Shelters or cat farms are increasingly frequent in large cities. However, a small number of cats in these locations carry latent or persistently eliminating infectious agents. Poor adherence to euthanasia (in some cases), poor nutrition and stress facilitate the spread of infectious agents and the development of disease.
The scarce financial condition of these places predisposes to overpopulation, precariousness in hygiene measures, deficient or absent immunization and the non-testing of individuals for important infectious diseases. Employees who work in these environments tend to be highly motivated with the cause, but have a deficiency in training in local hygiene measures, their impact on the spread of infections and the management of patients. The professional consulted to guide the technical staff of these shelters must establish a preventive management program that will include aspects related to the regulation of the housing conditions of the cats, quarantine, hygiene and nutrition measures, testing for some infectious diseases, institute an immunization program and castration, and measures to reduce stress.
Adequate arrangement of the shelter premises or their adaptation can assist in the control of infectious diseases. Ideally, there are at least four distinct areas:
• a quarantine area for new members;
• a second isolation area for cats that are sick or potentially infected;
• a third area to accommodate healthy retrovirus negative cats;
• and finally, an area to accommodate pregnant or lactating cats and their litters.
The quarantine procedure must be a minimum of three weeks. This measure does not apply only to new entrants to shelters or breeds, but to the homes of owners with few cats or even a single cat in the household. This period allows to evaluate the possibility of incubation of infections by parvovirus and calicivirus or the reactivation of latent infections by feline herpesvirus, as well as the vaccination schedule of these new entrants begins to become effective. In fact, the quarantine period should be at least six weeks, when considering the possibility of seroconversion to Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (VIF) and detection of viremia by Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV).
The proper procedure is to retest the cats for retroviruses at the end of the six-week quarantine. In this period, antibodies to VIF and antigenemia to FeLV become detectable. FeLV’s RT-PCR for viral load (RNA) is highly sensitive and detects the presence of virus genetic material one week after exposure. Cats that show any sign of infectious disease or are viremic for FeLV should be removed to the isolation area. The isolation area must be separated from the other areas of the shelter and, preferably, it should be under construction different from that which houses the other areas.
The accommodation of healthy retrovirus negative cats should be in small groups and vaccinated against parvovirus, calicivirus, herpesvirus, FeLV and rabies. It is desirable that the room has an external attachment, but the protection screens must be adequate to avoid the interaction of cats with other animals. Cats should have shaded areas that protect them from rain and cold, with access to fresh water.
At each entrance to the different areas of the shelter or breeding area, a place must be available to wash hands, clean footwear on footbeds and the use of gloves. At each entrance and exit of the enclosures these hygiene procedures must be adopted. People working on the site must wear uniforms or clothing different from those worn when they arrived from the street. Cleaning, disinfection and feeding materials and equipment must be available in each room and left exclusively in these places, without exchange between areas. In quarantine and isolation areas, these measures must be more careful, performed in the approach of each individual cat and must be of restricted access.
Cleaning environments and materials should begin with the use of detergent to remove organic matter first, before disinfection. Disinfectants that inactivate non-enveloped viruses such as parvovirus and calicivirus are those with aldehydes, peracetic acid, monopersulfate or hypochlorite. Disinfectants with quaternary ammonia and alcohol do not inactivate the parvovirus. It is important to emphasize that the correct dilution of the product and the contact time for proper disinfection must be obeyed.
Each room that accommodates cats must have enough toilet trays. You can use the rule of a tray for each cat, plus an additional one. Drinkers and feeders should be as far away from the toilet trays as possible and also in sufficient quantity. The shelter or breeding facility must have appropriate strategies for environmental enrichment such as scratching posts, toys, shelves, beds and places where cats can hide. These measures reduce the stress of the site, decreasing the risk of some cats developing FIP from a coronavirus infection and also developing rhinotracheitis due to reactivation of latent herpesvirus infection.
Stress is triggered by unpleasant stimuli such as noises, unfamiliar odors, uncomfortable temperatures, inappropriate handling of cats, people, animals and unfamiliar environments. Feline facial pheromone can be used as an auxiliary measure for environmental enrichment. Pheromone is a chemical messenger that triggers a social reaction in members of the same species. It alters the emotional state of cats via the limbic and hypothalamus systems in situations that generate stress, avoiding or minimizing anxiety. The use of cages should be restricted to specific situations with medical indication, such as those cats quarantined after surgery or due to illness and those in the isolation area. In all places of the shelter, care must be taken that the temperature remains between 10º and 29ºC,
The population density of cats in each room must be kept to a minimum. The prevalence of infectious diseases increases with the overpopulation of cats in the shelter, in addition to being a highly stressful situation. When groups are formed over time, it is important to pay attention to social compatibility between members. Puppies should only be kept in the maternity area with their mothers. In rooms with more than 6 cats, coronavirus infection is almost always present.
