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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

Objective—To explore the joint effect of distance and neighborhood-level demographics on pet adoptions from an animal shelter by means of client segmentation, geospatial tools, and epidemiological techniques.

Sample Population—Geocoded locations of 1,563 adoptions from an animal shelter in eastern Massachusetts and 4,700 geospatial control locations.

Procedures—Pet adoptions were geocoded to addresses by use of spatial analysis software for area-based analysis. A population of neighborhood control locations (proportional to human population at the level of the block group) was randomly generated. Adoption and control locations were spatially joined to census data and to defined lifestyle segments. The association of geodemographic variables with adoption was assessed by use of multivariate logistic regression.

Results—The shelter service area was not well described by individual geopolitical boundaries such as county. Locations that were < 9.7 km (6 miles) from the shelter, had higher block group median income, or had a greater proportion of households that were composed of married couples with children in the block group were associated with increased odds of being an adoption location. Neighborhood lifestyle characteristics affected the association between affluence and adoption. Controlling for distance of a location to the shelter markedly affected the strength of association with adoption.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggested that distance as well as neighborhood lifestyle characteristics profoundly influences shelter adoption patterns. Client segmentation and geodemographic analysis can reveal communities with increased likelihood of pet adoption from a shelter and help clarify adoption patterns. (Am J Vet Res 2010;71:1321–1330)

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research

Abstract

Objective—To determine whether disparities in health and welfare among cats are present within neighborhoods and across census tracts in a large US city, and to compare results with area-level human data.

Sample Population—17,587 cat intake records from 2 animal sheltering organizations serving Boston, and summary data from city animal control authorities for a 5-year period (2004 through 2008).

Procedures—Geocoded addresses (n = 15,285) were spatially joined to neighborhood and census tract polygons. Cat intakes and deaths were calculated per capita and compared with human demographic and death data. Poisson mixed-effects models were used to smooth mortality rates and calculate relative risks.

Results—Data from geocoded records indicated that annual rates of cat intakes and deaths ranged widely (0.85 to 10.3 cats/1,000 persons and 0.27 to 3.9 cats/1,000 persons, respectively) within 16 neighborhoods of Boston. The disparity across 156 census tracts that comprised these neighborhoods was even greater (0.10 to 22.1 cats/1,000 persons and 0.15 to 6.47 cats/1,000 persons for intakes and deaths, respectively). Cat deaths were significantly correlated with human premature deaths at the neighborhood level (R 2 = 0.77). Overall, annual per capita city-wide shelter-associated mortality rate for cats (estimated at approx 2.6 cats/1,000 persons) was similar to rates in other progressive communities.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—By use of geospatial techniques, 14- to 40-fold gradients in cat deaths were detected across Boston neighborhoods and census tracts. Cat deaths were associated with human premature deaths and socioeconomic indicators reflecting deprivation. Targeted interventions may be effective in resolving these disparities.

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research

Abstract

Objective—To systematically review the published literature for controlled studies comparing learning outcomes of traditional methods that require the terminal use of animals (eg, dissection, live-animal surgery, and live-animal laboratory demonstrations) with outcomes obtained with alternative teaching methods.

Design—Systematic review.

Study Population—Controlled studies published between 1996 and 2004.

Procedures—PubMed was searched with the following keywords, used alone and in combination: educational alternatives, nonlethal teaching methods, veterinary alternatives, medical education, and nonterminal animal use. Cited references of retrieved reports were reviewed to identify additional reports. Reports were selected for review only if a comparison group was included.

Results—17 studies that were randomized controlled trials or nonrandomized trials that included a comparison group were identified. Five involved veterinary students, 3 involved medical students, 6 involved university undergraduate students, and 3 involved high school biology students. Sample size ranged from 14 to 283 students. Eleven studies appeared to be randomized, parallel-group trials, 4 involved comparative groups to which participants were not randomly assigned or for which the randomization process was not clear, 1 was a 2-period crossover study, and 1 involved a retrospective review of grades. In all 17 studies reviewed, results associated with the alternative method of instruction were not significantly different from or superior to results associated with the conventional method.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Although the number of controlled studies identified was small, the results seem to support more widespread adoption of alternative teaching methods in biomedical education.

