DULUTH, GA.– June 1, 2011– Supporting horse owners and veterinarians in their efforts to keep their horses healthy, today Merial launched its “Outbreak Alert” program, which will be used to notify horse owners about reports of equine disease throughout the country, as well as build a greater awareness of those diseases and the importance of prevention.

Disease poses a significant threat to the health and well-being of horses. Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) has a mortality rate estimated to be as high as 90 percent.1,2 Every case of rabies presents a death sentence to the infected horse – and a risk of infection for other horses.3 Potomac horse fever (PHF) can lead to severe complications or death, which occur in up to 30 percent of infected horses.4,5 One out of three horses that gets sick from West Nile virus (WNV) dies or must be euthanized.6 While these statistics are alarming, horse owners can help minimize the risk of disease by being armed with information.

“The primary focus of the program is to help keep horse owners, like myself, informed about the threat of disease in the area where they live or where they may be traveling,” says Beckie Peskin, Product Manager, Equine Vaccines and Dewormers, Merial. “Owners want the best for their horses, and knowing where the threat of disease exists will help them take the appropriate preventive measures to help protect their horse – whether it is in their own barn or competing halfway across the country.”

Horse owners can sign up for free alerts via the program’s website, www.outbreak-alert.com. When a disease report occurs, those who have signed up for the notification and live within a 250-mile radius of where the report occurred will receive a text and/or e-mail message to alert them of the potential disease threat. Owners who travel with their horses and want to stay abreast of disease threats in other parts of the country can enter multiple ZIP codes in the site’s search field. They will then be able to receive alerts for all areas they have selected. Owners are also encouraged to share details of the Outbreak Alert program with other horse owners through e-mail, text, Twitter and Facebook.

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