The FINANCIAL -- Monheim, July 12, 2018 – Bayer continues its commitment to improving feline health and medicine by supporting the International Society of Feline Medicine (ISFM) 2018 European Congress as platinum sponsor.
The congress took place from June28th - July 1st and saw feline experts discuss the latest developments in feline health and medicine, educating 600 veterinarians from 35 countries across the world. As part of the event, Bayer hosted a symposium to promote the importance of two feline infectious diseases, inviting leading specialists to speak on the subject.
Professor Barbara Kohn, of the Freie Universität Berlin, spoke about feline haemotropic mycoplasmal infections. These mycoplasmal organisms can potentially result in serious disease and are widely distributed. The most common species is Candidatus Mycoplasma haemominutum, however relative prevalences can vary by geography and population of cats surveyed; Mycoplasma haemofelis is the most pathogenic species.
The course of disease is variable, and while immunosuppression, stress and concurrent disease are predisposing factors for the clinical manifestation of disease, immunocompetent cats can also show symptoms. Clinical signs can include lethargy, weakness, weight loss, intermittent pyrexia and anaemia.
As mycoplasma infections can be difficult to diagnose, a key message from Dr. Kohn was the importance of minimising the risk of infection. She commented: ‘‘This is a disease of global significance, and while still not proven, arthropod vectors have been suggested as a means of transmission of haemoplasmas; as such, protection against fleas and ticks should be carried out for all cats.”
The second speaker, Professor Maria Grazia Pennisi, of the University of Messina and a founding member of LeishVet, spoke on feline leishmaniosis, another disease of global significance, yet often underestimated.
Professor Pennisi highlighted that although research is still limited, feline leishmaniosis is now viewed as an emerging disease, with cats potentially representing an additional domestic reservoir of L. infantum, contributing to disease transmission, commenting: ‘‘It is believed that sand fly bites are likely to be the most important means of disease transmission in the cat. The percentage of cats that are antibody and/or PCR positive is often noteworthy in endemic areas and so the potential for infection should not be ignored.
Individual protection of cats reduces their risk of being infected by L. infantum and developing clinical disease, however protection of a large part of the feline population should be considered as part of a “One Health” strategy in the regional control of L. infantum infection.”
A key message for both speakers was the importance of responsible cat ownership and ectoparasite protection in endemic areas, which not only helps to prevent infection in individuals, but can help to minimise the spread of disease on a wider scale.
Bayer is committed to investing in research and development to promote better feline health and well-being, as Ronan Fitzgerald, Global VSA at Bayer explains: ‘‘For cat owners nothing is more important than knowing their cat is happy and healthy, which is why improving feline health is so important to us. We are proud to have already brought a number of innovative cat-focused products to the market, and look to further develop the portfolio through research and development, as well as education for both veterinarians and cat owners. Our aim is to help keep cats healthy so owners can continue to enjoy many special moments with them.’’