The Experts in Animal Health

Brakke Consulting’s
Animal Health News & Notes for September 21, 2001

Copyright © Brakke Consulting, Inc.
Amid all the horror over the tragedy in New York and elsewhere last week, it is always uplifting to hear stories of courage and hope.  We at Brakke Consulting heard the following story and wanted to share it with our readers, in the hope that it would brighten your day a little.  The story comes from the Dr. Rhea Morgan, Chief of Staff at Rowley Memorial Animal Hospital in Springfield, Massachusetts, and sister of Brakke Consultant John Volk.

Much to my surprise, Rowley received a canine patient from the World Trade Center scene. One of our clients has a search and rescue dog. He and his dog were working the WTC site, when the dog became ill from some inhalation of fumes and ingestion of debris, and then fell through some of the debris.  The owner wanted to bring the dog back home for treatment. With help from a Connecticut State police escort, it took him only 55 minutes once he left Manhattan to reach our doors.

This particular dog (“Jac”) found a live survivor and also identified the location of several bodies for the rescue teams.  Portions of the planes that hit the building have been found. He and Jack found what is believed to be the body of a pilot still strapped in his seat, so there is hope the black boxes from the planes may at some point be found.

“Jac” responded to the treatment he was given; was discharged from Rowley last Friday, rested up on Saturday and Sunday, and returned to the WTC site Monday.

Through another dog handler we know, we have received word that this week “Jac” found the bodies of two NY firemen, and may have located a cavity large enough to contain numerous other victims.

I don’t know how this guy and his dog can do what they do, but am grateful for people like him.

On October 11th, the annual MSPCA Hall of Fame dinner is being held in Boston.  Each year this dinner honors animal heroes and human heroes, as well as volunteers, veterinary and community leaders who have positively impacted animals and their welfare. The reviewing committee for this dinner is considering a proposal from the Rowley staff that “Jac” be recognized for his efforts at the WTC site. Since the dinner is one month to the day, from Sept. 11th we thought it a fitting idea.

Company Earnings Releases

Company News Releases

>  Farnam Companies Inc. announced that it has formed a strategic alliance with International Animal Health Products (IAHP), one of Australia’s manufacturers and distributors of products in the large animal market.  Under the alliance, IAHP will be distributing Farnam’s equine products in Australia and New Zealand, with IAHP-developed products to be introduced in the U.S. in 2002.  IAHP, owner of the Farnam trademark in Australasia, has sold equine products in this market for more than 20 years, and under the alliance, Farnam intends to expand and enhance IAHP’s current product range.  IAHP manufactures and markets a wide range of nutritional and animal health products, including vitamin and mineral supplements, wound care, grooming aids, electrolytes and anthelmintics. (company release)

>  The USDA has approved a live salmonella vaccine for use in chickens. The vaccine, Salmune, was developed by Biomune and is administered to day-old chicks either by spray or through drinking water. Salmune has a USDA-approved label claim for protection of the ceca, the target organ for salmonella colonization of chicks. According to Biomune, Salmune protects against salmonella serotypes groups B, C and D, most commonly associated with salmonella contamination of poultry meat and eggs. (Watt Poultry USA)

>  PIC International Group, based in Berkeley, Calif., announced a proposal to change its name to Sygen International PLC. The new name will be proposed at the annual general meeting in November. The company will continue to use PIC as a marketing brand name across its global operations. With the company’s involvement in genomics, the proposed name change better reflects a broader scope of species. Sygen will be focused on the application of genomic biotechnology to animal breeding. (Pork Magazine)

New Data on the Veterinary Profession from the AVMA

The 2001 Edition of Economic Report on Veterinarians & Veterinary Practices was released this week by the AVMA.  This biennial report further documents the economic challenges of the veterinary profession.   The report is based upon 1999 statistics.  There has been some indication of financial improvement in the profession since 1999.  However, this new report further demonstrates the need for veterinarians to significantly increase their incomes.  Some highlights:

*  Real income (in 1989 dollars) during the period from 1989 to 1999 increased at an average annual rate of 0.9% for practice owners and 1.6% for practice associates.
*  Veterinary owners worked more hours per week on average than associates, 51.5 compared with 47.2.
*  Practice owners earned $37.48 per hour, on average, compared with $24.13 per hour for associate veterinarians.
*  The median expense for all practices increased at an average annual rate of 9.1% during the 1997 to 1999 period.
*  Large animal and equine practices generated 40 – 58% of their income from professional services, while small animal practices only generated about 21% of their income from professional services.

