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Rev Sci Tech. 2010 Dec;29(3):537-48.

Canine leishmaniosis and euthanasia in Italy: a critical legal-ethical analysis.

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Department of Veterinary Public Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Messina, Polo Universitario Annunziata, 98168 Messina, Italy.


The increasing awareness that control of zoonotic visceral leishmaniosis (ZVL) depends on effective control of canine leishmaniosis has promoted research into leishmanial infection in dogs, but has also encouraged the indiscriminate elimination of seropositive dogs. Public health campaigns in various parts of the world (e.g. in Brazil and China) are designed to reduce the incidence of human ZVL by targeting/killing dogs. However, not all situations are the same; in Italy, for example, there would be little support for this type of control measure because attitudes towards animals are different. Moreover, research has suggested that the destruction of seropositive dogs is a relatively ineffective control measure. In this context, the authors reflect on some epidemiological, ethical and juridical aspects, aiming to contribute to the discussion and to find more feasible solutions.

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