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Eschle, Simone; Hartmann, Katrin; Rieger, Anna; Fischer, Sebastian; Klima, Andre and Bergmann, Michele (2020): Canine vaccination in Germany: A survey of owner attitudes and compliance.
In: PLOS One 15(8), e0238371 [PDF, 665kB]


Background: Vaccination is the most important preventive measure for protection against infectious diseases in humans and companion animals. Nevertheless, scepticism about the safety and importance of vaccines is increasing in human and in veterinary medicine. Although owner attitudes towards vaccination have been investigated in cats, there are no similar studies in dogs. The goals of this study were therefore to investigate the vaccination status of dogs in Germany, to determine owner compliance with vaccination and to identify factors that play a role in owners' decisions to have their dogs vaccinated. Methods Data were collected from August 2018 to February 2019 using an online survey targeting dog owners in Germany. A total of 3,881 questionnaires were evaluated, and factors associated with the vaccination status of dogs were determined by a linear logistic regression model using Akaike information criterion. Cohen's kappa statistic was used to evaluate agreement between questionnaire and 340 vaccination passports submitted voluntarily by owners. Results: A total of 46.8% (n = 1,818/3,881) of dogs were vaccinated with core vaccines according to current guidelines with the lowest vaccination rate for leptospirosis (50.1%;n = 1,941/3,874). Dog's age (16 weeks to 15 months) (odds ratio (OR): 3.08;95% CI: 2.05-4.68), type (working dog) (OR: 2.06;95% CI: 1.22-3.53) and travelling abroad within previous 36 months (OR: 1.82;95% CI: 1.12-2.96) had the strongest 'positive' association with the vaccination status. Recommendation from a veterinarian not to vaccinate against leptospirosis had the strongest 'negative' association (OR: 0.08;95% CI: 0.04-0.18). Conclusion The study revealed a need for improvement in vaccination compliance because of inadequate vaccination coverage, especially for leptospirosis, in dogs. Factors influencing owner compliance were numerous. Vaccination recommendations made by the veterinarian had a strong association with the vaccination status and should be used to increase canine vaccination rates.

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