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Evaluating the physical welfare of dogs in commercial breeding facilities in the United States

By Moriah J. Hurt, Candace Croney (adviser)

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Despite high levels of public concern, the state of commercial breeding (CB) dog welfare is largely unknown. Therefore, this study aimed to characterize the physical welfare of dogs in CB facilities and their environment in Indiana. This study specifically aimed 1) to characterize dog foot health in CB facilities as a function of the length of time dogs were housed on a given flooring substrate, 2) to characterize visual dog body cleanliness and visual kennel cleanliness as a function of the flooring substrate, 3) to determine the efficacy of kennel cleaning procedures and 4) to characterize the dog dental and ear health in CB facilities. With these aims in mind, physical examinations assessing foot, hock and elbow health; periodontal disease (PD) and ear health were performed on 118 dogs at five CB facilities in Odon, Indiana. Indoor flooring types were diamond-shaped coated expanded metal, polypropylene, or concrete. Dogs also had access to concrete outdoor runs and play yards containing natural surfaces. Time housed at the facility and body condition (BCS) were likely to influence foot health. Therefore, additional data collected included length of time housed at the facility and BCS. To characterize kennel and dog body cleanliness, visual cleanliness scores (scale 1-5; 1= clean) were recorded for both. To determine fecal contamination, kennel floors were swabbed after routine cleaning using electrostatic dry cloths, and later cultured for E. coli. Breed size and age likely influenced PD, so data was collected for both. PD (scale of 0-4; 0=normal), ear erythema as well as ear debris and excess hair (scale 1-4; 1= normal) were also visually scored.


Katie Osborn

Date 2016
Publisher Purdue University
Location of Publication 610 Purdue Mall, West Lafayette, IN 47907
Department Comparative Pathobiology
Degree Master of Science
Language English
  1. Animal health and hygiene
  2. Animal housing
  3. Animal welfare
  4. Breeding program
  5. Dogs
  6. Ear
  7. Feet
  8. Kennels
  9. Mammals
  10. Teeth.
  11. welfare