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TECH133-0608: Pet Food Fundamentals

Geneva Keene Acor, DVM, MS

June 2-June 23, 2008
Real Time Sessions: Friday evenings, June 6 and 13, 2008; 9:30pm-11:00pm ET (USA)

It is imperative that participants review the basics of nutrient components listed in the course area library PRIOR TO the first real time session; participants must have this basic knowledge to actively participate in this course. There are only two real time sessions as listed above.


Pet owners will come with information from the Internet, newsletters, advertisements, and advice from a variety of sources. How do you evaluate this information based on science to make a valid recommendation? This course is a "macro" version of nutrition that includes understanding the manufacture and marketing of pet foods including feeding trials, palatability testing, significance of label requirements, the "boutique" foods, natural, organic, holistic, and premium designations, and marketing versus science in pet food product claims.

Dr. Geneva Acor has been a long time educator and lecturer on all aspects of veterinary medicine. She created this course for VSPN to enable those working in small animal practice to understand and impart the knowledge of what goes into creating and manufacturing pet food to clientele and coworkers. This course will teach participants to learn how to look deeper than the packaging to find the real value of the pet food. The course includes two (2) 90-minute real time interactive sessions, course specific message boards and library, and transcripts of the real time sessions. It is directed to veterinary technicians and practice nutritional counselors. This course will not cover the basics of nutrient components; participants should already have a good understanding of protein, carbohydrate, fat, minerals, etc. and how they relate to nutrition.

Upon completion of this course, the participant will be able to:

Textbook: There is no required text for this course; however, the instructor highly recommends the following texts. Course Outline:

Prior to Week 1: Review of Basic Nutrition:
If you have not had basic nutrition, you may want to review the six basic nutrients prior to the class and the concept of nutrients versus ingredients. Several Internet sites will be provided for this review or you may review in the recommended textbooks. These links will be available in the course area library on the date the course opens.

Week 1: Pet Food Manufacturers and Processes
Content: The focus of the first week is to identify the major pet food manufacturers, the manufacturing process, and the relevance of the pet food label information. Criteria for types of food based on moisture content will be provided. Also, specific criteria for palatability tests and feeding trials will be discussed.

Week 2: Marketing Versus Science
Content: In the second week, we will discuss the evidence based triangle and how this may serve to validate pet food product claims. This will include defining terms such as natural, organic, holistic, and premium. Participants will research pet food claims on packages, in advertising, and/or on Internet sites and bring the information to class for discussion of marketing versus science in claims.

Library materials will be made available prior to the topic week so participants will have plenty of time to prepare for the real time sessions and discussion. Due to the amount of material to be covered, it is highly recommended the student comes to class having reviewed the handouts for that week, reviewed the previous week's homework and study guide, utilized the message boards for the course, and is prepared to interact during the real time session.

Message board discussions regarding the topic presented will begin on the day the course opens and continue for one week following the last real time session. These discussions will be held in the VSPN CE course area.


Registration: $78 ($ 70 early bird special if registered before May 19, 2008). There are a limited number of spaces in this course so enroll early.
Students currently enrolled in and taking at least 2 classes or 5 units at an AVMA accredited or CAAHT approved Veterinary Technician Program may be eligible to receive a 50% discount off the regular rate for this course (upon verification of student status)
*VT students: You must include the following information in the comments section of the CE enrollment form in order to be eligible for this discount: your program directors name and contact information (email/phone) and school name.

** NOTE: Registration will be closed when the maximum number of participants is reached or at 5pm ET on September 8, 2006 whichever comes first.

** Minimal computer requirements for participating in VSPN and VPSNCE:

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  1. Each enrollee must individually be a registered member of VSPN ( Membership in VSPN is free.
  2. To enroll in any VSPN CE course click on the ENROLL NOW link below the course title on the right side of the page at
  3. Each person must be able to receive emails from and addresses. This is our major form of communication with participants. It is highly recommended that course participants use their own, personal emails rather than clinic/hospital email addresses.
  4. VIN Member veterinarians SHOULD NOT register for their staff. Please have the staff member register through VSPN. Please email if you have questions.
Note: "This course has been approved for continuing education credit in jurisdictions which recognize AAVSB 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 of continuing education. Call VSPN CE at 1-800-700-4636 for further information." (Attendees are encouraged to check with their licensing jurisdiction(s) for information regarding recognition by their board).
COURSE WITHDRAWAL AND REFUND POLICY: Withdrawal prior to the listed start date of a course entitles the registrant to a complete refund or a credit toward a future VIN CE course, whichever is preferred. Withdrawal within 1 week after the listed start date (i.e. including no more than one real-time session) entitles the registrant to a credit toward any future VIN CE course. (Does not apply to courses with only one real-time session.) After the first real-time session, a registrant may withdraw due to special circumstances and receive prorated credit towards a future VIN course. These requests will be handled on an individual basis. The amount of the prorated credit will be determined based on 65% of the time remaining in the course at the time of withdrawal. It is not possible to withdrawal retroactively. Note: To ensure rapid handling of your request for withdrawal, we recommend that you call the VIN office at 1-800-700-INFO.
Nanette R. Walker Smith, M.Ed., RVT, CVT, LVT
VSPN Content Director & CE Coordinator
1-800-846-0028 or 1-530-756-4881, ext 187

Charlotte Waack (; ext 193 Chris Upchurch (; ext 197 VSPN CE Services


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