With the 2015 show season in full swing, horse owners be considering ways to help protect their horses’ health while traveling. Outbreak Alert, a free program from Merial, makes obtaining this important disease information easy for horse owners.
“Diseases pose a significant health risk to horses and the best way to help prevent them is through vaccinations,” says Megan Green, DVM, manager of 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.”
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).
“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.
“Horse owners should stay informed about the potential risks to their horses’ health,” Green said.
To sign up for the free service and learn more about equine diseases visit www.outbreak-alert.com.