I have frequently heard people say that what they are doing is 'for the dogs'' when it might seem it is mainly for their own goals.- but the Swedish Kennel Club has posted an informative video about the Breed Specific Instructions that makes it clear that the only goal with this program is to promote the health and welfare of dogs. Renowned judges explain why they think their role in promoting health and welfare is so important. We have lots of information on the BSI and the Swedish Breed-Specific Breeding Strategies, in general (as well as, lists of breeds with breed specific strategies from several countries on DogWellNet.com and this video really puts it all in perspective.
We all know that health and welfare of dogs is the responsibility of all stakeholders in the dog world and judges are no exception. The impact of dog shows and the awarding of wins to specific dogs has a big impact on the public perception of pedigree dogs, in general, and also of specific breeds. It is crucial that dogs that achieve success in these increasingly 'prime time', public displays epitomize the best of the best - not just in looks, but also in health. All organizations licensing dog judges insist on 'judges education' but the BSI program takes it a step further, insisting that judges take responsibility in only promoting dogs without physical manifestations of conditions/ conformations that may limit health and welfare. The BSI process is followed in all Scandinavian countries, as well as several other European countries. A key part of the BSI process is the completion of reports by the judges (discussed in the video); and here is a link to an example of a report required for German Shepherd Dogs by Rad van Beheer in The Netherlands. The Canadian Kennel Club instituted an observer program in 2017, but I haven't found full details on the goals of the program. The AKC has a Field Rep program and, although at the moment I do not think these North American programs have breed-specific requirements similar to the BSI, clearly there are structures in place that could facilitate such an approach.
A striking comment in the video was that judges must be on the lookout for negative trends and help ensure that these do not progress. I am not a judge; I briefly showed dogs in the distant past; and I am often concerned by what I see at show events.
I was recently at the National Specialty of the French Bulldog Club of America in Louisville, KY, USA, at the end of October 2018. It was an honor to talk to the club members who are concerned about health issues in this breed. However, I was confused by seeing many dogs being shown that clearly had no actual tails (maybe 2 coccyx vertebrae), clearly so in the eyes of this veterinarian, and described as such by the competitors as a recent trend. And yet, I was repeatedly assured that 'the standard specifies that a French Bulldog must have a tail'.
Such a contradiction, such an extreme, would presumably not be allowed, under the BSI, especially when this is not a cosmetic change, but a structural one. It is particularly concerning given that we know that French Bulldogs have an increased risk for spinal abnormalities and a new paper suggests that selection for screw tails may have led to a syndrome of abnormalities in both English and French Bulldogs. Every one who has bred dogs knows that focus on one characteristic, especially going for extremes, can lead to occurrence of unforeseen consequences. Nothing happens in isolation with breeding and selection.
Congrats to the Swedes for this video and I hope it will encourage more judges to take an approach like this - regardless of whether or not they are under a requirement to do so. Because our activities really should be 'for the dogs' sake'.
Health before looks -- Collaborative action is urgently needed to stop the practice of extreme breeding in dogs and cats
This message was delivered to the European Parliament at an event organized by our Collaborating Partner the Federation of European Companion Animal Veterinary Associations (FECAVA) together with the EU Dog and Cat Alliance and the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe(FVE). (Download PDF below.)
This event was "aimed at ending the unnecessary suffering of dogs and cats bred with exaggerated features such as flat faces, narrowed nostrils,
skin folds and protruding eyes" and is part of the ongoing work, especially throughout Europe, to address health and welfare in brachycephalic breeds. The speakers represented the veterinary, welfare and breed organization perspectives on the issue. It was great to see this international, multi-stakeholder approach, similar to that we have promoted through the IPFD International Dog Health Workshops (IDHWs) and reflected in the many resources on the brachycephalic isssue on DogWellNet.com.
Kristin Prestrud (a veterinarian from another of our Partners, the Norwegian Kennel Club) put into perspective that although there are wide variations across dog breeds in form and function, there should be defined limits for extremes, so that selective breeding does not compromise health or welfare. The challenge, raised at our IDHWs is that those limits are not clear nor consistent across regions and cultures; we need research and collaborative work to define those limits. As Prestrud, explained, for pedigree dogs breeding happens according to written breed standards - however those are often open to interpretation and may vary widely across countries. "“We love that dogs look cute, that they have some particular look that we love. And so, short legs have got shorter, heavy bodies got heavier, long coats got longer, loose skin got looser, long ears got longer and wrinkles more extended. Not in all cases, not in all breeds, but in several breeds.” And when breeders select really strongly for some traits and restrict genetic input from outside, there is always the risk of reducing genetic variation."
