So what is the risk to my pet from infectious disease?

If you own a pet, you may have heard of serious infectious diseases like canine parvovirus, leptospirosis, cat flu or myxomatosis. What you may not be aware of is that these are but a few of the infectious diseases which are real or potential threats to the health and welfare of our pets, and that some more recently recognised and/or emerging disease threats like French Heartworm (Angiostrongylosis) in dogs or E.cuniculi in rabbits are being increasingly recognized and diagnosed by UK vets.

Like us, pets can suffer from a wide range of infectious diseases. Changes in the climate and the infections that cause these problems and the ways we care for and where we take our pets all have a bearing the particular diseases our pets are at risk of. Anecdotal reports already point to changes in the patterns and prevalence of disease seen by vets in the UK, however until recently a lack of any coordinated scheme to monitor infectious disease in pets has hampered efforts the ability to tackle these problems.

Vaccination and worming are essential steps in safeguarding not only the health of pets but also play a part in protecting human health.. However without knowing the level of risk infectious diseases pose to our pets’ lives and welfare it is easy to be complacent and not take the appropriate preventative steps.

Introducing CICADA

CICADA (which stands for Computer-based Investigation of Animal Disease Awareness) is an electronic on-line reporting, monitoring and mapping tool initially launched in paper survey form in the UK in 2007, The system is designed to collate and report records of a wide range of infectious disease diagnoses in dogs, cats and rabbit from veterinary practices. 

Analysis of recent information fed back to the scheme enables a rolling estimation of the nu mbers of pets being presented with these diseases annually in the UK.  This estimated figure is subject to some fluctuation and is also based on a number of  assumptions  that data received is representative across the UK and of the level of recent disease reporting from veterinary practice being representative in the pet population as a whole. This figure provides a benchmark to help gauge local and national trends in occurrence. Detailed results of this input are collated and displayed in real-time via maps and tables to help alert their clients to local health risks and the actions that can be taken to mitigate these.

Latest news

A new version of the Cicada Survey has been released online for 2011 to coincide with the planned launch of the scheme across a number of different countries.  With the new system pet owners are now able to access the recent report maps and headline national disease prevalence estimates for a number of the key diseases of dogs, cats and rabbits to demonstrate what has been recently identified in their area.