» 2003

Animal Health News & Notes for August 15, 2003 8/15/2003

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Brakke Consulting’s
Animal Health News & Notes for August 15, 2003

Copyright © Brakke Consulting, Inc.
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NEW IN THE NEWSLETTER:
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Alltech
Bioniche Animal Health
Cardinal Laboratories
Fort Dodge
Lallemand
Merial
Optibrand
Pheromone Sciences
Ridley
Smithfield Foods
Swift & Co.
VetCentric
Veterinary Information Network
 
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COMPANY NEWS RELEASES

>  Merial announced the introduction of Tetradure 300 (oxytetracycline) Injection, a prescription antibiotic labeled for cattle at high risk for Bovine Respiratory Disease (BRD) associated with Mannheimia (Pasteurella) haemolytica. When administered to high-risk cattle, new Tetradure 300 provides therapeutic blood levels of the active ingredient for seven to eight days. Tetradure 300 has been used successfully in Canada since 1998 on more than 1 million head of cattle.  Tetradure 300 also effectively controls pinkeye and footrot.  Tetradure 300 is available from licensed veterinarians and is labeled for use in beef, non-lactating dairy cattle and dairy calves.  (company press release)

>  Some recent stories have suggested that the Fort Dodge Animal Health West Nile Virus Vaccine approved by the USDA may cause pregnant mares to abort or give birth to deformed foals. The misleading information in those articles has sparked many anxious phone calls from horse owners, veterinarians, and others involved with horses. As a result, USDA is concerned that horse owners may not use an effective preventive measure against West Nile virus available to them, that of vaccinating their horses.  Horse owners should be assured that the vaccine is safe, and it should be used as protection against West Nile virus. Millions of doses of the vaccine have been used since USDA's Center for Veterinary Biologics approved its use in 2001.  (USDA APHIS)

>  Alltech announced plans for the expansion of three of their corporate facilities located in the United States, Mexico and Great Britain. With the expansions, the company expects to add 350 new jobs in areas ranging from operations and research to marketing, sales and finance. The expansion of the company’s corporate headquarters in Kentucky will take the facility from 150,000 square feet to V208,000 square feet, creating space for 245 new employees. (company press release)

>  Smithfield Foods Inc. announced plans to acquire 90% of Cumberland Gap Provision Co. of Kentucky, which specializes in sausages and hickory smoked hams, for about $56 million. Cumberland Gap had sales of $70 million last year. It will operate as a stand-alone unit of Smithfield's John Morrell & Co. Ray McGregor, Cumberland Gap's founder and CEO, will keep 10% of the company along with other family members and certain management officials. Smithfield said it expects the acquisition to be complete within the next 45 days.  (Wattnet Meatnews)

>  Ridley Corp Ltd. announced it has acquired the assets and business of joint venture partner Heartland Inc. Ridley’s feed marketing joint venture with Heartland spanned the past 10 years. The acquisition, through Ridley's subsidiary Hubbard Feeds Inc, included Heartland's 50% interest in the joint venture, a feed mill, warehouse and a retail farm supplies outlet, as well as grain merchandising and birdseed packaging businesses. Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.  (Meating Place)

>  VetCentric, Inc. announced that it now offers the complete companion animal lines of Bayer and Pfizer on behalf of prescribing veterinarians.  With the addition of these two manufacturers, VetCentric now offers all major veterinary pharmaceutical, preventive and therapeutic diet products on the market, making it a one-stop-shop for all veterinarians' prescribing needs.  This announcement comes on the heels of a recent partnership with Novartis and solidifies VetCentric's position as the leading provider of veterinary pharmacy products and services on behalf of the veterinarian. (company press release)

>  The Veterinary Information Network (VIN) has launched a new company and service: eVetSite Systems.  The service is available to all animal health care professionals.  The eVetSite Systems Online Builder gives veterinarians and their staff the ability to create and maintain a customized web site for their veterinary clinic or hospital.  (company press release)

>  Denver-based Maverick Ranch Beef has become the first US cattle operation to track its animals using a hand-held computer that takes retinal images of cattle in an effort to capture and track genetic information. The device, called an OptiReader, could help him and his suppliers determine which genetic lineage produces the best cuts of meat. It is marketed by Optibrand. The device essentially combines a digital camera with a global positioning system. It uses near-infrared light to photograph the retina, the backside of the eye that contains unique blood vessel patterns. (Meating Place)

>  Swift & Co. has implemented a revolutionary new double pasteurization system at the company’s six US beef processing plants. Swift & Co reports that it is the first major beef processor to utilize the double pasteurization system, which utilizes a 160-degree F water spray at two separate times in the production process to virtually sterilize the carcass. (Wattnet Meatnews)

