June 16, 2024

For the third year, dvm360 is recognizing industry professionals who are advancing the field and improving the lives of patients, clients, and staff with our Nutrition winner, Laura B. Gaylord, DVM, DACVIM (Nutrition)

dvm360 is pleased to present the 2023 class of Veterinary Heroes. Nominated by their peers and selected for the recognition by a committee of esteemed veterinary professionals, 15 award recipients were chosen in various veterinary industry roles and specialties in this third annual program.

The Veterinary Heroes recognition program, which is supported by Nutrition category sponsor Blue Buffalo Natural, celebrates the achievements of outstanding veterinary professionals who are advancing the field and making a difference in animal care. These winners will be honored on Thursday, August 24, 2023, in conjunction with a Fetch dvm360 conference in Kansas City, Missouri.

Make sure to register for Fetch Kansas City if you have not already!

Nutrition winner: Laura B. Gaylord, DVM, DACVIM (Nutrition)

This category is sponsored by Blue Buffalo Natural.

Growing up, Laura B. Gaylord, DVM, DACVIM (Nutrition) was the neighborhood pet sitter who befriended all the local dogs. She also had her own pets, including 11 rabbits. It’s no surprise that later in life, she pursued a veterinary degree, attending North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine in Raleigh.

Gaylord now has more than 24 years of experience in the field and recently became a board-certified veterinary nutritionist. She works as an independent consultant at—and is the owner and founder of—Whole Pet Provisions, PLLC, a nutrition consulting company based in Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina, that provides veterinary nutrition consulting to pet owners, veterinarians, the pet food industry, and pet supplement companies.

She was recognized by her peers for her outstanding work in the nutrition arena, promoting optimal wellness and integrative veterinary care for companion animals. “I was really, really honored to be notified that I had been a [recipient] of this award,” Gaylord said in an interview with dvm360. “I’m very appreciative. It means a whole lot for me, as it just validates a lot of the hard work and efforts I have put into really transitioning over to nutrition practice in veterinary medicine.”

Gaylord said she has always been interested in nutrition and in reading all the labels on human foods and products, so it was natural when she segued into learning about it for pets. “I follow all the nutrition science and admit that I used Dr Google a lot. So I just wanted to get to the real science behind nutrition and learn more about that,” Gaylord said. “And I was surprised [by] how [crucial] biochemistry and metabolism [are] and all that interplays with nutrition, but I love that part of it. I think understanding what’s happening at the molecular level and the tissue chemistry level is really super interesting and important, so that started me along this path.”

Gaylord also incorporates integrative and holistic medicine, especially for patients with chronic conditions. “There is a lot of discussion that we don’t have as many treatments for chronic disease conditions, and [they are] sorely needed. And I think that’s where integrative and holistic medicine really focuses a lot more attention, trying to look at health preventively, holistically, not so specialized on one body system necessarily, but looking at the whole animal—everything that’s going on and how everything we do relates to health. So that’s what drew me into integrative and holistic practice,” she explained. Gaylord also dubbed herself a “baby herbalist” because she’s interested in learning more about herbs and furthering her proficiency in this area of veterinary medicine.

Gaylord’s professional accomplishment that she’s most proud of is completing her nutrition residency while working full-time in practice. “It was super challenging but very rewarding,” she said. “And all of that has allowed me to now have my own nutrition consulting practice….I’m really proud of putting that together and providing a forum for clients to directly seek nutrition consulting in collaboration with their refering veterinarian.” She added that her in her personal life, her greatest achievement has been finding balance between her work and life, and she attributes this to the support of her family, including her husband and 2 daughters (one in high school and the other in middle school).

When she’s not working, Gaylord enjoys running with her husband, and the duo participate in races taking place in appealing destinations, giving them an excuse to travel and fulfilling their wanderlust while partaking in an exercise they love. Most recently, they finished the London Marathon together, and she said she hopes to continue running in these competitions. “The older I get, the easier it gets to have a good time,” she said. “If you don’t quit and you keep doing it—and we believe in what we call ‘easy running,’ so we don’t try to kill ourselves every time we run, [and] that’s better for your body—it’s good mental therapy and obviously good exercise.”

Gaylord’s nominator described her as an independent thinker and compassionate professional: “Laura’s enthusiasm and passion for delivering better nutrition and better nutrition/supplement education to referred clients and their veterinary team” make her a veterinary hero.

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