To evaluate data concerning suspected companion animal exposures to possibly hazardous substances reported during telephone calls to the US Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) for characterization of dog and cat exposures to potentially toxic substances in the United States.
Household-level poisonings events involving dogs and cats in the United States that were reported to the APCC in 2005 through 2014.
Substances involved in reported poisonings of dogs and cats were classified into 20 general categories, and descriptive statistical analysis was used to examine the most common categories. Case fatality ratios were estimated for all exposure categories for which a final outcome status of the affected animal was documented.
Over the 10-year study period, 241,261 household-level poisoning events were reported to the APCC from across the United States, of which 86.0% and 14.0% involved dogs and cats, respectively. The most common agent categories reported for dogs included human medicines, foods, and pesticides. The most common agent categories reported for cats included human medicines, plants, and veterinary medicines. Chocolate and Lilium plants were the most commonly reported exposures of dogs and cats, respectively. Fluorouracil (65.2%) and bifenthrin (66.7%) were found to have the highest case fatality ratio for dogs and cats, respectively.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE
The APCC call data can be used to identify the most common toxicological exposures of dogs and cats, understand the epidemiological aspects of these poisonings, and inform education programs for owners and veterinarians. Data from the APCC may be suitable for surveillance of toxicological exposures of companion animals in the United States.
Pet weight may be difficult for veterinary professionals to address with clients, particularly when pets are overweight or obese. The objective of this study was to characterize the communication processes and content of weight-related conversations occurring between veterinary professionals and clients.
Audio-video recordings of 917 veterinarian-client-patient interactions involving a random sample of 60 veterinarians and a convenience sample of clients.
Companion animal veterinarians in southern Ontario, Canada, were randomly recruited, and interactions with their clients were audio-video recorded. Interactions were reviewed for mentions of weight, then further analyzed by means of a researcher-generated coding framework to provide a comprehensive assessment of communication specific to weight-related interactions.
463 of 917 (50.5%) veterinary-client-patient interactions contained an exchange involving the mention of a single patient’s (dog or cat) weight and were included in final analysis. Of the 463 interactions, 150 (32.4%) involved a discussion of obesity for a single patient. Of these, 43.3% (65/150) included a weight management recommendation from the veterinary team, and 28% (42/150) provided clients with a reason for pursuing weight management.
Findings illustrate opportunities to optimize obesity communication to improve the health and wellbeing of veterinary patients.
To compare pet owners’ and veterinarians’ perceptions of veterinarian-client conversations concerning pet weight and identify challenges related to communication about weight.
Veterinarians (n = 24) and pet owners (27) in southern Ontario, Canada.
3 veterinarian and 5 pet owner focus groups were conducted with a semistructured interview format. Thematic analysis of verbatim transcripts was conducted.
Pet owners valued weight as an important health indicator for pets yet did not expect to discuss weight extensively at every appointment. Owners expected veterinarians to provide options and tailor recommendations when discussing weight management. Owners appeared more concerned with underweight animals, whereas veterinarians focused on obese animals. Veterinarians identified communication challenges, including the perception that owners are uninterested in discussing weight and conversations can become adversarial. Veterinarians reported various benefits and challenges of using humor to address pet weight and emphasized that weight-related conversations often depend on the existing veterinarian-client relationship.
Some perceptions of pet owner expectations expressed by veterinarians in this study align with owner preferences, yet several opportunities exist for changes to veterinarians’ approaches to weight-related communication with clients.