The Experts in Animal Health

Brakke Consulting’s
Animal Health News & Notes for July 3, 2020
Copyright © Brakke Consulting
Editor: Lynn Fondon DVM MBA

Brakke Consulting News
COVID-19: Impact on Pet Care report – WAVE 2 NOW AVAILABLE

Earnings News
General Mills
Hester Biosciences
Premier Veterinary Group

Other News
Fish Vet Group
Merck (expansion)
Merck (Sentinel)
Merck (Fertagyl)
Orion Animal Health
Thermo Fisher Scientific
Zoetis (Fish Vet Group)
Zoetis (Orion)

The pandemic that struck the US and the rest of the world in early 2020 is an event that has altered personal lives and business operations unlike any other event. What lasting impacts will the pandemic have on pet owners regarding the way they purchase pet medications and veterinary services?

“COVID-19: Impact on Pet Care” is a new study by Brakke Consulting that will help answer this question.  The study is based on online surveys of a nationally representative sample of 1,000 pet owners, conducted every few weeks beginning in May. The study not only documents the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on pet owners, it also shows the change in how pet owners were able to receive care for their pets at veterinary clinics.  Furthermore, it shows how pet owner purchasing behaviors for pet medications and pet food changed during the stay-at-home orders.

The study will deliver 3 reports, roughly 4 – 6 weeks apart, beginning in May; the June report, which covers changes from the start of the lockdowns to mid-June, is now available.  The cost of the study is $17,500.   For more information, contact John Volk at


  • Hester Biosciences reported results for its fiscal year 2020 ended March 31. Net sales were INR 1.69 billion ($22.5 million), a decline of 1% from the prior year. (IHS Markit Connect)
  • General Mills reported results for the fiscal year ended May 31, 2020. Fiscal 2020 was a 53-week year, with the extra week falling in the fourth quarter. Pet segment net sales increased 18% to $1.69 billion. Segment operating profit of $391 million was up 46%. (company website)
  • Premier Veterinary Group PLC reported results for the six months ended March 31, 2020. Revenue was GBP 2.0 million ($2.5 million), an increase of 5% over the comparable prior-year period. The pretax loss was GBP(1.2) million ($1.5 million) compared to a GBP(1.6) million loss the previous year. (Morningstar)


  • Merck Animal Health announced an investment of $100 million in facility expansion and enhancement efforts in its US manufacturing site in DeSoto, Kansas. The DeSoto site develops and manufactures a broad portfolio of vaccines for swine, cattle and equine. Particularly, the site houses large-scale fermentation and cell culture, blending and filling operations and packaging, along with monoclonal antibody manufacturing for companion animals. (company press release)
  • Merck Animal Health announced the completion of its previously announced acquisition of the US rights to Sentinel Flavor Tabs and Sentinel Spectrum Chews from Virbac. (company press release)
  • Merck Animal Health announced Fertagyl (gonadorelin) is now approved for use with closprostenol sodium to synchronize estrous cycles to allow for fixed timed artificial insemination (FTAI) in beef cows. Fertagyl was already approved for use with Estrumate (cloprostenol injection) to synchronize estrous cycles to allow for FTAI in lactating dairy cows. (company press release)
  • UK firm Benchmark announced that it has sold its Fish Vet Group to Zoetis subsidiary Pharmaq for a total cash consideration of GBP 14.4-14.7 million ($17.8-18.2 million). Fish Vet develops and commercializes vaccines, diagnostics and services for aquaculture. (IHS Markit Connect)
  • Ceva Animal Health announced it has acquired ThunderWorks, which makes a range of calming products for cats and dogs, including the ThunderShirt calming wrap. Financial terms were not disclosed. (
  • Zomedica Pharmaceuticals announced a $30 million public offering of 187.5 million common shares with short-term warrants at $0.16. The company plans to use net proceeds from the offering mainly for continued development of its Truforma Diagnostic Platform. (Reuters briefs)
  • The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) recently approved the registration of the Applied Biosystems VetMAX African Swine Fever Virus Detection Kit from Thermo Fisher Scientific in the OIE manual of diagnostic testing. According to the press release, it is the first African swine fever (ASF) kit to be registered by the OIE. (
  • ezyVet and VetSuccess announced a partnership to provide deeper data insights and performance metrics. The integration between the two companies allows ezyVet customers to directly connect with VetSuccess and receive the full suite of VetSuccess products. (company press release)
  • Pawlytics, a startup building custom operations management software to help the pet sheltering industry share vital pet health info with providers, announced it is raising $500,000 in pre-seed funding to scale its software. The firm currently serves smaller, foster-based rescue shelters that generally care for fewer than 2,000 animals per year, with plans to meet the needs of larger clients that handle 20,000 to 60,000 pets per year. (
  • SCANDINAVIA Zoetis announced it will manage its own sales, marketing and distribution activities in Norway, Denmark and Sweden as of the beginning of 2021. The move will see the company’s 20-year-long commercial agreement with Finnish firm Orion Animal Health in the three countries come to an end after December 31, 2020. (IHS Markit Connect)



