Q&A: How can I help unwanted horses? (sponsored by Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health)


Join the Unwanted Horse Veterinary Relief Campaign.

In 2009, the UHVRC helped more than 2,500 horses from 35 states receive the vaccinations they needed. The program, established in 2008 by Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health and the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP), provides qualifying equine rescue and retirement facilities with AAEP-recommended core vaccines, as well as equine influenza and equine herpesvirus vaccines.

Through the UHVRC, horses like these at Horse Feathers Equine Rescue in Guthrie, Okla., received all of their AAEP-recommended core vaccines.

Facilities receive valuable assistance

Susan Kreutter, president of Phoenix Rising Equine Rescue in North Stonington, Conn., says her program received critical help from the UHVRC that allowed them to continue to provide a safe haven for unwanted, neglected, and abused horses. Many of the horses Kreutter sees already suffer from health problems, and with serious illnesses to contend with it's sometimes difficult to find the funds for the vaccinations and other wellness care these horses need to stay healthy.

"If the UHVRC hadn't helped us with the vaccines, we would not be able to provide further veterinary services for these horses," Kreutter says. "We just rescued a horse with reactive airway disease and another has metastatic melanoma, a tick-born illness, and ulcers. Our veterinary bills have been more than $2,000 for the past two months. I am grateful for the gift of vaccines beyond what I can say."

The application process

UHVRC will accept applications for fall vaccinations until Aug. 1. Equine rescue and retirement facilities must work with an AAEP-member veterinarian to complete and submit an application, facilities checklist, and vaccine request form. To qualify, participating facilities must follow the AAEP Care Guidelines for Equine Rescue and Retirement Facilities and have a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status.

The UHVRC offers EquiRab, a rabies vaccine, and Prestige V, a vaccine that protects against equine influenza, equine herpesvirus, eastern equine encephalomyelitis, western equine encephalomyelitis, and tetanus. When the UHVRC approves a vaccine request, it ships the order to the supporting AAEP-member veterinarian to administer to the horses. The UHVRC also notifies the approved groups when the vaccines are shipped, alerting them to contact their qualifying veterinarian to schedule delivery or pickup.

Note: Even if a rescue or retirement facility has applied for complimentary vaccinations before, a new application needs to be submitted each year. The application deadline is one month earlier than last year, so it's a good idea to start the application now. To learn more about the UHVRC program, download an application, or review the AAEP Care Guidelines, visit UHVRC.org.

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Adam Christman
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