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Getting the Pet's Weight Off: Utilizing a Nutritional Advocate

Obesity has reached epidemic proportions in our pets. Managing weight issues in patients can be challenging, but successful management is very rewarding for the healthcare team, and especially the pet. Utilizing veterinary technicians and assistants as nutritional advocates allows for increased focus on the overweight pet to ensure the weight management plan is implemented successfully. In this session, we'll review the nutritional regimen of a weight management program, learn how to incorporate a nutritional advocate in your hospital, provide communication tactics to help pet owners with their obese pets, and identify effective protocols for overweight and obese cats and dogs.


  • Learn key nutrients associated with weight management
  • Learn to advocate for the nutritional needs of the patient
  • Communicate the importance of keeping the pet at an ideal body weight and body condition 

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

kara burns

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. She 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, the tenth recognized specialty for veterinary technicians and has attained her VTS (Nutrition). She teaches nutrition courses around the world on digital platforms and in person. She also is a consultant for the Lafeber Company/Emeraid and is Director of Veterinary Nursing for NAVC Publishing and is editor in chief of Today’s Veterinary NurseKara also works as an independent nutritional consultant.

Kara is a member of many national, international, and state associations and holds positions on numerous boards; AAVN executive board technician liaison; Western Veterinary Conference Technician Education Manager; PrideVMC board Treasurer; Society of Veterinary Medical Ethics Board; and the Pet Nutrition Alliance executive board, just 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.