Pet Industry News Newsletter 22nd May 2017
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19-20 October, 2017

Rosehill Gardens Racecourse, Grand Pavillion
Venom becomes more potent as brown snakes age

Adult eastern brown snake. Credit - Stewart Macdonald.

The “blood nuking” capabilities of adult brown snake venom only come about after an amazing transformation.
New research led by University of Queensland scientist Associate Professor Bryan Fry has shown the venom of young brown snakes attacks the nervous system, while the venom of older snakes has dangerous effects on the circulatory system.
“This is because young brown snakes specialise in lizards, then specialise in mammals as adults,” Dr Fry said.
“Young brown snakes may produce clinical symptoms like that of a death adder, as they seek out and paralyse sleeping lizards.
“Once older, their venom contains toxins that cause devastating interference with blood clotting, causing rodent prey to become immobilised by stroke.
“Although the venom is diluted in the much larger blood volume of a human and do not cause stroke, bite victims can still die from internal bleeding.”
Dr Fry, of the UQ School of Biological Sciences’ Venom Evolution Laboratory, said brown snakes were highly venomous and were found in mainland Australia, with the eastern brown snakes also found in New Guinea.
“The venom’s action upon the blood was shown to be much more complex than previously known,” he said.
“It was previously known that brown snakes are like taipans in converting a protein called prothrombin into thrombin, which in turn forms the blood clot.
“However, the speed of action could not be accounted for based on this action alone.
“Our team discovered brown snakes are potent in activating Factor VII, another blood clotting enzyme, which is the missing (dark matter) element of brown snake envenomations.
“The feedback loop created by this enzyme would become a venomous vortex and dramatically accelerate the effects upon the blood.”
Dr Fry said the research was an excellent example of the value of studying basic evolution, where results could have immediate implications for human health, and also contribute to the philosophy of science.
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Spectrum Brands Enters Agreement to Acquire PetMatrix

Spectrum Brands Holdings, Inc., a global consumer product company offering an expanding portfolio of leading brands providing superior value to consumers and customers every day, has signed a definitive agreement to acquire privately owned PetMatrix, LLC, a rapidly growing manufacturer and marketer of rawhide-free dog chews. PetMatrix is on pace to achieve approximately $75 million in sales in calendar year 2017. Financial terms of the accretive, all-cash transaction were not disclosed.

"PetMatrix will immediately strengthen our pet care portfolio with its well-established and growing brands catering to healthy alternative pet trends," said Andreas Rouvé, CEO of Spectrum Brands Holdings. "We expect it to further solidify Spectrum Brands as a leader in the North American dog chews category and to provide compelling white space revenue opportunities in Europe, Latin America and Asia."

Fruit That is Safe for Your Dogs and Cats !

Most of us love our daily dose of fruit.  There are so many different choices and they are fortified with vitamins and keep us feeling satisfied.  When snacking on fruit, it might be tempting to give your dog or cat some or even add it their diet.  Some fruit is fine for your pets while others can really upset their stomach and even be dangerous.

As always, when introducing any new food to your pet’s diet, make sure to do so slowly to see if it affects your pets.  Some fruit might affect your dog or cat’s stomach.  And since fruit tends to have a lot of sugar, make sure to that your fruit samplings make up no more than 10% of your pets’ diet.

Make sure to wash all fruit and remove rinds, inedible skins, seeds, and pits before feeding to pets.

Below is a list of fruit that is safe to feed your pets:

Apples– Apples are high in fiber and low in fat, making them the ideal snack for more senior pets who will have low metabolism. They’re also packed with vitamins A and C which are essential for maintaining healthy bones and tissue. Feed your pets apples in moderation and remove the core and seeds first, as they contain cyanide.

Apricots – not dried as they have too much sugar and make sure to cut up into small pieces

Bananas – Just as we love our daily dose of potassium, bananas are great for our pets.  They are soft, easy to digest, and can be implemented fairly easily into their diet.

Blueberries– known for their anti-oxidants are safe for dogs and cats.

