The American Veterinary Medical Association’s House of Delegates has approved a policy that discourages feeding raw or undercooked animal-source protein to cats or dogs unless the food has been subjected to a process that eliminates pathogens.
Nearly 91% of the delegates voted for the policy during the organization’s convention in early August. The annual gathering, which brought 8,675 registered attendees to San Diego, also saw the preliminary release of an AVMA pet owner survey.
The new policy on raw food, proposed by the AVMA executive board, noted that cooking and pasteurization are the “traditional” methods for eliminating pathogenic organisms in dog and cat food and recognized that methods such as irradiation are “being developed and implemented.”
The policy had two revisions in committee, including a change from “Never feed inadequately treated animal-source protein to cats and dogs” to “Avoid feeding inadequately treated animal-source protein to cats and dogs.”
The AVMA provided a peek at the 2012 U.S. Pet Ownership and Demographics Sourcebook, which will be available this fall. The sourcebook, updated every five years, features data taken from surveys of about 50,000 U.S. households.
The surveys showed that U.S. household ownership of pets decreased by 2.4% from 2006 to 2011. Meanwhile, spending on veterinary services increased by 14.3%, outpacing inflation by about 2 percentage points.
The mean expenditure per dog was $227 in 2011, compared to $200 in 2006. Expenditures per cat increased from $81 to $90.
With fewer potential clients, veterinarians need to “get back to the basics” by focusing on communication, marketing, client service and marketing, said Karen Felsted, DVM, CPA, MS, CVPM, who presented the data at the convention.