Weekly companion animal news: February 22, 2021

New surgical spoon could help remove bladder stones in pets

Researchers at the University of Arkansas have created a surgical spoon to remove bladder stones in companion animals. The tool is currently in clinical testing at local veterinary clinics. “For many local veterinarians, the methods available for stone extraction are often limited to the use of a traditional tablespoon, teaspoon or flushing the stones out by inserting a urinary catheter through the urinary tract,” said Davina D’Angelo, a veterinary student who worked on the tool. “Many times, these methods still make it difficult to remove all of the stones, especially the small ones that can be down to a few millimeters in size.” Stones that are left behind can cause infections in animals. The new spoon could prevent that.

More meat and playtime lead to less hunting in cats: study

New research found that cats fed meat-rich diets or allowed extra playtime hunted one-third fewer animals than they did before. The findings “make sense,” said veterinary behaviorist Sharon Crowell-Davis, who didn’t participate in the study. She said hunting is hard-wired into cats’ brains, and play seems to satiate this desire. Meaty foods, meanwhile, may satisfy their craving for “the diet that their ancestors have been eating for thousands of generations.” Still, one wildlife biologist said it’s not certain that cats are killing fewer animals; they may just be bringing fewer home. He said it’s still best to keep cats inside. Science magazine reports.

Pet health insurance education linked to positive outcomes at hospitals: studies

Hospitals showed a 30% revenue increase when they proactively educated clients about pet health insurance, according to studies by Crum & Forster Pet Insurance Group. The studies were conducted at four independently owned, geographically diverse companion animal general medicine veterinary hospitals. In addition to increased revenue, hospitals saw an increase in client annual patient visits, higher client satisfaction and higher compliance. More information is available from Veterinary Advantage.

Boehringer Ingelheim establishes Pawru

Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health announced the creation of Pawru as a separate company within the Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health business. “Pawru will encompass and expand Boehringer Ingelheim’s digital collaborative animal healthcare platform, which has been known as PetPro Connect,” the announcement said. Pet owners experience the service as a mobile app that links them with their veterinarians for telemedicine appointments, prescription refills, messaging, pet health care content and more. Pawru will accelerate the development of Boehringer Ingelheim’s digital portfolio. The company will also consider strategic partners to expand its commercial offerings.

New SoundByte: Sur-Vet Secure from Terumo

Terumo’s Sur-Vet catheter securement adhesive is up to three times stronger than transparent film dressings alone, and provides superior adhesiveness compared to mechanical securement devices, according to the company. This reduces catheter movement and dislodgement, and provides better comfort for patients, according to Terumo. More information is available in the SoundByte from Veterinary Advantage.

Banfield and Appalachian State partner on 4-year online LVT program

Appalachian State University announced a new four-year online degree program for licensed veterinary technician candidates through a partnership with Banfield. The university expects to welcome its first class in fall 2022. According to App State, the program “will combine Bachelor of Science credentials with preparation for veterinary technician licensure,” the result of a multimillion dollar commitment from Banfield. The partnership is part of Banfield’s effort to address a shortage of veterinary professionals. This program is designed to help expand veterinary medical coverage in rural communities. More information is available from fellow NAVC publication Today’s Veterinary Nurse.

Midmark among sponsors of inaugural NAVAS Virtual Symposium

Midmark is among the sponsors of the first Virtual Spring Symposium presented by the North American Veterinary Anesthesia Society. The mission of NAVAS is to advance and improve the safe administration of anesthesia and analgesia to all animals. The virtual event will take place March 5-7. Veterinarians and technicians who register can earn up to 12 hours of continuing education credits in areas of study including cardiovascular function and anesthesia, pain management strategies, and local and regional anesthesia, among other things.

Montana sees first rabbit hemorrhagic disease deaths

Montana has seen its first deaths from rabbit hemorrhagic disease, Montana Public Radio reports. Four dead feral rabbits in Yellowstone County tested positive earlier this month for the virus, according to the Montana Department of Livestock. The highly contagious and fatal disease threatens domestic and wild rabbit populations, as well as hares and pikas. It doesn’t affect humans. “In the conversations that we’ve had with other state animal health officials, they’ve said it has completely decimated these populations of these domestic, feral or wild animals,” said Assistant State Veterinarian Tahnee Szymanski. Szymanski said people who own or work around domestic rabbits should follow biosecurity practices, like thoroughly washing hands before and after handling the animals and avoiding contact with wild rabbits. State wildlife veterinarian Jennifer Ramsay said the loss of rabbits could have an impact on the entire food chain.