Peer reviewed and scientific publications
New approaches to pharmacosurveillance for monitoring prescription frequency, diversity and co-prescription in a large sentinal network of companion animal veterinary practices in the United Kingdom, 2014-2016. 2018. Preventive Veterinary Medicine
- SAVSNET can now survey prescription of all pharmaceutical agents, including those authorised for veterinary or human use.
- A novel text mining-based identification and classification methodology was utilised to semi-automatically map practitioner-defined product descriptions recorded in 918,333 EHRs from 413,870 dogs encompassing 1,242,270 prescriptions; 352,730 EHRs from 200,541 cats encompassing 491,554 prescriptions, and 22,526 EHRS from 13,398 rabbits encompassing 18,490 prescriptions respectively.
- Vaccines were the most commonly prescibed agent in all three species, with antibiotics, antimycotics and parasiticides also commonly prescribed.
- Prescription utilising products authorised for human use only (hence, ‘human-authorised’) comprised 5.1% (95% CI, 4.7–5.5) of total canine prescription events; in cats it was 2.8% (95% CI, 2.6–3.0), and in rabbits, 7.8% (95% CI, 6.5–9.0).
Take a look at the infographic describing this work.
- Presentation for pruritus comprised 2.2 per cent of cat and 3.8 per cent of dog consultations between January and April 2018.
- The dorsal parts of the body were the most frequent location for pruritus in cats (27 cent). In dogs, pruritus most commonly affected the ear (37 per cent).
- Pseudomonas aeruginosa antimicrobial susceptibility data were available from 37,673 canine clinical isolates, and 1830 feline clinical isolates. Where a sampling site was recorded, ears were the most commonly recorded site for dogs (71.1 per cent of P aeruginosa isolates), whereas oronasal samples were most common in the cat (36.6 per cent).
- For dogs, 65.4 per cent of P aeruginosa isolates were sensitive to all tested antimicrobials; for cats 72.6 per cent were sensitive. Tested isolates were most commonly resistant to fluoroquinolones in both dogs (25.0 per cent of tested isolates) and cats (17.7 per cent). Five canine isolates were found to be resistant to all tested antimicrobials; no such isolates were found in cats.
Small animal disease surveillance: respiratory disease. 2017. Veterinary Record
- Presentation for respiratory disease comprised 1.3 per cent of cat, 1.1 per cent of dog and 1.3 per cent of rabbit consultations between January and December 2017
- Sneezing was the most frequently reported respiratory sign in cats (45.2 per cent); in dogs it was coughing (71.7 per cent)
- Canine respiratory coronavirus was identified in 43 samples from dogs between January 2010 and December 2017. The highest percentage of samples were found to be positive in autumn and winter, with a peak in September (5.6 per cent of positive samples)
- From 2010 to 2017, there were 197 laboratory samples from which Streptococcus equi subspecies zooepidemicuswas cultured, 22 from cats, 144 from dogs and 31 from guinea pigs. Of the 136 canine samples for which anatomical sampling location was known, 75 (55.1 per cent) were from the respiratory tract (nose, trachea or oropharynx).
Use of vaccines and factors associated with their uptake variability in dogs, cats and rabbits attending a large sentinel network of veterinary practices across Great Britain. - Epidemiology and Infection OPEN ACCESS
- Over 20% of pets had no recorded vaccination.
- Both cats, but especially rabbits, were less likely to have recorded vaccines than dogs.
- In those animals recieving vaccines, cats recieved more core vaccines (FCV, FHV and FPV) than dogs (CDV, CAV, CPV).
- Feline leukaemia vaccine was used almost as often as core vaccines in cats.
Take a look at the infographic describing this work.
Risk factors for cutaneous myiasis (blowfly strike) in pet rabbits in Great Britain based on text-mining veterinary electronic health records - Preventive Veterinary Medicine OPEN ACCESS
- Flystrike was recorded in 0.6% of rabbit consultations collected over three years from 389 sentinel practices across the UK
- Fortyfive percent of consultations resulted in the euthanasia or death of the animal
- Rabbits five years of age and over were more than 3.8 times likely to present for blowfly strike
- Female entire rabbits were at greatest risk, being 3.3 times more likely to be affected than neutered females
- For every 1 °C rise in predicted environmental temperature, there was a 33% increase in risk of flystrike
Take a look at the infographic summarising this work.
