Blue Buffalo conducted a “continental search” for the 10 veterinary experts who form the company’s newly formed Blue Veterinary Advisory Board (BVAB).
“We’re looking at this as a long-term situation to partner with the profession,” said Greg Reinhart, Ph.D., senior vice president, research and development for Wilton, Conn.-based Blue Buffalo.
One message Dr. Reinhart said he is especially keen on is the value of therapeutic nutrition when it comes to companion animal health.
To that end, Blue Buffalo sponsored BVAB members Joe Bartges, DVM, Ph.D., Dipl. ACVN, Dipl. ACVIM, and Donna Raditic, DVM, Dipl. ACVN, who presented “What Food These Morsels Be: The Role of Nutrition in Health and Disease” at the North American Veterinary Conference in Orlando, Fla., in February.
For those who might think a sponsored talk could skew in a certain direction, Reinhart said the content was 100 percent generated by Drs. Bartges and Raditic.
Having two board members with oncology backgrounds was especially important, Reinhart said. Given that the Bishop family founded Blue Buffalo after their Airedale, Blue, died from lymphoma, the Bishops felt that nutrition might have played a role in their dog’s death.
The company looks to benefit by partnering with BVAB to “enhance” its Blue Natural Veterinary Diet line of veterinary-exclusive therapeutic diets for dogs and cats.
“My primary role is to share my input, experiences, feedback and ideas with Blue Buffalo, especially in regard to the company’s products, research and interactions with the profession and its clients,” said Sarah Wooten, DVM, BAVB member.
Veterinary conferences are one way BAVB will share information; Blue Buffalo also is considering using its website to deliver information to a broader audience.
The BAVB meets once a year for an in-person meeting and holds a teleconference every few months.
“On an ad hoc basis, we will reach out to our board for insights and recommendations, and we are also going to implement some of our board members speaking at continuing education events—Blue will sponsor those—and that is trying to give back to the profession,” Reinhart said.
One takeaway from the partnership for Blue Buffalo has been to simplify the message.
Blue Buffalo pays BAVB members an honorarium for presentations and covers travel expenses.
“My sense is that the biggest reward for the board members is the opportunity to give back to their profession in their field of expertise,” Reinhart said.
“This is a unique opportunity to be able to influence change for our profession, and I find that very stimulating,” Dr. Wooten said.
BAVB members include Bartges, University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine; Marcie Campion, Ph.D., vice president, technical services, Pro-Pet LLC, St. Marys, Ohio; James Lloyd, DVM, Ph.D., dean, University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine; Cheryl London, DVM, Ph.D., Dipl. ACVIM (Oncology), research professor, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University; Gerald Post, DVM, Dipl. (Oncology), chief medical officer, The Veterinary Cancer Center, Norwalk, Conn.; Raditic, Nutrition and Integrative Medicine Consultants, Athens, Ga.; John Talmadge, DVM, Bigger Road Veterinary Center, Dayton, Ohio; Mary Ann Vande Linde, DVM, Van Linde and Associates LLC, Brunswick, Ga.; Fritz Wood, H.F. Wood Consulting, Kansas City, Mo.; Sarah Wooten, Sheep Draw Veterinary Hospital, Greeley, Colo.
Originally published in the April 2017 issue of Veterinary Practice News. Did you enjoy this article? Then subscribe today!