The event, taking place in Trieste, Italy, featured discussions on the spread and prevalence of vector-borne diseases.
In certain areas, the spread of disease carrying vectors is faster than previously recorded, with multiple factors influencing the epidemiology of companion vector-borne diseases around the world. These factors include climate change and weather, wildlife habits and an increase in the importing and travel of pets between countries.
Nick Ogden, Senior Research Scientist at Public Health Agency of Canada, said: “Vector-borne diseases are recognised as being particularly sensitive to weather and climate, so it is expected that climate change will affect where and when vector-borne disease risks occur, and the level of risk they pose to human and animal health.”
Within the forum’s overall theme of “Changing parasite and vector distributions in a changing world”, the spread of CVBDs to non-endemic regions, difficulties in diagnosis and treatment and the worrying zoonotic risk posed by certain vectors and pathogens were key discussion points.
Speaking at the forum, Barbara Kohn, Professor at the Clinic for small animals at Freie Universität Berlin, highlighted imported pets as a major concern: “We are seeing more and more cases of diseases in areas where they had not previously been found. Dogs imported from endemic areas are of particular concern for the spread of a disease.”
The group also explored veterinary strategies to help prevent the spread of disease, including biosecurity, pet owner education and the importance of prevention with anti-vector “no bite” products.
Veterinary professionals need to be aware and prepared for the arrival of non-endemic diseases in their region, but also clear on their role in helping prevent the spread of disease and in safeguarding their patients’ health.
Ian Wright, ESCCAP, discussed the role that veterinarians play in preventing the spread of vector borne diseases: “Vets have an active role in helping prevent the spread of vector-borne diseases in their area, through early detection via screening imported pets for VBD’s and vigilance for relevant clinical signs in travelled pets. Vets must also ensure accurate parasite and vector prevention advice is communicated to owners, based on the latest distribution data, and encouragement of tick surveillance on pets by owners.
“It is crucial that we raise awareness of this as vigilance, testing and rapid protective measures are vital in helping to prevent spread. Equally important, vets have to be aware of new parasites/vectors in their country and ready for the possibility of exotic parasites arriving. I would argue it is the defining challenge of our veterinary generation!”
As vector-borne diseases become more widespread and prevalent, through a changing climate and increasing mobility of people and pets around the world, it is more important than ever to exchange knowledge and increase veterinary awareness regarding specific regional risks.
Bayer Animal Health is committed to supporting the scientific knowledge development of CVBDs through collaboration with global organisations, thought leaders and veterinarians.
Veterinarians can access the latest knowledge and information about the most prevalent vectors and diseases here.