June News

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Survey: Pet obesity increased in 2017
Pet obesity in the U.S. increased in 2017, affecting 60 percent of cats and 56 percent of dogs, according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) and highlighted by Pet Product News. APOP’s tenth annual survey revealed opinions of pet owners and veterinary professionals on several pet food issues such as the benefits of corn, dry versus canned foods, whether or not pet food has improved and the best sources of pet dietary recommendations. In the October 2017 clinical survey, 56 percent of dogs and 60 percent of cats were classified as overweight (body condition score (BCS) 6-7) or obese (BCS 8-9) by their veterinary healthcare professional. These results indicate an estimated 50.2 million dogs and 56.5 million cats are above healthy weight, based on 2017 pet population projections provided by the American Pet Products Association (APPA). In 2016, APOP found 54 percent of dogs and 59 percent of cats were overweight or obese in the U.S.

AVMA membership surpasses 91,000
Membership for the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) hit a record-high this year, with more than 91,000 veterinarians cited as association members – equating to three out of every four U.S. veterinarians, according to a release. The achievement was announced at AVMA’s board of directors meeting, held in Schaumburg, Ill., Apr. 5-6. The board also announced the results of its recent performance survey, which demonstrated an increase in member satisfaction, with more members recommending the association to veterinary colleagues.

LEUKOCARE enters into license agreement with Boehringer Ingelheim
LEUKOCARE has entered into a license agreement with Boehringer Ingelheim, according to a release. On the basis of this agreement, the animal health business unit of the pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim will have access to LEUKOCARE’s SPS(R) formulation technologies to utilize biological reagents in a new veterinary diagnostics product and to stabilize them. In this context, portable analytical devices support the veterinarian’s decision making directly on site and in a minimum of time without shipment of samples. License and payment terms have not been disclosed by the partners. Rolf-Dieter Günther, Head of Diagnostics at Boehringer Ingelheim, commented, “Thanks to LEUKOCARE’s expertise and its SPS(R) technologies, we have been able to develop a new diagnostic concept in animal health. The diagnostics platform will enable veterinarians to get a quick, easy and safe test to be performed directly at the stable or at the pet owner’s home.”


Mars Petcare acquires
DNA diagnostics company Mars Petcare acquired OptiGen, LLC, a DNA diagnostics company specializing in canine inherited eye disorders, according to a release. Included in the acquisition are exclusive licenses to a portfolio of genetic disease tests patented in the U.S., Australia and many countries in Europe, and an extensive biobank of more than 150,000 samples collected over 20 years representing various canine eye diseases. Moving forward these samples will be used to discover new genetic health markers for dogs.

AAHA, Coffman Organization announce partnership to improve veterinary practice cultures
The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) and management consulting firm, The Coffman Organization (TCO), have announced a collaboration to study and build stronger, healthier workplaces within the veterinary profession, according to a release. The mission-oriented and often emotionally taxing work conducted by veterinary healthcare providers presents unique challenges that can lead to difficult work environments and a multitude of mental health conditions. This partnership represents the next phase of AAHA’s Healthy Workplace Culture Initiative, which aims to improve the health and wellbeing of veterinary professionals and optimize workplace cultures found in animal hospitals. A key component of the initiative is TCO’s revolutionary approach to measuring and building employee engagement in real time. Called the NEXUS Experience™, the program goes beyond standard measurement practices to give managers the data they need to improve workplace culture.

Amazon launches own brand of pet products
According to CNET, Amazon launched its own brand of pet products, called Wag, adding to the internet retailer’s expansive list of private-label brands, which has grown to include diapers, clothing and even mid-century furniture. The Wag brand debuted with dry dog food, with other pet products to be added later. Like some other Amazon private-label brands, Wag products are available to purchase only by Amazon Prime subscribers, who pay an annual fee to free two-day shipping and other benefits, such as access to music, movies and TV shows.

Report: Pet insurance a $1 billion industry
Pet insurance is now a $1 billion industry, according to a new report from the North American Pet Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA) and highlighted by Pet Product News. It represents a market average increase of almost 17 percent yearover- year, according to the 2018 NAPHIA State of the Industry Report (SOI). According to the 2018 report, the pet insurance marketplace also surpassed the $1 billion mark in gross written premium (GWP) by the end of 2017, an increase of 15 percent over 2016. The SOI Report tracks trends based on data gathered independently from member companies.

AVMA, AAVMC establish Veterinary Futures Commission
According to Bovine Veterinarian, a Veterinary Futures Commission has been established by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC). Comprised of thought-leaders from academia, industry, professional practice and other officials, the group will evaluate challenges and opportunities within the veterinary profession, identify priorities guided by societal needs, and develop evidence-based recommendations regarding potential courses of action. “We’re very excited to bring together such a visionary and diverse group of ‘big-picture’ thinkers to participate in these critical discussions,” said Dr. Michael J. Topper, president of the AVMA. “They are just the right folks to participate in the critical strategic discussions we need to be having, asking the right questions, and, when need be, challenging assumptions that might be holding us back.”

J. M. Smucker to acquire Ainsworth Pet Nutrition
According to Reuters, J. M. Smucker Co said it would buy Rachael Ray Dog food maker Ainsworth Pet Nutrition for about $1.9 billion in cash to strengthen its pet food portfolio, and was exploring options for its U.S. baking business, including a sale.

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