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Weekly companion animal news: November 8, 2021

Practice valuations rise in the third quarter of 2021 as more hospitals sell to corporate buyers: Ackerman Group

Veterinary practice valuations continued increasing in the third quarter of the year, and 2021 will likely be “the busiest year yet in terms of the number of hospitals sold,” according to a report by Ackerman Group. The group, which offers consulting services for veterinary practices considering sales to corporate buyers, helped 15 hospital owners close transactions in the third quarter for a total initial valuation of more than $150 million. Ackerman officials expect more than 1,000 hospitals will be sold across the country in 2021. This year will likely be especially busy because many individual hospital owners believe capital gains and other taxes could rise soon. “We have seen individual practice values hit a new peak in valuation at 11x to 19x trailing twelve month EBITDA in Q3 2021,” according to the report. Ackerman recommends owners considering selling their practices in the next three to five years begin thinking about valuation now, so they know how to increase value by the time they sell.

New AVMA ‘State of the Profession’ report looks at economic trends in veterinary employment, education and services


Private practice veterinarians who graduated in 2020 had an average starting salary of $92,704, compared to $76,117 for those in public practice, according to the AVMA’s recently released 2021 “State of the Profession” report. Starting salaries in the private sector were highest for veterinarians who exclusively care for companion animals, at $96,824, while private sector equine veterinarians saw the lowest average starting salary at $58,621. The report, which is free for AVMA members and available to other industry members for purchase, analyzes trends in veterinary employment, education and services. More information is available from the AVMA.

University of Florida can deliver precision radiation therapy to pets with new linear accelerator

A 9-year-old dog is doing well after a month-long round of radiation therapy at the University of Florida, where he was one of the first patients to be treated using UF’s new linear accelerator. According to the university, it’s one of three veterinary colleges in the country to own this technology, which allows the use of “highly targeted radiation” to deliver more precise and faster treatment of tumors in the abdominal cavity or chest. The dog, named Lincoln, was diagnosed with a tumor deep inside his chest that threatened his heart. Doctors were unsure what type of tumor it was, but tumors like this that are found between the lungs are often sensitive to radiation therapy, said Dr. Keijiro Shiomitsu, associate professor of radiation oncology at the college. “At the time of his last treatment on October 15, a cone-beam CT scan revealed that the mass showed shrinkage,” Shiomitsu said. Lincoln’s owner, a physician, noted that this technology is “more advanced than many human hospitals even have” and is precise enough that the therapy can be administered to the tumor without damaging surrounding tissue.

New AAHA guidelines help veterinary teams care for working dogs

A new resource from the American Animal Hospital Association offers guidance for veterinary teams caring for working dogs. According to the association, the “2021 AAHA Working, Assistance and Therapy Dog Guidelines” is the first comprehensive consensus report to guide veterinary teams caring for protection dogs with police, military and security forces; odor and scent detection dogs; service dogs for people with diagnosed disabilities or physical limitations; emotional support dogs; and therapy dogs. The guidelines include things to watch out for when treating each type of dog, including warnings about unintentional consequences of some treatments. The guidelines also include a glossary of terms to help clarify between the different categories of dogs and the services they provide.

The $104 billion pet industry offers opportunities for product developers and entrepreneurs, especially in pet wellness

The nearly $104 billion pet industry has been growing for decades with no sign of slowing down, offering a prime opportunity for small business owners and product developers. The industry has seen a rise in niche and premium products and services, particularly in the pet health and wellness space, Bernhard Schroeder writes in Forbes. Schroeder offers “five insights into which products and trends will continue to drive the pet industry”: the rise of pet supplements, new product development like pet toothpaste and pet wipes, new luxury products, niches like freeze dried dog food, and pet insurance. “If you like large industries that show consistent steady growth with a built-in marketplace and niche innovation is rewarded, then you might more closely examine the pet industry for a possible startup opportunity,” Schroeder says.

Petco opens Reddy SoHo, offering premium products for dogs and their millennial owners

Petco has opened Reddy SoHo in New York City, describing it as the first concept flagship for Reddy, its premium brand for dogs. “First launched in 2018, Reddy quickly became one of Petco’s most popular brands, inspired by millennial urban pet parents looking for high-quality, innovative, functional and sustainably made products for their pets,” according to the announcement. “The brand offers a broad assortment, including apparel, collars, leashes, harnesses, beds, bowls, feeders and travel accessories for everyday adventures.” Insider recently shared photos from the new store.

New York veterinarians must report suspected animal cruelty, and home insurers can’t deny coverage based on the breed of the homeowner’s dog: new laws

Home insurance companies will no longer be allowed to deny or cancel coverage in New York based on the breed of the homeowner’s dog, WKTV reports. The bill, signed recently by Gov. Kathy Hochul, also prohibits insurers from imposing higher premiums for certain policies because they consider the dog breed to be a higher liability risk. Another bill signed by Gov. Hochul requires veterinarians to report suspected animal cruelty to authorities. They could do so confidentially and maintain records on reported incidents.

Heska to acquire Germany-based practice management software maker VetZ

Heska Corporation has entered a definitive agreement to acquire Germany-based VetZ GmbH, a developer of veterinary practice information management software. “Today, Heska enters the PIMS market as a leader with a particularly strong position in our core European market of Germany,” said Heska president and CEO Kevin Wilson. “We will look to immediately incorporate VetZ PIMS into our subscription offerings to our expanding global base of over 7,000 customers.” The acquisition is expected to close in early 2022, according to the announcement.

New SoundByte: Dechra Veterinary Products, Porus One

Porus One reduces uremic toxin production to support kidney health in cats, according to manufacturer Dechra. It’s generally well tolerated, is palatable and can be easily administered once daily at mealtime. More information is in the SoundByte from Veterinary Advantage.