When it comes to their equine companions, most horse owners are committed to providing them with the best of care. It’s not uncommon to hear them lovingly lament:
“He gets new shoes more often than I do.”
“My horse’s trailer is nicer than my house.”
“I feed my horse before I eat my own meals.”
Because of the emotional attachment most equestrians have with their horses, as well as the economic investment they have made in them, they are constantly looking for information – whether it’s about training techniques, new equipment, feeding strategies or advances in health care. Merial, a leading animal health company, is helping horse owners not only by providing high-quality, proven health care products, but also by educating them about important equine health care issues.
“It’s really important for horse owners to understand the health threats their horses face and how to use preventive measures and information to manage them,” says Beckie Peskin, Product Manager, Equine Vaccines and Dewormers. “To help support them, we’ve created several educational initiatives, making information easily accessible and understandable. By doing this, we can help horse owners better understand the risk of disease, the importance of prevention and the value of working with their veterinarians to help protect the health of their horses.”
Equine Disease Awareness and Prevention
Diseases such as rabies, West Nile virus (WNV), Eastern/Western Equine Encephalomyelitis (EEE/WEE), Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1) equine influenza and Potomac Horse fever (PHF) remain potentially deadly threats to horses. While vaccination is an essential key to prevention, being aware of existing threats is also important. Launched one year ago, the free “Outbreak Alert” program is designed to educate horse owners and veterinarians about equine diseases and keep them informed of potential disease threats around the country.
Since June 2011, thousands of people have signed up for the program, which tracks confirmed cases of rabies, WNV, EEE, WEE, EHV-1, equine influenza and PHF around the country. Those who have signed up for the notification system and live in the region where a disease occurs receive a text and/or e-mail message alerting them of the potential threat. Owners who travel with their horses can enter multiple ZIP codes in the site’s search field, allowing them to stay informed about diseases that might have been reported in other areas.
Besides the alert service, the website outbreak-alert.com features a U.S. map with markers indicating where disease threats have been identified and educational information about equine diseases and the importance of vaccinating.
To learn more or register for the program, visit outbreak-alert.com.
Advances in Parasite Management
With calendar-based rotational deworming strategies that were developed more than 40 years ago still the norm for horse owners,1 Merial recognized a need to provide updated information about protocols.
The website ReThinkDeworming.com is a one-stop resource for horse owners, encouraging them to partner with their veterinarians to implement new, more effective parasite management plans. The site includes educational videos, articles and a quiz to test parasite knowledge.
To find out more about the latest in deworming strategies, visit ReThinkDeworming.com.
Equine Stomach Ulcer Awareness, Treatment and Prevention
The results of studies have shown that equine stomach ulcers are prevalent across all breeds, disciplines and even ages – two out of three non-racing competitive horses and more than half of foals suffer from stomach ulcers.2,3
To help horse owners better understand the prevalence, potential severity, treatment and prevention of stomach ulcers, Merial developed the ULCERGARD® (omeprazole) Trial Program. Since its inception in 2008, Merial representatives have attended more than 150 horse shows, equine events and competitions throughout the country – speaking directly to more than 10,000 horse owners, educating them about equine stomach ulcers.
In addition to valuable information, horse owners are also able to try ULCERGARD, the only U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved and proven product to prevent ulcers.4
Visit ulcergard.com for more information about equine stomach ulcers and find out which 2012 events will include Merial’s ULCERGARD Trial Program.
Unapproved Products Initiative
To help horse owners make educated decisions about the products they are purchasing for their horses, Merial is currently launching an unapproved products initiative. Through educational press releases, advertising and ultimately, a website, horse owners will be able learn about the dangers of illegally manufactured and counterfeit drugs.
“By educating themselves about how products are manufactured, labeled and regulated, horse owners can be assured they are making good decisions about what to give their horses,” says April Knudson, DVM, equine specialist, Merial’s Large Animal Veterinary Services. “They should be wary of products that are not FDA approved, as well as those making lofty claims. It’s vitally important horse owners do their homework and seek out products that have received U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval, which ensures those products are legal and have been tested for both safety and efficacy.”5
“We hope horse owners will take advantage of the information available to them through these programs,” says Peskin. “Ultimately, we at Merial have the same goal as all horse owners: to keep horses feeling and performing their best.”
Merial 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 5,600 people and operates in more than 150 countries worldwide. Its 2011 sales were more than $2.8 billion. Merial is a Sanofi company.
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