Western Vet And Jen’s Pumpkin: Shared Concerns


Western Veterinary Conference Entrance

The Western Veterinary Conference is in full swing through tomorrow yet I can’t help thinking about Jennifer and Pumpkin, our latest profiled goodnewsforpets.com 10th Anniversary iPad winners.   That’s because Jennifer chose to donate to the ASPCA to help other pets, yet faced unique challenges of her own.  With all the emerging issues and one of the leading points of discussion —  why pet owners are visiting the veterinarian less often.

Bayer Animal Health, Brakke Consulting and the National Commission on Veterinary Economics (NCVEI), in a recent study, identified six root causes:
— the economic impact of the recession; fragmentation of veterinary services; consumers substituting Internet research for office visits; feline resistance; perception among pet owners that regular medical check-ups are not needed and the cost of care.
Several of these factors played into Jennifer’s experience, yet she ultimately adopted Pumpkin, a shelter cat, and knowning Jennifer will seek the level of veterinary care she can for her cat.  Several other winners had the same challenges.  Sure all these issues are on the table, but of most concern is that pet owners feel regular pet check ups are unneccessary.  Watch for more dialogue and hopefully ACTION about this topic from the veterinary profession — ALOT more.

Hill's Pet Nutrition Weight Reduction Kit

Also new at the conference was a new Product Showcase, and front and center was Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc.’s Weight Reduction Kit, available through veterinarians.  An article in The Wall Street Journal “Personal Section” created some buzz.  The article cited yet another study by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention with Banfield Pet Hospital.  Interesting stuff and more to come!

Another interesting topic back on the horizon is the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA)’s impending release of updated vaccine guidelines.  The last canine guidelines were updated in 2006.   The organization releases guidelines on a wide variety of topics to help guide the latest best practices in veterinary medicine.  We don’t have an exact date as while they are compiled by experts in the field, they are now ensuring citations of the scientific literature to back up claims are in order.  The original guidelines which led from annual to every three year vaccinations created quite a stir in both the veterinary profession and for pet owners.  The categories of “core” and “noncore” were hotly debated.  the concept is there are certain vaccines (core) that all pets should receive and then other vaccines (noncore) depending on the pet and where they live.  Stay tuned for this one as well.   As much as I’ve learned about Jennifer as a caring pet owner, she and other pet lovers will be watching each and every one of these issues.

Across the Pond, “What’s On” — Alot!

Westminster Abbey, London

Did you know Londoners refer to “What’s New” as “What’s On” and “Watch Your Step” becomes “Mind the Gap” on the famous Tube (Subway in NYC)?  I say, what fun!  I learned that and more as I spent some time in London while animal health, particularly pharma, continues its rapid transitions.   Before I left  Craig Wallace was being named Ceva’s North America Zone Director, headquartered in Lenexa, Kansas and when I returned  Abaxis was announcing its national lab locating in Kansas City. All good news for the Kansas City Animal Health Corridor.

Portman Veterinary Clinic, London

While in London, I had the good fortune to take a tour of Portman Veterinary Clinic, a clinic in the heart of the city, established over 37 years ago.  The clinic provides primary and specialist care for companion animals.  Bruce Fogle , the principal veterinarian is a veterinary surgeon, co-founder and vice-chairman of  Hearing Dogs for Deaf People, and a best-selling author.   His clinic is situated on a charming street of 18th century shops in the Baker street area of fashionable Marylebone where the likes of Madonna held court with Guy.   The clinic was neat as a pin, the staff engaging, and we had a great chat about the variances of veterinary medicine in the UK vs. the US.  More fodder for another blog post for sure.


The King’s Speech, Baker Street, London

Afterwards, what better place to take in “The King’s Speech” than at the Baker Street Everyman Cinema .  I ordered my ticket and was served up the first hot cup of English tea.  The British crowd seemed to thoroughly enjoy the movie.  I bought the book which I always do AFTER the movie to save any disappointments with Hollywood’s rendition of a story.  That just led to more curiosity about the British Monarchy and the upcoming wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton at Westminster Abbey.  Surprisingly very few touristy type trinkets were displayed for the impending Royal nuptuals, and certainly talk was muted.

Later in the week I visited the London offices of Informa Healthcare’s Animal Pharm and enjoyed a bit of British culture with some fish & chips and a pint.  The new realities of the media environment remain the same on both sides of the pond, and our conversation focused on a range of topics including the good things happening in the Kansas City Animal Health Corridor as well as the global  issues of the day.

Changing of the Queen’s Life Guard, London

A few days later taking in the Changing of the Queen’s Life Guard led to some awe-inspiring moments.  The ceremony is a bit abbreviated when the queen is not in residence, as was the case during my stay.  The brawn and beauty of the horses from every angle was a sight to behold.  The Household Calvary has guarded the Royal residences for more than 300 years. Ducking into the little known small but informative Household Calvary Museum proved a surprise.  It was among the old horse stables complete with a plexiglas view of the current horses standing ready. Did you know the personnel serving as the Queen’s Calvary are genuine soldiers and go on to serve as an armoured reconnaissance regiment?  Sure the pomp is great to behold, but they mean business!

The Flanks of the Household Calvary Horses, London

Elgin Marble Horses, British Museum, London

The British Museum was toured strictly to see the treasures that were missing when I visited the Parthenon in Athens – the famous Elgin Marbles.  Magnificently displayed and revered they were for sure, but I would love to see them all together.  Alas, the complexities of the politics of that issue remain, and the Museum quietly displays their viewpoint on the matter.  An interesting site for more information is www.elginism.com .  While there is a logical history of how they ended up in the Museum, the Marbles would look spectacular all together in Greece, with the Greek people.

Harrod’s London

I was forewarned about the commercialism of Harrods, but I admit my visit was an architectural and pet-branding pet branding mission. The food halls where fine foods of everything imaginable in the original Art Deco style were a site to behold.  Then for a super pet surprise — the Pet Spa and Pet Kingdom, the likes of which I’ve never seen in the U.S. Comments welcome! 




Pet Products Harrods, London

Royal Canin Pet Food Harrods, London

The Pet Kingdom Harrods, London

The Pet Spa Harrods, London

“What’s On” :

Western Veterinary Conference, Las Vegas, NV, February 20-24, 2011

 Happy Valentine’s Day from

Bakery County Hall Cafe