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

Abstract

Objective—To develop a preliminary discriminative questionnaire for assessment of nonphysical aspects of the quality of life (QOL) of pet dogs and evaluate the questionnaire's content validity, test-retest reliability, and internal consistency.

Study Population—Owners of 120 dogs.

Procedure—Each QOL question had 4 response options, representing descending levels of QOL that were equally weighted. A maximum of 38 items contributed to the QOL score. The questionnaire was administered by telephone to owners of dogs with appointments at a veterinary teaching hospital before the appointment. After the appointment, each dog was classified as sick or healthy by use of defined criteria; owners of healthy dogs had a second interview 3 to 4 weeks later. Test-retest reliability (κ), internal consistency (Cronbach α), and respondents' comprehension were used as criteria for excluding an item.

Results—There were 77 sick and 43 healthy dogs. Twenty-two QOL questions had significant κ values (0.11 to 0.91). The Cronbach α values for 5 domains of QOL ranged from 0.45 to 0.61, indicating that the domains had moderate internal consistency (homogeneity). The initial pool of 38 items was reduced to 27.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The questionnaire was designed to complement veterinary assessment of dogs' physical health. The questionnaire may be a useful tool in making decisions regarding dogs' QOL. (Am J Vet Res 2005;66:1453–1460)

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research

Abstract

Objective—To evaluate the ability of a questionnaire regarding the nonphysical aspects of quality of life (QOL) to differentiate sick and healthy dogs.

Animals—120 dogs.

Procedure—The questionnaire was administered by telephone to owners of 120 dogs with appointments at a veterinary teaching hospital. A QOL score was calculated for each dog on the basis of questions relevant to the dog during the 7 days before the interview. Scores were recorded as bar graphs, and linear regression was used to examine the effect of health status and other variables on QOL score. Certain questions were eliminated post hoc, on the basis of defined criteria, and the analyses were repeated.

Results—Scores were similar for sick (range, 67.0% to 93.8%) and healthy (range, 68.0% to 89.8%) dogs. Environment (suburban vs rural) and duration of ownership were significant explanatory variables and accounted for 10.5% of the variation in the QOL score. Eleven questions were eliminated post hoc. The scores derived from the 2 versions of the questionnaire were highly correlated ( r= 0.92).

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—There was no evidence that the QOL questionnaire could differentiate healthy dogs from sick dogs; environmental and owner factors appeared to be more important. (Am J Vet Res 2005;66:1461–1467)

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research

Abstract

Objective—To examine potentially preventable factors in human dog bite–related fatalities (DBRFs) on the basis of data from sources that were more complete, verifiable, and accurate than media reports used in previous studies.

Design—Prospective case series.

Sample—256 DBRFs occurring in the United States from 2000 to 2009.

Procedures—DBRFs were identified from media reports and detailed histories were compiled on the basis of reports from homicide detectives, animal control reports, and interviews with investigators for coding and descriptive analysis.

Results—Major co-occurrent factors for the 256 DBRFs included absence of an able-bodied person to intervene (n = 223 [87.1%]), incidental or no familiar relationship of victims with dogs (218 [85.2%]), owner failure to neuter dogs (216 [84.4%]), compromised ability of victims to interact appropriately with dogs (198 [77.4%]), dogs kept isolated from regular positive human interactions versus family dogs (195 [76.2%]), owners’ prior mismanagement of dogs (96 [37.5%]), and owners’ history of abuse or neglect of dogs (54 [21.1%]). Four or more of these factors co-occurred in 206 (80.5%) deaths. For 401 dogs described in various media accounts, reported breed differed for 124 (30.9%); for 346 dogs with both media and animal control breed reports, breed differed for 139 (40.2%). Valid breed determination was possible for only 45 (17.6%) DBRFs; 20 breeds, including 2 known mixes, were identified.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Most DBRFs were characterized by coincident, preventable factors; breed was not one of these. Study results supported previous recommendations for multifactorial approaches, instead of single-factor solutions such as breed-specific legislation, for dog bite prevention.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association