Enhance your veterinary practice

Improve the lives of pets and your relationship with clients

Nutrition is the Cornerstone of Pet Health

There are more pet food options on the market today than ever before. Pet owner’s opinions on what they should or shouldn’t feed their pets can vary wildly. In many instances, decision-making about the best pet food for their dog or cat is based on advertising claims or from product packaging — rather than the recommendation of a trained veterinary expert.

Meet the Experts Behind NAVC’s Pet Nutrition Coach Certification

The NAVC Pet Nutrition Coach Certification program prepares veterinarians and animal hospital staff with the knowledge and tools necessary to communicate and provide expert guidance for clients about their pet’s nutritional needs. Pet nutrition and feeding management are vital aspects of preventive and therapeutic veterinary care, that’s why it’s important that your veterinary healthcare team is the definitive source for pet nutritional information and advice.

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  • Gain heightened understanding of pet nutrition, how it can help you maximize pet health, improve performance, increase longevity and manage disease more effectively.
  • Examine the unique nutritional requirements for a variety of different animals including cats and dogs.
  • Learn to incorporate and conduct a nutritional assessment as part of each routine examination.
  • Make customized and highly informed recommendations that directly address the needs of pets and client preferences.
  • Develop as a communicator to more effectively dispel myths and misinformation around pet food, feeding routines and pet nutrition.
  • Strengthen and develop lifelong relationships with clients as they come to understand that pet nutritional care preserves and lengthens their relationship with their pets and can save them money long-term.

Why Earn Your Pet Nutrition Coach Certification?

  • Create Added Value for Your Practice — The NAVC Pet Nutrition Coach Certification is a credential that adds service and value to your veterinary practice, strengthening credibility and client satisfaction.
  • Improve the Lives of Pets — When looking at the three components that affect the life of an animal – genetics, environment and nutrition – nutrition is the factor that the veterinary healthcare team can impact the most.
  • Develop Stronger Client Relationships — Nutritional coaching proactively improves interactions between the veterinary team and clients. This improved communication creates more opportunities to deliver the best care possible to both pet and client.
  • Stay Current and Connected — Proper nutrition is integral to patient health, disease prevention, and health management. As clients become increasingly aware of the importance of nutrition for their health, they expect a higher standard of nutritional care for their pets.

Certification Details

The NAVC Pet Nutrition Coach Certification program is an online, self-paced training with a final exam for certification. The program  is $199 per person and group discounts are available.

This professional certification program offers 8 hours of RACE-approved continuing education.

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Nicola Ackerman, BSc(Hons), RVN CertSAN, CertVNECC, VTS(Nutrition), HonMBVNA

I work as the Head Medical Nurse at The Veterinary Hospital in Plymouth. I am a past officer of the BVNA and past editor of Veterinary Nursing Journal. I have sat on the Veterinary Products Committee for the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (Government body) for the last eight years. I have written for many veterinary publications and textbooks and am the editor for Aspinall’s Complete Textbook of Veterinary Nursing. I have won some awards, including the BVNA Blue Cross Veterinary Nurse of the Year, CAW Barbara Cooper Professional Development Award for outstanding service to the veterinary nurse profession and an Honorary member of the BVNA.

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

Kara Burns is a licensed veterinary technician with 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 and as a poison specialist dealing with human and animal poisonings.

Kara is the Founder and President of the Academy of Veterinary Nutrition Technicians and has attained her VTS (Nutrition). She teaches nutrition courses around the world, and on the VIN/Veterinary Support Personnel Network and VetMedTeam. Kara is a consultant for the Lafeber Company and Emeraid.  Kara is the Director of Veterinary Nursing for NAVC Publishing as well as the Editor in Chief of Today’s Veterinary Nurse. She also works as an independent nutritional consultant, and is the president of the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA).

She is a member of many national, international, and state associations and holds positions on many boards in the profession: American Academy of Veterinary Nutrition executive board technician liaison; Pride Veterinary Medical Community board treasurer; Society for Veterinary Medical Ethics Board Member; and the Pet Nutrition Alliance executive board, 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 North American Veterinary Conference Technician Speaker of the Year in 2013 and in 2016. She was granted an honorary VTS (Internal Medicine) in 2011. She was also granted an honorary VTS (Dentistry) in 2012.  She is the 2010 NAVTA Veterinary Technician of the Year, as well as the 2011 Dr. Franklin Loew Lecturer.

Ed Carlson, CVT, VTS (Nutrition)

Ed Carlson is the Technician Learning and Development Manager for Ethos Veterinary Health, East Region, and VetBloom. He lectures frequently at local, regional, and national veterinary conferences on a variety of nutrition topics. Ed is the NAVTA Region 1 Representative, and serves on multiple NAVTA committees including the Veterinary Nurse Initiative workgroup. He is also the Vice President of the Massachusetts Veterinary Technician Association, the Treasurer of the New Hampshire Veterinary Technician Association and a member Association of Veterinary Technician Educators.

Martha G. Cline, DVM, Diplomate ACVN

Dr. Martha Cline is a 2010 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine. She completed a small animal rotating internship at Oradell Animal Hospital in Paramus, NJ and then returned to the University of Tennessee for a small animal clinical nutrition residency. She is board certified with the American College of Veterinary Nutrition. In 2013, she joined the staff at Red Bank Veterinary Hospital in Tinton Falls, NJ where she currently practices small animal clinical nutrition full time.

