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Mars Petcare Buys DNA Diagnostics Firm

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The company specializes in canine inherited eye disorders.

BRUSSELS — Mars Petcare has acquired OptiGen LLC, a DNA diagnostics company specializing in canine inherited eye disorders.

Included in the acquisition are exclusive licenses to a portfolio of genetic disease tests patented in the U.S., Australia and many countries in Europe, and a biobank of more than 150,000 samples collected over 20 years representing various canine eye diseases. The samples will be used to discover new genetic health markers for dogs, according to a press release.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“Through our pioneering Wisdom Health business, Mars Petcare is leading the discovery of new genetic markers for pet health,” said Leonid Sudakov, president of Connected Solutions, the global ventures, consumer technology, and genetics division of Mars Petcare. “As our scientists seek to improve the understanding of the genetic basis of pet health and disease, this acquisition will contribute to the development of personalized veterinary care. We see our continued efforts to contribute to the ground-breaking companion animal genetics science as a great way to deliver on our purpose: ‘A Better World for Pets’.”

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With this acquisition, WISDOM PANEL genetic test kits will now be able to detect over 185 genetic disease mutations that will help breeders select the best breeding matches for genetically healthy offspring.

“DNA testing is the only way to detect carriers or affected puppies with late onset forms of inherited canine eye disorders,” said Cynthia Cole, general manager of Wisdom Health, Mars Petcare’s companion animal genetics business. “Working with breeders, we can help decrease the incidence of these disorders in the future. We’re at a pivotal time in companion animal genetic research, and with this acquisition we will add to the growing body of knowledge to help veterinarians’ ability to predict and treat inherited eye disorders for dogs.”

The acquisition was finalized April 10. The companies will manage the transition over the course of 2018.

“This acquisition is a welcome and natural evolution of OptiGen’s 20 year history of working with conscientious dog owners, breeders, clubs and canine health registries around the world,” said Sue Pearce-Kelling, OptiGen’s president. “OptiGen’s and Wisdom Health’s shared commitment to providing the highest quality of DNA testing for dogs while also supporting research aimed at identifying new genetic markers for inherited diseases, as well as our mutual respect for intellectual property where it exists in the field, makes this an excellent fit.”

Earlier this year, Mars Petcare has acquired Genoscoper Laboratories, a specialist in molecular diagnostics for companion animals.

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State Considers Banning ‘No Pets’ Rental Listings

Some landlords are not happy about the proposed legislation.

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New Hampshire legislators are considering a ban on “no pets” notices in property listings.

Proposed legislation would forbid landlords and home sellers from barring pet owners, the Concord Monitor reports.

They could make rules related to pet deposits, noise control, sanitation and safety, according to the newspaper. But they could set make rules based on size, breed or appearance.

The legislation was proposed by state Rep. Ellen Read, a Democrat from Newmarket. It has drawn opposition from some landords who say it could lead to unsanitary conditions as well as allergy problems for some residents.

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But Julia Seeley, New Hampshire state director for the Humane Society, said her organization supports the bill.

We just strongly believe that a family should not be torn apart simply over housing,” she said.

Read more at the Concord Monitor

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Spotify Rolls Out Music Playlists for Pets

Pets seem to favor classical music and soft rock.

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Digital music service Spotify had a hunch that people were playing tunes for their pets.

A study by the company found that 71% of pet owners did exactly that. The survey included 5,000 music-streaming pet owners from the U.S., the UK, Australia, Spain and Italy.

The company explains:

That being said, we created a unique experience to help you craft the pawfect algorithmically generated playlist for you and your pet to enjoy together. Head to spotify.com/pets for a playlist you can share with your dog, cat, iguana, hamster, or bird.

See the graphic below for more details from the survey.

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These States Have the Most Dog and Cat Owners … And These States Have the Least

The US is home to almost as many domestic pets as humans.

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A new report looks at which U.S. states are the most pet-loving.

Seniorliving.org, a website devoted to providing information to seniors, delved into recent data from the American Veterinary Medical Association to create its rankings.

Idaho had the highest rate of households owning at least one dog, at 58.3%, according to the report, which excluded Alaska and Hawaii, which were not measured in the AVMA study. Dogs are least common in Washington, DC, where 22.5% of households have at least one.

Vermont ranked first for percentage of households with at least one cat, at 44.6%. DC, meanwhile, is the least cat-owning place, with just 16.4% of households being home to a cat.

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The U.S. is home to almost as many domestic pets as human beings. Almost 1 in 3 of those pets are fish, Seniorliving.org explains.

Cats and dogs combine for about 54.8% of all domestic pets.

 

 

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