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TUESDAY • August 9, 2022
Dear Veterinary Student, While understanding that the clinical and scientific education you are receiving now is your primary focus, this weekly publication is designed to supplement your education by providing information that helps you learn about the business of veterinary medicine, the emerging technologies that will shape the future of veterinary practice, the ever-changing regulatory environment and more. It features commentary from Terry Sheehan, an industry consultant with a keen eye for trends affecting the animal health industry. We hope this newsletter helps you prepare for your career in veterinary medicine. The Veterinary Student Insider is delivered at no charge, and we encourage you to share it with your peers! To subscribe, click here.
  PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT  


Missouri veterinary clinics deal with strain from high client demand and limited availability of care
Kansas City-area clinics are feeling the strain of the veterinary care shortage.

According to one practice owner, an outflux of doctors retiring and moving out of the region could be contributing to the shortage since there aren’t enough new professionals taking their places.

Another doctor said he believes the challenge is a shortage of veterinarians working full-time rather than a shortage of veterinarians overall. Graduating students seem to want to move to big cities. Plus, the pandemic has caused a spike in demand for care that hasn’t dropped, he told the St. Joseph News-Press.

> Read more of this article here.
 

Caring for the pets of Ukraine
Since launching in April, Galaxy Vets Foundation has responded to thousands of requests to provide virtual veterinary care for pets in Ukraine.

The organization has a volunteer team of about 200 veterinarians and veterinary technicians who respond to chat requests from pet owners. Of the roughly 7,000 requests they’ve responded to so far, most have been in major Ukrainian cities like Kyiv and Kharkiv, but some have been in the occupied eastern zones of the country as well.

“We’ve had a lot of successes helping people and we’ve had a lot of grateful people,” said Andrew Ciccolini, director of Galaxy Vets Foundation.

Ciccolini, along with volunteer veterinary technician Ellen Englert and Galyna Danylenko, Galaxy Vets’ head of public relations, spoke with the Fountain Report about the organization’s work.

> Read more of this article here.

  TERRY'S TAKES  

Boehringer Ingelheim reports first-half financial results
Boehringer Ingelheim reported first-half sales growth in the animal health business of 1.2%, reaching 2.4 billion euros. The business was affected by challenging market conditions including inflation, pandemic lockdowns, African swine fever outbreaks and supply chain constraints. Net sales of the canine parasiticide Nexgard were up 13.7% to 593 million euros, and sales of the canine heartworm preventive Heartgard rose 4.4% to 197 million euros.

Commentary from Terry Sheehan: The latest Fountain report covers several companies’ financial performances. BI reports their revenues in euros, so the strong dollar versus the euro will reduce the stated performance compared to last year.

> Read more of this article here.
 

Covetrus reports Q2 and first-half financial results
Covetrus reported second quarter net sales of $1.22 billion, up 2% from last year. GAAP net loss was $4 million in the quarter (3 cents per share). For the first half of the year, net sales of $2.37 billion were up 3%. Net loss was $6 million (4 cents per share). “Our team executed well during the second quarter and delivered results consistent with our expectations despite end-market and macroeconomic turbulence, which masked some of the operational progress we have made this year in furthering adoption of our technology stack, growing our proprietary brands and managing corporate costs,” said Ben Wolin, the company’s president and CEO.

TS: A closer look at Covetrus' performance indicates a good quarter in the United States but lackluster results in the U.K. and Germany.

> Read more of this article here.
 

Zoetis reports Q2 and first-half financial results
Zoetis reported second quarter revenue of $2.1 billion, up 5%. Net income of $529 million was up 3%, with earnings per share of $1.12 up 5%. For the first half of the year, revenue of $4 billion was up 6%. Net income of $1.1 billion was up 5%, and earnings per share of $2.39 were up 6%. “Our business remains strong thanks to the durability of our global portfolio and a steady pipeline of new products,” said CEO Kristin Peck. “Even as we face uncertain macroeconomic conditions, continued supply constraints, generic competition and the war in Ukraine, we remain confident in the resilience of our business and colleagues.”

TS: Another fine quarter for Zoetis, driven by companion animal sales, in particular its dermatology portfolio. Its livestock business has been impacted by generic pressure in the U.S. cattle market.

> Read more of this article here.
 

Big data could be a valuable resource for researchers and veterinarians
Mars Petcare’s recently announced “biobank," which will feature data from 20,000 dogs and cats, is one example of how scientists are using large-scale data analysis—or big data—to advance veterinary care. The ability to combine vast amounts of clinical, genetic, climate and environmental data is changing how researchers look at risk and health outcomes and how clinicians prevent disease, said Dr. Audrey Ruple, an associate professor at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine. Institutions in the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia have been working on data aggregation projects, some of which have collected millions or tens of millions of records. “There are signs of improvement in terms of utilizing big data, and I think that part of it is people are starting to really recognize the value of it,” Ruple told the AVMA.