  • US – FDA SUBMISSIONS The FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine announced it will re-open its Document Control Unit on a limited basis on Monday, July 6, 2020.  Sponsors who have already started the process of submitting information to CVM via the alternative methods described in the May 8 update should continue with those alternative processes.  For future submissions that cannot be submitted to CVM via the eSubmitter tool, CVM will start accepting paper submissions by mail and courier again on July 6. (FDA)
  • US – CONFERENCE FORMATS The International Association of Animal Hospice and Palliative Care announced it will hold a virtual conference because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The meeting, which had been set for October in Tampa, will take place online Oct. 1 to 4 under the theme “Restore Revive Reset.” In addition, Petfood Forum 2020, once slated for Kansas City, was postponed from late April to mid-August. Now, a virtual conference under the name Petfood Forum Connect is set for Sept. 9, 10, 15, 16 and 17. (Todays Veterinary Business)
  • US – VIRTUAL PET MARKETPLACE The World Pet Association (WPA) is launching WPA365, a new, immersive, virtual-reality inspired marketplace tailored to the WPA and SuperZoo audiences. The World Pet Association (WPA) is launching WPA365, a new, immersive, virtual-reality inspired marketplace tailored to the WPA and SuperZoo audiences. (Pet Product News)
  • US – VETERINARY STUDENT SURVEY The VBMA, the Veterinary Information Network (VIN), and VIN Foundation developed a survey to shed light on if, and how, the pandemic is impacting veterinary students preparing to enter the veterinary workforce. More than 1,000 veterinary students from the classes of ’20 and ’21 at US and Caribbean veterinary schools responded. The survey results showed that most students felt that their school’s reaction to COVID-19 was reasonable, and nearly 90% of the class of 2020 had signed or verbally agreed to employment. However, mental wellbeing of students has declined, and nearly two-thirds of the class of 2021 had externship experiences postponed or canceled. Click here to see the results of the survey. (foundation press release)
  • US – ANIMAL HEALTH INNOVATION GO Topeka, the economic development group for Kansas’ Capitol City, announced plans to develop a large-scale animal health innovation campus. The development will be home to Plug and Play’s Animal Health / Ag Tech Startup Accelerator program, as well as research and development labs and office spaces for startups and corporate innovation partners. (group press release)
  • LATIN AMERICA – VACCINATION GUIDELINES The Vaccination Guidelines Group (VGG) of the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) has produced a set of regional Guidelines to support companion animal veterinarians in Latin American countries.  They offer evidence-based recommendations for the vaccination of cats and dogs against the most prevalent infectious diseases in the region. The guidelines are available on the group’s website. To read the guidelines, click here (association press release)


This week, I’d like to direct our focus at consumer trends in pet care in China. During the COVID-19 pandemic, pet product sales in China have increased significantly, especially for cleaning products, disinfectants, pet N95 masks, and goggles. As the COVID-19 situation stabilizes, Chinese consumers are indulging in “compensatory consumption”. Compared with the same period of 2019, the sales of pet products at (a top online retailer in China) increased by 328% on June 18th, the global mid-year Shopping Festival for Food, dewormers, and cat products accounted for nearly 50% of their sales (¥1 billion or $143 million). In the first half of 2020, pet spay and neuter visits increased by 203%, and pet vaccination orders increased by 240%.

COVID-19 will continue to dramatically accelerate the development of the Chinese pet preventive care market. Although pet industry has developed rapidly in China, 93% of pet owners nationwide report that they are in a dire need for scientific knowledge of pet wellness and preventive care. We believe that preventive care products and services and animal behavior training will be the main sectors of China’s pet care market in the future and when backed with data, will find eager Chinese pet owners.

Jishu Shi

Last week we asked about the status of sales calling and half of the respondents said that they have not started any in-person sales calls.  A little over 10% said that they were pretty much back to normal in making in-person calls, while 13% said they were limited to 1-2 calls per day.  The remaining 25% said they were making  less than 5 calls per week.  Looks like we have a way to go to get back making in-person sales calls.

Due to a system update with our survey provider, there will be no new Your View question this week. We will be back with a new question next week.


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