AAFP releases updated Feline Zoonoses Guidelines
The American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) today released updated Feline Zoonoses Guidelines to the veterinary community. These are published Online First, and will appear in the November issue of the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery. In publishing these Guidelines, the AAFP aims to provide accurate information about feline zoonotic diseases to owners, physicians, and veterinarians to allow logical decisions to be made concerning cat ownership. There are many benefits of having pet cats; however, education is key to prevention of these common diseases, which are transmittable between animals and humans. With these Guidelines, the AAFP also aims to address the misinformation that exists about cats and disease transmission.
To achieve these goals, the AAFP created a panel comprised of veterinarians and physicians who worked closely together in an attempt to make these Guidelines a document that can be used to support the International One Health movement, that is a globally recognized practice of studying the similarities in disease processes between humans and animals. This version of the Guidelines builds upon the AAFP's first Feline Zoonosis Panel Report published in 2003 (catvets.com/guidelines). In 2006, the AAFP also published a panel report on feline bartonellosis. Both documents were heavily referenced and this version on feline zoonoses focuses on new information published since 2003 and provides updated recommendations and reference list. The recommendations of the panelists are based on published data when available, and recommendations of other public health affiliated groups were taken into consideration.
These guidelines are a great example of veterinarians and physicians working together in One Health to provide accurate information about safe cat ownership," said Michael R. Lappin, DVM, Ph.D., DACVIM, Chair, Zoonoses Guidelines and the WSAVA One Health Committee.
The Zoonoses Guidelines focus on the enteric zoonoses; scratch, bite or exudate exposure zoonoses; ocular and respiratory zoonoses, urogenital tract zoonoses, vector-borne zoonoses, and lessening the risk of zoonotic transfer of disease from cats. Additionally, the Guidelines are accompanied by a cat owner client brochure entitled, "What can I catch from my cat." The brochure discusses how zoonotic organisms are spread, provides examples of potential cat-associated zoonoses, and discusses how to decrease your risk.
"These Guidelines provide recommendations concerning the prevention of feline zoonoses, as well as the latest research and information on these diseases. Cats are wonderful pets, and with education, we can improve the health and welfare of cats as well as decrease any potential risks to their humans. This updated resource is another significant milestone in that direction," said Heather O'Steen, CEO of the AAFP.
The AAFP welcomes endorsement of these Guidelines by the Executive Board of the WSAVA and the International Society of Feline Medicine. The document was reviewed by the Companion Animal Parasite Council Board.