Cantaloupe– Great source of vitamins A, B complex, C, plus fiber, beta-carotene, potassium, magnesium, thiamine, niacin, pantothenic acid and folic acid. (1 inch of cantaloupe wedge is a good size treat.)

Strawberries –good source of fiber, potassium, magnesium, iodine, folic acid, omega-3 fats, Vitamins C, K, B1 and B6.

Pears and pineapples:  great fiber, folic acid, niacin, phosphorus, potassium, copper, pectin and vitamins A, C, E, B1 and B2. (One or 2 pear cubes is a good size treat.)

Raspberries – Raspberries are low in sugar and contain lots of fiber and vitamin C. Their anti-inflammatory properties make them great for older pets.  They should be given in moderation as they contain small amounts of Xylitol, a sweetener which can be toxic to pets in large doses.

Watermelon – Watermelon is almost 92% water and is great for keeping your pet hydrated. It also contains Vitamins A, C, and B-6, as well as potassium which helps maintain healthy muscle and nerve function. Always remove seeds.

Fruit to avoid:

Cherries are toxic to cats and dogs, and grapes and raisins can cause kidney damage and are unsafe. Citrus fruits like lemons, limes, and grapefruit as well as persimmons can cause an upset stomach.

Every dog or cat is different and if you just sample small amounts of fruit, you can determine which type they like and what their digestive systems tolerate.

Source: PetPav

Australian Consumer Confidence resumes its downward trend - down 2.6% to 109.4

The latest ANZ-Roy Morgan Australian Consumer Confidence index dropped sharply, falling 2.6% this week. The index now sits at 109.4 – the lowest level since September 2015. The four week moving average continued to trend lower, and is now 1.6% below its long run average. Four of the five indices registered sharp declines. Households’ expectations towards their long term economic conditions posted the sharpest fall, down 5.5% over the week while views about current economic conditions fell by 3.9%.

Review of import conditions for prawns and prawn products
The Australian Department of Agriculture and Water Resources is undertaking a review of the import conditions for prawns and prawn products for human consumption.
The review will consider the biosecurity risks for these imports from all countries and recommend appropriate import conditions to manage these.
The review will be conducted through a comprehensive non-regulated risk analysis of existing import conditions and policy, including the current Generic Import Risk Analysis Report for Prawns and Prawn Products (Prawn IRA), which was finalised in 2009.
It is common practice to review import conditions, to ensure risks are appropriately managed in a changing biosecurity environment.
The review will take into account the best available scientific information, international standards developed by the World Organisation for Animal Health, as well as policies adopted by other countries for the importation of these products.
The department will use external resources and experts as necessary to undertake the review and may include requesting advice or information from the Scientific Advisory Group.
It will identify and categorise hazards of biosecurity concern associated with the importation of these products. Risk assessments of disease agents will be undertaken as required.
The department will then prepare a draft report, which will be published on, before consulting with stakeholders and inviting comment.
Following the consultation period, the department will consider feedback in preparing a final report.

Ten lives for cats? Mizzou maps feline genomes, identifies source of illnesses

Read more here:

Leslie Lyons is the lead researcher on a University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine project that seeks to map the genomes of 99 cats and use the data to identify the source of genetic disorders.
University of Missouri

Read more here:

Researchers at the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine have mapped the entire genetic makeup of 50 felines and are using the data to identify the source of illnesses that cause blindness and death in cats.

The research, named the 99 Lives Cat Genome Sequencing Initiative, was started by Leslie Lyons, the school’s Gilbreath-McLorn endowed professor of comparative medicine. In a prepared statement, Lyons said the results could lead to better treatments and breeding strategies for both exotic, endangered cats and more mundane varieties of house cats.

“Genetics of the patient is a critical aspect of an individual’s health care for some diseases,” Lyons said. “Continued collaboration with geneticists and veterinarians could lead to the rapid discovery of undiagnosed genetic conditions in cats. The goal of genetic testing is to identify disease early, so that effective and proactive treatment can be administered to patients.”

