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Veterinary Preventive Medicine Lecture 3 Environmental Health and Animal Control Sabbatical – Denmark (’97-’98) Animal Control Most common area for vet employment in public health Mostly a local govt. responsibility

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veterinary preventive medicine

Veterinary Preventive Medicine

Lecture 3

Environmental Health and Animal Control

animal control
Animal Control
  • Most common area for vet employment in public health
  • Mostly a local govt. responsibility
  • Large cities and countries usually have a full-time administrator (usually a vet)
  • Others use part-time vet advisors or administrators
animal control4
Animal Control
  • The involved vet is often on the board of health
  • Govt. and corp. practice rotation –
    • E.g. Detroit dog pound (dog pounds tend to be the ugly underbelly of the companion animal industry)
animal control officers
Animal Control Officers
  • Public Health Justification
    • Zoonoses (rabies, Toxocara, lepto, etc.)
    • Sanitation
    • Animal attacks
  • Humane considerations
    • Requires diplomacy, people skills, patience
    • 12 million dogs & cats euthanized per year in U.S. (Arkow)
    • Between 1/10 and 1/4 of nation’s pets euthanized annually
    • See JAVMA 197:1134-1139
the population perspective
The Population Perspective
  • “The pet paradigm often results in costly and superfluous attention for a tree, with disregard for the forest.” (Ott, JAVMA 197:1134-1139)
  • $8 billion – spent for individual animal medicine.
current animal control issues
Current Animal Control Issues
  • All hammered out at local level
    • Leash laws, pooper-scooper laws
    • Rural v. urban conflicts
    • Pit bull laws
    • Ethical issues of euthanasia of strays
      • No-kill facilities
    • Enforcing vaccination laws of dogs, cats
    • Animal ownership and zoning laws
epidemiology of dog bites
Epidemiology of Dog Bites
  • About 2 million reported bites per year
  • About 50% of kids 4-18 report at least one bite in their life
  • 1% of all emergency room visits
  • $30 million in health care (not including other costs)
dog bite fatalities in the u s
Dog Bite Fatalities in the U.S.
  • 1979-94, 279 U.S. dog bite fatalities (DBF)
    • About 18-20 per year
    • Human rabies: about 2 every year
  • ~ 600,000 dog bites per year requiring medical attention
1995 1996 dbf s n 25
1995-1996 DBF s (n=25)
  • 80% (20) are in children <12 yrs. old
    • 3 neonates, all on dog owner’s property, all involving 1 dog, all involving a sleeping child
  • 20% adults (ages 39, 60, 75, 81, 86)
  • 30% unrestrained dog off owner’s property
  • 22% restrained dog on owner’s property
  • 48% unrestrained dog on owner’s property
  • 36% involved only one dog
  • 100% of attacks by an unrestrained dog off owner’s property involved >1 dog (pack hunting instinct)
dbf s
  • Pit bull DBFs were twice as likely to be caused by strays as other breeds (1979-89)
    • Non-pit bull attacks were more likely to be defense of home territory
  • What do these statistics tell us about the dog’s motivation/instincts?
    • Defensive, territorial bites by individual dogs
    • Pack hunting behavior off the owner’s property
    • Predation of infants
dbf s12
  • Is the legal view of dog attacks changing?
    • Pit bull or Rottweiler attacks in urban areas
  • Disposition of biting dogs
  • The problem with breed-specific laws – according to Dr. Stinson
  • Cat bites :
    • Poor surveillance, less tissue damage
    • Risk of P. multocida infection may be 10x higher than that of dog bite
measures for preventing dog bites
Measures for Preventing Dog Bites
  • Realistically evaluate environment and lifestyle and consult with a professional (e.g. vet, animal behaviorist, or responsible breeder) to determine suitable breeds of dogs for consideration
  • Dogs with histories of aggression are inappropriate in households with children
  • Be sensitive to cues that a child is fearful or apprehensive about a god and, if so, delay acquiring a dog
  • Spend time with a dog before buying or adopting it. Use caution when bringing a puppy into the home of an infant or toddler
measures for preventing dog bites14
Measures for Preventing Dog Bites
  • Spay/neuter virtually all dogs (this frequently reduces aggressive tendencies)
  • Never leave infants or young children alone with any dog
  • Properly socialize and train any dog entering the household. Teach the dog submissive behaviors (e.g. rolling over to expose the abdomen and relinquishing food without growling)
  • Immediately seek professional advice (e.g. from vets, animal behaviorists, or responsible breeders) if the dog develops aggressive or undesirable behaviors
measures for preventing dog bites15
Measures for Preventing Dog Bites
  • Do not play aggressive games with your dog (e.g. wrestling)
  • Teach children basic safety around dogs and review regularly:
    • Never approach an unfamiliar dog
    • Never run from a dog and scream
    • Remain motionless when approached by and unfamiliar dog (e.g. be still like a tree)
    • If knocked over by a dog, roll into a ball and lie still (e.g. be still like a log)
    • Never play with a dog unless supervised by an adult
    • Immediately report stray dogs or dogs displaying unusual behavior to an adult
    • Avoid direct eye contact with a dog
    • Do not disturb a dog who is sleeping, eating or caring for puppies
    • Do not pet a dog without allowing it to see and sniff you first
    • If bitten, immediately report the bite to an adult
dog breeds and crossbreeds involved in dog bite related fatalities by 2 yr period u s 1979 1996
Dog Breeds and Crossbreeds Involved in Dog-Bite Related Fatalities by 2-yr. Period – U.S. 1979-1996*
dog breeds and crossbreeds involved in dog bite related fatalities by 2 yr period u s 1979 199617
Dog Breeds and Crossbreeds Involved in Dog-Bite Related Fatalities by 2-yr. Period – U.S. 1979-1996*

