The Experts in Animal Health

Brakke Consulting’s
Animal Health News & Notes for June 13, 2003

Copyright © Brakke Consulting, Inc.

>  Vetoquinol reported sales of 185 million euros ($194 million) for the year 2002, a 27% increase compared to 2001 sales. During 2002, Vetoquinol acquired the US pet products business of IGI, Inc. (company website)

>  Adisseo reported sales of 581 million euros ($609 million) for the year 2002, a decrease of 5% compared to 2001 sales.  (company website)

The Success of Veterinarians Is Essential

The Practice Management Group of Brakke Consulting, Inc. have become some of the most frequent speakers at veterinary association meetings throughout the U.S. and abroad. They consistently fill the rooms when they present veterinary management seminars.   PMG can help your company increase its value to existing and potential veterinary customers through sponsored seminars that are educational, relevant, enjoyable and very beneficial to veterinarians and their staffs.  Contact Roger Cummings, CVPM in the Dallas office at 972.243.4033 or by email at to learn how our practice management consultants can help maximize your company’s exposure to the veterinary profession.


>  The FDA amended the animal drug regulations to reflect approval of an abbreviated new animal drug application (ANADA) filed by Phoenix Scientific, Inc. The ANADA provides for the use of acepromazine maleate injectable solution in dogs, cats, and horses as a tranquilizer. (AnimalNet – Federal Register)

>  The FDA amended the animal drug regulations to reflect approval of an abbreviated new animal drug application (ANADA) filed by Cross Vetpharm Group, Ltd. The ANADA provides for the oral use of pyrantel pamoate paste for the removal and control of certain internal parasites in horses and ponies. (AnimalNet – Federal Register)

>  Aviagen announced that it has been acquired by Advent International, a global equity investor, for 255 million pounds sterling ($422 million).  Aviagen develops pedigree lines for producing chickens and turkeys, principally under the Arbor Acres and Ross brands for chicken and Nicholas brand for turkeys.  Aviagen’s 2002 sales were 165 million pounds sterling ($273 million). (Feedstuffs)

>  Farnam Horse Products, which furnished period props for the upcoming movie Seabiscuit, has teamed up with Universal Pictures for a major cross-promotional campaign supported by national and regional advertising.  Farnam is offering horse owners a chance to get Seabiscuit apparel as part of a consumer promotion being featured at close to 4,000 mass and specialty retail stores nationwide. Customers who buy two doses of Ivercare will receive an embroidered Seabiscuit baseball cap or t-shirt, or they can get a $1 instant rebate per dose of IverCare purchased.  (company press release)

>  Biopure Corporation introduced a new, smaller 60 milliliter bag of its oxygen therapeutic Oxyglobin (hemoglobin glutamer – 200 (bovine)) to provide veterinarians more dosing flexibility when treating anemia in smaller dogs or those requiring less or short-term oxygen-carrying support.  Oxyglobin was approved by the FDA in 1998 and by the European Commission in 1999 for the treatment of anemia in dogs. (company press release)

>   ConAgra Foods Inc. has agreed to sell its chicken processing operations to Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. for $590 million in cash and securities.  With the purchase, Pilgrim’s Pride said it will become the nation’s second largest chicken company (behind Tyson Foods) with annual net sales of about $5 billion. The sale comes as ConAgra gets out of the meatpacking business. The company sold its fresh beef and pork business in September to outside investors for $1.4 billion. (AP)

>  Pennexx Foods failed in a last minute bid to win a financial bailout, and is in discussions with Smithfield Foods about how to arrange the auction of its production and packaging equipment. Pennexx had agreed to repay Smithfield $13 million plus interest by June 9. Smithfield owns 41% of the case-ready firm. (MeatingPlace)

>  Farmland Industries has reached an agreement with U.S. Premium Beef (USPB) under which USPB, which now owns 29% of Farmland National Beef, will purchase Farmland Industries’ 71% stake in the beef packing company for $232 million. U.S. Premium Beef’s bid is subject to court approval as a “stalking horse” bid as part of the auction process. Farmland National Beef is the fourth largest beef packer in the nation, processing 3.2 million head of cattle per year. (PRNewswire)
>  eMerge Interactive, Inc. announced that the nation’s top five beef processors have selected the VerifEYE Solo meat inspection system for inclusion in their meat quality systems.  The five companies account for over 80% of the beef marketed in the US. (company press release)

