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  1. Why do people choose the dogs they do and how does that influence the health and welfare of dogs?


    How can what we know – and don’t know – about these complexities inform our efforts to educate people and safeguard the well-being of our canine companions?

    A new open access article is an excellent, comprehensive review of published evidence about factors influence dog acquisition:

    Acquiring a Pet Dog: A Review of Factors Affecting the Decision-Making of Prospective Dog Owners
    By Katrina E. Holland, Dogs Trust.  Animals 2019, 9(4), 124

     

    The ‘Simple Summary’:
    “Each year, many people around the world get a pet dog. With so many different types and breeds of dogs available, and a variety of sources from which to obtain a dog, the process of getting a dog can be complex. The decisions involved in this process are likely influenced by a variety of human- and dog-related factors and this review explores the factors that appear to be the most important.”

    The paper contains a wealth of information and extensive review of research on the topic.

    Key points:

    • “Across the stages of dog acquisition there is potential for practices that may promote or compromise canine welfare.”
    • “those working in the canine welfare sector, [must] refine their ability to identify and respond to trends in the behavior of potential dog owners.”
    • “The most widely reported factors associated with acquisition behavior include: the dog’s physical appearance, behavior and health; social influences, such as trends in the popularity of certain breeds; demographic and socioeconomic factors; and the owner’s previous ownership experience.”
    • “Overall, the research discussed in this paper highlights that complex interactions likely underpin the various factors that might influence prospective owners’ motivators and behaviors.”

    COMPLEX!  That is the real take home message.  

    don't know graphic.pngMany in the dog world have been trying to get the message out to people about the risks for poor health and compromised welfare for certain breeds and similar concerns based on the sources of dogs.  However, for those from welfare and veterinary backgrounds especially, it seems obvious that getting a healthy pet should be the number one priority.  Much of the cited research makes it clear that – although the motivations are complex – health is not at the top of the list for many who are making the decision to get a dog.  Even if people do ‘research’ or seek advice, it may not sway them from a deep-seated preference for a specific breed.  This may be most marked for those with an affinity for brachycephalic breeds which may be based on their ‘infantile” appearance, the dogs’ strong human attachment.

    I have said in presentations and articles that if a consumer's strongest desire is for, e.g. a dog with a specific appearance, with specific behavior traits, maybe even related to the need for intense care-giving ... then stressing the importance of health may not be effective. I liken it to, e.g, telling a young person who is intent on acquiring a fast, loud, trendy car that they should, first and foremost, be looking for a vehicle that has low fuel consumption.  The information being provided may be about a factor not even on their radar. 

    3-19-2019-4thidhw-postcard8inx3in.pngThese challenges and issues all underlie our focus at the 4th International Dog Health Workshop (IDHW) we are combining attention to addressing issues related to Extremes and Exaggerations (of conformation) with identifying communication strategies to promote human behavior change.   


    At the 4th IDHW we also have a theme on Supply and Demand, which is integrally involved with/influenced by these same issues.  Even if people do adequate research on ideal sources of acquisition for dogs (e.g. approved breeders) they may not actually access the better sources due to, if not impulse buying, at least a desire for a timely purchase. An additional concern is that consumers may be oblivious as to the actual source of their dog.  Is the ‘breeder’ - selling online or kindly  offering to meet you somewhere to save you trouble finding their kennel - a good, health-conscious breeder or a representative of a puppy mill?    Have the dogs at shelters/rescues been purchased from auctions or puppy farms – with good intention, perhaps – but with what ramifications.? How do you determine a community-based, good quality rescue from what is essentially a commercial re-homing business? And again, source might not be high on that decision-making list for many consumers, perhaps more a matter of convenience.

    We know that the best-qualified and highest quality breeders cannot come close to supplying demand. In some countries, e.g. Sweden, rules and societal pressure for responsible dog ownership exist and are enforced, and welfare is very high.  In general, people do not acquire pets if they cannot fulfill the criteria.  Elsewhere? As there has been an increased acknowledgement of dogs being a ‘member of the family’ and ‘good for human health and welfare’, in many countries the pet industry, veterinarians, and even welfare groups have pushed for increased dog ownership.  This may have been with good intentions, but an increase in demand, without a consideration of supply, has supported the increase in commercial breeding, questionable online marketing, illegal or uncontrolled trade/importation and even proliferation of sources which are seemingly impossible to regulate.

