire. Response rate was 34.6% (n = 326). Descriptive statistics and multivariate logistic regression were performed. While most students (92%) considered nutrition education to be an important component of veterinary training, 64% felt it will not be a subject of great emphasis. Veterinary students at schools with a board-certified veterinary nutrition faculty were more likely to perceive higher emphasis on nutrition education (p < 0.001). In the multivariate analysis, academic self-efficacy was a positive predictor of students’ perceived confidence in how well they anticipate their nutrition education that will prepare them for their clinical roles (p = 0.003). Examining the perceptions of veterinary students entering veterinary school is an important aspect to consider in the design and delivery of a veterinary nutrition curriculum and maybe equally important for students entering other professional health programs.

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Correspondence to May K. Kamleh.

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All procedures performed this study were approved by the University of Guelph Research Ethics Board (REB#16JA039) and are in accordance with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Kamleh, M.K., Khosa, D.K., Dewey, C.E. et al. The Perceived Importance, Emphasis, and Confidence in Veterinary Nutrition Education of First-Year Canadian and US Veterinary Students. Med.Sci.Educ. 30, 323–330 (2020).

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  • Veterinary education
  • Nutrition education
  • Confidence
  • Entering students
  • Student perceptions