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Veterinary Perceptions of CVBDs

DR. HOSTETLER: What changes have you seen in the way we view vector-borne diseases in the veterinary profession?

DR. BREITSCHWERDT: Veterinarians have embraced canine vector-borne diseases in regard to gaining a better understanding of what is going on in their practice areas. I’ve been amazed by the number of veterinarians who will attend meetings about canine vector-borne diseases. Also, there is the understanding that a dog can get a canine vector-borne organism transmitted to it in Florida and be seen by a veterinarian three years later in Oregon for disease caused by that organism.

The other aspect of canine vector-borne diseases that’s critically important is the increasing role of veterinarians in the public health infrastructure. That’s so important because almost every one of these infections, whether it’s Rocky Mountain spotted fever Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, or ehrlichiosis, can occur in both dogs and people. The vector is transmitting the organism that can make your dog sick or make you sick. Veterinarians provide an important public health service in helping their clients understand these diseases.

DR. MATHER: Veterinarians are seeing these diseases on the front line and have a great opportunity to make an impact.

DR. LORENTZEN: We’ve made it very easy for veterinarians to accurately test for these diseases and understand whether an animal’s been exposed or remains infected. We’ve learned so much about these infections. A lot of them were once thought to be self-clearing, but that is often not the case. Many of these infections don’t clear, and if you do not intervene with treatment, they’re going to remain and may eventually rear their ugly heads. What should be impressed upon the profession is that the real solution is prevention.

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