Merck and AAEP Mark 10 Years of Helping Rescue Horses

More than $1 million of donated vaccines have impacted thousands of horses.


Ten years ago this month, Merck Animal Health and the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) established the Unwanted Horse Veterinary Relief Campaign (UHVRC) to help protect the health of horses in rescue and make them more adoptable. Each year, Merck Animal Health donates thousands of doses of core and risk-based vaccines to qualifying equine facilities in need with the support of the AAEP veterinarian membership and staff. 

During the 2018 annual AAEP Convention in San Francisco, a special recognition ceremony was held commemorating the anniversary and acknowledging the member veterinarians and rescues who have impacted the lives of thousands of horses in rescue.

“While the need may seem unending, every contribution—great or small—makes a difference for these horses,” said Ron McDaniel, Merck Animal Health director of equine sales and UHVRC co-founder. “It is humbling to witness the impact these rescue and retirement facilities are making, along with the sponsoring AAEP-member veterinarians who have dedicated their time and resources to help them. Today is about recognizing their tireless efforts and we’re honored to have played a small part in supporting them over the last decade.”

The issue of the unwanted horse continues to be a leading industry concern. Results from the 2012, 2015 and 2018 American Horse Publication surveys showed that the concern for unwanted horses remained the most significant challenge facing the equine industry today.

Notable milestones of the program’s 10-year history include more than:

  • 28,000 horses vaccinated
  • 300 participating rescue and retirement facilities in 42 U.S. states
  • 2,000 applications received
  • 900 AAEP-member veterinarian supporters
  • $1 million in Merck Animal Health vaccine donations

“The AAEP’s mission is to protect the health and welfare of the horse, and there is no better demonstration of this principle than the outstanding work of the UHVRC,” said AAEP Executive Director David L. Foley. “Our continued gratitude goes to Merck and the many AAEP members who partner with facilities to provide at-risk horses with the care they need.”

The deadline for 2019 application submissions is February 1, 2019. For more information or to get involved, please visit


Download UHVRC Infographic

About Merck Animal Health

For more than a century, Merck, a leading global biopharmaceutical company, has been inventing for life, bringing forward medicines and vaccines for many of the world’s most challenging diseases. Merck Animal Health, known as MSD Animal Health outside the United States and Canada, is the global animal health business unit of Merck. Through its commitment to the Science of Healthier Animals, Merck Animal Health offers veterinarians, farmers, pet owners and governments one of the widest ranges of veterinary pharmaceuticals, vaccines and health management solutions and services. Merck Animal Health is dedicated to preserving and improving the health, well-being and performance of animals. It invests extensively in dynamic and comprehensive R & D resources and a modern, global supply chain. Merck Animal Health is present in more than 50 countries, while its products are available in some 150 markets. For more information, visit or connect with us on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter at @MerckAH.

About AAEP

The American Association of Equine Practitioners, headquartered in Lexington, Kentucky, was founded in 1954 as a non-profit organization dedicated to the health and welfare of the horse. Currently, AAEP reaches more than five million horse owners through its over 9,000 members worldwide and is actively involved in ethics issues, practice management, research and continuing education in the equine veterinary profession and horse industry.

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