The biggest news of 2015


Here's a glance at the top veterinary news stories on in 2015.

Whenever we sit down to rank the top-performing news stories on, we look for common themes that could tie the year together. And in 2015, you couldn't be bothered with a certain reality-TV veterinarian's behavior-this year, your focus was all about the medicine. So without further ado, your top ten stories of the past year. 

10. Kissing spines in veterinary equine patients: Easy to diagnose, complicated to treat

Resident dvm360 equine expert Kenneth Marcella, DVM, rounds out the top 10 new stories this year with his examination of “kissing spines,” or overriding dorsal spinous processes (ORDSP), which has become a commonly discussed and more frequent concern among sport horse owners. Recently, a number of new surgical techniques have been developed and implemented to address ORDSP, which Marcella addresses, in addition to explaining the various (and sometimes complicated) treatment options for this condition. Get the full story.



9. Flatulence in dogs: Annoyance or sign of GI illness?

Be it a boxer, a bulldog or even a tiny Boston terrier, flatulence in dogs-especially when it's bad enough to clear the room-can be challenging for some pet owners. In thispiece, contributing writer Ed Kane, PhD, examines the common culprits of flatus, GI-associated illness, diagnosis, dietary and environmental management for veterinarians to discuss with clients with (unintentionally) stinky pooches. Get the full story.



8. Pet food facts-and fiction

Nutrition information (and misinformation) was a hot topic all year long. And we're betting you've fielded questions like What should I feed my pet? Should it be grain-free? Gluten-free? What about raw diets? for some time. Dr. Alice Jeromin was on the case for dvm360, explaining that as the national pet nutrition conversation intensifies, veterinary views may contradict national marketing campaigns or grassroots fads that have little or no basis in proper pet food nutrition. Her article provides the information and expertise you need to recommend diets with confidence. Get the full story.



7. High-volume veterinary clinic slashes prices

It seems improbable that a not-for-profit practice in Missouri neuters cats for $20 and serves approximately 100,000 animals per year-but it's reality, as we found in this exclusive report. The appeal of Angels Vet Express to pet owners is simple-it offers low-cost services. The clinic will spay a cat, give rabies and feline leukemia vaccinations, and deworm it for $67. The story unleashed a torrent of social media comments from readers, many of whom admitted to feeling uncomfortable with the practice model. Get the full story.




6. Veterinarians call for evidence-based approach in wake of Beneful lawsuit

The usual hum of consumer-driven pet food chatter increased to a fever pitch in February in the wake of a lawsuit launched against Nestlé Purina's Beneful dog food. Filed in California, the lawsuit claimed that Beneful was to blame for the illness of two dogs and death of another. Stephen Ettinger, DVM, DACVIM, who serves as the Nestlé Purina Fellow in Veterinary Medicine, says he read many of the comments in the news and online regarding Beneful. “None provides evidenced-based rationale for making claims about Beneful having a negative impact on the health of a pet,” he says. Get the full story.



5. The 5 ways to get started with Fear-Free veterinary practice

Contributing writer Jessica Vogelsang (aka blogger Dr. V at reported on the concept of Fear-Free practice and its major payoff for Canadian practice owner Jonathan Bloom, DVM. Bloom believes that pet fear and stress are one of the major factors keeping clients away from the hospital, and it's one of the easiest to fix-and he tells readers how, too, using videos that show his techniques in action as well as tips to create a Fear-Free culture. Get the full story.



4. Pictorial evidence: Heartworm disease and its damage

In parternship with the American Heartworm Society, dvm360 published a set of images showing the devastating effects of heartworm disease in a pet. Heartworms are present and known to be transmitted in all 48 contiguous states in the United States and Hawaii, making the risk of infection and the development of permanent disease real. These images, from a variety of canine cases, represent the various types of gross pathology heartworms can cause. Get the full story.



3. The midlevel veterinary professional: Has the time come?

dvm360's “practitioner in the trenches” Dr. Sarah Wooten delivered this report on an interesting development in Colorado-the potential rise of a mid-tier veterinary professional, similar to a physician assistant (PA) or nurse practitioner in human medicine. Wayne Jensen, DVM, PhD, MBA, associate head of clinical sciences at Colorado State University (CSU), introduced the idea of a veterinary professional associate (VPA) master's program that would be completed in three semesters. In the same way PAs do, VPAs could focus on serving underrepresented areas and populations. Problem is, not everyone is on board. Get the full story.




2. Apoquel Q&A: Will oclacitinib revolutionize the treatment of allergic dermatitis?

After years of waiting for a new proposed drug for itching that was being developed by Zoetis, oclacitinib (Apoquel) became available in limited supply. In July, our expert  veterinary dermatologist Alice Jeromin, Rph, DVM, DACVD, reported on her experience with the drug as someone who has been prescribing it for the past two years to about 500 patients. So, is the “miracle drug” all it's cracked up to be? Jeromin says she's still concerned about the long-term use and adverse effects down the road. “Today, everyone wants a “quick fix” and Apoquel does work quickly without the damaging effects seen with corticosteroids and I like that,” she says. Get the full story.

Lastly, our top news story of 2015-drumroll, please! >>>




1. Xylitol now found in certain peanut and nut butters

When we reported that xylitol, a natural sugar alcohol sweetener known to cause hypoglycemia and hepatic necrosis in dogs, was found in several specialty peanut and nut butter brands, we saw a major spike in activity on It was unsurprising why so many veterinary teams were on high alert-after all, peanut butter is a beloved treat among dogs. Get the full story.