2021 pet care science stories

Biomarkers

Nutrition

Genetics

Our 2021 pet care science stories

Take a look back at the pet care science stories that our researchers and Mars Petcare colleagues have helped write in 2021 to help pets live healthy, happy lives.

 

Small dog breeds more prone to gum disease

In the largest study of its kind, we analysed data from 3 million health records across 60 popular dog breeds in the United States and found extra-small breeds are up to 5 times more likely to be diagnosed with gum disease than giant breeds. These insights stress the importance of prevention and can help veterinarians provide quality care for all dogs.

 

AI improving cancer diagnosis

Did you know AI is helping veterinary teams detect cancer faster and more reliably? Our Mars Petcare colleagues teamed up with Facebook’s PyTorch to develop a new machine learning model that is now helping veterinary professionals at Antech Diagnostic save 35 hours of pathologist time a day. This means veterinary teams can focus on diagnosing and recommending the best possible treatment for every patient.

 


 

Machine learning identifying behaviour linked to illness

In partnership with Kinship’s Pet Insight Project team, we used deep learning technology and pet activity tracker Whistle™ to identify normal dog behaviours as well as those associated with illness. We also confirmed and validated the algorithm’s accuracy by comparing data from over 5,000 videos of more than 2,500 dogs to activity reports from owners of over 10,000 dogs. The tracker correctly identified activities like eating and drinking as well as behaviours like sniffing, scratching, rubbing, and licking.

This study shows how devices like Whistle™ can help advance prevention and individualised care for pets, giving both owners and veterinarians the chance to spot potential signs of illness early on, based on real-world data.

 

Improving personalised veterinary care with genetics

Without widespread genetic testing of pets, veterinarians often have to piece together clues and make assumptions around breed ancestry when it comes to treating a particular condition. Thanks to a partnership between Wisdom Panel and Banfield Pet Hospital, every puppy enrolled in a Banfield Pet Hospital Puppy Optimum Wellness Plan® receives a Wisdom Panel DNA test. Since 2019, 750,000 puppies have been part of this program, which has enabled veterinary teams to identify crucial information about thousands of pets’ predisposition to serious (even life-threatening) conditions.

 

Helping your senior feline get all the nutrients they need

Our recent study found that warming up senior cats’ wet food may make their meals more enjoyable. Cats’ sense of taste and smell fade as they age, so this might be a way to help them eat all their daily food portions and support their health needs during this stage of their life.