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Small animal disease surveillance 2019: pruritus, pharmacosurveillance, skin tumours and flea infestations
  1. David A. Singleton,
  2. John McGarry,
  3. Jose Rodríguez Torres,
  4. David Killick,
  5. Christopher Jewell,
  6. Steven Smyth,
  7. Bethaney Brant,
  8. Fernando Sánchez-Vizcaíno,
  9. Susan Dawson,
  10. Gina L. Pinchbeck,
  11. Peter J. M. Noble and
  12. Alan D. Radford
  1. Institute of Infection and Global Health
  2. Institute of Veterinary Science, University of Liverpool, Leahurst Campus, Neston CH64 7TE, UK
  3. Institute of Animal Health and Food Safety, University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Campus Universitario Cardones de Arucas, 35413 Arucas, Las Palmas, Spain
  4. Lancaster Medical School, Lancaster University, Furness Building, Lancaster LA1 4YG, UK
  5. Bristol Veterinary School, University of Bristol, Langford Campus, Bristol BS40 5DU, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Singleton, email: D.A.Singleton{at}

Statistics from

Pruritus, pharmacosurveillance, skin tumours and flea infestations: Report summary

  • Presentation for investigation and/or treatment of pruritus represented 4.7%, 2.2% and 0.9% of total dog, cat and rabbit consultations, respectively, between 1 May 2018 and 30 June 2019.

  • Cytology was the most frequently recorded diagnostic test for both dogs (9.5% of pruritus survey responses) and cats (4.1%).

  • The proportion of pruritus consultations which prescribed antibiotics authorised for systemic administration (including oral and injectable formulations) decreased between April 2014 and June 2019 by approximately 50% and 33% in dogs and cats, respectively.

  • In a new multidiagnostic laboratory tumour registry curated by SAVSNET, skin tumours (including cutaneous and subcutaneous origins) were commonly reported, with the most commonly reported malignant skin tumours being mast cell tumours in dogs (14.6% of total pathological diagnoses) and squamous cell carcinomas in cats (7.4%).

  • In a clinical narrative summary of records of flea infestation between October 2014 and April 2019 a clear autumnal peak in flea infestation frequency was noted in both dogs and cats, although evidence of flea infestation was observed throughout the year.

Syndromic surveillance of pruritus

This is the third summary report on pruritus in companion animals collated by the Small Animal Veterinary Surveillance Network (SAVSNET).1,2 The present report considers electronic health records (EHRs) captured by the SAVSNET project from 217 voluntary veterinary practices (482 sites) over a 14-month period from 1 May 2018 to 30 June 2019. A detailed description of the methodology used by SAVSNET to capture EHRs has been previously provided.3,4

A total of 1,823,164 consultations were analysed, of which 70.6 per cent were from dogs, 26.2 per cent were from cats, 1.8 per cent were from rabbits, and the remaining 1.4 per cent were from other species, or where species was not recorded.

Animals mainly presenting for investigation and/or treatment of pruritus according to the attending veterinary surgeon or nurse comprised 4.7 per cent, …

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