The Practice Management Group (PMG) of Brakke Consulting, Inc. provides experienced and knowledgeable business management services to veterinarians.   PMG also assists the manufacturers and distributors in the animal health industry increase their value to their customers and clients through seminars, training, and many other value added contractual services.  For more information about the services of PMG, please contact us at

Animal Health News

>  EUROPE   France, Ireland, and the Netherlands have regained the international status of being officially free of foot-and-mouth (FMD) following outbreaks of the disease in March. According to the Office des Epizooties (OIE) rules, countries can regain the disease-free status three months after the last case has been confirmed and stamped out and after the slaughter of the last vaccinated animal. The EC urged non-EU countries to lift any remaining curbs imposed on imports from the three member states.  The OIE has also lifted the restrictions on South Korea, which had also suffered an outbreak of foot and mouth disease earlier this year. (Wattnet Meatnews)

>   SWEDEN   Sweden reported that there was a serious chance that two sick dairy cows found on a farm in the northwest were the country’s first cases of BSE.  The board of agriculture said in a statement that the farm had been sealed off and the cows slaughtered and taken to the national veterinary institute for tests. (Reuters)

>  JAPAN   Japan banned the use of meat-and-bone meal (MBM) in feed products for cattle following the discovery of a suspected outbreak of mad cow disease, the first in Japan or in Asia. The Agriculture Ministry asked the domestic livestock industry not to use the animal protein feed for cattle in 1996 but is now backing the recommendation with the weight of law. (Reuters)

>  JAPAN   Japan announced it is expanding testing for BSE to as many as 1 million cattle, a measure it hopes will eradicate the illness and restore faith in the country’s ailing meat industry. Adopting strict European testing standards, Japan will target all cattle older than 30 months that are destined for human consumption. The massive screening will begin next month.  (AP)

>  US   Nutraceuticals or novel ingredients are those ingredients that may be added to animal food to enhance the health of the animal without being a drug and for which there may be no approval or prior-sanctioned use in animal food. There has been widespread use of chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine in petfoods, which fall into this category. Recently, a number of states have begun taking regulatory action on these types of products, claiming they adulterate the animal food due to the lack of approval for use. The FDA recently sent a letter to a trade group calling into question the continued use of one of the above ingredients. The AFIA believes firms should continue to make the good faith efforts to seek approvals by state/federal regulators, but recognize that continued use risks strong regulatory actions (Pet Food Industry E-newsletter)

>  CANADA   Large-scale field trials will begin next month in Alberta, Canada, on a vaccine researchers predict could attack E. coli O157:H7 in the live animal. Researchers have shown that vaccinating cattle with the vaccine can reduce the shedding of E. coli three orders of magnitude or more. (Meating Place)

>  CANADA   Scientists at the Lethbridge Research Centre and the University of Lethbridge have developed a new feed-based tool called a Rumenal Escape Vehicle with potential to reduce rumen degradation of unprotected protein supplements fed to cattle.  The delivery tool is a yeast that houses and protects the proteins from microbial populations as they pass through the rumen. It then releases them in the small intestine where the digestion benefits are greatest. Many of the bioactive proteins that could be delivered using this technology, have the potential to enhance the animal’s resistance to disease and reduce the need for antibiotics. The technology could also be used to foster the efficacy of oral vaccines, as it would increase the absorption of the antigen.
The concept will have to be approved by the appropriate regulatory committees before it can be employed in industry. (AnimalNet – Lethbridge Research Centre)

Agribusiness News


Brakke Consulting Viewpoint

If your company was anything like ours this week, you spent time readjusting your schedules and discussing what all of this means to your business.  We’re of the opinion that actual product sales in animal health will not be significantly impacted by last week’s tragedy.  Animals will continue to eat, get parasites and need vaccinations and other health products.  In talking with a number of our manufacturer and distributor clients, most indicated that business had bounced back this week after a tough prior week.  Next week should see most of us back close to our normal operations with a bit more ground travel an a new alertness to our surroundings when getting on a plane.

We will be holding our Due Diligence Seminar in Chicago next week with only a few cancellations.  We look forward to seeing all of you there; we have a great program planned for those two days.

Travel safely.

 [Ron Brakke]

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