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.
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