>  Cardinal Laboratories announced the creation of a pet owner Service Support Center on its website, cardinalpet.com.  The site features a seven-step guide to choosing the right groomer, which gives invaluable tips to help pet owners assess potential grooming facilities. The site hosts a Training Talk Forum, where pet owners can have their questions on training matters, answered by pet professionals.  There is also a National Directory of Dog Trainers by State available to visitors.  (PRNewswire)

>  CANADA   Bioniche Animal Health USA, Inc. announced that its parent company, Bioniche Life Sciences Inc. has been recognized as an exclusive member of PROFIT 100, the 15th annual ranking of Canada’s fastest-growing companies by PROFIT: Your Guide to Business Success. Ranking the companies by five-year revenue growth, the PROFIT 100 profiles Canada’s most successful growth firms and is the country’s largest celebration of entrepreneurial achievement. Bioniche ranked #72 in the 2003 list, having reported five-year revenues reaching $40.5 million in 2002, a growth rate of 824% over the period. (company press release)

>  CANADA   Lallemand has recently expanded their research facilities at the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) - Biotechnology Research Institute (BRI) in Montreal.  The expansion will allow Lallemand to benefit from the latest techniques such as DNA micro-arrays, genomics and proteomics. The expanded R&D team will increase its focus on biochemical and microbiological characterization of both bacteria and yeast strains and their metabolic products. (company press release)

>  CANADA   Pheromone Sciences Corp announced that it has successfully completed its first field trial of its proprietary fertility and ovulation detection technology for large animal breeding at the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph. The trial's endpoint results, coupled with the simulation derived from proposed changes to the computer algorithm, suggest that the Company's ability to adapt its proprietary Fertilit√©-OV Monitor technology to the specific physiology of the dairy cow in the dairy farm environment, can meet a success level, defined as the correct prediction of oncoming estrus, of 60%.  Additional feasibility trials will be undertaken to further study and confirm this anticipated success rate upon implementation of the changes to the computer algorithm. (AnimalNet – company press release)

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ANIMAL HEALTH NEWS
 
>  US   The nation's newest College of Veterinary Medicine opened on Aug. 11 at Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, California.  This is the first college of veterinary medicine to open in the country in more than 20 years. The new college has a unique mission as it begins to train veterinarians to address the documented shortage of veterinarians in Southern California.  Classes began on Monday, Aug. 11 with 86 students comprising the charter class. Most of the class members are California residents, but the balance comes from seven other states. In April 2003, the American Veterinary Medical Association's Council on Education (COE) granted the Western University College of Veterinary Medicine provisional accreditation status. This status may be maintained for a period of up to five years, by which time full accreditation must be achieved. (Business Wire)

>  The World Health Organization announced that it will recommend that nations phase out the use of antibiotic growth promoters in animal feed, saying the move will help preserve the effectiveness of antibiotics for medicine and can be done without significant expense or health consequences to farm animals. The recommendations are based on a study of Denmark's experience following a 1998 voluntary ban on antibiotic growth promoters.  WHO's findings and recommendation do not require nations to act. The report makes clear that there were negative effects from the ban on antibiotic growth promoters.  WHO officials acknowledge that antibiotic resistance is being caused by over-prescribing drugs for people as well, but say that the routine and low-dosage use of antibiotics is the least important use of antibiotics and should be curtailed.  (AnimalNet – Washington Post)

>  ITALY   Italy's Health Ministry reported the country's latest case of BSE, a week after the death of the first person in the country to die of vCJD. The announcement from the ministry raised to 105 the number of cattle testing positive in Italy for BSE. (AnimalNet – CP Wire)

>  The USDA announced that the US will begin accepting applications for import permits for certain ruminant derived products from Canada.  On May 20, 2003 Secretary Veneman temporarily halted imports of live ruminants and most ruminant products from Canada after a cow in Alberta was found to have BSE.  The USDA will no longer prohibit the importation of hunter-harvested wild ruminant products intended for personal use and it will begin to accept applications for import permits for certain products from Canada, including boneless sheep or goat meat from animals under 12 months of age; boneless bovine meat from cattle under 30 months of age; boneless veal (meat) from calves that were 36 weeks of age or younger at slaughter; fresh or frozen bovine liver; vaccines for veterinary medicine for non-ruminant use; and pet products and feed ingredients that contain processed animal protein and tallow of non-ruminant sources when produced in facilities with dedicated manufacturing lines. (Wattnet Meatnews)

>  MEXICO   Mexican trade officials have followed the lead of USDA, announcing that Mexico planned to partially lift a ban on Canadian beef products while keeping its border closed to live cattle imports. (Meating Place)

