Weekly companion animal news: December 20, 2021

Animal shelters see influx of pets after Midwest tornadoes

Massachusetts animal shelters last week were preparing to receive hundreds of dogs and cats from Kentucky that were displaced by the recent tornadoes, WCVB reports. More than 100 cats were set to arrive in the Greater Boston area Wednesday as animal shelters in Kentucky were overwhelmed by pets. The Kentucky-based Mayfield-Graves County Animal Shelter was working to move strays to other locations as it took in local pets that were displaced or lost in the storms, the Courier-Journal reports. “This is going to be a long, long recovery there,” said Kat Rooks, the Humane Society’s Kentucky initiatives director. “Animals are coming in surrendered by good Samaritans. Animals coming in as strays. (Workers) are going out and assisting search and rescue teams and helping to remove animals from properties that have been devastated. They are already seeing an influx and expect that to continue.” Purina announced it was giving $25,000 to Greater Good Charities to support rescue and relief efforts.

MYOS CORP announces distribution partnership with Midwest Veterinary Supply

MYOS CORP, which makes nutrition products including Fortetropin-based muscle building formula for dogs, has entered a distribution partnership with Midwest Veterinary Supply. This is the fourth partnership the company has entered with a veterinary distributor, signaling strong momentum for its veterinary vertical, according to the announcement. “We remain exceedingly bullish on our vet business,” said MYOS CORP CEO Joe Mannello. “In addition to providing a strong revenue stream, we greatly benefit from working so closely with such respected medical professionals. Our new partnership with Midwest Veterinary Supply will help us reach more vets and, in turn, help more animals.”

Penn Veterinary Supply will distribute VetShipRx, from VitusVet, for clinics to offer same-day product delivery

Penn Veterinary Supply, a distributor of veterinary products and services, is partnering with VitusVet to provide clinics with VetShipRx. The platform from VitusVet allows practices to offer same-day delivery of items off their shelves to clients’ homes. “As the veterinary space continues to evolve, it is more important than ever for veterinarians to adopt technology that streamlines communication, ordering and payment,” said Lita Miller, president of Penn Veterinary Supply. “We are pleased to offer independently owned veterinary hospitals this tool to provide their clients with same-day home delivery, allowing them to compete with online retailers while reclaiming profit in their pharmacies.”

Neogen acquires companion animal genetic testing company

Neogen Corporation has acquired Washington-based Genetic Veterinary Sciences, which conducts genetic testing for companion animals including dogs, cats and birds. Its brands include Paw Print Genetics, Canine HealthCheck, My CatScan and AvianDx. “With the growth in pet parenting globally over the past five years, and particularly as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, this acquisition will further expand the opportunities for our global genomics business,” said Marylinn Munson, Neogen’s vice president of genomics. “As a global leader in animal genomic testing, it is important for Neogen to continue expanding our portfolio of genomic tests and diversify our offerings in agriculture and food production to include enhanced testing for companion animals.”

Chewy plans to offer non-veterinary services like boarding and grooming

Chewy’s entry into non-veterinary services such as boarding, grooming and puppy training is inevitable, the company told shareholders when it reported its third quarter earnings. “While we haven’t made any announcements yet on…non-vet services and international expansion…both remain questions of ‘when’ and not ‘if,’” the company’s shareholder letter said. CEO Sumit Singh said Chewy’s entrance into non-veterinary services is “not a new effort on our part, and it’s a matter of focus and prioritization.” Pet Product News reports.

CBD pet product maker CHOU2 Pharma appoints Compassion-First founder as executive chair

CHOU2 Pharma, a maker of CBD products for pets, announced the appointment of John Payne as executive chairman to help the company grow in 2022. Payne is currently vice chair of the board of directors at National Veterinary Associates and was previously president and CEO of Compassion-First Pet Hospitals, which he founded in 2014 and which merged with NVA in 2020. “As Executive Chairman, Payne will lead efforts to drive CHOU2 Pharma’s nationwide launch, strategically targeting key markets that already have awareness of cannabinoid science,” according to the announcement.

Researchers will use HABRI grant to study whether therapy dogs reduce loneliness for people in the hospital

The Human Animal Bond Research Institute and Pet Partners have awarded a research grant to Virginia Commonwealth University to investigate how therapy dog services can reduce loneliness among patients hospitalized for mental health conditions. The goal of the project is to collect data to determine whether therapy dog visitations can prevent negative outcomes from loneliness in this population. “We know that therapy animals can be beneficial to people in the hospital, but there is a need for more scientific studies to investigate their impact on loneliness, and to fully understand what aspects of those interactions are most effective and for whom,” said Nancy Gee, professor and director of the Center for Human-Animal Interaction at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Cat and dog treats set to reach nearly $10 billion in retail sales this year: Packaged Facts

U.S. retail sales of dog and cat treats will likely reach $9.87 billion this year, after two years of double-digit increases, a new Packaged Facts report says. Sales growth in treats has consistently outpaced the more mature pet food market and pet supplies in general, and this growth accelerated with the pandemic, according to Packaged Facts. “Pet owners spending more time at home with their pets has translated into more opportunities for treat-giving, and an increased focus on health and wellness has resulted in more interest in functional treats,” said Packaged Facts analyst Shannon Brown. Human food trends, like cutting back on “empty calories” and buying alternative protein options, have transferred to the pet treat market. While dog treats make up the bulk of pet treat sales, at 80% of the market share, the biggest growth increases have been seen in cat treats, according to Packaged Facts.