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Challenges and opportunities in companion animal welfare research: a Brazilian perspective
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Challenges and opportunities in companion animal welfare research: a Brazilian perspective

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  1. Challenges and opportunities in companion animal welfare research: a Brazilian perspective Carla Forte Maiolino Molento DVM, MSc, PhD, Professor of Animal Welfare LABEA -Laboratório de Bem-estar Animal Universidade Federal do Paraná carlamolento@yahoo.com

  2. Topics 1. Challenges2. Strayanimals3. Dogpopulation dynamics4. Thoughts5. Opportunities6. Summary

  3. 1. Challenges Companion Animal Welfare: Brazil • Artificial selection for breed characteristics • Wild animals as pets • The welfare of stray animals

  4. 2. Strayanimals Shouldwe capture orlivewithstrays?

  5. 2. Strayanimals Howmanydogs do wehave?

  6. 2. Strayanimals Average dog:humanratio based on Brazilian publications 1:4.0 In otherwords:in SouthofBrazil, dogpopulationmaybeestimatedat25% ofhumanpopulation

  7. 2. Strayanimals Curitiba (435 km2) Humanpopulation= 1.727.010 Dogpopulation= 431.752

  8. 3. Dogpopulation dynamics • Whereshould a straydoggo? • Shouldwekill it? • Should it go to a shelter? • Publichealth • Animal welfare

  9. 2. Strayanimals What’swrongwith capture andkill? • No improvement towards goal/misuse of resources • Animal and human suffering • Hardly compatible with responsible pet guardianship • Crime according to Brazilian Animal Protection Act • Ethically arguable

  10. 3. Dogpopulation dynamics 215,000 bitches 75% stray? 161,000 bitches 215,000 Male dogs 2/3 adult animals 107,000 bitches 428,000 puppies/estrus 856,000 puppies/year Population size 430,000 Curitiba:

  11. 3. Dogpopulation dynamics Unsupervised access to the streets Periphery of Curitiba, Brazil Percentage stray: 98%

  12. 3. Dogpopulation dynamics Unsupervised access to the streets Inner area of Curitiba, Brazil 1%

  13. 3. Dogpopulation dynamics Animal ControlAgency in Curitiba Municipal HealthDepartment

  14. 3. Dogpopulation dynamics 205,000 bitches 75% stray 153,000 bitches 205,000 Male dogs 2/3 adult animals 101,000 bitches 404,000 puppies/estrus 808,000 puppies/year Population size 410,000 Capture andkillstrategy (if 20,000 dogskilled/year)

  15. 3. Dogpopulation dynamics Dog population dynamics: potential effects of sterilization campaigns M. Amaku, R. A. Dias, F. Ferreira, Pan Am J Public Health 25(4), 2009 N/K Dogs/km2

  16. 3. Dogpopulation dynamics • Dogsterilizationprogrammes • Cannot be effective in short-term • Humane approach to the challenge of population control • Highly educational towards responsible pet guardianship.

  17. 3. Dogpopulation dynamics Responsible pet guardianship as ourbestbet!

  18. 3. Dogpopulation dynamics Education towards responsible pet guardianship Dog identification

  19. 4. Thoughts The motivation for controlling dog population • Public health • Animal welfare

  20. 4. Thoughts Technical Report Series 931 WHO EXPERT CONSULTATION ON RABIES First Report, 2005 7.4 Dog population management and animal birth control (ABC) programmes The Consultation expressed its appreciation of the long-term engagement of WHO to contribute to developing methodologies related to dog ecology and dog population management... ...However, data collection needs to be continued in other areas and in countries with different social and ecological conditions. There is no evidence that removal of dogs alone has ever had a significant impact on dog population densities or the spread of rabies. The population turnover of dogs may be so high that even the highest recorded removal rates (about 15% of the dog population) are easily compensated for by increased survival rates. In addition, dog removal may be unacceptable to local communities.... ...Three practical methods of dog population management are recognized: movement restriction, habitat control and reproduction control. The rationale is to reduce the dog population turnover as well as the number of dogs susceptible to rabies and limit aspects of male dog behaviour (such as dispersal and fighting) that facilitate the spread of rabies. Culling of dogs during these programmes may be counterproductive as sterilized, vaccinated dogs may be destroyed.

