OBJECTIVE To characterize and compare injuries found in dogs involved in spontaneously occurring dogfights with those of dogs used in illegal organized dogfighting.
DESIGN Retrospective case-control study.
ANIMALS 36 medium-sized dogs evaluated following spontaneous fights with a dog of the same sex and similar weight (medium dog–medium dog [MDMD] fights), 160 small dogs examined following spontaneous fights with a larger dog (big dog–little dog [BDLD] fights), and 62 dogs evaluated after being seized in connection with dogfighting law enforcement raids.
PROCEDURES Demographic characteristics and injuries were recorded from medical records. Prevalence of soft tissue injuries in predetermined body surface zones, as well as dental or skeletal injuries, was determined for dogs grouped by involvement in BDLD, MDMD, and organized dogfights. The extent of injuries in each location was scored and compared among groups by 1-factor ANOVA. Patterns of injuries commonly incurred by each group were determined by use of prevalence data.
RESULTS Mean extent of injury scores differed significantly among groups for all body surface zones except the eye and periorbital region. Mean scores for dental injuries and rib fractures also differed significantly among groups. Organized fighting dogs more commonly had multiple injuries, particularly of the thoracic limbs, dorsal and lateral aspects of the head and muzzle or oral mucosa, dorsal and lateral aspects of the neck, and ventral neck and thoracic region.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE To the authors' knowledge, this was the first study to compare injuries incurred during spontaneous and organized dogfighting. Establishing evidence-based patterns of injury will help clinicians identify dogs injured by organized dogfighting and aid in the prosecution of this crime.
Objective—To measure stress levels among cats in
traditional and enriched shelter environments via
behavioral assessment and urine cortisol-to-creatinine ratios.
Design—Cross-sectional observational study.
Animals—120 cats in 4 Boston-area animal shelters
Procedure—Cats were randomly selected and
observed during 3 periods (morning, midday, and
afternoon) of 1 day and scored by use of a behavioral
assessment scale. The next day, urine samples were
collected for analysis of the urine cortisol-to-creatinine
ratio. Information about each cat's background before
entering the shelter was collected.
Results—Stress scores were highest in the morning.
The relationships between the amount of time cats
spent in the shelter and the cat stress score or urine
cortisol-to-creatinine ratio were not strong. There was
no correlation between the cat stress score and urine
cortisol-to-creatinine ratio. Urine cortisol-to-creatinine
ratios did correlate with signs of systemic disease
and were significantly lower in cats in the more environmentally
enriched shelters, compared with cats in
the traditional shelters. Urine cortisol-to-creatinine
ratio was highest among cats with high exposure to
dogs. Of the cats in the study, 25% had subclinical
hematuria detectable on a urine dipstick.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—In this study,
the cat stress score was not a useful instrument for
measuring stress because it failed to identify cats with
feigned sleep and high stress levels. Urine cortisol-tocreatinine
ratios can be monitored to noninvasively
assess stress levels in confined cats. Environmental
enrichment strategies may help improve the welfare
of cats in animal shelters. (J Am Vet Med Assoc
As community efforts to reduce the overpopulation and euthanasia of unwanted and unowned cats and dogs have increased, many veterinarians have increasingly focused their clinical efforts on the provision of spay-neuter services. Because of the wide range of geographic and demographic needs, a wide variety of spay-neuter programs have been developed to increase delivery of services to targeted populations of animals, including stationary and mobile clinics, MASH-style operations, shelter services, community cat programs, and services provided through private practitioners. In an effort to promote consistent, high-quality care across the broad range of these programs, the Association of Shelter Veterinarians convened a task force of veterinarians to develop veterinary medical care guidelines for spay-neuter programs. These guidelines consist of recommendations for general patient care and clinical procedures, preoperative care, anesthetic management, surgical procedures, postoperative care, and operations management. They were based on current principles of anesthesiology, critical care medicine, infection control, and surgical practice, as determined from published evidence and expert opinion. They represent acceptable practices that are attainable in spay-neuter programs regardless of location, facility, or type of program. The Association of Shelter Veterinarians envisions that these guidelines will be used by the profession to maintain consistent veterinary medical care in all settings where spay-neuter services are provided and to promote these services as a means of reducing sheltering and euthanasia of cats and dogs.