news

24.04.2014

No more appointments

As of 2014 I do not offer consultations in private practices anymore. I am pursuing my work as researcher and lecturer at university  … more 

23.01.2013

Reduced consultations

On 1.1.2013 I reduced my clinical activity and am now also working at the Veterinary Public Health Institute of the University of Berne. Thus I'm consulting only on Mondays in Fribourg  … more 

10.09.2012

Teaching animal husbandry and care

Since 2011 I teach for the Swiss animal dealer association in Lausanne. This year I also participate in the training of animal keepers at the professional school EPSIC in Lausanne.  … more 

08.05.2012

Radioprogram on animal communication

A subject that annoys, surprises, triggers smiles or disdain, and yet aleviates our daily grind some times. We are talking about animal communication. A radioprogram in French  … more 

10.07.2011

Mobile Practice

The new mobile practice allows for interventions in the field as well as in the different practices in Lausanne, Fribourg and Biel/ Bienne  … more 

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Preventive medicine

Although prevention of diseases includes husbandry and care, I use the term preventive medicine to summarise measures to prevent infectious diseases caused by bacteria, viruses or parasites. Depending on the agent, different methods are more appropriate to prevent infections: vaccination, chemoprophylaxis or quarantine.

Vaccination

Vaccination is the artificial infection of an animal with a harmless organism in order to prevent a more virulent disease. An active vaccine provokes an active immune response in the target organism whereas for a passive immunisation antibodies are injected, which act specifically against the disease to be prevented. Active vaccines are further divided into live-attenuated vaccines, dead vaccines and subunit vaccines. The latter are harmless organisms which are fitted with a surface that is characteristic to the disease causing agent.

Depending on the species and the disease, different vaccination protocols are available and recommended. Please note, that most vaccines are only registered (at swissmedic) for the common domestic species. For most exotic pets and wildlife vaccination is off-label and needs to be evaluated carefully prior to administration.

Chemoprophylaxis (primarily parasites)

Chemoprophylaxis aims primarily at diseases caused by parasites. In the wild, parasite and host establish a subtle equilibrium. On the one hand the parasite lives of its host and thus harms it, on the other hand its survival depends on that of the host. Essentially, all animals in the wild have gastro-intestinal and other parasites. Problems usually only arise if the host cannot maintain its side of the equilibrium, i.e. if its immune system, which inhibits uncontrolled growth of the parasites, cannot sustain this inhibition.

Unusually high parasite infestation always indicates that there is a more profound problem, which impairs the immune system of the host. This can be a simple cause such as social stress, too small enclosures, not enough food, wrong climate etc., but it may also be a primary disease weakening the organism and leading to a secondary overcrowding with parasites.

Hence, I do not recommend systematic parasite control without prior diagnosis and evaluation. Under healthy conditions, most parasites don't represent a serious problem, but if the infection pressure increases this points to a problem that requires more interventions than just an antiparasitic medication.

In my opinion a regular monitoring of parasite infestation is an indispensable tool in good animal husbandry. If you observe the equilibrium between parasites and hosts in your facility on long-term, changes are very convenient indicators for the early detection of problems.

Quarantine

Quarantine is the isolation of animals with an unknown infection status. It is a precaution that will be different depending on the origin and the species of the animal. The goal of quarantine is to prevent that incoming animals introduce diseases into a facility, which may be fatal to other animals. As a precaution, you should also assume that an animal in quarantine carries infective agents that are dangerous to man. The time in quarantine allows for diseases to break out and to do further laboratory investigations in order to in- or exclude certain infections.

In a quarantine facility, hygiene is of utmost importance (see husbandry). Nevertheless, the criteria for a species-adapted husbandry must be fulfilled. It is therefore important to know the epidemiology of the potential disease causing agents and to correctly assess the risks for animals and people.

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