The Covid-19 pandemic: impacting human–animal interaction, owner awareness and the necessity for frequent deworming
The COVID-19 pandemic had dramatic impacts on humans and pets lives, as well as human-animal interactions. People around the globe were forced into social distancing, raising many challenges and socio-economic concerns. Altogether, with the inconclusive reports regarding pets as potential carriers of the virus, there was a growing concern that pet animals would be abandoned. However, the opposite occurred, and there was an increased global demand for pet ownership in its broader sense; pet adoptions, veterinary care and training consultation, along with web-based requests for animal health information. While the positive benefits of pet ownership to mental and physical health is well studied, little was known about the impact on the mental and physical health of dogs. Studies analysing large datasets clearly demonstrated that there is an association between impaired quality of life of owners and their dogs, as well as increased behavioural challenges. While human-animal interaction and the impact on physical and mental health are better understood, there is a gap of knowledge regarding the role intensified human-animal interaction plays from the perspective of infectious-zoonotic pathogens, such as gastrointestinal helminths, e.g. Toxocara canis and T. cati. Higher density of pets, due to increased demand, particularly in (sub)urban areas, may seed the environment with gastrointestinal helminth eggs. This bears a risk for both constant reinfection of cats and dogs and transmission to humans at the same time. Based on the previously published high prevalence data on Toxocara spp., low frequency of deworming across Europe and the significant increase in pet animals needs to be considered in terms of pet owner information on regular deworming.
It is the aim of this Vetoquinol corporate symposium to share information on studies on human-animal interactions and the impacts on pet health with the zoonotic challenges of gastrointestinal helminths.
- Paul A. M. Overgaauw
Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences, Veterinary Faculty, Utrecht University, The Netherlands
- Liat Morgan
Metabolite Medicine Division, BLAVATNIK Centre for Drug Discovery, Tel Aviv University, Israel
- Norbert Mencke
Vetoquinol S.A, France