Surveillance of Diarrhoea in Small Animal Practice Through the Small Animal Veterinary Surveillance Network (SAVSNET)

Vet J. 2014 Sep;201(3):412-8. doi: 10.1016/j.tvjl.2014.05.044. Epub 2014 Jun 6.


Using the Small Animal Veterinary Surveillance Network (SAVSNET), a national small animal disease-surveillance scheme, information on gastrointestinal disease was collected for a total of 76 days between 10 May 2010 and 8 August 2011 from 16,223 consultations (including data from 9115 individual dogs and 3462 individual cats) from 42 premises belonging to 19 UK veterinary practices. During that period, 7% of dogs and 3% of cats presented with diarrhoea. Adult dogs had a higher proportional morbidity of diarrhoea (PMD) than adult cats (P <0.001). This difference was not observed in animals <1 year old. Younger animals in both species had higher PMDs than adult animals (P < 0.001). Neutering was associated with reduced PMD in young male dogs. In adult dogs, miniature Schnauzers had the highest PMD. Most animals with diarrhoea (51%) presented having been ill for 2-4 days, but a history of vomiting or haemorrhagic diarrhoea was associated with a shorter time to presentation. The most common treatments employed were dietary modification (66% of dogs; 63% of cats) and antibacterials (63% of dogs; 49% of cats). There was variability in PMD between different practices. The SAVNET methodology facilitates rapid collection of cross-sectional data regarding diarrhoea, a recognised sentinel for infectious disease, and characterises data that could benchmark clinical practice and support the development of evidence-based medicine.

Keywords: Breed; Companion animal; Diarrhoea; SAVNET; Surveillance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Cat Diseases / diet therapy
  • Cat Diseases / drug therapy
  • Cat Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Cat Diseases / etiology
  • Cats
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diarrhea / epidemiology
  • Diarrhea / etiology
  • Diarrhea / therapy
  • Diarrhea / veterinary*
  • Dog Diseases / diet therapy
  • Dog Diseases / drug therapy
  • Dog Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Dog Diseases / etiology
  • Dogs
  • Epidemiological Monitoring
  • Female
  • Male
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents