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BY SA\RAH CA\REY
Animals with nutrition-related problems ranging from obesity to malnourishment
and everything in between will benefit from an enhanced program at UF's Small
The hospitals' first-ever resident in small animal nutrition recently joined the cadre of
residents studying more traditional specialty areas, such as medicine and surgery, beefing up
a service that has grown in demand in recent years.
Dr. Justin Shmalberg began his residency in July as the Waltham/Chi Institute Resident
in Small Animal Clinical Nutrition, a designation made due to funding support the hospital
received from Waltham and the Chi Institute.
"Most of our outside funding for residencies has come from the Army, the government
of another country or a private veterinary hospital group," said Dr. Richard Hill, associate
professor of small animal medicine and nutrition. Hill is board-certified in both internal
medicine and veterinary nutrition, and serves as chief of the hospital's internal medicine
"Pet food companies dosometimes fund residencies, but we are very lucky to now have
one here," Hill said.
One of only about 60 board-certified veterinary nutritionists in the country and Florida's
only small animal expert in the hield, Hill has been providing nutritional advice on his own
at the college for the last 15 years.
"There has been a need to train more residents and to have someone more freely
available," Hill said.
Shmalberg is working closely with the ones als --: :, neurology and shelter medicine
services, to name a few. He deals with a range of nutrition-related problems, including
disease management, obesity management, critical care nutrition and balancing home-
cooked diets for dogs where owners choose to cook for their animals and in situationS
where commercial diets aren't quite adequate for the animal's needs.
"I actually had told Dr. Hill that I was interested in a nutrition residency during my time
here as the acupuncture intem,"' said Shmalberg.
Shmalberg said he always felt that his career would likely have some type of nutritional
"As almost everyone is aware, there is an increased need for specialists to help clients
and veterinarians examine these new trends and make individualized recommendations," he
said. "After all, no matter what the treatment is, clients will always need to feed their pets,
and what they, or their veterinarians, choose to feed may play prominently in both wellness
and during times of illness."
A University of Wisconsin graduate, Shmalberg had a strong interest in integrative
therapies and in small animal general practice, as well as in animal nutrition. After his UF
internship, he worked at the Haile Plantation Animal Clinic, doing general practice and
"During that time, Dr. Hill was able to secure interest from Waltham in support of a new
residency program here at UF," Shmalberg said. "Since the Chi Institute maintains a strong
interest in the research of botanical compounds as treatment options, and he knew I hoped
to pursue this area, Dr. (Huisheng) Xie offered to jointly support this project."
Xie, who mentored Shmalberg in his acupuncture internship, is a UF CVM faculty
member and owner of the Chi Institute in Ocala. According to its Web site, the Chi Institute
is the leading provider of veterinary continuing education in traditional Chinese medicine.
The nutrition caseload at the UF Small Animal Hospital has already exceeded
"Many of the complex cases that come in can benefit from a nutrition consult, and from
further recommendations furnished to the referring practitioner," Shmalberg said, adding
that the complexity of a dietary analysis can be a huge challenge.
"Even when foods are labeled for a particular condition, it may be that they are not the
best choice, or that another diet amongst the same group of diets is better suited," he said.
A month into his residency, Shmalberg said he'd already had cases ranging from weight
management consults to total parenteral nutrition supplying nutrients via an IV catheter
when feeding through the gastrointestinal tract is not possible. He also has helped with
balancing home-cooked diets and even has customized diets for patients with many different
conditions, all having different nutritional requirements.
Dr. Richard Hill, left, and Dr. Justin Shmalberg pose with Ruby, a dog who came to UF via the shelter medicine
service, suffering from severe malnutrition, and her litter of puppies. (Photo by Sarah Carey)
These puppies are now doing well, and continuing to gain weight every day.
(Photo by Sarah Carey)
th e NEW FROM TH UNIVEIT OF FLORID COLLEGE OF VETEINAR MEDICINE
Find us on
SFace book e
UF Small Animal Hospital's first clinical nutrition resident now on board
thanks to entrepreneurial funding from Waltham and Chi Institute
We're now the LIF Veterinary Hospitals
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The Veterinary Page is the college's internal newsletter. Archives are available at:
Determination, curiosity and volunteer work
guided junior veterinary student to present path
who knows her will tell
Sy o u i s a seekeriaH n e ro a a y n
After receiving her bachelor's
degree from UF in linguistics/interdis-
ciplinary studies, Henderson spent two
years in Morocco in the Peace Corps, a
year in South Carolina pursuing a
certificate in Biblical studies, and seven 1 \
years pursuing her master's degree in
education at UF, hoping to become a
reading specialist. While in graduate
school, Henderson managed to become
the UF College of Health and Human
Performance's first fulltime academic
undergraduate student advisor and
Along the way, Henderson, a native
of Pomona Park, Fla., began volunteer-
ing at a local wildlife sanctuary,
cultivating her longtime interest in birds
and learning all she could. Henderson
soon began to feel her true life's calling
was to become a veterinarian.