Heightened risk of canine chocolate exposure at Christmas and Easter - The Veterinary Record OPEN ACCESS
- Most dogs are seen with potential chocolate toxicity around Christmas, and to a lesser extent Easter
- Younger animals are more likley to present for potential chocolate toxicity
- Most common signs reported were vomiting
- No cases were fatal
- Chocolate toxicity appears to be a rare and usually mild intoxication that can be minimised by putting festive chocolates out of a dog's way
Small animal disease surveillance: GI disease and salmonellosis - Veterinary Record
- Presentation for gastrointestinal (GI) disease comprised 2.2 per cent of cat, 3.2 per cent of dog and 2.2 per cent of rabbit consultations between April 1, 2016 and March 31, 2017
- Diarrhoea and vomiting without blood were the most frequently reported GI disease clinical signs (34.4 and 38.9 per cent in cats and 42.8 and 37.3 per cent in dogs, respectively)
- The mean percentage of samples testing positive for Salmonella in dogs was double that in cats (0.82 per cent and 0.41 per cent, respectively) from January 1, 2011 to December 31, 2016
- In dogs, autumn was associated with a greater proportion of Salmonella-positive sample submissions; no clear suggestion of seasonal variation in cats was observed
- In both cats and dogs, isolates belonging to Salmonella enterica group B serotypes were the most common (68.9 per cent in cats and 55.0 per cent in dogs)
Demographics of dogs, cats, and rabbits attending veterinary practices in Great Britain as recorded in their electronic health records - BMC Veterinary Research
- Dogs made up 64.8% of the veterinary-visiting population
- Neutering was more common in cats (77.0%) compared to dogs (57.1%) and rabbits (45.8%)
- The insurance and microchipping relative frequency was highest in dogs (27.9 and 53.1%, respectively)
- Dogs and to a lesser ectent cats from the least-deprived areas of Great Britain were more likely to be purebred, neutered, insured and microchipped
Patterns of antimicrobial agent prescription in a sentinel population of canine and feline veterinary practices in the United Kingdom - The Veterinary Journal.
- Antibiotic prescription (AAP) was more frequent in dogs (18.8%) than cats (17.5%)
- Systemic antibiotic prescription appeared to decrease over the two years of the study
- Premises which prescribed antimicrobial agents frequently for dogs also prescribed frequently for cats
- Antiobiotics were most frequently prescribed during pruritus consultations in dogs and trauma consultations in cats
- Clavulanic acid potentiated amoxicillin was the most frequently prescribed antimicrobial agent in dogs
- Cefovecin was the most frequently prescribed antimicrobial agent in cats
Take a look at the infographic summarising this work.
The passive surveillance of ticks using companion animal electronic health records - Epidemiology and Infection.
- Ticks represent a large global reservoir of zoonotic disease.
- The relative risk of dogs presenting with a tick compared with cats was 0·73.
- The highest number of tick records were in the south central regions of England.
- The presence of ticks showed marked seasonality with summer peaks, and a secondary smaller peak in autumn for cats.
- These results and methodology could help inform veterinary and public health messages in the general population.
Take a look at the infographic summarising this work
Small animal disease surveillance: respiratory disease
Presentation for respiratory disease comprised 1.7 per cent, 2.3 per cent and 2.5 per cent of canine, feline and rabbit consultations, respectively, between January 2014 and December 2015. Coughing was the most frequent respiratory sign reported in dogs (71.1 per cent of consultations); in cats it was sneezing (42.6 per cent). Mean percentage of samples testing positive for feline calicivirus (FCV) was 30.1 per cent in 2014 and 27.9 per cent in 2015. January was the month with the highest percentage of FCV-positive samples in both 2014 and 20
F Sánchez-Vizcaíno, JM Daly, PH Jones, S Dawson, R Gaskell, T Menacere, B Heayns, M Wardeh, J Newman, S Everitt, MJ Day, K McConnell, PJ Noble, AD Radford. (2016). Small animal disease surveillance: respiratory disease. The Veterinary Record. 178 (15) 361-4
Small animal disease surveillance: pruritus and coagulase-positive staphylococci
Presentation for pruritus comprised 6.5 per cent, 3.6 per cent and 2.0 per cent of canine, feline and rabbit consultations, respectively, between January 2014 and June 2016. Topical antimicrobials were the most commonly prescribed pruritus treatments for dogs (33.6 per cent of consultations); for cats, it was systemic glucocorticoids (53.5 per cent). In surveillance of coagulase-positive staphylococci, 16 per cent of 176 coagulase-positive staphylococci isolated from canine diagnostic samples were sensitive to all tested antibacterial classes; multidrug resistance (resistance to three or more antibacterial classes) was found in 6.8 per cent
F Sánchez-Vizcaíno, D. Singleton, P. Jones, B. Heayns, M.Wardeh, A. Radford, V.Schmidt, S. Dawson, P.J. Noble, S. Everitt. (2016) Small animal disease surveillance: pruritus and coagulase-positive staphylococci. The Veterinary Record. 179 352-355.
