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Assessment of veterinarians’ engagement with backyard poultry and small-scale livestock operations in four western states

Alda F. A. Pires1Department of Population Health and Reproduction, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California-Davis, Davis, CA 95616.

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Amos Peterson3Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99163.

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Jerome N. Baron2Center for Animal Disease Modelling and Surveillance, Department of Medicine and Epidemiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California-Davis, Davis, CA 95616.

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Ragan Adams4Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80521.

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Dale A. Moore3Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99163.

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To assess veterinarian engagement with owners of poultry and livestock in urban and peri-urban areas (UPAs) of 4 western states, to evaluate the knowledge and experience of veterinarians in UPAs for treating domestic poultry and livestock, and to identify barriers to the provision of veterinary services to backyard poultry and small-scale livestock operations.

SAMPLE

880 veterinarians in UPAs.

PROCEDURES

2,400 members of the veterinary medical associations of California, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington who worked in metropolitan areas with a population > 5,000 people were randomly selected and invited to participate in a needs assessment survey. Response data were analyzed with univariable logistic regression and multiple correspondence analysis.

RESULTS

880 (37%) invitees completed or partially completed the survey. Most respondents self-reported working in UPAs (686/825 [83%]) and companion animal only (n = 551) or predominant (211) practices. Although most (656/863 [76%]) respondents perceived an increase in backyard poultry and livestock in their practice areas, few were actively treating such animals primarily because of a lack of facilities, interest, or experience. Most respondents believed veterinarians have an important role in ensuring public health and preventing zoonotic disease.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Backyard poultry and livestock are increasing in popularity in UPAs of 4 western states, and veterinarians are needed to provide services to such animals. Further research and continuing education are necessary to encourage practitioners in UPAs to engage with owners of backyard poultry and livestock to ensure the health and welfare of those animals and guard public health. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2020;257:196-209)

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To assess veterinarian engagement with owners of poultry and livestock in urban and peri-urban areas (UPAs) of 4 western states, to evaluate the knowledge and experience of veterinarians in UPAs for treating domestic poultry and livestock, and to identify barriers to the provision of veterinary services to backyard poultry and small-scale livestock operations.

SAMPLE

880 veterinarians in UPAs.

PROCEDURES

2,400 members of the veterinary medical associations of California, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington who worked in metropolitan areas with a population > 5,000 people were randomly selected and invited to participate in a needs assessment survey. Response data were analyzed with univariable logistic regression and multiple correspondence analysis.

RESULTS

880 (37%) invitees completed or partially completed the survey. Most respondents self-reported working in UPAs (686/825 [83%]) and companion animal only (n = 551) or predominant (211) practices. Although most (656/863 [76%]) respondents perceived an increase in backyard poultry and livestock in their practice areas, few were actively treating such animals primarily because of a lack of facilities, interest, or experience. Most respondents believed veterinarians have an important role in ensuring public health and preventing zoonotic disease.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Backyard poultry and livestock are increasing in popularity in UPAs of 4 western states, and veterinarians are needed to provide services to such animals. Further research and continuing education are necessary to encourage practitioners in UPAs to engage with owners of backyard poultry and livestock to ensure the health and welfare of those animals and guard public health. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2020;257:196-209)

Supplementary Materials

    • Supplementary Appendix S1 (PDF 459 kb)
    • Supplementary Figure S1 (PDF 125 kb)

Contributor Notes

Dr. Peterson's present address is 1st Special Forces Group, US Veterinary Corps, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA 98433.

Drs. Pires and Peterson contributed equally to the development and writing of this manuscript.

Address correspondence to Dr. Pires (apires@ucdavis.edu).