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Objective

To develop a prototype program for surveillance of causes of death of dogs, using resources developed for the World Wide Web, to enable collection of data from veterinarians in small animal practice and dissemination of results in a timely manner at minimal expense.

Design

Epidemiologic survey.

Sample Population

Small animal veterinarians who were members of NOAH, Veterinary Information Network (VIN), or VetPlus-L.

Procedure

Internet electronic communications and Web pages were used for solicitation and collection of data, dissemination of results, and follow-up discussions with participants. Data were stored in a relational database.

Results

25 veterinarians actively submitted case material. On the basis of analysis by region and school of veterinary medicine attended, these veterinarians were representative of all small animal practitioners in the United States. During the 6-month study, 621 case reports were submitted. Analysis of results included determination of number of dogs, with proportions calculated for primary reason for death, primary clinical sign, and breed, as well as creation of a map depicting distribution of the practitioners. Additional data were obtained for analysis to provide information of interest.

Clinical Implications

A national database representative of dogs examined by small animal practitioners would be a valuable source of information. Rapidly and easily accessible return of information and results is important for any surveillance system. The program described here appears to be a successful method for collecting data from practitioners. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 1998;213:251-256)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association