The British Veterinary Association’s encouragement of data reporting of conformation altering surgery (and caesareans) - by veterinarians with the consent of owners - was described. Similar registers are underway in, e.g. Scandinavian countries. However, there are challenges to compliance with these programs and only time will tell whether they achieve the goal of determining the prevalence of dogs that need such surgery. Speakers also highlighted the role of veterinarians in this issue, saying, “we must be aware that there are a lot of vets who earn their money by doing this very expensive surgery."
I was encouraged to see that the discussion by the politicians did not focus simply on legislation of breeding as being the best solution. They discussed the need to control the marketing of unregistered puppies and kittens, “the majority of which are on the internet and are totally without control” . It was estimated that over half of puppies In the Netherlands come from unsupervised sources and it may be as high as 90% for some breeds, e.g. the French Bulldog. One of the members of parliament suggested that "efforts would be better focused on reducing demand by making extreme breed animals unfashionable. “We have to make unhealthy bad conformation unfashionable, it has to stop.”"
And, so, as has been discussed in much of our work, we come back to this fact: the challenges are about the people, more than the dogs, and successfully improving health and welfare of dogs needs an approach that addresses human-animal interactions, human attitudes and actions, and using techniques of education that are likely to result in human behaviour change. Addressing sourcing of dogs and communication for change will be two themes at the upcoming 4th IPFD IDHW in Old Windsor, UK, May 30-June 1 2019.
Congratulations to FECAVA and their co-organizers for an important event and to the European Parliament for taking an interest in the health and welfare of dogs.
Health before looks Collaborative action is urgently needed to stop the practice of extreme breeding in dogs and cats
Download: European Parliament Event article by Parliament Magazine - 7-2018
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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 Health Workshop, was an opportunity to learn more about cutting edge research that is improving dog health. 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
After 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
Last weekend I was honored to participate in the 2017 National Parent Club Canine Health Conference presented by the AKC Canine Health Foundation and Nestlé Purina PetCare, in St. Louis, Missouri. It is always great to interact with breeders and club reps that are so committed to the health and welfare of their dogs and their breeds.
This meeting is a mix of breeders (106 parent clubs represented!), vets, and researchers and includes Board members from some of the collaborating organizations who sponsor research, including IPFD Partners and Sponsors: the AKC, the AKC-CHF and the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA). The OFA sponsored 32 veterinary students to attend the meeting. Our IPFD 2016 Student Kelly Arthur was among the participants!
The research covered a wide array of key topics - from ticks and infectious disease - epilepsy - latest developments in cancer - to issues of reproduction (see list of speakers and topics, below). What an impressive panel of speakers and internationally renowned researchers. It was great to see two of our speakers from the 3rd International Dog Health Workshop, Jason Stull and Rowena Packer, as well as numerous others who participated in that meeting. It certainly feels like the international community of those committed to dog health, well-being and welfare is going strong!
Thanks to the many people who stopped by the IPFD table to talk to us about our organization, DogWellNet.com and especially the Harmonization of Genetic Testing for Dogs initiative (and to grab some chocolate to keep their energy up!). Special thanks to CA Sharpe, from our IPFD Collaborating Partner Australian Shepherd Health & Genetics Institute (ASHGI) for helping me out at the table. It was very gratifying for me to hear someone else talking so enthusiastically about our efforts.
Congrats to AKC-CHF for their continued strength and leadership; for promoting multi-disciplinary interaction; and for an exciting conference.
Attached is the PDF of the slides of my talk (slightly altered, of course) and the abstract.
BONNETT - AKC-CHF Presentation - Harmonization of Genetic Testing for Dogs
BONNETT Abstract - CHF June 2017
The 2017 AKC-CHF Conference Program included presentations on the following topics...
