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

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Dog ecology and demography in Antananarivo

Ratsitorahina, M., Rasambainarivo, J. H., Raharimanana, S., Rakotonandrasana, H., Andriamiarisoa, M. P., Rakalomanana, F. A., & Richard, V. (2009). Dog ecology and demography in Antananarivo, 2007. BMC veterinary research, 5(1), 21.


Rabies is a widespread disease in African domestic dogs and a serious public health problem in developing countries. Canine rabies became established in Africa during the 20th century, coinciding with ecologic changes that favored its emergence in canids.

This paper reports the results of a cross-sectional study of dog ecology in the Antananarivo urban community in Madagascar.

A questionnaire survey of 1541 households was conducted in Antananarivo from October 2007 to January 2008. The study addressed both owned and unowned dogs. Various aspects of dog ecology were determined, including size of dog population, relationship between dogs and humans, rabies vaccination.


Dog ownership was common, with 79.6 to 94.1% (mean 88.9%) of households in the six arrondissements owning dogs. The mean owned dog to person ratio was 1 dog per 4.5 persons and differed between arrondissements (administrative districts), with ratios of 1:6.0 in the first arrondissement, 1:3.2 persons in the 2nd, 1:4.8 in the 3rd, 1:5.2 in the 4th, 1:5.6 in the 5th and 1:4.4 in the 6th arrondissement. Overall, there were more male dogs (61.3%) and the male/female sex ratio was estimated to be 1.52; however, mature females were more likely than males to be unowned (OR: 1.93, CI 95%; 1.39<OR<2.69). Most (79.1%) owned dogs were never restricted and roamed freely to forage for food and mix with other dogs. Only a small proportion of dogs (11.7%) were fed with commercial dog food. Only 7.2% of owned dogs had certificates confirming vaccination against rabies. The proportion of vaccinated dogs varied widely between arrondissements (3.3% to 17.5%).

Antananarivo has a higher density of dogs than many other urban areas in Africa. The dog population is unrestricted and inadequately vaccinated against rabies. This analysis of the dog population will enable targeted planning of rabies control efforts.

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