Socioecology of the canine population in the province of El Jadida, Morocco.
Understanding the socioecology of domestic dog populations is essential for effective disease control, especially canine rabies. In Morocco, since 1986, the control efforts and plans put in place by the government have failed to eradicate this disease; this is because the management of the canine population was not taken into account during the establishment of these plans. It is against the background that this study was designed to estimate the dog population and determine its socioecological characteristics, as well as investigate the attitude of the inhabitants towards the dogs. A stratified random sampling was conducted using a structured questionnaire from May to December 2016. A total of 1931 households were interviewed, comprising 27.4% in urban areas and 72.6% in rural areas. A total of 3719 dogs were counted alongside a human population of 11302 for a dog: human ratio of 1:2.42 in rural areas and 1:46.58 in urban areas. The majority of dogs (92%) in rural areas were not vaccinated against rabies. In urban areas, about 88.5% were vaccinated against rabies. In addition, 78.5% of dogs in rural areas were free roaming, with more than 53% of births being abandoned by their owners, resulting in a large stray and feral dog population and increasing the potential for continued transmission of rabies virus. There was strong association between breed and rabies vaccination (p<0.05) and confinement with body condition score.