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Evidence-Based Medicine in Canine Reproduction: Quality of Current Available Literature

Authors


Author’s address (for correspondence): Wolfgang Heuwieser, Clinic for Animal Reproduction, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin, Germany. E-mail: heuwieser.wolfgang@vetmed.fu-berlin.de

Contents

The objective of this study was to evaluate the quality of published literature on reproduction in dogs. A systematic search in online databases revealed 287 papers that met the inclusion criteria. For evaluation a questionnaire comprising 40 criteria regarding materials and methodology, study design, statistics, presentation and information content, applicability and conclusions was developed. In a pre-test including seven independent scientists the applicability and explanatory power of the questionnaire and its results were validated. Out of 287 publications evaluated, 90 (31.4%) were classified as clinical trials. The remaining 197 publications were case reports or contained information based on personal experience. Not a single meta-analysis was found. Sixty (66.7%) of the 90 clinical trials included a control group. Randomization was conducted in 23 and blinding in eight articles respectively. In total five articles were determined as randomized, controlled and blinded clinical trials. Information content of the publications was variable concerning details on included animals, type or dosage of used remedies or conducted interventions. For example, in 99.7% of the articles, the exact number of animals was given, but in 79.8%, housing and feeding of the animals were not described. Statistical procedures of clinical trials were determined adequate in 55.6%. However, the data of 67.9% of the articles were evaluated to be not sufficient to draw valid conclusions. This study revealed evidence of deficits in the field of canine reproduction. The demand for more high quality clinical research is obvious. Requisite for the further implementation of the evidence-based veterinary medicine is an improvement of the quantity and the quality of well-designed, conducted and reported clinical trials. The practitioner should always assess the quality of information before implementing results into practice to provide best available care for the animals.

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