Notebook: October 2021

News briefs from across the industry and beyond. This month’s articles include: Trupanion $4 million donation; Sleep better with pets; AVMA presidential election results; Pets make people better parents; APPA pet food survey; Texas Dalmatian gives birth to 16 puppies; National Veterinary Charitable Care Grant Program; FDA changes Microbials legislation; NAVTA endorses AAVSB revised model scope of practice for veterinary technicians.

National Veterinary Charitable Care Grant Program Provides Assistance to Members

The American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMF) National Veterinary Charitable Care Grant Program provides American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) member veterinary practitioners with a program to offer low- or no-cost necessary veterinary services to the animals of clients facing personal hardships due to COVID-19 or domestic violence.

Applicants will be reimbursed in full or in part for the cost of treatment using expense codes contained in the online application form. For requests related to COVID-19, there is a reimbursement cap of $500.

For requests related to domestic violence, no cap is currently in place. The AVMF reports that the program offers a solution that helps ensure that animals get the care they need and avoids forcing families to choose between financial stability and the health of their pets. The program also impacts the positive wellbeing for the veterinary community by allowing AVMA members to continue to provide high-quality veterinary medical care, regardless of an owner’s ability to pay.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Practice must be a current AVMA member.
  • Request for reimbursement must benefit those experiencing financial hardship due to either COVID-19 or domestic violence.

Bedtime with a Pet May Help Kids Sleep

NB2.jpgNew research from Concordia University in Montreal found that preteens and teens that share a bed with their pet reported higher subjective sleep quality than those who didn’t. The findings were recently published in Sleep Health, journal of the National Sleep Foundation.

An estimated 30–50% of children and adults regularly share their beds with pets and up to 75% of households with kids have pets according to the study, which included one hundred eighty-eight 11- to 17-year-olds and their parents. Both kids and parents answered questions about the kids’ sleep quality.

The kids did an in-home sleep study with a sleep diary, where they recorded when they went to bed, how long they slept, how long it took to wake up, and quality of their sleep, including awakenings. Sixty-five percent said they never sleep with a pet, while 17% said they sometimes do and 18% said they often do.

Sleep quality was largely similar for all three groups, with those who shared a bed with their pet often reporting the highest overall subjective sleep quality. Researchers suggested that the reason may be because these kids view their pets as close friends and find their presence comforting.

“It was a pretty rigorous study on kind of a quirky little subject, but the bottom line seemed to be that it didn’t seem to make a difference and kids were happy about having the pets with them,” said Dr. Carol Rosen, a professor emeritus in pediatrics at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland. “Of all the things to worry about, this is probably one less thing to worry about.”

QUOTE OF THE MONTH

“Fall seven times and stand up eight.”

­Japanese proverb


APPA Pet Owners Survey Offers Insights

NB3.jpg The American Pet Products Association (APPA) released its 2021–2022 National Pet Owners Survey, a biennial survey compiling data on pet ownership and purchasing behaviors. This year’s survey accounted for pandemic-era trends and impacts to the pet care industry.

They report that pet ownership has increased in the United States. APPA estimates 70% of households own at least one pet, up from 67% reported in its previous survey. Millennials remain the largest cohort of US pet owners, with 32% owning at least one pet, followed by baby boomers (27%) and Gen X pet owners (24%).

Thirty-five percent of pet owners reported they spent more on pet food, wellness-related products, and other pet supplies over the last 12 months than in previous years. Additionally, 86% of pet owners reported shopping online for pet products, up nearly 20% from the previous year. Roughly 60% of pet owners predominantly shopped for pet care products at brick-and-mortar stores before the pandemic, which dropped to 41% in 2020. Forty-six percent of respondents said they prefer purchasing online and having the products delivered straight to their homes.

With or without the pandemic, consumer preferences for ethically sourced, environmentally friendly products are still on the rise. In this recent study, 51% of pet owners said they are willing to pay more for these kinds of pet care products.

Another pandemic-era trend noted in the survey was an increased amount of time spent at home due to widespread lockdown orders, which led to 14% of respondents acquiring a new pet during the pandemic. The survey reports that 47% brought a new dog into the home and 40% acquired a new cat.

Lastly, the market for pet insurance has nearly doubled among cat owners in the United States. APPA reported pet insurance purchases among both dog and cat owners increased over the last year.


Lori Teller Elected Incoming President of AVMA

CS5.jpgLori Teller, DVM, newly elected incoming president of the AVMA

Lori Teller, DVM, DABVP (canine/feline), CVJ, a clinical associate professor of telehealth at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVMBS), has been elected as the incoming president of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Teller will serve as president-elect for August 2021–2022 and then as president for August 2022– 2023. She will be the AVMA’s first female president to have raised a child while in practice as well as one of two candidates from the first female-only race for the position.

