By: Dr. Whitney Miller, assistant director, AVMA Governmental Relations Division

With time running out on the 113th Congress, the U.S. Senate this week made its final attempt to pass the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act (S. 1406) before it adjourns, but unfortunately, that effort has come up short.


Supported by 60 senators, bill sponsors Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) and Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) sent S. 1406 around for “unanimous consent,” which is a procedural way that the Senate can pass a bill without a full vote by every senator. However, if even one senator objects or decides to hold off on supporting the bill, it stops the bill in its tracks. Unfortunately, that was exactly what happened this week when an anonymous Republican senator placed an indefinite hold on the bill.

This legislation is absolutely necessary to protect the welfare of America’s walking horses and end the inhumane and cruel practice of soring, but it may have just lost its chance to become law this Congress. The PAST Act has overwhelming, bipartisan support in Congress, and it is appalling that the bill, which will do so much to protect horses, will be left unfinished. America’s horses deserve better!


So far this month, we have seen more than 3,000 letters sent to members of Congress through AVMA’s Congressional Advocacy Network in support of this bill. THANK YOU to all of you who have taken a stand for these beautiful creatures! If you have not signed our alert yet, there is still a little time left. Take action NOW. Tell Congress that America’s horses cannot wait!

Aratana Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: PETX), a biopharmaceutical company focused on the licensing, development and commercialization of innovative medications for companion animals, today announced positive results from its pivotal field study of AT-001 (Grapiprant), the company’s innovative drug for treating pain in dogs with osteoarthritis. In the study, dogs receiving AT-001 demonstrated improvements in pain assessment scores that were statistically significant compared to placebo (p<0.05) at a once-daily oral dose. Aratana expects to commence commercialization upon FDA approval, which Aratana anticipates in 2016.

The blinded, placebo-controlled, multi-center dose-ranging study of AT-001 enrolled 280 client-owned dogs with osteoarthritis. Dogs were randomized equally into one group treated with AT-001 and one group treated with placebo. Dogs were dosed for 28 days, and effectiveness was determined by a standard protocol utilizing a validated owner-assessed pain score.

Ernst Heinen, DVM, Ph.D., Head of Drug Evaluation and Development for Aratana Therapeutics, stated, “We are very pleased with these results, which gives us confidence in moving forward towards approval of this novel drug.”

Steven St. Peter, M.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Aratana Therapeutics, added, “We believe AT-001 has the potential to be an important product in the well-established pain market. We look forward to continuing our dialogue with the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine regarding the AT-001 program.”

Aratana will discuss these results in more detail when the final study reports are available.

At Christmas, the chocolate in your advent calendar can prove disastrous for your waistline, but fatal to your pets. But other foods can be equally dangerous, especially nuts and booze, and several ingredients that go to make up your Christmas Dinner and all the trimmings.

John Cousins BVSc, MRCVS, Director of VioVet, the online pet medications and pet food retailer, says the dangers are multiplied at Christmas when it becomes more difficult to monitor what your pets are eating: “Ingredients such as onions or garlic that go into turkey stuffing or raisins in the Christmas pudding and mince pies can make your pets seriously ill and must be avoided,” he says.

So this Wintertide, make sure your pets avoid the following Christmas treats:

  • Grapes and raisins contain a potent toxin that can damage the liver and kidneys of dogs and cats. Raisins are a key ingredient in mince pies and fruitcake, so make sure these are kept well away from your dog or cat.
  • Nuts and especially a toxin present in macadamia nuts can impede the function of a dog’s digestive, muscle and nervous systems, resulting in weakness and breathlessness, tremors and swollen legs.
  • Nutmeg is also a danger – a favourite ingredient of egg nog, if eaten by a dog, its nervous system will begin to suffer with potentially severe consequences.
  • Alcohol has a far stronger effect on dogs than humans, and even a drop of it or any other stimulant-type drink can cause disorientation, laboured breathing, and even death.
  • Peaches, plums and persimmons have been known to cause digestive complaints in dogs. The pips of these fruits are far more dangerous and pose a choking hazard, but also because of the toxins they contain.

John says that there are many other products and ingredients that can do harm, especially those that containXylitol, a sweetener found in sugared sweets and candy, some dietary foods and baked goods. If a dog consumes even a small amount it could be in serious trouble. His advice is therefore simple:

“Tempting though it is to give your dog or cat a treat from the table, my advice is don’t,” John concludes. “You could, quite literally, be killing with kindness.”

