Merck Animal Health Takes Canine Influenza Education Campaign Nationwide

If This Dog Could Talk Initiative to Educate Pet Owners about
Serious Health Threat

MADISON, N.J.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Merck Animal Health (known as MSD Animal Health outside the United
States and Canada) today launched the multi-city If This Dog Could
tour to raise awareness of canine influenza (CIV)—a highly
contagious disease that within the last year has impacted dogs in more
than half of the country. The initiative is being conducted in
collaboration with photographer Elias Weiss Friedman and his renowned
photo-documentary series The Dogist. His unique storytelling
through distinctive photographs will help reach pet owners with critical
information about the risk factors for canine influenza and the
importance of prevention.

The Dogist documentary series tells unique stories about the
lives of dogs through photographs, celebrating the beauty of dogs,” said
Elias Weiss Friedman of The Dogist. “One of the most important
stories to tell is about a dog’s health needs, so I am excited to
collaborate on this campaign to help more pet owners understand the
importance of protecting their dogs against canine influenza.”

As part of the campaign, Merck Animal Health will host pop-up events at
local dog parks in areas of the country impacted by canine influenza
outbreaks. The first event will be held in Chicago, which is where the
initial outbreak occurred in 2015 and has continued to be a hotspot for
CIV cases. These events will provide a fun, relaxed environment in which
pet owners can get the facts about canine influenza, as well as other
important tips to keep pets healthy.

“I’m part of this initiative because I’ve seen the devastating impact of
CIV first hand—from a dog’s health and the emotional toll it takes on
owners, to the impact it can have on local businesses and the
community,” said Natalie Marks, D.V.M., co-owner of the Blum Animal
Hospital in Chicago, and national veterinary spokesperson for the If
This Dog Could Talk
campaign. “When CIV broke in our area, we were
seeing upwards of 15 cases a day and were working tirelessly to contain
the spread of a very infectious strain of the disease, H3N2. I strongly
recommend that pet owners with dogs that are social and regularly
commingle with other dogs speak to their veterinarian now about what is
right for their pet and to fully understand what puts a dog at risk for

Canine influenza can spread quickly among social dogs in urban areas,
doggie daycares, boarding facilities, dog parks, sporting and show
events and any location where dogs commingle. Through the If This Dog
Could Talk
initiative, pet owners will gain important insight
into how a dog’s story—or lifestyle—can lead to an increased risk of
that dog contracting canine influenza. They will also learn about
specific preventative measures that can be taken, including vaccination.

“At Merck Animal Health, we are pet owners and dog lovers ourselves and
we know firsthand the joy dogs bring to our lives. We understand that
dogs are a part of our families and we want to keep them happy and
healthy, too,” said Kathleen Heaney, D.V.M., Executive Director,
Companion Animal Technical Services, Merck Animal Health. “This is why
we are so committed to ensuring that pet owners have the information and
resources needed to protect their four-legged family members from this
preventable disease.”

In addition to engaging with a local veterinarian during each event, pet
owners will also have the opportunity to meet and have their dogs
photographed by The Dogist. Several dogs that were impacted by
canine influenza will also be highlighted during the events—including
incredible photos and their stories which will be memorialized in an
e-book produced by The Dogist.

Those who are unable to attend an event are encouraged to support the
campaign to raise awareness of canine influenza by posting photos of
their dogs on Twitter using #IfThisDogCouldTalk and tagging @MerckAH.
Select photos could also be featured in The Dogist e-book. For
updates on local events, look out for posts from The Dogist on Facebook and Twitter.
For more information about canine influenza, visit
or visit the If This Dog Could Talk website at
Owners who suspect their dog may have canine influenza or are concerned
about their risk should speak with their veterinarian.

About Canine Influenza (CIV)

Canine influenza has only been present in the United States since 2003,
meaning many pet owners are unaware that dogs can get the dog flu—the
spread of which is exacerbated through social activity among dogs. In
2015, a new strain of canine influenza emerged in the United
States—H3N2—which is estimated to produce ten times more virus than
previous strains and has already caused outbreaks in half of all U.S.
states. According to clinical studies by researchers at the University
of Wisconsin, H3N2 may be shed for an extended period of time—up to 24
days, which is far longer than what is seen with H3N8.1 Because
the H3N2 strain is relatively new, close to 100 percent of dogs are
naïve to the new virus and have no natural immunity to it, meaning
virtually all exposed dogs become infected. Prevention is the best
approach, and Merck Animal Health offers vaccines to protect against
both CIV H3N2 and H3N8.

Common clinical signs of canine influenza include coughing, fever,
sneezing, ocular discharge and lethargy. In severe cases, pneumonia can
develop, and up to eight percent of critically ill dogs may die from

About Merck Animal Health

For 125 years, Merck has been a global healthcare leader working to help
the world be well. Merck Animal Health, known as MSD Animal Health
outside the United States and Canada, is the global animal health
business unit of Merck. Through its commitment to the Science
of Healthier Animals™
, Merck Animal Health offers veterinarians,
farmers, pet owners and governments one of the widest range of
veterinary pharmaceuticals, vaccines and health management solutions and
services. Merck Animal Health is dedicated to preserving and improving
the health, well-being and performance of animals. It invests
extensively in dynamic and comprehensive R&D resources and a modern,
global supply chain. Merck Animal Health is present in more than 50
countries, while its products are available in some 150 markets. For
more information, visit
or connect with us on LinkedIn
and Twitter at @MerckAH.

About The Dogist

The Dogist is a photo-documentary series about the beauty of dogs
started by Elias Weiss Friedman in October 2013 and based out of New
York City. The series has traveled to over 30 cities around the world
and produced a book in 2015, The Dogist: Photographic Encounters with
1,000 Dogs
. To learn more, follow The Dogist on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

Forward-Looking Statement of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, N.J., USA

This news release of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, N.J., USA (the
“company”) includes “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of
the safe harbor provisions of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation
Reform Act of 1995. These statements are based upon the current beliefs
and expectations of the company’s management and are subject to
significant risks and uncertainties. If underlying assumptions prove
inaccurate or risks or uncertainties materialize, actual results may
differ materially from those set forth in the forward-looking statements.

Risks and uncertainties include but are not limited to, general industry
conditions and competition; general economic factors, including interest
rate and currency exchange rate fluctuations; the impact of
pharmaceutical industry regulation and health care legislation in the
United States and internationally; global trends toward health care cost
containment; technological advances, new products and patents attained
by competitors; challenges inherent in new product development,
including obtaining regulatory approval; the company’s ability to
accurately predict future market conditions; manufacturing difficulties
or delays; financial instability of international economies and
sovereign risk; dependence on the effectiveness of the company’s patents
and other protections for innovative products; and the exposure to
litigation, including patent litigation, and/or regulatory actions.

The company undertakes no obligation to publicly update any
forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information,
future events or otherwise. Additional factors that could cause results
to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking
statements can be found in the company’s 2015 Annual Report on Form 10-K
and the company’s other filings with the Securities and Exchange
Commission (SEC) available at the SEC’s Internet site (

1 Updates in Canine Influenza Virus: Management, treatment
and prevention of disease. VETgirl Webinar, July 27, 2015. Archived at


Kelly Goss, 913-422-6846