As president-elect, Teller will assist AVMA president José Arce, serve on the board of directors, and be the presiding officer at all house of delegates sessions. Her priorities for the AVMA include increasing support for veterinarians and veterinary support staff to reduce burnout and create a steady job market.

“The veterinary profession continues to grapple with issues around wellbeing,” Teller said. “Veterinary medicine is hard and our issues are serious, but we can still take joy in what we do every day and have fun working together to make things better. I will continue to help the AVMA advance our initiatives to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion in the veterinary profession. This is something that will take time and we must continue to move forward,” she noted. “I will also help the veterinary profession adapt to the increasing usage of telemedicine, artificial intelligence and machine learning, and other new technologies so that we can appropriately incorporate these things into our patient care and remain on the cutting edge.”


NAVTA Endorses AAVSB Revised Model Scope of Practice for Veterinary Technicians

The National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA) recently endorsed the Model Scope of Practice for Veterinary Technicians (MSPVT) released by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB).

“The MSPVT delineates healthcare tasks that may be performed by veterinary technicians or veterinary technologists and assigns levels of supervision required—Immediate, Direct, Indirect— for each of those tasks,” said NAVTA President Ed Carlson, CVT, VTS (Nutrition).

Upon review of the final document released by AAVSB, the NAVTA Board unanimously approved supporting it via a public statement and adoption of a board policy. “The NAVTA Board fully endorses this document as a great resource for AAVSB Member Boards to reference when drafting or editing their own state regulations regarding veterinary technicians,” said Carlson.

The full document can be found at aavsb.org.


Pets Make People Better Parents

In a recent survey commissioned by AskVet and conducted by OnePoll, more than 45% of pet owners worry their pets might get sick or hurt, while another 33% worry their pets may be unhappy. While pet owners stated that they trust veterinary professionals the most, they indicated hesitancy to pay for medical bills. Ninety percent of those polled will call their veterinarian when their pet displays odd or unusual behavior, but only 79% schedule an appointment to visit the veterinarian.

One in three people believe that their pet will make them a better parent someday, and 48% of pet owners surveyed think that caring for their animals has made them a more responsible person. Ninety-one percent also say they are interested in managing their pet’s ongoing wellness more holistically and appreciate expert guidance through the journey.


Trupanion Commits over $4 Million to MightyVet

Pet insurance company Trupanion recently committed over 50,000 shares of stock with a market value of more than $4.7 million at press time to veterinary nonprofit MightyVet. The donation coincided with Veterinary Appreciate Day, which Trupanion established in 2015 to honor veterinary professionals.

“With our donation to MightyVet, and our partners across the animal health industry we will be supporting in upcoming campaigns, we want to recognize and contribute to the monumental effort that goes into ensuring veterinary heroes across the globe can access the support and education they need,” said Margi Tooth, co-president of Trupanion in a company release.


CS5.jpg

Texas Veterinary Center Helps Deliver 16 Dalmatian Puppies

A Texas pet owner’s Dalmatian successfully delivered five puppies, and then the owner realized that the dog’s progression of the birth had ceased. She contacted veterinarian Brittni Turner at the Fredericksburg Veterinary Center, who determined that one of the puppies was in a breech position. Local news station KBTX reported that during the subsequent emergency caesarean section, it took some teamwork to help deliver the remaining 12 puppies.

“We used everyone from the receptionist, tech, and even called the owner back to help,” said Turner. “Things were pretty chaotic.” Turner reports that the mother is healthy, and that the puppies were born without complications and have all been adopted.


FDA Wants to Bring More Antimicrobials Under Veterinarian Control

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently finalized guidance for industry (GFI) #263 to outline the process for animal drug sponsors to voluntarily change the approved marketing status of certain medically important antimicrobial drugs from over-the-counter (OTC) to prescription (Rx). The FDA reports that once this change is made, these important drugs can only be used in animals under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian.

GFI #263 is an extension of the successful implementation of GFI #213, under which approximately 96% of medically important antimicrobials used in animals are now under veterinary oversight.

The remaining 4% of medically important antimicrobials currently marketed as OTC products for food-producing and companion animals include other dosage forms, such as injectables. Once the recommendations in GFI #263 have been fully implemented, all dosage forms of medically important antimicrobials approved for use in animals could only be administered under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian, and only when necessary for the treatment, control, or prevention of specific diseases. Although animal owners would still have access to medically important antimicrobials to address animal health issues, they would need to consult their veterinarian to obtain a prescription. For more information, visit FDA.gov.

Photo credits: Sneksy/E+ via Getty Images; Dmitry Kirichay/iStiock via Getty Images Plus; Photo courtesy of Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences; Jasmina007/E+ via Getty Images; Photo courtesy of Fredericksburg Veterinary Center

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