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Abstract

Objectives—To describe the characteristics of unowned, free-roaming cats and their caretakers who participated in a trap-neuter-return (TNR) program and to determine the effect of the program on free-roaming cat colonies.

Design—Prospective study.

Sample Population—101 caretakers of 920 unowned, free-roaming cats in 132 colonies in north central Florida.

Results—Most (85/101; 84%) caretakers were female. The median age was 45 years (range, 19 to 74 years). Most (89/101; 88%) caretakers owned pets and of those, most (67/101; 66%) owned cats. The major reasons for feeding free-roaming cats were sympathy and love of animals. Most caretakers reported that the cats they cared for were too wild to be adopted, but many also reported that they considered the cats to be like pets. The total surveyed cat population was 920 before participation in TNR and 678 after TNR. Mean colony size was 7 cats before TNR and 5.1 cats after TNR. Most cats lived on the caretaker's property. At the time of the survey, 70% (644/920) of the cats had been neutered.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The decrease in the surveyed free-roaming cat population was attributed to a reduction in births of new kittens, adoptions, deaths, and disappearances. Recognition of the human-animal bond that exists between caretakers and the feral cats they feed may facilitate the development of effective control programs for feral cat populations. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2002;220: 1627–1633)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

Objective—To evaluate equine IgG as a treatment for kittens with failure of passive transfer of immunity (FPT).

Animals—13 specific pathogen-free queens and their 77 kittens.

Procedure—Kittens were randomized at birth into 9 treatment groups. One group contained colostrumfed (nursing) kittens; the other groups contained colostrum-deprived kittens that were administered supplemental feline or equine IgG PO or SC during the first 12 hours after birth. Blood samples were collected at serial time points from birth to 56 days of age for determination of serum IgG concentrations. The capacity of equine IgG to opsonize bacteria for phagocytosis by feline neutrophils was determined via flow cytometry.

Results—Kittens that received feline or equine IgG SC had significantly higher serum IgG concentrations than those of kittens that received the supplements PO. In kittens that were administered supplemental IgG SC, serum IgG concentrations were considered adequate for protection against infection. The half-life of IgG in kittens treated with equine IgG was shorter than that in kittens treated with feline IgG. Feline IgG significantly enhanced the phagocytosis of bacteria by feline neutrophils, but equine IgG did not.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Serum concentrations of equine IgG that are considered protective against infection are easily attained in kittens, but the failure of these antibodies to promote bacterial phagocytosis in vitro suggests that equine IgG may be an inappropriate treatment for FPT in kittens. (Am J Vet Res 2003;64:969–975)

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

Objective—To determine the effect of vaccination against FIV on results of serologic assays for FIV infection.

Design—Prospective clinical trial.

Animals—26 specific-pathogen-free cats, 102 laboratory- reared cats (42 unvaccinated and uninfected, 41 vaccinated and uninfected, and 19 infected with FIV), and 22 client-owned cats infected with FIV.

Procedure—To determine the onset and duration of anti-FIV antibody production in cats following vaccination with a whole-virus vaccine, serum was obtained from the 26 specific-pathogen-free cats prior to vaccination and weekly for 10 weeks, then monthly for 52 weeks, after vaccination; serum was tested for anti-FIV antibodies with lateral flow and microwell plate ELISAs. To determine the diagnostic performance of serologic assays for FIV infection, plasma from uninfected, unvaccinated cats; uninfected, vaccinated cats; and FIV-infected cats was tested for FIV antibodies with the 2 ELISAs, a western blot assay, and an immunofluorescence antibody assay and for FIV antigen with an ELISA.

Results—Anti-FIV antibodies were detected in all 26 vaccinated cats 1 year after vaccination. Sensitivity of the antibody assays for FIV infection was high (98% to 100%). Specificity was high in unvaccinated cats (90% to 100%) but poor in vaccinated cats (0% to 54%). None of the vaccinated or infected cats had detectable FIV antigen in plasma.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest that vaccination against FIV causes false-positive results for at least 1 year with currently available serologic assays for FIV infection. Negative FIV antibody assay results are highly reliable for detection of uninfected cats, but positive results should be interpreted with caution. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2004;225:1558–1561)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

Objective—To determine characteristics of free-roaming cats evaluated in a trap-neuter-return program.

Design—Cross-sectional study.

Animals—5,323 free-roaming cats.

Procedure—Data collected included sex, maturity, pregnancy status, number of fetuses per pregnancy, cryptorchidism, and occurrence of complications or euthanasia.

