Merial Animal Health has announced that the second Equine Flu Awareness Month will be held in April this year, with the objective of further educating owners and improving herd protection against this highly contagious disease.
Following last year's campaign, Merial commissioned a survey to learn more about how horse owners seek and receive information about the wider aspects of preventative healthcare, and in particular about the relationship with their veterinary practice.
In the survey of 455 horse owners, which was carried out by CMI Research, 78% said their veterinary surgeon was the most important source of information. The next most important influencers were yard managers/grooms at just 22%.
Louise Radford MRCVS from Merial said: "We wanted to learn more about client education and the opportunities for practices to get more from their client relationships, including vaccination and booster uptake. However we hadn’t estimated just how much horse owners rely on their vet for information!"
"However there appears to be a significant gap between vets as a source of information, and their client’s purchasing habits. Health plans are a great example of the potential for improved compliance, with benefits to the horse, client and practice. Yard health plans present an opportunity to increase booster uptake and also to include animals that might not otherwise be vaccinated.
"Of those horse owners and grooms surveyed who did not vaccinate some or all of their horses, their reasons included horses that never leave the yard, or are old, young, or do not interact with other horses. Yet we know that horses that don’t travel are still at risk of equine flu, as virus can travel up to a mile as an aerosol on the wind, in addition to being carried on objects such as buckets and tack.
"So as the key influencers on preventative healthcare, there is much that practices can do to further engage with clients to increase uptake of products and services, improve client loyalty, and ultimately boost the practice business."
For more information on Equine Flu Awareness Month- 2017, including client materials and video content, visit www.equinefluawareness.com