>  Doane Pet Care Company announced that it has completed its previously announced exchange offer for its outstanding 10 3/4% senior notes due 2010.  All $213 million in aggregate principal amount of the company’s outstanding notes have been tendered and exchanged for a like principal amount of its 10 3/4% senior notes due 2010 that have been registered under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended. (PRNewswire)

>  ConAgra Poultry Co. recalled 129,000 pounds of chicken because it may contain glass, according to the USDA. The company is asking distributors in five states – Florida, Georgia, New York, North Carolina and South Carolina – to return certain “Country Pride Fresh Chicken’’ packages.   (AP)

>  K9 Water Company, Inc. announced the company’s products are market ready.  The products are named Toilet Water, Puddle Water, Hose Water and Gutter Water, and are vitamin fortified bottled water specifically formulated to provide your dog with essential vitamins that contribute to overall good health and provide the hydration your dog needs.  K9 Vita Water can be enjoyed in four of the flavors dogs enjoy most: chicken, beef, liver and lamb. (PRNewswire)

ACVIM Conference in Charlotte, NC

The American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine’s annual conference took place in Charlotte June 4 – 8, 2003.  There were over 2,800 veterinary attendees, both ACVIM diplomats and general veterinary practitioners, as well as veterinary students, technicians, and others.  The cutting edge of veterinary medicine was on display in both seminars and research posters, with a keynote address on cloning in domestic animals presented by Dr. Duane Kraemer of Texas A&M University.


In the past year or two, the exhibit halls at veterinary conferences have seen a proliferation of veterinary compounding pharmacies.  In response to frequent questions about this topic, Brakke Consulting will be conducting a study of the phenomenon of veterinary compounding.  The study will answer questions such as

– what do veterinary compounders offer?
– what types of companies are offering compounding services?
– how many and how big are they?
– how frequently are veterinarians using compounding services?
– are there differences in veterinary usage between equine and small animal practitioners?
– are veterinary compounders taking business away from traditional pharmaceutical manufacturers?

The study will be completed in July 2003.  The pre-publication price, available until June 15, is $2,750, a $500 discount off the actual $3,250 cost.  Orders placed by June 15 will also be permitted to submit questions for potential inclusion in the veterinary survey.  For more information, please call 972-243-4033 or email .


>  US   Consumer Reports magazine’s cover article in the July 2003 issue was a report entitled “Pets & Vets; How to save thousands of dollars, find cheaper drugs, and help you pet live longer and better.”  The article advised pet owners to shop veterinary services for lowest price, talk to veterinarians about reducing frequency of vaccinations, and request prescriptions for products rather than obtaining them at the veterinary clinic.  The article also advised that, in most cases, owners would not save money by purchasing pet insurance. (Consumer Reports)

>  US   The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that monkeypox, a viral disease related to smallpox but less infectious and less deadly, has been detected for the first time in the Americas, with at least two dozen cases reported in the midwest. All cases had had direct or close contact with ill prairie dogs, which have become a fad in the exotic-pet market and which might have caught monkeypox from another species, possibly Gambian giant pouched rats; the rats are imported as pets from West or Central Africa, where the disease has long occurred. Monkeypox in Africa is carried mainly by squirrels but named after monkeys because it often kills them. The stories note that several patients in the American outbreak work for veterinarians or pet stores that sold prairie dogs and Gambian rats. (AnimalNet – New York Times)

>  US   The US government moved aggressively to contain the first outbreak of monkeypox in the Western Hemisphere, prohibiting imports of African rodents, banning the sale of prairie dogs, and recommending smallpox shots for people exposed to monkeypox. The smallpox vaccine can prevent monkeypox up to two weeks after exposure to the virus, but is most effective in the first four days. As of Wednesday, health officials had confirmed a total of nine human cases of the disease – four in Wisconsin, four in Indiana and one in Illinois. No one has died of the disease.  (AP)

>  CANADA   Investigators reported that all tests on cattle linked to Canada’s recent case of BSE came back negative.  Canada’s cattle industry still faces challenges in getting the US and other nations to quickly lift bans on cattle imports. (AP)