     COMPLEX!


    The author of the attached paper has done a good job covering all the possible stages of decision-making involved with acquiring a dog, but admits that even the extensive literature has limitations.  There are so many factors – attitudes, social, physical – about the people – about the dogs, etc. – that no studies have been able to truly address the complete picture.  Given the complexity, it seems clear that effective education and communication will never be easy, straightforward or ‘one-size fits all’.  To effect human behavior change the messages must be targeted based on specific breeds (e.g. brachycephalic breed acquisition seems different than for other breeds), consumer characteristics (e.g. age, attitudes and other factors), and perhaps region, country and more.

     

    It is obvious that this will need collective and collaborative actions across many stakeholder groups and there will no doubt be specific actions identified at the 4th IDHW as we work together to enhance the health and welfare of dogs.  

    Thanks to Katarina Holland and Dogs Trust for this contribution to the literature on this complex topic.

     


     

    Other resources:

    don'tknowcare.pngArticle | Video

    Don't know or don't care? Presentation at Human Behaviour Change for Animals Conference 2016.

    PDF

    Don’t Know or Don’t Care_Bonnett_Sandoe_2016 HumanBehaviourChangeConference

  2. 2019 Lewis TW, Mellersh CS. Changes in mutation frequency of eight Mendelian inherited disorders in eight pedigree dog populations following introduction of a commercial DNA test. Plos One, https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0209864

    DNA Testing - General

    Subject: DNA Testing

    Type: Research

    Journal/Source: peer-reviewed research publication

    Authors/Researchers: University, Kennel Club (IPFD Partners); HGTD Participants

    Recommended For: Veterinarians, Owners/Breeders

    This study is one of the very few to investigate the impact of DNA testing on changing a dog population's disease risk. The research looked at determining changes in frequency of disease causing mutations (how common a mutant gene is in a population) as a result of breeding-pair selection based on DNA test results. The results indicated that there has been an overall decline in disease causing mutations in the 8 diseases in 8 breeds investigated. While the paper recognises that there can be variations in how quickly a disease is reduced or eliminated (such as breed population size), it concluded that where dog breeders appear to incorporate DNA test results as part of breeding plans, there is success in decreasing the frequency of mutation. The study looked at: prcd-PRA in Labrador Retriever and Cocker Spaniel, HC in Staffordshire Bull Terriers, EIC in Labrador Retriever, PLL in Mini-Bull Terrier, EF and DE/CC in Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, PRA rcd-4 in Gordon, and Irish Setter, and spinocerebellar ataxia in Parson Russell Terrier. Within the UK at least, this represents a spectrum of large and small breeds, and generally "known" diseases within the breeds.

    2019 Lewis TW, Mellersh CS. Changes in mutation frequency of eight Mendelian inherited disorders in eight pedigree dog populations following introduction of a commercial DNA test. Plos One, https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0209864

     

    See also:

    Nearly 20 Years of DNA Testing – What Can We Learn? :  IPFD CEO's blog post with discussion of wider implications of the study's approach and findings; based on Ian Seath's commentary (Dog-ED: Social Enterprise) with a breeder/health council perspective on the article above.

    IPFD Harmonization of Genetic Testing (HGTD) and search on  the mentioned diseases for more information on the the condition, phenes, tests and more.

     

     

     

     

  3. National Kennel Clubs are major stakeholders in the governance and regulation of dog breeding. As such, they have been the targets of major criticism related to dog health issues. It is therefore interesting to investigate to what extent health and welfare is a priority for kennel clubs (KCs), and what are the capacities and actions implemented to deal with those issues.

     

    A survey was sent in 2017 to 40 KCs with 15 answers received from 11 European (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Latvia, The Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the UK) and 4 non-European countries (Australia, Mexico, Uruguay, and the USA) aimed at describing and comparing information across countries in dog breed health management (Wang et al. 2018).

