The Experts in Animal Health

Brakke Consulting’s
Animal Health News & Notes for October 4, 2002

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>  Wyeth reported in its analyst conference that the animal health division Fort Dodge Animal Health will be hurt by lower sales and higher-than-projected returns of ProHeart 6, an injection to prevent heartworm in dogs that must be given by a veterinarian every six months, rather than the standard pill pet owners can feed their dogs every month. (company website)

>  CANADA   Pethealth Inc. reported a net loss of $1.5 million on sales of $823,000 for its second quarter ending June 30, 2002, compared to a net loss of $2.4 million on sales of $323,000 in the year-ago period.  Total issued and outstanding insurance policies increased 110% to over 30,000. (Veterinary Practice News)

During this past week, the Brakke Consulting Dallas office group had the opportunity to spend an afternoon at the Senior Slow Pitch Softball World Series watching our ALL-STAR Short Stop Dick Wilson participate on the Kansas City Team (Midwest Representative).  It was great fun.  Dick is often the designated runner and we learned that he can and does slide.  Whether or not he tells his wife Pat about the sliding, however, is not known.  The Kansas City team ended up in third place after several close games.  Please feel free to send Dick a congratulatory note at and take a look at the pictures of the team and Dick on our web site at
Congratulations Dick!!!


>  Pfizer announced that A180 (danofloxacin mesylate), a new antimicrobial treatment for bovine respiratory disease (BRD) associated with Mannheimia (Pasteurella) haemolytica and Pasteurella multocida in beef cattle, has received FDA approval.  Developed by Pfizer specifically and exclusively for livestock use, A180 has a unique four-day withdrawal period. A180 is administered as a concentrated low volume subcutaneous injection that is easy on cattle and offers convenience with less medical waste. (company press release)

>  Imugene Limited and Merial announced the signing of three commercial contracts that could lead to innovative products for food producing animals based on a novel technology platform. The contracts have been agreed between Merial and VectoGen (recently acquired by Imugene). Two of these contracts are evaluation and sublicense option agreements for products utilizing the Imugene Group’s patented adenoviral vector to treat or prevent several important diseases of poultry. The third contract is for the evaluation of the vector for the possible development of a vaccine for the prevention of viral diseases in pigs. The contracts also provide for the evaluation of biologically based products including productivity enhancers and vaccines to prevent diseases.   The Imugene Group will receive initially agreed payments from Merial. Milestone based sublicense fees and royalty payments will be paid following successful exercise of the sublicense.  (company press release)

>  Western Point, Inc announced the launch of the Estrus Alert patch.  The Estrus Alert patch is an aid to the herdsman’s visual observation program for detecting cows in standing heat.  The patches are applied to the tailhead prior to standing heat.  When the cow is mounted during standing heat, the scratch-off surface of the patch is rubbed off exposing a brilliant orange signal layer underneath.  Universal Cooperatives has been appointed worldwide distributor for Estrus Alert. (company press release)

>  The connection between lean body condition and canine health and longevity was the focus of veterinary specialists, animal scientists and experts on aging and nutrition who gathered recently at a scientific symposium sponsored by the Nestlé Purina PetCare Company. The symposium followed the completion of a lifetime feeding study that proved lean dogs live longer – and healthier. (company press release)

>  IDEXX Cardiopet has entered into an agreement to acquire VetMed Telemedicine, a division of Veterinary Telemedicine Group Inc.  VetMed Telemedicine has an active client base of 1,200 clinics, about one-third the size of Cardiopet’s existing client base.  (Veterinary Practice News)

>  Heska and Dolphin Medical Inc., a subsidiary of OSI Systems Inc., have formed a partnership to create and distribute advanced monitoring tools to the veterinary marketplace.  Heska will have exclusive distribution and marketing rights in the veterinary marketplace for Dolphin ONE Pulse Oximeter technology.  (Veterinary Practice News)

>  ImmuCell Corporation announced an agreement to accept $930,000 in consideration of the early termination of a product license covering the sale and distribution of the Kamar Heatmount Detector product, thereby returning the product to Kamar, Inc.  ImmuCell has marketed this product since 1988 under an exclusive license that was set to expire in 2004. The value of the deal approximates the expected net contribution from the product over the remaining license term. As of October 1, 2002, Kamar, Inc. assumed all distribution and marketing responsibilities for the product.  In 2001, annual sales of ImmuCell’s proprietary First Defense scours product exceeded sales of Heatmount Detector for the first time. (Business Wire)

