Study analyzes global prevalence of canine transmissible venereal tumor

A study from researchers at the University of Cambridge has produced new information on the global reach of canine transmissible venereal tumor (CTVT), as well as shown which methods are proving most effective at controlling the disease's spread.

The study, published in BMC Veterinary Research and involving a questionnaire sent to 645 veterinarians and animal health workers worldwide, was the first systematic global survey of CTVT, according to researchers. Responses from these animal health professionals indicated that CTVT is endemic in dogs in at least 90 of 109 countries surveyed.

The disease is especially prevalent in areas with significant populations of free-roaming dogs, the study reported. CTVT is estimated to be found in one percent or more of dogs in at least 13 countries in South and Central America, at least 11 countries in Africa, and eight countries in Asia. 

Several countries reported no cases of CTVT (except for cases involving imported dogs), including Canada, the Czech Republic, Finland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden, Switzerland, and the U.K. The United States and Australia had relatively few reports of the disease. 

Researchers pointed to New Zealand's lack of CTVT cases as a testament to the country's strict dog quarantine policies

The study also revealed several measures that are helping to control the transmission of CTVT:

  • Managing the number of free-roaming dogs
  • Maintaining strict spay and neuter practices
  • Observing quarantine procedures for imported dogs

Elizabeth Murchison, Ph.D., researcher at the University of Cambridge, highlighted the key points of the study in a university news release.

"Our study has suggested that free-roaming dogs are a reservoir for CTVT," Murchison said. "Our review of the historical literature indicated that CTVT was eradicated in the U.K. during the twentieth century, probably as an unintentional result of the introduction of dog control policies. Careful management of free-roaming dog populations, as well as inclusion of CTVT in dog import/export quarantine policies, may help to control CTVT spread."

Read the full study in BMC Veterinary Research

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