“The Pet Allergy Worldwide Survey highlights a very important point that pet owners should always be aware of -- that pets can be affected by the same seasonal allergens, such as grass or pollen, as people,” said Dr. Keith Hnilica, DVM, MS, MBA, DACVD, a veterinary dermatologist at the Pet Wellness Center and Lakeside Veterinary Academy, a pet allergy and dermatology referral and learning center. “I tell pet owners it’s vital to recognize the most common signs of pet allergy, including scratching more than usual, licking the same area excessively, hair loss and skin rash. Raising awareness of the issues to your veterinarian means a quicker diagnosis of the cause, reduction in the pet’s suffering, relief of itchiness and skin lesions as efficiently and safely as possible, and ultimately improvement in a pet’s quality of life.”
The survey, conducted with more than 1,250 pet owners in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the UK and US, revealed that of the pet owners interviewed, 46% suffer from an allergy themselves, the most common being hay fever. Most of those who have allergies felt more empathy and understanding towards allergic pets as a result. “I only suffer (from allergies) for 6-8 weeks a year,” said one survey participant. “Constant itching all year long must be very distressing for my dog.” Another pet owner said, “Hay fever really impacts my quality of life. I would hate for my cat to go through the same experience.”
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Eighty percent of pet owners surveyed said they would like to know more about how to recognize and treat pet allergies. However, 43% admitted that they wouldn’t know how to tell if their animal was suffering from an allergy, and fewer than one in three pet owners were aware of one of the most common canine and feline allergic skin diseases: atopic dermatitis in dogs and allergic dermatitis in cats. To help, Novartis Animal Health working together with Dr. Claude Favrot, a board-certified veterinary dermatologist (PhD, Dip ECVD) at the University of Zurich in Switzerland, developed one-minute online tests to help identify cats and dogs that may be suffering from allergies. Available on itchfreepet.com, the tests based on Dr. Favrot’s criteria offer pet owners an opportunity to discuss the findings with their veterinarian.
“People with allergies know how miserable they can feel in springtime,” said George Gunn, Division Head of Novartis Animal Health. “By raising awareness of pet allergies and providing a quick and easy online tool, we hope to help owners recognize the signs of allergic conditions so they can work with their veterinarian to bring year-round relief to their animal companions.”
It’s not surprising that owners want to do as much as possible to help their pets since 71% of pet owners consider their pet as part of the family. “My cats and dogs are like children,” said one survey participant. “Whatever happens to them makes me suffer.”
About the survey
Novartis Animal Health conducted the survey to investigate pet owners’ awareness of canine or feline allergies. The survey was conducted online and took place between February 15 and 22, 2012. Pet owners from the following countries were surveyed: France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the UK and US. Within each category, approximately half were cat owners and half were dog owners. A total of 1,269 cat and dog owners completed the survey; approximately half had a pet with a diagnosed allergy (618) and the other half (651) had pets who have not been diagnosed with an allergy but may have signs of an allergy. This provided an appropriate number of individuals within each category to give unbiased results.
About canine and feline allergies
Atopic dermatitis is one of the most common allergic skin diseases in dogs, and is estimated to affect 10 to 15 percent of dogs. It is caused by hypersensitivity to environmental allergens such as house dust mites, pollen and mold spores, which stimulate an exaggerated immune response in affected animals and can lead to recurrent itching, scratching and licking and resulting in skin irritation or lesions. This disease is chronic, recurrent and requires lifelong management.
Allergic dermatitis is among the top ten reasons that pet owners take their cat to the veterinarian. It is also caused by hypersensitivity to environmental allergens such as house dust mites, pollen and mold spores. Cats with allergic dermatitis are itchy but, unlike dogs, it can sometimes be more difficult to identify if a cat is itching. Pruritus (itching) often manifests in cats as frequent grooming/licking, chewing and sometimes scratching. However, cats can be secretive and find a quiet place to lick and groom making it more difficult for pet owners to recognize the condition.
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The foregoing release contains forward-looking statements that can be identified by terminology such as “can,” “may,” “goal,” “opportunity,” “hope,” or similar expressions, or by express or implied discussions regarding potential future revenues from Atopica. You should not place undue reliance on these statements. Such forward-looking statements reflect the current views of management regarding future events, and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results with Atopica to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such statements. There can be no guarantee that Atopica will achieve any particular levels of revenue in the future. In particular, management’s expectations regarding Atopica could be affected by, among other things, unexpected clinical trial results, including unexpected new clinical data and unexpected additional analysis of existing clinical data; unexpected regulatory actions or delays or government regulation generally; competition in general; government, industry and general public pricing pressures; unexpected manufacturing issues; the company’s ability to obtain or maintain patent or other proprietary intellectual property protection; the impact that the foregoing factors could have on the values attributed to the Novartis Group's assets and liabilities as recorded in the Group's consolidated balance sheet, and other risks and factors referred to in Novartis AG’s current Form 20-F on file with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those anticipated, believed, estimated or expected. Novartis is providing the information in this press release as of this date and does not undertake any obligation to update any forward-looking statements contained in this press release as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
About Novartis Animal Health
Novartis Animal Health researches, develops and commercializes leading animal treatments that meet the needs of pet owners, farmers and veterinarians. Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland and present in nearly 40 countries, Novartis Animal Health employs approximately 2,900 people worldwide. For more information, please visit www.ah.novartis.com.
Novartis provides innovative healthcare solutions that address the evolving needs of patients and societies. Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Novartis offers a diversified portfolio to best meet these needs: innovative medicines, eye care, cost-saving generic pharmaceuticals, preventive vaccines and diagnostic tools, over-the-counter and animal health products. Novartis is the only global company with leading positions in these areas. In 2011, the Group's continuing operations achieved net sales of USD 58.6 billion, while approximately USD 9.6 billion (USD 9.2 billion excluding impairment and amortization charges) was invested in R&D throughout the Group. Novartis Group companies employ approximately 124,000 full-time-equivalent associates and operate in more than 140 countries around the world. For more information, please visit http://www.novartis.com.
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