Objective—To characterize attitudes toward and perceptions of free-roaming cats among individuals living in Ohio.
Sample Population—Households in Ohio.
Procedures—A random-digit–dial telephone survey was performed, and 1,250 households were contacted.
Results—703 of the 1,250 (56.2%) households completed interviews. Five hundred fifty-three (78.7%) participants reported seeing free-roaming cats at least occasionally, and 184 (26.2%) reported having fed free-roaming cats during the previous year. However, only 42 (22.8%) participants who fed free-roaming cats had ever taken one to a veterinarian, and 43 (23.4%) participants who fed free-roaming cats reported that at least one of the free-roaming cats had produced a litter in the preceding year. Differences existed between cat owners and other participants and among urban, suburban, and rural residents in regard to their attitudes toward free-roaming cats and the need for government regulations.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggested that free-roaming cats were common in Ohio, but that attitudes toward and perceptions of free-roaming cats differed between cat owners and other participants and among participants grouped on the basis of residential area. Thus, developing statewide approaches for regulating free-roaming cats may be challenging or unrealistic.
Objective—To determine whether availability of a veterinary behavior service aids in the recruitment of clients to a referral practice who may not have chosen to visit a referral practice otherwise and to assess the priorities and satisfaction of first-time clients.
Design—Prospective survey study.
Sample—87 questionnaires completed by pet owners.
Procedures—Owners of dogs and cats visiting the Behavior Medicine Clinic, a veterinary behavior service, at The Ohio State University Veterinary Medical Center for the first time were asked to participate in a 10-question survey at the end of their initial appointment.
Results—59 of 87 (68%) new clients had never visited the Veterinary Medical Center for any other specialty service; in addition, 56 of 87 (64%) had never taken a pet to any specialty practice prior to their appointment with the Behavior Medicine Clinic. Seventy-four of 85 (87%) clients reported that they were likely to bring their pet to another specialty service on the basis of their experience with the Behavior Medicine Clinic.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—On the basis of the survey findings, availability of veterinary behavior services may result in recruitment of first-time clients to a referral center. Clients' experience with a veterinary behavior service may increase their likelihood of visiting other specialty practices within the same hospital, potentially increasing revenue for the entire practice.
Objective—To characterize health and behavior problems in dogs and cats 1 week and 1 month after adoption from animal shelters and identify factors associated with the likelihood that owners of adopted animals would visit a veterinarian.
Sample Population—2,766 (1 week) and 2,545 (1 month) individuals who had adopted an animal from a shelter.
Procedures—Internet and telephone survey responses were collected 1 week and 1 month after animal adoption.
Results—Overall, 1,361 of 2,624 (51.9%) dogs and cats had health problems 1 week after adoption, and 239 of 2,312 (10.3%) had a health problem 1 month after adoption. The most common health problem for dogs and cats was respiratory tract disease. A total of 1,630 of 2,689 (60.6%) respondents had taken their animal to a veterinarian within the first week after adoption and 1,865 of 2,460 (75.8%) had within the first month after adoption. Respondents were more likely to have visited a veterinarian if they had adopted a dog versus a cat or if the animal was young (≤ 1 year old), had ≥ 1 health problem, or had adjusted moderately to extremely well to its new home within the first month after adoption. Cats had fewer behavior problems than dogs. One week after adoption, the most commonly reported behavior problem was house training for dogs and chewing, digging, or scratching at objects for cats.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggested that improvements can be made in the percentage of new owners who visit a veterinarian after adopting an animal from a shelter.
Objective—To identify a list of core surgical skills and determine the frequency of use and proficiency in performance of these skills expected of entry-level veterinarians by general practitioners.
Sample—750 general practitioners randomly chosen from the AVMA membership database.
Procedures—Survey respondents rated the proficiency and frequency of use expected of entry-level veterinarians in regard to 26 surgical skills. Demographic information (gender; graduation year; practice type, geographic location, and setting; number of veterinarians in practice; number of surgical procedures performed per week; and number of new graduates mentored in the past 5 years) of respondents was obtained.
Results—387 (52%) general practitioners responded to the survey. Greater than 60% of respondents expected new graduates to have high proficiency and require minimal supervision for 21 of 26 skills. Greater than 60% of respondents assigned 6 of the skills a low expected frequency of use rating. Orthopedic skills, creation of square knots by use of a 1-handed tie technique, and use of electrosurgical and laser instruments received some of the lowest ratings.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Core surgical skills were identified. Results indicated a broad consensus among general practitioners independent of demographic characteristics. Results may aid veterinary colleges in identification of the surgical skills that are most important to include in surgical curricula and for which new graduates should attain proficiency according to general practitioners.
