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Developing European guidelines

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01 June 2009, at 12:00am

ESCCAP (European Scientific Counsel Companion Animal Parasites) is a group of veterinarians with recognised expertise in the field of parasitology. 

It is an independent not-for-profit organisation dedicated to providing access to clear and constructive information for veterinarians and pet owners with the aim of strengthening the animal-human bond and working to provide the knowledge essential to help eradicate parasites in pets. 

Its role is to develop guidelines for the treatment and control of parasites in pet animals. The guidelines are developed to protect the health of pets, enhance the safety of the public and preserve the bond between pets and people. 

They summarise the different situations within Europe, highlighting important differences between parasites and between different parts of Europe where necessary, and recommend specific control measures. 

ESCCAP believes that: 

■ veterinarians and pet owners must take measures to protect pets from parasitic infections; 

■ pet travel has the potential to change epidemiological situations with export or import of non-endemic parasite species, therefore veterinarians and pet owners must protect the pet population from risks associated with travel and its consequences; 

■ veterinarians, pet owners and physicians should work together to reduce the risks associated with zoonotic transmission of parasitic diseases; 

■ veterinarians can and should give guidance to the pet owner regarding infection risk and risk of disease caused by different parasites and measurements against them; 

■ veterinarians should inform pet owners about parasites and enable them to act responsibly for their pet’s life and the pets and other animals and people in their communities. 

Various guidelines for treatment and control of parasitic infections in companion animals have been implemented in other countries such as the USA by organisations such as CAPC (Companion Animal Parasite Council). However, to date no single comprehensive guideline for Europe with its diverse parasite spectrum has been developed. 

The latest guideline from ESCCAP, for the control of parasitic insects and ticks in dogs and cats, was released in March. It can be downloaded from www.esccap.org.

ESCCAP states: “The guidelines we provide will help veterinarians and pet owners across Europe make the right decisions in looking after their pets responsibly and keeping them parasite free.” 

Members 

ESCCAP members are selected on the basis of their expertise and their ablility to represent a country or region of Europe. Each is responsible for promoting ESCCAP and its objectives in his or her own region. 

Dr Jim Duncan, the chairman, was awarded a personal professorship in veterinary parasitology at Glasgow University in 1987. He was awarded honorary membership of the World Association for the Advancement of Veterinary Parasitology (WAAVP) in 2001 and of the European Veterinary Parasitology College (EVPC) in 2003. 

Maggie Fisher, the secretary, runs a consultancy in veterinary parasitology which she started in 1997. She is currently studying for a PhD examining the way in which veterinary medicines, particularly parasiticides, are developed in the EU. She is an active member of the WAAVP, a diplomate of the EVPC and a founding member of ESCCAP. She is also a member of the Association of Veterinary Consultants. 

Anja Joachim, the treasurer, is professor of parasitology at the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna. Her main research focuses on host-parasite interactions in porcine isosporosis and nematode infections. She is on the Board of the Austrian Society of Tropical Medicine and Parasitology and the EVPC and a member of the German Society of Parasitology, the German Veterinary Society and the WAAVP. 

Thomas Schnieder is professor in parasitology and director of the Institute for Parasitology at the University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover. He is the head of the German Veterinary Association (DVG), president of the German Society for Parasitology (DGP), board member of the WAAVP and founding member of the EVPC. 

Claudio Genchi is professor of parasitic diseases at the University of Milano in Italy and vice-director of the Department of Animal Pathology. He is a founding member and vicepresident of the EVPC, and president of the Italian Society of Parasitology (SoIPa). 

Dr Frans van Knapen is professor in food hygiene and veterinary public health at the Veterinary Faculty in Utrecht.

Dr Guadalupe Miró Corrales is senior lecturer/assistant professor in parasitology and parasitic diseases at the Veterinary College of Madrid. She is also in charge of the Consultancy of Infectious Diseases at the veterinary teaching hospital, focusing on parasitic diseases of small animals. She is a member of the WAAVP, a diplomate of the EVPC and a founding member of ESCCAP. 

Dr Jacques Guillot has been a professor of parasitology since 2002. His main areas of research are the diagnosis and treatment of fungal infections in animals, the epidemiology of pneumocystosis and aspergillosis and the phylogeny of fungal pathogens and parasite species. 

Peter Deplazes is a founding member of the EVPC and a member of numerous organisations including the WAAVP) and the DGP (German Society for Parasitology). 

Dr Stig Milan Thamsborg is Professor of Veterinary Parasitology at the Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University in Copenhagen and director of the Danish Centre for Experimental Parasitology, involved in applied and experimental studies on parasites of companion animals and livestock. 

■ The ESCCAP Secretariat, run by Maggie Fisher, is at The Mews Studio, Portland Road, Malvern, Worcs. WR14 2TA; telephone 01684 568998, fax 01886 833431, e-mail queries@esccap.org.uk.