>  US   State and federal quarantines and movement restrictions on birds and poultry have been lifted on El Paso and Hudspeth Counties in Texas, and on Luna, Otero, and Dona Anna Counties in New Mexico. Since April 10, the five counties have been quarantined, while regulatory veterinarians and animal health inspectors worked to eradicate an outbreak of Exotic Newcastle Disease (END) in El Paso County. The exception is a small area of Socorro, in El Paso County. Texas must maintain a small, specified quarantined area for six months to regain international trading status for poultry and poultry products. (Wattnet Meatnews)

>  US   ¬ Certain antibiotics and uses of antibiotics common in food animal production actually reduce and inhibit the development of antibiotic resistance, according to new research presented at the 103rd Annual Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology. A presentation by representatives of Alpharma, Inc. detailed Alpharma¹s development of a test system which measures how efficiently a multiresistance-coding plasmid can transfer into host E. coli strains. This work found that ionophores, as well as broader-spectrum chlortetracycline, significantly reduced the transfer of the plasmid into the host strain at levels representative of actual feed inclusion rates. Several other antibiotic combinations showed the same effect. (AnimalNet – AHI press release)

>  UK   Researchers at the University of Southampton, UK, reported at a meeting of the American Society for Microbiology that using copper alloys for food processing surfaces may help reduce Listeria contamination in processed foods. Listeria monocytogenes contamination is usually associated with the processing of ready-to-eat meat and poultry products. The study shows that Listeria’s survival time at room temperature is reduced to 60-90 minutes on a copper-based surface, depending on the alloy. This compares to survival for several days in a desiccated state on stainless steel when exposed to the air at room temperatures. (Vance Food Systems Insider)

>  US   Scientists at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln are working to defuse the global atmospheric menace posed by cow burps. Livestock belching generates significant amounts of methane — a potent greenhouse gas, which can play a key role in global climate changes.  Scientists at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln are designing a food additive that can reduce cow-generated methane. A kind of “Beano” for cows, the advance is a compound that blocks methane production, turning the microbes involved in the digestive process in one of the cow’s four stomachs toward the production of nutrients rather than gas. Test-tube studies suggest that adding the compound would cut the consumption of cattle feed by at least 10% as less digestive energy goes into making gas. (Meating Place)

> UK   The British Medical Association is proposing a calorie tax on high-fat foods as a means of curbing the rising incidence of obesity and obesity-related health problems. Processed meat, including some sausages, delicatessen meat, and hamburgers, as well as cakes and soft drinks, could be the target of a 17.5% “fat-tax”. According to government statistics, one in five men and one in four women is obese.  Some experts believe the proposed tax on high-calorie foods would be perceived as a regressive tax because people in lower income categories tend to eat proportionally larger quantities of inexpensive, high-fat food.
The BMA claims that the tax would hit food manufacturers hard and have little effect on the poor. In Australia, officials are considering similar measures. (Wattnet Meatnews)


The Consumer Reports issue that is being delivered this week has created a lot of discussion in virtually every segment of the animal health industry.  The cover article recommends that pet owners do many of the same things veterinarians recommend to help their pets live healthier and longer lives.  However, the article also negatively portrays veterinarians as recommending unnecessary diagnostic tests and charging too much for many of the services they provide.  While the article discusses the increase in fees charged for veterinary services, it does not discuss some of the reasons behind this, including the rising cost of medical drugs and equipment and the increased cost of a veterinary medical education.

Veterinarians and their staffs, as well as those involved elsewhere in the animal health industry, should take the time to read the entire article and familiarize themselves with both the information contained in Consumer Reports as well as some of the reasons for the economic change seen in the veterinary profession not included in the article.  They should also focus on how they will reply positively to pet owners, the media or other interested parties about the contents of the article.

Today’s pet owners value their pets as parts of their families.  These pet owners expect their veterinarian to offer the best care possible.  Fortunately, quality veterinary care is one of the best bargains in health care today.  Veterinary care, which requires just as much time, education, skill and equipment to deliver as human health care, is delivered at a fraction of the cost of comparable human care – and delivered in the vast majority of animal clinics and hospitals without government subsidy.

The veterinary profession and those allied with them should be proud of the level of medicine, care, and service they can offer pet owners.  Pet owners are ultimately the ones who determine the value of veterinary service and medicine – and pet owners do value their pets.  The animal health industry and the veterinary profession need to work together to ensure that pet owners know the value they are receiving.

The Brakke Consulting Practice Management Group

To read the AVMA’s response to the Consumer Reports article (available Friday afternoon), click here.

To read the American Animal Health Association’s response to the Consumer Reports article, click here.

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