Use of cefovecin in a UK population of cats attending first-opinion practices as recorded in electronic health records- Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery
- The most common body system treated was skin in 553 (48.2%) entries, then urinary (n = 157; 13.7%) and respiratory (n = 112; 9.8%).
- Microbiological evaluation was recorded in 193 (16.8%) entries, with visible purulent material most commonly cited (in 147 [12.8%] entries).
- A reason for prescribing Convenia over alternative antimicrobials was given in 138 (12.0%) entries; the most cited was an inability to orally medicate the cat in 77 (55.8%) of these entries.
- Most entries did not describe any microbiological evaluation, or a reason for prescribing Convenia over alternative antimicrobials.
- Information relevant to decision-making should be recorded in individual animal health records.
Canine babesiosis and tick activity monitored using companion animal electronic health records in the UK
Recent publications highlighting autochthonous Babesia canis infection in dogs from Essex that have not travelled outside the UK are a powerful reminder of the potential for pathogen emergence in new populations. Here the authors use electronic health data collected from two diagnostic laboratories and a network of 392 veterinary premises to describe canine Babesia cases and levels of Babesia concern from January 2015 to March 2016, and the activity of ticks during December 2015–March 2016. In most areas of the UK, Babesia diagnosis in this population was rare and sporadic. In addition, there was a clear focus of Babesia cases in the affected area in Essex. Until February 2016, analysis of health records indicated only sporadic interest in Babesia largely in animals coming from overseas. Following media coverage in March 2016, there was a spike in owner concern that was geographically dispersed beyond the at-risk area. Tick activity (identified as ticks being removed from animals in veterinary consultations) was consistent but low during the period preceding the infections (<5 ticks/10,000 consultations), but increased in March. This highlights the use of electronic health data to describe rapidly evolving risk and concern that follows the emergence of a pathogen.
F Sánchez-Vizcaíno, M. Wardeh, B. Heayns, D.A. Singleton, J.S.P. Tulloch, L.McGinley, J. Newman, P.J. Noble, M.J. Day, P.H. Jones and A.D. Radford (2016) Canine babesiosis and tick activity monitored using companion animal electronic health records in the UK. The Veterinary Record (online first)
Small animal disease surveillance: respiratory disease
Presentation for respiratory disease comprised 1.7 per cent, 2.3 per cent and 2.5 per cent of canine, feline and rabbit consultations, respectively, between January 2014 and December 2015. Coughing was the most frequent respiratory sign reported in dogs (71.1 per cent of consultations); in cats it was sneezing (42.6 per cent). Mean percentage of samples testing positive for feline calicivirus (FCV) was 30.1 per cent in 2014 and 27.9 per cent in 2015. January was the month with the highest percentage of FCV-positive samples in both 2014 and 2015
F Sánchez-Vizcaíno, J Daly, PH Jones, S Dawson, R Gaskell, T Menacare, B Heayns, M Wardeh, J Newman, S Everitt, MJ Day, K McConnell, PJM Noble and AD Radford (2016) Small animal disease surveillance: respiratory disease. The Veterinary Record. 178 (15) 361-364.
Small animal disease surveillance
This is the first UK small animal disease surveillance report from SAVSNET. Future reports will expand to other syndromes and diseases. As data are collected for longer, the estimates of changes in disease burden will become more refined, allowing more targeted local and perhaps national interventions. Anonymised data can be accessed for research purposes by contacting the authors. SAVSNET welcomes feedback on this report.
F Sánchez-Vizcaíno, PH Jones, T Menacare, B Heayns, M Wardeh, J Newman, AD Radford, S Dawson, R Gaskell, PJM Noble, S Everitt, MJ Day, K McConnell (2015). Small animal disease surveillance. The Veterinary Record. 177 (23) 591-594.
How often do primary care veterinarians rcord the overweight status of dogs?
