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Cats and dogs

In 2022 approximately one million dogs were registered in Sweden. Registration of cats was not mandatory prior to January 1st, 2023. Hence the number of cats is underrepresented in national statistics. A few different estimations of the total number of cats have been published. In summary, it is possible that the total number of cats is approximately 1.4 million. Furthermore, according to older estimates (prior to the year 2020) at least a quarter of all households own at least either one cat or one dog.

Antimicrobial use

Antimicrobial use in Swedish veterinary care of dogs and cats is generally low- or even much lower- compared to most other countries. Both use of antimicrobials and the use of some antimicrobial substances is also regulated by law. This is reflected in resistance data collected from clinical samples sent to SVA. Resistance data is presented yearly in the Swedres-Svarm report, an integrated report from the Public Health Agency of Sweden and the National Veterinary Institute.

Risks of non-endemic or rarely occurring infections

Severe infections such as multiresistant zoonotic bacterial infections or zoonotic parasitic diseases such as leishmaniasis or dirofilariasis are rare in Swedish cats and dogs.  The risk for presence of such infectious agents is much higher in imported animals, as shown from both clinical and laboratory data. Import of primarily dogs but also cats via internet websites run by various individuals and organisations has increased markedly in Sweden as well as in other European countries from the 1990: s. The accompanying increased risk of import of non-endemic, or rarely occurring infections include among others the viral infections FIV and FeLV in cats (Feline immunosuppressive virus and Feline Leukaemia Virus) and the bacterial infection Brucella canis in dogs.

Notably, Sweden has been free from rabies since the late 19th century. The risk for reintroduction due to the increase in imported pets is mirrored in the sharp increase in the yearly number of euthanised dogs investigated for rabies, often on the owners’ requests following a veterinary visit. The lack of credible background documents, the often poor physical and mental health status of so-called Internet dogs and dogs from so called puppy mills is also a clear indication of severe animal welfare problems involved in illegal trading and import of dogs. This is also well documented by several organisations and countries in EU.

Vaccination status in dogs

The number of clinically relevant infections with Leptospira has increased in Swedish dogs over the last decade. This is thought to be a result of climate change and changes in biodiversity or presence of rats in cities and nature. Vaccination to lessen the risk of severe disease has since 2000- 2010 become increasingly common in dogs in the southern parts of the country. Traditionally dogs bred and sold in Sweden have been well vaccinated against Parvovirus, Canine distemper virus and Canine adenovirus (HCC), and only a few clinical cases per year have been reported or suspected. The vaccination status, as well as the actual age of imported puppies and dogs has however so far in many cases been at least questionable.

Last updated : 2023-01-20