Frequently Asked Questions

Common Questions about the Unwanted Horse Veterinary Relief Campaign

The Unwanted Horse Veterinary Relief Campaign is a nonprofit joint effort between Merck Animal Health and the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP).

Through the Unwanted Horse Veterinary Relief Campaign, qualifying equine rescue and retirement facilities can receive complimentary equine vaccines for horses in their care, protecting the horses’ health and making them more adoptable.

As a major supporter of the health and welfare of the horse, Merck Animal Health donates equine vaccines to qualifying equine rescue and retirement facilities in need through the Unwanted Horse Veterinary Relief Campaign.

With a mission of protecting the health and welfare of the horse, the AAEP is administering the program and approving applications with the support from their equine veterinarian membership.

Merck Animal Health provides funding for the campaign in the form of marketing and equine vaccines. A portion of all Merck Animal Health equine vaccine sales support the program. To date, more than $1 million in vaccine donations have been made. The AAEP is providing administrative support.

AAEP-member veterinarians can work with equine rescue and retirement facilities to receive selected core equine vaccines at no cost. The veterinarian and rescue must work together to submit an application, the facilities checklist and equine vaccine order form. Additionally, veterinarian purchases of Merck Animal Health vaccines will be directly correlated to equine vaccine program contributions. Sales of all Merck Animal Health equine vaccines count toward the program contribution fund.

Equine rescue and retirement facilities must work with an AAEP-member veterinarian to apply. Only facilities that follow the AAEP Care Guidelines for Equine Rescue and Retirement Facilities and have a “not-for-profit” 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status will qualify for the equine vaccines.

You can find the application here. Applications are also available by contacting the AAEP program coordinator, Dana Kirkland, dkirkland@aaep.org.

To apply for complimentary equine vaccines, the equine rescue and retirement facilities and the AAEP-member veterinarian must fill out an application form, facilities checklist and equine vaccine order form. The application should be submitted to the AAEP program coordinator along with the equine vaccine order form. Applications must be received by February 1 (spring vaccinations) to be considered for funding.

Please allow approximately two to three weeks for the administrative process. The length of time required for review and approval of vaccination funding will be at the discretion of Merck Animal Health and the AAEP.

On the order form, the veterinarian or rescue contact may indicate the time frame in which the vaccine is needed. Merck Animal Health and the AAEP consider each request carefully and deliberately, so please allow ample time for processing and shipment. Requests for overnight express shipping are permitted; however, additional shipping fees will be the responsibility of the equine rescue and retirement facility.

Veterinary and retail-channel customer purchases will be directly correlated to equine vaccine program contributions. Since Dec. 1, 2008, a portion of all Merck Animal Health equine vaccine sales have gone toward the program contribution fund.

Currently, the program is not set up to accept individual contributions. Horse owners may directly support unwanted horses through their local veterinarian or chosen rescue facility.

Merck Animal Health provides EquiRab® rabies vaccine, along with vaccines from its Prestige® line that offer many antigen combinations shown to be effective against eastern and western encephalomyelitis (EEE, WEE), equine herpesvirus (EHV-1, EHV-4), influenza, tetanus and West Nile virus (WNV).

No. Each approved equine rescue and retirement facility may order an amount of equine vaccine based on need, once per year, subject to approval by the AAEP and Merck Animal Health. While we make every effort to fulfill as much demand as possible, we cannot guarantee fulfillment of all vaccine requests as the amount requested may exceed current program vaccine supply.

Yes. One application per rescue/retirement facility per year will be accepted.

Yes. There is a place on the order form to indicate which equine vaccine(s) are requested.

Vaccines should always be administered under the direction of a licensed AAEP-member veterinarian.

The Unwanted Horse Veterinary Relief Campaign covers only the initial primary utilization dose. Additional doses may be purchased independently of the program. EquiRab rabies vaccine available through the campaign only requires one dose for primary immunization.

Vaccines will be shipped via standard ground delivery directly to the veterinarian’s office for distribution to the rescue/retirement facility.

Standard shipping is included at no additional cost. Overnight express shipping is available, but additional fees will be the responsibility of the equine rescue and retirement facility.

Yes, however, to be considered for the Unwanted Horse Veterinary Relief Campaign, facilities must follow the AAEP Care Guidelines for Equine Rescue and Retirement Facilities and have a “not-for-profit” 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status. Proof of 501(c)(3) status will require submission of IRS documentation.

Equine rescue and retirement facilities are selected based on the completed application, compliance with the AAEP Care Guidelines for Rescue and Retirement Facilities, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status, their need, the potential impact on horses’ lives and the professional manner in which the facility conducts its operation.

The Unwanted Horse Veterinary Relief Campaign prioritizes well managed, responsible equine rescue and retirement facilities with the greatest need for help. Applicants will be denied who do not fully complete the application, do not partner with an AAEP-member veterinarian, do not meet the AAEP Care Guidelines for Rescue and Retirement Facilities and do not have 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status.

No. The Unwanted Horse Veterinary Relief Campaign realizes facilities that provide retirement services also rescue horses. Prioritization is given to organizations that are actively trying to find homes for unwanted horses.

Yes. Additional funding is not a disqualification.

Yes. Non-member veterinarians may participate if they partner with an AAEP-member veterinarian.