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News Release

American Veterinary Medical Foundation helps Gulf Coast veterinarians support struggling pet owners

Hill’s Pet Nutrition®, Merial Paws to Save PetsSM Program to partner with AVMF on initiative

ATLANTA, GA (August 1, 2010) — In response to the record number of pets filing into shelters and increasing need along the Gulf coast, the American Veterinary Medical Foundation has partnered with Hill’s Pet Nutrition and Merial to support veterinary clinics and shelters affected by struggling pet owners who are unable to provide food and medical care for their pets. The Gulf Coast Pet Relief Program is part of AVMF’s Animal Disaster Relief and Response Fund, a fund designated to support state and national disaster relief efforts. This effort will offer aid to 90 clinics and five shelters in the Gulf region.

The AVMF, Hill’s Pet Nutrition and Merial’s Paws to Save PetsSM program will provide a total of $145,000 in funding and pet food products to help reimburse veterinary clinics that have generously provided free services and goods to their clients whose livelihoods have been affected by the Gulf Coast oil spill.

"Pet-related issues in the Gulf continue to escalate, which is why we called upon our partners to come together to provide relief," Michael Cathey, executive director of AVMF, said. "Our hope is to ease the pet care challenges families and shelters in the Gulf are facing by providing funding and resources for food and medical care."

The number of pets being surrendered by families in extreme financial hardship has skyrocketed since the oil spill with various shelters reporting up to four times as many animals being given up for adoption since this time last year.

"At Hill's Pet Nutrition we recognize that pets are an integral part of the family," Neil Thompson, CEO of Hill's Pet Nutrition, Inc., said. "It is our goal is to keep families together by providing Science Diet® and Prescription Diet® pet foods to pet parents financially impacted by the crisis in the Gulf region."

"With ongoing help from the veterinary community, Paws to Save Pets continues to provide disaster relief assistance for clinics, shelters and ultimately pet victims," Mary Bryant, VMD, director of professional affairs at Merial said. "We’re pleased that veterinarians can benefit first-hand from this program and help many of their pet patients."

Interested parties looking to donate to the Gulf Coast Pet Relief Program are encouraged to visit Additional clinics seeking assistance are encouraged to contact the AVMF for reimbursement of their services.

About AVMF

The American Veterinary Medical Foundation is the charitable arm of the AVMA. For almost 50 years AVMF has been dedicated to protecting and advancing the well-being and medical care of animals. Charitable contributions and support to the Foundation help veterinarians help animals. Initiatives include: Humane Outreach-Animal Welfare, Education and Public Awareness, Research Support, Student Enhancement and support of American Veterinary Medical Association and its initiatives. In the last decade, AVMF has awarded grants totaling over $9,000,000. For more information about the AVMF, please visit

About Hill's Pet Nutrition, Inc.

Hill’s Pet Nutrition Inc. manufactures Hill’s® Prescription Diet® brand pet foods, therapeutic pet foods available only through veterinarians, and Hill’s® Science Diet® brand pet foods sold through veterinarians and finer pet specialty stores. Founded more than 60 years ago with a unique commitment to pet nutrition and well-being, Hill’s is committed to its mission to help enrich and lengthen the special relationships between people and their pets. Hill’s produces high-quality, great-tasting pet foods owners can trust and give to their canine and feline companions as part of a veterinary health care team recommendation. This ultimately improves patient health and the health of the practice. For more information about Hill’s Pet Nutrition Inc., and Hill’s Evidence-Based Clinical Nutrition™ visit

About the Merial Paws to Save PetsSM

Paws to Save Pets — through its partner agencies, Foundation and AVMF — provides emergency relief to pet victims of natural disasters, and supports disaster preparedness efforts for veterinary clinics and shelters. Since its inception in 2005, the Paws to Save Pets program has raised nearly $4 million in cash and products for emergency medications, disaster preparedness, treatments and shelter for pets injured or displaced during times of crisis, and to help reunite pets with their families. To learn more about Paws to Save Pets visit

About Merial

Merial, maker of HEARTGARD® and FRONTLINE® brand products, is a world-leading, innovation-driven animal health company, providing a comprehensive range of products to enhance the health, well-being and performance of a wide range of animals. Merial employs approximately 5,700 people and operates in more than 150 countries worldwide. Its 2009 sales were $2.6 billion. Merial is the Animal Health subsidiary of sanofi-aventis. For more information, please see

Media Contacts:

Tori Rappold, Burson-Marsteller
(917) 403-2931 |

Alex O’Gorman, Burson-Marsteller
(949) 533-5423 |