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Frequently asked questions

Explore this section to find answers to common queries about alternative and natural approaches to pet healthcare, helping you make informed decisions for your furry companions.

We teach you how to tap into the power of the 5th vital assessment to provide specific, actionable nutrition recommendations to your patients. We also show you how to have happier clients and how to empower your support staff members improving retention, reduce burnout, and increase talent recruitment if well executed.  Depending on the level of support, we add business training and workflow optimization to get your clinic certified as a “Vital Vet nutrition certified clinic” where we teach you and your selected staff how to structure the nutrition conversations that are already occurring and offer nutrition consulting services within your clinic.

We pair online training modules and access to learning resources with weekly group coaching sessions to optimize learning and help you achieve your goals. The learning and service implementation resources are second to none – we provide; worksheets, assessments, client handouts, discharge templates, diet lists, treat lists, and more.

Dr Conway brings her evidence-based integrative background into the trainings and as a result, provides more options for clients who are interested in non-traditional nutritional options, and also how to communicate with this dedicated and passionate clientele in a manner that does not frustrate the client nor burn out the staff. Simply stated, you will leave the program armed with not only excellent foundational nutritional knowledge but also a wider variety of options for your patients and how to communicate these options with them in a manner that increases compliance.

Yes both healthy and sick pets alike can benefit from a nutrition consult!

Nutrition for Healthy pets

  • Good nutrition is a cornerstone of wellness. Consulting a veterinary nutritionist is a key step in ensuring your pet’s health and longevity. Specific reasons for a nutrition consult for your healthy pet could include:
    • questions about the ideal diet for your otherwise healthy pet given your lifestyle and preferences
    • confusion over information you saw convincingly presented by a social media influencer 
    • Even everyday behaviors, such as sporadic appetite changes, might signal the need to fine-tune your pet’s diet.
  • Did you know that obesity is not only a huge problem in humans but also for pets? Many pets you see on the street or on TV are overweight. Research has shown that reducing your pet’s weight to ideal can help them live longer and is a drug-free way to help control arthritis pain. We know first hand that weight loss plans can be hard! Let us help you!


Nutrition for sick pets:

  • Nutrition can offer first line medication-free treatment  to address various nutrition-related conditions. Conditions* such as arthritis, gastrointestinal issues (vomiting, diarrhea, intermittent appetite), obesity or being overweight, kidney disease, loss of muscle condition score, skin allergies, unintentional weight loss or gain, and urinary crystals can be effectively managed through a carefully tailored nutrition plan provided by a veterinary nutritionist.

An integrative practitioner combines the best of conventional practices with integrative modalities to suite the individual need of the patient to achieve optimal wellness.  Modalities can include; supplements, acupuncture, rehabilitation, and spinal manipulation. The gold standard of medicine is evidence-based medicine which combines the best of relevant scientific research with a Clinician’s clinical judgment and experiences, along with a Patient’s values and needs.

Across the US. most states require us to have what is called a “Valid Client Patient Relationship” (VPCR) to speak to you directly. Since we will not be doing an in person examination which is often a requirement of a VPCR, we have both you and your primary care veterinarian sign a form prior to our consult stating that you understand that Vital Vet is only providing nutrition consultation and you will continue to seek medical care for your pet with your primary care veterinarian.  Access form here. We will also have your vet send over your pet’s medical records

In addition to signing the VCPR form, and filling out a diet history form (found here) we will kidney request you also sign our Expectations and Kindness clause ahead of time. Nutrition functions differently than most other medical services and knowing what to expect alleviates anxiety and sets us all up for success. It may sound silly to request that people are kind, but in our experience with virtual consultations, people often do not treat individuals with the same kindness and respect virtually as they would in person, and we have a strict policy that everyone at Vital Vet is treated with respect and kindness- our patients, clints, staff and Drs alike. We understand that our clients are often reaching out to us under both emotional and financial distress when their pet is sick, and we always endeavor to meet our clients at their truth in ultimate kindness, we do ask that kindness and generosity of assumptions is extended back to us as well. Kindness clause hereVital Vet Nutrition - Evidence Based Medicine

Fantastic question! That is why we are here. There is no quick and easy answer to this question and depends on the needs and preferences of your pet, their medical history, and since you are the caretaker with thumbs, your needs, preferences, and budget factor in as well. Please reach out for a consultation here and be on the lookout for our pet owner nutrition course offerings launching Spring 2024.

