Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://hdl.handle.net/1959.11/16487
Title: Effects of Sex and Reproductive State on Interactions between Free-Roaming Domestic Dogs
Contributor(s): Sparkes, Jessica (author); Koertner, Gerhard  (author)orcid ; Ballard, Guy-Anthony  (author); Fleming, Peter  (author); Brown, Wendy  (author)orcid 
Publication Date: 2014
Open Access: Yes
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0116053Open Access Link
Handle Link: https://hdl.handle.net/1959.11/16487
Abstract: Free-roaming dogs ('Canis familiaris') are common worldwide, often maintaining diseases of domestic pets and wildlife. Management of these dogs is difficult and often involves capture, treatment, neutering and release. Information on the effects of sex and reproductive state on intraspecific contacts and disease transmission is currently lacking, but is vital to improving strategic management of their populations. We assessed the effects of sex and reproductive state on short-term activity patterns and contact rates of free-roaming dogs living in an Australian Indigenous community. Population, social group sizes and rates of contact were estimated from structured observations along walked transects. Simultaneously, GPS telemetry collars were used to track dogs' movements and to quantify the frequency of contacts between individual animals. We estimated that the community's dog population was 326±52, with only 9.8±2.5% confined to a house yard. Short-term activity ranges of dogs varied from 9.2 to 133.7 ha, with males ranging over significantly larger areas than females. Contacts between two or more dogs occurred frequently, with entire females and neutered males accumulating significantly more contacts than spayed females or entire males. This indicates that sex and reproductive status are potentially important to epidemiology, but the effect of these differential contact rates on disease transmission requires further investigation. The observed combination of unrestrained dogs and high contact rates suggest that contagious disease would likely spread rapidly through the population. Pro-active management of dog populations and targeted education programs could help reduce the risks associated with disease spread.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: PLoS One, 9(12), p. 1-13
Publisher: Public Library of Science (PLoS)
Place of Publication: United States of America
ISSN: 1932-6203
Field of Research (FOR): 070203 Animal Management
Socio-Economic Outcome Codes: 920405 Environmental Health
839901 Animal Welfare
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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