The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies

Street dogs to benefit from app that keeps canine health on track

Improved care for street dogs is the goal of a new smartphone app, called 'Dog Welfare Assessment' devised by an international team of animal welfare experts from the School's Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education.

Heather and her dogs
Heather Bacon with her rescued street dogs, Mathilda and Mothi.

The Dog Welfare Assessment app will support vital work in clinics across the world that provide care for stray dogs – an estimated 200 million worldwide.

It will enable clinic staff to track the wellbeing of dogs as they go through so-called catch-neuter-return – a common public health strategy in countries with high numbers of strays.

Animal clinics

During the process – which is key to stabilising the street dog numbers – stray dogs are taken in by local animal clinics and sterilised before being released. Vets say, however, that the welfare of individual dogs can be overlooked during capture, transport or surgery.

It will be launched on Friday (6th April) at the British Small Animal Veterinary Association Annual Congress in Birmingham and will be available online from April.

Asia 

The new app – developed at the University of Edinburgh and piloted across Asia and Africa – will support staff to monitor welfare, spot signs of distress and develop strategies to improve care.

The app is based on research funded by Dogs Trust.

Humane street dog management is key to both animal and human health. However, in any situation involving capture, transport and surgery, there is the potential for welfare problems to arise. This innovative app will support handlers to recognise potential problems and improve care.

Heather BaconApp project leader, Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, University of Edinburgh

The app is very user-friendly and will have a big impact on our ability to care for these dogs.

Manish NepalApp pilot user, Kathmandu

 

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