Another great question! And it depends.  While homemade diets can be a wonderful option for some pets and households, they are not an ideal option for all pets and clients. To be frank, homemade diets can be expensive and time consuming depending on your perspective and lifestyle. If you are someone who enjoys cooking for yourself, is excellent at following recipes and detailed instructions, and have the means, then a homemade diet may be a great option for you to prepare at home. However, we emphasize the need to follow the diet precisely as a great amount of harm can come from doing a home cooked diet improperly. While we do not believe in unnecessary fear mongering we have treated many patients who have become ill as a result of an improperly formulated homemade diet. Homemade diet plans found on the internet, in books, even created by veterinarians are frequently imbalanced and can pose potential harm. A study published in the American Veterinary Medical Association Journal in 2013 revealed that 95% of 200 online pet food recipes, regardless of the source being veterinarians or non-veterinarians, lacked at least one essential nutrient. Additionally, over 83% of these recipes exhibited multiple nutrient deficiencies.

Chronic nutritional deficiencies can have far-reaching consequences, leading to immune deficiency and diseases affecting the heart, skin, or eyes. Our team is adept at creating personalized plans that cater to your pet’s dietary requirements while accommodating your budget and lifestyle. Schedule a consultation to learn more about homemade diets and if they would be a good fit for you and your pet.

Once again to give you the favorite response of any good medical practitioner… “It depends”. We are absolutely willing to consult with you and learn about why you want to feed raw, and discuss how best to implement it safely in your home with a diet that is both complete and balanced for your pet. A great amount of harm can come from feeding an improperly balanced raw food diet and there are public health risks to consider as well. Raw food diets are not a great option for home’s with immunocompromised  individuals. On the other side of that coin, pet food in all forms poses the risk for bacterial contamination, so one argument could be that no immunocompromised individual should be in charge of feeding the pets and should wash their hands after touching the pet. There are also several Commercial Raw Food Companies that are doing a wonderful job and are safe. At Vital Vet we believe in meeting clients at their truth, so if feeding a raw food diet we would be delighted to review the diet you are feeding and share ways to improve it while meeting you at your truth.

Vital Vet Nutrition Pet Owner consult FAQ’s and What to Expect from your nutrition appointment:

Good nutrition is a cornerstone for health and can play a critical role in illness recovery. Here at Vital Vet, our veterinary nutrition department headed by Dr Danielle Conway and with a team of Vital Vet Certified Master Nutrition Technicians. We work closely with your pet’s veterinarian(s) to make nutritional recommendations. 

How does this work?:

  • We need to have all of your pet’s medical documents, medical records, current labwork and diet history form at the time of scheduling the appointment as we pre-prepare for our appointments ahead of time.

o   A link to the consult will be emailed to you several days prior to your appointment. The platform is a link and does not require any downloads. Please test the platform and go through any trouble shooting prior to your appointment.

o   Please note that all appointment times will be made in Eastern Time Zone time.

  • During the actual appointment we will discuss options, you can ask questions, and make sure you are comfortable with the plan.
  • Appointments are 30 minutes via Telemedicine using a platform that “feels” more like a regular appointment than a phone call.
  • The appointment and the majority of the follow up will occur with Dr Conway or one of the certified nutrition consultants.
  • Please bring a list of questions with you to the appointment or even keep a “Nutrition Journal: where you can jot down thoughts, notes and questions you may have in order to ensure that we cover all of your questions during the allotted appointment time.

Who do I communicate with?

  • Dr Conway and or a member of the Vital Vet team. Please note that we work as a team, the same way your human practitioners do.
  • Even if you have a Technician appointment (available soon) the plan will always be approved by Dr Conway before being released to you- similar to a human radiologist reading an X-ray before passing the interpretation along to your Dr.
  • If you are requesting a homemade diet, Dr Conway will always be formulating the diet behind the scenes. Think of Dr Conway like the Wizard of Oz, even when you don’t see her, she is always just behind the curtain.

o   Why do we do this?

