As the 2015 show season approaches, horse owners should not only be ramping up their training schedules and checking the fit of their show clothes, but they should also be considering ways to help protect their horses’ health while traveling.
“Diseases pose a significant health risk to horses and the best way to help prevent them is through vaccinations,” said Megan Green, DVM, manager, Merial Large Animal Veterinary Services. “Another way to help protect horse health is for horse owners to be aware of disease outbreaks in their areas and in areas they may be traveling to so they can take any necessary precautions.”
Outbreak Alert, a free program from Merial, makes obtaining this important disease information easy for horse owners.
On the Outbreak Alert website, maps of the United States highlight locations of confirmed cases of the following diseases that can affect horses:
- Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE)
- Western equine encephalitis (WEE)
- West Nile virus (WNV)
- Equine herpesvirus (EHV)
- Potomac horse fever (PHF)
It is important to know where these diseases have been reported, especially when making travel plans. For example, as of mid-December 2014, there were 133 EEE cases reported in 15 different states1 and 134 cases of WNV reported in 33 states (for the calendar year 2014).2
“Horse owners can get complacent and think that certain diseases aren’t going to impact their horses, but the reality is these potentially life-threatening or even fatal diseases can and do affect horses in all areas of the country,” said Green.
Those who visit the Outbreak Alert website have the option to sign up for free text and e-mail alerts, which immediately notify recipients when a confirmed case is reported in their area or areas they choose to monitor, such as travel destinations. Reference materials and articles about these diseases, their transmission and potential impact on a horse’s health are also accessible on the site.
“We will be getting into the heart of show season very soon and horse owners should stay informed about the potential risks to their horses’ health,” said Green.
To sign up for the free service and learn more about equine diseases visit www.outbreak-alert.com.
Merial is a world-leading, innovation-driven animal health company, providing a comprehensive range of products to enhance the health and well-being of a wide range of animals. Merial employs 6,100 people and operates in more than 150 countries worldwide with more than €2 billion of sales in 2014. Merial is a Sanofi company. For more information, please see www.merial.com.
1 United States Department of Agriculture. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. Available at: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_health/downloads/animal_diseases/2014_EEE_FINAL.pdf. Accessed February 17, 2015.
2 United States Department of Agriculture. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. Available at: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_health/downloads/animal_diseases/2014_WNV_FINAL.pdf. Accessed February 17, 2015.