Video & Blog: Dog Flu, Petco Expands, Mars Buys Gene Testing, Pet Food Leads to Human Food Recall

Dog Flu, Petco Expands, Mars Buys Gene Testing, Pet Food Leads to Human Food Recall

Dog flu expands across the United States.

Recent reports of intense flare ups of dog flu in northern Kentucky and southern Ohio, and in Northern and Central California have veterinary professionals on edge. Canine influenza (CIV - H3N8, H3N2) was first identified in Florida in 2004 and has since been documented in nearly every state (46 at time of writing). Veterinary professionals are encouraging dog owners who have their dogs boarded or kenneled, groomed, or visit dog parks and other areas where dogs congregate to have them vaccinated against both strains of canine influenza.

You can keep up to date on the CIV outbreak by visiting Cornell University's Animal Health Diagnostic Center Website. Have you seen an increase in canine influenza in your clinic? If so, what are you doing to prevent further spread? 

Petco expands its in-store veterinary clinics.

Last October, Petco announced it was opening its first in-store veterinary clinic in Aldine, Texas. They just announced they were opening two additional stores, one in California and another in Texas. We've discussed whether or not the future of veterinary practice lies within stores such as Petco, Petsmart, WalMart, and others here on this channel. With Petco's recent expansion, I think we can expect more in-store veterinary clinics in our future.

Mars Petcare buys another pet genetic testing company.

Mars Petcare, owner of approximately 1,700 veterinary clinics in North America under the brands Banfield and VCA, and the fourth largest pet food company, recently announced its acquisition of the Finland-based pet and animal genetic testing company, Genoscoper.

Genoscoper developed a DNA testing technique called "MyDogDNA" that promises to identify heritable defects in animals. Mars Petcare adds this new DNA test to its current Wisdom DNA testing that primarily identifies dog breeds through genetic tests. Mars plans to use this type of DNA testing to identify genetic defects and disease and perhaps even offer personalized nutritional formulations based on a pet's unique DNA in the future.

I'm excited about the possibilities DNA testing has in the medical realm. In the future, I see doctors and veterinarians obtaining a simple cheek swab to identify disease, and determine appropriate antibiotic or antiviral treatments. I see DNA testing also help doctors identify the best lifestyle approaches to extend longevity and quality of life. Finally, I think that DNA holds the key to personalized nutrition. Stay tuned for more exciting advances in the area of DNA test.

Dog food recall leads to human food recall.

Last week, dog food company JustFoodForDogs announced a recall of its food containing green beans due to Listeria contamination. Because JustFoodForDogs only uses human-grade ingredients, they notified their supplier of green beans of the contamination. National Frozen Foods, the supplier of green beans to JustFoodForDogs, conducted their own tests and discovered Listeria. That finding  prompted a nationwide recall of green bean products manufactured by National Frozen Foods.

This is apparently the first case of a pet food recall leading to a human food recall. More importantly, this case illustrates the need for enhanced transparency when it comes to pet food ingredient sourcing. We sometimes see confusing ingredient terms on pet food labels that may make consumers believe that a product is really more (or less) than it actually is. I applaud JustFoodForDogs and the way they've handled this recall.

What do you think? Do we need more transparency and ingredients for pet foods? What do you think about human-grade food ingredients being used in pet foods?

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