Dr Conway is only person and this approach helps expand our capacity to help as many patient’s as possible while also providing quality, care. This also keeps our costs to you as low as possible. We believe nutrition information and recommendations should be accessible and are working hard to improve this.    

What is required prior to my appointment? View Client Consult Process Here

  • A completed diet history form
  • Veterinary records within the last 3-6 months
  • Recent lab work for sick patients within the last 3 months (minimum database- complete blood count, serum biochemistry and urine analysis)
  • A signed Veterinary patient client relationship form. We hope the laws will catch up to human medicine but in the time behind in order to speak with you directly without performing a physical exam of your pet, this form is required by most states. It is a simple form that both you and your veterinarian sign stating that Vital Vet is providing nutrition consulting and all other medical care will continue through your primary care veterinarian. 
  • We also ask that you sign an Expectations/ Kindness Clause.
    Nutritional services operate with unique dynamics compared to most other medical services, and understanding what to anticipate helps ease anxiety and promotes successful outcomes. While it might seem straightforward to ask for kindness, our encounters with virtual consultations reveal that people sometimes don’t extend the same level of courtesy and respect virtually as they would in person. At Vital Vet, we uphold a stringent policy ensuring everyone, including our patients, clients, staff, and doctors, are treated with utmost respect and kindness. If you are someone who struggles with a temper, then an in person consult with a nutritionist is going to have the best outcome for all parties involved. Link to a list of nutritionists

What is included with a consult?

  • A 30 minute consultation with Dr Conway or a Master Vital Vet Nutrition Consultant about your pet’s nutritional needs.

What is included with a diet plan?

  • A comprehensive written document with commercial diet options or a homemade recipe.
  • Additional information such as cooking instructions (if appropriate), treat options, and recommended supplements.
  • Up to 20 minutes of follow up questions either via email or phone call with the nutrition technician (questions above and beyond may need to be scheduled as a re check appointment or billed out per time required to answer them)


How does an appointment work?

The initial appointment is approximately 30 minutes in length. During this time, the nutrition team will review your pet’s medical history (provided by your veterinary specialist and regular veterinarian) as well as the Client Diet History Form you completed. This information is essential in creating the best possible recommendations for your pet and is required for the appointment. If we do not receive your diet history form 48 hours prior to the appointment it will need to be rescheduled. 

During the appointment, potential diet options will be discussed. During the appointment you will have the opportunity to present any dietary options and ingredients you are not comfortable using for your pet. If necessary, you may be given “homework” assignments to complete, such as feeding certain human food items to gauge your pet’s willingness to eat them or collecting additional information regarding specific foods, treats and/or supplements being used at home.

Please note changes in ingredients/diets, or food companies you prefer to avoid not discussed during the appointment will incur a fee. You will have the opportunity to address ingredient and diet concerns Both written on the Diet History Form and in person during the appointment. The reason for this as edits to the diet plan with preventable issues are time consuming and repeated adjustments to the plan limits our capacity to assist other patients. Please note – we absolutely will work with you to find a diet your pet will eat- minor adjustment in the beginning are part of the process – we simply ask you disclose all of your and your pet’s preferences ahead of time.  

How and when will I receive the nutritional recommendations?

We will discuss dietary options at the time of the appointment, with what we call a “quick discharge to get you started”. However, written copy of the comprehensive consultation will take time to build and will be emailed to you within 10-15 business days. You will receive this diet plan via email and the veterinary clinic that submitted the referral will receive a copy via fax, or via email if requested.

 Please note that the diet plan release may be delayed while we wait to hear back regarding the results of any “homework” assignments (for example: feeding certain food items to gauge your pet’s willingness to eat them, supplements being used at home, or the results of additional requested labwork).

Can I ask questions after the consult?

Yes absolutely. We ask that you save your questions until you receive your diet pan and read it through thoroughly a few times. Most often answers to the questions we receive can be found right in the diet plan. If you still have questions, please save, and consolidate them. If possible, save your questions for the next scheduled consult time, if not please provide a concise, edited email to us asking your question directly. If your questions require a prolonged explanation, we will ask that you make a follow up appointment to have them addressed. The same way your human medical team would have you schedule an appointment if your concerns could not be addressed expeditiously via phone with the support medial team members.

