Next Article in Journal
Questionnaire Background on the Hognose Snake (Heterodon nasicus) Breeders’ Awareness of the Risk of Being Bitten
Previous Article in Journal
Inflammatory Mediation of Heat Stress-Induced Growth Deficits in Livestock and Its Potential Role as a Target for Nutritional Interventions: A Review
Article

A Cross-Sectional Study of Knowledge on Ownership, Zoonoses and Practices among Pet Owners in Northern Portugal

1
Department of Veterinary Sciences, School of Agrarian and Veterinary Sciences (ECAV), University of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro (UTAD), 5000-801 Vila Real, Portugal
2
Animal and Veterinary Research Centre, University of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, 5000-801 Vila Real, Portugal
3
Department of Zootechnics, School of Agrarian and Veterinary Sciences, University of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, 5000-801 Vila Real, Portugal
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Leslie Irvine
Animals 2021, 11(12), 3543; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11123543
Received: 29 October 2021 / Revised: 9 December 2021 / Accepted: 11 December 2021 / Published: 13 December 2021
(This article belongs to the Section Human-Animal Interactions, Animal Behaviour and Emotion)
Pet ownership is common in most countries, but few published studies have addressed pet owners’ knowledge of zoonoses, pet contact practices, or awareness of zoonotic disease risks posed by pets. The aim of this study was to assess household knowledge, attitudes, and risks related to pet ownership and zoonoses in northern Portugal. A questionnaire was developed to gather information regarding participants’ demographic characteristics; household pet types and their importance to the family; pet contact-related attitudes; knowledge of zoonoses, high-risk groups, disease transmission pathways, and disease protection measures. It was observed that most participants considered pets an important part of the family. Nevertheless, high-risk practices were recurrent and pet owners’ knowledge was limited. These results reinforce the importance of further studies to better understand the existing gaps in knowledge of pet ownership and zoonoses and strengthens the need to adopt the One Health concept.
Pet ownership is common in modern society. In Portugal, 38% and 31% of all households own at least one dog or cat, respectively. Few studies have ascertained the knowledge of pet owners on pet ownership and zoonoses, and none have been carried out in Portugal. The aim of the present study was to assess household knowledge and practices related to pet ownership and zoonoses in northern Portugal. A face-to-face questionnaire was completed by 424 pet owners, from November 2019 to February 2020. Most respondents (97.2%) considered pets as an important part of the family, especially women (p = 0.036); 73.1% allowed their pets to live an indoor/outdoor life; 41.3% denied sharing the bed with their pets while 29% assumed they did it daily; 20.3% reported never kissing their pets/pets licking their faces. Furthermore, 73.6% considered animals as potential sources of human diseases, but only 25.9% reported knowing the definition of zoonoses; 96.9% considered the role of veterinarians important in protecting public health. The low level of knowledge of pet owners and the occurrence of high-risk behaviors indicates a need to strengthen communication between veterinarians, physicians, pet owners, and the general public towards reduce the risk of acquisition and transmission of zoonoses. View Full-Text
Keywords: knowledge; One Health; pet ownership; pets; Portugal; public health; zoonoses knowledge; One Health; pet ownership; pets; Portugal; public health; zoonoses
Show Figures

Figure 1

MDPI and ACS Style

do Vale, B.; Lopes, A.P.; Fontes, M.d.C.; Silvestre, M.; Cardoso, L.; Coelho, A.C. A Cross-Sectional Study of Knowledge on Ownership, Zoonoses and Practices among Pet Owners in Northern Portugal. Animals 2021, 11, 3543. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11123543

AMA Style

do Vale B, Lopes AP, Fontes MdC, Silvestre M, Cardoso L, Coelho AC. A Cross-Sectional Study of Knowledge on Ownership, Zoonoses and Practices among Pet Owners in Northern Portugal. Animals. 2021; 11(12):3543. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11123543

Chicago/Turabian Style

do Vale, Beatriz, Ana P. Lopes, Maria d.C. Fontes, Mário Silvestre, Luís Cardoso, and Ana C. Coelho. 2021. "A Cross-Sectional Study of Knowledge on Ownership, Zoonoses and Practices among Pet Owners in Northern Portugal" Animals 11, no. 12: 3543. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11123543

Find Other Styles
Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Article Access Map by Country/Region

1
Back to TopTop