OVERLAND PARK, KS (June 2001) – The Center for Veterinary Medicine, a branch of the Food and Drug Administration, has just approved ProHeart®6 (moxidectin), a groundbreaking development in heartworm protection for dogs and dog owners from Fort Dodge Animal Health.

Unlike conventional, monthly heartworm protection products that are given to dogs by their owners, ProHeart®6 provides six months of continuous heartworm protection in a single dose that is administered by the veterinarian.

“ProHeart®6 is a breakthrough product in terms of heartworm protection,” said Steve Hoffman, Marketing Manager for Fort Dodge Animal Health. “With ProHeart®6, the veterinarian, instead of the dog owner, controls the timing, administration, accuracy and efficacy of the heartworm dose, as efficacy is no longer dependent upon pet owners remembering to give the medication. It virtually eliminates compliance concerns by placing control of this potentially fatal disease with the veterinarian.”

Heartworm is a life-threatening canine parasite transmitted by mosquitoes that affects dogs in all 50 states. While research shows that America’s dog owners do understand the importance of protecting their pets from this deadly disease, adherence to properly administering traditional heartworm preventatives remains a serious problem for dog owners and veterinarians.

“Current monthly heartworm products can only be effective when they are administered on time. Missed doses obviously compromise the efficacy and confidence of the products to control heartworm,” explained Hoffman. “Clearly, ProHeart®6 (moxidectin) represents the future of heartworm protection. It is safe, effective and virtually eliminates concerns about compliance by placing complete control over canine heartworm protection with the veterinarian.”

A nationwide survey of dog owners, conducted in the summer of 2000, found that more than 80 percent had failed to give their dogs the monthly heartworm preventative on time. One third of the dog owners surveyed entirely missed a monthly dose, and 20 percent of those who missed eventually stopped giving the heartworm preventative altogether.

Similarly, the Merck Ag Vet Veterinary Survey of Heartworm Compliance, conducted in 1996, indicated that only 56.4 percent of heartworm preventatives are administered as recommended.

“There is a problem with client compliance with heartworm prevention,” said Dr. Paul Black, a veterinarian in Rochester, New York. “Certainly, we see plenty of dogs that we dispense a seasonal supply of heartworm preventative, and when the pet comes back in the next year, the owner comments: ‘Oh, I still have a few of those left at home.’ Obviously, they did not give all the medication.”

“Unfortunately, we see cases every year of heartworm disease in dogs that previously have been dispensed a preventative,” added Dr. Black.

With ProHeart®6, veterinarians now have a valuable new tool to virtually guarantee client compliance in heartworm prevention.

“The availability of a sustained-release heartworm preventative will certainly have great advantages,” said Dr. David Knight, President of the American Heartworm Society, and a professor of cardiology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. “For one thing, it would put a little more of the control in the hands of the veterinarian, since it would be administered by the veterinarian rather than the client-owner themselves. With a high level of efficacy for a six-month period, everyone could be assured of complete protection.”

ProHeart®6 contains the active ingredient moxidectin, a new generation milbemycin molecule, in combination with a unique microsphere technology delivery system. A single-dose injection provides unprecedented sustained-released protection against canine heartworm disease for six continuous months.

ProHeart®6 (moxidectin) has been proven safe and effective in multiple U.S. field trials. It has been extensively tested in target animal safety studies in a wide variety of adult dogs, including heartworm-positive dogs, and collies with known sensitivity to ivermectin. Efficacy and safety studies were conducted by researchers from Cornell University, Auburn University, University of Pennsylvania and University of Georgia.

“Throughout the extensive field trials, ProHeart®6 proved safe for a variety of dogs participating in the test,” said Kathy Heaney, DVM, Senior Manager Global New Product Development for Fort Dodge Animal Health. “These studies confirmed that ProHeart®6 is a safe, effective and valuable alternative to conventional monthly heartworm preventatives.”

Dr. Thomas Saunders, a clinical investigator from Dana Point, California, participated in one of the studies, and now plans to offer ProHeart®6 to his clientele. “We administered ProHeart®6 to client-owned dogs in a 12-month study,” said Dr. Saunders. “None tested positive for heartworm. None of the dogs I treated with ProHeart®6 showed injection-site swelling or other side effects. Overall, we were impressed with the safety of ProHeart®6.”

“Dog owners rely on their veterinarians to provide the highest level of health care available for their pets,” said Hoffman. “ProHeart®6 (moxidectin) provides year-round, superior protection against canine heartworm disease with just two visits a year to the veterinarian.”

Fort Dodge Animal Health conducted extensive consumer-based research that indicated that dog owners are extremely receptive to the idea of twice-a-year visits to the veterinarian for heartworm prevention. In fact, a national survey of 2,500 dog owners revealed that more than 80 percent would switch to twice-a-year heartworm protection if it cost no more than their current monthly preventative. The average dog already is taken to the veterinarian 1.8 times a year for wellness check ups, grooming, boarding, dental work and other procedures, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association.

ProHeart®6 (moxidectin) is generally well tolerated. Use with caution in sick, debilitated or underweight animals. A small percentage of dogs showed mild, transient swelling or itching at the injection site. While rare, digestive, neurological or hypersensitivity reactions may occur. Read the package insert for more information. To obtain additional information, including a copy of the product labeling, dog owners should contact their veterinarian, or call 1-800-772-5040.

Fort Dodge Animal Health is a division of American Home Products. American Home Products is one of the world’s largest research-based pharmaceutical and health care product companies. It is a leader in the discovery, development, manufacturing and marketing of prescription drugs and over-the-counter medicines. It also is a global leader in vaccines, biotechnology, animal health care and medical devices.



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