Merial today launched the Outbreak Alert Program to help build awareness of equine diseases and emphasize the importance of prevention. The program will be used to notify veterinarians and horse owners about reports of equine disease throughout the country.
Diseases such as Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), rabies, Potomac Horse Fever and West Nile virus (WNV) are dangerous to the infected animal as well as surrounding horses, so Merial says being armed with information provided by the outbreak alert program can help minimize the risk of disease.
“The primary focus of the program is to help keep horse owners informed about the threat of disease in the area where they live or where they may be traveling,” says Beckie Peskin, product manager, equine vaccines and dewormers, Merial. “Owners want the best for their horses and knowing where the threat of disease exists will help them take the appropriate preventive measures to help protect their horse – whether it is in their own barn or competing halfway across the country.”
When a disease report occurs, those who have signed up for the notification and live within a 250-mile radius of where the report occurred will receive a text and or e-mail message to alert them. Owners who travel with their horses and want to stay abreast of disease threats in other parts of the country can enter multiple zip codes in the site’s search field. They will then be able to receive alerts for all areas they have selected. Owners are also encouraged to share details of the Outbreak Alert program with other horse owners.
“We want to spread the word about this program because we feel it is critical to give horse owners as much information as possible,” Peskin says. “Armed with information, horse owners can work with their veterinarian to make sound health care decisions based on the risk of disease and the potential for exposure.”
The Outbreak Alert Program website is geared to provide consumer-focused information about equine diseases, their transmission, signs to look for and disease prevention – including the importance of vaccination.
“The American Association of Equine Practitioners recommends all horses in the U.S. be vaccinated against core diseases, including WNV, EEE, Western equine encephalitis, tetanus and rabies,” Peskin says. “If you travel with your horse or there is a disease threat in your area, there are other non-core vaccines that may be needed to help protect your horse's health, including those for equine influenza and PHF.”
Veterinary practices interested in learning more about the Outbreak Alert program may call their Merial sales representative or visit OutBreakAlert.com.