The mission of the Academy of Veterinary Nutrition Technicians “is to advance the area of and promote excellence in the discipline of veterinary nutrition.”  Sounds great doesn’t it.  But how advanced is the Academy of Veterinary Nutrition?

I received an email from a Vet Tech, sharing that she was eager to become an accredited Veterinary Nutrition Tech until…until she learned that the nutrition instruction was provided by “Science Diet and Purina”.  She was frustrated that the program was the same old story and she refused to take the program any further.

I sent the Academy of Veterinary Nutrition Technicians the following email…(10/24/11)

“Hello,
I’m Susan Thixton and I operate the website TruthaboutPetFood.com.  A vet tech emailed me sharing that she was interested in becoming a Nutrition Tech, but then she learned the classes are put on by Science Diet and Purina.  So, I’m writing you for more information.

Are the courses a Nutrition Tech takes taught by Purina, Science Diet, Iams/Eukanuba, or Mars Petcare?  If yes, are there non-big pet food options for students to learn from?  What are those options?

How does your association feel about…
1) GM ingredients;
2) by product ingredients;
3) animal fat;
4) animal digest and meat and bone meal;
5) raw foods;
6) home prepared diets.

Any additional information you can provide would be helpful.

Susan Thixton”

And got the following response…(10/26/11)

“Ms. Thixton,

The Academy of Veterinary Nutrition Technicians (AVNT) is the tenth recognized specialty by the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA) for credentialed veterinary technicians. This is a specialty academy for technicians with advanced nutrition skills and knowledge. The AVNT is a specialty academy for credentialed veterinary technicians similar to the American College of Veterinary Nutrition (recognized by the AVMA), which requires advanced education and training for veterinarians to be boarded in nutrition. The AVNT and the ACVN work in collaboration.

There are no ‘classes’ per se, although one requirement is RACE approved continuing education in nutrition. There are a number of ways to meet this requirement, as is explained to potential candidates, and it includes nutrition in all species. No more than 10% can be company specific.

The AVNT is for credentialed technicians with a strong interest in nutrition. Each individual may have differing opinions on your list below. It is not the point of the Academy to make blanket statements about ingredients, specific foods, etc., but rather a veterinary technician specialist in nutrition (VTS – Nutrition) should encompass the ability, knowledge, skill set, and education required to efficiently and effectively assist a veterinarian and/or veterinary nutritionist and be able to competently provide the support required to carry out any prescribed orders regarding the nutritional care, treatment, management, and monitoring of healthy and ill veterinary patients. Additionally, the VTS (Nutrition) should have knowledge and skill relating to anatomy and physiology of disease conditions and healthy pets at any life stage.

Regards,

The Academy of Veterinary Nutrition Technicians Executive Board”

Ok…but my questions were not answered.  So, I sent the following in response…(10/27/11)

“Thank you for your response, however you did not respond to my questions.  If someone there could respond to…
How does your association feel about…
1) GM ingredients;
2) by product ingredients;
3) animal fat;
4) animal digest and meat and bone meal;
5) raw foods;
6) home prepared diets.

Proper nutrition for pets is of the highest concern for myself and most of the followers of my website (including vet techs).  Last year I was invited to speak to veterinary students at Western University of Health Sciences.  This lecture was the other side of the pet food story that most veterinary students are not provided (nor are vet techs).  My point is that if your organization truly has the best interest of pets in mind, I would hope that your organization takes a unbiased look at many commercial pet foods including Rx foods.

I await your response to the questions above.  Thank you.
Susan Thixton”

And guess what?  They have not responded as of today 11/4/11.

My thanks go out to the Vet Tech that cared enough to not participate in Big Pet Food biased education.  Until more question the control that Big Pet Food has over veterinary nutrition, they will continue to feed us the same old story (and feed our pets illegal ingredients, recycled waste, and risky GM ingredients).  Keep asking the tough questions!