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During an acute infectious upper respiratory disease outbreak, an accurate and timely diagnosis is critical to ensure proper treatment. It is also extremely important in providing guidance and recommendations about vaccination, management, biosecurity and the potential need for quarantine.
The Merck Animal Health Biosurveillance Program offers veterinarians the information and tools to sample horses with clinical signs of upper respiratory disease, so they can provide the most accurate and timely diagnosis possible to their clients.
Since 2008, Merck Animal Health has been conducting an ongoing, voluntary equine biosurveillance program to study the prevalence and epidemiology of relevant viral and bacterial respiratory pathogens.
More than 6,000 samples from U.S. equids of numerous ages, genders and breeds presenting with fever and signs of acute upper respiratory disease and/or acute neurological disease have been collected since the study began. Samples are submitted by participating Merck Animal Health customer clinics and tested via quantitative PCR at the University of California, Davis School of Veterinary Medicine (UC Davis). To be eligible for testing, horses must have an unexplained fever (T ≥ 101.5°F) AND one or more of the following signs:
The results are then returned to the Merck Animal Health customer within 24 hours and provide invaluable diagnostic and treatment information.
The Merck Animal Health Biosurveillance Program provides real-time PCR testing for six major infectious upper respiratory disease pathogens:
Results are provided within 24 hours, allowing equine veterinarians to:
In addition, a bi-annual newsletter is sent as a value-added service to clinics enrolled in the program. It helps veterinarians stay up-to-date on the latest trends and historical information the study has yielded to date. Technical veterinary advice, interpretation and case management support is provided by Merck Equine Veterinary Technical Services and the University of California, Davis.
Veterinarians enrolled in the study are sent collection material, submission forms, sample collection instructions, and questionnaires. After obtaining nasal swabs and blood from suspect cases, the samples are shipped to the University of California, Davis, with results provided within 24 hours of receipt. Numerous shipping and laboratory diagnostic charges as well as collection material costs are covered by Merck Animal Health.
To participate in the Merck Animal Health Biosurveillance Program ‐ or receive a copy of our peer‐reviewed and published findings ‐ please contact your Merck Animal Health sales representative or call (800) 521-5767.
If you have questions about the program, please call our technical services team at (866) 349-3497
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