The holiday season is a time to surround yourself with loved ones—and pets are no exception. Through Blue Buffalo’s Home 4 the Holidays campaign, the company today announced the initiative reached this year’s holiday goal of finding a forever home for one million deserving dogs and cats throughout the world. In celebration of reaching this year’s goal, an adopting family will be gifted with a one-year supply of Blue Buffalo product for their new pet and the participating shelter will receive 2,500 pounds of food.


“I can’t think of a more amazing holiday gift—already reaching our goal of finding homes for one million orphan pets, so soon after we kicked off this year’s Home 4 the Holidays campaign,” said David Petrie, Vice President at Blue Buffalo. “We are extremely grateful that a million new pet parents will experience the joy of rescuing a dog or cat this holiday season, and share in the love we have for our pets all year long.”

More families bring home new pets during the holiday season than any other time of year. With so many homeless pets across the country, Blue Buffalo partnered with the Helen Woodward Animal Center (Rancho Santa Fe, California) for the Blue Buffalo Home 4 the Holidays campaign. Home 4 the Holidays is a three-month adoption drive that aims to save the lives of orphan pets and raise awareness about the importance of pet adoption during the holiday season. Blue Buffalo and the Helen Woodward Animal Center’s partnership created a coalition of more than 4,000 pet adoption agencies, facilities and rescue groups – each eager to find welcoming homes for a new, furry family member.

Blue Buffalo Home 4 the Holidays strives to educate the public about the importance of choosing pet adoption. The partnership of Blue Buffalo, the Helen Woodward Animal Center, and the score of participating pet shelters and adoption centers has helped make Home 4 the Holidays the largest pet adoption program on record. The program has helped save more than nine million pets since its inception in 1999.

“Words cannot begin to express how it warms my heart to think of one million orphan pets now enjoying their loving adoptive homes this holiday season as a result of the Blue Buffalo Home 4 the Holidays campaign,” saidMike Arms, President and CEO of the Helen Woodward Animal Center. “It is truly inspiring to see what can be accomplished with the support of this special partnership that has formed between our friends at Blue Buffalo and our thousands of participating animal organizations around the world.”

Do you have questions about the foods, drugs, and other issues involving your pet?

The Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) may be able to answer them. FDA regulates animal drugs, animal food (including pet food), and medical devices for animals, and conducts research that helps shape regulatory decisions, among other activities.


Below are CVM’s answers to seven questions it often receives from consumers about their pets.

Q: How do I know if a drug I am giving my pet is FDA-approved?

A: Look at the drug’s label. All FDA-approved animal drugs have a New Animal Drug Application (NADA) number or, for generic animal drugs, an Abbreviated New Animal Drug Application (ANADA) number. Many drug manufacturers list the six-digit NADA or ANADA number and the statement, “Approved by FDA,” on the drug’s label, although they aren’t required to do so. If you don’t see the NADA or ANADA number on the label, most FDA-approved animal drugs are listed in Animal Drugs@FDA, a searchable online database. There is more detailed information on this subject on FDA’s web site.

Read more on the FDA web site.

Tristar Equine Marketing, LLC is voluntarily recalling all lots of Gastrotec down to the consumer level. Gastrotec was previously marketed by Tristar as an OTC drug for use in horses, and contains a combination of Omeprazole and Misoprostol. This recall has been initiated due to information from the FDA that Gastrotec must have an approved new animal drug application to be legally marketed in the United States. Gastrotec is not approved by the FDA. As a consequence, Tristar has ceased all production and sales of Gastrotec and is recalling the product.

Because the FDA has not approved Gastrotec, the safety and efficacy of the product has not yet been established. To date, however, there have been no reported adverse events associated with the use of Gastrotec.

Gastrotec is labeled for the care of gastric and colonic ulcers in horses. Gastrotec is a paste that is packaged in a boxed tube bearing the name Gastrotec, Omeprazole 2.28 g/Misoprostol 1.4 mg.

Aided with the information provided by the FDA, Tristar is notifying its distributors and customers by an email, directly and through this press release of this voluntary recall. Tristar will arrange for a return of all recalled product. Consumers and distributors that have unused Gastrotec should stop using this product immediately and contact Tristar to arrange for the return of the product.

Questions regarding this voluntary recall should be addressed to Jerry Glantz by email at info@tristarequine.com from Monday to Friday, 10 am to 4 pm EST.

