Animal Studies for Animal Health

Animal studies provide important insights into the products that keep the animals in our lives safe and healthy. Dogs and cats were part of the research into a flea and tick collar that protects animals from vector-borne disease, while an innovative prevention against bovine respiratory disease, was tested on cattle. Neither product could have been developed without animal studies.

The Flea and Tick Collar

About Vector-borne Disease

“Vector-borne disease” is the term for a disease that is transmitted by arthropods like fleas or ticks. Animals can be protected from vector-borne diseases if the arthropod that carries the disease – the so-called vector – is prevented from biting the animal. The flea and tick collar for dogs and cats, slowly and continuously releases its two active ingredients, imidacloprid and flumethrin, to remove fleas and ticks before they can bite the animal.

What role did animal studies play?

A series of cat and dog studies were set up in which study animals were exposed at regular intervals to disease-carrying ticks, fleas, or sand flies. Half of the animals were protected by the collar and the other half – the control group – were left unprotected. Blood and tissue samples were drawn after a post-exposure incubation period to search for signs of the transmitted diseases. If any of the unprotected animals developed signs of the disease, they were immediately treated and removed from the study.

When the study ended, healthy laboratory cats and dogs were entered into an adoption program after a thorough veterinary examination.

Outcome and Outlook

The results of the study were remarkable: The flea and tick collars protected the treated animals against transmission of vector-borne diseases better than any other method.

Prevention against Bovine Respiratory Disease

About bovine respiratory disease (BRD)

Bovine respiratory disease, often referred to as BRD or "shipping fever," is a complex cattle disease that can affect the lower or upper respiratory tract in calves, cows or steers. It has serious animal health and economic implications.

Stressors such as shipping, processing, and adverse weather trigger the release of cortisol, which can compromise the animal’s immune response and weaken its defenses against infection. Bayer developed an immune stimulant that is given within 24 hours of a stressful event and triggers a rapid and broad response to infection.

What role did animal studies play?

To investigate the efficacy of this new immunostimulant, healthy three- to four-month-old steers were randomly allocated into two groups of about 32 per group. Animals were simultaneously given the bacterium Mannheimia haemolytica and an intramuscular injection of either the Bayer treatment or a placebo treatment. The steers were then clinically examined over a period of 5 days. After this period of time the animals were euthanized. Lung lesions, the selected parameter for the study, were retrieved from all animals and examined.

Performing the study in cattle was crucial. As animal immune systems are highly complex, it was not possible to predict outcomes based on alternative methods or even other species.

Outcome and outlook

Results were convincing: lung lesions were reduced from 12.1% to 6.3% without any additional treatment or protection, even when the treatment occurred at the same time as the bacterial infection. This study proved that the Bayer product is an important part of the toolkit for vets and farmers in the fight against Bovine Respiratory Disease.