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Market Watch: Stocks Driven by ‘Pet Parents’

Market Watch: Stocks Driven by 'Pet Parents'NEW YORK — It was relatively a quiet week for the pet industry in terms of the market place, but it did bring the announcement of a new president for a newly formed group, the filing of a Form 8-K for a stock sale and a little insight into the industry’s growth — driven by the dawning age of “pet parents.”

Welcome, Madame President

On Thursday, Sept. 24, Henry Schein Inc. (Nasdaq: HSIC) announced the appointment of Lonnie Shoff as president of Henry Schein Global Healthcare Specialties Group.

Henry Schein is primarily in the dental products business but also distributes animal health products, in addition to software systems to dentists, medical doctors and animal health clinics.

Within Global Healthcare Specialties Group — a newly formed division — Shoff will be responsible for the dental specialties and global exclusive brands. Previously, Shoff was at Roche Diagnostics for more than 20 years, where she was senior vice president and general manager of the Applied Science group, as well as in charge of U.S. commercial operations for the $350 million group.

Henry Schein’s stock price has been steadily increasing for the past six months with a 52-week low of $32per share but has remained above $50 per share in the past month. As of press time, the announcement of Shoff’s appointment appears to have no significant effect on the stock price.

8-K Filed for Sale of Stock

On Friday, Sept. 18, MWI Veterinary Supply Inc. (Nasdaq: MWIV), which distributes pharmaceuticals, vaccines, diagnostics, capital equipment, supplies, veterinary pet food, and nutritional products to veterinarians, filed a Form 8-K with the SEC concerning a trading plan created by its parent company, Agri Beef Co.

Sold to the beef producer in 1981, the form disclosed “that Agri Beef Co. has entered into a pre-arranged stock trading plan to sell a limited number of their shares of the [MWI’s] common stock. The 10b5-1 Plan entered into by Agri Beef Co. allows for the sale of a maximum of 227,346 shares of the company’s common stock through August 31, 2010.”

Following the announcement last Friday, the company’s stock saw a slight jump Monday and Tuesday reaching more than $42 per share but generally appears to be remaining in its previous range for the past month between $38 and $40 per share. The 52-week range for the company’s stock is $20.16 to $42.21 per share.

Why PetMed Express Could Grow & Grow

Last Thursday, Sept. 17, the Motley Fool’s Matt Koppenheffer named seven stocks he predicted would surely grow over the next several years and PetMed Express (Nasdaq: PETS) was one of the lucky seven.

But, his reasoning appeared to have nothing to do with luck but rather healthy financials — citing almost no debt, positive cash flow and doubling of revenue in four years — as well as pet owners.

As Koppenheffer puts it: “Gone are the days when Fido was relegated to the backyard and treated like, well, an animal. Pet owners increasingly see their pets as a part of the family, and in many cases are as concerned about the well-being of their dog or cat as they would be about a child.”

PetMed’s stock has fluctuated in the past year, at times below $13 per share but has remained steadily above $17 per share for the past two months.

That’s the latest business news in the pet industry. Stay tuned for another round-up at the end of next week.

By:  Jennifer Fernicola – business correspondent for Zootoo Pet News.

Posted:  Just One More Pet

September 27, 2009 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, Just One More Pet, pet products, Pets, Unusual Stories | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Doggy MRIs: Pampered pets receive state of the art health care

When a pet gets sick, many owners will pay almost anything to be sure he gets better.

Fluffy and Fido tug at an owner’s heart. So we buy the highest quality pet food or a special formula depending on if he’s young or old or too chubby. Or, for the more holistic-minded, an owner might opt for an organic, vitamin-enriched dog or cat food.

And when a pet gets sick, many owners will pay almost anything to be sure he gets better, including chemotherapy for cancer, a kidney transplant or hip replacement surgery.

Humans have ancient relations with their animal companions. Burial evidence of cats as pets dates back over 8,000 years and for dogs about half that long. These early pets provided their masters with both companionship and survival skills such as hunting assistance, according to experts.

Over the years, as domesticated cats and dogs became increasingly docile, the pet-human relationship evolved. And while an animal’s survival instincts may have been compromised along the way – how many of our pets could actually support themselves in the wild? – there are some perks.

Today, with pets considered more like four-footed people, owners are laying out big bucks for such pet-pampering services as styling salons, doggie day camps, and massage therapy.

And modern pets are also reaping the benefits of human technological advances with more animals receiving medical treatments such as chemotherapy, organ transplants, radiation, CAT scans, MRIs, laser surgery, root canals and even braces.

And in the case of MRIs, “your dog or cat can get an MRI faster than us as humans,” Randy Valpy of Petplan Insurance told the Toronto Star.

According to the report, these increasingly advanced health care options for animals come at no small expense. A dog or cat can receive state of the art imaging, for example, for about $1,000 and radiation therapy for as much as $5,000. And if you want an ultrasound, prepare to pay from $400 to $800.

The Ontario Veterinary College’s Teaching Hospital at Guelph offers radiation therapy for dogs and cats with cancer. Treatment of an animal ranges from $500 to $5,000.

Depending on the severity of the condition, an owner can pay tens of thousands of dollars for a pet’s veterinary care. And as a result, more people are considering pet insurance as a means of protecting their animals – and their wallets.

“We’ve seen invoices that run from $10,000 to $30,000 to treat a variety of conditions,” said Peter Weinstein, medical director for Veterinary Pet Insurance in California. The company sold more than 360,000 pet insurance policies in 2005, vs. 157,000 in 2000.

And about 1,100 U.S. companies offer VPI’s pet insurance as an employee benefit, he added.
Depending on the plan, pet insurance in Canada can cost from $9.95 to $90 a month, with the average cost somewhere around $30. Many insurance companies, including Petplan, Petcare, and PC Financial Pet Insurance, offer potential customers online quotes for a range of coverage plans.

Sophisticated medical treatments and surgical techniques have undoubtedly boasted the life span of pets. “Thirty years ago in the U.S. the average age of a dog was 4 years; the average age of a cat was 3 years,” Bonnie Beaver, past president of the American Veterinary Medical Association told CNN.

Today, the average lifespan of a dog is between eight and 12 years, says Beaver.

Pet owners report ‘unconditional love’ as the main reason for Fido and Fluffy-fretting— to the tune of billions of dollars in North America each year.

Article By: Cynthia Ross Cravit – 50Plus.com

Posted:  Just One More Pet

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August 2, 2009 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, animals, Just One More Pet, Pet Health, Pets, responsible pet ownership | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments