By: Dr. Ted Cohn, AVMA president

We did it!

The AVMA is elated to announce that President Barack Obama has signed into law the long-awaited Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act (H.R. 1528), making it legal for veterinarians to provide complete medical care to their animal patients beyond their clinics and across state lines.


Image courtesy of the AVMA

By passing and signing this legislation, the president and our legislators recognize the critical role veterinarians play in treating sick animals and relieving their pain and suffering. The health and welfare of our nation’s wildlife, food animals, and even our companion animals depend on veterinarians being allowed to do their jobs wherever the need arises. On behalf of our members, I would like to thank the president and Congress for allowing us complete access to the medications we need to fulfill our oath to society.

I would also like to thank the staff in AVMA’s Governmental Relations Division for their tireless work in getting this bill passed. They have led a remarkable advocacy campaign in coordination with our allied organizations and I am very grateful for their service and dedication to our membership.

I would also like to thank all of our members for your continued support on this important issue. This work proves that when AVMA’s members bring forward concerns, we listen; and we work extremely hard to ensure that our leaders in Washington craft public policies that promote the health and welfare of animals and advance the veterinary profession.

What does this new law mean for you? This law amends a restrictive provision within the Controlled Substances Act, which previously barred veterinarians from transporting, administering and/or dispensing controlled substances—necessary for pain management, anesthesia and euthanasia—beyond their registered locations, often their clinics. Specifically, it states:

“a registrant who is a veterinarian shall not be required to have a separate registration in order to transport and dispense controlled substances in the usual course of veterinary practice at a site other than the registrant’s registered principal place of business or professional practice, so long as the site of transporting and dispensing is located in a State where the veterinarian is licensed to practice veterinary medicine and is not a principal place of business or professional practice.”

We advise any veterinarians who are unclear on how to comply with the updated regulations to consult the Diversion Control Program Manager at their respective Drug Enforcement Administration field offices for more information.

Thank you all for your continued support. We hope you will continue to stay connected with us on other federal advocacy efforts by joining the AVMA Congressional Advocacy Network (AVMA-CAN) and signing up for our monthly e-newsletter on what is happening in Washington.

Today, Mars Petcare US announced a voluntary recall of 22 bags of PEDIGREE® Adult Complete Nutrition dry dog food products due to the possible presence of a foreign material. The bags were produced in one manufacturing facility, and shipped to one retail customer. The facility production line has been shut down until this issue is resolved.

Affected bags, which were sold between August 18 and August 25 in 12 Dollar General stores* in Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee and Louisiana, may contain small metal fragments, which could have entered the packages during the production process. The foreign material is not embedded in the food itself, but may present a risk of injury if consumed. We encourage consumers who have purchased affected product to discard the food or return it to the retailer for a full refund or exchange. We have not received any reports of injury or illness associated with the affected product. The lot codes indicated below should not be sold or consumed.

Mars Petcare US is working with Dollar General to ensure that the recalled products are no longer sold and are removed from inventory.


Recalled Pet Food

Only 15-pound bags of PEDIGREE® Adult Complete Nutrition dry dog food sold at Dollar General in Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee and Louisiana with the production code shown below are included in this voluntary recall. Each product will have a lot code printed on the back of the bag near the UPC code that reads 432C1KKM03 and a Best Before date of 8/5/15. No other PEDIGREE® products are affected, including any other variety of dry dog food, wet dog food or dog treats.

