Horse Health

Vaccination Decisions

March 22, 2012

How a manufacturer’s program supports disease protection.

Vaccination Decisions

Protect your horse from disease. Journal photo.

From AQHA Corporate Partner Pfizer Animal Health

With the plethora of vaccine choices available today, horse owners have a wide range of options when vaccinating their American Quarter Horses. To help provide the most ideal disease protection based on regional risks and activities, horse owners should consult with their veterinarian to develop a thorough vaccination schedule. Utilizing the veterinarian-client relationship also has benefits beyond the initial vaccination. Manufacturer Pfizer Animal Health offers an Equine Immunization Support Guarantee.

With the Equine Immunization Support Guarantee, Pfizer Animal Health provides up to $5,000 for reasonable diagnostic and treatment costs if a horse properly vaccinated by a veterinarian with a Pfizer Animal Health vaccine contracts the corresponding equine disease. Disease protection backed by the Equine Immunization Support Guarantee includes infection from West Nile virus, equine influenza virus, tetanus, eastern equine encephalomyelitis virus, western equine encephalomyelitis virus and Venezuelan equine encephalomyelitis virus. Vaccinations must be provided and administered by a licensed veterinarian with an established client-patient relationship to be eligible.

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So how does this program work? To find out, we interviewed Dr. Maureen Dower with Pfizer Animal Health’s veterinary medical information and product support department. Dr. Dower says the horse owner’s veterinarian should contact the veterinary medical information and product support team in any case where the horse owner suspects a lack of disease protection for a Pfizer Animal Health vaccine, as reported cases need to be investigated.

“When contacting their veterinarian regarding the illness of the horse, owners should note the horse’s current vaccinations so that the veterinarian can determine if the symptoms may match one of those diseases,” Dr. Dower says. “This allows the veterinarian to contact us and get the process started, as well as collect samples such as nasal swabs and blood during the initial examination.”

Pfizer Animal Health supports the veterinarian taking and processing the samples and diagnostic testing; there is no cost to the horse owner. Depending on the symptoms shown, the veterinarian may order tests for diseases not covered by the Equine Immunization Support Guarantee, such as rhinopneumonitis.

“We may provide testing options for diseases not covered by the program because symptoms often mimic other types of infections, and the veterinarian’s treatment decisions hinge on having the most complete information on the disease,” Dr. Dower says. “We are partnering with the veterinarian to help them provide the best possible care for their clients’ horses, and this program is only one facet of that commitment.”

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Dr. Dower also noted that testing for other infectious agents helps inform veterinarians of diseases that may be circulating in a specific region, allowing them to take steps to aid other clients in the area with similar risk profiles. The fees associated with the recommended diagnostic tests are always covered in an eligible Equine Immunization Support Guarantee case, but treatment costs are only covered if the tests show a positive result for the covered diseases. Horses also must be at least 1 year of age and must have been vaccinated by a veterinarian with a valid client relationship within a period of one year to be eligible for the program.

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