Weekly companion animal news: February 5, 2024

Nearly 35% of dogs and cats globally are homeless: Mars

Nearly 35% of cats and dogs globally are either living on the streets or in a shelter awaiting adoption, according to a report from Mars, which released the report on pet homelessness in partnership with a global coalition of animal welfare experts. The project researched 20 countries to better understand the scale of pet homelessness and factors that contribute to pets being on the streets or in shelters. There are 143 million dogs living on the street and 12 million dogs in shelters, according to the report. Similarly, 203 million cats are living on the street and 4 million cats are in shelters. Globally, around 15% of pet owners are considering giving up their pet in the next 12 months, primarily due to health and fitness challenges that prevent them from being able to care for a pet.

Michigan survey finds no new pathogen in cases of canine respiratory illness


A survey that studied cases of canine respiratory disease across Michigan found no new pathogen or infectious cause, the state reported. The Canine Respiratory Illness Survey sought a more complete understanding of the cases of canine respiratory disease reported by veterinarians, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development officials said in a news release. The department said testing of the disease at state and national levels has not shown the presence of a novel pathogen or a single infectious cause among the cases. Testing is ongoing, it said. The Detroit News has more.

Montana veterinary hospital sees positive results from new canine parvovirus treatment

A first-of-its-kind treatment targeted at the canine parvovirus is available in Billings, Montana, and one veterinary clinic using the antibody has seen positive results. “It is relatively new to the market,” said Dr. Sadie Peters of Best Friends Animal Hospital, which began using the USDA-approved parvo treatment this summer. “It’s a monoclonal antibody. It incites an immune response in the animal’s body and creates antibodies to protect them against the virus.” Peters told KTVQ that it’s been a great option in many cases for puppies exposed to, or testing positive, for parvo. “Treatment is based on weight. We have seen really great results from it. We haven’t had any that haven’t responded positively.” According to Peters, hospitalizations are sometimes cut in half.

WSAVA publishes professional wellness guidelines

The World Small Animal Veterinary Association published its Global Guidelines on Professional Wellness online in the Journal of Small Animal Practice following a global survey to define the extent of mental health challenges facing the global veterinary community. The results indicated that mental health challenges, including stress and diminished well-being, affect large portions of the global veterinary profession, including individuals and entire veterinary teams. The findings also indicated that the most seriously affected individuals appear to be women, younger professionals and veterinary technicians. “Numerous studies, including a survey of WSAVA members in 2018, confirm that the veterinary profession is challenged by problems with staff retention and low morale as a result of factors including burnout, stress and compassion fatigue,” said Dr. Nienke Endenburg, co-chair of the WSAVA’s Professional Wellness Group. The AVMA reports.

Researchers identify probiotics that could help dogs lose weight

Researchers at Seoul National University in Korea have identified two strains of probiotics that appeared to help obese canines lose weight, HealthDay reports. The researchers examined differences in the gut microbiomes of young and old dogs and found that old dogs experience a decline in the population of two species of lactic acid bacteria. To see whether these bacteria play a role in canine obesity, the researchers administered them to a group of beagles, then put the dogs on a high-fat diet. Despite the diet, the beagles experienced a drop in both weight and body fat, accompanied by an increase in their energy metabolism.

Cat owners say they’re willing to feed their pets insect-based diets: survey

Insect-based ingredients in cat foods seem to have several positive aspects: Lifecycle assessments of insect farms suggest arthropod agriculture requires fewer natural resources and produces less pollution than mammal and avian livestock. In feeding trials with cats, diets made with insect-based ingredients had similar palatability and digestibility to kibble containing conventional pet food protein and oil sources. Knowing that cats instinctively dine on insects may convince pet owners to accept insect-based ingredients in their cat’s food. However, the form of the insect-based ingredients still appears to matter. A team of researchers in Chile surveyed cat owners about insect-based ingredients in their pets’ diets. The majority of respondents were willing to feed insects to their cats but preferred not to see the insects in the food. And they preferred cat treats containing 20% insect meal to pure insect meal or whole insects, Petfood Industry reports.

Kentucky bill would allow for veterinary school at Murray State University

A bill proposed in the Kentucky House of Representatives would clear the path for Murray State University to offer a degree in veterinary medicine, WKMS reports. If the bill passes, it would allow MSU to establish Kentucky’s first veterinary school. Representative Richard Heath of Graves County, the bill’s lead sponsor, said it’s not the first time that a veterinary school has been proposed in the state. “This conversation has been going on since 1950, about having a school of veterinary medicine in the state of Kentucky. And here we are again,” he said. “This time, we’re going to see if we can get it across the finish line.”

SoundByte: TruFel™ Ultra FeLV

Elanco’s TruFel Ultra FeLV vaccine provides young cats necessary protection against feline leukemia virus and offers a more comfortable vaccination experience than other products, according to the company. With quicker administration, reduced potential for adverse reactions, and fewer injections, Elanco says this is the only lower-volume FVRCP+FeLV combination vaccine available. Learn more in the SoundByte from Veterinary Advantage.