WALTHAM International Nutritional Sciences Symposium 2013

WALTHAM International Nutritional Sciences Symposium



First Day:- Tuesday 1st October 2013

WINSS 2013 opened last night in Portland, Oregon, USA with a welcome reception for delegates who had travelled from all over the world to attend.

WALTHAM hosted its first open access nutritional sciences symposium in 1987 in Hannover, Germany. Since then the event has been hosted in various locations around the globe including Bangkok in Thailand, Cambridge in the UK and Vancouver in Canada. WINSS brings together leading experts in nutritional and veterinary science to address current issues in the field of pet health and nutrition.

The agenda for the next three days includes oral presentations, poster displays and interactive sessions where delegates can use an electronic voting system to share their views on “hot topics” in pet nutrition.

WALTHAM researchers will be delivering five oral presentations and five posters as first authors, in addition to several posters and oral presentations representing WALTHAM’s collaborative research studies.

Second Day:- Wednesday 2nd October 2013

The scientific programme opened today with welcome speeches from the co-hosts, WALTHAM and Banfield Pet Hospital®, partners in research within Mars Petcare.

Dr Jeffrey Klausner (Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, Banfield) emphasised Banfield’s passion for evidence-based veterinary medicine, especially preventive care. An important aspect of this is collaboration with researchers at WALTHAM, using Banfield’s extensive clinical database to answer questions fundamental to the health and wellbeing of pets.

A session on the microbiome (the community of microorganisms that live within the body of an animal or human) took delegates on a fascinating journey of modern technology and intriguing research insights. We learned from Professor Rob Knight (University of Colorado, USA) about the transfer of behaviours and disease status with the transplantation of microbial populations in mice. Dr Oliver Deusch (WALTHAM, UK) explained that diet is associated not only with structural but also functional differences in the faecal microbiome of kittens.

Bridging the gap between human and companion animal research, Professor Kelly Swanson (University of Illinois, USA) acknowledged the foundation that human studies have provided with respect to bacterial gene catalogues, databases and bioinformatics tools. In dogs and cats we have some knowledge of the structure of microbiomes and we now need a greater understanding in pets of microbial function, host-microbe interactions and the role of nutrition.

Professor John Mathers (University of Newcastle, UK) opened the session on “Nutrition for Life”, explaining how a range of factors, including nutrition, are likely to impact ageing through three common mechanisms: inflammation, metabolic stress and oxidative stress/redox changes.

The ageing process is flexible but also very complex, and although many similarities exist between species, there are also some important species-specific differences. As Dr Richard Butterwick (Principal Nutrition Scientist, WALTHAM) pointed out, all these considerations highlight the importance of collaborations across disciplines and species.

WINSS 2013 plenary sessions will be reported in the British Journal of Nutrition and expanded abstracts in the online Journal of Nutritional Sciences.

Third Day:- Thursday 3rd October 2013

Thursday’s WINSS programme tackled some of the most fundamental and topical issues in pet nutrition.

In the morning session on macronutrients, Professor David Raubenheimer (University of Sydney, Australia) explained the key principles of nutritional geometry as an approach to simplifying complex nutritional questions. This analysis constructs a multi-dimensional nutritional space, in which we can investigate nutritional targets, nutrient trade-offs in situations where animals are restricted to imbalanced diets, and the consequences of nutrient selection behaviour. Nutritional geometry may also provide insights into how nutrient seeking activity can amplify the effect of changes in diet composition, and potentially contribute to obesity problems in humans – the so-called “protein leverage” hypothesis.

Dr Adrian Hewson-Hughes (WALTHAM, UK) demonstrated the use of the nutritional geometry approach in his latest findings on macronutrient selection by female cats during pregnancy and lactation. He showed that lactating cats adjust their macronutrient preferences towards an increased proportion of fat to meet their additional calorie requirements.

Professor Wouter Hendriks (Wageningen University and Utrecht University, Netherlands) provided additional perspectives on how evolutionary insights into feeding behaviour in wolves can help to explain a classification of adaptive carnivore for domestic dogs.
The afternoon session chaired by Professor Ian MacDonald (University of Nottingham, UK) took participants on an interactive journey through some of the most topical issues in pet nutrition, ranging from the nutritional value of animal versus plant protein to the classification of senior pets.

Fourth Day:- Friday 4th October 2013

The last day of WINSS 2013 opened with a session focused on healthy weight management.

Professor Theresa Nicklas (Baylor College of Medicine, Texas, USA) provided insights from the study of child obesity and how different parenting styles, which reflect the emotional environment of the parent-child relationship, may be linked to different outcomes regarding child weight status. Dr Alex German (University of Liverpool, UK) reflected how a greater understanding of pet ownership styles is required to understand the impact on pet health and whether weight management programmes can be refined to take this into account.

Dr Janet Alexander (WALTHAM, UK) demonstrated how dietary energy dilution with water may be a useful strategy for healthy weight maintenance in overfed cats.

The meeting closed on a high note, with Dr Denise Elliott (WALTHAM, UK) announcing the winners of the student research awards. Raquel Silveira Pedreira (Sᾶo Paulo State University, Brazil) won the best oral award for her presentation on the findings that insoluble fibre delays gastric empting and colonic filling time of dogs fed kibble diets. Fabiano Cesar Sa (Sᾶo Paulo State University, Brazil) received the best poster prize for his work on the digestibility and palatability of foods for dogs and cats extruded with different amounts of mechanical and thermal energy. Both won a prize to visit the WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition, UK.

In the afternoon, many of the delegates took the opportunity to visit the state of the art facilities at Banfield Pet Hospital® in Portland.

WINSS 2013 plenary sessions will be reported in the British Journal of Nutrition and expanded abstracts in the online Journal of Nutritional Sciences.