     

    First, in order to determine the population of dogs under the responsibility of KC, the percentages of all dogs being registered as ‘pedigree’ dogs were estimated considering the 15 surveyed KCs, as well 35 other countries, using sources such as the FCI online statistics. Across countries, the average and median percentage of the entire dog population that were registered pedigree dogs, respectively was 20% and 14%.  However, there was a large variation across countries, with European Nordic countries showing, in general, a larger proportion of pedigree dogs (see Figure 1). This aspect is of importance, since it is expected that the responsibility toward general dog health, as well as the capacity to improve the situation, relates to the proportion of dogs that are at least to some extent under the influence of the KCs.

    Fig1.jpg 

    When asked about the current challenges, KCs ranked exaggerated morphological features and inherited disorders as the most important issues, showing those two problems are now clearly identified as priorities (Figure 2). By contrast, issues such as economic constraints to breeding were rarely viewed as problematic for dog breeding. Kennel clubs also commented on challenges related to the difficulty to find balance between increased regulation and the risk of losing members; to achieve consensus and compliance of breeders and clubs toward breed health strategies; as well as lack of capacity regarding information provision and education.

     

    Fig2.jpg

    Surveyed countries showed great diversity in terms of information management, implementation of breeding strategies, recommendations, requirement, restriction and tools. Most KCs indicated that information on genealogies, breed standards and dog shows were recorded in their data base for most, if not all breeds; however, health information (e.g. screening examinations, genetic tests) was more sparsely recorded and provided to the public, both for breeds within countries and across countries (Figure 3). For instance, KCs from Austria, Australia, Denmark, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Norway, the UK and the USA provided health information status on pedigrees and in online data bases, but in general, not all breeds were covered. When considering implementation of breeding strategies, six countries indicated that there were no breeding strategies implemented by any breed clubs, while in three countries (Austria, Sweden and the Netherlands) it was reported that each breed club had its breeding strategy.

    Fig3.jpg

     

    Several countries indicated that they were planning to develop breeding tools and provide health information to users, and for instance, France and Belgium reported having ongoing work to develop tools to provide online pedigree with health information or estimate breeding values for complex disorders such as hip dysplasia.

     

    Although limited by the relatively low number of countries considered, this survey showed that despite large differences in their approach to breeding policies and management, the awareness to improve breeding and health of pedigree dogs was strong among the surveyed Kennel Clubs. The dog breeding world is increasingly global in scope.  The understanding of both the diversity of health initiatives and the potential for coordinated actions internationally is key to further efforts to promote dog health and welfare.

     

    There is probably still a lot of progress to be made in term of information provision and collection, as well as planning breeding strategies considering dog health. In particular, finding a consensus in terms of constraints and priorities for breeding, is expected to be particularly challenging for Kennel Clubs and breed clubs in order to implement those strategies. Although the situations differ across countries, exchanges of experiences may surely help to find the most adequate solutions toward improvement of health and welfare.

     

      

    Reference:

    Wang, S., Laloë, D., Missant, F. M., Malm, S., Lewis, T., Verrier, E., ... & Leroy, G. (2018). Breeding policies and management of pedigree dogs in 15 national kennel clubs. The Veterinary Journal. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tvjl.2018.02.018

     

     

  4. Hello all!

     

    Brenda’s blog gave a great overview of the American Kennel Club National Parent Club Canine Health Conference we attended earlier this month in St. Louis, Missouri. I am grateful for the sponsorship from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals provided to myself and the 31 other veterinary students in attendance.

     

    This conference, like the 3rd International Dog FullSizeRender 7.jpgHealth Workshop, was an opportunity to learn more about cutting edge research that is improving dog OFA Logo 2017.jpghealth. Topics were varied and included tick borne disease, epilepsy, lymphoma, and reproductive health. It was exciting to see my Colorado State University (CSU) Immunology professor, Dr. Anne Avery, present on her lymphoma research. 

     

     

     

    Right: View from the top of the St. Louis Gateway Arch

     

     

    Veterinary Student Attendees at the AKC National Parent Club ConferenceAfter completing a CSU clinical orthopedics rotation a few weeks prior to the conference, it was especially interesting to hear what I had learned about Omega-3 fatty acids in my rotation be reiterated by presenter Dr. Wendy Baltzer from Massey University. Her Purina funded study described that a diet high in Omega-3 fatty acids post-surgical correction of cranial cruciate ligament disease is helpful and results in less progression of arthritis and lameness.  