Lymphoma & Epigenetics - Jeffrey Bryan, DVM, PhD, DACVIM-Oncology
Lymphoma & Flow Cytometry - Anne Avery, VMD, PhD
Chemotherapy & FortiFlora® - Korinn Saker DVM, PhD, DACVN
Genetics of Cancer/Lymphoma - Matthew Breen, PhD
Diet & Rehabilitation - Wendy Baltzer DVM, PhD, DACVS
Genetic Predisposition to Infections - Urs Giger, DVM, PhD, DACVIM, DECVCP
Lyme Disease - Jason Stull, VMD, PhD, DACVPM
Tick-Borne Disease - Ed Breitschwerdt, DVM, DACVIM (*Keynote)
Ehrlichia & Lymphocytosis - Anne Avery, VMD, PhD
Canine Cognition - Bill Milgram, PhD
Genetics of Epilepsy - Gary Johnson, DVM, PhD
Epilepsy & the Microbiome - Karen Munana, DVM, PhD, DACVIM-Neurology
Epilepsy & Nutrition - Rowena Packer, PhD
IPFD: Harmonization of Laboratory Genetic Testing for Dogs - Brenda Bonnett, DVM, PhD
Semen Evaluation, Quality, and Effects of Aging - Stuart Meyers, DVM, PhD, DACT
Brucella Update - Angela Arenas, DVM, PhD, DACVP
Pyometra - Marco Coutinho da Silva, DVM, PhD, DACT
New for 2017! Panel discussions with our speakers on:
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!
Here is the downloadable PDF version:
Be sure to keep checking www.DogWellNet.com for more information on dog health and wellness!
Something we all share in common is the environment, and green is the new black! With movements towards protecting our environment, it is important to know about the role antibiotics play.
Proper kennel waste disposal instructions can be found here:
Instructions on how to properly dispose of unused medications:
For more info on antibiotic stewardship, please visit some of my previous blogs and articles.
Here are a couple...
Antibiotic Use in Pets Could Give Rise to Superbugs
The Basics of Antimicrobial Resistance
This 'One Health' buzzword... what is it? Who is implementing it, and who actually is following through?
The idea of ‘one health’ dates all the way back to the 19th century when Rudolf Virchow, MD studied links between human and veterinary medicine. He came up with the term ‘zoonosis’ in regards to a pathogen that can be transmitted from animals to humans. This sparked the idea that medicine is not segregated into different categories, but it is rather interconnected. Throughout the past century, scientists have become aware that other sectors such as environmental science and agriculture are involved as well. Today, ‘one health’ is being seemingly adopted by many nations, but who is following through with the idea?
Various countries and organizations have embraced the 'one health' concept, but there is quite a bit of variation in how far and to what extent it has really been implemented. Sometimes there are a few obvious developments beyond yearly interdisciplinary conferences. This is a great starting point, but unfortunately the ideas generated may not result in sustainable collaboration or initiatives.
The United Kingdom has a good example of following through with the ‘one health’ initiative. Below you will find a downloadable link on a document from the UK titled “Implementing a One Health Approach: The Example of Antimicrobial Resistance- the UK Perspective.”
Implementing a One Health Approach- The UK perspective.pdf
In this document, actual data sets are shown along with monitoring of the country’s progress in different ‘one health’ fields. In the UK, there is a system in place for monitoring antibiotic prescription, so they are able to check if their ‘one health’ approach to prudent use of antibiotics is working. Having this monitoring system is important for accountability and to ensure that ‘one health’ plans made are carried out, and do not stop at the drawing board.
In the United States, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has created the Task Force on Antimicrobial Stewardship in Companion Animal Practice (TFASCAP). They have also been working internationally with a 'one health' focus to solve the problem of AMR. Here are some links to their work so far:
Antimicrobial Use in Companion Animal Practice
The table below extracted from an article in the International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents exhibits the different organizations with a surveillance system of resistant bacteria. The table also show's who is following the ‘one health’ initiative by including both humans, agriculture, and animals.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) created this video on the idea of 'One Health.' The video talks about implementing the idea of 'one health'. The main points listed in this video were as follows:
Foster collaborative relationships between human health, animal health, and environmental health partners.
Improve communication between sectors.
Coordinate disease surveillance activities.
Develop uniform messaging to the public.
This blog post is part of the IPFD Student Project 2017 by Ariel Minardi.
For an overview of her project and links to other material on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) and Prudent Use of Antibiotics see:
IPFD Student Project 'B.A.R.K. | Bacterial Antimicrobial Resistance Knowledge' - Overview
Harvey, Felicity. "Implementing a One Health Approach: The Example of Antimicrobial Resistance – the UK Perspective." Public and International Health Directorate Department of Health. 30 Jun. 2015. Web.
"One Health." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 25 Oct. 2016. Web.