Now that goal is only a short two
years away from reaching fruition. 1 lIla Hcll~ll- -I:IIrii E sh ," ri llerJ c ln.? Ill Bai3J' 11 rad 1i
((As a first generation college i---0'*******.~ 0--1':i I6i = '..ill--- l'? --6'11:11 .,1r ia,
graduate, the first in the family on both
sides, it has been a long road, but one
well worth traveling with many
experiences and memories gathered along the way," Henderson said.
During her Peace Corps stint, Henderson taught English as a second language and helped
develop an English curriculum for a post-secondary technical school in Morocco aimed at
preparing students to work as general and medical secretaries, accountants, managers and
computer specialists. The curriculum was designed to help these students master the English
specific to what they might encounter in those jobs.
A year after Henderson returned to the U.S., she attended a seminary in South Carolina,
working toward a certificate in Biblical studies. The U.S. had entered the war with Iraq, and
Henderson later heard that all volunteers from Morocco had been evacuated at the start of the
"To my sadness, I lost contact with my Moroccan friends and family," she said.
Henderson returned to Florida and began working toward a master's degree in education at
UF, hoping to become a reading specialist. She got a job as a program assistant in the College
of Health and Human Performance, working as a program assistant to the graduate, and later
"Over time, I assumed much of the undergraduate responsibilities, and eventually a
position line was added, making me the first full-time undergraduate academic advisor for the
college," Henderson said.
After a three-year hiatus, during which Henderson completed an internship required for the
degree, she was able to return to her old position at the college of HHP, which she kept until
joining the UF College of Veterinary Medicine's Class of 2012.
While working on her master's degree, Henderson began volunteering at the Eye of the
Eagle Wildlife Sanctuary and veterinary clinic, owned by CVM alumnus Dr. Dawn Miller ('92)
on weekends, after work and during holidays.
"My interest in avians was particularly strong from years of having parrots and serving as a
member of the Gainesville Bird Fanciers in various capacities," she said. "Over time, I realized
I was ready for a new challenge and change in career, and decided I would invest my time and
hard work into becoming a veterinarian."
Miller returned to Gainesville to present Henderson with her professional white coat during
the sophomore coating ceremony in May.
"She volunteered for us for several years," Miller said. "Mila was very bright, hard-working
and really interested in problem solving and understanding everything. She was very moti-
Now several months into her clinical rotations, Henderson said she is enjoying making
clinical connections to the information she learned the first two years in the classroom.
"I am appreciative of this opportunity for a second career," Henderson said. "It is a
blessing from God. The support of my family and friends has been invaluable during the
trials, tribulations and triumphs of this new journey in my life. I look forward to the many
years ahead of serving the community and my clients as a veterinarian."
E.\ercise in patients CrTe
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Dr. Paul Nicoletti, professor emeritus of
infectious diseases, honored wvith prestiolous
G ol d H ea dCane Alva rd
Paul Nicoletti, D.V.M., a professor
emeritus of infectious diseases at the
University of Florida College of Veterinary
Medicine, was presented with the 2010 Karl c
E Meyer-James H. Steele Gold-Head Cane
Award during the American Veterinary *'
Medical Association's annual meeting in
Atlanta Aug. 3
The award is the highest honor given to
a veterinarian by the American Veterinary
Epidemiology Society. The group selects the <
awardee on the basis of achievements in
animal health that have significantly advanced
human health through the practice of veteri-
nary epidemiology and public health.
A 1956 graduate of the University of
Missouri's College of Veterinary Medicine,
Nicoletti retired from the UF veterinary
faculty in 2003. During his 25 years of service
at UF, he taught courses in infectious diseases,
epidemiology, public health and food safety. DrPalNceti
Nicoletti s career began at the U.S.
Department of Agriculture in Missouri, with
later duties in Wisconsin, New York, Mississippi and Florida. He served as an epizootiologist in
Tehran, Iran from 1968 to 1972 with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United
Nations prior to beginning his academic career at UF in 1978.
An internationally recognized expert in brucellosis, Nicoletti has amassed many awards
in his career, including Distinguished Service awards from both the University of Missouri and
UF. As a tribute to Nicoletti's professional contributions and service to the cattle industry, a
private $1.3 million contribution was recently made to the UF veterinary college.
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