Results—Adult cats represented 85% of the population, and 57% were female. Overall, 19% of adult females were pregnant, and mean litter size was 3.6 fetuses. Pregnancy rate peaked at 36 to 47% of all females evaluated in March and April and decreased to ≤ 4% from October through January. Cryptorchidism was observed in 1.9% of the males; 0.4% of the adult females had pyometra. Only 1.9% of the cats were already neutered. Euthanasia and unexpected death rates were 0.4 and 0.3%, respectively. The most common severe problems encountered included pyometra, neoplasia, surgical complications, diaphragmatic hernia, debilitation, and chronic inflammatory diseases.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Neutering programs for free-roaming cats should include preparations to perform more spays than castrations. Typically, almost half of the female cats trapped during spring will be pregnant. Cryptorchidism is uncommon but is encountered on a consistent basis, so care should be taken to differentiate previous castration from retained testicles. Euthanasia of debilitated cats for humane reasons is rarely necessary, and unexpected deaths occur at a low rate. It is feasible and safe to neuter large numbers of free-roaming cats in large-scale clinics. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2002;221:1136–1138)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

Objective—To determine the sensitivity, specificity, and overall diagnostic accuracy of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays offered by commercial diagnostic laboratories for diagnosis of FIV infection in cats.

Design—Prospective clinical trial.

Animals—124 cats.

Procedure—Blood was collected from cats that were neither infected with nor vaccinated against FIV, uninfected cats that were vaccinated with a licensed FIV vaccine, and cats experimentally and naturally infected with FIV representing subtypes A, B, and C. Coded blood samples were submitted to 3 laboratories in the United States and Canada offering PCR assays for diagnosis of FIV infection to veterinary practitioners. All laboratories tested fresh blood samples, and 1 laboratory also tested samples submitted as dried blood smears. The FIV infection status in all cats was confirmed by virus isolation. Sensitivity, specificity, and correct results were calculated for each PCR assay.

Results—Sensitivity ranged from 41% to 93%. Specificity ranged from 81% to 100% in unvaccinated cats and 44% to 95% in cats vaccinated against FIV. Correct results were obtained in 58% to 90% of 124 cats tested. All tests misidentified both uninfected and infected cats. False-positive results by all laboratories were higher in cats vaccinated against FIV than in unvaccinated cats, suggesting that vaccination interferes with the performance or interpretation of PCR assays used for diagnosis of FIV infection.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—PCR assays used for diagnosis of FIV infection presently marketed to veterinary practitioners in North America vary significantly in diagnostic accuracy and did not resolve the diagnostic dilemma resulting from vaccination of cats against FIV. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2005;226:1503–1507)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

Objective—To evaluate the effect of a long-term trapneuter-return program, with adoption whenever possible, on the dynamics of a free-roaming cat population.

Design—Observational epidemiologic study.

Animals—155 unowned free-roaming cats.

Procedures—Free-roaming cats residing on a university campus were trapped, neutered, and returned to the environment or adopted over an 11-year period.

Results—During the observation period (January 1991 to April 2002), 75% of the cats were feral, and 25% were socialized. Kittens comprised 56% of the original population. Male cats were slightly more numerous (55%) than females. At the conclusion of the observation period, 47% of the cats had been removed for adoption, 15% remained on site, 15% had disappeared, 11% were euthanatized, 6% had died, and 6% had moved to the surrounding wooded environment. Trapping began in 1991; however, a complete census of cats was not completed until 1996, at which time 68 cats resided on site. At completion of the study in 2002, the population had decreased by 66%, from 68 to 23 cats (of which 22 were feral). No kittens were observed on site after 1995, but additional stray or abandoned cats continued to become resident. New arrivals were neutered or adopted before they could reproduce.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—A comprehensive long-term program of neutering followed by adoption or return to the resident colony can result in reduction of free-roaming cat populations in urban areas. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2003;222:42–46)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

OBJECTIVE To characterize the clients served by and the cats and dogs admitted to nonprofit spay-neuter clinics.

DESIGN Cross-sectional survey.

SAMPLE 2,154 dogs and 1,902 cats that were owned by 3,768 survey respondents and admitted to 22 nonprofit spay-neuter clinics across the United States between April 29, 2013, and January 24, 2014.

PROCEDURES Participating clinics distributed surveys to clients during each of 4 quarterly study weeks. The survey collected descriptive information about clients' pets and households as well as their decision-making regarding sterilization of their pets. For each of the study weeks, clinics reported the total number of surgeries, including those involving shelter animals, feral cats, and other owned animals.

RESULTS Respondents indicated that 49% of dogs and 77% of cats had not been examined previously by a veterinarian, except during vaccine clinics. Among animals ≥ 4 months of age, 1,144 of 1,416 (81%) cats and 572 of 1,794 (32%) dogs had not received a rabies vaccination. Previous litters were reported for 204 of 716 (28%) queens and 153 of 904 (17%) bitches. Most clients' (53%) household income was < $30,000 annually. Common reasons for clinic choice included cost; friend, neighbor, or family recommendation; and good reputation.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Nonprofit spay-neuter clinics predominantly served low-income clients and animals lacking regular veterinary care, in addition to animals from shelters and community cats. These clinics increase access to services needed for animal population control and public health.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association