23100 10944 PEDIGREE® Brand Adult Complete Nutrition dry dog food in 15 pound bags

At Mars Petcare US, we take our responsibility to pets and their owners seriously. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience caused by this recall. Pet owners who have questions about the recall should call 1-800-305-5206 or visit http://www.pedigree.com/update

*Affected product would only have been sold in Dollar General Stores in these cities:

  • Arkansas:
    • Perryville
    • Cabot
  • Louisiana
    • Baton Rouge
    • Calhoun
    • Hineston
    • Jonesville
    • Pineville
    • Slaughter
  • Mississippi
    • Magnolia
    • Vicksburg
  • Tennessee
    • Memphis

National Dog Day (also known as: International Dog Day and National Dog Appreciation Day) is celebrated on August 26th every year,  and serves to help galvanize the public to recognize the number of dogs that need to be rescued each year, and acknowledges family dogs and dogs that work selflessly each day to save lives, keep us safe and bring comfort. Dogs put their lives on the line every day – for their law enforcement partner, for their blind companion, for a child who is disabled, for our freedom and safety by detecting bombs and drugs and pulling victims of tragedy from wreckage.


Founded in 2004 by pet lifestyle expert and author Colleen Paige, National Dog Day was created to honor dogs more than we currently do, to give them “a day”, to show deep appreciation for our long connection to each other – for their endearing patience, unquestioning loyalty, for their work, their capacity for love and their ability to impact our lives everyday in the most miraculous ways. National Dog Day wishes to encourage dog ownership of all breeds, mixed and pure – and embraces the opportunity for all dogs to live a happy, safe and ”abuse-free life.”

National Dog Day is against any kind of “breed ban.” Dogs should not have to lose their lives because of the atrocities they have been forced to endure at the hands of man. And while we feel that American’s have the constitutional right to purchase a pure breed dog, we strongly discourage buying from pet stores, backyard breeders, the internet, newspaper ads and puppy mills, and rather encourage those seeking new canine companions, to verify that they are buying from a reputable breeder, educate themselves about their dog’s breed and better yet – visit their local shelter or pure breed rescue group to adopt a new furry family member that will be forever grateful. Millions of dogs are euthanized each year because they are unwanted. They are wonderful and viable sentient beings that deserve compassion and respect. Please consider adopting on National Day!

National Dog Day will also be many a dog’s birthday and for all of them it will be akin to a “K9- 4th of July!” Even citizens who are not dog owners will be encouraged to donate $5 to their local shelter on National Dog Day.

Nestle Purina, a global leader in the pet care industry, announced today that company scientists have developed new food solutions for middle-aged pets to help sustain a healthier brain as they enter the latter stages of life. The finding is a breakthrough in pet care, providing nourishment to strengthen brain cells to help pets maintain function well into their senior years.

The solution, a new Brain Protection Blend™ (BPB), is a nutritional enrichment that targets metabolic changes and risk factors linked to brain aging. It is designed for pets to start consuming in middle age.  The BPB can help maintain cognitive functions, such as memory, social interaction and learning abilities, and can keep them as sharp as they can be as pets age.


Purina has developed a breakthrough in pet food solutions for middle-aged pets to help strengthen brain cells and maintain cognitive function well into their senior years.

“By taking a more proactive approach, we may be able to slow the brain’s decline often experienced among pets as they get older,” said Dan Smith, Nestle Purina’s vice president of research and development. “Humans understand the need for additional nutrients to live healthily, so it’s imperative that pet owners are aware of similar nutritional breakthroughs available for their pets that help slow the changes associated with aging.”

Purina scientists have found that the BPB can improve cognitive function – thinking abilities and memory – in cats between 5 – and 8-years old.[2] Plans call for the new BPB to be added to select Purina products for cats or dogs in the next 12-18 months. Purina is still evaluating the effects of the BPB on dogs, and hopes to eventually offer the solution to both species.

The BPB can be added to pet food and is comprised of a unique formulation including key ingredients such as fish oil, B vitamins, antioxidants and the essential amino acid, arginine.

“All of these nutrients may be present in the natural prey of cats and can be found in many types of foods,” said Dr. Yuanlong Pan, Purina senior research nutritionist and an author of the influential study on improving memory function in middle-aged cats. A study on the effects of the BPB on dogs is expected to be published soon.

The launch of the BPB is the second phase of Purina’s two-pronged approach to addressing cognitive decline in pets using extensive research techniques that focus on adding nutritional enhancements to pet food.