Obesity is a prevalent medical condition in dogs caused by the excess accumulation of fat, with negative effects on quality of life, longevity and the risk of developing associated pathologies. However, it is unclear how frequently first-opinion veterinarians record dogs as overweight (OW) or obese in medical records, and what factors determine when they do. Data sourced through the Small Animal Surveillance Network were used to determine the relative frequency of recording OW status (obesity or OW) in dogs presented to the UK first-opinion practices. Cases were identified using a search of clinical record-free text for relevant keywords. A case–control study was then conducted, comparing dogs where the OW status was recorded with a control group of obese dogs with no diagnosis recorded. Of 49 488 consultations, the OW status was recorded in 671 dogs (relative frequency 1·4 %). Using multiple logistic regression, the OW status of a dog was more likely to be recorded when the consultation was for osteoarthritis (OR 5·42; 95 % CI 2·09, 14·07; P < 0·001) or lameness (OR 2·02; 95 % CI 1·20, 3·42; P = 0·006). Furthermore, the OW status was more commonly recorded in dogs that were members of a practice health scheme (OR 5·35; 95 % CI 1·57, 18·17; P = 0·04) and less commonly recorded in microchipped dogs (OR 0·43; 95 % CI 0·41, 0·91; P = 0·02). These results suggest that OW and obesity are underdiagnosed in the first-opinion practice. However, a presentation for orthopaedic disease appears a key prompt for recording the OW status. Further studies are now warranted to determine the reasons for such marked underdiagnosis.
NC Rolph, PJM Noble, AJ German (2014) How often do primary care veterinarians rcord the overweight status of dogs?. Journal of Nutritional Science. 3 58
Surveillance of diarrhoea in small animal practice through the Small AnimalVeterinary Surveillance Network (SAVSNET)
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.
PH Jones, S Dawson, RM Gaskell, KP Coyne, A Tierney, C Setzkorn, AD Radford and PJ Noble (2014). Surveillance of diarrhoea in small animal practice through the Small AnimalVeterinary Surveillance Network (SAVSNET). The Veterinary Journal. 201(3):412-8.
Antibacterial prescribing patterns in small animal veterinary practice identified through SAVSNET: the Small Animal Veterinary Surveillance Network
In this study, data from veterinary clinical records were collected via the small animal veterinary surveillance network (SAVSNET). Over a three-month period, data were obtained from 22,859 consultations at 16 small animal practices in England and Wales: 69 per cent from dogs, 24 per cent from cats, 3 per cent from rabbits and 4 per cent from miscellaneous species. The proportion of consults where prescribing of antibacterials was identified was 35.1 per cent for dogs, 48.5 per cent for cats and 36.6 per cent for rabbits. Within this population, 76 per cent of antibacterials prescribed were β-lactams, including the most common group of clavulanic acid-potentiated amoxicillin making up 36 per cent of the antibacterials prescribed. Other classes included lincosamides (9 per cent), fluoroquinolones and quinolones (6 per cent) and nitroimidazoles (4 per cent). Vancomycin and teicoplanin (glycopeptide class), and imipenem and meropenem (β-lactam class) prescribing was not identified. Prescribing behaviour varied between practices. For dogs and cats, the proportion of consults associated with the prescription of antibacterials ranged from 0.26 to 0.55 and 0.41 to 0.73, respectively.
AD Radford, PJ Noble, KP Coyne, RM Gaskell, PH Jones, JGE Bryan, C Setzkorn, Á Tierney and S Dawson (2011). Antibacterial prescribing patterns in small animal veterinary practice identified through SAVSNET: the Small Animal Veterinary Surveillance Network. The Veterinary Record. 169 (12): 310.
Developing a network for small animal disease surveillance - feature
A Radford, A Tierney, KP Coyne, RM Gaskell, PJ Noble, S Dawson, C Setzkorn, PH Jones, Buchan, JR Newton and JG Bryan (2010). Developing a network for small animal disease surveillance. The Veterinary Record. 167(13):472-474.
- SAVSNET can now survey prescription of all pharmaceutical agents, including those authorised for veterinary or human use
- Large scale involving lots of practices (457 sites), dogs (400,000), cats (200,000), and rabbits (13,000) over two years (2014-16)
- Pharmaceutical prescription common in all species (56% rabbits, 65% dogs, 69% cats)
- Vaccines most common prescription in all three species
- Pharmaceutical agents authorised for human use are a feature of prescribing practises in all three species (5% of canine prescriptions, 3% cats, 8% rabbits)
- We used the Simpon’s Diversity Index to define, for the first time, prescription diversity in veterinary species
- Rabbits were generally less diverse compared to dogs and cats (likely reflects more limited authorised and/or appropriate prescribing options)
- Multiple pharmaceutical agents are frequently prescribed within the same consultation