Companion vector-borne diseases are a growing international public health threat. Blood-feeding ectoparasites such as ticks, fleas, sand flies and mosquitoes can transmit many dangerous pathogens to cats and dogs – such as bacteria, protozoa, viruses or helminths. They may lead to a variety of serious infections, mostly classified by their vectors: tick-borne diseases, flea-borne diseases, sand fly-borne diseases and mosquito-borne diseases to name a few.
Each region has its own risks of infection. Nevertheless, seven major companion vector-borne diseases (CVBD®) seem to have a worldwide impact: anaplasmosis, babesiosis, ehrlichiosis, heartworm disease, leishmaniosis, lyme borreliosis, canine bartonellosis. They are known to veterinarians and public health professionals throughout the world and in some cases have also shown zoonotic consequences.
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It Only Takes One Vet
At Bayer, we are passionately committed to working together with veterinarians across the globe to encourage candid conversations about Companion Animal Vector Borne Diseases (CVBD®). In a time when pets have become valued members of the family, we owe it to their owners to stress the importance of protecting their pets against CVBD. Because when it comes to CVBD, It also only takes one veterinarian to make a difference for a pet!
Whether it’s a video, a diagram, or just an engaging talk tract, veterinarians know best how to reach clients in an effective way. Now, Bayer Animal Health wants to learn from veterinarians - those who engage daily in the fight against CVBD.
Are you a vet? Please check out our "It Only Takes One"- portals in Germany, France, Italy, Portugal, Spain or United Kingdom and get in touch with us. For regular updates please visit our blog Bayer4Animals.
Major Canine Diseases Transmitted by Vectors
Anaplasmosis is an infection with Anaplasma bacteria that often does not lead to any symptoms but in severe cases can lead to fever and bleeding. It is being transmitted from hosts such as mice, deer and possibly birds to pets by several kinds of ticks. Anaplasmosis is a zoonotic disease. In humans, the pathogen causes granulocytic anaplasmosis. It can be treated with antibiotics, but the best method to contain the disease is prevention against ticks.
Leishmaniosis has at least a 4,000-year history: Evidence of this disease was found in the mummies of Ancient Egypt. Of all companion vector-borne diseases (CVBD), leishmaniosis is one of the most serious. Spread by infected sandflies, its incubation period is anywhere from several months to several years – but more than half of all infected pets have no visible symptoms. If symptoms occur, dogs show skin lesions, fever and infections of inner organs. The disease is less common in cats, but a symptom may be severe lesions. Untreated, the disease is often fatal, and even treated animals remain infected for life and risk relapses. There is no cure for Leishmaniosis so far. The disease is prevalent primarily in southern hemispheric regions. On the Italian island of Sicily, for example, 80 percent of dogs are infected. In 2013, biologists detected an infected sandfly near Gießen, Germany, a town an hour north of Frankfurt. Experts suspect warming climate and high levels of travel among animal owners as a cause for the pathogen to move north. People can also be in danger: WHO estimates that the annual incidence of leishmaniosis is about 2 million people globally.
Blood-feeding Ectoparasites such as Ticks, Fleas, Sand flies and Mosquitoes
“The fight against companion vector-borne diseases will become increasingly important in the future. Today CVBD are spreading to new areas and represent a growing challenge to veterinarians and pet owners. As world leader in the development of medicines to prevent such diseases we at Bayer Animal want to help our customers caring for the health and well-being of their own and their pets around the world."
Markus Edingloh, Head of Veterinary Scientific Affairs (VSA) at Bayer Animal Health
Voices of Experts
Bayer Animal Health has continuously invested in raising awareness about Companion Vector-Borne Diseases to protect dogs and cats around the world from harmful diseases. Each year, Bayer Animal Health brings together an international group of the most recognized scientists and veterinarians in the field to present and discuss the latest research findings.
"Bayer and the attending scientists share the common goal to translate the latest scientific findings into practitioner benefit,” said Dr. Markus Edingloh, Head of Veterinary Scientific Affairs at Bayer Animal Health. “We want to promote innovative communication concepts that will increase the motivation of practicing veterinarians to fight CVBD for the benefit of pet owners and their pets.”
We have asked experts to give us a statement on their view on CVBD. Learn more about the challenges an aging society has to tackle:
How should a veterinarian communicate with a pet owner about Companion Vector-Borne Diseases?
Client education in regard to CVBD should start with the very first visit to the veterinarian. Hopefully as a kitten or puppy and there should be some designated information that’s made available to the client, relative to the prevention of CVBD and how important it is to use preventive products in the way they are recommended, to be consistent and compliant with the use of those products and in that way not only will the owner avoid things such as flea allergy dermatitis, but can also avoid serious infestions such as bartonello which my laboratory has done quite a bit of work on.
Vector-borne diseases: Still emerging or already established?
Twenty years ago scientists and practitioner knew that some diseases were endemic in some parts of Europe and were considered exotic in other parts of Europe. The classical example is Canine Leishmaniosis which was endemic in southern parts of Europe, in Mediterranean countries and were considered exotic or just a problem of travelling in central Europe. Now we know that this barrier does not exist anymore because of the increasing of pets travelling from central to southern Europe and because of adoptation of pets from southern Europe to central Europe, the location of feral animals. So, in these way several feral animals infected by Leishmaniasis has released by other vector-borne diseases, tick diseases which were endemic in southern parts of Europe are also present in central Europe. If the vector occur in these areas for example though the increase in global temperatures the vector moves to previously non endemic areas in northern Europe then we have new diseases endemic in these areas. We cannot consider anymore any infection as exotic in a global world.
And the consequence must be prevention?
It´s really important to prevent any canine vector-borne diseases causing pathogens just by preventing bites of vectors of these pathogens. Because one byte, one challenge, several pathogens transmit several diseases, difficulties in treating these infections.
How can experts influence veterinary practices?
Science in general is very important when we work in these kind of field that is veterinary medicine. But because when we talk about vector-borne diseases there are many things that we don´t know. So, science allow to know about those things. The meeting of people who work in these fields and try to make research and know many things about these different kind of vector-borne diseases in dogs and in cats. It´s important that they try to meet and send a clear message to the practitioner. Why is this important? For me the most important thing is to fight those diseases and to arrive to the pet owner in order to improve the life of cats and dogs. We need to arrive to the clinician because a clinician is the one who arrives the owner. Pet owners in general have not the possibility to arrive to science and to the latest information. One of our mission is to try to send a clear message about “how to diagnose, how to treat & how to prevent” vector-borne diseases. The science is very important to improve the quality of life of cats and dogs by fighting vector-borne diseases.
Interested in further details on Companion Vector-Borne Diseases? Please visit our CVBD portal.