The first phase centered on developing a neuron-targeted nutrition with a blend of nutrients based on medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) to improve memory function in senior dogs. Typically, cognitive decline is a slow and gradual process that begins in middle age and can be linked to a drop in brain glucose metabolism that occurs as dogs age. The outcome often results in memory loss, reduced social interaction, learning impairment and disorientation.

MCTs are nutrients sourced from vegetable oils such as coconut oil. A breakthrough diet blend containing MCTs is an innovative way to provide fuel to a pet’s brain. A research study confirmed significant improvements in behavior and cognition in as little as 30 days when senior dogs were fed diets with MCTs. Improvements were seen in attention span, trainability, decision making and overall cognitive function. Cognitive decline also occurs in cats and Purina is currently researching ways to include MCTs in cat food.

Cognitive Decline in Pets a Growing Concern

Some pet owners associate mobility problems to physical issues that come from old age without realizing that many of those issues actually stem from cognitive decline. This can result in pets forgetting how to perform normal functions such as using a litter box or finding a food bowl.

Studies have found 28 percent of dogs ages 11-12 years old and 68 percent of dogs ages 15-16 years old have one or more signs of mental issues.[3] Among cats, 28 percent of 11-14 year olds show signs of cognitive decline and increases to 50 percent when 15 years of age or older.[4]

According to an April 2014 survey conducted by Penn Schoen Berland and issued by Purina, more than 37 percent of dog owners have a dog older than seven.[5] This means a large group of pet owners may soon face issues related to their pet’s health due to cognitive decline. Unfortunately, 51 percent of dog owners are not aware that dogs can suffer from cognitive decline as a side effect of aging.

Purina is widening its focus to finding nutritional options that will strengthen pets’ cognitive abilities at a younger age and promote long-term brain health. Based on the April survey, 83 percent of dog owners would consider feeding their dog a premium food at a younger age if they could sustain brain health in the future.[6]

More than 400 Purina scientists, veterinarians and nutritionists a have been studying the effects of aging on pets since 1986, when Purina began the breakthrough “Lifespan Study” to look at canine diets. Since 2001, Purina researchers have studied the benefits of healthy nutrition on brain health in pets and in 2009 Purina was the first company to launch a MCT-based nutrient blend. Purina is also working on addressing other aging issues among pets including eye-care and weight management.

For more information, visit www.purina.com/innovation.

In celebration of the 10th anniversary of National Dog Day on Aug. 26, ValueOptions, a health improvement company specializing in mental and emotional well-being and recovery, is recognizing how dogs improve physical, mental and emotional well-being.


From companionship to providing a live-in security system, dogs do a lot for humans—but you might be surprised by the health benefits of having a canine pal:

  • Increasing heart health. Studies show that dog owners are more likely to participate in exercise, such as walking. As a result, dog owners tend to have lower blood pressure and a decreased risk of heart disease. Even if you already have heart problems, owning a dog may be beneficial. People with serious abnormal heart rhythms and people who have survived heart attacks tend to live longer than people with those heart problems that do not have dogs.
  • Bettering mood. In addition to getting more exercise—a sure-fire stress buster—dog owners are generally happier and less lonely than those who do not have dogs, and are less likely to visit the doctor for minor problems or be diagnosed with depression.
  • Acting as social magnets. Take your dog for a walk, and you may notice people paying more attention to you than usual. That’s because people are more likely to talk to a person walking down the street with a dog, and many people actually perceive dog owners as more attractive.
  • Benefitting a baby’s immune system. Some studies show that newborns raised in families with dogs may be less likely to develop allergies and asthma, and have fewer colds and ear infections during their first year than babies living in pet-free homes.
  • Providing social support for children with autism. Research shows that children tend to relate better to their classmates who have autism when a dog is in the classroom. The dog gives children in a classroom a commonality and gives children with autism a chance to practice their social skills, use language in a safe and rewarding way, and build their confidence.
  • Protecting you from allergens. It is well known that dogs have powerful sense of smell, but did you know some dogs use this sense to detect allergens? Dogs can be trained to detect trace amounts of peanuts, such as a wrapped candy bar in a lunch bag, and alert their owner before an allergic reaction occurs.
  • Acting as a therapy or service dog. Certification organizations, such as Therapy Dogs Inc. and Assistance Dogs International, allow dogs around the world to be specially trained to help people based on their needs. Some programs, such as Paws for Purple Hearts, allow veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to help train puppies as a way to reduce anxiety and other symptoms of PTSD. Through their training, these puppies become service dogs who then aid veterans with physical disabilities related to combat.