    I’m am looking forward to graduation in 9 months and continued  involvement in dog health. The opportunities I have received since first starting my IPFD project have been endless and I am very thankful for the DogWellNet.com community!

     

    Left: Veterinary Student Attendees at the AKC National Parent Club Health Conference

     
     
  5. Well, it's been 10 weeks... and I've learned quite a lot. I hope you have, too! As my project comes to an end, Nina and I wanted to give our viewers a big thank you. I hope you enjoyed this blog series and feel more confident about what your role is in solving antimicrobial resistance (AMR). We would also like to extend a huge thank you to the Skippy Frank Fund who sponsored this entire project, and a thank you to Dr. Jason Stull and Dr. Brenda Bonnett for being wonderful mentors every step of the way.

     

    It is important to keep in mind that science is an ever-changing field that is constantly updated with new material. For example there's a new study that just came out suggesting that not finishing a course of antibiotics may not cause resistance, which is contrary to the current belief. Here is the link to this article if you would like to read more about it. Even though this blog is over, I hope that you continue your AMR education as new scientific data arises. 

     

    To complete my summer project, I have constructed a poster that I will be presenting at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine's Research Day.

    Take a look!

     

    Slide1.thumb.PNG.2c6575c76e1d828f2cfd208703927bf8.PNG

     

     

    Here is the downloadable PDF version:

    IPFD Poster.pdf

     

     

     

     

    Be sure to keep checking www.DogWellNet.com for more information on dog health and wellness!

     

     

     

  6. The Finnish Kennel Club (FKC) has finished the protocol and the instructions for fitness (walk) testing of breeding dogs in brachycephalic breeds. The test is similar to the one used by the Dutch Kennel Club.

     

    Finnish test instructions have been developed by veterinarians doing research on BOAS. Their results concerning the Bulldog have already been published. The researchers are still continuing their research and testing Pugs and French Bulldogs, whose results will be published later.

     

    According to the Finnish guidelines, a dog gets an approved walk test result if he/she walks 1000 meters in 12 minutes or less, and recovers sufficiently from the walk within the recovery time. In the future, it is also possible to have different time limits for different breeds. The test result is failed if

    • The dog is, based on the veterinarian’s initial examination, showing signs of serious respiratory symptoms (including also severe hyperthermia).
    • The supervising veterinarian interrupts the test due to the dog’s serious respiratory symptoms.
    • The dog is not able to successfully complete the test and/or recover from it sufficiently within the required time.

    The FKC arranged the first pilot test in February, and the second pilot will be arranged in May. Also orientation for veterinarians will be held at that second pilot. After that, breed clubs are able to arrange the tests by their own.  The tests have to be carried out in accordance with the FKC's Guideline for walk tests, in order to get the test result recorded in the FKC breeding database.

     

    The FKC is following the development and use of different tests in other countries. It is also having close collaboration with the other Nordic Kennel Clubs on this subject. The aim is, in the long run, and with the help of accumulated experience, to develop the test further, to be as appropriate as possible.  

     

    All the information on the Finnish walk test can be found here.

  7. IPFD People Out and About

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    Recent Entries

    patricianolson
    Latest Entry

    By patricianolson,

    IPFD Board Member Dr. Patricia Olson was the keynote speaker at the Inaugural One Health Program at Midwestern University on October 8, 2015 (Downer’s Grove, Illinois). 

    Midwestern University also has one of the newest veterinary schools in the U.S. (Phoenix, Arizona).  Physicians were paired with veterinarians to deliver lectures on obesity, pneumonia, osteochondritis dissecans and epilepsy.  Dr. Olson’s lecture was on collaborative research, using the clues from animals to help advance both human and animal health/welfare. 

    See the pdf of her thought-provoking talk here: 

     

     

     


     

  8. blog-0240470001433429240.png

    Once a year, in October, the SKK Breeding Committee organizes a weekend course for

    breeding officials based on the book Dog breeding in theory and practice by Sofia Malm (SKK genetic expert) and Åsa Lindholm.

    blogentry-58-0-98774400-1433429215.png

     

     

     

     

     

    The Genetic Expert and The Breeding Consultant of the SKK Department for Breeding and Health are in charge of the course.

