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Abstract

OBJECTIVE To document the environmental stewardship practices (decisions and actions regarding use and disposal) of pet and human pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) among pet-owning veterinary-care professionals (practicing veterinarians, veterinary students, and veterinary technicians and trainees) and environmental educators.

DESIGN Internet-based cross-sectional survey.

SAMPLE 191 pet owners (103 veterinary-care professionals and 88 environmental educators).

PROCEDURES Study participants were recruited by means of a 2-part internet survey distributed to veterinary-care professional and environmental educator networks of individuals residing in Washington state, Oregon, and southern California. Survey questions addressed motivators for environmental stewardship practices (ie, decisions and actions regarding use and disposal of pet and human PPCPs).

RESULTS Data were collected from 191 respondents; the response rate for individuals who self-selected to opt in was 78% (191/246). Of the 191 respondents, 42 (22%) stored pet pharmaceuticals indefinitely. The most common disposal method was the garbage (88/191 [46%]). Veterinary-care professionals counseled clients infrequently regarding environmental stewardship practices for PPCPs. Fifty-five percent (105/191) of all respondents preferred more environmentally friendly and clinically effective PPCPs.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Results of the present survey emphasized the urgent need for improved educational resources to minimize environmental contamination from improper disposal of PPCPs. Environmental and economic motivations among pet owners in the veterinary-care and education professions indicate further opportunities for outreach and institutional support.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association