GUELPH, ON. | April 19, 2004
As the deadly West Nile virus continues to mount its assault on Canadian horses, Wyeth Animal Health, a division of Wyeth, has announced the expansion of the company’s successful West Nile public education campaign. The 2004 campaign will involve new print ads, direct mailings and client education kits informing veterinarians and horse owners about the increasing West Nile threat and important prevention facts. The launch comes as Wyeth’s West Nile ” Innovator™ vaccine marks its one-year anniversary offering Canada exclusive government-approved protection against the West Nile virus.
“Wyeth Animal Health is proud to lead the veterinary profession with innovative products such as West Nile – Innovator™ vaccine. From the beginning, we have taken a proactive approach in educating horse owners and veterinarians all across Canada about this deadly disease and the importance of prevention,” said Robert McCarthy, Managing Director of Wyeth Animal Health.
Proven safe and effective in over 8 million horses in North America, with over 800,000 doses safely administered to horses in Canada, West Nile – Innovator™ received full license approval from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) in February of 2003. Conversion from the conditional to full-license status resulted from satisfying CFIA requirements for proof of efficacy.
Catherine Martin, Equine Product Manager for Wyeth Animal Health, said “Our vaccine is 95 percent effective, with a proven track record. Horse owners can be confident this is a safe and effective vaccine to aid in the prevention of this devastating disease. One out of three clinically affected horses will die of West Nile disease. Due to the continuous threat, it would be a disservice to the welfare of horses if people were not to vaccinate.”
“The overall safety of this vaccine has been excellent,” explained Dr. Lois Valli, Manager of Professional Services at Wyeth Animal Health. Valli added, “Calls received regarding potential vaccine reactions have involved fewer than 0.01 percent of total doses administered. The vaccine can continue to be used with confidence.”
Designed as a tool to assist veterinarians in educating horse owners about the West Nile virus, the West Nile – Innovator™ Client Education Kit addresses the importance of routine vaccination. The kit includes a West Nile virus fact sheet, West Nile alert poster, full-page West Nile – Innovator™ ad, vaccination reminder card, clinic letter to horse owners, graphics and logo clip art, news releases, consumer brochures and vaccination reminder stickers.
Wyeth, North America’s leader in animal health, developed the West Nile – Innovator™ vaccine immediately after the disease began appearing in the United States in 1999. Provinces that actively began vaccinating horses due to early exposures in the fall of 2002 experienced a decline in equine cases in 2003, however human exposures continued to climb. Western Provinces had the highest exposures last year as a result of the virus spreading westward to new unprotected areas. Based on efficacy data Wyeth has received from both the USA and Canada, studies prove that active West Nile ” Innovator™ vaccination protocols are effective in protecting horses against this devastating disease.
Animals infected with the mosquito-borne illness may show symptoms including fever, lack of coordination, muscle spasms, head pressing and seizures. As animals approach death, they may also lose the ability to walk or stand.
Previously vaccinated horses will need booster shots according to your veterinarian’s recommendation. A common practice for veterinarians, as per American Association of Equine Practitioners’ vaccination guidelines, is to provide a 4-6 month West Nile virus booster for horses travelling to or in high-risk areas. West Nile ” Innovator™ vaccine is available only from licensed veterinarians and is to be used where a legitimate Doctor-Client-Patient relationship exists.
For more information on this vaccine, please contact Wyeth Animal Health at 1-800-267-1777 or visit the Wyeth Animal Health website at www.wyethah.ca. For additional information on the West Nile virus and horses, visit the Health Canada website at www.hc-sc.gc.ca.
Wyeth Animal Health, a division of Wyeth and affiliated company to Fort Dodge Animal Health in the USA, is a leading manufacturer and distributor of quality animal health care products that include pharmaceuticals and biologics for the livestock, companion animal, equine, swine and poultry industries in Canada. Key products include: West Nile ” InnovatorTM vaccine, Quest® Gel, Duramune® canine vaccines, ProHeart® 6 Injection, Cydectin® Pour-On, and Triangle® Type II BVD vaccines. Wyeth is one of the world’s largest research-driven pharmaceutical and health care products companies. The Wyeth Animal Health division is headquartered in Guelph, Ontario.