>  Veterinary Product Laboratories received UL-approval for its plug-in dispensers for its pheromone-based behavior modification products Feliway for cats and D.A.P. for dogs. (Veterinary Practice News)

Looking For a Few Good Men and Women

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>  FRANCE   France lifted its six-year-old ban on British beef imports, ending a bitter dispute that has strained relations with London.  The government’s decision, which came three years after a similar European Union move, followed the recommendation of the French food safety standards agency the meat was free of BSE and no longer posed a health threat. (AP)

>  EUROPE   Italy has recorded its 73rd case of BSE after the disease was fond in a cow from a breeding farm in the north of the country.  The Czech Republic has reported its third case of the disease in a five year old cow that was sent for slaughter. Additional testing to confirm the case is taking place this week. And in Spain, the ministry of agriculture announced a new case had been found, bringing the total number this year to 93 and 173 since the disease was discovered in the country. (Wattnet Meatnews)

>  POLAND   A third case of BSE has been discovered in Poland.  The cow was nine years old and came from a herd of several hundred.  Preliminary tests were positive but still had to be verified.  (AnimalNet – Agence France Presse)

>  US   New data from a survey of animal health companies show that the volume of antibiotics used in animals in the U.S. steadily declined over the past three years. In 2001, 21.8 million pounds of antibiotics were sold, dropping from 23.7 million pounds in 2000 and 24 million in 1999. The data were collected from a survey of members of the Animal Health Institute (AHI). The survey data include antibiotics used for both farm and companion animals. (AnimalNet – PRNewswire)

>  US   According to detailed data released at a scientific conference, the milk from cloned cows is virtually indistinguishable from that of normal cows on every parameter commonly used to measure quality. The findings, if confirmed by further studies, appear likely to accelerate the development of commercial agricultural cloning in the United States. They add weight to an emerging scientific consensus that such cloning poses little risk to the safety of the American food supply. Infigen Inc. paid for the research and provided the clones that  were used in the comparisons.  (AnimalNet – Washington Post)

>  US   Emmpack Foods temporarily shut down a grinding plant after the company was forced to recall 2.3 million pounds of beef this week.  The company had previously recalled 416,000 pounds of ground beef in September in Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota.  The company does not know when the plant where the contaminated meat was found will reopen. (AP)
>  US   The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) has selected comfrey as the unapproved ingredient that will be targeted by a coordinated educational and enforcement campaign by state regulators.  Comfrey has been reported to cause liver toxicity and liver cancer in lab animals.  According to an advisor to the National Animal Supplement Council, “there is apparently no scientific support for the traditional medicinal indications, and …most of the indications are non-unique and easy to obtain through other, safer herbs.”  (Veterinary Practice News)

>  US   Richmond, Virginia’s new shelter for the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, set to open Oct. 19, is  offering fur blow-dryers and music digitally altered to remove the ultrahigh and low notes that are so stressful to canine ears.  IT also includes spacious living accommodations with modern European-style furnishings, classical music piped into every room, and a spa area with professional groomers.  The SPCA’s executive director said that the point was to create a place that people find positive and upbeat, a place where people want to come and spend time with the animals, and adopt. The goal is to completely eradicate the homeless pet population within the next six years.  (AP)


During the past few weeks I have been able to spend time in the field with a number of our clients.  I appreciated very much the opportunity to interface with the management teams of these leading companies.  There are some great people in our industry.  At the same time I have had the opportunity to visit with many of our clients customers under various venues.  One of the things that I have been struck by is how much the business and customers have changed in the fast few years.

The food animal veterinarian in all species is challenged by the rapidly changing large producer.  How does a manufacturer or distributor representative best serve the food animal veterinarian in this new enviroment? Does the manufacturer or distributor rep call directly on the larger producer with or without the veterinarian support and involvement?  Does the large producer and food animal veterinarian want and need to see the animal health representative?  Does the sales person add value to the customers operation by taking up 15 to 30 minutes of their valuable time? Or is the customer viewed as another target or opportunity for a closed sale?

One of our clients I believe hit the nail on the head when they asked their sales rep the following question, “If you were the customer would you give yourself an appointment?”  If the answer is “NO” then you’d better figure out how to add value to the customer on the calls your making.  If you don’t it won’t be long before you’ll have difficulty in setting appointments with that customer.  The same can be said for companion animal portion of the business. 

Have a good weekend.

[Ron Brakke]

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