*Source: MMWR, May 30, 1997.

companion animal industry
Companion Animal Industry
  • Small animal vets are part of this industry
    • Where is the quality control for our product?
  • We intentionally breed dogs with problems
    • Genetic defects requiring vet care
      • Too big, too small, too long, too short-faced, too floppy eared, too long haired, too big skin, etc.
    • Temperament – too aggressive, not sufficiently domesticated
      • Bred for how they look, not how they act (dog shows)
      • Dog-wolf hybrid. It took years of selective breeding to get a submissive dog that will not challenge humans as the head of the pack. The last thing we need is to introduce wolf genes into the gene pool!
legislative mess
Legislative Mess:
  • Dog-Wolf Hybrid bills
  • Dangerous Animal Act
    • African lions sell for about $150 in Michigan
ferret bites
Ferret Bites
  • Anecdotal accounts are nasty
  • Motivation/instinct: aggression, rough play, predation of infants
  • Each state is trying to decide if ferrets should be legal. Legal in MI as of Jan. ’95
  • Are bite rates lower than for dogs?
    • Poor “reporting”
    • Less severe for adults
    • Rabies laws dictated euthanasia (until Dec. ’97)
  • A licensed rabies vaccine now available for ferrets.
    • The MDCH fought licensing – bites used to mean rabies testing for $200 each
  • Now a 10-day observation period is available for ferrets
horses the second most dangerous animal
Horses: The Second Most Dangerous Animal
  • Oregon Study of Animal-related deaths (1983-1993):
    • 16 Horses (8 thrown, 4 kicked, 2 crushed, 1 dragged, 1 bumped heads)
    • 10 Wasps and bees
    • 4 Bulls
    • 2 Cows
    • 3 Dogs (2 pit bulls, 1 tripped over and fell down stairs)
    • 1 Mule (trampled)
    • 1 Sheep (54 yr. old hairdresser kicked by his sheep)
    • 1 Bison
    • 1 Ferret attack
    • 1 Lion
    • 1 Rattlesnake

Homicides / Animal related deaths = 38

michigan study results
Michigan Study Results:

Human Deaths resulting from animal-related trauma in MI, 1987-1996