Online Program

Does pet owner knowledge about zoonotic infections lead to improved adherence for preventive medications for dogs?

Monday, November 4, 2013 : 3:30 p.m. - 3:50 p.m.

Melissa Hogan, PharmD, College of Pharmacy, Roosevelt University, Schaumburg, IL
Meghana V. Aruru, PhD, MBA., BPharm, Department of Clinical, Administrative and Social Sciences, Roosevelt University College of Pharmacy, Schaumburg, IL
Introduction: Zoonotic infections are of increasing concern and may have high fatality rates in humans. Roundworms transmitted to humans may cause blindness. Hookworms may lead to anemia, protein deficiencies and eventually congestive heart failure. Preventives are effective against roundworms, hookworms and heartworms. However, there is little information regarding pet owners compliance in annual administration of medications. Literature indicated lack of compliance with medications or inconsistent use (i.e. some months a year vs. year-round). Therefore, this study aimed to understand whether information about zoonoses was related to pet owners compliance with year-round heartworm medications. Study methods: A convenience sample of dog owners at a veterinary clinic was surveyed. Data was analyzed using PASW V18.0. Results: 100 surveys were administered of which 74 were complete and used for analysis. Results included 30(40.5%) males and 42(56.8%) females. 65(87%) were neutered/spayed and 62(83%) spend their time indoors as family pets. 29(39%) owners reported administering heartworm medications year-round in comparison to 19(25.7%) missing 4-6 months each year. 21 owners(28.4%) were aware that medications prevented zoonoses. Significant association was found between owners' awareness of zoonoses prevention and administration of medication (Chi-Square 5.18, p<0.05). No significant association was found between zoonoses prevention awareness and year-round administration. Conclusion: Owners aware of zoonoses prevention were more likely to administer preventives. Owner non-compliance may lead to poorer health and increased probability of infections in pets. While, a wide variety of informational sources exist, it is important to educate owners and address non-compliance toward improving dog health and preventing zoonotic transmissions.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Protection of the public in relation to communicable diseases including prevention or control
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Describe the level of heartworm medication use and awareness amongst a sample of pet owners Determine whether awareness about zoonoses was related to pet owners use of heartworm medications year round

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a Pharmacy faculty member teaching and researching in the area of veterinary pharmacy for the past several years. I am particularly interested in investigating areas of owner compliance with medications and commitment to their pet's health toward preventing zoonotic infections.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.