The company disclaims any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements in the future even if its estimates or expectations change. Also during this call, we will discuss certain financial measures not prepared in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles or GAAP. A definition of these non-GAAP financial measures is provided in our earnings release which can be found on our website idexx.com.
Finally, we plan to end today’s call by 10 am eastern. In order to allow, broad participation in the Q&A we ask that each participant limit his or her questions to one with one follow-up as necessary. We do appreciate you may have additional questions, so please free to back into the queue and if time permits we will be more than happy to take your additional questions.
I would now like to turn the conference over to Merilee Raines. Please go ahead.
Merilee RainesGood morning and thank you for joining us today. For the fourth quarter, our revenues of $307.2 million yielding 7% organic growth were largely in line with our expectations at the time of our third quarter call. And earnings per share of $0.67 were about four pennies above our thinking. As we had expected, revenue growth in our Livestock and Poultry Diagnostic business abated from previous quarters and was the driver for the 1% lower organic growth than the 8% that we experienced in the first three quarters of the year. The earnings favorability was primarily driven by a $3 million milestone payment related to sale in late 2008 of our feline diabetes therapeutic. This contributed just over three pennies to EPS, slightly lower share count was a minor secondary factor in EPS favorability. Let me speak for moment on the economic backdrop for our Companion Animal business. Recent data showing a modest improving trend in certain aspects of the US economy are reflected as well in our fourth quarter metrics from a subset of nearly 500 veterinary clinics using our Cornerstone Practice Management System. Patient visits were up about 1% in the fourth quarter and this is versus flat in the third quarter and down 0.5% in the first half of the year. And practice revenues grew by 3.5% which was up 50 basis points from the third quarter and up about 150 basis points from the first half.