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bayer roundtable


Advice to Veterinarians

DR. HOSTETLER: If you could give one piece of advice to veterinarians related to canine vector-borne diseases what would it be?

DR. LORENTZEN: It’s critical for veterinarians to know what’s in their practice’s dog population. There are some great diagnostic tools as well as great preventives on the market. I’m a pet owner whose dog had a CVBD, and I’m convinced that she probably led a shorter life because of it. Prevention is the way to go. Bayer deserves a tremendous amount of credit for envisioning a forum that has brought together this group. There’s only a small group of researchers involved in the study of these diseases. This discussion has done a tremendous amount to facilitate exchange of information, and to take a more organized and systematic approach to future diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of canine vector-borne diseases across the world. For a company to invest money to gather a group of companion-animal researchers studying just one component of disease is a real tribute to the commitment and the vision that Bayer has to understanding and preventing these infections.

DR. HOSTETLER: A substantial part of our profession still isn’t looking for CVBDs on a regular basis. When consulting with veterinarians, I’ve found that if I encourage them to start looking, they start finding. The geographic distribution of CVBDs is expanding. Just how fast and where they’re going next we don’t know. Clinical signs are variable, and increased screening and testing are often indicated. Currently, none of these are reportable diseases in the United States. We really have a surveillance challenge and the overall incidence and prevalence are yet to be determined. We need to encourage more veterinarians to look aggressively for CVBDs.


Advice for veterinarians and their clients on diagnosing and preventing CVBDs

In my opinion, the most important thing veterinarians should remember about canine vector-borne diseases is to include them on their list of differential diagnoses for the appropriate problems that might be induced by these agents. By missing the diagnosis in some of these diseases, the long-term manifestations can be much more severe and difficult to manage than the acute diseases.

I think veterinarians often don’t think about vector-borne diseases because of the ways we were taught. Veterinarians in their second and third decade of veterinary practice, like myself, were taught about certain agents that were the only ones recognized at the time. With the advent of better diagnostic tests, we now realize that agents that we didn’t previously learn about are actually in our areas.

My primary advice to pet owners is to see their veterinarians for yearly to twice-yearly health checks. At that time, veterinarians can give clients information on the appropriate control of vectors. The other important thing for clients to realize is that if their dogs exhibit signs of illness, the owners should see their veterinarians immediately so we can institute appropriate diagnostic tests and therapeutic procedures.

On our community practice rotation at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital, we speak with all our clients about how important it is to control potential agents transmitted by fleas and ticks. At wellness examinations, we counsel clients about why flea and tick control products are crucial to their pets’ health as well as to the health of their families.