Position/Title: PhD Student
Hi, I’m Pawan!
Like most kids growing up with an affinity for animals, I really wanted a dog and had to work hard to convince my parents I was ready for that responsibility. I spent months writing essays and making presentations to educate my immunocompromised parents on the benefits a dog can have on everyone’s emotional, mental, and physical well-being. Once I became a pet owner, I quickly realized how limited my knowledge was on my dog’s nutritional needs. Upon taking Pet Nutrition with Dr. Anna Kate Shoveller, I was exposed to the lack of knowledge within the field of companion animal nutrition. I believe educating pet owners on versatile nutritional approaches is the avenue to ensure they can take control to maintain the health of their animals to increase longevity and hopefully prevent or prolong the necessity of medicinal intervention. Currently, as a graduate student with the privilege and access to higher education, I believe it is my responsibility to give back to the animals by expanding the information available to pet owners, the pet food industry, and the animal research field.
I am currently working on my master’s research under the supervision of Dr. Anna Kate Shoveller. My MSc-thesis research project was a 20-week controlled feeding trial with 28 healthy sled dogs focused on the implications that pulse ingredients have on canine metabolic and cardiac health, specifically the association with dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). Dogs were fed one of four experiment diets that consisted of either 0, 15, 30, or 45% pulse inclusion and were formulated to meet the same micro and macronutrient targets. There was one grain-inclusive diet with corn and no pulse ingredients and three other grain-free diets that did not have corn and had different concentrations of pulse ingredients (green/yellow peas, pinto beans, chickpeas and lentils). Echocardiogram and electrocardiograms were conducted pre-treatment and again after feeding for 20 weeks to assess any changes in cardiac structure and function that may be concurrent with DCM development. To conduct the echocardiogram assessments, I worked closely with a board-certified cardiologist, Dr. Shari Raheb, and all ultrasounds were done at the Ontario Veterinary College Veterinary Teaching Hospital (OVC-VTH, Guelph, ON). At the time of the echocardiograms, dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) scans were conducted to assess changes in muscle or bone density. Throughout the 20-week period, cardiac biomarkers, serum Cardiac Troponin I (cTnI), and N-terminal pro B-type natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) were analyzed alongside complete blood count and biochemistry to ensure the health of dogs throughout the trial (analyzed at: IDEXX Labratories Inc., Markham, ON; Animal Health Laboratory, Guelph, ON). After 20 weeks of feeding, we did not find any significant changes to several echocardiographic parameters or cardiac biomarkers that would be indicative of DCM development or other cardiac stress!
Further deliverables of this trial include the implications of pulse ingredients on amino acid status in the body (fasted and post-meal), health parameters (complete blood count, biochemistry), body condition (DEXA), body weight, and feed intake.
I am passionate to continue educating myself and others in order to give back and provide the best life for our four-legged companions! In my free time, I enjoy being outdoors with my dog, Shady, playing sports, and spending time with friends and family.