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Equine nutrition programs . . . educate me, please

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  • Equine nutrition programs . . . educate me, please

    Those of you who have degrees in or have studied equine nutrition, can you give me a basic idea of the programs, requirements, credit hours, prerequisites, etc? Is there a governing body, board exam, accreditations? Are the various programs comparable? Different levels of qualification?

    And more on the specific side--are there specialties within these programs such as racehorse or broodmare nutrition? Nutrition in pathological states? How much industry exposure is there (from feed companies)?

    Finally, how much "evidence-based" stuff is emphasized and are students required to paricipate in research?

    Thanks--would love an inside view of what an equine nutrition program or degree entails.
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  • #2
    I should have done this years ago and went human instead. Big mistake, but I digress. When I was looking at programs, they were usually MS or PhD with all the expected coursework and research, offered through an Animal Science dept and/or Ag school. The research was too "bench science" for me so I didn't pursue it, though I suspect someone out there is probably doing veterinary epidemiology (or if they're not, someone needs to start!). Like most grad programs in science fields, I would imagine you "hitch your wagon to a star" and while you may not have entered school with a passion for Vitamin D metabolism, you go with the advisor who has the funding and decide later that Vitamin D is actually very fascinating.

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    • #3
      Tsk tsk, I fail to see how equine nutrition and human cardiology are related .
      Against My Better Judgement: A blog about my new FLF OTTB
      Do not buy a Volkswagen. I did and I regret it.
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      • #4
        Google found one at Rutgers in NJ.

        http://www.esc.rutgers.edu/Courses/nutrition_course.htm

        Perhaps by emailing the instructor there they could answer some questions?

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        • #5
          The University of Arizona offers two routes to a master's degree. One requires a thesis, and is the gateway to the Ph.D. program. The other is the non-thesis route, typically for those who want to work in industry.

          More info here:
          http://animal.cals.arizona.edu/stude...uate/grad.html

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          • #6
            Where's Sarah Ralston? She could probably give some good advice on this. She taught an equine nutrition elective class at Penn last year that I took and thoroughly enjoyed. I don't know very much about her program at Rutgers but I don't think it's strictly nutrition; I think she works within the Department of Animal Sciences.

            I think UK has a program but I'd have to look it up...

            ETA: looked it up!

            http://www.uky.edu/Ag/AnimalSciences...itionprog.html
            Balanced Care Equine

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            • #7
              Well I don't have a degree in equine nutrition - it's animal nutrition.

              Way back when nutrition graduate programs were divided into monogastric and ruminant. You then had your research which was more than likely centered around a species. But the degree awarded is Animal Nutrition.

              For my MS I had about 1.5 years of coursework. I studied monogastric. Horses as well as pig,dogs, cats and chickens were covered.

              For mt PhD I had 1.5 years again -same thing. Courses centered on the monogastric system and feedstuffs with multiple monogastric species discussed.

              As far as pre-reqs I know physiology, biochemistry, inorganic and organic chemistry were needed to apply for the graduate program (along with a BS of course).

              For both programs there was a heavy emphasis on research. Both participation and fully designing, implementing and defending your own studies.

              There was no "final exam" or accreditation. You did however have to defend your thesis (again -research) which is no picnic.

              Hope that helps.
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              • #8
                Originally posted by faybe View Post
                Where's Sarah Ralston? She could probably give some good advice on this. She taught an equine nutrition elective class at Penn last year that I took and thoroughly enjoyed. I
                here I am I teach just a single course on Equine Nutrition that is available on line-glad you enjoyed it! But I am not in the position to take on graduate students right now.

                My colleague here at Rutgers, Dr. Carey Williams, has a PhD that focussed on Equine Nutrition from VPI-her most recent PhD graduate, Emily Lamprecht, is now a director of equine research at Nutrena! There are other programs where you can do graduate work in Equine Nutrition: Michigan State University, Oklahoma State, University of Kentucky, University of Minnesota (But their researchers are not trained nutritionists) and Cal Poly come to mind right away. It is sad but the former powerhouses of Equine Nutrition: Cornell, Florida, Penn, VPI MAREC Center, have no one doing equine nutrition research any more after their greats (Hintz, Ott, Kronfeld, Geor, etc) moved or retired or died and were not replaced! VPI does have an ACVN diplomate, Dr. Iveta Becvarova, the vet school who does Equine now. There are some great european programs too.
                Last edited by Sarah Ralston; Mar. 28, 2011, 03:49 PM. Reason: Hit the "post" button too soon!
                Sarah Ralston

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                • #9
                  I did my M.S. at the University of Kentucky. My actual degree is in Animal and Food Science, so my course work was more broad. I had about 3 semesters of classes, averaging 9-11 hours of classes per semester. I took stats (6 hrs), biochem, a lab methods course (required for all AS grad students), digestive physiology, a seminar course, milk secretion (very, very cool class!), an equine nutrition class (audited that one since I'd already met my degree hour requirements), and a human exercise physiology course.

