Weekly companion animal news: May 8, 2023

Elanco receives conditional USDA license for canine parvovirus monoclonal antibody treatment

Elanco Animal Health announced the USDA has granted a conditional license for what the company says is the first canine parvovirus monoclonal antibody. According to the announcement, this is the first and only approved therapeutic solution proven to treat canine parvovirus. The virus has a 91% mortality rate without supportive therapy, a process that can involve multi-day hospitalization and high costs for pet owners, according to Elanco. The new therapy is the company’s first monoclonal antibody. The product is expected to begin shipping in the coming weeks, pending individual state approvals.

FDA conditionally approves first drug for anemia in cats with chronic kidney disease

The FDA announced conditional approval of Varenzin-CA1 (molidustat oral suspension), which it says is the first drug for the control of nongenerative anemia associated with chronic kidney disease in cats. Chronic kidney disease requires day-to-day management in cats, and nongenerative anemia is a complication that often contributes to death or euthanasia of affected cats. In cats with nongenerative anemia, the animal’s bone marrow is unable to produce enough red blood cells to replace older or damaged ones. Varenzin-CA1 helps increase production of erythropoietin in the kidney, in turn stimulating bone marrow to produce more red blood cells.

Ukraine veterinarians care for abandoned pets in war zone

CNN spoke with two Ukraine veterinarians who have been caring for abandoned pets since the war broke out. Valentina and Leonid Stoyanov specialized in treating exotic pets before the war. But after the invasion they began working with local police to access homes to rescue dogs and cats. Their clinic is partially underground and surrounded by taller buildings that offer some protection from attacks, but they also have to deal with a lack of electricity. They’ve purchased tons of pet food to distribute to area shelters.

VCA Charities and KONG launch fundraising initiative to help shelter pets

VCA Charities has launched the “Second Chance KONG” grants and fundraising initiative, a partnership with pet toy company KONG. For every $20 donation made at select VCA Animal Hospitals this month, VCA Charities will give the donor, along with a shelter pet, one of KONG’s namesake toys. Donations to VCA Charities will support the organization’s Ready for Rescue grant program, which supports shelters with adoption-readiness efforts and veterinary care and resources.

Delaware bill would give pets special treatment in divorce settlements

The Delaware House has passed a bill that would give special treatment to pets in divorce settlements. The bill would require a family court judge to consider the well-being of the pet as well as which partner has a greater attachment to it when deciding who will continue to care for the animal. Additionally, when one spouse files for divorce, neither spouse would be able to give away, sell or neuter the pet without written consent of both parties. The state Senate has passed related bills, WHYY reports.

New York veterinarians see increasing rates of pets ingesting cannabis

Veterinarians with the Schwarzman Animal Medical Center in New York have seen increasing instances of pets ingesting cannabis in recent years. The hospital saw 138 cases in 2019 and 149 in 2020, followed by a 30% jump to 195 in 2021 and 197 in 2022. The state in 2021 legalized cannabis for recreational use. As marijuana has become more commonplace in everyday life, “I think people are very casual when they dispose of marijuana cigarettes,” said Dr. Carly Fox, a senior veterinarian at Schwarzman. “Also, edibles are way more accessible now.” The Pet Poison Helpline reported a 448% increase in marijuana cases in the past six years, CBS New York reports.

Rowan University receives $30 million gift for New Jersey’s first veterinary school

Rowan University received a $30 million gift as it breaks ground on New Jersey’s first veterinary school. The school will be named the Schreiber School of Veterinary Medicine in honor of the donor, Gerald B. Schreiber. With the veterinary school, Rowan will be one of only two institutions in the country to offer three medical degrees, according to the announcement. Currently, of the 33 veterinary schools in the United States, only five are on the East Coast.

AVMA and MentorVet partner to launch mentorship program for new grads

The AVMA has joined MentorVet to launch MentorVet Connect, a mentorship program that connects early-career veterinarians with trained mentors. The program is meant to complement in-clinic mentorship when available, offering broader connections that span geographic and practice boundaries. It will initially be open to 2023 veterinary graduates as mentees, with plans by the AVMA to expand it over time. Any licensed veterinarian with at least one year of experience can sign up to serve as a mentor. MentorVet Connect will begin pairing mentors and mentees July 1.