In this course, you will learn about animal viruses that affect pets, birds, sheep, cattle, swine and horses, and produce important diseases.

These animal diseases may cause huge economic losses to farmers and severe emotional distress to animal owners. They may even be transmitted to humans, posing important questions about their spread and control.

Learn about animal viruses and the animal diseases they produce

In Week 1, we will start with an introduction to animal viruses, their form and structure (or morphology), and characteristics. We will provide basic information to help you understand viral diseases in animals and humans.

In each of the remaining five weeks, we will focus on a different transmission route and look at an animal virus that exemplifies it:

  • Faecal-oral transmission: using parvoviruses and canine parvovirosis as an example.
  • Open wounds: focusing on rabies and other zoonotic viruses, which produce diseases in both humans and animals.
  • Arthropod transmission: viruses that are carried by insects and ticks, and introduced directly into the bloodstream.
  • Airborne transmission: such as influenza, which may be transmitted from birds and pigs to humans.
  • Other infections difficult to control because they are persistent: produced by viruses that remain in their host, including herpesvirus and retrovirus.

Understanding viral diseases with veterinary teaching specialists

The course has been developed by a team at Complutense University of Madrid, who are all experienced in teaching virology and infectious diseases at veterinary schools at Madrid and Alfort.

By the end of the six weeks, you will:

  • appreciate that animal viruses are transmitted through different routes;
  • understand how viral diseases are produced, their clinical signs and why veterinarians require specific tests to diagnose them;
  • understand that the control of a virus depends on its characteristics, including morphological features, routes of transmission and ability to persist in the host;
  • and recognise how climate change is modifying the presence of animal diseases.

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