Are you allergic to dogs, but still want the benefits of owning a dog? Some studies show that robotic dogs, such as Sony’s AIBO, may improve the wellbeing of elderly owners and children as much as real dogs. Alternatively, the Xoloitzcuintli (or Xolo, for short) is one breed that many people who are allergic to dogs can call their own. While Xolos are most often seen as hairless and toy or miniature in size, there are also coated and standard-sized Xolos, which make them a breed versatile enough for almost any lifestyle.

Whole Foods Market’s sale of bunny meat (same breed as pet rabbits) is drawing widespread criticism. In a statement from SaveABunny and the House Rabbit Society, over 70 businesses, humane societies, animal rescue groups, and over 10,000 people, have already petitioned Whole Foods Market to immediately stop the sale of rabbit meat. On August 17th, protests will be held outside 40+ Whole Foods Markets nationwide. (http://rabbit.org/day-of-action-focused-on-whole-foods-august-17/). According to the 2012 American Pet Products Association (APPA), 2.5 million households now live with pet rabbits.


Margo DeMello, co-author of Stories Rabbits Tell (Lantern 2003) and President of House Rabbit Society, an international rabbit advocacy group, says, “Other stores look to Whole Foods Market to emulate their success. Millions of rabbits will be killed annually for an artificial demand created by Whole Foods. While their animal welfare standards are minimal at best, Whole Foods Market is sourcing rabbits in states with Ag-gag laws that restrict outside inspection and verification of standards. The company has not allowed animal welfare advocates to confirm their claims and standards. This should greatly concern their customers.”

Marcy Schaaf, Founder of SaveABunny, Inc. a nonprofit rescue organization and recipient of the prestigious ASPCA “Angels In Top Hats” award, questions Whole Foods’ claims of “customer demand.” Says Ms. Schaaf, “Whole Foods has jeopardized its brand image and betrayed the trust of their loyal customers with PR ‘green-washing’ and a lack of transparency to customers and employees about the type of rabbit meat being butchered. Whole Foods is killing and selling the meat of 8 week old baby bunnies that are barely weaned. They are still deeply connected to their mothers and siblings. There is nothing humane about this.”

A survey conducted of 39 California Whole Foods Stores revealed that only one of 39 store managers interviewed knew they were selling domestic rabbit meat.  Most believed the meat came from either wild rabbits or from the country of New Zealand.

Whole Foods declined to explain the contradiction in their decision to kill rabbits while promoting products not tested on the same type of rabbits. Whole Foods Executives response to consumer complaints is a form letter claiming “sensitivity to the issue”, while touting the “highest standards” for large scale rabbit meat production with “the goal of creating standards for other companies to follow.”

For further information, please see http://www.saveabunny.org/stop-whole-foods-rabbit-meat and http://rabbit.org/tell-whole-foods-to-stop-killing-bunnies/.

SaveABunny is a volunteer-based nonprofit rabbit rescue organization headquartered in Northern California. The organization specializes in the rescue and re-homing of abandoned, abused and neglected rabbits. For more information, visit www.saveabunny.org.

