Aileigh Kay, Jason B. Coe, David Pearl and Ian Young, academics from the Department of Population Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College and Ryerson University’s School of Occupational and Public Health have published a scoping review of articles about pet population dynamics.
Nearly a thousand internationally published articles on the topic of companion animal population dynamics are summarized in this review, indicating the global importance of the topic. The majority of the articles investigated or discussed control practices (758, 81.4%). The quantity of research in these areas offers future opportunities for systematic review and meta-analysis.
Reproduction control programs were the most commonly investigated control program among the included research articles, specifically TNR and non-surgical control methods such as chemical castration and immunocontraception. These areas of research provide potential opportunities for further knowledge synthesis activities to determine a more accurate overall measure of the efficacy of such control programs.
Primary research consistently reported variations in results which also provides opportunities for future study. Synthesizing research in this way would allow stakeholders, from across different fields, to more easily access and in turn understand the current state of knowledge on companion animal population dynamics. A number of research gaps, warranting further investigation, were identified in relation to other control practices (such as public education), population dynamics, surveillance, and the public and stakeholders’ views on free roaming and unwanted companion animals. As more relevant research is conducted on free roaming and unwanted companion animals, this review should continue to be updated to identify ongoing research gaps, to identify priorities for research and, to inform control community programs and policies.