OBJECTIVE To determine escape rates for dogs confined to their owner's property by various containment methods and determine whether biting history was associated with containment method.
DESIGN Cross-sectional survey.
SAMPLE 974 owners of 1,053 dogs.
PROCEDURES Individuals patronizing pet stores in Columbus, Ohio, were recruited to complete a survey on the method they used to confine their dogs to their property and their dogs’ behavior history.
RESULTS Dogs were confined to their owner's property by a physical fence (821/1,053 [78.0%]), electronic fence (150/1,053 [14.2%]), or tether system (82/1,053 [7.8%]). Dogs confined by an electronic fence were more likely to have escaped (66/150 [44.0%]) than were dogs confined by a see-through fence (153/658 [23.3%]), privacy fence (38/163 [23.3%]), or tether (22/82 [26.8%]). Forty-eight (4.6%) dogs had reportedly bitten a person in the past, and 81 (7.7%) had reportedly bitten another dog, but containment method was not significantly associated with whether dogs had ever bitten a person or another dog. Greeting behavior (growling, snarling, or trying to bite) was significantly associated with a history of biting a person or another dog.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Results suggested that escape rate, but not biting history, was associated with the method owners used to confine dogs to their properties. Greeting behavior was associated with biting history, suggesting that owners of dogs that growl, snarl, or attempt to bite when meeting an unfamiliar person or dog should seek assistance to prevent future bites.
Objective—To determine the effect of food-toy enrichment combined with cage-behavior training on desirable behaviors in shelter dogs and adoption rates.
Design—Randomized controlled clinical trial.
Procedures—Dogs placed up for adoption in a municipal shelter were randomly assigned to either an experimental group (n = 48) or control group (59). Experimental group subjects were exposed to an environmental enrichment and training protocol consisting of twice-daily cage-behavior training and daily provision of a food-filled toy. Cage-behavior training included operant conditioning via positive reinforcement of desirable behaviors, including approaching the front of the cage, sitting or lying, and remaining quiet when approached. Behavioral observations were performed by a blinded observer in a scan-sampling technique on day 0 (first day on adoption floor) and again on day 3 for experimental (n = 26) and control (32) dogs. Body posture, location in cage, and other behavioral parameters were recorded. Adoption information and behavioral observation data were compared between groups.
Results—Compared with the control group, the experimental group had a significantly greater percentage of dogs with an increase in desirable behaviors of sitting or lying down (17/26 [65%] vs 7/32 [22%]) and being quiet (9/26 [35%] vs 4/32 [13%]) and a significantly greater percentage of dogs with a decrease in the undesirable behavior of jumping (15/26 [57%] vs 3/32 [9%]). Location in cage, fearfulness, and eye contact were not significantly different between groups. Survival analysis revealed no significant difference in adoption rates between groups.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggested that enrichment programs improve desirable behaviors and decrease undesirable behavior in shelter dogs, which may enhance welfare.
Objective—To compare sickness behaviors (SB) in response to unusual external events (UEE) in healthy cats with those of cats with feline interstitial cystitis (FIC).
Design—Prospective observational study.
Animals—12 healthy cats and 20 donated cats with FIC.
Procedures—Cats were housed in a vivarium. Sickness behaviors referable to the gastrointestinal and urinary tracts, the skin, and behavior problems were recorded by a single observer for 77 weeks. Instances of UEE (eg, changes in caretakers, vivarium routine, and lack of interaction with the investigator) were identified during 11 of the 77 weeks. No instances of UEE were identified during the remaining 66 weeks, which were considered control weeks.
Results—An increase in age and exposure to UEE, but not disease status, significantly increased total number of SB when results were controlled for other factors. Evaluation of individual SB revealed a protective effect of food intake for healthy males. An increase in age conferred a small increase in relative risk (RR) for upper gastrointestinal tract signs (RR, 1.2) and avoidance behavior (1.7). Exposure to UEE significantly increased the RR for decreases in food intake (RR, 9.3) and for no eliminations in 24 hours (6.4). Exposure to UEE significantly increased the RR for defecation (RR, 9.8) and urination (1.6) outside the litter box.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—SB, including some of the most commonly observed abnormalities in client-owned cats, were observed after exposure to UEE in both groups. Because healthy cats and cats with FIC were comparably affected by UEE, clinicians should consider the possibility of exposure to UEE in cats evaluated for these signs.
