Weekly companion animal news: September 6, 2021

Veterinarians will be able to sell products through chewy.com

Chewy is testing a new veterinarian marketplace, which it’s calling Practice Hub, that allows doctors to choose products to list on the retailer’s website, set prices, create preapproved prescriptions and earn revenue when customers place an order in-clinic or through Chewy. Chewy customers can purchase pet medications directly from their veterinarian while shopping on chewy.com, and Chewy fulfills the orders. The service is an extension of Chewy’s Petscription platform, used by 8,000 clinics across the country to review and approve prescriptions, according to the company. According to CEO Sumit Singh, Practice Hub “creates a lucrative flywheel for the veterinarians…and it opens up the marketplace for not only…the veterinarians to participate, but also consumers in a way that will improve compliance.” Singh added that the initial invite-only phase has included independent clinics and a “nationally recognized” veterinary group, with plans to roll out the offering to its 8,000 partner clinics later this year. But AVMA data shows that that’s only about a quarter of U.S. veterinary clinics, according to PYMNTS.com.

CHOU2 Pharma will launch new cannabinoid products at WVC

CHOU2 Pharma is introducing its new line of cannabinoid pet treatment products at this week’s WVC Conference. The company plans to introduce four product formulas at WVC through September 9. “Our goal is to enrich and elevate the pet cannabinoid care space by harnessing the natural healing qualities of hemp cannabinoids through the precision and quality control of advanced scientific practices,” said Alexandra Wakim, CHOU2’s CEO and chief marketing officer. “WVC will be the perfect stage to get our product in the hands of veterinarians and continue our education efforts around cannabinoid supplements for pets.”

National Veterinary Associates makes minority investment in Petabyte

Veterinary hospital network National Veterinary Associates is making a minority investment in Petabyte Technology, a practice management software company. Petabyte will gain access to insights from NVA’s network, and the companies will work together to improve Petabyte’s software. Additionally, according to the announcement, NVA and Petabyte “are inviting other forward-looking veterinary companies to join them as an industry consortium to build next-generation technology for the good of veterinary teams, pets, and pet parents everywhere.”

Drug-resistant hookworms spreading in dogs, scientists warn

Veterinary parasitologists are warning that multidrug-resistant hookworms are spreading in the United States, saying veterinarians should watch for persistent infections, the AVMA reports. The hookworm species showing resistance, Ancylostoma caninum, likely emerged from retired racing Greyhounds and now appears to be spreading within the broader dog population, according to parasite researchers and representatives from the American Association of Veterinary Parasitologists. A rise in hookworm shedding also threatens human health because the larvae can infect people through skin contact. While some drugs have shown promise against these hookworms, they’re not approved by the FDA for use in dogs and could even be dangerous.

Kansas State veterinary researchers look for COVID-19 antiviral treatment

Researchers at Kansas State University’s veterinary college have received a five-year, $3.7 million federal grant to support research on a new treatment for COVID-19. The project aims to complete development of a drug for preclinical studies, leading to a COVID-specific antiviral therapeutic treatment. “There is currently an urgent and unmet need for the discovery and development of antiviral therapeutics for the treatment of SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent of COVID-19,” said lead researcher Kyeong-Ok “KC” Chang, a virologist at the Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine. The grant is from the National Institutes of Health’s Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, according to the announcement in Veterinary Practice News.

Podcast: The science behind the human-animal bond

In the latest “Vet Visit” podcast episode, Zoetis chief medical officer Dr. Mike McFarland speaks with Steve Feldman, president of the Human Animal Bond Research Institute, about the science behind the human-animal bond. From findings on how pets affect brain chemistry and mental health, to benefits for children and veterans, there’s a wealth of information (much of it demonstrated in studies funded by HABRI) to show how pets can help people beyond companionship. McFarland and Feldman discuss how HABRI communicates its findings to the public, how this research could influence public policy, and the benefits for veterinary teams of becoming Human Animal Bond Certified.

Midmark signs on as sponsor of the Not One More Vet suicide prevention campaign

Midmark announced it’s a platinum sponsor of this year’s Not One More Vet Race Around the World. Taking place during September, which is Suicide Prevention Month, the virtual race raises funding for suicide prevention efforts and awareness of suicide and mental health issues in the veterinary profession. According to Not One More Vet, a nonprofit organization, one in six veterinarians consider suicide at some point in their career. Members of Midmark’s team will participate in the race by running, walking or biking to help reach the race’s goal of accumulating 25,000 miles, roughly the circumference of the earth.

Pet industry groups applaud new law that will help veterans with PTSD get service dogs

Pet industry organizations are applauding the recent passage of a law that will fund service dog training for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder. The Human Animal Bond Research Institute noted that it funded “the first pilot study investigating the efficacy of service dogs as a complementary, therapeutic intervention for veterans with PTSD,” according to the announcement. “The results of our research consistently showed that on average, veterans with service dogs had lower PTSD symptom severity,” said Maggie O’Haire, an associate professor at Purdue University who conducted the study with a team at the university. The Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council also supported the law. “By expanding the availability of service dogs to include those with mental illnesses and providing for canine training as part of veteran health programs, we anticipate this law will have a substantial positive impact on the health and well-being of suffering military personnel, and even help mitigate veteran suicides,” said Mike Bober, president and CEO of PIJAC.