Consumers should contact their veterinary healthcare provider if they have experienced any problems that may be related to the use of this drug product.

This recall is being conducted with the knowledge of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

There may be countless ways to spend your holiday shopping dollar, but few that can directly make the day special for an animal. D.E.L.T.A. Rescue is asking people to give a special present to a rescued dog or cat. Every one of the over 1500 animals at D.E.L.T.A. will receive a personalized stocking full of his favorite treat, thanks to donations earmarked for this special cause.

DELTA Rescue Puppys

Leo Grillo, founder of D.E.L.T.A. Rescue has been filling stockings for the animals at the 115 acre animal sanctuary for 29-years. “Christmas is for kids, and animals are our children too. The joy of seeing a dog smile and then run off with his treat is what giving is all about.”

D.E.L.T.A. Rescue is the world’s largest no-kill, care for life animal sanctuary. Since 1979, it has been a champion for the countless animals who have lived there, as well as for the rights of animals throughout the world. Grlllo says, “Besides donating to our own 1500 animals, you can take treats to your local animal shelter and bring those lonely dogs and cats some Holiday cheer.”

To have your donation go to help pay for these stockings, please visit www.deltarescue.org and click on any “donate” button.

For the first time, a surgical team of world-class veterinarians performed an innovative brain surgery procedure last week known as transsphenoidal hypophysectomy, saving the life of a ten-year-old boxer named Anna suffering from an aggressive form of tumor growth. While such surgery is now becoming common for humans, it is truly groundbreaking for a canine.

American Dog Rescue Foundation

The Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine Pituitary Team poses for a photo with Boxer Anna, her guardian Sundays Hunt and American Dog Rescue Founder Arthur E. Benjamin Front Row: Anna (First TSH patient at WSU) Second Row (From left to right): Tina Owen, Arthur Benjamin, Sundays Hunt, Abby Thomson (4th year veterinary student) Third Row (From left to right): Tom Jukier (Neurology intern), Annie Chen-Allen, Linda Martin, Megan Bauer (4th year veterinary student) (PRNewsFoto/American Dog Rescue Foundation)

American Dog Rescue founder Arthur Benjamin provided the necessary resources for the operation after doctors determined that Anna was suffering from an aggressive form of Cushing’s Disease, a common condition in older dogs that occurs when a tumor grows near the pituitary gland, impacting adrenal gland functionality. This ground-breaking operation would not have been possible without ADR’s critical funding.

Mr. Benjamin, a well-known and successful entrepreneur and philanthropist, spends his time between Salt Lake CityDallas, and Boca Raton. He is a leader in these cities and nationally in numerous non-profits that support animal rights and the welfare of homeless pets, breast cancer and the education of inner-city kids.

“Finding innovative ways to prolong the lives of animals with improvements in their quality of life is important to me,” said Mr. Benjamin. “This operation is a ground-breaking procedure that will serve to help thousands of animals suffering from Cushing’s Disease.”

Dr. Tina Owen of Washington State University Vet Hospital said this particular surgery was really a challenge but very successful.

“This is a surgery performed to remove a tumor from the pituitary fossa usually originating from the pituitary gland,” Dr. Owen explained. “The pituitary fossa is approached through the mouth via an incision in the soft palate to gain access to the basisphenoid bone and pituitary fossa.  This surgery is technically challenging and post-operative recovery requires extremely close monitoring.”

This surgery was the only remaining option to prolong Anna’s life. Poodles, Boston Terriers, Dachshunds, and Boxers have the highest incidence of the disease. The success of Anna’s surgical approach brings new hope for dogs throughout the world plagued with this life-threatening ailment.

“It was the joint efforts of Internist Melissa Tucker (Utah Veterinary Center), renowned Oncologist Nick Bacon (University of Florida Veterinary College, Gainesville) and the Texas A&M team that identified and did their due diligence to find a solution to the unique and complex issues Anna faced,” ADR Founder Arthur E. Benjaminsaid. “Together, this group of experts located and concurred upon Dr. Owen’s surgical operation over other more traditional approaches, leading to a successful outcome that otherwise was impossible for Anna. We owe them and the Washington State University Veterinary Team a debt money alone cannot repay. It takes a village to make this kind of an impact for dogs worldwide.”

Sundays HuntAnna’s guardian and Utah State Director of The Humane Society of the United States, expressed her appreciation to ADR.