House Rabbit Society is an international, volunteer-based nonprofit organization that rescues abandoned rabbits, finds permanent homes for them and leads educational and research efforts on proper rabbit care. For more information, visit www.rabbit.org

There are 1.5 million veterans in the United Stateswhose daily lives are affected by vision issues that often originate from active duty service. For these veterans, a highly trained guide dog can empower them to lead active, independent lives. Today, not-for-profit VSP® Vision Care, the nation’s leading vision care company, announced a partnership with America’s VetDogs®, a not-for-profit guide and service dog school that serves the needs of veterans with disabilities, to launch the Vision to Share campaign. Through the campaign, VSP will provide up to $50,000 to raise, train and place a guide dog with a veteran who is blind or has low vision.


People nationwide are encouraged to participate by visiting SeeMuchMore.com and sharing the Vision to Share video. Every time a person shares the video through Facebook, Twitter or email, VSP will make a donation toward the care and training of a guide dog.

“As a not-for-profit, VSP invests in tackling vision-related challenges around the globe, including those our veterans may face,” said VSP Vision Care President Jim McGrann. “VSP has a deep commitment to supporting U.S. military members and veterans through our ongoing hiring efforts, employee-led veterans resource group and dedication to ensuring all have access to quality eye care and eyewear. The Vision to Share campaign is a natural extension of our efforts and provides an easy way for everyone to join our commitment to improve the life of a visually impaired veteran.”

In addition to the online component of the Vision to Share campaign, VSP’s mobile eye care clinics will travel to three U.S. cities and provide free eye care to veterans and families in need. The clinic will make stops in:

  • Dallas, Texas, on September 3
  • Sacramento, California, on World Sight Day, October 9
  • Washington, D.C., on Veterans DayNovember 11

There will also be activities on-site, including guide dog trainers, who will discuss the training process; opportunities to meet a guide dog or guide dog in training; and veterans who have been successfully matched with a guide dog.

“America’s VetDogs has placed more than 300 assistance dogs with veterans with disabilities at no cost to the veterans,” said Wells Jones, CEO of America’s VetDogs. “Campaigns such as Vision to Share are critical to our mission, and VSP has been a wonderful partner. Not only are we raising awareness about the struggles faced by veterans with low vision, but we’re also inspiring the greater community to band together to improve the lives of these American heroes.”

To date, through Eyes of Hope® charity programs, including VSP Mobile Eyes®, VSP Global® companies have invested nearly $167 million in free eye care and eyewear for close to 915,000 adults and children in need.

For more information about the VSP Vision to Share campaign, as well as to find eye health resources and more, visit SeeMuchMore.com.

Now there’s a tasty new way for pet parents to show their furry friends how much they care. Bravo® Crunchy Delights oven baked dog treats start with real, premium meat or poultry as the first ingredient, then add a hearty helping of mixed vegetables and quinoa. Each ingredient is carefully selected to create a wholesome, pet-pleasing reward. Crunchy Delights beef recipe, for example, is made with healthy ingredients like real beef, chickpeas, celery, squash, sweet potatoes, quinoa, and cranberries.


According to Bravo co-founder Bette Schubert, “We set out to create super premium treats that are natural, nourishing and delicious. We think that means using only the finest, freshest ingredients – starting with real meat or poultry. And that’s exactly what we did.” Available in Beef, Chicken, Duck, and Turkey varieties, new Crunchy Delights come packed in resealable 5oz stand-up pouches.

Interested pet parents are invited to visit the Bravo web site to learn more about these new treats and to find a local retailer that carries Bravo natural diets and treats.


The human-animal bond between pet owners and their pets is stronger than ever, as evidenced by 91% of pet owners who consider their pet a part of their family and a total spend of $58 billion a year on pets. While a portion of that spend is on medical advancements in veterinary care that are helping pets live longer, healthier lives, these increases in veterinary costs often present pet owners with a dilemma that weighs the cost versus the best care for the pet. Trupanion, a company that provides medical insurance to cats and dogs, today released the ABCs of Pet Insurance, a simple tool to help pet owners navigate pet medical insurance.


