Zoetis announces Itchy Pet Awareness Month

August 2, 2019
Maureen McKinney, Associate Editorial Director

The animal health company looks to raise awareness among pet owners about skin disease in dogs and cats and to encourage veterinary hospitals to initiate client discussions about itch behavior.

Pet owners can take an Itching-to-Know quiz on a new website created by Zoetis Petcare, which sells the veterinary dermatology products CytoPoint and Apoquel.

August marks the inaugural Itchy Pet Awareness Month, a campaign spearheaded by Zoetis to raise pet owner awareness about skin disease in dogs and cats.

“It's important for pet owners and veterinarians to have the conversation and to raise awareness about itching in pets, because it's the most common reason for dogs to see the veterinarian,” Zoetis Petcare's Andrew Hillier, BVSc, MANZCVS (Canine Medicine), DACVD, said in an interview with dvm360. “And It's not just a dog conversation.”

Because they typically are outside more often, pets tend to experience the most severe itch during the summer. Yet many owners don't realize when the scratching (or biting, licking, chewing, rubbing, gnawing or head shaking) behavior of their pets is abnormal. What's more, Dr. Hillier said, many owners reach for OTC itch products intended for humans, such as lotions, sprays and antihistamines, but data show that these treatments have limited effectiveness in dogs and are not a lasting solution that will improve their quality of life.

“Veterinarians have a variety of innovative new therapies they can choose to control itch that can be tailored to individual dogs and their owners,” he said.

As part of the campaign, Zoetis, which has developed newtechnologies for veterinary dermatology care, is providing veterinary practices with a marketing toolkit-complete with posters, sample client emails and social media posts-to help them promote awareness of pet skin health. Also included is a brief itch quiz intended to educate pet owners about the signs of skin disease and when to see their veterinarian.

Dig into derm at Fetch!

Dermatology is always a hot topic in veterinary practice. Join us in December at the Fetch dvm360 conference in San Diego, where Dr. Hillier will share his expertise on canine and feline skin problems. This Zoetis-sponsored track will give veterinary teams a leg up in diagnosing and managing some of the more confounding conditions.

Skin conditions in dogs and cats are caused most commonly by infection, parasites or allergies to fleas, and food or environmental allergens.

“Millions of dogs are treated every year by veterinarians for itch,” Dr. Hillier said. “Unfortunately, millions of others don't get treated. At Zoetis, one of our main goals is to improve pet quality of life so that the human-animal bond remains as strong as it can be. Itch gets in the way of that, interfering with sleep, activity, walks and playing, and leading to frustration all around.”

Interested in that online client quiz? You can point pet owners to itchingforhelp.com for one on itching to start or continue the conversation.