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pigs faceAssessing the welfare concerns of dogs sterilized at a free community clinic held in Kampala metropolitan area


Year: 2023

Zozianne Hoareau
Makerere University, Uganda

Supervisor(s): Dr Dickson Tayebwa, Makerere University, Uganda & Prof. Suzanne Millman, Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine, USA


The present study focused on identifying the welfare and ethical challenges for dogs’ sterilization during the free-community animal clinics conducted in Kampala Metropolitan Area, Uganda, from May-October 2023. Questionnaires were utilized to assess the owners’ knowledge and attitudes on the welfare of their animals, and transportation details. During the waiting period prior to surgery and in the recovery period after surgery, 91.30% and 63% of dogs did not receive any form of enrichment respectively. From the Animal Welfare Assessment Grid (AWAG), procedural events had the most negative impact on welfare averaging a score of 3.52.

In the follow-up, a week post-surgery, a significant percentage of dogs were healing normally (28.3 % of females, 30.4% of males) while infection at the surgical site was reported in 11.0% of females, 2.2% in males. Assessing behavioural change of dogs, 30 days post-operative, 42.9% (females) and 50.0% (males) reportedly had increased aggression levels. The knowledge and attitudes assessment of owners towards welfare revealed that generally, dog owners had a moderate level of knowledge but held negative attitudes towards it. These findings highlight crucial welfare and stress control points for dogs sterilized at free community clinics, which may influence the outcome of the surgery and later interactions with health-care professionals respectively.

The different approaches to data cleaning showed varied impacts in performance, with the comprehensive cleaning approach, which combined all modifications, showing the highest accuracy and F1 scores across most behaviours. The findings provided insights into the importance of data quality and context-specific modifications in optimising model performance in behaviour classification, which is a valuable tool in the welfare assessment of chicks in research environments.