Weekly companion animal news: April 5, 2021

Petco launches ‘Whole Health philosophy’ to promote pet well-being

Petco has launched an industry-wide “Whole Health” philosophy, highlighting five interconnected dimensions of pet health: physical health, mental health, social health, home health and accessible health. The program was devised with the goal of improving pet well-being and for each dimension to strengthen the others when addressed as a whole, the company said. As part of the launch, Petco will kick off a three-week Petco Whole Health challenge April 5 to reward pet owners for taking initiative to improve their pets’ overall wellness. The company also said it’s removing traditional rawhide products from store shelves.

Russia registers world’s first COVID-19 vaccine for animals

Russia has registered the world’s first vaccine for animals against COVID-19, its agricultural regulator said, after tests showed it generated antibodies against the virus in dogs, cats, foxes and mink. Mass production of the vaccine, called Carnivac-Cov, can start in April, the regulator Rosselkhoznadzor said. The regulator said the vaccine would be able to protect vulnerable species and thwart viral mutations, Reuters reports. Rosselkhoznadzor said Russian fur farms planned to buy the vaccine, along with businesses in Greece, Poland and Austria.

COVID-19 in stray dog and cat in Brazil indicates stray animals could also be at risk

Researchers found COVID-19 antibodies in a stray cat and dog in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, indicating the potential vulnerability of stray animals to the coronavirus, Forbes reports. The virus has been detected on public surfaces and in the sewage system in large Brazilian cities, which means these environments could be a potential source of infection. Contact with infected animals and humans are also potential sources of infection.

U.S. regulators push toward model pet insurance rules

U.S. insurance regulators are close to creating a legal standard for pet insurance that would address longstanding consumer complaints that insurers rarely pay for their pets’ care, Reuters reports. A National Association of Insurance Commissioners committee was scheduled to meet March 26 to discuss fine-print provisions about several controversial issues. Those issues include determining whether a pet’s condition is “preexisting” and how long customers must wait after buying coverage to file claims. The committee is preparing for NAIC’s national meeting in April, which brings together regulators from all 50 states. Once the committee presents a model pet insurance law for those regulators to approve, state legislatures can then decide whether to adopt the proposed law or create their own versions.

New supplement supports joint health in cats

Lintbells has released a feline version of its YuMove Advance 360 nutritional supplement, formulated to support joint health and the body’s anti-inflammatory process. It’s available exclusively from veterinary channel distributor MWI Animal Health. The new product is made from New Zealand-harvested green-lipped mussels, which Lintbells reported are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Fellow NAVC publication Today’s Veterinary Business has more.

Bill would increase access to service dogs for veterans with PTSD

U.S. senators are uniting in support of a bill that would provide veterans experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder with access to service dogs. The Puppies Assisting Wounded Service Members Act, or PAWS, would establish a three-year program in which the Secretary of Veterans Affairs would provide grants of up to $25,000 per veteran to eligible organizations to pair veterans experiencing PTSD with service dogs. A recent study by the VA found that participants who were given service dogs experienced a reduction in their PTSD symptoms and had fewer suicidal behaviors and ideations. WTXL reports.

Poll finds 10% of older U.S. adults adopted a pet during the pandemic

About 10% of U.S. adults between the ages of 50 and 80 adopted a new pet between March 2020 and January 2021, a new poll from the University of Michigan found. That number was 16% of people aged 50 to 80 with a child under 18 at home and 9% for those with no children at home. Pet ownership was higher among poll participants 50 to 64 years old, women, white respondents, and people who live in single-family detached homes or are employed. Older adults said having a pet helped them enjoy life and reduce stress, gave them a sense of purpose, kept them on a routine and connected them with other people. For dog owners, it helped them be physically active.

New SoundByte: Selarid

Selarid (selamectin) is a topical parasite preventive for cats and dogs offering year-round protection against heartworm and fleas. Its manufacturer, Norbrook, says Selarid is affordable both for clinics and clients. More information is available in the SoundByte from Veterinary Advantage.