Author(s): Leschnik Michael
Keywords:canine babesiosis, diagnostic procedures, dirofilariosis, leishmaniosis, tick-borne encephalitis
Vector-borne diseases are one of the main causes of morbidity and mortality in small animals in Europe. Many of these diseases are well-known among veterinary practitioners and some of them are called emerging diseases as prevalence, temporal and spatial distribution seem to increase in Europe. The number of newly recognized pathogens, transmitted by a variety of arthropod vectors, that are relevant for dogs and cats, is also increasing every year. The prevalence among infected vectors and hosts is a hot topic in veterinary science throughout the entire continent, as well as the development of efficient diagnostic procedures, therapy and prophylactic measures. Companion animal vector-borne diseases comprise a large group of pathogens including viruses, bacteria, protozoa and helminths. These pathogens are mainly transmitted by bloodsucking arthropods (ticks, fleas, mosquitos, sand flies), and more seldom by direct transmission between vertebrate hosts. Vector prevalence and activity is influenced by local climate conditions, host species density, changes in landscape and land use. Human parameters such as poverty and migration affect the use of prophylactic measures against pathogen transmission and infection as well as increasing the zoonotic risk to introducing pathogens by infected humans. Small animal associated factors such as pet trade and pet travel spread infection and certain vectors such as ticks and fleas. All these factors pose several complex and significant challenges for veterinarians in clinical practice to decide on efficient laboratory work-up and constructive diagnostic procedures.
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