>  US   The US announced it will launch a new certification system for beef exports to Japan. Planned easing of US restrictions on importation of Canadian beef had raised official concern that Canadian beef could make its way into Japan via the US. To alleviate those concerns, officials from the two countries meeting in Washington agreed on a program to certify the origin of beef sold by US exporters. Beef that is not certified under the new program will be rejected by Japanese customs authorities. (Wattnet Meatnews)

>  US   The FDA is proposing to remove regulations that required sponsors to submit safety and effectiveness data about subtherapeutic uses of certain antibiotics, nitrofuran, and sulfonamide drugs in animal feed, and that exempted certain new animal drugs administered in feed from batch certification requirements. These regulations are obsolete and redundant, and their removal will not adversely affect CVM’s ability to address the issue of antimicrobial resistance. CVM has developed a new strategy for assessing the safety of all antimicrobial new animal drugs and will soon be finalizing guidance on this issue. Additionally, CVM is announcing the effective conditions of use for certain drug products and use combinations subject to the listings in the subject regulations. It is also proposing to withdraw the new animal drug applications (NADAs) for those products or use combinations lacking substantial evidence of effectiveness, following a 90-day opportunity to supplement the NADAs with labeling conforming to the relevant findings of effectiveness. (AnimalNet – CVM)

>  US   Quality Boneless Beef Co. Inc. is voluntarily recalling approximately 332,000 pounds of fresh and frozen ground beef products that may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7. The company, doing business as Quality Meats and Seafood, said the products subject to recall bear the establishment code "EST. 2063" inside the USDA mark of inspection and were produced before Aug. 1, 2003. Products were distributed to restaurants, institutions and grocery stores in Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. (Meating Place)

>  US   A shipment of 148 head of dairy cattle departs for Cuba this weekend, the largest significant herd of U.S.-bred cattle to be sold there since the U.S. began its trade embargo against the country in 1962.  This shipment represents the second load of cattle from Florida to Cuba meant to help bolster the dairy industry in Cuba.  J.P. Wright & Company CEO Parke Wright became the first businessman from Florida to make a sale of cattle to the island since the embargo has been in place.  Wright has been working under a license from the US Treasury Department to develop and market agricultural exports to Cuba since 1999. (PRNewswire)

>  US   A recent veterinary bulletin warns that cytauxzoonosis is an emerging tick-borne cat disease. The bulletin characterizes cytauxzoonosis as a protozoan disease of cats resulting in "rapidly progressive systemic disease with an extremely high fatality rate."  Most recently documented in North Carolina, cytauxzoonosis has been identified in 10 other states: Missouri, Arkansas, Texas, Georgia, Mississippi, Florida, Kansas, Illinois, Kentucky and Oklahoma. Following the death of a domestic cat in its state, the North Carolina Veterinary Medical Association sent notices to more than 600 veterinarians stressing tick prevention for cats.  (AAHA NEWStat)

>  CHINA   Scientists in China have, for the first time, used cloning techniques to create hybrid embryos that contain a mix of DNA from both humans and rabbits, according to a report in a scientific journal that has reignited the smoldering ethics debate over cloning research. More than 100 of the hybrids, made by fusing human skin cells with rabbit eggs, were allowed to develop in laboratory dishes for several days before the scientists destroyed them to retrieve embryonic stem cells from their interiors. Although scientists in Massachusetts had previously mixed human cells and cow eggs in a similar attempt to make hybrid embryos as a source of stem cells, those experiments were not successful. Researchers said yesterday they were hopeful that the rabbit work would lead to a new and plentiful source of embryonic stem cells for research and, eventually, for medical use. (AnimalNet – Washington Post)

>  US   A dog that survived a trip to the gas chamber was tapped to star in a campaign to raise awareness about the millions of strays that are euthanized each year.  The 30-pound basenji mix went into a city gas chamber to be euthanized with other unwanted or unclaimed dogs, then emerged very much alive, with tail wagging.  The survival tale brought headlines, television cameras and more than 700 offers of adoption. Now, Quentin, who is named for California's San Quentin State Prison, will be the front dog for the awareness campaign mounted by the group In Defense of Animals. (AP)

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BRAKKE CONSULTING VIEWPOINT

Are you ready for a business expansion?  I counted nine stories in the news this week that dealt with expansion of facilities, markets, product lines or companies.  Of course, some of the old problems like BSE, E. coli and antibiotic restrictions continue to lurk around the corner.  But it is encouraging that the companies that are addressing these problems are among those who are expanding.  The non-antibiotic feed additive companies continue to thrive.  A new player with an old name in meat packing expands the multi-hurdle system that the industry has put in place to ensure food safety.  An old antibiotic is given new life through reformulation.  It can renew one’s faith that free enterprise does work to solve problems.  And that old dogs like Quentin are full of survival tricks. 

John Mannhaupt

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