The one who feeds pet health
Doctor Cecilia Villaverde, an advising member of our Puppy & Kitten Expert Board, is a veterinarian specialising in companion animal nutrition. Doctor Villaverde focuses on the nutritional needs of pets throughout all life stages. Her objective is clear. Find the best nutritional approach to prevent and manage diseases to help cats and dogs achieve long, healthy lives.
Once she finished her degree at the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona in 2000, Doctor Villaverde knew she wanted to do research. Drawn to pet nutrition and the idea that what we eat feeds what we are, she was initially torn between treating farm animals and small companion animals. The latter won. With a focus on obesity and critical care nutrition, Doctor Villaverde is now concentrated on her clinical practice, seeing pet patients in three different clinics and the consultancy she opened in 2017. When a vet has a challenging case and needs a fresh eye with a specialist perspective, Doctor Villaverde is brought in. That is something she can do from anywhere in the world as, fundamentally, she studies lab results and medical histories. Doctor Villaverde is first and foremost a scientist. “Science is the tool that ensures that our knowledge is sound. It allows us to make real educated decisions for our pets that will affect their lives.”
Originally from Barcelona, though from an Argentinian family, Doctor Villaverde did her residency in California at UC Davis, and currently lives in Ireland. This intercontinental path infuses her every move with an open-minded world view. She has realised how differently pets are seen and treated by different cultures, with varying levels of attachment. Doctor Villaverde says she is pretty unshockable now, which is no doubt a plus for clinical practice.
“Science is the tool that allows us to make real educated decisions.”
— Dr. Villaverde, Specialist in companion animal nutrition
A lifelong and serial cat owner, Dr. Villaverde tends to adopt older cats. Knowing that they are harder to adopt, she feels she is lucky enough to have the resources to care for them. Also, an older cat already has its character firmly set and she likes to know what she is getting: A cat with a clear sense of who she or he is. Dr. Villaverde acknowledges that it is challenging getting a new cat knowing that they might not have long together. But, as she says, someone has to love older pets. Having done it three times so far, Dr. Villaverde acknowledges that, even as a vet, her training doesn’t make saying goodbye any easier.
And despite her training, there are things she can’t fix because the beginning of any pet’s life has a direct influence on the rest of their life. In her specialty field, they know that what happens nutrition-wise during the animal’s growth period can have life-long implications. That’s why, with her clinical experience in the nutritional management of puppies and kittens, she agreed to join the Royal Canin Puppy & Kitten Expert Board and looks forward to collaborating with the other members, some of whom she already knows professionally. The goal? To improve cats’ and dogs’ quality of life through better nutrition from the very start.