July 12, 2013 — When it comes to the care of their horses, it’s not uncommon for horse owners to make personal sacrifices–devoting the majority of their resources to the comfort and care of their four-legged friends. Because of that emotional attachment and economic investment most equine enthusiasts have with their horses, they are constantly searching for credible information about their animal’s health care. Merial, a leading animal health company, is helping horse owners by providing high-quality, proven health care products and by educating them about important health care issues.
“We are committed to helping horse owners care for their horses, through both the making of high-quality products, as well as education,” says Beckie Peskin, senior equine product manager, Merial. “We always recommend horse owners work with their veterinarians to determine the needs of their specific horses and being knowledgeable helps in that process.”
Merial’s efforts to educate horse owners include the following:
Unapproved Products Initiative
Horse owners are bombarded with thousands of choices when it comes to equine health care products. To help them navigate through the equine drug market place, Merial launched EquineDrugFacts.com. Through the site, horse owners can learn about the differences between pioneer, generic, compounded and illegally manufactured drugs. The site also highlights the importance of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval, which, at a minimum, means the drug is:
- Thoroughly tested for safety and effectiveness.
- Continually monitored once on the market for adverse events.
- Manufactured under what are accepted GMPs or “Good Manufacturing Practices.”
At the site, horse owners can also link directly to AnimalDrugs@fda, which contains a searchable list of approved drugs. There is also a way to file reports with the proper authorities should a horse owner or veterinarian believe they have been defrauded by a manufacturer making untrue product claims.
In addition to this online resource, educational efforts include advertisements and editorial content in equine publications and web sites.
“Ultimately, the most expensive product is the one that doesn’t work,” notes Peskin.
Equine Stomach Ulcer Awareness, Treatment and Prevention
The results of studies have consistently shown that equine stomach ulcers are prevalent across all breeds, disciplines and even ages. In fact, two out of three non-racing competitive horses and more than half of foals suffer from stomach ulcers.
To help horse owners better understand the prevalence, potential severity and prevention of stomach ulcers, Merial developed the ULCERGARD (omeprazole) Trial Program. Since the program’s inception in 2008, Merial representatives have attended more than 200 horse shows, equine events and competitions throughout the country–and have spoken directly with more than 12,000 horse owners–educating them about equine stomach ulcers.
In addition to gaining valuable information, horse owners are also able to sample ULCERGARD, the only FDA-approved and proven product to prevent ulcers. Visit ulcergard.com for more information about equine stomach ulcers and find out which 2013 events will include Merial’s ULCERGARD Trial Program.
Equine Disease Awareness and Prevention
Diseases such as rabies, West Nile virus (WNV), Eastern/Western equine encephalomyelitis (EEE/WEE), equine herpesvirus (EHV-1), equine influenza and Potomac horse fever (PHF) are potentially deadly threats to horses. While vaccination is the best way to help prevent these diseases, knowing about existing threats is also important.
To help horse owners become aware of equine diseases in their communities and in areas to which they might be traveling, Merial developed the free “Outbreak Alert” program.
On the Web site outbreak-alert.com, horse owners can view maps showing locations of confirmed diseases and sign up to receive an e-mail or text message when equine diseases have been confirmed in the ZIP codes they want to track.
“We’ve sent thousands of alerts to horse owners since the inception of this program,” says Peskin. “When people are made aware of the threats that exist in their own backyards, they are able to make informed decisions about which vaccinations to administer and determine whether or not to alter travel plans.”
Advances in Parasite Management
With more than 40-year-old calendar-based rotational deworming strategies still the norm for many horse owners, Merial recognized a need to provide updated information about protocols.
The Web site 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.
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 6,000 people and operates in more than 150 countries worldwide.