Weekly companion animal news: May 22

U.S. pet obesity rates were up in 2022, APOP finds in latest survey

Fifty-nine percent of dogs and 61% of cats in the United States in 2022 were classified as overweight or having obesity, according to a recent survey by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention. These numbers were up from previous surveys conducted in 2018 and 2017. “Obesity in pets is not just a cosmetic issue,” said Dr. Ernie Ward, founder of APOP. “It is a major health issue that can lead to numerous medical conditions such as diabetes, orthopedic diseases, cardiovascular disease and some types of cancer.” Many pet owners don’t recognize their pet’s excess weight or overweight body condition, and only 49% said their veterinary professional discussed their pet’s ideal or healthy body condition yearly, APOP found.

‘No generics’ deals blocked pet owners from cheaper flea and tick treatment, lawsuit alleges

Tevra Brands, a maker of generic flea and tick pet medications, alleges in a new lawsuit that it has lost tens of millions of dollars because Bayer Animal Health conspired to maintain a monopoly over its own treatment, USA Today reports. According to the lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court in Northern California, while Tevra sells its generic topical treatments for cats and dogs on outlets such as its website and Amazon, Bayer prevented the company from reaching pet owners where they’re most likely to shop. This includes big-box stores like PetSmart and Petco and online pet pharmacies like Chewy and PetMed Express. The company says customers have lost out on cheaper prices as a result. Unlike human health care, which is influenced by insurance rules, exclusivity agreements in the pet care market mean many vendors don’t sell competing products.

Mars Veterinary Health donates $1.7 million to Ohio State University’s veterinary college

The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine has received a charitable donation from Mars Veterinary Health for more than $1.7 million. The donation includes funding for two small-animal internship positions per year for five years, one small-animal residency and a commitment to provide seven $25,000 scholarships per year for five years for fourth-year students who have demonstrated an interest in pursuing a small-animal specialty discipline.

Iams and Wisdom Panel partner to offer pet owners personalized food recommendations based on DNA tests

Iams and Wisdom Panel, both owned by Mars, are partnering to offer pet owners personalized pet food recommendations based on DNA tests. Through the partnership, pet owners use information from their Wisdom DNA test in a survey from Iams. The Iams “Food Finder” then provides personalized recommendations for the pet.

A veterinarian discusses how palliative care can help sick pets and their owners

The American Animal Hospital Association spoke with Dr. Lynn Hendrix, an expert in palliative care. Like hospice care, palliative care treats patients with chronic, progressive diseases that can’t be cured. Whereas hospice care typically treats the patient immediately prior to death, palliative care can last months or even years. It focuses on improving the quality of life for an animal and its family as a disease progresses. Right now, palliative care is limited in veterinary medicine by a lack of education for veterinarians and lack of evidence-based studies, Hendrix said. As the field grows, she hopes to have more evidence-based literature to support this type of treatment.

Tips for new veterinary graduates to make feline exams less stressful

Speaking on the Vet Blast podcast, Dr. Matthew McGlasson gave tips to help new veterinary graduates make feline exams less stressful for all involved. “I would recommend anyone starting out as a [veterinarian] definitely become Fear Free certified,” McGlasson said. “I think the information you gain from becoming Fear Free certified is just so important and you can kind of think about things in a different way.” He added that veterinarians can get a cat-friendly certification through the American Association of Feline Practitioners.

Proposed bill would require federal government to study xylazine, doesn’t address scheduling the drug

Lawmakers appear set to pass a bill requiring the federal government to study the effects of xylazine on the illicit drug supply, MedPage Today reports. The House unanimously passed a bill May 11, and a Senate committee passed a companion bill that’s now headed to a full vote. The measure would require the National Institute of Standards and Technology to support research on xylazine and other emerging substances of concern. It doesn’t address scheduling xylazine as a controlled substance.

A Utah startup wants to freeze pets when they die and bring them back to life later

A Utah startup wants to preserve pets when they die with the aim of reviving them sometime in the future. Twenty-four-year-old Kai Micah has received a $100,000 fellowship from billionaire investor Peter Thiel for his startup, Cryopets, which also aims to establish a network of veterinary clinics providing regular checkups and emergency care, Benzinga reports. When a pet dies, Cryopets will store it in a Utah facility at deep-freeze temperatures in the hope it can be brought back to life once science has advanced enough to do so. The company’s waitlist has about 500 dogs, cats, rabbits, hamsters and a monkey.