Saturday, May 21, 2011

US: Bill would level playing field for veterinary prescriptions

A bill recently introduced as H.R. 1406 in the US House of Representatives would make access to prescription medical services in veterinary medicine more comparable to human medicine.  Among other things, the bill would require veterinarians to write written prescriptions for the medicines they prescribe, and offer information about medication dispensation options outside of the veterinary practice.

Disappointingly, but perhaps not surprisingly, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is mounting a lobbying effort to kill H.R. 1406.

The bill's sponsor, Utah Representative Jim Matheson, believes that veterinary consumers should have better access to a competitive market for prescription veterinary medications.  "This bill simply gives pet owners the same right to shop around for the best prices on the medications they buy for their pets as they have for products they buy for themselves." Matheson says that the legislation was modeled after the Contact Lens Consumers Act, with the intent of giving pet owners a copy of the written prescription so they can shop around.

"Having the written prescription would give consumers the ability to comparison shop. One study of 18 common pet medication found that on average consumers who purchase from prescribers pay a 248 percent markup over average wholesale prices," Matheson says.

But the AVMA wants to kill the bill, stating that it places an undue regulatory burden on veterinarians.

The Pet Health Action Network disagrees with the AVMA, and has launched its own initiative in the form of a petition drive to give consumers of veterinary services a way to make their voices heard.  Please sign the petition here:

Friday, May 20, 2011

More confirmed cases of Equine Herpes Virus


National Report — An outbreak of equine herpes virus (EHV-1) continues to spread with at least 29 cases now confirmed in eight Western states. 

Various state agriculture departments report that about 400 horses from 29 states attended the National Cutting Horse Association's Western National Championships in Odgen, Utah between April 30-May 8, which is believed to have been the source of the outbreak. 

On May 19, Washington officials increased the state's confirmed case count from one to three. Other cases have been confirmed in multiple western states, but taper off north of Texas and further east. As of May 19, the following states, through their state veterinarian's office or agriculture department, have confirmed or suspected equine herpes virus cases: 

• Arizona — One confirmed case; 
• California — 10 confirmed; 
• Colorado — Six confirmed cases; five that attended the NCHA event and one that was in contact with sick horses but did not attend the event; 
• Idaho — Two dead, no confirmed cases; 
• Montana — 30-35 horses under observation, no confirmed EHV-1 cases reported; 
• Nebraska — Five farms quarantined, no cases confirmed; 
• Nevada — No confirmed cases; 
• New Mexico — One dead, one suspected and no confirmed cases; 
• Oregon — One confirmed case; 
• Texas — 20 under investigation. The one confirmed case was a horse from New Mexico that was taken to West Texas for treatment. 
• Utah — Five confirmed cases; 
• Washington — Three confirmed cases; 
• Wyoming — No confirmed cases. 

Full report here.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

New Pet Treat Recall

Boss Pet Products, Inc. recalled its Diggers Natural Treat Pig Ear pet treats because the products have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella. 

In an advisory today, the Food and Drug Administration's Center for Veterinary Medicine reports, "Boss Pet (Products) has been notified by one of its suppliers, Keys Manufacturing Company, Inc., that a batch of pig ear treats tested positive for Salmonella. Keys Manufacturing initiated a voluntary product recall in cooperation with the FDA and has identified several shipments of potentially affected products which Boss Pet shipped out under its Diggers brand in November, 2010 through April, 2011. So far, there has been a report of one dog in Missouri having Salmonella," FDA reports. 

The recalled Diggers Natural Chews Pig Ears were sold in the following package sizes:

Bulk Pig Ears in boxes of 100 (UPC #0-72929-00038-6)

Bulk Pig Ears Shrink Wrapped in boxes of 50 (UPC #0-72929-99120-2)

2-Pack Bags shipped in cases of 12 bags (UPC #0-72929-99504-0)

4-Pack Bags shipped in cases of 12 bags (UPC #0-72929-00227-4)

8-Pack Bags shipped in cases of 12 bags (UPC #0-72929-99584-2) 

These products were distributed in Montana, California, Washington, Oklahoma, Tennessee, New York, Ohio, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, Oregon, Utah, Iowa, Montana, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana and Minnesota, FDA says. 

Consumers can return the products to their place of purchase for a refund. For more information about the recall contact Boss Pet at (800) 445-6347 between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. EST) or go to

Monday, May 16, 2011

WASHINGTON: State veterinarian cautions horse owners about EHV-1 outbreak

The Washington State Department of Agriculture is warning about possible exposure to Equine Herpes Virus 1, a highly contagious virus that was found in a horse that attended the National Cutting Horse Association event in Ogden, Utah from April 30 to May 8.  The affected horse is from Washington State.

“While I have not yet placed any restrictions on the movement of animals, I strongly suggest that horse owners isolate animals that attended the Western National Championships in Ogden, Utah,” said State Veterinarian Leonard Eldridge. “For the protection of other horses, these owners are advised to keep their animals home for a couple of weeks.”

The disease poses no threat to people, but symptoms in horses can include fever, sneezing, slobbering and other mild symptoms. Serious cases of the disease are rare, but can include staggering, hind-end paralysis and even death of the horse.

A horse that attended the Ogden show was treated at the Washington State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Pullman and was confirmed over the weekend to be positive for EHV-1. Blood samples from several other Washington horses that attended the Utah event are currently being tested at WSU’s Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory.

The disease is spread from horse to horse through direct contact, on feed, tack and equipment, or on the clothes and hands of horse owners. While there is no human public health threat associated with the disease, horse owners should carefully wash their hands and equipment to prevent the spread of the virus.

The time of exposure to illness of EHV-1 is typically two to 14 days. Horse owners attending the Ogden show should consider limiting the movement of their horses and isolate them from other horses to prevent further spread of the virus.

Horses that show any symptoms of EHV-1 should be seen by a veterinarian. Positive cases of EHV-1 must be reported to the State Veterinarian’s Office at (360) 902-1881.

More information on the virus can be found at

Saturday, May 14, 2011

FDA urges caution with use of Douxo Seborrhea Shampoo

"The FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine is alerting pet owners to use caution with the use of an unapproved animal drug product, Douxo Seborrhea Shampoo (0.1% phytosphingosine), distributed by Sogeval Laboratories, Inc. of Coppell, Texas after recently receiving a report of the death of a woman associated with the use of the product on her dog."

The woman died from a severe asthma attack following the use of this product.

For the entire report, please see the FDA press release.  Thanks to Dr. Marty Becker for posting this today.

Sunday, May 8, 2011