Video & Blog: COLD WEATHER PET DEATHS, DOG POOP PUNISHMENT, VIP PETCARE EXPANDS

Welcome back to Off Label Veterinary News. Your source for commentary on animals, medicine, and practice life. We give you the stories you'll be talking about all week.

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Our first story comes to us all the way from Wales. Turns out the Welsh take puppy pooping in public very seriously. A woman in Carmarthen, Wales was recently caught on CCTV allowing her dog to defecate on a public sidewalk. The Carmarthenshire Council wasn't too happy with her, and they posted the video on their Facebook and social media outlets.

Over 30,000 people viewed the pooping pooch footage. Finally, after a friend of the woman in the viral video confronted her, the lady who fouled the sidewalks came clean. The Carmarthenshire council was quick to point out that this behavior was “totally unacceptable.” As a veterinarian, I have serious public healthcare concerns whenever animal feces is left in public places.

This woman will be fined between 100 and 1,000 pounds for not cleaning up after her pooch. What do you think? Is the penalty harsh enough? Should she be made to scrape the sidewalks for months?

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VIP Pet Care announces another installation of its Wellness Centers in a Pet Supplies Plus store in Toledo, Ohio.

Many veterinarians are familiar with VIP Pet Care. It was started over 20 years ago in California and has now grown to over 3000 locations across the United States. Basically, it's a mobile veterinary services provider that contracts with different locations (typically pet supply stores), and their veterinarians perform services such as vaccines, heartworm testing, fecal testing, and so forth.

Recently, VIP Pet Care has shown interest in permanent installations inside stores. They currently have 10 Wellness Centers located throughout the United States. This partnership with Pet Supplies Plus may grant them access to Pet Supplies Plus over 400 locations in 31 states. This will also help VIP Pet Care establish more East Coast locations.

What do you think? Is the future of veterinary care inside pet supply stores? We've seen this strategy executed by PetSmart and Petco. Perhaps Pet Supplies Plus is considering this business plan with VIP Pet Care? Wal-Mart also has their eyes on the veterinary market in their stores. Do you think the future of veterinary practice resides inside a store?

Finally, much of the news this week has been dominated by severe cold that gripped the East Coast of the United States. Along with travel disruptions, icy roads, and closed schools and businesses, we've also seen an alarming number of animals dying in the cold.

I made a video about how cold it gets in the dog house last year. I'd like to thank my friends at The Dodo and others for helping shared the important message of this video.

In the video, I'm decked out in the latest cold weather gear. I lined the floor of the dog house with a thick, high-tech sleeping bag. The dog house I chose was the most popular model sold at Petco (which is designed and marketed for cold weather).

In the video, I'm quick to point out that I'm not referring to livestock, wild animals, or certain breeds that are acclimated to cold weather. The online response has been mixed. It seems many pet owners have no problem leaving pets outside despite dangerously frigid temperatures.

I'm also taking this opportunity to compile stories of animals who are injured or die in cold weather in order to help other animal advocates promote better animal care ordinances and prevent the suffering and deaths.

How do you communicate with your clients about cold weather threats to outdoor pets?