The Experts in Animal Health

Brakke Consulting’s
Animal Health News & Notes for May 17, 2002

Copyright © Brakke Consulting, Inc.

Company Earnings Releases

>  Ridley Inc., a North American producer of formulated livestock feed, reported financial results for its fiscal third quarter ended March 31, 2002.  The net loss for the third quarter of fiscal 2002 was C$ 0.6 million (US$ 0.4 million) compared with a profit of $4.0 million (US$ 2.5 million) in the third quarter of fiscal 2001.  The strong operating performance in the animal nutrition businesses was offset by recognition of a $5.9 million loss associated with the sale of the European Cotswold swine genetics business, which was announced on May 10. Third quarter 2002 sales of C$ 184.5 million ($US 115.7 million) were essentially flat compared to the third quarter 2001 sales of C$ 183.8 million ($US 115.3 million).  (company website) 

Company News Releases

>  Novartis received USDA approval for Percorten V to be used in the treatment of Addison’s disease (hypoadrenocorticism) in dogs.  Novartis is launching a major educational campaign for veterinarians to help them better diagnose and understand the disease.  Percorten V is desoxycorticosterone pivalate available as an injectable suspension.  (DVM Newsmagazine)

>  Merial and the American Animal Health Association have teamed up to launch a new consumer education campaign on the importance of visiting the veterinarian.  The American Veterinary Medical Association estimates that 27 million dogs and cats do not visit a veterinarian on a regular basis, according to DVM Newsmagazine.  The campaign has been dubbed “For Healthy Pets, Visit the Vet,” and will be a yearlong initiative.  (DVM Newsmagazine)

>  Schering-Plough announced the purchase of Aquaculture Vaccines, a UK-based company that develops and markets technologically advanced vaccines for the aquaculture industry.  The new subsidiary is well established in European markets but is a relative newcomer in Asia and the Americas.  Terms of the purchase were not disclosed.  (Animal Pharm)

>  Schering-Plough will pay the federal government $500 million over the next year as part of a consent decree to resolve quality control issues at its manufacturing plants in New Jersey and Puerto Rico, subject to approval by the U.S. District Court.  Schering-Plough had previously set aside $500 million to cover the costs of addressing these problems.  Under the agreement, the company will hire outside experts to ensure that manufacturing methods, procedures and controls at its production facilities comply with current requirements.  The plants will remain open and will continue to make prescription drugs, but Schering-Plough said it will temporarily suspend production of some animal health products at its Puerto Rico site while it works to upgrade the facility. (AP)

>  IDEXX Laboratories, Inc. announced that its wholly owned pharmaceuticals subsidiary, Blue Ridge Pharmaceuticals, Inc., has changed its name to IDEXX Pharmaceuticals, Inc.  The company currently markets Acarexx otic suspension, a one-dose ear mite treatment for cats, and Facilitator liquid bandage for the treatment of wounds on dogs, cats and horses.  In 2001, IPI introduced the new SNAP Foal IgG Test, which measures immunoglobulin levels in newborn foals.  IDEXX Pharmaceuticals also has a number of products in the registration process with the FDA.  (company press release)

>  FLAVORx announced that it teamed up with The Butler Company to bring medicine flavoring to veterinary medicine.  The FLAVORx Veterinary System, with 16 different flavors, was created to improve drug administration compliance without altering the efficacy or stability of medications.  FLAVORx also provides flavoring to human medications.  (DVM Newsmagazine)

>  eMerge Interactive announced that it plans to launch a handheld version of its VerifEYE meat inspection system.  The device, which is about the size and weight of a compact video camera, is slated for release at the end of 2002 or early 2003. (company press release)

>  Seghersgenetics USA and Newsham have closed an asset-purchase agreement to merge their North American genetic activities. The new organization will be known as Seghers Newsham Genetics. The merger makes the combined company the third largest swine-genetics supplier in North America. The genetic integrity of the Newsham and Seghers existing products will remain intact. (Pork Alert)

>  EUROPE   Virbac announced that it has started rolling out its interferon Virbagen Omega across Europe, with wide-scale advertising and veterinary seminars.  The product is the first veterinary interferon product marketed in Europe.  Virbagen Omega is a recombinant interferon omega of feline origin, the result of a partnership between Virbac and the Japanese company Toray.  Toray has been marketing its own formulation called Intercat in Japan since 1994, which is licensed against calicivirus in cats and parvovirus in dogs.  Virbagen Omega is currently licensed only against canine parvovirus. (Animal Pharm)

>  CANADA  The Canadian Kennel Club (CKC) has partnered with Pet Plan Insurance to offer its members and breeders its first pet health coverage program. This program includes comprehensive insurance policies for accident, illness, death, routine health care, dental care and more.   The number of pets insured in Canada has risen over 20% annually in recent years and is expected to increase five-fold over the next five years.  Established in 1989, Pet Plan Insurance is Canada’s largest and oldest pet health insurance company. (company press release)


One of the largest yearly investments most companies make is in Advertising and Promotion.  When was the last time you seriously evaluated your program?  Are you using the right mix of sales promotion, public relations, database marketing and advertising?  Do you have a customer retention program?  Are you taking advantage of global synergies?  Do you have an Internet strategy, or merely a web site?  Are your communications agencies performing?

