Infectious Disease Prevalence and Factors Associated with Upper Respiratory Infection in Cats Following Relocation
Shelter Outreach, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA®), New York, NY 10018, USA
Strategy, Research and Development, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA®), New York, NY 10018, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 25 April 2018 / Revised: 7 June 2018 / Accepted: 7 June 2018 / Published: 9 June 2018
Relocation of cats and kittens is a relatively new practice in animal welfare. It is one of the many tools used by animal welfare agencies to decrease shelter euthanasia rates across the country. However, there are few and sometimes conflicting guidelines for either minimum standards or best practices regarding relocation programs. Most operational practices are evolving and are often based on lessons learned. Concerns about the frequency of infectious diseases and the corresponding likelihood of spread are commonly raised in the context of animal relocation. In this study, which followed one relocation program over a 7-month period, highly contagious infectious diseases, feline panleukopenia virus (FPV) and ringworm, were uncommon in cats following relocation into one shelter. Upper respiratory infection (URI) was, however, relatively more frequent with younger age, increased time in transport during relocation and increased time spent at the shelter following relocation all associated with increased disease frequency. Accordingly, even in an established relocation program, steps should be taken to mitigate the risk of upper respiratory infection in relocated cats.