Relief campaign aids more than 1,400 unwanted horses

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Early experience with a program established to provide vaccines to equine rescue and retirement facilities indicates that the program is fulfilling an important need.

The Unwanted Horse Veterinary Relief Campaign is composed of veterinarians and qualifying organizations that hold rescued or retired horses. It was established jointly by Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health and the American Association of Equine Practitioners. The campaign, launched this past December (see JAVMA, Feb. 1, 2009), has already provided aid to more than 1,400 horses in the U.S. A portion of all Intervet/Schering-Plough equine vaccine sales, beginning Dec. 1, 2008, fund the program.

As of early May, Intervet/Schering-Plough had donated 1,470 doses of West Nile virus vaccines, 1,380 doses of rabies vaccines, and 1,470 doses of a vaccine against equine herpesvirus type 1 and western equine encephalomyelitis virus.

The widespread need for a nonprofit program such as the UHVRC was evident from the more than 100 applications received by the program since Jan. 1. Applications for more than 4,500 horses have been submitted by facilities in 35 states.

Equine rescue and retirement facilities are selected to receive complimentary equine vaccines on the basis of a completed application, compliance with the AAEP Care Guidelines for Equine Rescue and Retirement Facilities, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status, the facility's need, the potential impact on horses' lives, and the professional manner in which the facility is managed. An AAEP member-veterinarian must work with each equine rescue or retirement facility to submit an application, the facilities checklist, and the vaccine order form.

A review committee of AAEP veterinarians then decides which facilities are awarded a year's supply of vaccines. The next deadline for applications is Sept 1.

To download an application and the AAEP care guidelines or to learn more about the UHVRC, visit