Show Smart: Be Aware of Equine Virus Outbreaks

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Horse trailer packed. Check. Tack cleaned. Check. Show clothes ready to go. Check. You’re eager to hit the road for the next horse show, but do you know what could be waiting for you when you get there?


With a lot to think about for show preparation, checking for equine disease outbreaks can often fall off the to-do list. While vaccinations are an essential part of maintaining equine health1 and helping show season go smoothly, it’s best to avoid a run-in with an infectious disease altogether.1

Believe it or not, this year’s biggest threat is rabies. With over 400 cases of rabies reported in various animals, it is a danger that horse owners have to protect against.2 Texas has the highest number of reported rabies cases at 194 and counting, and most of those cases were bats.2 While you may not think heading to a show could expose your horse to rabies, wildlife such as raccoons, coyotes, and feral cats may often be found in and around barns and wooded show facilities. Rabies is preventable with vaccination--and in fact, the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) considers rabies a core disease for which all horses in the U.S. should be vaccinated.3 Once clinical signs develop, rabies is almost always fatal, since no treatment is currently available.3

Another prominent threat, equine herpesvirus (EHV), has almost doubled this year from last.2 The virus has been reported 81 times, and more than 85 percent of outbreaks were reported in the Southwest part of the United States.2 That’s something to keep in mind when heading to shows in the area or if horses that have traveled to that area will be coming back into your barn.

EHV can spread through direct horse-to-horse contact and even indirectly through contact with contaminated objects. That means interactions with contaminated feed, equipment and tack, or human hands and clothing can spread the disease.4

How to Check for Equine Disease Confirmations on Outbreak-Alert.com

Before heading to your next show, check Outbreak-Alert.com:

  1. View your Destination: Enter the ZIP code of your target location or scan the map for the red circle stamps indicating an alert.
  2. Identify the Threat: Click the red circle to view location and disease carrier, or to alert a friend via Facebook.
  3. Sign up for Alerts: Register for future alerts by entering your email and phone number. 

Don’t delay; make disease prevalence and virus outbreaks part of your checklist before you show!

Merial is a world-leading, innovation-driven animal health company, providing a comprehensive range of products that focus on disease prevention and overall health and wellness in animals. Merial has three main business areas: pets, farm animals, and veterinary public health, and our health solutions target more than 200 diseases and conditions across a variety of species. Merial employs 6,900 people and operates in more than 150 countries worldwide with over €2.5 billion of sales in 2015. Merial is a Sanofi company. For more information, please see www.merial.com; @Merial.

©2016 Merial, Inc., Duluth, GA. All rights reserved. EQUIOLG1613 (11/16)

1Protecting Your Horse from Disease Outbreaks. American Association of Equine Practitioners. Available at: http://www.aaep.org/info/horse-health?publication=737. Accessed Feb. 20, 2016.
2Information on file at Merial from Outbreak-Alert.com.
3Rabies. American Association of Equine Practitioners. Available at: http://www.aaep.org/info/rabies. Accessed Feb. 20, 2016.
4FAQ: Regarding Equine Herpesvirus (EHV). American Association of Equine Practitioners. Available at: http://www.aaep.org/info/horse-health?publication=753.
Accessed July 3, 2016.