Course Overview

The treatment outcome for many diseases seen in companion animals is greatly improved when nutritional factors are addressed. Adding nutrition to the mix requires a thorough understanding of the disease process and the role nutrition plays. Nutrition factors into nutrient metabolism, obesity, diabetes, urolithiasis, dermatoses, renal failure, feline hepatic lipidosis, gastrointestinal disease, cancer, mobility and the function of the heart. In order to fully utilize the benefits of nutrition, team members must understand key characteristics associated with diets designed to treat such diseases, therefore, enabling them to choose the best diet available for each individual patient.

Clients are usually very accepting of feeding change recommendations when they are provided with information regarding the benefits to their pet. The patient benefits when the veterinary healthcare team is the source of disease-related nutritional recommendations. Each member of the team has a part in practice nutrition protocols, but it is vital that credentialed technicians and veterinarians fully understand the role nutrition plays and the options available. Treating disease in companion animals is a multi-focal process. Nutrition needs to be as much a part of the treatment protocol as drugs, surgery and other options, to help patients live the highest quality of life in the face of disease.

Nutrition: Managing Disease in Companion Animals will help provide the training needed to allow the veterinary practice to incorporate nutrition into treatment protocols. Participants must work in a practice that evaluates companion animals to complete this course.

This course was previously titles Advanced Principles of Nutrition.


Continuing Education Credits

Course meets the requirements for 20 RACE hours of continuing education credit for veterinary technicians and veterinarians in jurisdictions which recognize AAVSB's RACE approval. However, participants should be aware that some boards have limitations on the number of hours accepted in certain categories and/or restrictions on certain methods of delivery.

This course is an interactive online course that meets RACE requirements; program number 57-10275.


Veterinary Technician Specialty Academy Acceptance

The Academy of Veterinary Nutrition Technicians

Nutrition: Managing Disease in Companion Animals
is accepted by the Academy towards continuing education requirements.

The Academy of Veterinary Technicians in Clinical Practice (AVTCP)

Nutrition: Managing Disease in Companion Animals
is accepted by the Academy towards continuing education requirements.


Additional Courses On This Topic

Nutrition: Filling Your Bowl With Core Concepts and Nutrition: Managing Disease in Companion Animals are partner courses designed to provide a extensive grounding in nutrition.

Both courses utilize the same textbook.


Course Content

This 8-week course discusses the treatment of diseases that are nutritionally responsive. Students will determine key characteristics of ideal diets to aid in the management of obesity, diabetes, urolithiasis, dermatoses, chronic renal failure, dental health, gastrointestinal diseases, cancer, mobility and cardiovascular disease. Studies are presented in the reading material to aid in the understanding of the disease and treatment process.


Course Focus and Learning Objectives

Nutrition: Managing Disease in Companion Animals is an advanced 8-week course designed for practice team members who already have an educational foundation in nutritional concepts. This course is appropriate for veterinary technicians and veterinarians who provide nutrient recommendations to clients on a daily basis and who wish a deeper understanding of nutrition as it relates to diseases common to companion animals. The components of this course are critical to developing an understanding of why particular nutrients and diets are recommended to treat nutritionally responsive diseases.

It is recommended that students first complete the Nutrition: Filling Your Bowl with Core Concepts course or have equivalent training. Course assignments are practical in nature and many require the use of practice resources for completion. In addition, research outside of the course materials may be required to complete some assignments. The examinations are designed to assess the retention of the student’s newly achieved knowledge in companion animal nutrition. The average student will spend 3 to 5 hours per week in order to complete all the mandatory requirements. Participants must work in practice, or have access to cases, in order to complete the assignments associated with this course. 

 Upon completion of the course, the student will be able to:

  • Evaluate disorders of nutrient uptake
  • Diagnose and treat Hyperlipidemia
  • Discuss mechanisms associated with purine metabolism in Dalmatians
  • Differentiate endogenous and exogenous factors related to obesity
  • Determine nutrient intake to aid in the treatment of diabetes in dogs and cats
  • Analyze dietary risk factors associated with urolithiasis in dogs and cats
  • Diagnose and treat nutritionally responsive skin disorders
  • Recognize the importance of nutrients in Chronic Renal Failure
  • Assess caloric intake factors for patients diagnosed with Feline Hepatic Lipidosis
  • Construct a nutritional treatment protocol to manage gastrointestinal diseases
  • Recognize the nutritional alterations that occur with cancer
  • Evaluate the nutritional factors that influence skeletal diseases
  • Implement nutritional modifications when treating cardiovascular disease


Participation Access Parameters

The design of this course allows participants to enroll at any time. 

After enrolling, please allow up to 48 hours for course activation. Each participant will have a personal start and end date that begins upon activation.


Participant Feedback

...I like the assignments and case studies, because it makes me apply the knowledge that I gained by reading the book.

...The most beneficial were the assignments. If I use the information I am reading then it helps me retain it!

...I am studying to sit for the Nutrition VTS exam. I believe this course has helped to prepare me for the exam. Kara asked me great questions and really channeled me to think and do additional research, which was excellently what I need!

