Les hommes ont oublié cette vérité. Mais tu ne dois pas l'oublier, dit le renard. Tu deviens responsable pour toujours de ce que tu as apprivoisé.
Le Petit Prince, chap. 21

Friday, 17 October 2014

The role of veterinary epidemiology in the study of free-roaming dogs and cats

Slater, M. R. (2001). The role of veterinary epidemiology in the study of free-roaming dogs and cats. Preventive veterinary medicine, 48(4), 273-286.

Free-roaming dogs or cats are domestic dogs and cats that are not confined to a yard or house. Free-roaming dogs and cats have long caused major public-health problems and animal-welfare concerns in many countries. Free-roaming dogs have been considered to be more of a problem than cats for several reasons, but the literature addressing dogs focuses primarily on their role in rabies spread and control. Free-roaming cats are becoming more of an issue in countries where free-roaming dog problems are coming under control. The change in perception of pets, beyond their value as a commodity, has also contributed to the increase in concern and attention focused on free-roaming dogs and cats. Epidemiologists have contributed much to these studies of these populations and have potential to contribute even more. The epidemiologic methods and approaches, the experience of epidemiologists in interdisciplinary teams and the importance of considering the separate sub-populations in study design and analysis all are critical in designing and evaluating interventions for free-roaming dogs and cats. In this paper, I will (1) describe a set of useful definitions regarding free-roaming dogs and cats, (2) summarize past and present topics of study in free-roaming dogs and cats, using selected examples, (3) describe the limitations of existing work and how epidemiologists might strengthen and improve this work, and (4) outline areas needing more attention by epidemiologists and why these are important.

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