“As advanced veterinary care becomes more available and costs increase, medical insurance for pets is rising in popularity and becoming an essential part of responsible pet ownership,” said Kerri Marshall, DVM, Chief Veterinary Officer at Trupanion. “However, with so many different types of insurance, companies, policy options and add-ons, choosing the best policy can seem overwhelming.”

Medical insurance for cats and dogs should not be mistaken with liability or property insurance. The concept of it is fairly straightforward—pay a monthly premium in order to be covered for unexpected veterinary expenses— but every provider is different and offers varying coverage, plans, pricing options and limitations.

This simple guide outlines key factors that should go into deciding if it is the right fit for you.

  • Age – Many times, the age of your pet will influence the cost to insure them. Some companies increase the price of the premium as pets’ age, while some price based on the age at the time of enrollment. Insuring your pet as a puppy or kitten does have benefits—it is often less expensive and more likely that a pre-existing condition will not already exist. But if your pet is middle-aged or older don’t think that they can’t be insured as the coverage will help with treatment costs needed as your pet ages.
  • Breed – Certain breeds are predisposed to conditions, such as luxating patellae in Yorkshire Terriers, chronic lower airway disease in Siamese cats and cancer in Golden Retrievers. The right medical coverage will protect your animal even if they are prone to hereditary or congenital conditions.
  • Coverage – Each company will offer varying degrees of coverage, and some have coverage schedules and limits. Look for a provider that covers the largest portion of your veterinary bill, coverage for congenital and hereditary conditions, and has no limits to the amount they will pay out.
  • Deductible – Choose a deductible that fits your budget and how they are applied. Deductibles can help you control your premiums while making sure you see coverage before you hit your budget limit. Some deductibles must be met yearly, and some only apply once per condition. Some companies offer adjustable deductibles that allow you to adjust the premium cost that best fits your budget.
  • pre-Existing conditions – No pet medical insurance company currently covers pre-existing conditions, but each company identifies pre-existing conditions differently. Make sure you understand how each company defines a pre-existing condition and how they may decide if it relates to a future claim. Even if your pet has a pre-existing condition, like allergies or chronic ear infections, they are still a good candidate for insurance if they develop an unrelated condition down the road.
  • Flexibility – Look for a policy that does not lock you into a long-term contract and gives you the freedom to adjust your deductible or premium payments to fit your changing financial needs. You also want a policy that gives you the freedom to go to any veterinarian or specialist you choose.

Still not sure if pet medical insurance is right for you? Ask your veterinarian who can help provide insight. They have extensive knowledge of your pet’s breed risks and health history. To learn more about choosing the right coverage plan and for more information about Trupanion, visit Trupanion.com. You can also ask your veterinarian for a Trupanion 30-day certificate to try Trupanion at no cost or obligation.

Tell Congress to oppose mandatory prescription writing!  The so-called “Fairness to Pet Owners Act” (H.R 4023/ S. 2756) has been reintroduced both the House and Senate. Like its predecessor in the previous Congress, H.R. 1406, the legislation would require a veterinarian to provide a client with a written prescription for domesticated household animals, whether or not requested by the client. The veterinarian would be prohibited from charging for the prescription or asking a client to sign a liability waiver related to writing the prescription.


It is burdensome and unnecessary to require a written prescription be provided, regardless of whether or not the client is having the prescription filled by the veterinarian. Clients already have the flexibility to fill a prescription at their veterinary clinic or off-site at a pharmacy of their choice.  The AVMA is supportive of a client’s right to choose where they have their prescription filled.

At the same time, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is working on a report with its findings and recommendations following a public workshop it held in October 2012, which examined the competition and consumer protection issues in the pet medications industry.  Veterinarians and the AVMA participated as panelists throughout the workshop. It seems premature to consider a “solution,” such as this sweeping federal mandate, prior to publication of the report and clear identification of whether a problem actually exists.

Please contact your Member of Congress in opposition to the Fairness to Pet Owners Act today!


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