Weekly companion animal news: May 15, 2023

Compensation for new veterinary graduates up, debt down: AVMA

Full-time employment of new veterinary school graduates has reached a 22-year high, according to a new AVMA report. Starting compensation climbed significantly from 2021 to 2022, with overall average compensation for the class of 2022 up 15% from the year before to $93,079. Still, the AVMA notes, given effects of inflation, the increase has only brought the profession back in line with trends seen before the 2008 financial crisis. At the same time, student debt levels have declined since 2020, falling to a point last seen before 2018. Average student loan debt for graduates in 2022 was $147,258, down 6% from 2021.

New Arizona law allows veterinarians to establish VCPR through telemedicine

Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs last week signed into law a bill allowing the state’s veterinarians to establish a veterinarian-client-patient relationship through telemedicine. The bill was supported by the Arizona Humane Society and the Humane Society of Southern Arizona. Supporters say the new law will help pet owners get necessary care for their pets without having to wait for in-person appointments, thus reducing surrenders by preventing problems from escalating.

U.S. pet insurance industry saw a record year in 2022: NAPHIA

The pet insurance industry in the United States and Canada last year generated more than $3.5 billion in combined revenue, up 23.5% from the year before, according to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association. U.S. policyholders spent an all-time high of $3.22 billion, and the number of covered pets in the United States rose to a record 4.85 million. Eighty percent of those pets were dogs. “With more than 5 million pets now insured across North America, it’s clear that more and more pet owners are viewing pet health insurance as an ideal way to ensure their pets are well cared for,” said Kristen Lynch, NAPHIA’s executive director. Fellow NAVC publication Today’s Veterinary Business has more.

Zoetis’ Librela gets FDA approval for canine osteoarthritis treatment

Zoetis announced the FDA has approved Librela (bedinvetmab injection) for the control of pain associated with osteoarthritis in dogs. According to the announcement, Librela is the first and only once-a-month, anti-NGF monoclonal antibody treatment for canine OA pain. It’s approved as safe and effective in providing long-term control of OA pain symptoms in dogs, which can improve their mobility and overall quality of life, according to Zoetis. It’s expected to be available to U.S. veterinarians in late 2023.

AAHA releases guidelines on endocrine disease management in dogs and cats

The American Animal Hospital Association has a new guide on managing endocrine disease in dogs and cats. The guide offers step-by-step plans for the diagnosis, treatment and maintenance of various endocrine diseases such as hypothyroidism and Addison’s disease. “My hope is that veterinarians are able to use this concise resource to remain comfortable with current diagnostic and treatment recommendations for their patients,” said Dr. Renee Rucinsky, co-chair of the AAHA taskforce that created the guidelines.

Dog owners cancel pet food subscriptions from Chewy and Amazon amid rising costs: survey

Pet owners struggling with the rising cost of dog food are canceling pet food subscriptions on Chewy.com, Amazon.com and through meal services, according to a recent survey by Veterinarians.org. Of the 1,000 U.S. pet owners surveyed, 55% percent said they had to cancel pet food subscriptions. Fifty percent indicated they’ve had to shop for cheaper alternatives to pet food due to rising costs. Veterinarians.org recently analyzed price history data for the top 100 Amazon bestsellers in the dry and wet dog food categories. It found the price of dog food has increased 45.5% on average compared to 2020 prices, with wet food showing the biggest jump.

PetSmart Charities launches grant program to support pet care in historically excluded communities

PetSmart Charities announced a new grant program meant to support pet care in historically excluded communities. The program includes several phases. The first set of grants has been awarded to 10 Latino communities “to help inform and co-create programs and solutions that address each area’s unique needs,” according to the announcement. “Grantees will host listening sessions and other engagements to understand needs and which barriers are the greatest to accessing vet care in each community, including financial, language, proximity and other issues.”

PetPartners launches employer group pet insurance offering

PetPartners has launched OnePack Plan, an employer-based group pet insurance offering. “Unlike individual pet insurance plans sold through employers, OnePack works like other annual group benefits, meaning the employer is the master policyholder with a single rate for all participants,” according to the announcement. “The plan offers coverage for cats and dogs, provides the option of accident or accident and illness coverage, and allows employers to contribute to premiums and more.”