     

     

     

    The aim is to give breed clubs education and tools they need to work with breeding plans and breed-specific strategies.

     

     

     

    The contents of the course include basic genetics and guidance in how to conduct work at club level.

     

     

     

    There’s also a certain amount of self-directed studies.

     

     

     

     

    blogentry-58-0-62127900-1433429227.png

     

    Every other year, in April, this education is held specifically directed to hunting dog breed clubs.

     

     

  9. blogentry-68-0-75520200-1425905164_thumb

     

    On the podium:

    1st : Meisterhaus Signet Higher'N Higer ; Breed: Basenji ; Owner: Lise DURLOT and Dimitri HEBERT ; Breeder: Brenda CASSELL and Tad BOOKS

    2nd : Fall In Love Forest Ohara Of Bloom White ; Breed : Samoyede ; Owner: Mira MITKOVA ; Breeder: Elisabeth FAUCON

    3rd : Eternal Drago Of Nordic Forest ; Breed : Siberian Husky ; Owner and breeder: Valérie CHARNEAU

  • harmon long.png
    Harmonization of Genetic testing for Dogs (HGTD). Search out tests, diseases (phenes), and labs. Find resources for genetic counselling.

  • International Dog Health Workshops

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    REGISTER NOW for the 4th IDHW in the UK!
    Co-hosted by The Kennel Club and IPFD
    May 30th - June 1st, 2019

    4th IDHW - DWN's Pre-Meeting Resources

  • Our Partners

    • The Irish Kennel Club promotes the responsible ownership and breeding of dogs throughout Ireland through education, registration, training and support schemes and events.   Website: http://…
    • Raad van Beheer (The Dutch Kennel Club (DKC)) is the official kennel club of The Netherlands. Founded in 1902, it currently represents around 200 breed clubs with 150,000 members.   …
    • The Canadian Kennel Club (CKC) is the primary registry body for purebred dogs in Canada and currently recognizes 175 breeds. As a non-profit organization, the CKC is dedicated to encouraging, guidi…
    • The FCI was a Founding Partner of the International Partnership for Dogs; As of January 1, 2018, FCI is no longer an IPFD Partner.   The Fédération Cynologique Internationale is the World C…
    • The Kennel Club is the largest organization in the UK devoted to dog health, welfare and training. Its objective is to ensure that dogs live healthy, happy lives with responsible owners.   …
    • The Norwegian Kennel Club (NKC) was founded in 1898, and is the largest organisation for dog owners in Norway.   Website: https://www.nkk.no/english/category1045.html Norwegian Kennel Club…
    • Agria is one of the world’s leading animal insurers, specialising in small animal and equine insurance. Founded in Sweden over 120 years ago, Agria came to the UK in 2009 and is now a prominent feat…
    • The French Kennel Club - SOCIÉTÉ CENTRALE CANINE (SCC) - was founded in 1881 as a non-profit organization by dog fanciers aiming to replenish native dog breeds and to bring in and establish foreign…
    • The SKK - Svenka Kennelklubben (Swedish Kennel Club, in English), is Sweden's largest organisation dedicated to dogs and dog owners. We represent the interests of our 300,000 members – first time d…
    • Agria Djurförsäkring (Agria Animal Insurance) is one of the world's leading animal insurers specialising in small animal and equine insurance. The company dominates Scandinavian pet insurance and h…
    • Royal Canin is a global leader in pet health nutrition. In an industry that continues to adapt to popular trends in cat and dog food, our mission will remain the same; to constantly bring, through H…
    •   Mars Veterinary is a business unit of Mars Petcare, the world’s largest pet care provider. Their mission is to facilitate responsible pet care by enhancing the well-being and relationship bet…
    • The VDH - Verband für das Deutsche Hundewesen (German Kennel Club in English) is the foremost organisation representing the interests of dog-owners throughout Germany – the first address to find ou…
    • Suomen Kennelliitto (Finnish Kennel Club, in English) - Established in 1889, the Finnish Kennel Club is a nationwide expert organisation on canine matters. Its aim is to promote the breeding of ped…
    • The OFA was a Founding Partner of the International Partnership for Dogs; As of January 1, 2018, the OFA is no longer an IPFD Partner.    Founded and originally incorporated as a private no…
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