Pet ownership is common in modern society. In Portugal, 38% and 31% of all households own at least one dog or cat, respectively. Few studies have ascertained the knowledge of pet owners on pet ownership and zoonoses, and none have been carried out in Portugal. The aim of the present study was to assess household knowledge and practices related to pet ownership and zoonoses in northern Portugal. A face-to-face questionnaire was completed by 424 pet owners, from November 2019 to February 2020. Most respondents (97.2%) considered pets as an important part of the family, especially women (p = 0.036); 73.1% allowed their pets to live an indoor/outdoor life; 41.3% denied sharing the bed with their pets while 29% assumed they did it daily; 20.3% reported never kissing their pets/pets licking their faces. Furthermore, 73.6% considered animals as potential sources of human diseases, but only 25.9% reported knowing the definition of zoonoses; 96.9% considered the role of veterinarians important in protecting public health. The low level of knowledge of pet owners and the occurrence of high-risk behaviors indicates a need to strengthen communication between veterinarians, physicians, pet owners, and the general public towards reduce the risk of acquisition and transmission of zoonoses.
|Author Address||Department of Veterinary Sciences, School of Agrarian and Veterinary Sciences (ECAV), University of Tras-os-Montes e Alto Douro (UTAD), 5000-801 Vila Real, Portugal.firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com|
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