  21. 4. Thoughts Transmission Dynamics and Prospects for the Elimination of Canine Rabies Katie Hampson1,2*, Jonathan Dushoff3, Sarah Cleaveland4,5, Daniel T Haydon5, Magai Kaare6, Craig Packer7, Andy Dobson1 United States of America, United Kingdom, and Canada …We report extensive observations of individual rabid animals in Tanzania and generate a uniquely detailed analysis of transmission biology, which explains important epidemiological features, including the level of variation in epidemic trajectories. We found that the basic reproductive number for rabies, R0, is very low in our study area in rural Africa (~1.2) and throughout its historic global range (<2). This finding provides strong support for the feasibility of controlling endemic canine rabies by vaccination, even near wildlife areas with large wild carnivore populations. However, we show that rapid turnover of domestic dog populations has been a major obstacle to successful control in developing countries, thus regular pulse vaccinations will be required to maintain population level immunity between campaigns. Nonetheless our analyses suggest that with sustained, international commitment, global elimination of rabies from domestic dog populations, the most dangerous vector to humans, is a realistic goal. PLoS Biol 7(3):e1000053. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1000053, 2009

  22. 4. Thoughts HumanRabies in Brazil per region (HealthyMinistry, 2006): 1986: 10, 22, 1, 0, 6 1996: 9, 11, 0, 0, 5 2005: 17, 26, 1, 0, 0 Curitiba Fromdogs to bats (since 2003)

  23. 4. Thoughts However… • It is more than rabies! • Car accidents • Leishmaniosis • Aggression • Nuisance

  24. 5. Opportunities Whatmightbedone? State of Paraná, ten communities: Within three years, only 21% of the dogs were still there… (Molento et al., 2007) Slowdowntheturnover!

  25. 5. Opportunities How? • New strategies: goal is to slow down turnover within stray population. • Find community collaborators • Control stray dog disease levels (public health + dog welfare) • Increase stray dog life expectancy

  26. 5. Opportunities There are spontaneous community dogs Is that reducing turnover? What are the real public health risks? What is the associated dog welfare?

  27. 5. Opportunities Community dogs in Brazil: preliminary data • Straydogwelfare (10 dogs) • behaviouralfreedom: 10 • risks: 10 • sleepingshelter: 10 • lesions/scars: 4 • fever: 1 • lame: 4 • earinfection: 1 • ectoparasites: 1 • nutrittion: 6 overweight Vargas et al., unpublished

  28. 5. Opportunities Taking care of strays must be coupled to sterilization! Resources are limited • Should we work on female, male, both? • Male gonadectomy: • less expensive • less invasive • what is the effect in terms of population control? Very low!

  29. 5. Opportunities Vasectomy as an additional new strategy • ( Molento, 2004, Veterinary Record, November 13th) • Less invasive than gonadectomy • Dogs keep competing for females – will they become more effective reproductive barriers for the community?

  30. 5. Opportunities In South of Brazil: The removal of stray dogs from the streets increases turnover. X The efficacy of looking at stray animals as partners in population control deserve research!

  31. 5. Opportunities Small scaleexample: Description of an urban stray cat (Feliscatus Linnaeus, 1758) population in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Mendes-de-Almeidaet al., 2005

  32. 6. Summary Howto improvepublichealthprotectionandhelp education? - Increasestray animal welfare • Birthcontrol (educationalvalue) • Vaccine + parasite control • Caringattitude • Whileresponsible pet guardianship is notachieved, thebestthatcanbedone is to havehealthynon-reproductivestrayanimals.

  33. Opportunity Strategies that are well planned, efficient and humane