To assess veterinarian engagement with owners of poultry and livestock in urban and peri-urban areas (UPAs) of 4 western states, to evaluate the knowledge and experience of veterinarians in UPAs for treating domestic poultry and livestock, and to identify barriers to the provision of veterinary services to backyard poultry and small-scale livestock operations.
880 veterinarians in UPAs.
2,400 members of the veterinary medical associations of California, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington who worked in metropolitan areas with a population > 5,000 people were randomly selected and invited to participate in a needs assessment survey. Response data were analyzed with univariable logistic regression and multiple correspondence analysis.
880 (37%) invitees completed or partially completed the survey. Most respondents self-reported working in UPAs (686/825 [83%]) and companion animal only (n = 551) or predominant (211) practices. Although most (656/863 [76%]) respondents perceived an increase in backyard poultry and livestock in their practice areas, few were actively treating such animals primarily because of a lack of facilities, interest, or experience. Most respondents believed veterinarians have an important role in ensuring public health and preventing zoonotic disease.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE
Backyard poultry and livestock are increasing in popularity in UPAs of 4 western states, and veterinarians are needed to provide services to such animals. Further research and continuing education are necessary to encourage practitioners in UPAs to engage with owners of backyard poultry and livestock to ensure the health and welfare of those animals and guard public health. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2020;257:196-209)