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

Abstract

Objective—To evaluate whether dog owners who are legally considered guardians are more attached to their dogs than those who are not.

Design—Cross-sectional study.

Sample Population—Dog owners from northern California.

Procedures—274 dog owners completed a standardized survey while visiting full-service veterinary and mobile vaccination clinics in a city in which dog owners were legally designated as owner/guardian and in another city in which no such designation was made. Degree of owner attachment to their dog was assessed with a standardized scale.

Results—The degree to which owners were attached to their dog was associated with city of residence, owner age, and whether owners were completely satisfied with their dog's behavior. Owners residing in the guardian city had a lower attachment score. There was no significant difference in the percentage of dogs vaccinated against rabies in each city, nor was there any difference in the percentage of licensed dogs. Attachment scores did not differ between participants who visited mobile versus free-standing clinics. Owners with > 1 dog in their household reported a higher degree of attachment to the study dog than did owners of 1 dog.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Dog owners residing in a city where owners were legally designated as an owner/guardian were no more attached to their dog than those living in a city without such a designation. Although results did not indicate a negative impact of the term guardian, its use was not associated with an enhanced bond between owner and dog.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

OBJECTIVE To determine the effect of different types of classical music played during a veterinary visit on dog behavior and owner satisfaction.

DESIGN Prospective randomized controlled study.

ANIMALS 74 dogs examined at a veterinary teaching hospital.

PROCEDURES Dogs examined for a wellness visit, presurgical health evaluation, or nonurgent illness were exposed to 1 of 3 treatments (modified classical music, the same music in its original format, and no music [control]) while in the examination room. Owners completed a standardized survey regarding the dog's behavior and their satisfaction with the visit. Clinicians completed a separate standardized survey regarding the dog's behavior. Information regarding monetary charges, procedures performed, diagnoses, and physiologic variables was obtained from the electronic medical record after the appointment.

RESULTS Owners rated their dog's anxiety level in the waiting room greater than that in the examination room regardless of treatment. Mean anxiety and aggression scores of dogs during the physical examination as rated by owners were significantly greater than those assigned by clinicians. Visit satisfaction for owners exposed to original classical music was significantly greater than that for owners not exposed to music.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Results suggested placing a pet and its owner into an examination room instead of a waiting room immediately after clinic arrival may ameliorate pet anxiety during the veterinary visit. Playing classical music at a low volume can be a simple and cost-effective way to improve owner satisfaction with the veterinary visit. Further research is necessary to determine the effects of music on pet anxiety.

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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

Objectives—To determine whether associations exist between human-directed aggression and sex, neutering status, age of weaning, the presence of other pet pigs, or the presence of environmental enrichment objects in miniature pet pigs.

Design—Internet survey.

Study Population—Responses from 222 owners of miniature pet pigs.

Procedures—Pet pig owners were requested to complete a 48-item multiple-choice and short-answer Internet survey for each pig that they presently owned.

Results—Among 222 surveys that met enrollment criteria, human-directed aggression that occurred on at least 1 occasion was reported in 64% (n = 142) and aggression that occurred once or more per month was reported in 31% (69). No significant differences were found in the prevalence of human-directed aggression among castrated males, sexually intact females, and spayed females. Ages of weaning and neutering and the presence of objects intended to serve as environmental enrichment were not associated with frequency of aggression. A significant inverse association was detected between presence of other pigs in the same household and human-directed aggression, such that 21% (20/95) of pigs that lived with at least 1 conspecific were aggressive on a frequent basis, compared with 39% (49/126) of pigs that lived with no conspecific. A similar inverse association was evident regarding aggression that occurred on at least 1 occasion.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggested that human-directed aggression is a common problem in miniature pet pigs. The presence of a conspecific can be expected to reduce the likelihood of human-directed aggression.

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

Abstract

OBJECTIVE To determine whether a synthetic feline facial pheromone product would decrease stress scores and upper respiratory tract infection (URI) incidence in shelter-housed cats.

DESIGN Randomized controlled clinical trial.

ANIMALS 336 stray, feral, owner-relinquished, or legally impounded cats at 2 animal shelters in northern California.

PROCEDURES 5 cat holding rooms (3 at shelter A and 2 at shelter B) were used. A diffuser containing either synthetic pheromone or placebo was randomly assigned to each room, and cats were exposed for a 21-day period. Data collected on each cat included signalment, daily stress scores, and daily URI incidence. After 21 days, diffusers were removed for a 7-day washout period. The type of diffuser in each room was switched, and data were collected for another 21 days. Findings were statistically compared between exposure types and other groupings.

RESULTS Cox proportional hazard analysis revealed no significant difference between exposure (pheromone or placebo) and URI incidence. Mixed-effects ordinal logistic regression revealed no significant relationship between exposure and daily stress scores. Three covariates had significant ORs: number of days in holding (OR, 0.80; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.76 to 0.84), owner-relinquished versus stray (OR, 3.25; 95% CI, 1.18 to 8.94), and feral versus adult cat room at shelter A (OR, 11.10; 95% CI, 4.47 to 27.60).

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE No evidence was found that the evaluated synthetic feline facial pheromone product had any effect on stress scores or URI incidence in shelter-housed cats. Therefore, other established methods for stress and URI reduction should be used in shelter settings.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

Objective—To evaluate effects of environmental management alone on marking frequency in cats with urine marking and to obtain demographic data on cats with urine marking and data on owner-perceived factors that contributed to urine marking behavior.

Design—Single-intervention study.

Animals—40 neutered male and 7 spayed female cats.

Procedure—During a 2-week baseline phase, owners maintained a daily record of the number of urine marks. This phase was followed by a 2-week environmental management phase during which owners cleaned recently deposited urine marks daily, scooped waste from the litter box daily, and changed the litter and cleaned the litter box weekly while continuing to record urine marks.

Results—Male cats and cats from multicat households were significantly overrepresented, compared with the general pet cat population in California. The most commonly mentioned causative factors for urine marking were agonistic interactions with other cats outside or inside the home. Environmental management procedures resulted in an overall reduction in urine marking frequency. Among cats that marked ≥ 6 times during the baseline phase, females were significantly more likely to respond to treatment (≥ 50% reduction in marking frequency) than were males.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest that male cats and cats from multicat households are more likely to exhibit urine marking behavior than females and cats from single-cat households. Results also suggest that attention to environmental and litter box hygiene can reduce marking frequency in cats, regardless of sex or household status of the cats, and may come close to resolving the marking problem in some cats. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2001;219:1709–1713)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association