Objective—To evaluate the sensitivity of 4 commercially available microchip scanners used to detect or read encrypted and unencrypted 125-, 128-, and 134.2-kHz microchips under field conditions following implantation in dogs and cats at 6 animal shelters.
Animals—3,949 dogs and cats at 6 animal shelters.
Procedures—Each shelter was asked to enroll 657 to 660 animals and to implant microchips in 438 to 440 animals (each shelter used a different microchip brand). Animals were then scanned with 3 or 4 commercial scanners to determine whether microchips could be detected. Scanner sensitivity was calculated as the percentage of animals with a microchip in which the microchip was detected.
Results—None of the scanners examined had 100% sensitivity for any of the microchip brands. In addition, there were clear differences among scanners in regard to sensitivity. The 3 universal scanners capable of reading or detecting 128- and 134.2-kHz microchips all had sensitivities ≥ 94.8% for microchips of these frequencies. Three of the 4 scanners had sensitivities ≥ 88.2% for 125-kHz microchips, but sensitivity of one of the universal scanners for microchips of this frequency was lower (66.4% to 75.0%).
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results indicated that some currently available universal scanners have high sensitivity to microchips of the frequencies commonly used in the United States, although none of the scanners had 100% sensitivity. To maximize microchip detection, proper scanning technique should be used and animals should be scanned more than once. Microchipping should remain a component of a more comprehensive pet identification program.
Objective—To characterize animals with microchips entering animal shelters and the process used to find owners.
Animals—7,704 microchipped animals entering 53 animal shelters between August 2007 and March 2008.
Procedures—Data for animals with microchips were recorded by participating animal shelters and reported monthly.
Results—Of 7,704 animals, strays accounted for slightly more than half (4,083 [53.0%]), with the remainder classified as owner-relinquished animals (3,225 [41.9%]) and other (396 [5.1%]). Of 3,425 stray animals for which animal shelters reported that the owner was found, a higher percentage of dog owners (2,191/2,956 [74.1%]) than cat owners (298/469 [63.5%]) was found. For 876 animals for which the owners could not be found, the main reasons were incorrect or disconnected telephone number (310 [35.4%]), owner did not return telephone calls or respond to a letter (213 [24.3%]), and animal was registered to another group (151 [17.2%]). Of 1,943 animals for which animal shelters contacted a microchip registry, 1,129 (58.1%) were registered in the database. Purebred neutered dogs whose owner information was in the shelter database registry or microchip registry had a higher likelihood that the owners would be found.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The high rate for return of microchipped dogs and cats to their owners supported microchipping as a valuable permanent pet identification modality; however, issues related to registration undermined its overall potential. Bundling of microchip implantation and registration, point-of-implantation data registration, use of annual compliance and update reminders, and providing access to all registries are potential solutions.
Objective—To determine the effect of preadoption counseling for owners on house-training success among dogs acquired from shelters.
Sample Population—113 dog owners.
Procedures—Participants were randomly assigned to a treatment (n = 54) or a control (59) group. Dog owners in the treatment group received counseling (5 minutes' duration) regarding house-training. Owners in the control group did not receive counseling, but all other adoption procedures were otherwise identical to those applied to the treatment group. All participants were contacted by telephone 1 month after adoption of a dog for assessment of house-training status and related issues by use of a standardized survey method; data were compared between groups.
Results—Most shelter dogs were considered successfully house-trained by their owners 1 month after adoption. Furthermore, dogs were considered house-trained by significantly more owners who received preadoption counseling than control group owners (98.1% vs 86.4%). Owners who received counseling used verbal punishment on their dogs during house-training less frequently and applied enzymatic cleaners to urine- or feces-soiled areas more frequently than owners in the control group.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results have suggested that brief preadoption counseling for owners enhances successful house-training of dogs adopted from shelters. Counseling owners at the time of pet acquisition may thus have beneficial effects in the prevention of inappropriate elimination behaviors. Veterinarians and animal care staff should be encouraged to devote time to counsel new pet owners on successful house-training, as well as other healthcare and behavioral needs.