TS: This and the article below about Nationwide Insurance's white papers are indications that mega-data is becoming more commonplace in veterinary medicine.

> Read more of this article here.
 

New white paper from Nationwide analyzes disease risk in aging dogs
Arthritis is the most common health condition in aging dogs, with rough collies and Bernese mountain dogs among the most likely to be affected, according to a new white paper from Nationwide. The pet insurer analyzed data from more than 4 million years’ worth of recent policy and claims data to provide insight on which breeds are most at risk for various diseases affecting senior dogs. “Having a better understanding of senior pet risks by breed and dog type can help pet families and veterinary health care teams partner together for informed prevention, early diagnosis and optimal disease management along a spectrum of care with targeted, personalized education throughout the life of companion animals,” said Dr. Jules Benson, Nationwide’s chief veterinary officer and lead author on the paper. More findings are highlighted in the announcement from Nationwide.

TS: For the White Paper, click here.

> Read more of this article here.
 

University of Missouri student loan forgiveness program helps address rural veterinary care shortage, supporters say
Large-animal veterinarians in Missouri say a state program that awards partial student loan forgiveness to rural veterinarians plays a crucial role in mitigating the shortage of care in the state. Through the Large Animal Veterinary Student Loan Program, students who attend the University of Missouri to study veterinary medicine can receive $20,000 per year in loans during their time in school. The loans are forgiven by the state each year after the student graduates that they practice large animal veterinary medicine in a defined geographic area of need in Missouri. Six students per year receive the loan. “You’re not going to make as much money (in rural practice),” Leah Cohn, interim associate dean at the University of Missouri, told the Columbia Missourian. “Helping to pay down some of the debt may be the difference in being able to go to a rural community and being forced to go to a more lucrative practice in an urban area.”

TS: Previous issues of the Fountain Report have documented similar programs from USDA, the state of Minnesota and others. This seems to be a step forward on many fronts: the reduction in large- and mixed-animal veterinarians, the cost of veterinary education and the shortage of veterinary care, particularly in rural areas.

> Read more of this article here.
  REGULATORY  

House bill aims to help small cattle producers through subsidies and grants
A new bill in the U.S. House aims to boost small cattle producers. Enhanced insurance premiums and an indemnity program would lower costs and provide security in volatile market conditions, supporters say. The bill would also establish a grant program to help small producers, cooperatives of small producers and other organizations sell products direct-to-consumer. The cattle industry loses an average of 17,000 ranchers per year, and while legislation has aimed to address issues like consolidation, “I have not seen enough emphasis on direct help for our small farmers and ranchers,” said House Agriculture Committee Chairman David Scott, who introduced the bill. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association said it wasn’t consulted in drafting the bill, adding that “we look forward to working with our partners in the livestock community to address the blind spots in this proposal.”

> Read more of this article here.

  TECHNOLOGY  

VVCA model telemedicine regulations aim to guide policymakers
The Veterinary Virtual Care Association has released model regulations for telemedicine meant to guide practitioners, associations, legislatures and state veterinary boards.

According to the VVCA, “these are intended to be real-world standards, not theoretical policies, and the VVCA will conduct reviews to update model regulations based upon field experiences and comments from practitioners.”

Among other things, the regulations say a virtual veterinarian-client-patient-relationship may be established as long as certain criteria are followed.

> Read more of this article here.
 



New coalition advocates for more veterinary telehealth—with an in-person VCPR
A group of industry and professional organizations has launched the Coalition for Connected Veterinary Care with the goal of expanding telehealth in veterinary medicine.

The group plans to serve as an educational resource for veterinary professionals and to advocate for regulations that support the use of telehealth.

Key to its mission is the idea that a veterinarian-client-patient relationship must be established in person before telehealth is used. 

Founding members include the AVMA, Veterinary Study Groups, Merck Animal Health, Elanco, the telehealth company Televet and several other organizations.

> Read more of this article here.

Terry Sheehan is currently the CEO of Aniconsilia, LLC an animal health industry only consulting firm he founded in 2009. Prior to the founding of Aniconsilia, Terry had a 30+ year career in the animal health industry with a strong record of achievement in sales, marketing, and commercial operations. Terry held positions of increasing responsibility and leadership in all segments of Animal Health Sales, Marketing, Business Development and Commercial Operations.
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