Nutrition Consults


Information for Nutrition Consultations

The purpose of a nutrition consultation with a board certified veterinary nutritionist is to help determine the best feeding options for an animal or groups of animals.

Veterinary nutritionists are available for consultations to help keep animals healthy, prevent disease and to help manage illness with appropriate nutrition. For pets and exotics this can include determining which commercial diet fits your animal’s need or formulation of a complete and balanced home-cooked diet. For large animals, veterinary nutritionists can make recommendations for individual animals or a herd, taking into consideration available feeds and performance goals. Veterinary nutritionists can also make plans for weight loss or weight gain, manage assisted feeding such as tube feedings or intravenous feedings or help determine which dietary supplements, if any, may be appropriate.

When a veterinary nutritionist receives a consultation request they will first review the patient’s records and the goals for the consultation with the client or primary care veterinarian. Most veterinary nutritionists prefer to personally examine the patient in order to perform a physical exam and nutritional assessment. Some will perform consultations over the phone or via e-mail correspondence with the client or primary care veterinarian. The patient’s medical conditions, if present, will be discussed as well as the dietary goals for those conditions. A diet plan will then be made by the veterinary nutritionist which takes those goals into consideration. This plan will likely be provided in a written format for the owner and referring veterinarian.

Nutritionists are available to work with you and your veterinarian to provide nutrition plans as needed. There are two options for you to obtain a nutrition consultation with an ACVN Diplomate.

  1. Find a veterinary nutritionist near you that sees patients and ask your primary veterinarian to provide you a referral to that nutritionists.
  2. Find a veterinary nutritionist that works or will work with your primary veterinarian. This is an option for those animal owners who cannot find a nutritionist nearby to provide dietary recommendations in person.

Many primary care veterinarians will have a working relationship with a veterinary nutritionist and will be able to refer you to one. If that is not the case, you can go to the Diplomate Directory to see a searchable list of board certified veterinary nutritionists, where they are located, and the type of consultations they provide.

Considerable time and education is required to make these recommendations. Therefore there is typically a charge for a consultation. The time spent on a case is used first when the veterinary nutritionist reviews the patient’s health records and makes a determination for the nutritional goals for that case. In addition, there is time and expertise needed for any physical exam and nutritional assessment that is performed. When the record review and/or examination are finished, further time is spent finalizing feeding recommendations and recording them for the owner. Homemade diets may take up to a couple of hours (or more) to formulate and write up the plan. Each veterinary nutritionist and institution have their own set fees which they will communicate with you upon contact.

Once you determine which veterinary nutritionist you would like to work with, contact them and your primary care veterinarian. The primary care veterinarian will need to provide recent records and any lab work results. Typically there is also a nutrition consultation form that you and/or your primary veterinarian will complete and submit to the veterinary nutritionist.