                  My program focused much more on research experience than classroom instruction. My major professor had three grad students, and we were all expected to contribute significantly to each other's research efforts, plus we usually had 1 or 2 other research projects going that she was investigating. My thesis title was "The Effects of Endophyte Infected Tall Fescue Consumption on Exercising Horses". Thus the milk secretion and exercise phys courses. I worked on some interesting, challenging projects and was lucky enough to work under one of the top equine researchers in the nation. It was a grueling, demanding program, though. I did not have a final exam, but I did have to defend my thesis via a public seminar and an oral defense with my committee.

                  Are you thinking career change, deltawave?

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                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Are you thinking career change, deltawave?
                    Oh gosh, no! Just trying to get a sense by what is meant by "a degree in equine nutrition" and/or "equine nutritionist". My experience is VERY limited, but a substantial majority of the ones I've run into seem to be very much driven by their own product/agenda/pet theory.

                    Maybe if I had access to more straight university types rather than freelancers or those employed by feed companies (can't blame them for being product-centric!) then it would be different!

                    But shoot, if time allowed (going back to school is my "post retirement" plan) then this would be on the list of subject matter to study.
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                    • #11
                      I have my B.S. in equine science. I took one animal nutrition class then took one equine nutrition class. I believe Colorado State has/had an equine nutrition masters program. In my undergrad course, we did discuss different equine nutritional needs based on their life style etc...
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                      So anyway I am a cat lover
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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by deltawave View Post
                        Oh gosh, no! Just trying to get a sense by what is meant by "a degree in equine nutrition" and/or "equine nutritionist". My experience is VERY limited, but a substantial majority of the ones I've run into seem to be very much driven by their own product/agenda/pet theory.

                        Maybe if I had access to more straight university types rather than freelancers or those employed by feed companies (can't blame them for being product-centric!) then it would be different!

                        But shoot, if time allowed (going back to school is my "post retirement" plan) then this would be on the list of subject matter to study.
                        Dear Delta Wave,
                        Anyone can call themselves an "Equine Nutritionist", unfortunately. There is no controlling overseeing organization for us. There are very few undergraduate programs that offer a significant amount of equine nutrition training taught by fully trained Equine nutritionist. Good graduate programs are those I mentioned before, plus also at Texas A&M and Arizona.
                        Look for credentials such as ARPAS accredtation (They have to take a test administered by the American Society of Animal Science), a PhD or masters from a school with a strong program(Though that does not always guarantee that they were trained by an actual nutritionist either. I know of at least one graduate who was mentored by an exercise physiology specialist with no formal nutrition training who is now in the position of nutritionist at a major feed company). The American College of Veterinary Nutrition (ACVN) is probably the most rigid certifying body for someone specializing in nutrition but unfortunately only tests/accepts veterinarians-and, as I said before, there is only a handful of us who do equine and many (ie: Lon Lewis) are retired. Membership in the American Association of Veterinary Nutrition and/or Equine Science Society(Not restricted to veterinarians) is also an indicator that at least the person is trying to keep current on the new developments...There is virtually no formal equine nutrition training in the vast majority of the schools of veterinary medicine. There is a crying need for more interested students/trainees out there!
                        Sarah Ralston

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                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Thanks, that's very helpful!
                          Click here before you buy.

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                          • #14
                            In doing some reading about IR, I came across Dr. Kellon's website, which has a number of varied courses on equine nutrition. Not a formal program at a university, as such, however Dr. Kellon is noted in the ECIR world.

                            http://www.drkellon.com/

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                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              One of the more agenda-driven folks out there. But that's not to say a basic course wouldn't be helpful and informative.
                              Click here before you buy.

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                              • #16
                                Originally posted by deltawave View Post
                                One of the more agenda-driven folks out there. But that's not to say a basic course wouldn't be helpful and informative.
                                There's no doubt that she does seem to have a mission, however, there are more nutrition courses on her website than just those related to ECIR. Just sayin'.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Penn State has a large number of equine courses offered through the Department of Dairy and Animal Science. Here's the description of the equine nutrition course.
                                  Animal Science 467: EQUINE NUTRITION AND FEEDING (3 Credits) Equine gastrointestinal anatomy and physiology; energy and nutrient requirements for body functions; applied interrelationships between nutrition, health, and performance. Prerequisites: AN SC 301. Instructor: W. B. Staniar.

