Weekly companion animal news: June 19, 2023

Rare tickborne illness identified in Kansas resident

Heartland virus disease, a rare tickborne illness, has been identified in a Crawford County, Kansas, resident by the county health department and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. This is the first case of Heartland in Crawford County and the third case identified in Kansas since the virus’ discovery in northwest Missouri in 2009. To date, there have been more than 50 cases of Heartland diagnosed across areas of the Midwest and southern United States. The virus is transmitted through the bite of an infected Lone Star tick. The Joplin Globe reports.

Idexx announces novel diagnostic test for kidney injury in dogs and cats


Idexx announced the launch of what it says is the first veterinary diagnostic test for detecting kidney injury in cats and dogs. According to a recent survey by the company, as many as one-third of kidney cases seen by veterinarians are related to kidney injury, and a diagnosis can be challenging because of subtle or nonspecific signs. The Idexx Cystatin B Test will be included in test panels assessing renal health, uncovering new clinical insights for an estimated 2 million patient visits annually, according to the company. The tests will be run at Idexx Reference Laboratories beginning later this year in the United States and Canada, with plans to introduce the test in Europe in 2024.

Federal bills would remove barriers for lower-income households with pets

New federal bills aim to prohibit breed restrictions in public housing and provide support for unhoused people with pets to help them find emergency housing with their pets. The Providing for Unhoused People with Pets (PUPP) Act would provide grants to homeless shelters to support residents with pets, authorizing the USDA and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development secretaries to award one-time grants to emergency shelters to acquire, rehabilitate, repurpose, retrofit or construct a property to be used to accommodate unhoused individuals with pets. Additionally, it would fund pet-related operating costs, including basic veterinary and behavioral services. The Pets Belong with Families Act would prohibit public housing agencies from imposing breed-specific restrictions as well as discourage those entities from imposing size and weight restrictions. The ASPCA supports the bills.

New Colorado law limits renters’ pet fees

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis has signed into law House Bill 1068, limiting extra fees for renters who have pets and forbidding restrictions on dog breeds for homeowner’s insurance purposes. The law will limit pet rent to $35 per month or 1.5% of the owner’s monthly rent, whichever is more. Pet deposits will be refundable and limited to $300 beyond the existing security deposit. Landlords will still be able to prohibit pets or impose breed restrictions.

Center for Veterinary Medicine deputy director discusses new antimicrobial rule

Following the FDA’s tightening of regulations around antimicrobial drugs for animals, NPR interviewed William Flynn, deputy director of the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine. The new rule requires all antimicrobial medication for animals, some of which was previously offered over the counter, to be prescribed by a veterinarian. Flynn highlighted the importance of having a veterinarian involved to ensure diseases are appropriately diagnosed, to determine whether antimicrobial therapy is needed and, if so, to determine the appropriate drug. Doing so can help deter the rate at which bacteria may develop drug resistance, he said.

Study aims to identify genetic markers for canine hemangiosarcoma

A study funded by Morris Animal Foundation aims to identify genetic markers that may increase a dog’s susceptibility to hemangiosarcoma, one of the deadliest forms of canine cancer and the most common malignancy diagnosed in the study’s participants. The study, conducted by researchers at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, uses data from the Foundation’s Golden Retriever Lifetime Study, which has tracked the health of more than 3,000 dogs for over a decade. The Foundation has also launched its Hemangiosarcoma Initiative, dedicated to funding research studies focused on the disease.

Pet ‘aquamation’ offers environmentally friendly alternative to cremation

While pet cremation has been common in the United States for decades, it’s also known to release carbon dioxide. Today, pet owners have other options, including “aquamation,” or alkaline hydrolysis, which involves rapidly decomposing a body in a stream of water. It’s considered compact and efficient and generates no direct emissions. Over a 20-hour cycle, alkalized water decomposes all the body’s proteins and fats. The water drains into the local wastewater system. At the end of the cycle, all that is left of the pet are the bones, which an operator removes and pulverizes. Many areas of the United States have dedicated pet aquamation companies with competitive prices, The Atlantic reports.

SoundByte: Simparica Trio from Zoetis

Simparica Trio (sarolaner, moxidectin and pyrantel chewable tablets) from Zoetis is the first all-in-one chewable product that delivers combined protection for dogs from heartworm disease, ticks and fleas, and roundworms and hookworms in a single dose, according to the company. Read more in the SoundByte from Veterinary Advantage.

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