Brakke Consulting has helped several companies evaluate and improve their marketing communications programs.  Senior Consultant John Volk has more than 25 years of experience in animal health advertising and public relations, and pioneered direct-to-consumer advertising for companion animal products. 

If you are interested in improving the return on your A&P investment, contact John Volk in the Chicago office of Brakke Consulting, (773) 327-4941, email:

Brakke Consulting has the experience, insight, abilities, and contacts that provide our clients with the highest quality services in the animal health, pet, veterinary, and specialty chemicals markets.  Please contact any of our offices for a confidential consultation on our range of services.  Contact information for all offices are available on our website at and click on a starred location on the world map.

Animal Health News

>  JAPAN   The fourth case of BSE in Japan has been reported.  The discovery of Japan’s fourth case of the disease supports theories that such infections have been prevalent in the country. Since October, Japan has tested all the cows slaughtered for beef for BSE. If a preliminary test finds a sample likely positive during the mass screening, the more elaborate Western Blot examination is conducted. (AnimalNet – Kyodo World Service)

>  US   Nearly 14,000 chickens exposed to avian influenza have been destroyed in West Virginia.  The birds were killed in an effort to keep the disease from spreading and effectively crippling West Virginia’s $200 million dollar poultry industry.  The move came after the WV Agriculture Commissioner declared a state of emergency and banned public poultry displays and the movement of live birds and chicken manure.  The initial outbreak in Virginia has resulted in the quarantine of 140 farms and the destruction of more than 3 million birds. The flu also has been found in North Carolina.  Poultry is West Virginia’s No. 1 agriculture industry, employing more than 5,000. (AnimalNet – ProMED mail)

>  KOREA   The Korean government said it will slaughter 40,000 pigs in central South Korea after 20 pigs tested positive in initial checks for foot-and-mouth disease.  The government has so far slaughtered some 35,000 livestock, mostly pigs, in an effort to contain the disease. (AP)

>  US   Texas livestock health officials have warned cattle producers, veterinarians and livestock markets that the USDA is stripping Texas of its “Free” status for cattle on tuberculosis (TB). The TB status downgrade will mean that the 150,000 or more breeding cattle hauled out of Texas each year must have a negative tuberculosis skin test prior to being moved.  The USDA has placed a moratorium on additional restrictions until January 2003, when the state’s feeder cattle must be identified with official ear tags before being transported out of state. The downgrade in TB status came as a result of the diagnosis and subsequent depopulation of two TB-infected cattle herds during 2001.  (Wattnet Meatnews)

>  DENMARK   Denmark has reported its ninth case of BSE following tests on a cow in a herd on the Island of Bornholm in the Baltic Sea. The 5 1/2 year old animal was part of a dairy herd. The herd, which had been in quarantine since the end of April, has been destroyed and three other animals slaughtered with the cow were also destroyed. Other animals from the farm that had been sold to farms in Denmark have also been traced and destroyed. This is the first case of BSE in Denmark this year. (Wattnet Meatnews)

>  US   The USDA is proposing to amend the Virus-Serum-Toxin Act regulations concerning Standard Requirements for veterinary biologics by adding a Standard Requirement for Equine Influenza Vaccine, Killed Virus. This proposed rule would require that such vaccines be shown to protect vaccinates for at least 60 days based on a vaccination-challenge study conducted in horses. In addition, the USDA would establish a serum hemagglutination inhibition test in guinea pigs as the serial release potency test for the vaccine; establish procedures for adding and removing strains of virus based on evidence of changes in the antigenic character of the equine influenza viruses in current circulation; and add labeling requirements to the regulations.  (AnimalNet – APHIS)

>  US   Taensa Inc. announced the completion of a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station. Under the terms of this Agreement, the parties will demonstrate the efficacy of the Tick-Ex product developed by Taensa for application against the specific species of deer ticks prevalent in Connecticut, and to combat the growing national problem of Lyme disease.  Taensa’s product, Tick-Ex, is a patented naturally occurring strain of the metarhizium fungus that has shown efficacy for the control of ticks.  This strain of metarhizium was originally developed by Bayer AG and has been exclusively licensed on a worldwide basis to Taensa. The US field trials in Connecticut will pave the way for product registration and sale to professional pest control applicators and homeowners.  The product is expected to create a natural tick barrier around buildings and homes and can be easily applied.  (AnimalNet – press release)

Brakke Consulting Viewpoint

I have spent the better part of the last two weeks traveling in Europe visiting with some of our older client friends and meeting a number of new client friends.  It was a great trip and I want to thank all of you for your time and courtesies.

I’m pleased to report that nearly all of the companies we met with on the trip have weathered the BSE and Foot-and-Mouth disease outbreaks in reasonably good shape.  In fact, most are showing some nice growth in 2002 in both the production and companion animal areas.

We concluded our trip by spending three days at the Interzoo meeting in Nürnberg Germany with many of our clients from around the world.  If you are not familiar with the Interzoo show, it is the largest OTC Pet Products show in the world.  The displays or stands of several hundred companies from around the world filled nine convention buildings.

We believe that Interzoo reflects the creativity and persistence of hundreds of managers and entrepreneurs with novel ideas.  The fact that so many people can make a living from the products for dogs, cats, birds and fish (plus a number of other species) reflects the continued growth in consumer spending on pets of all kinds.

Have a great weekend.

[Ron Brakke]

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