“It’s my privilege to both see Anna ‘fixed’ and to be part of the future of medicine here at WSU,” Hunt said.

Natura Pet Products has initiated a limited, voluntary recall of certain dry cat and dry ferret food lots produced in its Fremont, Nebraska facility. Due to a formulation error, these products contain insufficient levels of vitamins and excess minerals.


Pets can become ill if they lack vitamins for prolonged periods. Early signs of vitamin deficiency may include decreased appetite, lethargy, vomiting and weight loss. If treated promptly, vitamin deficiency can be successfully reversed. The presence of excess minerals in these products poses no health concern.

There have been no reports of animal health concerns to date, but these lots do not meet our quality standards and should not be consumed by pets. No other EVO® products or lots are affected by this issue.

The affected product and lot codes are:






EVO® Grain Free Turkey & Chicken Formula dry cat & kitten food

15.4 LB

5148 541400



EVO® Grain Free Turkey & Chicken Formula dry cat & kitten food

2.2 LB

5148 541402



EVO® Grain Free Turkey & Chicken Formula dry cat & kitten food

2.2 LB

5148 541402



EVO® Grain Free Turkey & Chicken Formula dry cat & kitten food

2.2 LB

5148 541402



EVO® Grain Free Ferret Food

6.6 LB

5148 542101



The problem was discovered during the investigation of an ingredient inventory discrepancy. Only these 5 lots are affected. These lots were distributed through independent retailers in CA, GA, MI, MN, NV, PA, TX, VT and Canada, as well as online. No other Natura products are affected.

Retailers have been contacted and are instructed to immediately withdraw these lots from store shelves.  Consumers who purchased the product should discontinue feeding the product immediately and discard as normal household waste. We apologize for the inconvenience caused by this incident. We are taking immediate corrective action as a result of our investigation.

For more information, consumers can reach Natura Consumer Relations at 1-855-206-8297, Monday through Friday 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM EST or visit www.evopet.com.

Tis the season for gift giving, but there is never a good time of year to give a puppy as a surprise present.  The American Kennel Club (AKC®) reminds those considering giving a puppy as a gift to think twice.

“A dog is a serious commitment, and you should never surprise someone with a puppy they aren’t ready to keep for a lifetime,” said AKC Spokesperson Lisa Peterson. “A dog needs to suit your lifestyle, and it’s important to consider the energy level, size, coat and temperament of a puppy – as well as your own readiness – before you make a decision.”

Consider wrapping dog supplies such as a leash or bowl to symbolize the gift of a puppy to come – this will give the recipient time to do their research and prepare for the commitment.

During their critical first weeks at home, puppies require a great deal of time, love, and attention. Therefore, every prospective owner should carefully consider their schedule and circumstances before bringing a new pet into their home. This is especially true during the holidays when parties, travel, or out-of-town visitors might adversely affect your ability to give a new puppy all the attention he or she deserves. If your holidays will be hectic, wait until after the hustle and bustle.

The AKC also reminds dog owners of the following tips to keep their four-legged friends safe and happy this holiday season:

- Holiday Dangers Facing Dogs & Puppies – 

  • Avoid using food such as popcorn or cranberry strands as holiday decorations. If eaten, they can cause blockages, which can require surgery to remove. Puppies are notorious chewers when young and will look to get anything they can.
  • Place ornaments, tinsel, glass bulbs, and things that sparkle and catch your dog’s eye higher up on your tree where he can’t reach them. Ornaments can cause major problems for your dog or puppy if ingested.
  • Poinsettias, holly, and mistletoe can be poisonous to pets, so keep them out of your dog’s reach.
  • If you have a real Christmas tree, make sure your dog doesn’t swallow the pine needles or drink the tree water which can cause stomach irritation, or contain poisonous plant food. Try putting a gate around the tree to keep your dog away, or consider getting an artificial tree.
  • Puppies like to chew and explore, and exposed wires from holiday lights pose a threat to your curious little friend – if he chews on them, he could be electrocuted. Tape indoor wires to the wall and outdoor wires to the side of the house where your dog can’t reach them.
  • Be careful with candles around your house, as a wagging tail can knock them over and cause serious burns or even start a house fire.
  • Common holiday foods such as chocolate, butter, turkey skin, fat, and candy can make your dog very ill. Take care to keep these foods out of reach.

For more information on responsible dog ownership, visit the AKC at www.akc.org.


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