The project’s ultimate aim is to sequence the entire genome of 99 cats. Getting halfway there has already given the Missouri research team insights into genetic mutations that lead to serious health conditions.

One study found a genetic mutation responsible for progressive retinal atrophy, which causes blindness in the endangered African black-footed cat. A second study identified a mutation that causes Niemann-Pick type C1, a fatal cellular disorder, in a 36-week-old silver tabby kitten that was referred to the MU Veterinary Health Center.

Read more here:

Regular supply of coral larvae best for reef recovery

A network of well-connected reefs with abundant herbivorous fish populations are needed to maintain long-term reef resilience.

For reefs facing huge challenges, more coral larvae doesn’t necessarily translate to increased rates of coral recovery on degraded reefs, a new Queensland study has showed.

The study, published today, was led by former University of Queensland School of Biological Sciences researcher Dr Christopher Doropoulos, now of CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere, and involved collaboration between CSIRO, the University of Queensland, and Griffith University.

“Overall, our research shows that excessively high or low densities of coral larvae do not contribute to reef recovery,” said Dr Doropoulos.

“When larval supply is too low, corals tend not to attach to the reef because they have aggregative behaviour; they prefer to colonise in groups.

“On the other hand, when larval densities are extremely high, the post-settlement survival of corals is low because internal feedbacks regulate populations so they don’t grow in excess.”

The researchers used both laboratory and field studies to investigate how differing coral larval densities and habitat complexity influenced larval survival, settlement and post-settlement success.

They found recovery of coral populations was optimal where there are consistent supplies of coral larvae from neighbouring, healthy reefs, to areas of disturbed reefs with low abundances of competing seaweeds, and cryptic spaces for tiny corals to hide and grow.

Thus, Dr Doropoulos said a network of well-connected reefs with abundant herbivorous fish populations was needed to maintain long-term reef resilience.

“Coral colonisation involves three distinct life-history stages,” he said.

“Firstly, corals are transported as tiny larvae following mass annual spawning events.

“Secondly, the larvae transition from the water column to undergo metamorphosis and settle on to the reef, after which time they can no longer swim.

“Finally, the minute corals need to defend themselves against predators and competitors to grow and survive into colonies that build coral reefs.

“Each of these three stages is considered a ‘recruitment bottleneck’, so quantifying how well corals can transition through each stage is key to understanding how well reefs can recover following a disturbance.”

UQ Marine Spatial Ecology Lab PhD student Nicolas Evensen said colonisation by tiny coral larvae was a key process that promoted reef recovery after degradation.

“The findings will be important for future reef management,” Mr Evensen said.

“The recolonisation of coral larvae is a key attribute of reef resilience, and is becoming increasingly important with the cover of reef-building corals declining globally.”

Pet care sees internet retailing boom

Internet retailing is the fastest growing channel in the pet care market. New data from Euromonitor International reports global growth of nearly 90 percent.

As more people than ever enjoy internet access, customers are increasingly buying pet products at a click of a button. The market intelligence publisher attributes the boom to round-the-clock shopping time, convenient product comparisons and competitive pricing.

Paula Flores, head of pet care at Euromonitor International says, “If we dive into the differences amongst regions we can see that over 17 percent of total pet care sales are online in Asia Pacific. This is really quite relevant and indeed quite a high percentage share and it is related with the fact that Asians pet owners are young, and very technological with a very strong penetration of mobile phones and where the digital space is quite developed. Indeed, this with consumers using digital payments such as Alipay. And let’s not forget this is the home of such leading player as Alibaba and Tmall.

“In China, leading manufacturers have adjusted their distribution strategies to pay more attention to this growing channel, by opening official online flagship stores on the leading B2C platforms in China, such as and In Western Europe it accounts for eight percent but the pace has been picking up with such strong markets as the UK where retailing is quite developed and consumers are very used to online shopping.

“Of course the local players such as Zooplus have had a great role to play with its diverse offer and quality services. And in the US, competition has just been heating up with players really, making inroads and leveraging omnichannel strategies. However, the latest development has been that Chewy has just been announced to be acquired by PetSmart (the largest retailer).”

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