New research reveals dog owner understanding of parasites and zoonotic diseases

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Photo: Fabio Formaggio – 123rf

Given the significant impact of parasites on animal and human wellbeing, Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health are driving a national awareness campaign called Let’s Go! (starting 9 August) to highlight the importance of monthly parasite protection.

As part of this campaign, Boehringer Ingelheim conducted research among dog owners to gain an understanding of their awareness of parasites and zoonotic diseases. 

Key findings of the research include: 

• 38 per cent of dog owners are not aware of all five main types of parasite that affect dogs (fleas, ticks, mites, heartworm and intestinal worms). 

• More than seven in 10 Australian dog owners have not heard of the term ‘zoonosis’.

• Less than half of dog owners are aware that dogs can transmit zoonotic diseases by licking people. 

This campaign highlights that there is continuing work to be done to educate owners on the potential risk parasites pose to their dogs, themselves, and their families, as well as the steps to mitigate that risk. 

Through collaborations with key scientists and clinicians, Boehringer Ingelheim has supported the formation of the Australian Paralysis Tick Advisory Panel and, recently, the ‘Healthy Pets, Healthy People’ Australian Companion Animal Zoonoses Advisory Panel. 

“The ‘Healthy Pets, Health People’ panel was convened in recognition of a gap in resources to educate veterinary professionals and pet owners on zoonotic diseases and how they can be best managed,” said Andrew Palmer, head of Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health Australia.

Dr Greg Little, head of Veterinary Medical Services for Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health, added: “Our Veterinary Medical Services team assembled an expert panel consisting of veterinary microbiologists, parasitologists and epidemiologists, in addition to human infectious disease specialists. In producing guidelines from a One-Health perspective, the Australian Companion Animal Zoonoses Advisory Panel is unique and extremely valuable. 

“The input of the human infectious disease specialists on the panel provided valued insights that we as vet don’t always consider. The resulting guidelines, due for publication later in 2020, provide practical and relevant advice to mitigate risk for animal health professionals and pet owners.” 

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