In Short

Published on February 27, 2019

CDC: Don't cuddle hedgehogs

HedgehogPublic health officials have issued an odd warning: "Don't kiss or snuggle hedgehogs, because this can spread Salmonella germs to your face and mouth and make you sick."

Since October, at least 11 people in eight states have become ill from Salmonella Typhimurium infections likely spread by pet hedgehogs, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notice published in January. Ten of those people reported contact with a hedgehog, but CDC investigators had yet to find a common supplier.

Sickened people bought the animals from pet stores, breeders, and online dealers. At least three hedgehogs in two Minnesota homes were carrying the outbreak strain.

"People who own or come in contact with hedgehogs should take steps to stay healthy around their pet," the notice states.

National Dog Bite Prevention Week coming up in April

National Dog Bite Prevention Week logoNational Dog Bite Prevention Week is April 7-13, and the AVMA offers a wide range of resources on the prevention of dog bites.

Dogs are the most popular pet in U.S. households, according to the 2017-18 edition of the AVMA Pet Ownership and Demographics Sourcebook. At year-end 2016, 38.4 percent of households owned dogs, and the population of pet dogs was 76.8 million.

The AVMA, the U.S. Postal Service, and State Farm Insurance created the National Dog Bite Prevention Week Coalition to protect the bond between people and their dogs. According to the coalition, education and responsible pet ownership are key because any dog can bite.

The AVMA Dog Bite Prevention webpage provides information on dog bites and prevention, a toolkit for AVMA members with educational materials to use in veterinary clinics and the community, a series of videos featuring Jimmy the Dog, and many other resources.

Vets First Choice, Henry Schein announce new company name

Covetrus logoVets First Choice and Henry Schein Inc. have announced a name change. The combined company will be known as Covetrus.

"It was important to create a new brand and new name that demonstrates our long-term commitment for veterinary practice customers to always be at the center of our business," said Benjamin Shaw, founder and CEO of Vets First Choice, in a press release. Shaw will act as CEO of Covetrus and serve on its board of directors.

Upon forming, Covetrus will be a technology-forward global animal health business, according to the press release. The company will employ more than 5,000 staff members across 25 countries.

Vets First Choice and Henry Schein first announced the merger in April 2018. As of press time in February, the deal was expected to close during the first quarter.

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Related JAVMA content:

Henry Schein animal health business merging with Vets First Choice (June 15, 2018)