A Survey of Dog Populations in Urban and Rural Areas of Yucatan, Mexico

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A survey in a major Mexican city (Merida) and three rural communities was conducted to generate information regarding the size and structure of the owned-dog populations and people's opinions about the dogs and how they took care of them. Household characteristics and dog population size, health and reproductive issues were compared between the two kinds of communities: urban and rural. A telephone survey was conducted in Merida city whereas personal interviews were used in the rural communities. Local veterinarians were also interviewed to evaluate their influence on the dog populations in Merida city. The ratio of people to dogs was 3.4:1 in the city, and 1.7:1 to 4.6:1 in the different rural communities. In general it was more common to find a dog-owning household in the city of Merida (72.8%) than in the rural areas (63.6%, 65.5% and 71.1%), and in the city more households had adequate fences to restrain dogs. Larger families were more likely to own a dog than small families. Households of medium socio-economic status had a significantly higher probability of owning a dog than households of low or high socio-economic status. Of the dogs in the city, 90.1% were vaccinated against rabies compared with 62.3% of the dogs in the rural communities. Most animals were intact; the frequency of neutering/spaying was 3.1% in Merida and 1.8% in the rural communities. Few private veterinary practitioners were involved in the control of dog overpopulation. It is concluded that dogs are popular pets both in urban and rural Yucatan. People's opinions about dogs and the level of supervision varied with socio-economic status, and people in the city provided better food, shelter and preventive medicine. The veterinary practitioners did little to promote the control of dog breeding or to reduce the relinquishing of unwanted dogs in the city. Better client education and the promotion of sterilization of pets at low cost would improve the situation.


Document Type: Review Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2752/089279307X224809

Publication date: September 1, 2007

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