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Nutrition Notes

Fall 2021, Featured, Exotic Medicine , Nutrition

Avian Nutrition: It’s for the Birds

Kara M. Burns MS, MEd, LVT, VTS (Nutrition), VTS-H (Internal Medicine, Dentistry), Editor in Chief

Kara Burns is an LVT with master’s degrees in physiology and counseling psychology. She began her career in human medicine working as an emergency psychologist and a poison specialist for humans and animals. Kara is the founder and president of the Academy of Veterinary Nutrition Technicians and has attained her VTS (Nutrition). She is the editor in chief of Today’s Veterinary Nurse. She also works as an independent nutritional consultant, and is the immediate past president of NAVTA. She has authored many articles, textbooks, and textbook chapters and is an internationally invited speaker, focusing on topics of nutrition, leadership, and technician utilization.

Pet bird owners influence their bird’s diet and therefore have a major impact on their birds’ health and longevity. Educating the owner on proper nutrition is one of the most important roles of the veterinary healthcare team. 

Featured, Summer 2021, Nutrition

Nutrition and Behavior Therapy for Feline Idiopathic Cystitis

Ashley Self BS, LVMT, VTS (Nutrition)

Ashley has been a licensed veterinary technician on the nutrition service at the University of Tennessee for 9 years. She attained her VTS (Nutrition) in 2018 and is an active member within the Academy of Veterinary Nutrition Technicians (AVNT) and the American Academy of Veterinary Nutrition (AAVN). Ashley is passionate about clinical nutrition in
both small and large animals as well as educating pet owners about the impact nutrition can have on their beloved pets. 

The underlying cause of FIC is unknown and presentation and clinical signs vary widely. Working with owners to appropriately structure the environment for their cat(s) and providing feeding guidelines to support urinary health and ideal body weight will, at a minimum, increase the cat’s wellbeing.

Spring 2021, Nutrition

Advising Clients About Home-Prepared and Commercial Fresh Diets

Charlotte Higgins CVT, VTS (Nutrition)

Charlotte has been a certified veterinary technician for almost 24 years. For most of that time, she has been employed as the Nutrition Support Nurse at the Ryan Veterinary Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Charlotte has authored many articles in veterinary journals and online magazines and has lectured at national veterinary conferences. She spends her days providing nutritional support to hospitalized patients and working with veterinary and veterinary nurse students to ensure they possess a solid understanding of the importance of nutrition for their patients.

Keeping the lines of communication open is extremely important when a client is considering feeding a home-prepared diet, whether raw or cooked, to their pets.

Fall 2020, Nutrition

Elements of a Successful Weight Management Clinic

Nicola Ackerman PGCert, RVN, CertSAN, CertVNECC, VTS (Nutrition)

Nicola has worked in the veterinary profession since 1994 and is currently the Head Medical Nurse at Plymouth Veterinary Group. She has written for many veterinary publications and textbooks and is the editor of Aspinall’s Complete Textbook of Veterinary Nursing. Nicola won the British Veterinary Nursing Association (BVNA)/Blue Cross award for animal welfare in 2010, and she was designated the SQP Veterinary Nurse of the Year in 2011 and the SQP Nutritional Advisor of the Year (2013). In 2012, Nicola was given the CAW Professional Development Award for outstanding service to the veterinary nursing profession. She is studying for a master’s degree in Advanced Veterinary Nursing from Glasgow University.

Many elements make up a weight management clinic, and setting up these clinics in practice can be very rewarding for all involved. Veterinary nurse–led clinics allow veterinary nurses to use their clinical judgment and obesity knowledge to take responsibility for weight loss programs.

Featured, Summer 2020, Nutrition

Alternative Pet Diets: Grain-free, Raw, and Other Trends

Ed Carlson CVT, VTS (Nutrition)

Ed is the director of technician learning and development for Ethos Veterinary Health and VetBloom. He is also the 2020 president of the Massachusetts Veterinary Technician Association and the treasurer of the New Hampshire Veterinary Technician Association. Ed has served on multiple NAVTA committees and is the 2020 NAVTA president-elect. He obtained his VTS (Nutrition) in 2014 and lectures frequently at local, regional, and national veterinary conferences on a variety of nutrition topics. Ed was also the recipient of the NAVTA 2019 Technician of the Year award.

Alternative pet diets such as grain-free and gluten-free might be permeating the market, but educating clients on the components of a balanced pet diet will ward off malnutrition.