Each healthy cat aged six weeks or more should be immunized against parvovirus, calicivirus and herpesvirus by using live attenuated vaccines, as they induce rapid immunity. It is necessary to include FeLV vaccines in the immunization schedule, especially when considering the high frequency of infection among cats in the national context. Live attenuated vaccines should be avoided in cats infected with retroviruses or chronic diseases, as well as those with gingival stomatitis and calicivirus infection. Reinforcements should be given every three to four weeks, up to 16 to 20 weeks of age. For cats over 16 weeks, two doses of vaccines will be sufficient. In the context of shelters, farms or properties with more than three cats, the reinforcements must be annual. Sick and pregnant cats should be assessed individually for the need for immunization. Pregnant women should never receive live attenuated vaccines against parvovirus.
Hygiene is one of the most important measures in preventing infectious diseases. Inadequate hygiene measures and poor immunization can favor outbreaks of infectious diseases such as those induced by virulent calicivirus. Calicivirus can survive for three days on the phone keys and for one to two days on the computer mouse. Parvovirus and Cystoisospora oocytes can survive in the environment for months to years. Indirect transmission by people or fomites is of great risk in environments with high turnover of cats. The disinfection and decontamination of objects in the shelter, such as washing and disinfecting hands, should always be reinforced.
4 PET MARKET TRENDS FOR 2020
The year has turned and some trends that have crawled in 2019 are successful bets for the pet market in 2020.
According to IBGE, this year the pet market will reach sales of R $ 20 billion. This segment is constantly growing and evolving, so to stand out from the competition, the tip is to invest in quality, transparency, technology and innovation.
With that in mind, we will cover in this post the four main trends for this year. Check and update your business!
1 – SUSTAINABLE PRODUCTS
The concern with the environment and sustainability reached the Brazilian pet market. The focus on sales of sustainable products can be a great idea to improve or boost your business.
Currently, there are pet beds made of tires, wooden scratching posts for cats and other accessories and biodegradable products that are gaining space in the market.
2 – NATURAL FOODS AND SNACKS
The change of habit and the search for healthier food is clear, and of course this is no different when talking to pets. After all, anyone who follows this type of diet follows a “philosophy of life”, so she seeks to provide the same food option to your animal.
An example of a successful company in this trend is BF Foods, the RS company, invested in vegetarian snacks for dogs in three versions: fruits, vegetables and care energy (açaí) – which currently represent 30% of the company’s sales.
3 – DOG WALKER
One of the 2020 professions is Dog Walker. This professional is responsible for walking with pets that need at least one walk in the day.
If you have a clinic, consider including this service among your offerings, increasing its versatility and profitability.
4 – PET SHOP, BATH AND MOBILE GROOMING
With the even more hectic routine, many people are unable to take time to take their pets to bathe or shear. Thinking about it, the mobile bath and grooming services came into existence and are already a successful reality.
Now that you know the main trends in the pet market for 2020, start planning and implementing innovations in your business!
IT’S TIME TO INNOVATE IN THE PET MARKET.
More than faithful companions, animals are considered true family members, according to the Pets Study by QualiBest. This is one of the main trends of the Pet Market and the expectation is that this vision of tutors will gain even more strength in 2020.
If you have a business in this area, it is essential to update and learn about the main trends to innovate even more and win new customers in this new year that has just started.
We have separated some of the main trends for you to implement in your business or to serve as inspiration for you to start a new project this year.
When it comes to health, the pet market is full of innovative examples of success. Organic food, health plans, massage and physiotherapy for the pet are just a few examples of business.
The idea of this niche is to reveal to the tutor the importance of caring for the animal and how this care makes all the difference in life expectancy and quality of life for the pet.
Recalling how we started our article, the trend that prevailed in 2019 and will only become even stronger in 2020 is that more and more guardians will start to see their animals as members of the family.
Thus, niches within the pet market began to emerge: pet beauty products, pet food, pet parties and other options beyond extravagant.
All that the modern consumer wants is to perform daily services without having to leave home. And this is already possible when we are talking about some services for pets.
Mobile Pet Shop or Mobile Veterinarian ( renseignement téléphonique vétérinaire geoallo ) are already two of the most requested facilities for those who have a busy life and want to save time with other activities in their free time.
There are also services for the tutor who leaves the house and stays out all day, leaving the pet alone. Walkers, dogsitters and pet daycare are already a reality nowadays, with a focus on entertaining the animal all day while the owner cannot.
The Pet Market is increasingly expanding. That is why it is important to keep an eye on the main trends to expand knowledge or implement an innovative idea in your company.
After reading the article, we hope that you have chosen the best opportunities to grow your business this year or even invest in a new project. Good luck in business in 2020!