...Although they took a lot more work I liked writing up a client education document the best. I found it was nice to be able to portray my knowledge as an owner/client would be able to understand it. I also really liked Kara's comments. I always looked forward to hearing from her and finding out how I could expand my knowledge or explain something better.

...I enjoyed the case studies because it helped solidify the information learned and showed me how it would apply in the clinical setting.

...I found all of the nutritional guidelines helpful and relevant to everyday cases.

...I liked the discussion of the cases the best. I liked using patient histories as a way to apply the nutritional information we learned.

...I liked the recommended course of assignments, with the material learned from the modules used to be applied to the case studies. In addition, feedback from Kara was constructive and helpful.


Required Materials

Canine and Feline Nutrition: A Resource for Companion Animal Professionals, 3rd Edition Linda P. Case, MS, Leighann Daristotle, DVM, PhD, Michael G. Hayek, PhD and Melody Foess Raasch, DVM

Important Text Information:

It is mandatory that each participant has access to this textbook as the content of the book is not reproduced within the course. It is up to each person to determine the best way to acquire the text. Some will already have the text in their library and, therefore, will not need to purchase another copy. The text is available as a print publication and as an eBook. Where to purchase and in what format is totally up to the participant. The text is not included in the fee for this course.

USA residents: Elsevier texts, both print and eBook, are available via the VetMedTeam Elsevier Text Portal at discounts off regular retail of 25 - 35 %. If you would like to visit the portal to take advantage of the discount please use this link:

VetMedTeam's Elsevier Text Portal

Important: Regardless of which option the participant chooses, access to a copy of the textbook is mandatory. Without the text, the student will not be able to complete the assignments, case studies and examinations. If enrolling close to or beyond the course start date, it is recommended that the text be purchased as an eBook to prevent text acquisition related delays. VetMedTeam has no control over shipping delays and other related problems.


Additional Courses Using Required Text

The textbook in this course is also utilized in Nutrition: Filling Your Bowl with Core Concepts. Click on the link for more information regarding that course.


Course Completion Requirements

Completed students are awarded a certificate of completion. Completion requirements include:

  • Instructor Graded Interactive Module Assignments: Designed to help the participant reinforce newly learned material

  • Instructor Graded Interactive Case Study Assignments: Designed to help the participant apply the newly learned skills and knowledge though patient and practice based scenarios

  • Examinations: All examinations must be submitted with a score of 80% or better

  • Course survey


Course Instructor

Kara Burns, MS, MEd, LVT, VTS-Nutrition, Dentistry (H), Internal Medicine (H)Kara Burns, MS, MEd, LVT, VTS-Nutrition, Dentistry (H), Internal Medicine (H)

Kara Burns is a licensed veterinary technician originally from New England, now living in Kansas. She holds a master’s degree in physiology and a master’s degree in counseling psychology. She began her career in human medicine working as an emergency psychologist in the Maine Medical Center emergency department. She also worked at Maine Poison Control as a poison specialist dealing with human and animal poisonings. She then made the move to veterinary medicine and worked in small animal private practice and a small animal and avian practice in Maine.

Kara is the Founder and President of the Academy of Veterinary Nutrition Technicians. She teaches nutrition courses around the world and is a contributor to Kara works as an independent nutritional consultant.

She is a member of many national, international, and state associations and holds positions on many boards in the profession; AAVN executive board technician liaison; the NAVTA Journal editor in chief; SVME Board of Directors; Veterinary Team Brief Advisory Board; VSPN Nutrition Board Moderator; International Society for Sports Nutrition; Fear Free Advisory Board; Pet Nutrition Alliance Educational Tools committee, and is the president of the Kansas Veterinary Technician Association, to name a few.

She teaches nutrition courses around the world on the VIN/Veterinary Support Personnel Network and on VetMedTeam. She also is a contributor to Kara also works as an independent nutritional consultant..

She is a member of many national, international, and state associations and holds positions on many boards in the profession; AAVN executive board technician liaison; the NAVTA Journal editor in chief; NAVTA Communications Director; Veterinary Team Brief Advisory Board; VSPN Nutrition Board Moderator; International Society for Sports Nutrition; and is the president of the Kansas Veterinary Technician Association, to name a few.

She has authored many articles, textbooks, and textbook chapters and is an internationally invited speaker, focusing on topics of nutrition, leadership, and technician utilization.

Ms. Burns has been featured on the cover of the Veterinary Technician Journal and the NAVTA Journal. She was named the 2013 North American Veterinary Conference Technician Speaker of the Year. She is the 2010 NAVTA Veterinary Technician of the Year, as well as the 2011 Dr. Franklin Loew Lecturer. Kara has also been named the National Association of Professional Women ‘Woman of the Year’ for 2010-2011 and the Cambridge Who’s Who in Professionals V.I.P. for 2010-2011. She was accepted into the International Women’s Leadership Association in 2012..

She enjoys spending time with her wife Dr. Ellen Lowery and their children. They are actively involved in coaching youth sports, 4-H, school activities, and church ministry. The family also includes two horses, a pony, a miniature horse, two sheep, a pug, a French bulldog, 6 birds, 4 indoor cats (one of which is three legged), a guinea pig, a blue–tongue skink, and a bearded dragon!



Price: $211.00



VetMedTeam 2014