Companion News for May 21

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Merck Animal Health names Steve Blank National Sales Leader of its U.S. Companion Animal Business

Merck Animal Health named Steve Blank the National Sales Leader of its Companion Animal business. In this new role, Blank will lead Merck Animal Health’s U.S. field team of companion animal sales representatives and be responsible for revenue acquisition and forecasting, key account management, sales strategies, incentive program design and field effectiveness measures. With more than 20 years of experience in animal health commercial leadership in the U.S. veterinary market, Blank has launched and grown multiple animal health blockbuster brands and directed industry-leading sales forces. Most recently, he served as the executive director of the U.S. pet business for Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health. Prior to that, he was the executive director of U.S. commercial operations for the dairy business of a large animal health agriculture company. He earned an MBA from Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management and bachelor’s degree in agricultural business from Iowa State University.

AVMA and Merck Animal Health partner on certificate program for workplace wellbeing

​The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) unveiled a new Workplace Wellbeing Certificate Program to connect all members of the veterinary team with critical resources for group and individual problem solving centered around creating a culture of wellbeing. The program, made possible by an educational grant from Merck Animal Health, is free to all AVMA and SAVMA members and accessible to all members of the veterinary team. The series of five modules is hosted on AVMA Axon​ and taught by top subject matter experts and leaders in the veterinary industry. The modules can be taken individually or completed as a unit. Participants set their own pace, and may earn up to 4 AVMA continuing education hours through learning modules, quizzes and interactions. The modules include: Creating a Culture of Wellbeing; How to Request, Receive, and Give Feedback Effectively; Transforming Conflict; QPR Assessment; Diversity and Inclusion.

Midmark launches “Illuminate” 2019 Lighting and Sterilizer Promotion
Midmark Corp. recently announced its “Illuminate” 2019 promotion. Now through July 31, 2019, veterinarians and veterinary facilities can receive rebates on select lighting and sterilizers from Midmark. During the “Illuminate” promotion, Midmark will offer rebates on Midmark 255 LED Procedure Lights, 120 and 130 LED Exam Lights, and M9 and M11 Automatic Sterilizers. Important dates:

— Promotion order period: May 1 to July 31, 2019.
— Last date to take shipment of products: Aug. 31, 2019.
— Invoice must be dated: May 1 to July 31, 2019.
— Last date to claim incentives: Sept. 15, 2019.

For more information on the promotion, visit

Veterinary hospital establishes blood bank for pets in North Florida

According to Tallahassee, Florida-based WTXL-TV, The Animal Hospital and Pet Resort at Southwood is starting North Florida’s first emergency canine blood bank. Once a month, they’ll collect blood for animals who are sick and injured. They’re looking for dogs over 50 pounds and indoor cats over 10 pounds. For more, visit

Suburban Chicago pet owners being warned of “zombie raccoons”

According to the Chicago Tribune, the Riverside Police Department is warning pet owners about raccoons carrying the distemper virus, which can cause the infected animals to walk on their hind legs, stagger and bare their teeth — the reason they’re referred to as “zombies.” Distemper is one of the most serious diseases dogs can get and it’s also one of the easiest to prevent, according to the American Kennel Club. Animals who have not had the vaccine are at high risk in the Riverside area after three reports of “zombie raccoons” recently, according to police Chief Tom Weitzel.

Penn Vet and Wharton School create Leading Veterinary Entrepreneurship program

According to AAHA NEWStat, the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine (Penn Vet) and the Wharton School hope to help develop the skills needed to leverage an entrepreneurial spirit through a new veterinary entrepreneurship program. Called Leading Veterinary Entrepreneurship, the program was created for clinicians, scientists, technologists, and academic leaders to build entrepreneurial skills (or hone those you already have) in the areas of public health and environmental sustainability as well as human and animal welfare. “As the world becomes more complex, so does the role of veterinarians. They are uniquely positioned to ask questions with implications for animal, human, and environmental health,” said Andrew Hoffman, DVM, DVSc, who serves as the program’s academic director and Gilbert S. Kahn dean of veterinary medicine at Penn Vet. “And an entrepreneurial mindset is really critical, really central, to tackling challenges such as food and water security, sustainable farming, climate change, and the advancement of animal welfare.”

Scratchpay and Green Dot Bank create bank account to help pet owners

Scratchpay and Green Dot Bank announced a partnership to create a new bank account to help pet owners save for expensive visits to the veterinarian, according to a release. The account, Scratchpay Savings, will be managed by Scratchpay along with its other products. It’s expected to include “set it and forget it” savings plans through the Scratchpay app; a customized debit card that allows access to funds; pet-friendly rewards and incentives; no minimum balance; and no monthly fee.

Petco Foundation and Blue Buffalo announce $15M invested in cancer research since 2010

As part of the national Pet Cancer Awareness campaign in May, the Petco Foundation and Blue Buffalo announced they’ve invested a total of $15 million in pet cancer research and treatment since the annual campaign began in 2010. According to the National Cancer Institute Center for Cancer Research, an estimated 6 million dogs and nearly the same number of cats are impacted by cancer each year.