                                  One course certainly doesn't qualify someone as a nutritionist. At Penn State, our graduate program is Animal Science. Within that, a student would work in a specific discipline such as equine nutrition, dairy nutrition, or cattle reproduction under the direction of a faculty member. While graduate programs have some common course work required, much of the program highly individualized. Research plays a HUGE role in earning a Masters or PhD in this field.

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                                  • #18
                                    I was one of the last students to graduate from the nutrition program at Virginia Tech before it ended. I completed my MS at VT, and moved on to a PhD in something different

                                    Originally posted by deltawave View Post
                                    Those of you who have degrees in or have studied equine nutrition, can you give me a basic idea of the programs,
                                    requirements, credit hours
                                    Pick any program that you are interested in, and you can find this information on their website. I'm not aware of any schools that offer a PhD in "Equine Nutrition." All of them award a doctorate of philosophy in animal science, but the students may choose to study equine nutrition under that umbrella.

                                    For example, I think VT required somewhere around 30 credits of "coursework" for a PhD. Of these, some were required classes for all students such as biochemistry and statistics while some were electives. At the graduate level, there are not nearly the number/variety of classes to choose from as in undergrad.

                                    There were no graduate courses that were equine specific. All of them were general animal, and often dominated by whatever area the instructor was familiar with. If you take an animal nutrition class taught by a professor who studies dairy cattle, then you are going to get a lot about ruminant nutrition.

                                    Originally posted by deltawave View Post
                                    prerequisites, etc?
                                    Theoretically, your undergraduate major doesn't matter. Some programs are more competitive and require an animal science background, while others are more interested in the person. I know people who have done well in equine nutrition graduate programs who had undergraduate majors ranging from biology to medieval history.


                                    Originally posted by deltawave View Post
                                    Is there a governing body, board exam, accreditations?
                                    Nope. There is an "Equine Science Society" which meets every other year. Data presented at this meeting is peer reviewed by other members of the society, but there are no requirements to get in.

                                    Originally posted by deltawave View Post
                                    Are the various programs comparable? Different levels of qualification?
                                    Each program is quite different.

                                    Originally posted by deltawave View Post
                                    And more on the specific side--are there specialties within these programs such as racehorse or broodmare nutrition? Nutrition in pathological states?
                                    Not within the program, but each student picks a "specialty" for their dissertation research. A PhD usually involves ~3-5 specific research projects looking at a specific research ara

                                    Originally posted by deltawave View Post
                                    How much industry exposure is there (from feed companies)?
                                    It depends on the program. Some of them receive significant funding from industry while others do not.

                                    Originally posted by deltawave View Post
                                    Finally, how much "evidence-based" stuff is emphasized
                                    VERY much. This is what graduate school is all about, no matter what the discipline.

                                    Originally posted by deltawave View Post
                                    are students required to paricipate in research?
                                    Yes, and it should also be published.
                                    *Absolut Equestrian*

                                    "The plural of anecdote is not fact...except in the horse industry"

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                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Lovinglife5757 View Post
                                      In doing some reading about IR, I came across Dr. Kellon's website, which has a number of varied courses on equine nutrition. Not a formal program at a university, as such, however Dr. Kellon is noted in the ECIR world.

                                      http://www.drkellon.com/
                                      Dr. Kellon is a veterinarian, experienced and well read, but she does not attend either the ESS or Animal Science meetings where the most current research is presented. She has her own theories...and products to sell.
                                      Sarah Ralston

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        [QUOTE=Skip's Rider;5519552]Penn State has a large number of equine courses offered through the Department of Dairy and Animal Science. Here's the description of the equine nutrition course.
                                        [INDENT]Animal Science 467: EQUINE NUTRITION AND FEEDING (3 Credits) Equine gastrointestinal anatomy and physiology; energy and nutrient requirements for body functions; applied interrelationships between nutrition, health, and performance. Prerequisites: AN SC 301. Instructor: W. B. Staniar.

                                        Dr. Burt Staniar IS an equine nutritionist, trained by one of the best, Dr. David Kronfeld. He is the chair of the Nutrition section at ESS this year. His "credentials" are impeccable
                                        Sarah Ralston

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