The Experts in Animal Health

Brakke Consulting’s
Animal Health News & Notes for March 29, 2002

Copyright © Brakke Consulting, Inc.

Company News Releases

>  The USDA approved Fort Dodge’s patented feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) vaccine for commercial production and veterinary use.  Patents for the vaccine are held by the University of California and the University of Florida. The vaccine should be available to veterinarians by this summer.  The newly approved vaccine is a killed vaccine made from an inactivated form of the FIV virus itself. The new vaccine is composed of virus strains from 2 different types of FIV, 1 from North America and 1 from Asia.  In an efficacy trial, 67% of the vaccinated cats were protected against the virus, while 74% of the non-vaccinated cats became infected with FIV when exposed one year after vaccination. (company website)

>  Novartis Animal Health announced that ImmTech Biologics, its recently acquired US vaccine company, has received a conditional license for Treponema Bacterin from the USDA.  Treponema Bacterin is the first vaccine available to combat digital dermatitis (heel warts) in dairy cattle.  A 1996 USDA-APHIS study found that 47% of US dairy herds showed signs of heel warts in cattle.  (company press release)

>  Merial announced that it plans to directly enter the equine OTC market in the US with Zimectrin (ivermectin), the leading horse dewormer and boticide in the industry.  Merial will also offer direct OTC distribution of Equimectrin, another ivermectin-based equine parasite control product. Both Zimectrin and Equimectrin are also available through Merial’s authorized distributor, Farnam.  Merial is the original developer and long term manufacturer of Zimectrin and owns the trademark.  (company press release)

>  Farnam introduced Equi-Spot, a new spot-on repellent that kills and repels house and stable flies, face and horn flies, eye gnats and ticks on horses.  It also aids in the control of horse flies, deer flies, mosquitoes and black flies.  Farnam states that the spot-on is a convenient, low-maintenance alternative (to fly sprays) that’s especially good for pastured horses, because the horse owner squeezes on a tube and can forget about fly protection for up to two weeks.  Equi-Spot is sold in three-packs of 10-milliliter vials.  (company press release)

>  Farnam introduced Just Born Milk Replacer Plus Colostrum for puppies and kittens.  The addition of colostrum into the popular line of Just Born nutritional supplements more closely matches the nutritional profile of mother’s milk and contains the proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and amino acids puppies and kittens need for optimal growth. These formulas also may be used for other types of orphaned wildlife, such as squirrels, rabbits, ferrets, raccoons and hamsters, in accordance with state laws regarding possession and rehabilitation of wildlife.  (company press release)

>  Abbott Laboratories Inc. announced an alliance with the University of Zurich in Switzerland to develop what it claims will be the first test to diagnose BSE in a live animal.  The company hopes to develop a test that could be used for either human or veterinary purposes.  Currently there is no way to diagnose BSE or vCJD (the human disease) without examining brain tissue or spinal cord matter of a dead animal. (AnimalNet – Reuters)


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Animal Health News

>  SLOVAKIA   An eighth suspected case of mad cow disease was discovered in a veterinary institute in central Slovakia just 24-hours after the last case was detected.  A five-and-a-half-year-old infected cow was diagnosed as suspect soon after it died giving birth on a farm. A full analysis of the cow will be conducted by the Academy of Science in Bratislava. The results should be made public next week. (AnimalNet – Agence France Presse)

>  EUROPE   The European Commission has proposed banning existing growth promoting antibiotics in animal feed by 2006 and said new nonantibiotic additives would be let onto the market for a maximum of 10 years only.  The proposal still needs to be endorsed by the EU
member governments. The last four growth-promoting antibiotics which will be removed
from the market by 2006 are: monensin sodium, salinomycin sodium, avilamycin and flavophospholipol. If the Commission’s proposal is adopted, companies that currently market feed additives will get seven years to apply for a reauthorization for their products. (AP)

>  US   The animal health industry, through the Animal Health Institute (AHI), has reportedly reached an agreement with the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) on user fees and performance standards for animal drug reviews. The agreement is modeled after the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA) that applies to human drug reviews. User fees would be tied to performance standards that would mandate CVM to complete 90% of its animal drug application reviews each year.  AHI hopes to include language on animal drug user fees as part of PDUFA, which is set to expire September 30, 2002 and which lawmakers are expected to reauthorize. If included, the animal health industry would help fund drug reviews at CVM for five years, increasing the allocation from $5 million in the first year to $8 million in the second year and $10 million in the third, fourth, and fifth years. (AnimalNet – Lean Trimmings)

>  US    Federal officials plan to strip the Texas cattle industry of its tuberculosis-free status.  As part of the downgrade, the U.S. Agriculture Department is expected to require widespread testing and tagging of Texas cattle sold across state lines beginning this spring.  Excluding a few dairy herds around El Paso, Texas cattle have been declared tuberculosis-free since November 2000. That USDA designation is valuable to producers because it lets them ship cattle out of state quickly and with less red tape. But in the past year, high levels of tuberculosis infection were found in dairy and beef cattle in West Texas and a beef herd in East Texas. Both herds were slaughtered.  About 10 percent of Texas’ 14 million head of cattle are shipped out of state each year, state officials say. Texas is the nation’s largest cattle-producing state. (AP)

>  AUSTRALIA   Scientists have created Australia’s first cloned and genetically modified (GM) calves, putting the major dairy exporter on the path to becoming a commercial producer of GM milk. The United States, Europe and New Zealand are already cloning and genetically modifying cattle as scientists push toward revolutionizing the world dairy market.  The team produced the four GM cloned female calves, each with an additional fifth gene for milk protein production. (AnimalNet – Reuters)

>  US   Last fall, Kosher Pets patented recipes for its freeze-dried all-meat dog food patties and found a kosher-friendly manufacturer to churn out production quantities of their creations. According to the owner, there’s no real need for kosher pet food, but there’s a real demand.  By most accounts, Kosher Pets is the only U.S. company currently producing a line of pet food specifically created to adhere to Jewish dietary laws, which prohibit eating any food where dairy and meat are mixed.  An administrator at the Chicago Rabbinical Council charged with determining whether consumables are kosher endorsed the Kosher Pets products earlier this month.  (AP)

Agribusiness News

> The National Agricultural Statistics Service division of the USDA reported the results of an agricultural survey asking US farmers what they intend to plant during the upcoming growing season, including whether or not farmers intend to plant corn, soybean, or upland cotton seed that, through biotechnology, is resistant to herbicides.  The survey found that 32% of the corn planted will be biotech varieties, compared to 26% in 2001.  74% of the soybeans planted will be biotech crops, compared to 68% last year, and cotton crops will be 71% biotech, compared to 69% in 2001.  (AgWeb)

Brakke Consulting Viewpoint

We are pleased to see that science is winning some battles.  The two new innovations in the vaccine area both offer a prevention solution to diseases or conditions that have been unsolved for some time.  Also, we noted with interest the increased acreage for biotech-developed seeds.  While there has been a lot of negative press regarding genetically modified seeds, it’s nice to see the farmers continuing to increase their usage of these crops.  It has been noted that some European countries are re-evaluating their position on the new agriculture technology.  One article we read indicated that decisions to ban or not use genetically modified products should be based on science, not emotion.  What a novel idea!

We continue to see announcements and articles related to new genetics and cloning.  Hopefully some of you will recall that, for the past several years, we have felt that genetics and generic drugs would play a major role in animal health.  Have you replanned your business accordingly?  Brakke Consulting’s services include strategic planning and marketing solutions.  Feel free to call or email any of our offices for more information.

Have a great Easter holiday.


[Ron Brakke]

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