Dr. Cline is the current president of the American Academy of Veterinary Nutrition (AAVN) and has served on their executive board since 2013. She has lectured on topics surrounding veterinary nutrition at national and international
conferences including the American Veterinary Medical Association Convention and the Southern European Veterinary Conference. Dr. Cline has also authored and co-authored several book chapters and peer-reviewed articles in veterinary nutrition. In her spare time, she enjoys running and hiking with her English pointer, Dave.

Ellen Lowery, D.V.M., Ph.D., MBA

Ellen Lowery, D.V.M., Ph.D., MBA, is currently Professor of Practice in animal health at Kansas State University’s Olathe campus.  In this role she serves as major professor and committee member for graduate students, instructs graduate level classes in the Veterinary Biomedical Science Program and designs new academic courses tailored to Greater Kansas City’s animal health industry and regional workforce needs.  In addition to working with graduate students, Ellen provides support for industry-focused special courses, workshops and professional development programs offered to working professionals at animal health companies as a means of elevating workforce development.

Prior to joining K-State Olathe, Ellen was an executive on the U.S. senior leadership team with Hill’s Pet Nutrition responsible for Hill’s strategic partnerships with the veterinary profession.  As director of U.S. Professional and Veterinary Affairs she led the teams responsible for the development and execution of programs for Veterinary Affairs, Academic Affairs, Professional Affairs and Customer Affairs.

Ellen joined Hill’s as a research scientist, where she led a companion animal oral care research program with teams at Kansas State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, the University of Kansas Animal Care Unit and Hill’s Pet Nutrition Center. She progressed through several roles in the commercial organization, including technical and marketing communications manager; veterinary consultation services manager; senior manager in veterinary customer development; and associate director U.S. professional and veterinary affairs.

An advocate for personal leadership and professional development, Ellen was a member of the Hill’s Veterinary Leadership Task Force, co-led the establishment of the Hill’s Women Empowered Network and served as a facilitator for the Fundamentals of Colgate Leadership Course.

Ellen is currently the president of the American Association of Industry Veterinarians, on the board of directors for the Lesbian and Gay Veterinary Medical Association and serves on the Veterinary Oral Health Council.  She has previously served as president of the American Veterinary Dental Society and on numerous other professional boards, including the Kansas Veterinary Medical Association, the Partners for Healthy Pets, the Pet Nutrition Alliance, the Veterinary Innovation Council and the Mark Morris Institute.  She has published numerous scientific articles, was a reviewer for the Journal of Veterinary Dentistry and served as CE editor for the Journal of the National Association of Veterinary Technicians.

Ellen earned her doctorate of veterinary medicine and her doctorate in comparative pathology from Kansas State University. She also has a master of business administration in leadership and marketing from the University of Kansas.

Lance M. Roasa, DVM

Dr. Roasa is a 2008 graduate of Texas A&M where he was the first student to undertake a 4th year business-track, spending the majority of his clinical training in veterinary business and industry. In 2009, he bought a small animal solo-practice in the mountains of Colorado and, in less than 5 years, grew that practice to a 4 veterinarian mixed-animal hospital with 15 employees.

Dr. Roasa and his family then moved to Nebraska and sold the practice in 2013. He completed a law degree from the University of Nebraska which was training is centered on the law of small business, taxation and the law of veterinary medicine.

He is a past president-elect of the American Veterinary Medical Law Association (AVMLA) and is on the board of directors of the Nebraska Veterinary Medical Association. Dr. Roasa also guest lectures in 13 veterinary colleges on the legal aspects of medical recordkeeping, veterinary malpractice and veterinary business as part of the curriculum. He serves as a national co-advisor to the Veterinary Business Management Association and regularly lectures to regional VBMA chapters and the to national association on the topics of growth, business metrics, technology implementation.

Currently, Dr. Roasa is the CEO of Flatwater Veterinary Group, P.C., a group practice that owns and operates several small animal veterinary practices in Nebraska. He is also the primary attorney for the Roasa Law Group, P.C., a law practice dedicated to serving veterinarians in practice transactions, employment contracts and as legal counsel to startup businesses. Dr. Roasa is licensed to practice law and medicine in Nebraska and is married to Abby, who is also a veterinarian.

They have two boys, Ian, age 5 and Sterling, age 2.

Ann Wortinger BIS, LVT, VTS (ECC, SAIM, Nutrition)

Ann is a 1983 graduate of Michigan State University and got her specialty certification in Emergency/ Critical Care in 2000, in Small Animal Internal Medicine in 2008 and in Nutrition in 2013. She has worked in general, emergency, specialty practice, education and management. Ann is active in her state, national and specialty organizations, and served on the organizing committees for Internal Medicine and Nutrition. She is currently an instructor and Academic Advisor for Ashworth College’s Veterinary Technology Program. She has mentored over 20 fellow VTSs and has worked on a variety of committees and positions. Ann has over 50 published articles in various professional magazines as well as book chapters and a book, Nutrition and Disease Management for Veterinary Technicians and Nurses in its second edition in 2016 coauthored with Kara Burns. Ann received the 2009 Service Award for her state association (MAVT), the 2010 Achievement Award for the Academy of Internal Medicine for Veterinary Technicians (AIMVT), and in 2012 received the Jack L. Mara Memorial Lecture Award presented at NAVC.

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