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Cailin Heinze, VMD, DACVN, Leads New Diet Study in Dogs Undergoing Chemotherapy

Cailin Heinze, VMD, DACVN, grew up on a small hobby farm outside of Pittsburgh and idolized her family’s veterinarian. By the time she was seven, she was certain that she would become a veterinarian. After earning her veterinary degree from the University of Pennsylvania and working in private practice, Dr. Heinze completed a veterinary residency in small animal clinical nutrition and a master’s degree in nutritional biology at the University of California – Davis.

Complementing her clinical and teaching responsibilities at Cummings School and Foster Hospital for Small Animals, Dr. Heinze is proud to be the lead Principal Investigator on an important diet study of dogs undergoing chemotherapy. The study: ‘Investigation of a novel diet for support dogs undergoing chemotherapy for mast cell tumors or multicentric lymphoma’ is currently enrolling dogs diagnosed with mast cell tumors or lymphoma that have not been previously treated for their cancer.  (

Eight weeks in duration, the diet program is initiated at the same time as the administration of chemotherapy. This study is a great opportunity for dogs diagnosed with cancer and has the potential to reduce the gastrointestinal side effects of chemotherapy. While it does not cover the cost of chemotherapy, pet owners receive an 8-week supply of high quality food, complimentary blood work and several no-cost clinical visits with Foster Hospital oncology department, as well as a monetary credit for successful completion of the trial.

“It’s the team atmosphere, sharing of knowledge, and desire to gather more knowledge that make Cummings School such a great place to work,” says Dr. Heinze, who recently celebrated her four-year work anniversary. With only 70 board-certified veterinary nutritionists in the country, Dr. Heinze and two of her fellow board-certified colleagues provide unique teaching and services that more than half of the veterinary schools in the country are not staffed to provide.

Outside of work, she stays very active. Calling herself a “health nut,” she loves to cook, which dovetails nicely with her career as an animal nutritionist. She also loves to garden, hike, camp, walk and jog and enjoys her two cockatiels, as well as schooling lower level dressage with her older Thoroughbred gelding.