Weekly companion animal news: August 1, 2022

Mars develops quality of life assessment for dogs

Researchers from Mars Petcare have developed a quality of life assessment that evaluates dog health and well-being. The assessment is based on a 32-item questionnaire for pet owners to report on their dog’s behaviors and activity. When processed, survey results are meant to provide a multifaceted view of a dog’s health and well-being in areas such as energy level, happiness, mobility, sociability and appetite. Mars provided a study published in Scientific Reports to support the validity of the assessment. The assessment was developed by researchers at Mars subsidiaries Waltham Petcare Science and Banfield Pet Hospital.

Basepaws launches genomic screening tools for veterinary teams

Basepaws (recently acquired by Zoetis) has launched genetic and oral microbiome screening tools for veterinary teams. The tools are meant to help doctors identify health risks sooner and improve health outcomes for cats and dogs. According to the company, the genetic tests screen for 64 feline health markers and more than 210 canine health markers associated with known genetic diseases. The oral microbiome tests analyze more than 600 relevant oral microbes to assess risk for feline dental disease. Basepaws says this information can help veterinarians and pet owners select annual wellness programs, routine diagnostic tests and lifestyle changes based on the individual pet’s genetics. The company is launching exclusively with distributor MWI Animal Health.

New York may ban pet store puppy sales as governor considers bill

New York lawmakers last month passed a bill that would ban the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits in the state’s pet stores. Now, amid intense competing lobbying efforts from animal welfare groups and the pet store industry, Gov. Kathy Hochul has to decide whether to sign the bill and make New York the latest in a growing group of states that are outlawing sales. The bill aims to stop irresponsible practices by commercial breeding facilities. “New York remains one of the largest markets for these commercial facilities, so the bill could have not just an impact here, but across the country,” said Jennie Lintz, puppy mill initiative director at the ASPCA. The bill would still allow people to buy animals directly from breeders. Pet stores say the ban would put them out of business and potentially lead to an underground market of pet sales. Hochul, a Democrat running for her first full term in November, hasn’t publicly shared her thoughts on the bill and her office said it was still reviewing the legislation, according to The New York Times.

San Antonio sees rise in animal neglect calls amid record heat

San Antonio Animal Care Services is reporting a rise in pet neglect complaints related to heat as the city experiences record-high temperatures this summer, KSAT reports. ACS has seen a 26% increase in neglect calls since May, mostly heat-related. Two dogs left outside have died this summer, officials said. “People will have animals outside, sometimes just in the sun without shade is what we see a lot,” said Aimee DeContreras, field operations manager at ACS. According to Rachael Smith, a veterinarian at Animal Hospital San Antonio, even well-intentioned pet owners make mistakes. “Every vet in town has seen dogs burned, paws walking on the cement,” she said. “I had a woman who came in and wanted a necropsy on her dog. Why did he die? The internal body temperature was over 120. He cooked.”

Pet food supplies tighten and prices rise amid ongoing supply chain disruptions and inflation

Pet food inventories are tightening and prices are rising as supply chain disruptions and inflation press the industry, KTRE reports. “From packaging, through processing, onto the shelf, I can’t really tell you a part of that that isn’t challenged or complicated,” said Pet Food Institute President and CEO Dana Brooks. The pandemic has led to supply chain issues, labor and ingredient shortages and price inflation, Brooks said. Pet food inflation in June was up 10.3% over last year due to increased costs for pet food manufacturers, according to the Pet Food Institute, which said ingredient costs have risen 8-20%.

Wedgewood Pharmacy authorized to provide New York veterinarians office-use compounds from Wedgewood Connect

New York State regulatory authorities have issued a license to Wedgewood Connect to offer compounded medications for office use to veterinarians in the state. Wedgewood Connect is an FDA-registered 503B Outsourcing Facility owned by veterinary compounding pharmacy Wedgewood Pharmacy. “Our ability to offer preparations from both a 503B Outsourcing Facility and our traditional state-regulated pharmacies will give our customers in New York a broader range of options designed to meet their specific needs,” said Wedgewood CEO Marcy A. Bliss. Medications compounded by Wedgewood Connect also may be dispensed on a patient-specific basis by Wedgewood Pharmacy’s state-licensed pharmacies.

West Virginia universities say a bachelor’s degree program could help increase the number of veterinary technicians in the state

As West Virginia faces a shortage of registered veterinary technicians, two universities want to establish a bachelor’s degree to train future technicians. West Virginia University and West Virginia State University have most of the curriculum in place to offer a veterinary technician bachelor’s degree with accreditation by the AVMA, said Matthew Wilson, a dean at WVU. “There are a couple of courses that we need to develop, but we are ready to develop those in partnership with West Virginia State University and the Department of Agriculture to meet those needs,” he told state lawmakers. The state has 235 registered veterinary technicians to support its 704 licensed veterinarians, the West Virginia Register-Herald reports.

Butterfly Network’s portable ultrasound will be used in Purdue University’s veterinary program

Purdue University’s College of Veterinary Medicine will begin integrating the Butterfly iQ+ Vet portable ultrasound device into its DVM and veterinary nursing programs. The device will be used in courses such as anatomy and physiology, with students performing ultrasound on models and live animals. “Incorporating this technology early in the curriculum is especially significant because ultrasound is rapidly becoming an integral diagnostic tool for veterinary and human medicine, on par with the stethoscope,” said Susan Mendrysa, an associate professor of basic medical sciences at Purdue who coordinated a grant proposal for the program with the university provost’s office.