Weekly companion animal news: March 13, 2023

Pet insurance prices increase, with potential customer loss ahead

Prices for pet insurance are rising, with some owners paying upwards of 50% more, as a spike in demand for veterinary care fuels higher-than-expected claims, the VIN News Service reports. Trupanion expects its premiums to increase by an average of 15% in the first quarter of 2023, rising to 18% by the end of the year. The company’s president, Margi Tooth, said Trupanion expects to lose customers as a result of the price hikes. “To support the payout ratio that every insurer has, there isn’t anyone out there that wouldn’t be needing to increase their prices now,” she said. “The pricing increases seen in 2022 were unprecedented in terms of the frequency and also the severity.”

Economic euthanasia is a significant contributor to burnout among veterinary professionals, Galaxy Vets survey finds

Burnout in veterinary professionals returned to pre-pandemic levels in 2022, with practice managers, customer service representatives, assistants and technicians reporting the highest burnout rates, according to Galaxy Vets’ 2022 burnout study. Veterinary professionals who felt less financial stability reported higher levels of burnout. Economic euthanasia is a significant contributor to burnout, the survey found.

Pets help their owners’ well-being, according to new survey

About 86% of dog and cat owners said their pets had a positive impact on their well-being, according to the American Psychiatric Association’s Healthy Minds Monthly Poll. Sixty-two percent of fish, bird and turtle owners said their pet had a positive impact on their well-being. Overall, about 88% of all pet owners said their animals were part of the family. Pet owners also shared concerns such as their pet aging or dying, their pet’s health and health-related expenses. Still, “the benefits of pet ownership to many Americans seem to outweigh the stressors,” sad APA CEO and medical director Dr. Saul Levin. HealthDay reports.

Pet groomers face high demand and staff shortages

The pet grooming industry continues to feel pandemic impacts, with providers dealing with increased demand and a shortage of staff. “Every single shop owner I know is struggling to grow their business but can’t because the labor isn’t there, in some cases no matter what the perks are,” said Karen Conell, owner of Wisconsin-based Bark Market. Even inflation hasn’t slowed demand, Pet Product News reports.

How accurate are dog DNA tests?

CBC’s Marketplace wanted to find out how accurate dog DNA tests are. The reporting team recruited two mixed-breed dogs, one purebred dog and a human, and sent their DNA to four dog genetic testing companies: Wisdom Panel, Embark, Accu-metrics and DNA My Dog. Nearly all the results were different, even for the same dog—and the human was identified as multiple canine breeds—despite all the companies claiming nearly 100% accuracy.

AAFCO panel says current guidelines for copper concentrations in dog food are sufficient

Data is insufficient to show that a safe upper limit or maximum tolerance for copper in dog foods should be established, according to a panel convened by the Association of American Feed Control Officials. AAFCO convened the panel in response to a February 2021 article in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association concerning the current AAFCO guidelines for maximum concentrations of copper in foods for normal dogs.

A North Carolina company says it’s developed an inexpensive early detection pet cancer test

Business North Carolina spoke with Chan Namgong, founder of Raleigh-based Animal Cancer Dx, which has developed an early detection pet cancer test. Namgong got the idea for the test after his mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. After seeing discussion of a urine test that could potentially detect cancer in humans, Namgong decided to try a proof-of-concept in the veterinary space. About 30 clinics and hospitals in North Carolina’s Research Triangle use Animal Cancer Dx’s test, as well as two clinics in Knoxville, Tennessee. The retail price of the test is between $99 and $199, Namgong said.

New test launched for rapid detection of periodontal disease in dogs and cats

PDX Biotech has launched a rapid test for active periodontal disease in dogs and cats, promising to deliver results in 10 seconds. The product, OraStripdx, uses a test strip that changes color based on the concentration of thiols in the patient’s oral fluid, according to the company. The product was a finalist at VMX’s Pet Pitch Competition. It was also one of five startups named winners of Purina’s 2023 Pet Care Innovation Prize.