Weekly companion animal news: October 12, 2020

Petco introduces Vital Care wellness plan

Petco is offering a $19-a-month wellness plan in which enrolled dogs will receive unlimited veterinary exams, nail trims and teeth brushings. The program, Vital Care, is being rolled out at Vetco veterinary clinics inside 22 Petco stores and at Petco grooming salons nationwide. Cats qualify for unlimited veterinary exams. The service requires a 12-month commitment, or $228, fellow NAVC publication Today’s Veterinary Business reports.

CloroxPro products receive EPA approval for SARS-CoV-2 kill claim


CloroxPro announced its disinfectants received EPA approval for a kill claim for the new coronavirus. Several CloroxPro products are now officially EPA-registered to kill SARS-CoV-2 with a contact time of one minute or less. According to Clorox, it’s the only company with multiple products approved at a contact time of one minute or less using SARS-CoV-2 testing data. The full list of products eligible for use against COVID-19 is available at CloroxPro.com.

New SoundByte: ProZinc diabetes treatment

Boehringer Ingelheim’s ProZinc (protamine zinc recombinant human insulin), available in 10- and 20-milliliter bottles, is approved for once-a-day diabetes treatment in dogs and twice daily treatment in cats. More information is available in the SoundByte from Veterinary Advantage.

MSD Animal Health announces leadership for newly formed Animal Health Intelligence unit

MSD Animal Health, a division of Merck & Co., announced that veterinarian Jeroen van de Ven will take the lead of MSD Animal Health Intelligence. The newly formed specialized operating unit takes its name from the company’s strategic vision for animal health intelligence and data expertise. The unit encompasses Allflex Livestock Intelligence, Sure Petcare, Biomark and Vaki, including the recent acquisitions of IdentiGen and Quantified Ag. “The new identity of our animal health intelligence operating unit, MSD Animal Health Intelligence, now differentiates us within the industry and clearly embodies how we will be a champion for extending the range of market-leading technology and services for our customers,” said Rick DeLuca, president of MSD Animal Health.

Shelter managers worry about increasing pet surrenders during pandemic

Animal welfare advocates continue to worry about the rising toll of the pandemic on pet owners and their pets. One California dog shelter founder told Today that she’s seen five dogs surrendered due to the pandemic so far, with two more coming soon. This follows an August report from the ASPCA estimating that 4.2 million pets will enter poverty in the next six months as a result of the pandemic, a 21% increase from pre-pandemic estimates. “We are seeing an uptick in intakes due to evictions, intakes due to temporary crises, and intakes due to job losses,” said Kristen Hassen, director of animal services at Pima Animal Care Center in Arizona. The shelter is seeing more intakes due to mental health crises and people needing drug rehab—things she says “don’t become immediately associated with COVID” but appear to be related to the pandemic.

VetCell Therapeutics USA opens enrollment for DentaHeal clinical trial

VetCell Therapeutics USA announced it’s entered the enrollment phase of its DentaHeal clinical trial. The company also announced the first four clinical sites authorized to qualify and treat feline chronic gingivostomatitis patients with its DentaHeal investigational stem cell therapy. VetCell will cover the cost of the product for all enrolled patients. The company plans to cover several major metropolitan areas of the country, with clinical sites being added to the trial regularly. The first four regions are the San Francisco Bay Area, Greater Los Angeles, the Portland Metropolitan Area in Oregon, and Minneapolis-Saint Paul.

American Association of Feline Practitioners launches Cat Friendly Certificate Program

The American Association of Feline Practitioners announced the launch of the Cat Friendly Certificate Program for individuals who provide veterinary care for cats. The new program offers each individual in a veterinary practice an opportunity to earn a certificate demonstrating their feline knowledge, skills and best in-clinic practices in caring for cats. The AAFP is offering three individual certificates: Cat Friendly Veterinarian, Cat Friendly Veterinary Professional and Cat Friendly Veterinary Advocate.

Puppy growth monitoring tool could keep obesity in check, researchers say

A monitoring tool using charts to compare dogs’ growth to a set of standards was found to be a useful way to keep their growth in check, scientists said in a new study. The charts were developed for dogs across five different size categories, based on bodyweight. Researchers from the University of Liverpool, Banfield and other organizations compared the growth curves depicted by this set of standards with the patterns of growth in dogs that were healthy, had abnormal body condition, or had various diseases known to be associated with abnormal growth. They found that dogs that developed obesity by three years of age gained weight faster than the standards predicted, while dogs that became underweight gained weight slower than expected. “The results of this study suggest that these growth charts can identify healthy growth as well as patterns of growth signaling possible health problems,” said coauthor Alex German. “We hope that veterinarians and owners will find these evidence-based growth standards easy to use, helping puppies to keep in shape and starting them on the right path for their adult life.”