Zonas 1-inch: If you have it, hang onto it

The rumors started surfacing a month ago on various social media sites devoted to veterinary staff: Johnson & Johnson’s Zonas-brand 1-inch porous tape, a veterinary hospital staple, was in short supply.

People were having trouble ordering it. Veterinary-supply companies were reporting huge backorders. Some hospitals were hoarding.

Then the rumors turned ugly: Johnson & Johnson (J&J) had discontinued the 1-inch tape.

Or had they? The rumors were impossible to pin down.

NEWStat tried to find out but didn’t have much luck. Repeated phone calls and emails to J&J requesting clarification went unanswered.

Finally, an industry source went out on a limb and confirmed the news about Zonas 1-inch: “Johnson & Johnson has discontinued it.” She said the company put the word out to veterinary-supply companies in late January but made no public announcement. “It’s gone. That’s the only information they gave.”

Sources at other veterinary-supply companies were equally vague, and none wanted to go on record.

One said she thinks J&J stopped making it but couldn’t confirm it, although she did add, after making discreet inquiries, “It isn't sounding good.” A former veterinary technician herself, she keenly understood why hospital staff were upset: “When I was in practice, we wouldn’t have been able to live without 1-inch Zonas, and I don’t know of any alternate brands that people like [quite] as well.”

Lisa Photopoulos, CVT, an operations supervisor at AAHA-accredited Metropolitan Veterinary Associates in Norristown, Pennsylvania, can attest to that. She said her hospital has tried other brands, but “We haven’t found another tape that we like.” She takes some comfort in the news that J&J is still making 1.5-inch tape. “We’re going to use that and just rip it in half lengthwise.”

The reaction of staff at other hospitals is similar, with one employee saying she was “devastated” by the news and “anxiously” looking for a replacement.

Greg Boyer, DVM, owner of AAHA-accredited Animal Medical Center in Jefferson City, Missouri, says he’s shopped around and has “tried a tape smorgasbord.” He says they haven’t decided on a replacement yet, but will also likely go with the 1.5-inch version.

“[It’s] amazing how small differences in products can make such a big difference,” he added. “You don’t realize how much people like something until it is not available.”

Boyer recalls how much he hated it when the maker of another brand of porous tape changed the formula. “[That’s when] we changed to Zonas. No one likes change,” he added.

Boyer then offered one of his favorite quotes: “My employees hate two things: the way we do it now, and change.”

As to how hospitals will react to the confirmation that Zonas 1-inch is no more, the unnamed industry source who used to be a technician isn’t too worried. As she told NEWStat: “The great thing about veterinary medicine is we are resourceful.”

Stay tuned to NEWStat for further porous tape developments . . .

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