In Short

Published on June 26, 2019

Study: Shelter behavior assessments not valid

A recent study looked at the reliability and validity of behavior evaluations for dogs in animal shelters. The research, led by Dr. Gary J. Patronek, a veterinary epidemiologist at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, found that no canine behavior evaluation used for dogs in shelters meets accepted scientific criteria that would justify routine use in shelters.

"Ethically, we would argue, given the lack of scientific evidence for validity, reliability, and predictability of canine behavior evaluations for individual dogs in a field setting, a moratorium on any uses of these evaluations as the sole determinant of a dog's fate is warranted, particularly when problematic behavior on the evaluation is the only cause for concern for a dog that has otherwise acted normally in the shelter. Careful observation of a dog's daily behavior in the shelter during routine interactions is a more natural way to gauge a dog's needs," according to the study, which appeared in the May-June issue of the Journal of Veterinary Behavior.

The findings build on a previous study by the researchers, which mathematically demonstrated why, for any plausible combination of sensitivity, specificity, and prevalence of biting and warning behaviors, a positive test would at best be not much better than flipping a coin.

Instead, they suggest shelters collect behavior histories on dogs at the time of relinquishment whenever possible, attempt to verify any serious incidents reported, and designate as ineligible for adoption dogs who cause injuries by biting or are too threatening to handle in the shelter.

AAFP releases diabetes toolkit

Tabby catThe American Association of Feline Practitioners has released a Diabetes Educational Toolkit for veterinary professionals.

The toolkit is a digital resource for veterinary professionals who are working with clients to make the best decisions for their cat. Sections cover diagnosis, treatment, remission strategy, troubleshooting, frequently asked questions, and client resources.

"We are excited to release this digital resource to the veterinary community in the hopes that we can help veterinary professionals in the diagnosis and treatment of their diabetic feline patients through providing easy-to-access information that can be implemented for each cat," said Dr. Apryl Steele, AAFP president, in an announcement about the toolkit.

The AAFP also provides resources to help cat caregivers understand and manage their cat's diabetes.

New listings in AVMA Animal Health Studies Database

AVMA Animal Health Studies Database logoBelow are some of the new listings of veterinary clinical studies in the AVMA Animal Health Studies Database. Information about participation in the studies is available at the database site.

  • AAHSD004922: "COTC028: Preclinical assessment of an oral p97 inhibitor, CB-5339, in tumor-bearing dogs," Colorado State University.
  • AAHSD004924: "Novel combined immunotherapeutic strategies for glioma: Using pet dogs as a large animal spontaneous model," University of Minnesota.
  • AAHSD004927: "Efficacy of imepitoin for the management of thunderstorm anxiety in client owned dogs," North Carolina State University.
  • AAHSD004928" "Morphologic, morphometric and functional characterization of lumbosacral disease in Labrador Retrievers," The Ohio State University.
  • AAHSD004929: "Validation of silicone tags as measure of OPFR & PBDE exposure/body burden in house cats," North Carolina State University.
  • AAHSD004947: "Cancer vaccine and pharmacological tumor microenvironment modification trial for canine metastatic osteosarcoma," Colorado State University.

Please send comments and story ideas to JAVMANewsatavma [dot] org.

Related JAVMA content:

AAHA updates guidelines on diabetes management (March 15, 2018)