Weekly companion animal news: October 17, 2022

Pet surrenders rise in the Bay Area

San Francisco Bay-area shelter officials say they’re seeing an increase in pet surrenders as owners deal with a rapidly rising cost of living, a pandemic-driven veterinary care shortage and a housing shortage that has led landlords to be more selective, preferring tenants without pets. “Part of it is people not being able to afford vet care,” said Ann Dunn, director of Oakland Animal Shelter. “The bigger issue is the lack of affordable housing. People are often unable to find housing or to find rentals that allow pets.” Dunn added that in Oakland, being “pet-friendly” doesn’t mean a landlord is OK with all pets. Oakland Animal Shelter took in 282 surrendered dogs and 158 cats last year. This year, it had taken in 473 dogs and 328 cats by July, Dunn told The Mercury News.

Spiking veterinary care prices reflect how inflation is affecting services as well as goods

Prices for veterinary services have increased 10% in the past year, according to government data, the biggest spike on record in the last two decades. The rising cost of veterinary services demonstrates how high inflation has spread beyond physical goods and is now affecting services. The trend has stoked fears that inflation is growing more entrenched and that the Federal Reserve will keep raising interest rates at an ever-higher risk of causing a recession, according to The Associated Press. Inflation rose 0.4% in September, a year-over-year rate of 8.2%, the Labor Department reported last week.

Hill’s launches continuing education platform

Hill’s Pet Nutrition recently held its annual Global Symposium, at which it launched a new continuing education platform. Hill’s Veterinary Academy is beginning first in the United States and Canada before expanding globally this month, providing virtual CE opportunities for veterinary teams. Features of the platform include an on-demand webinar library, access to nutrition courses for more in-depth learning, Hill’s Global Symposium content, and a landing page to register for upcoming Hill’s events. In tandem with the symposium, Hill’s also pledged $50,000 to support the Veterinary Hope Foundation.

VIN opens nominations for Veritas Award

The Veterinary Information Network has opened submissions for the 2022 Veritas Award. The award honors individuals “who have ensured facts (supported by data) rose above all else in the face of significant external adversity, to benefit the veterinary profession or public health.” It was launched in 2021 to honor two veterinarians who worked to educate others about the epidemiology of COVID-19 despite personal and professional attacks. Nominations are due November 15.

Petco Love gives one millionth free pet vaccine, commits another million

Petco Love has given its one millionth free pet vaccine and is committing to give another million vaccines through its Vaccinated and Loved initiative. The campaign, launched in 2021, encourages Petco Love animal welfare partners to host free vaccine clinics targeting areas where fatal pet diseases, such as parvovirus in dogs and panleukopenia in cats, are prevalent. In a survey of pet owners attending free clinics, the organization found that despite veterinarian recommendations for periodic vaccinations against these diseases, only 37% of surveyed owners said their pets were previously vaccinated. Forty-two percent said their pet had never seen a private veterinarian.

Despite evidence showing the benefits, most pet owners still aren’t onboard with veterinary dental health

Despite evidence showing the value of brushing pets’ teeth daily, most dog and cat owners don’t do it, research shows. For example, a 2016 marketing survey from Canada found 7% of dog owners brushed their dogs’ teeth daily. Responses to a survey in Sweden asking why owners don’t brush their pets’ teeth included “Wolves do not brush their teeth.” Karolina Enlund, a veterinarian at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Uppsala, found in her research that the biggest misconceptions among dog owners were that diet and chewing on bones helped dental health. Enlund and AVMA President Dr. Lori Teller recommended a guide from the Veterinary Oral Health Council to help pet owners. The Washington Post reports.

Pet parenting style affects dogs’ behavior, study finds

Dogs with owners who have high expectations and are highly responsive to their dog’s behavior and needs are more social, more secure when away from their owners and more persistent problem solvers, according to a new study. “We found that pet parenting style does predict patterns of dog behavior and cognition,” said Monique Udell, an associate professor at Oregon State University and an expert on dog behavior. “This [is] an important finding because it suggests that dog owners who take the time to understand and meet their dog’s needs are more likely to end up with secure, resilient dogs.” The study was published in the journal Animal Cognition.

Colorado State University plans $278 million veterinary school upgrade to support new curriculum

Colorado State University has announced plans for a $278 million upgrade and expansion of its veterinary medicine and education facilities to support an updated DVM program. A financial review is pending, and CSU’s board of governors would still have to approve a financing plan for the project to move forward. The university says its DVM curriculum renewal, planned for full rollout in fall 2026, will educate “day one-ready” veterinarians “with unparalleled medical training as well as robust skills in problem-solving, conflict resolution, decision-making and mental, physical and financial wellbeing.”