06/01/2012 Generous Pharmaceutical Donation Supports Horse Trust Vaccination Programme

Thanks to the generosity of Merial Animal Health The Horse Trust will be vaccinating their entire herd of horses, ponies and donkeys against equine influenza and tetanus on Thursday 12th January at its sanctuary in Speen, Buckinghamshire.


Currently The Horse Trust has 91 elderly and retired equines living out their twilight years in the peace and tranquillity of theChiltern Hills.  Working horses that have spent their lives serving their country or community, such as police and army horses and Riding for the Disabled ponies, are given lifetime sanctuary at the Home of Ret for Horses when they can no longer work due to injury or old age.  The charity also gives sanctuary to equines that have been neglected or abandoned, and urgently need a new home and special care to restore them to health.


All of The Trust’s residents will be vaccinated on the same day as it is imperative that follow-up vaccinations at regular intervals are implemented within a strict timescale. 

This mass vaccination programme using PROTEQFLU® and PROTEQFLU-TE® has only been made possible by the support of Merial, a world leading, innovation-driven animal health company which provides a comprehensive range of products to enhance the health and well-being of a wide range of animals and Horse Trust Veterinary Trustee, Julian Samuelson. 


The Horse Trust was advised by Mr Samuelson MA, VETMB, MRCVS, who is a Managing Partner of Bell Equine, Kent, to switch to PROTEQFLU® and this was supported by the charity’s veterinary surgeon Tony Collins BVSc, MRCVS, Partner at Hall Place Veterinary Centre, Maidenhead, Berkshire.  
Julian Samuelson, who is giving up his time from his busy practice to implement this vaccination programme, has extensive experience of using   “PROTEQFLU® at his clinic and has full confidence in its performance for all types of horses. He says, “Unique vaccine technology is used, which stimulates the immune system mimicking natural infection. It has the most up to date viral strains of all theUK vaccines and is the only one with the Ohio/03 American viral strain as recommended by the World Animal Health Organisation.” He continues, “I fully support this programme and this product for its excellent efficacy profile.


The Horse Trust previously only vaccinated those horses that were likely to travel, but Marketing Manager Susan Lewis explains that the risks of equine influenza are increasing for the charity: “The sanctuary is visited by many people, particularly those that own or work with horses, and also has the benefit of the support of a large team of horse-owning volunteers which in turn creates a greater risk of infection whether our horses travel or not. Vaccinating our horses against life threatening diseases such as tetanus, and diseases that can severely affect their health such as equine influenza will not only protect our herd but also reduce the risk or spread of these diseases.”


The threat of this disease is grossly underestimated and an outbreak could have a huge impact on theUKequestrian industry. 


For The Horse Trust, both equine influenza and tetanus are a higher risk than at traditional livery yards, due to the nature of the cases taken on by the charity: “The Horse Trust supports prosecuting bodies, such as Trading Standards and the RSPCA, with the provision of sanctuary for those unfortunate horses, ponies and donkeys that are abused and neglected and in need of urgent veterinary care,” explains Susan Lewis.
“All horses are at risk of flu and tetanus infection but rescue horses are potentially more at risk than other horses that are better cared for. Rescue horses are often severely debilitated and therefore may have compromised immunity which, in the face of a challenge, will render them more vulnerable to infection. Similarly, rescue horses may also have open sores or even wounds that would predispose to tetanus infection in the absence of protection.”


PROTEQFLU® and PROTEQFLU-TE® is the ONLY equine flu vaccine in the UK to contain a recently updated strain of equine flu virus. Unlike traditional inactivated flu vaccines, PROTEQFLU® also utilises advanced vector technology to generate a strong immune response.

The Horse Trust, founded in 1886, is the oldest horse charity in the UK and provides a place of retreat for working horses that have served their country or community and nurtures them throughout their final years. The charity also gives sanctuary to horses, ponies and donkeys that have suffered and need special treatment. The Horse Trust funds non-invasive research that advances knowledge of equine diseases, improving diagnosis and treatment and reducing suffering among equines worldwide. The charity also offers training for professionals and owners, with a focus on equine welfare and quality of life assessment.