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Ten years‘ work of ABCD for prevention of feline infectious diseases
In 2005, the European Advisory Board on Cat Diseases (ABCD) held its first meeting in Lyon, France. The ABCD is an independent group of 17 veterinarians, from 11 European countries, with expertise in immunology, virology, vaccinology and/or feline clinical medicine. At the time when the last issue of the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery was published, the group has met for the 25th time in order to improve existing guidelines, work on new ones and create strategies, how Europe’s cats can be better protected from infectious diseases.
The output of this decade of work is 43 guidelines, 10 “Fact Sheets” and one brochure, which are intended to support veterinarians with most recent knowledge on infectious feline diseases and to give them recommendations for their management and prevention. The material is offered via the Worldwide Web - the web site you are presently reading, and has been published in Special Issues of the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery (July 2009, Volume 11, issue 7 and July 2013, Volume 15, Issue 7). It contains articles on updates of the existing guidelines and the matrix vaccination guidelines as well as articles on disinfection in the feline environment, on the risk of iatrogenic complications after blood transfusion; an important addition is an article on feline injection-site sarcoma, which is frequently discussed in the context of vaccination. These articles are followed by guidelines on lesser known infectious diseases. As some of the respective agents have to be considered as emerging pathogens (e.g. Streptococcal infections in cats) and/or carrying a zoonotic potential (e.g. some lungworms), these guidelines support practitioners with the most recent knowledge and make them aware of a potential threat for cats - and humans. The articles were outlined during the meetings and written by all ABCD members, under the leading role of the respective first author. The article about feline injection-site sarcoma was co-authored by Michael Day, School of Veterinary Sciences, University of Bristol, United Kingdom, chairman of the Vaccination Guidelines Group of the WSAVA, and we are very grateful for this contribution. The ABCD again included evidence-based medicine (EBM) qualifications where appropriate, in order to offer the reader information about the reliability of a statement or publication, and Albert Lloret carried this responsibility. We also want to acknowledge the support by Karin de Lange, the Board’s secretary. Finally, special thanks go to the Journal’s Editor, Andy Sparkes, and to Margaret Melling, again doing a great job to bring these articles of the present Special Issue to completion.
ABCD's work depends not only on the commitment of the Board members, their unpaid time investment, but also on its sponsor Merial S.A.S. and particularly to Jean-Christophe Thibault and Florence Kahn-Ramos, who manage to support the Board with enthusiasm, and to respect the Board members’ independence. It is also Merial SAS who contributes the “ABCD Merial Young Scientist Award (AMYSA)”, which will be awarded in 2016 for the nineth time.
This leads us to thoughts about the future of the ABCD. It is a continuing task to keep all guidelines at the "state of the art" level of knowledge - and where appropriate to produce new ones. In the past, our recommendations were aimed at veterinarians, for the future it is our goal to reach out also to cat owners, to make them aware of the important measures (especially vaccinations) their veterinarians offer to prevent infectious diseases. It will be important to obtain more information about the prevalence of feline infectious diseases in Europe, in order to apply the most effective and successful preventive measures. ABCD is prepared to give input, support and carry out such projects. And finally, infectious diseases may cause pain, distress and often death and therefore constitute an important welfare issue. This is why we have recently endeavoured cooperation with a dedicated cat welfare organisation (CaroCat - www.carocat.eu). We realise that health is not the only issue in welfare and wellbeing, but it certainly is an important one.
Karin Möstl, Chairwoman
Marian C. Horzinek, Past Chairman; Webmaster, Editor in Chief, Veterinary Sciences Tomorrow

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