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Abstract

OBJECTIVE To determine characteristics of cats sterilized through a subsidized, reduced-cost spay-neuter program in Massachusetts and of owners who had their cats sterilized through this program.

DESIGN Cross-sectional anonymous survey and telephone interviews.

SAMPLE 1,188 (anonymous surveys) and 99 (telephone interviews) cat owners.

PROCEDURES Owners who had a cat sterilized at clinics held between January 2006 and December 2008 were invited to complete anonymous surveys. Semistructured telephone interviews were conducted with owners who had a cat sterilized during clinics held in 2009.

RESULTS Most cats had never been seen by a veterinarian previously; “too expensive” was the most common reason for this. Total annual household income was significantly associated with the number of times the cat had been examined by a veterinarian and reason why the cat had not been spayed or neutered previously. Most cats were acquired through informal means and without actively being sought, and there was often a time lag between acquisition and sterilization. Undesirable behavior and avoiding pregnancy were primary motivations for neutering and spaying, respectively. Nearly half of owners who indicated they would have had their cat sterilized through a private veterinarian if the clinic had not been available stated that the surgery would have been delayed because of cost.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Findings suggested that spay-neuter decisions were related to owner income and procedure cost, that elimination of the reduced-cost spay-neuter program would likely have exacerbated the spay-delay problem, and that gradations of financial need should be considered when evaluating relationships between income and spay-neuter decisions.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Because they are often the first point of contact for sick or injured pets, veterinarians are key to recognizing animal abuse and neglect, and veterinarians are generally understood to have an ethical responsibility to report instances of severe animal abuse or neglect to the proper authorities. 1,2 As of 2015, at least 11 states had enacted laws requiring veterinarians to report cases of suspected animal abuse, with most of these states also having laws specifically providing veterinarians immunity from liability for reports made in good faith. 3 Additional states have voluntary reporting guidelines, provide immunity for veterinarians reporting

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To compare the outcome of canine pyometra surgeries performed at referral hospitals with those performed at community clinics (outpatient settings), and to evaluate factors that impact outcome.

ANIMALS

133 client-owned dogs with pyometra treated with ovariohysterectomy (OHE) at 2 community clinics or 2 referral hospitals between July 1, 2017, and June 30, 2019.

PROCEDURES

A retrospective electronic medical record search was used to identify eligible cases. Data about patient demographics and clinical characteristics were collected and analyzed for factors that could have impacted outcome.

RESULTS

Eighty-three dogs were treated at referral hospitals; 50 dogs were treated at community clinics. Survival to hospital discharge for all dogs was 97% (129/133) and did not differ between treatment facility type. Dogs treated at both types of facilities were similar in age, body weight, and clinical signs. Median duration between diagnosis and OHE was significantly shorter for dogs treated at referral hospitals (0 day; range, 0 to 0.7 days) versus community clinics (1.0 day; range, 0 to 14.0 days); however, delay was not related to survival to hospital discharge. Duration of hospitalization did not impact survival to hospital discharge nor survival for at least 1 week after surgery.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Results indicated that OHE for pyometra in dogs has a good outcome and that, although prompt surgical treatment remains a goal, in cases where limitations to performing surgery exist, a delay until surgery or discharging patients the same day is still associated with a high degree of success.

Open access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Often interpreted as signs of moral depravity, acts of animal cruelty disturb the ethical sensibilities of society. Even so, the complex relationship between animals and humans has made the protection of animals a delicate and often conflicting endeavor. This complexity is due in part to the way animals are attributed moral consideration according to the particular animal's given role in society, ranging from pest to product to valued family member. As a result, laws governing the appropriate treatment of animals differ depending on how society views or uses the species. At least one study1 found beliefs about the

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

Access to veterinary care is critical for pet, human, and community health. However, inequities in how easily pet owners can access veterinary care may exacerbate health disparities in vulnerable populations. This research analyzed pet owners’ perceptions of access to veterinary care in order to understand how demographic characteristics and financial fragility predict perceived access to veterinary services.

SAMPLE

This study utilized survey data (n = 750) from a larger cross-sectional survey of adults in the US conducted by the Tufts University Equity Research Group.

PROCEDURES

Survey data were collected in May and June of 2020 from a nationally representative group of pet owners via an online panel. Descriptive statistics, ANOVAs, and a sequential linear regression model were conducted in order to predict perceived access to veterinary care.

RESULTS

Results of a sequential linear regression model indicated that race or ethnicity, education, and financial fragility significantly predicted perceived ease of access to veterinary care (F[7,617] = 19.80; P < .001). Additionally, financial fragility was prevalent among most pet owners of almost all income brackets, highlighting the need for more research into the cost burden of veterinary care.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Future studies should focus on diverse sampling strategies that capture the experiences of minority pet owners in order to further understand issues of access in veterinary medicine.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

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 2005;226:548–555)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

Objective—To determine the perioperative mortality rate, causes of death, and risk factors for perioperative death in dogs undergoing splenectomy for splenic mass lesions.

Design—Retrospective case series.

Animals—539 dogs.

Procedures—Medical records of dogs that underwent splenectomy for known splenic masses were reviewed. Perioperative mortality rate and causes of death were determined. Associations between potential prognostic factors and perioperative death were evaluated by multivariable logistic regression analysis.

Results—41 of 539 (7.6%) dogs died during the perioperative period. Thrombotic and coagulopathic syndromes and uncontrolled bleeding from metastatic lesions were the most common causes of death. Of the variables selected for multivariable analysis, platelet count at admission, whether PCV at admission was < 30%, and development of ventricular arrhythmias during surgery were significantly associated with outcome. For each decrease in platelet count of 10,000 platelets/μL, odds of death increased by approximately 6%. For dogs with PCV < 30%, odds of death were approximately twice those for dogs with PCV ≥ 30%, and for dogs that developed intraoperative arrhythmias, odds of death were approximately twice those for dogs that did not.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Marked preoperative thrombocytopenia or anemia and development of intraoperative ventricular arrhythmias were identified as risk factors for perioperative death in dogs with splenic masses. The risk of death may be limited by efforts to prevent thrombotic and coagulopathic syndromes and to control all sources of intra-abdominal hemorrhage.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

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.

Restricted access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
Introduction

The past several decades have seen substantial advances in clinical veterinary medicine, including widespread specialization, access to more complex diagnostic testing and imaging methods, and increased availability of advanced treatments. However, these advances, in conjunction with the increasing costs of veterinary education, medical equipment, and general practice operations, mean that veterinary care can be financially out of reach for many pet owners. 1 A recent survey 2 of pet owners in the United States found that 28% had experienced a barrier to veterinary care in the previous 2 years and that the overwhelming barrier, for all types

Free access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

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.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association