About Animal Medicines

About Animal Medicines

Animals, like humans, are prone to illness and need medicine to treat and prevent disease. And from indoors-only cats to free-range chickens, animals – no matter where they live – benefit from today’s veterinary medicines. Better animal health is an important part of an animal’s welfare.

On average, the world spends only about one-fortieth of the amount it devotes to human medicines on animal medicines. But that investment is used to cover animal health innovations for the world’s 24 billion chickens, more than 1 billion cattle and sheep, 750 million pigs and goats, 500 million dogs and 400 million cats. The time, care and investment put into the research and development of animal medicines ensures a steady stream of new and innovative products that improve the health and well-being of all of these animals.

AHI supports its members in their ongoing research, production and distribution of animal medicines, which fall into three primary categories:

  • Biologics – commonly known as vaccines
  • Pesticides – primarily flea and tick products 
  • Pharmaceuticals – covering a variety of medicines such as  pain medications, anesthetics, heartworm preventatives, antibiotics and chemotherapy drugs

AHI’s member companies, including national and global research companies, provide the pharmaceutical, biological and chemical products that keep animals healthy. These medicines cannot be marketed until they have gone through a rigorous government review process and approved by the proper federal regulatory agency.

Pet Health

Scientists have developed numerous medicines that have resulted in dramatic improvements in the prevention and treatment of animal health issues such as flea and tick infestation, Lyme disease, rabies, diabetes, feline leukemia, and other types of cancers. New diagnostic tests and medical equipment specifically for animals are being developed every day, leading to better treatments and more options for veterinarians and pet owners.

Livestock and Food Safety

Animal medicines are also an important link in the food safety chain, and must be approved by the appropriate federal agency: the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the case of pharmaceuticals; the U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA) in the case of vaccines; or the EPA in the case of pesticides. Guidelines have been developed in consultation with the FDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help farmers and veterinarians make sound decisions about the use of medicines.