Weekly companion animal news: October 31, 2022

High pet product costs are creating a ‘crisis in companion animal welfare’ in Australia, with concerns growing around the world

Pet product costs in Australia rose nearly 12% in the year ended in June, double the rise shoppers are seeing in prices for their own food and drinks, official data shows. Pandemic effects and the war in Ukraine have pushed up prices for food, fuel and other essentials, as well as pet food and other pet products. Animal surrender rates are up, and some shelters have reported dropping adoption rates since last year, said Rebecca Linigen, an animal welfare advocate with Four Paws Australia. “This is a crisis in companion animal welfare for our nation, with real fears that animals will be abandoned on the streets to fend for themselves if they are considered a financial burden,” she said. Pet food prices are up around the world as ingredients become more expensive, the BBC reports.

Nova Scotia SPCA sees more adoptions of older pets thanks to program that pays medical expenses

As more older pets are surrendered to its shelters, the Nova Scotia SPCA is seeing higher uptake of its palliative care program, which encourages adoptions by paying medical expenses for animals with chronic illnesses. The program started in 2009 when a 14-year-old dog was left at the shelter and staff were unsure she’d be adopted. When the organization created a program to cover financial costs, adoptions of older pets grew. “We found that when we had really senior animals with a lot of veterinary care needed, that the best way we could get them into a loving home was through our palliative care program, and it just kind of grew organically from there,” said Sandra Flemming, provincial director of animal care at SPCA Nova Scotia. More older animals are being surrendered now than when the program started in 2009, the CBC reports.

Amazon and eBay remove third-party products used for illegal veterinary procedures in the United Kingdom

The British Veterinary Association is working with Amazon and eBay to crack down on products available on their sites from third-party sellers that are advertised for use in illegal procedures compromising the welfare of dogs and cats. BVA contacted both companies after being made aware of products intended for lamb castration—an illegal procedure in the United Kingdom—being marketed for tail docking of puppies by several sellers across both Amazon and eBay. At least one DIY kit was also discovered being marketed on eBay for the removal of dew claws in kittens. Tail docking of dogs and dew claw removal in kittens are considered mutilations under U.K. law.

Morris Animal Foundation to fund new canine hemangiosarcoma research

Morris Animal Foundation is the recipient of a new funding stream to advance research that could help improve diagnostics and treatments for hemangiosarcoma in dogs. The funding from the Cathie Turner Sunbeam Fund for Hemangiosarcoma Research will support Morris’ Golden Retriever Lifetime Study and its upcoming Hemangiosarcoma Initiative, a multiyear research funding project.

Lincoln Memorial University gets approval to expand veterinary school class size

The AVMA Council on Education has approved the Lincoln Memorial University veterinary college’s request to add a second entering class of 100 students in the spring semester. LMU President Clayton Hess announced plans to admit the first new cohort beginning in January. “Our mission is to serve Appalachia,” said LMU veterinary college dean Dr. Stacy Anderson. “There is a veterinary shortage that is not only impacting Appalachia but also the entire nation….LMU built spaces to accommodate class expansion and engaged hundreds of veterinary practices to train our students in the distributive clinical year. We stand ready to produce more confident, competent, career-ready veterinarians.”

Washington state regulators approve unaccredited veterinary technician training program

Washington state regulators approved a veterinary technician training program that bypasses a national accreditation system, despite efforts by leading veterinary groups to block it, the VIN News Service reports. A practice group in central Washington is sponsoring the three-year program, which will allow graduates to take the Veterinary Technician National Examination and a state licensing test even though it’s not accredited by the Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities or a veterinary medical board. Supporters of the program say it will help address the state’s veterinary workforce shortage. Opponents say it will undermine efforts to create uniform standards for technicians.

Zoetis launches wellbeing initiative for veterinary professionals

Zoetis has launched an initiative meant to help veterinary professionals build a better standard of wellbeing at their practices. The initiative, called Project WAG—Wellbeing and Growth—“provides all veterinary professionals…with easy access to resources and tools designed for self-care to help them set healthy boundaries at work, connect with the community and create more joy in their day-to-day work,” according to the announcement. Resources are available at the initiative’s website, www.ProjectWAG.org.

Group calls on federal government to recognize lack of veterinary care in Alaska’s native communities as a public health issue

The Alaska Federation of Natives is calling on the federal government to recognize a lack of veterinary care in Native communities as a public health issue. The organization at its recent convention adopted a resolution urging federal authorities to make a declaration that could lead to veterinary services being available through the Indian Health Service. The resolution says residents in western and northern Alaska communities “live under constant threat of rabies,” noting Alaska Native children have the highest hospitalization rates from dog bites in the Indian Health Service system. Alaska Public Media reports.