Spring 2020, Nutrition

Diets and Dietary Supplements for Anxiety in Dogs

Jessey Scheip LVT, VTS (Behavior), KPA-CTP

Jessey earned a degree in Veterinary Technology in 2011. Her medical experience includes general practice, surgical specialty, and emergency/critical care. In 2016 she joined a behavior specialty practice in northern Virginia, now called the Animal Behavior Wellness Center, where she is lead technician and hospital manager. Jessey is also a Veterinary Technician Specialist in Behavior, a Fear Free Elite Certified professional, a Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner, and on the board of directors for the Society of Veterinary Behavior Technicians. Jessey is passionate about the value of behavioral education to ensure the best outcomes for the patient and family.

No longer is nutritional management limited to diabetes mellitus or renal insufficiency; it now also addresses emotional disorders such as anxiety. A variety of nutritional compounds and supplements that help improve emotional stability in companion animals have been identified.

Winter 2020, Nutrition

Grain-Free Diets and Dilated Cardiomyopathy

Kara M. Burns MS, MEd, LVT, VTS (Nutrition), VTS-H (Internal Medicine, Dentistry), Editor in Chief

Kara Burns is an LVT with master’s degrees in physiology and counseling psychology. She began her career in human medicine working as an emergency psychologist and a poison specialist for humans and animals. Kara is the founder and president of the Academy of Veterinary Nutrition Technicians and has attained her VTS (Nutrition). She is the editor in chief of Today’s Veterinary Nurse. She also works as an independent nutritional consultant, and is the immediate past president of NAVTA. She has authored many articles, textbooks, and textbook chapters and is an internationally invited speaker, focusing on topics of nutrition, leadership, and technician utilization.

As niche pet food markets continue to grow, veterinarians are worried they could cause more problems than they could help.

Fall 2019, Nutrition

Nutritional Support of Dogs and Cats After Surgery

Ashley Cox BS, LVMT, VTS (Nutrition)

Ashley graduated from Murray State University’s Veterinary Technology program in 2012. After completing her internship at the University of Tennessee’s College of Veterinary Medicine she stayed to continue working as the veterinary technologist on the clinical nutrition service. She successfully passed her veterinary technician specialty in nutrition in June of 2018. Ashley is passionate about clinical nutrition in both small and large animals and educating pet owners about the impact nutrition can have on their beloved pets.

When considering how to best manage and support postoperative surgical cases as it relates to nutritional intervention and gastrointestinal (GI) health, implementing perioperative care strategies can provide a more favorable recovery.

Fall 2019, Nutrition

Catabolism in the Critical Patient

Kara M. Burns MS, MEd, LVT, VTS (Nutrition), VTS-H (Internal Medicine, Dentistry), Editor in Chief

Kara Burns is an LVT with master’s degrees in physiology and counseling psychology. She began her career in human medicine working as an emergency psychologist and a poison specialist for humans and animals. Kara is the founder and president of the Academy of Veterinary Nutrition Technicians and has attained her VTS (Nutrition). She is the editor in chief of Today’s Veterinary Nurse. She also works as an independent nutritional consultant, and is the immediate past president of NAVTA. She has authored many articles, textbooks, and textbook chapters and is an internationally invited speaker, focusing on topics of nutrition, leadership, and technician utilization.

Greater awareness of cachexia will help provide practical approaches to managing body weight and lean body mass in dogs and cats, as well as more directed targets for treatment.

Summer 2019, Nutrition

Alternative Ways to Discuss Pet Obesity and Weight Loss

Jessie Nelson AAS, CVT, VTS (Nutrition)

Jessie graduated in 2009 from National American University with an Associate’s Degree in Applied Science with an emphasis in veterinary technology. After graduation, she worked in general practice in South Dakota. In 2010, she moved to Arizona and joined Desert Veterinary Medical Specialists in 2012. She found a passion for veterinary nutrition and earned a VTS in nutrition. Jessie was the president of the student chapter of NAVTA while in college, and has continued to be an active member of NAVTA and of the American Academy of Veterinary Nutrition Technicians. In her free time she loves to be outside with her pets, riding her bicycle, reading, and swimming with her dogs in the pool.

Veterinary teams need to find alternative ways to avoid upsetting their clients and to gain their trust in communicating the best nutritional requirements for their patients.

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