To investigate the current management and biosecurity practices and identify possible differences between different types of breeders, a cross-sectional study was carried out in 102 Belgian dog breeding facilities ranging from small (less than 10 dams on site) to large-scale (more than 50 dams on site or at least 500 puppies sold yearly) breeders. Veterinary prophylactic protocols (ie, vaccination, endoparasite control, ectoparasitic treatments) were highly implemented (91.5 per cent, 92.6 per cent, 42.7 per cent, respectively) across all breeder categories. 13.8 per cent of all visited breeders reported to administer antimicrobials to each female post partum and 10.3 per cent reported to treat all puppies, or at least of one breed, systematically with antimicrobials. Large-scale breeders reported to employ staff more frequently (p<0.01), and appeared to be more familiar with the principles of biosecurity. They reported to apply disinfection (p<0.01) and hygienic measures (p=0.03) across all parts of the facility, and to quarantine newly acquired dogs (p<0.01) more often compared with small-scale breeders. Nonetheless, a moderate knowledge of and use of disinfection was recorded, as was the presence of pet dogs, breaking the compartmentalisation. Results of this study indicate that there is substantial room for improvement in hygiene and disease management across all categories of breeders. The characterisation of different types of dog breeders with respect to biosecurity and management practices is a first step towards improvement of dog husbandry and biosecurity measures. Tailored guidelines should permit breeders to further improve the health of breeding animals and puppies while reducing the risk of infectious disease outbreaks and associated expenses.
- dog breeders
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Funding The PupWelfare project is funded by the Federal Public Service Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment and by the Flemish government, Department of Environment, Nature and Energy (14/01 contract PUPWELFARE 1).
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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