The conference formerly known as NAVC kicks off the new year for many in the animal health world.
The Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, site of the 2019 VMX conference. (Photo courtesy of OCCC)While there didn't seem to be as many new products and services launched at VMX 2019 as in previous years, the companies serving the veterinary market were still on hand to discuss their initiatives and efforts in the year ahead. Here are some highlights the dvm360 team picked up during the conference.
While not a new product, Adequan Canine (polysulfated glycosaminoglycan) has come back under the umbrella of its manufacturer, American Regent (formerly Luitpold), after a number of years when it was marketed and sold by other companies-first Novartis, then Elanco. Adequan is an FDA-approved injectable, disease-modifying osteoarthritis (OA) drug that inhibits the enzymes that break down cartilage in joints. American Regent plans to shine a spotlight on canine OA this year, especially multimodal management strategies.
Blue Buffalo has soft-launched a new therapeutic diet: Blue Natural Veterinary Diet GI Low Fat. The diet features readily digestible proteins, carbohydrates and fats, and its low fat level makes it well-suited for dogs with digestive difficulties, according to Blue Buffalo. It's also an option for acute diarrhea scenarios, when dogs need a mild food as they restabilize. Prebiotic fibers help balance and support gut health, company reps say.
In other Blue Buffalo news, the company has built a new manufacturing and R&D plant in Richmond, Indiana. With this facility joining the plant in Joplin, Missouri, Blue Buffalo will now be producing the majority of its food in house, representatives say.
In honor of the one-year anniversary of the Bridge Club, a video-based community where veterinary professionals periodically gather to discuss industry hot topics, the founders have brought the annual membership rate down from $95 to $20.19 (for 2019-get it?). While participation in video conversations is free, membership allows users to access archived content. Topics on the docket for 2019 include Cushing's disease, the Veterinary Nurse Initiative, the associate veterinarian shortage, and more.
While all's mostly quiet on the diagnostics front as the Abaxis portfolio gets integrated, Zoetis in the meantime is emphasizing how its derm lineup can be used along the diagnostic path. Here's how it works, they say: First you have to stop the itch-use Apoquel. Next look at parasites-that's where Simparica comes in. Next address any infection-use Convenia. If the pet is still itchy, do a food trial for four to eight weeks. And finally, if there are still issues and you diagnose the patient with atopic dermatitis, that's a job for Cytopoint. Zoetis is also focusing on felines this year with the launch of Revolution Plus (a topical combo of selamectin and serolaner) and continuing its support of Pups4Patriots (veterans with PTSD) and K9 Courage (veterinary care for retired military and police dogs).
If you're like us, you started to hear about Ivan Zak, DVM, creator of the Smart Flow patient management system, more and more often during the last few years. Well, IDEXX was hearing the same things, and the company scooped up Dr. Zak and made him general manager of its practice software division. Basically, Dr. Zak is hoping to fix every inefficiency a veterinary hospital can dream up. In his work as a consultant and working directly in practices, Dr. Zak noticed the same patterns of frustration across hospitals worldwide, and he's trying to address them through Smart Flow, through his work with IDEXX and in getting useful apps and gadgets to integrate with what he's built. “The future of technology is connectivity, not products,” he told the dvm360 team. We predict this won't be the last portent we'll hear from Dr. Zak.
The Trupanion folks talked to us about their Trupanion Express Partner Program, where any veterinary practice that downloads the software gets a dedicated account manager to trouble-shoot and answer questions. What is Trupanion Express, you ask? A software application that integrates with veterinary practice management software to enable direct-pay, meaning the pet owner is not out of pocket on the portion of the transaction covered by pet insurance, and the veterinarian gets paid almost immediately (usually within five minutes if everything gets entered right). Trupanion is also a major supporter of MightyVet, an industry initiative supporting well-being of the profession, with plans for webinars and symposia to happen throughout 2019.
Remember when Henry Schein Animal Health and Vets First Choice said they were going to merge and be called Vets First Corp.? Scratch that. Just before VMX, the two companies announced that the new standalone public company would, in fact, be called Covetrus. The new business will bring products, services and technology solutions together into a single platform, the company says-pharmaceuticals, tools to manage finances and client communications, and support to identify and fill gaps in care. Expect to hear more from Covetrus soon!