Weekly companion animal news: May 3, 2021

AAHA and GuardianVets launch online telehealth course

A new online course from the American Animal Hospital Association and GuardianVets offers guidance for veterinary professionals to help them implement strong telehealth programs. According to the announcement, the course enables professionals to discuss how virtual care can improve veterinary practice; understand the importance of the veterinarian-client-patient relationship in virtual care; describe the differences between synchronous and asynchronous care; and understand requirements for safety and compliance.

U.S. veterinary practices saw 8.8% revenue growth in 2020, new report shows

U.S. veterinary practices saw an average of 8.8% revenue growth last year, according to a new report from iVET360. New clients accounted for 4% of that growth, according to the report, which is iVET360’s first Veterinary Industry Benchmark Report. It provides operational and financial data from hundreds of small and large practices with analysis from the practice management services company’s analytics team.

U.S. pet industry could nearly triple in size by 2030: report

Morgan Stanley’s housing strategists estimate that the growth trend of U.S. pet ownership more than tripled during the pandemic. “We think the U.S. pet industry has reached an inflection point, taking topline compound annual growth rates to 8%, versus 3% for the last decade,” said Simeon Gutman, an equity analyst covering hardline retail for Morgan Stanley Research. A recent report from Gutman and Morgan Stanley’s survey and data arm looked at how changes in demographics, household formation and consumer behavior could nearly triple the size of the U.S. pet industry, from $118 billion in 2019 to $275 billion in 2030.

App helps identify lost dogs with nose scan

A new app uses nose-scanning smartphone technology to help identify lost dogs by their unique nose prints, campaign reports. The app, called NoseID, was launched by Iams and made by Adam & Eve/DDB. Using the app, pet owners can make a profile for their dog, including nose scans and a physical description, that can then be used to identify the dog if it’s lost. The app was launched in its early “beta” stage April 19, in Nashville, with plans to scale nationwide within a year and eventually expand globally.

New database helps find missing pets using facial recognition

Petco Love has launched a searchable database using facial recognition technology to help reunite lost pets with their families. According to the nonprofit, about 1,000 shelters and rescues across the country will adopt the database, called Petco Love Lost. A recent survey of pet owners found that more than half said they were unsure of all the steps to take or the resources available if they lose or find a pet, while 88% of dog and cat owners said a searchable database would be helpful, according to the announcement.

Grant program helps low-income pet owners access veterinary care

The American Veterinary Medical Foundation has launched a new grant program to help low-income families pay for care for sick and injured pets. The National Veterinary Charitable Care Grant Program offers reimbursement to AVMA member practices that provide services at discounted rates or free of charge. “This program is designed to improve access to care issues, especially as it relates to ongoing financial hardship due to COVID-19 and domestic violence,” said Dr. David Granstrom, AVMF’s assistant director. The program currently has a reimbursement cap of $500 for COVID-related grant requests. No cap is in place for requests related to domestic violence.

Trupanion plans to expand to food and wearables

Pet health insurer Trupanion intends to enter the food and wearable technology markets and expand farther overseas as part of a 60-month strategic plan to become a multifaceted, $1.5 billion-a-year company by 2025, Today’s Veterinary Business reports. The initiatives, announced in a report to shareholders, are meant to “expand the reach of our core Trupanion product globally and begin the growth of new pet care brands in the animal health arena,” the report said. The company also reported that in 2020, it reached a record $502 million in revenue and 862,928 enrolled cats and dogs.

Petco announces new credit card program

Petco has launched a new credit card program, called Petco Pay, in partnership with Alliance Data Systems Corporation and Mastercard. The program, issued by Alliance Data, includes the Petco Pay Mastercard, a co-branded credit card, and the Petco Pay Credit Card, a private label credit card.