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VSPN CE Course TECH133-0513: Pet Food Fundamentals


INSTRUCTOR(S): Geneva Keene Acor, DVM, MS
COURSE OPEN: May 31-July 1, 2013
REAL TIME SESSIONS (RTS): Fridays, June 7, 14, and 21, 2013; 9:30pm-11:00pm ET (USA)
Course RTS Times in Your Area: World Clock Converter

Practice Sessions: In order to prepare you for a successful experience in your CE course, we request you attend a Practice Session prior to the first Real Time Session. Please arrive promptly at the start time; each Practice Session is up to 1 hour in length. For more information, please visit the CE Practice Area.

*The instructors for this course will be using audio which will require you to have a headset or speakers to listen. If you have any concerns regarding your computer's audio capabilities, please be sure to attend one of the Practice Sessions.

Level and Prerequisites: This intermediate course course 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, mineral, and vitamins and how they relate to nutrition. Participants are encouraged to review previously completed nutrition courses in preparation for this course prior to the first Real Time Session.
This course is for RACE approved for veterinary technicians only.

Course Description:
Pet owners will come to you with information from the Internet, newsletters, advertisements, and advice from a variety of sources. How do you evaluate this information using evidence-based medicine to make a valid recommendation? This course is a "macro" version of nutrition that includes understanding the manufacturing and marketing of pet foods including feeding trials; palatability testing; significance of label requirements; "boutique" foods including natural, organic, holistic, and premium designations; and marketing versus science in pet food product claims. This course will teach participants to look deeper than the packaging to evaluate evidence for the claims of the pet food and be able to impart that understanding to clients willing to give their pets the best nutrition for their life and health. This course will require thoughtful discussions in the message boards and the participant is urged to be an interactive participant in these discussions as well as during the Sessions as able.

This course consists of three (3) ninety (90) minute Real Time Session, supplemental library materials, interactive message board discussions, a mandatory end-of-course test, and may include online multiple choice quizzes (after each Real Time Session). Successful completion (scoring 80% or better) on the end-of-course test is required to earn a certificate of completion for the course.

*The lecture portion of this course will have an audio component, please be prepared to listen.

Upon completion of this course, the participant should be able to Course Materials: Course materials will be available in the course library prior to each Real Time Session.

Required Textbook(s): Recommended Reading: About the Instructor:
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.

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 (Real Time Session (June 7): Pet Food Manufacturers and Processes
Content: The focus of the first week is to identify the major pet food manufacturers, the manufacturing process, and current and emerging trends. Criteria for types of food based on moisture content will be provided. Specific criteria for palatability tests and feeding trials will be discussed. Message board activities will include researching and identifying manufacturers versus distributors and the significance of that difference.

Week 2 (Real Time Session (June 14): Marketing Versus Science
Content: In the second week, evaluation of pet food claims will be reviewed considering the principles of marketing versus science in the claims. This will include defining terms such as natural, organic, holistic, and premium. Also included will be the newer claims for raw and grain or gluten free. Participants will research pet food claims on packages, in advertising, and/or on Internet sites and discuss their findings on the message boards especially in reference to marketing versus science in claims.

Week 3 (Real Time Session (June 21): Veterinary Medical Foods and Nutrition Recommendations
Content: During the final week, the focus will be on veterinary medical foods (therapeutic pet foods). The Real Time Session will review current categories of food and methods for evaluation of claims. The participant will prepare a nutrition recommendation for a patient in the message boards and discuss the recommendation as if discussing with a pet owner.


Tuition: $90 ($81 early bird special if enrolled by May 17,2013).

* 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).
*To ensure participants are ready and prepared for classes, enrollment will close when the maximum number of participants is reached or at 5pm ET the day of the first Real Time Session unless otherwise noted. If the first Real Time Session is on a weekend, course enrollment will close on the Friday before the first Real Time Session.

*For more information on how online CE works, see the Participant Resource Center.

  1. Enrollment qualifications: VIN CE courses are open to VIN member and non-member veterinarians. Veterinarians enrolling in a VSPN CE course must be a VIN member. Veterinary support staff must be a VSPN member to enroll in a VSPN CE or a VIN CE course open to VSPN member enrollment.
  2. Each enrollee must be able to receive emails from and addresses. Email is our major form of communication with participants; personal emails are highly recommended rather than clinic/hospital email addresses.
  3. Each person is individually responsible for his/her own registration. To ensure that all information received is secure and correct, please do not enroll for a course on behalf of another individual.
  4. For further assistance call 1-800-700-INFO (4636) or email (VIN CE) or (VSPN CE) Please include the course title, your full name, and contact information in your correspondence.
*Note: "This course is approved for 4.5 continuing education credits 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/VIN 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: A complete refund of the paid course price will be issued when your withdrawal request is received prior to the listed start date of the course. If you wish to withdraw after the start date please contact the VIN/VSPN office 1-800-700-INFO (4636) to discuss eligibility for a pro-rated refund.
* Note: To ensure rapid handling of your request for withdrawal, we recommend that you call the VIN/VSPN office at 1-800-700-INFO (4636).

*For more information on VSPN's upcoming CE courses, check the VSPN Course Catalog.

Nanette R. Walker Smith, MEd, RVT, CVT, LVT
VSPN Content Director & CE Coordinator

VSPN CE Services:
1-800-846-0028 or 1-530-756-4881 or direct line to VIN/VSPN from the United Kingdom: 01452226154
Barb Burri (; ext. 764 (New Hampshire)
Charlotte Waack (; ext 193 (Illinois)
Chris Upchurch (; ext 197 (Florida)
Debbie Bess (; ext 178 (Nevada)
Nanette Walker Smith (; ext 187 (Colorado)

800.700.4636  |  |  530.756.4881  |  Fax: 530.756.6035
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