The Experts in Animal Health

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Brakke Consulting’s
Animal Health News & Notes for June 12, 2009

Copyright © Brakke Consulting, Inc.

Editor: Lynn Fondon, DVM, MBA

other news
Chr Hansen
J&F Oklahoma
Mars Petcare

The U.S. Animal Health Industry:
Its pioneers and their legacy of innovation

Brakke Consulting is pleased to announce the imminent publication of an all-new book chronicling the history of the animal health industry in the US. This professionally produced 108-page hardcover book traces the evolution of the industry, from its beginnings in the late 19th century battling hog cholera to today’s $5 billion industry.

Don’t miss the opportunity to own this unique look at our industry. Orders placed by Friday, June 19 will receive the early-order price of $24.50 plus shipping.  For more information, contact Jane Morgan at or 972.243.4033.


> Pfizer Animal Health announced that it has acquired Vetnex Animal Health Ltd., RFCL Ltd.’s animal healthcare division, from ICICI Venture Funds Management Company Ltd. and other shareholders. Vetnex is one of the top three players in the Indian animal healthcare market with annual turnover of Rs 120 crore ($24 million).  Financial terms were not disclosed. (

> Dechra Veterinary Products announced that the company has received FDA approval to market Felimazole (methimazole) 2.5mg and 5.0mg Coated Tablets to treat hyperthyroidism in cats.  Felimazole is the first and only FDA veterinary approved methimazole on the market. (company press release)

> Imulan BioTherapeutics announced it has licensed the exclusive global veterinary rights to a breakthrough, patented laser technology from ImmunoPhotonics, Inc. for cancer therapy. The new laser device, termed apSTAR (Autologous Patient Specific Tumor Antigen Response), induces a potent immunological response to tumor cells and their antigens, thereby provoking long-term tumor immunity and improving primary and metastatic tumor regression. (company press release)

> Mars Petcare announced the decision to close its Le Sueur, Minnesota, and Allentown, Pennsylvania, facilities by the end of 2009.  This is in addition to the closing of their Portland, Indiana, plant. The company cited reduced customer demand as the reason for the closures. (Petfood Industry e-news)

> Novus International and Chr. Hansen announced an agreement whereby Novus will offer Chr. Hansen’s pig probiotic BioPlus 2B in the US. BioPlus 2B is a direct-fed microbial containing two strains of Bacillus bacteria – B licheniformis and B subtilis. (Animal Pharm)

> JBS SA announced that its JBS USA business has entered into an agreement with J&F Oklahoma in which J&F will own the cattle formerly owned by JBS’s cattle feeding operation, JBS Five Rivers Cattle Feeding.  JBS will then custom feed the cattle for J&F.  The new structure will allow JBS to avoid potential regulations restricting packer ownership of cattle, as well as capital requirements associated with owning the cattle. JBS Five Rivers is the largest cattle feeder in the US.  (Feedstuffs)

> LATIN AMERICA   Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health announced that its recombinant Innovax poultry vaccine range has been introduced in markets in Latin America. The  Innovax vaccine range consists of attenuated live virus vector vaccines that protect against pathogens that cause severe infections in poultry, such as Infectious Laryngotracheitis (ILT), Marek’s Disease (MD) and Newcastle Disease (ND). (company press release)

> AUSTRALIA   Virbac has voluntarily pulled its VeggieDent Chews off the shelves in Australia after they were possibly linked to several cases of illness in dogs. The products in question were pulled as a precautionary measure and no causal link has been established for the VeggieDent product line, which is only commercially available through veterinarians. (Petfood Industry e-news)


> AUSTRALIA – PETFOOD IRRADIATION   An outbreak in neurological disorders in cats has lead Australia to cease sterilization of cat food by irradiation. Scientific studies have suggested food irradiation as the source of the illnesses afflicting cats, but exactly how irradiation is causing food to be toxic to cats is unknown. Ninety cats in Australia were afflicted with neurological disorders after they ate Orijen imported dry cat food, manufactured by Champion Petfoods. Only Australia, which requires irradiation of pet food, has reported issues with Orijen cat food; all other countries who imported non-irradiated Orijen cat food reported no problems. (Petfood Industry e-news)


I have spent the better part of the last three weeks in the Midwest on the farm.  It was an interesting time and allowed me to interface with many of my long-term friends that are in the business of farming and producing cattle and hogs for the US market.

It’s a challenging time in agriculture if you’re trying to make a living at it.  Much of the recent and current prosperity in the Midwest has been a result of the trend towards the use of more ethanol in our energy mix.  Consequently, those producing feed grains have experienced significant revenue increases if they had a good crop.  However, the pricing pressure ethanol production has put on feed grains that are used in feeding cattle, swine and poultry has been negative for the protein producers.  Probably the most worrisome aspect is the wide fluctuations in feed grain prices caused by speculators and weather projections regarding estimated 2009 and 2010 crop size. While many producers today know how to hedge their purchases and sales of products, there is still the aspect of weather that is important for financial success.

What was most encouraging to me during my time in the field was the number of animal health products being used as the cattle were being worked and prepared for the long summer in the pasture.  No one was questioning whether or not they should use these products. They know these products are necessary to have healthy and productive animals ready for the market this fall.

Have a great weekend and stay dry, which has been a challenge in much of the US this week!!

Ron Brakke

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