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Infectious Disease Prevalence and Factors Associated with Upper Respiratory Infection in Cats Following Relocation

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Shelter Outreach, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA®), New York, NY 10018, USA
2
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.
Animals 2018, 8(6), 91; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8060091
Received: 25 April 2018 / Revised: 7 June 2018 / Accepted: 7 June 2018 / Published: 9 June 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Companion Animals)
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.
Feline relocation is used increasingly in animal welfare to decrease shelter euthanasia rates and increase positive outcomes. Concerns about infectious disease introduction and transmission are often expressed; however, little research has been conducted on even the baseline prevalence of infectious disease following relocation. This study, which collected data on 430 cats relocated through an established program over 7 months, evaluated the prevalence of upper respiratory infection (URI), feline panleukopenia virus (FPV) and dermatophytosis at one destination agency. The period prevalence was 25.8% for URI, 1.6% for FPV and 0.9% for dermatophytosis. Mixed-effects logistic regression was performed to investigate factors associated with URI. Younger age, increased time in transport, and increased length of stay at the destination agency were associated with increased URI prevalence following relocation. The findings of this study reveal that certain highly contagious and environmentally persistent infectious diseases, such as FPV and dermatophytosis, are uncommon following relocation in an established program; however, URI in relocated cats should be proactively managed. Animal welfare agencies can use this information to guide shelter and relocation operations and mitigate the impact of URI in relocated cats. View Full-Text
Keywords: animal relocation; transport; animal shelter; cat; infectious disease; transfer; animal welfare; feline upper respiratory infection; feline panleukopenia virus; dermatophytosis animal relocation; transport; animal shelter; cat; infectious disease; transfer; animal welfare; feline upper respiratory infection; feline panleukopenia virus; dermatophytosis
MDPI and ACS Style

Aziz, M.; Janeczko, S.; Gupta, M. Infectious Disease Prevalence and Factors Associated with Upper Respiratory Infection in Cats Following Relocation. Animals 2018, 8, 91.

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