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Table 3 Advantages and limitations to data sources used for health surveillance in dogs

From: Approaches to canine health surveillance

Data source Advantages Limitations Applications
Pet insurance databases Large size Difficult to validate Agria Pet Insurance data analysis in Sweden [15]
Defined denominator Questionable representativeness of the general population Pet Protect insurance data analysis in UK [58, 69]
High reliability for breed and sex Loss of data on low-cost or excluded disorders
Coded diagnoses
Referral practice clinical records Good diagnostic reliability? Referral bias Veterinary Medical Data Base (VMDB) [75]
Coded diagnoses? Poorly defined denominator
Large databases Poorly representative
Primary-care practice clinical records Large databases Diagnostic reliability? Banfield Pet Hospital [104]
Highly representative? Technical complexities NCAS [5]
Coded diagnoses Only events with veterinary care NCASP [116]
Defined denominator VetCompass [47]
Generalisability SAVSNET [129]
CEVM [130]
Veterinary cancer registries Human registries common Referral bias Veterinary Medical Data Base (VMDB) [75]
Good diagnostic reliability Poorly defined denominator Danish Veterinary Cancer Registry [137].
Poorly representative
Questionnaire-based data collection Relatively inexpensive Response rate The KC/BSAVA UK health survey of purebred dogs [148].
Flexible Difficult to validate
Can nest within other study designs Loss of information on temporality
Canine health schemes Large databases Poorly representative BVA/KC hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia scheme [194]
Diagnostic reliability Selection bias BVA/KC elbow dysplasia scheme [195]
Linkage to KC pedigree data The BVA/KC/ISDS eye scheme [172].
Permanent animal identification
Other companion animal surveillance systems in the UK Relatively inexpensive Under-reporting SARSS [176]
Poorly defined denominator  
Selection bias DACTARI [186]
Poor generalisability CICADA [189]