5 Pet Health Innovations & Announcements You May Have Missed This Year



2013 was a year of plenty of healthcare changes for humans, but you might have missed a few announcements that are making waves for pets. From spay and neuter recommendations to pet treats, a few big strides and changes in the pet world are:

1. New FDA Regulations to Monitor Pet Treat Safety for First Time Ever

In the wake of almostย 

600 pet deaths linked to jerky treats

, the FDA started making strides in 2013 toward the first-ever set of rules governing pet food production and sales.ย Under the proposed new rule, pet food and treat manufacturers โ€” including those overseas in countries like China โ€” must develop procedures to prevent any foodborne illnesses, or theyย could find their shipments stopped by the FDA.

2. New Law Targets Puppy Mills and Internet Puppy Sales

The rules for selling pets over the internet have long been in a legal gray area, allowing

puppy mills to skirt around pet safety guidelines.ย Under the USDA's new rule

, "sellers either must allow buyers to see animals in person before they purchase them or obtain a license and be subject to inspections by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service."Some breeders who run small businesses breeding and selling pets from their own homes fear the rules could regulate them out of business, butย The Humane Society of the United States applauded the move.

3. Obamacare Could Raise Your Bills at the Vet's Office

A 2.3% tax on medical devices, folded into The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, will affect some equipment that veterinarians buy, potentially raising the cost of care for pet parents.

4. Large Breeds Dogs Should Be Spayed or Neutered Later

New research has shown that large breed dogs should be altered aroundย 18-22 months, instead of the previously common 5-8 months. This is being recommendedย for growth reasons -- large breed dogs grow differently than smaller ones, and altering later may decrease chances of problems with the hips or ruptured CCLs (cranial cruciate ligament).

5. Sterilization Drug Could Be Alternative to Neutering

Some pet parents shy away from having their pets neutered for fear of losing the edge to their working dog or because they cringe at the idea of removing their beloved pal's " manhood." a>new sterilization procedure, with a drug calledย Zeuterin, could completely change the situation. This procedure, which is much simpler and less invasive than surgery, could be an option for pet parents by the end of this year or early 2014. It also stands to aid neuter programs for the stray animal population.
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