Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health is to launch CICADA-Live, the second phase of its national initiative to monitor the awareness and regional prevalence of important diseases in cats, dogs and rabbits. 

First launched in 2007 as a quarterly survey, the ground-breaking CICADA-Live project has now been developed to offer up-to-the minute data on infectious companion animal disease reports that can be updated and accessed by vet practices around the clock. The new scheme is now able to provide a real-time overview of companion animal infectious diseases being diagnosed in UK veterinary practices.

CICADA-Live is focusing on more than a dozen key infectious diseases of dogs, cats and rabbits. They include canine parvovirus, infectious canine hepatitis, canine distemper, leptospirosis, kennel cough, angiostrongylosis. For cats, CICADA-Live will monitor feline panleucopaenia, cat flu, feline leukaemia virus infections. For rabbits the focus will be on myxomatosis, rabbit viral haemorrhagic disease, E.cuniculi, and fly strike.

The service is officially launched on 1st June to coincide with Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health's National Vaccination Month 2009, and is open to all first-opinion UK companion animal veterinary practices.

The system's developer, John Helps, Veterinary Manager at Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health said: "Whereas our first edition of CICADA was useful in providing benchmarks so that seasonal and long term trends could be identified and communicated to both vets and pet owners, the further potential of a live on-line database is enormous in raising awareness of current pet disease risks to the public."

According to the company, there has been a lack of knowledge regarding the local and national incidence of small animal infectious diseases in the UK, and those sporadic reports that do occur are typically anecdotal and can prove hard to substantiate.  It is feared that the lack of co-ordinated good quality information has potentially lead to pet owners being lulled into a false sense of security by a low awareness of disease risks.

John added: "Lack of data on the incidence and prevalence of even the most common infectious diseases has been an important issue faced by small animal practices reducing their ability to highlight these risks. A staggering lack of owner awareness to infectious disease threats in turn contributes to complacency among pet owners.

"Evidence suggests that some infectious diseases, such as parvovirus, may be on the increase in some areas and there continues to be a concern regarding the number of animals that remain unvaccinated.

 "Not only will Cicada-Live provide the means for improving a gap in our collective knowledge but it will also prove invaluable in the promotion of good preventative healthcare.

"We have long believed that better epidemiological surveillance would an important tool in understanding trends in small animal infectious disease and with CICADA-Live, for the first time we have a tool to give us a better appreciation of what first opinion practices are currently seeing."

The CICADA-Live website, http://www.cicadasurvey.co.uk/, is simple to access and update. Registrations are limited to one per practice branch.  A straightforward one-page survey format minimises the time investment, with no strict requirement to review written case records. 

Once signed in, participating practices will be asked to complete the survey once every 6 months in order to grant continued access to maps and tables showing recent reports. In addition practices can set up e-mail alerts to give notification should disease reports be received in their area.

For further information about CICADA-Live from Intervet please contact Intervet /Schering-Plough Animal Health's Veterinary Support Group on 01908 685685. Or contact John.