Merial Joins World Rabies Day Alliance

For its second year, Merial will partner with international rabies experts to acknowledge World Rabies Day on September 28, 2008. A global effort that raises awareness in support of animal and human rabies prevention, World Rabies Day is intended to educate people around the globe about the impact of rabies, how it can be prevented and how to eliminate the sources that contribute to the death of 55,000 humans from rabies worldwide.

"Merial is excited to be a corporate sponsor of the 2008 World Rabies Day and is proud to offer experience and expertise as a world leader in rabies prevention," said Frank Hurtig, DVM, MBA, director of Merial Veterinary Services. "We want to help protect horses, livestock, and their owners from the devastating effects of rabies by providing educational materials, prevention tips, and information about rabies to veterinarians and their clients."

Living in pastures or barns, horses can interact with wild animals--putting them at risk for infection with rabies. Infected animals might show signs of two different forms of rabies, "paralytic" or "furious." Most common in horses is the paralytic or "dumb" rabies, signs of which include drooling, depression, anorexia, and difficulty swallowing. Animals with the furious form might display a lack of coordination, colic, and even aggressiveness.

Once infected, it is possible for horses to transmit rabies to other animals and people. Because rabies is 100% fatal in livestock and nearly always fatal for humans, the best way to prevent it is through vaccination.

Nearly 7,000 cases of rabies were reported in animals in 2006, prompting the American Association of Equine Practitioners to revise its core vaccination guidelines to add rabies.

Merial continues to be active in the fight against this disease, administering more than 100 million doses of RABORAL V-RG, a specialized, safe oral vaccine approved for immunization of raccoons and coyotes. Additionally, more than 400 million doses of Merial's IMRAB rabies vaccine, which is approved for use in six species, have been administered worldwide. In fact, 2008 marks 25 years of trusted rabies protection with IMRAB.

In addition to raising awareness about rabies and vaccination as a potential method of prevention, Merial will continue its support of the Student American Veterinary Medical Association (SAVMA). Last year, Merial and SAVMA launched a contest with the winning school to be awarded an on-site rabies symposium, sponsored by Merial, in 2008.

Other World Rabies Day partners include the Alliance for Rabies Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization and the American Veterinary Medical Association.

For more information about rabies and World Rabies Day, visit and  

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