Much of the follow up communication will be facilitated through the master nutrition consultant under Dr Conway’s guidance.

Why Does it take so long to receive a diet plan? And why are homemade diets so expensive?

Homemade diets are custom made for every patient and are very time consuming. A lot of consideration, math, and behind the scenes research goes into each recommendation. A single diet plan can take >2 hours for the team to complete. Patient’s who are not doing well (losing weight, vomiting, having diarrhea) will be triaged and provided with a temporary plan- a temporary plan is always discussed during the consultation. If you need your diet faster a rush fee can be added for a faster diet turnaround time – please let the team know if you would like this option.

Are re-checks or follow up appointments required?

Re-check appointments are recommended for sick patients and those consuming homemade diets. This will ensure that the diet is and continues to be optimal for your pet. Dr Conway will discuss the need for and recommended frequency of follow up re-check appointments at the time of your initial consult. The cost for additional follow-up appointments is a standard recheck fee. The fee for any follow-up appointments, and any additional fees discussed during that appointment, are due when services are rendered.

Homemade diets can do adrift and the food that ends up in your pet’s bowl can be very different from the initial formula Dr Conway created. Regular recheck to ensure we are all on the same page about how it is bring prepared ensured your pet is receiving optimal nutrition and that unintended deficiencies are not being created due to a term called “diet drift” aka the diet being prepared differently than the way it was formulated. A patient’s nutrition needs are dynamic and constantly evolving, and the best form of medicine is proactive and preventative. So regular rechecks, like regular checks ups ensures your pet is still on the optimal plan and we can quickly course correct and address any subtle issues that arise before they become a greater concern. Since pets can not talk, and because our diagnostics are not always sensitive as we would like, by the time our pets show us a problem, the disease is often very progressed.  For example, by the time kidney disease is evident on routine bloodwork greater than 70% of kidney function has been lost.  

How and when do I pay for services?

Fee for the consultation, and fees related to any written diet plan to be formulated after the consultation, are due at the time of the appointment. We CANNOT begin working on any written diet plan formulations until payment has been received.

Is there a cancellation policy? 

Missed appointments are inconvenient to our current and future patients, deposits will be required shortly for all appointments. Please call us at least 24 hours in advance if you are unable to make your scheduled appointment. Please note we are located in the Eastern Time Zone.

If we do not receive your diet history form and records from your veterinarian 24 hours prior to the appointment we will need to reschedule. As we will be unable to make any meaningful recommendations without knowing your pet’s medical history.


DVM consult: $600 (includes 30 mins of communication)

Homemade diet for family (healthy animals only): add $100 per pet

  • Includes 1 homemade diet recipe (with substitutions where appropriate) and 30 mins of consultation time.
  • Or 2-3 commercial recommendations

o   Please note – Vital vet reserves the right to charge for email and phone time between appointments.

e or has additional questions, they will be billed at a rate of $75/hr tech time and $250/hr DVM time.


DVM recheck: $235

Vital Vet Certified Master Technician appointment options will be available soon.

If requesting diets for multiple pets, each additional pet must have completed pre-appointment information. Fees for additional pets are based on health status and requested ingredient variety.

Who are these “Vital Vet Certified Master Nutrition Technicians”? They are elite veterinary technicians (like human nurses) who have undergraduate degrees and have gone to additional schooling (like nursing school) to provide medical supportive care in a veterinary setting. They have passed exams and certifications to demonstrate their clinical skills and knowledge. They have also been hand selected by Dr Conway for their skills and interest in nutrition and have taken the Vital Vet Nutrition Certification program to demonstrate their nutrition skills. They also either have or are working towards their Veterinary Technician Specialty in Nutrition – a program that requires over 4000 hours (minimum) clinical experience in nutrition, application package, case reports, letters of recommendation and successful passing of a detailed and rigorous technician clinical nutrition exam. In addition some of the Vital Vet Certified Master Nutrition Technicians are also working on a master’s degree in animal nutrition. In short these are highly qualified technicians who have passed The Vital Vet Program, and the academically oriented VTS program and can operate with the knowledge of a physician’s assistant equivalent in the veterinary medical world.

More Questions ?

Email us and we’d happy to get back to you. 

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