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MSD Animal Health has launched its V3 campaign to encourage horse owners to complete the third vaccination of the initial equine flu course. It aims to help prevent further outbreaks of equine flu. This year alone over 150 cases of equine flu have already been diagnosed, amongst some highly publicised outbreaks, revealing an extensive spread of disease. Furthermore, the outbreaks are not showing any signs of slowing down, with 54 outbreaks diagnosed in June compared with 35 in February1. This can be attributed to the lack of herd immunity within the UK, potentially impacting all horses, not just the racing community.

The V3 campaign has three main areas of focus: to remind horse owners that outbreaks are ongoing; to ensure horse owners know the importance of the third vaccination for longer term immunity; and ensure horse owners understand that flu is not a benign disease. To help convey this message participating practices will receive a range of materials including V3 vaccination reminder postcards and emails, educational newsletters and email content, social media V3 campaign hashtags; animations and infographics; and ‘Thank you for vaccinating’ certificates and fridge magnets.

Claire Gotto, MSD Animal Health equine veterinary advisor comments: “Earlier this year when equine flu attracted a large amount of media attention, horse owner awareness of the disease increased, in turn increasing vaccination numbers. Now the heat of the publicity has died down, however, and despite the ongoing outbreaks, focus on the disease has significantly reduced. We are concerned that owners may therefore lose focus on disease risk, reducing vaccination rates again. We want to ensure that owners who started primary courses this year provide their horses with the third vaccination and continue to do so in the future, reaching and maintaining high herd immunity.”

Veterinary practices who would like to participate in this campaign and help improve vaccination rates within the UK please contact your MSD account manager. Alternatively please contact MSD Animal Health customer services on or 01908 685685.

1, June Outbreaks.