Weekly companion animal news: January 17, 2022

FDA approves Solensia, first treatment to control pain in cats with osteoarthritis and first monoclonal antibody drug for animals

The FDA has approved Zoetis’ Solensia, the first treatment for the control of pain associated with osteoarthritis in cats and the first monoclonal antibody new animal drug approved by the FDA for use in any animal species, the agency announced. Frunevetmab, the active ingredient in Solensia, is a cat-specific monoclonal antibody that helps reduce pain. “Treatment options for cats with osteoarthritis are very limited,” said Dr. Steven Solomon, director of the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine. “Advancements in modern veterinary medicine have been instrumental in extending the lives of many animals, including cats. But with longer lives come chronic diseases, such as osteoarthritis.” Solomon added that agency officials hope this approval will lead to research and development of other monoclonal antibody products to treat animal diseases.

Colorado emergency veterinary care network cuts down service due to staff shortages


A Colorado emergency veterinary care network that normally offers 24/7 service will only operate 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. beginning in February. Summit County Veterinary Emergency Group is operated by five local animal hospitals that rotate emergency care responsibilities. But on one recent day, emergency services weren’t available due to a staff shortage, and more days like that are expected to come, Summit Daily reports. Staffing veterinary offices in Summit County has always been difficult, but lately doctors joke that “we don’t know where everybody went,” said Christina Hurley, hospital manager at Farmers Korner Veterinary Hospital, which participates in the emergency care network. Farmers Korner currently only has one veterinarian, and Hurley said that person is unable to work all the on-call emergency shifts in addition to her work for the hospital. Another local veterinarian said that in addition to the reduction in hourly availability, he expects the emergency service will lose about 40% of its days in operation.

Poodle crosses are becoming more popular, and they have lower rates of cancer claims compared to their parent breeds: Nationwide

Poodle-cross dogs are becoming increasingly popular, and they also appear far less likely to have claims for cancer than the breeds used to create them, according to a new analysis from Nationwide. While it’s not necessarily surprising to see the rise in doodle popularity, “the significant difference in the relative rate of cancer claims in purebred Labs, goldens and poodles and their crossbred offspring is definitely a surprise,” said Dr. Jules Benson, Nationwide’s chief veterinary officer. In an analysis of cancer claims from between 2015 and 2021 for 1.61 million dogs, the combined relative risk for parent breeds of goldendoodles to have submitted a cancer claim was four times that of their crossbred offspring. For the parent breeds of Labradoodles, it was 2.6 times.

HABRI and NAVC offer enhanced ‘Human Animal Bond Certified’ course

The Human Animal Bond Research Institute and NAVC have launched an improved Human Animal Bond Certified course for veterinarians, veterinary nurses and veterinary practice managers. The course was first launched in 2018. “With veterinarians and staff in high demand since the pandemic, significant changes have been made to the course, including the addition of new modules on hot topics such as aftercare and access to care,” according to the announcement. The certification will be offered through three eight-hour modules meant to make the course more manageable to complete. Practice certification is also now available.

Covetrus launches cloud-based practice operating system

Covetrus has launched Covetrus Pulse, a cloud-based veterinary operating system. “With Covetrus Pulse, veterinarians will be able to create, renew and approve prescriptions, communicate with clients and coworkers, personalize dashboards, and customize with preferred third-party apps, all from one central operating system to fit their practice’s needs,” according to the announcement. “As veterinary practices face issues related to hiring and retaining staff, we are adapting our products, services and technology so that our veterinarian partners can maximize their productivity and focus their efforts on providing exemplary care to pet patients,” Covetrus CEO Ben Wolin said.

Dechra acquires Laverdia-CA1 canine lymphoma treatment from Anivive Lifesciences

Dechra has acquired the rights to Laverdia-CA1 from Anivive Lifesciences, to begin selling, marketing and supporting its distribution in the United States in the first quarter of 2022. Laverdia-CA1 (verdinexor tablets) was the first oral treatment option for canine lymphoma to be conditionally approved by the FDA, in January 2021. Its oral administration means dog owners following a veterinary prescription can administer it at home. “Dechra’s commercial and veterinary technical teams currently support veterinarians with highly technical drugs, and Laverdia-CA1 is a perfect fit into our product range,” said Mike Eldred, Dechra’s president of North American operations.

Idexx launches enhancements for diagnostics and other products

Idexx Laboratories has launched a series of product enhancements the company says will enable veterinary practices to increase efficiency while managing increasing patient volumes. Enhancements have been made to the Idexx 4Dx Plus Test, the VetConnect PLUS Mobile App, the SediVue Dx Urine Sediment Analyzer and the Catalyst SDMA Test for kidney decline. The company also announced an expanded menu of reference laboratory tests and services, including a collaboration with PetDx to provide the OncoK9 liquid biopsy test to veterinarians in the United States and Canada.

Midmark launches Synthesis Wall-Hung Cabinetry line

Midmark has launched the Synthesis Wall-Hung Cabinetry line for veterinary practices, featuring a variety of base and tall cabinets. According to the company, benefits of the new line include lower mounting height and thinner depth of cabinets to improve access to storage; use of angled shelving to improve visibility of supplies; and wall mounting to create more open floor space. This new product line is meant to complement Midmark’s Synthesis Cabinetry.