Weekly companion animal news for January 13: VMX, veterinary salaries, wildfires

VMX will present State of the Veterinary Profession event January 21

The annual State of the Veterinary Profession event, which brings together leading experts in the fields of veterinary economics, animal health market intelligence, and pet owner and consumer insights, will take place Tuesday, January 21 in Orlando, Florida, during the VMX Conference. The session, which will focus on industry trends and forecasts, is a partnership between Today’s Veterinary Business, Animalytix and the United Veterinary Services Association. (Today’s Veterinary Business is published by NAVC, publisher of Veterinary Advantage and the host of VMX.) The hour and a half presentation is free to VMX attendees who register online. Seating is limited to 300 people.

Elanco Animal Health agrees to divest another medication

Elanco Animal Health has agreed to divest the U.S. rights to Capstar, an oral tablet that kills fleas in dogs and cats, to pet medication company PetIQ, for $95 million in an all-cash deal. The product had 2018 revenue of $28.5 million. The sale puts Elanco closer to gaining regulatory clearance for its previously announced acquisition of Bayer’s global animal health business. The closing of the transaction with PetIQ is contingent on Elanco entering a consent decree with the Federal Trade Commission in connection with the Bayer transaction, as well as other customary closing conditions, according to the announcement. This sale follows closely on the heels of Elanco’s announcement that it will divest Osurnia, a treatment for otitis externa in dogs, to Dechra.

AAHA updates ‘Compensation and Benefits’ guide

The American Animal Hospital Association released the latest version of its “Compensation and Benefits” benchmarking guide, a detailed look at pay and perks for all members of the veterinary practice team, Today’s Veterinary Business reports. The findings were based on surveys returned by more than 600 U.S. clinics, both AAHA-accredited and non-accredited. Results show that the average gross annual compensation for a full-time associate veterinarian was $107,738. A full-time-equivalent associate veterinarian’s average annual production of professional services totaled $499,915, according to AAHA. Forty-seven percent of practices were owned by women. A little more than a third of full-time associate veterinarians were paid only a salary or hourly rate; 43% got salary or hourly compensation plus a percentage of production; and 20% received only a percentage of production.

Merck redesigns online vet manual

Merck announced that its Merck Vet Manual website has been redesigned to better accommodate information searches. Changes to the site include a more prominent search box on the home page, an option to find animal health topics in an alphabetized listing, case studies, clinical calculators, “quick links” to pet health information, and specially featured content. The site also includes a news feed to share breaking stories on animal health. “The Merck Manuals websites provide comprehensive and reliable health information unencumbered by advertising,” Melissa Adams, publisher of the Merck Manuals, said in the announcement. Access to the site is unlimited and free for veterinarians, veterinary technicians and nurses, and veterinary students.

Kindred Biosciences announces half-life extension technology for canine antibodies

Pet biopharmaceutical company Kindred Biosciences announced that it’s developed a technology to extend canine antibody half-life by up to three-fold. Half-life extension technologies can potentially improve therapeutic performance by reducing dosing frequency or the amount of dosing needed, and it can substantially lower the cost of goods and enhance profitability, according to KindredBio. It can also help improve drug efficacy. “Our market research shows that longer intervals between dosing is a critical driver of commercial success,” said KindredBio CEO Richard Chin, who added that “we expect longer-lasting therapeutics and improved convenience to accelerate the shift to antibody-focused veterinary medicine.”

Jorgensen Laboratories to distribute Kerecis skin graft products in the veterinary market

Veterinary equipment manufacturer Jorgensen Laboratories and Iceland-based developer Kerecis have agreed on the distribution by Jorgensen of Kerecis’ Omega3 cod fish skin graft product in the veterinary market. The Kerecis products are U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved for treatment of chronic wounds and burns and can be used in all species, according to the announcement. The graft material, made from fish skin, has been successfully used in U.S. and European hospitals on many human patients, Jorgensen said.

Paul Casady joins Brakke Consulting

Animal health consulting firm Brakke announced that industry expert Paul Casady will join its team of consultants. Casady, who has been described as a “thoroughbred in the animal health industry,” brings 35 years of experience to the new role, including senior positions at Merck and Merial (now part of Boehringer Ingelheim), as well as international animal health work, according to the announcement. He’s also had significant experience in mergers and acquisitions, strategic planning and execution, operation effectiveness, and leadership and executive development, said Brakke president Robert Jones. Casady recently retired from Kansas State University, where he held a faculty position as professor and executive in residence.

New state laws could help prevent animal abuse

A proposed Florida law that would require veterinarians to report suspected animal abuse is gaining ground among the state’s lawmakers, according to an announcement published by Today’s Veterinary Practice (also published by NAVC). Known as Allie’s Law, the bill states that licensed veterinarians must report suspected animal cruelty within 48 hours of discovering the suspected behavior. Additionally, veterinary staff, like technicians and other employees, must report suspected abuse to a veterinarian within 24 hours of the discovery. In Kentucky, lawmakers in the new year may consider proposed legislation that would protect veterinarians who report clients for suspected animal abuse, a local Kentucky news station reports. Current state law prohibits vets from violating the confidential doctor-client relationship unless they receive a waiver, court order or subpoena, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association.

The comeback of grain-inclusive pet foods

Pet foods with grains have diminished in popularity with the rise of grain-free diets, but grain-inclusive diets are coming back in style, Kelly Lindenau writes in Pet Business. Consumers are realizing that grains aren’t necessarily bad; rather, some grains are healthier than others. Certain grains are good sources of vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates and fiber, said David Fedorchak, vice president of research and development and procurement at PetGuard, a manufacturer of natural pet foods. According to Bryan Nieman, brand director at pet food maker Fromm Family Foods, manufacturers now are relying on higher-quality grains, like rice, oats, quinoa, rye and barley. Lindenau here shares advice from industry experts about how retailers can help pet owners understand the benefits of grain-inclusive foods.

Australia’s vets treat wildlife injured in fires

A team of veterinary caregivers has entered bushfire zones in Victoria, Australia, to treat injured wildlife affected by fires in the state, SBS News reports. “Many people are asking how they can help affected wildlife,” said Zoos Victoria CEO Dr. Jenny Gray. “At the moment, we are focused on getting veterinary supplies and skilled staff to the bushfire sites.” More than 1,000 people and their pets trapped in Mallacoota were evacuated by a naval ship January 3 after the town was cut off by an out-of-control bushfire. Gray said that across the country’s bushfire-affected areas, as many as 500 million animals, including critically endangered species, have already died in the fires. Meanwhile, a local ABC station in Arizona reports that a veterinarian in the state has started a fundraiser to raise money for veterinarians in Australia to purchase medical supplies to treat injured animals.