Density estimates of rural dog populations and an assessment of marking methods during a rabies vaccination campaign in the Philippines

James E. Childs, Laura E. Robinson, Ramses Sadek, Anthony Madden, Mary Elizabeth Miranda, Noel L. Miranda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


We estimated the population density of dogs by distance sampling and assessed the potential utility of two marking methods for capture-mark-recapture applications following a mass canine rabies-vaccination campaign in Sorsogon Province, the Republic of the Philippines. Thirty villages selected to assess vaccine coverage and for dog surveys were visited 1 to 11 days after the vaccinating team. Measurements of the distance of dogs or groups of dogs from transect lines were obtained in 1088 instances (N = 1278 dogs; mean group size = 1.2). Various functions modelling the probability of detection were fitted to a truncated distribution of distances of dogs from transect lines. A hazard rate model provided the best fit and an overall estimate of dog-population density of 468/km2 (95% confidence interval, 359 to 611). At vaccination, most dogs were marked with either a paint stick or a black plastic collar. Overall, 34.8% of 2167 and 28.5% of 2115 dogs could be accurately identified as wearing a collar or showing a paint mark; 49.1% of the dogs had either mark. Increasing time interval between vaccination-team visit and dog survey and increasing distance from transect line were inversely associated with the probability of observing a paint mark. Probability of observing a collar was positively associated with increasing estimated density of the dog population in a given village and with animals not associated with a house. The data indicate that distance sampling is a relatively simple and adaptable method for estimating dog-population density and is not prone to problems associated with meeting some model assumptions inherent to mark-recapture estimators.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)207-218
Number of pages12
JournalPreventive Veterinary Medicine
Issue number1-4
StatePublished - Jan 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Dog
  • Mark-recapture
  • Philippines
  • Population estimation
  • Rabies virus vaccination
  • Sampling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Animals
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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