Queenan, Kevin, Barbara HÃ¤sler, and Jonathan Rushton. "A One Health Approach to Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance: Is There a Business Case for It?" International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents 48.4 (2016): 422-27. Web.
PSA to all of the breeders. Please avoid using antibiotics during pregnancy and whelping unless absolutely necessary. Through breeding your dogs with antibiotics, you are also breeding super bugs. Antibiotics can also be detrimental to growth and development of the puppy. Some antibiotics even cause fetal death. Always consult your veterinarian before using antibiotics.
Did you know that by 2050, superbugs will kill 10 million MORE people than cancer will? This huge problem not only affects our beloved pets, but it is a serious threat to the human population.
Click here for the BBC article and check out this great podcast from the UK!
Podcast Link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07djvbp
Downloadable Version: BBCInsideScience-20160609.mp3
Amazing video brought to you by The Ohio State University that emphasizes the importance of One Health and how we are better together tackling this devastating issue.
This video stresses that these issues involve not just a person but everything in their environment - other people, animals, plants, their health, etc. It is why a one-health approach to the problem is necessary. Stay tuned for more resources on antimicrobial resistance!
Click here for more information on this video and Ohio State's involvement in AMR.
Tim Landers, PhD, RN, CNP, CIC from The Ohio State University College of Nursing was kind enough to sit down and answer some questions about antimicrobial resistance from the nursing perspective. He is a wealth of knowledge, and this short video is worth a listen!
What’s all this talk about super bugs? Isn’t that what bit Spider Man and gave him those super-spidey powers? Unfortunately, the super bugs I am referring to are not siding with the good guys. These bugs are mutated to withstand even the strongest of antibiotics, rendering them unstoppable… or are they?
Here’s some background on AMR… Antimicrobial resistance happens when bacteria become overexposed to antimicrobials (aka antibiotics.) Through a combination of natural selection and mutation, these bacteria become resistant, and the antimicrobials can’t effectively work. This is where the term “super bug” was coined. Seemingly normal bacteria transforms into an indestructible force bent on world domination.
Who is at fault for this? I don’t mean to point any fingers, but it’s kind of us. Yes, the human race is responsible for creating these terrifying, little organisms that in fact do nothing for us but cause our own destruction. So why would humans sabotage themselves by creating this devastating problem that kills people and animals across the world? The issue is, many people are unknowingly doing this.
Have you ever been given a course of antibiotics and stopped taking them when you felt better? Makes sense, right? You aren’t sick anymore, so why would you need to keep taking the medication? What many people aren’t aware of is that when you don’t finish that entire course of antibiotics, some of the bacteria gets left behind. These bacteria are not enough to cause current clinical signs. However, having been exposed to the antibiotic, they can mutate and become resistant so that that same antibiotic loses efficacy against the mutated bacteria.
This is just one instance on how humans can unknowingly create these super bugs.
AMR and prudent use of antibiotics is a hot topic right now all over the world; from the UN and World Health Organization - to country, regional and local levels. However, there is a lot of work to be done to get the appropriate information to the right people in order to educate and change behaviors.. I am here to help uncover mysteries and bring to light information on what we are doing as breeders, pet owners, and veterinarians that may be contributing to this pandemic. No sole group is to blame for this, but together, we can form a global power to tackle the super bugs.
Just remember… “With great power comes great responsibility.”
The 2017 International Dog Health Workshop in Paris was the culmination of my summer 2016 project entitled, "A Veterinarian's Role in the Ethics and Welfare of Breeding Dogs." I'm very grateful to have attended this workshop that featured ways we can work collaboratively to improve dog health and welfare. My project poster was displayed among many other interesting research projects. I was impressed by the diversity of attendees including dog owners, veterinarians, kennel club members, researchers, and many more!
The International Dog Health Workshop stands out to me among other conferences I've attended because it truly was a working meeting, rather than simply being presented in a lecture format. I left inspired to take action due to the creativity of my group and ideas generated during the meeting. Many thanks to the Behavior and Welfare theme facilitators, Dr. Patricia Olson and Ms. Caroline Kisko, and the group participants.
The Behavior and Welfare theme was tasked to address early canine socialization and its influence on creating a suitable lifetime companion. We acknowledged that a more thorough literature search would be beneficial followed by research to address gaps we identify. Beyond research, our group also discussed the need for more positive marketing to the public to communicate the benefits of acquiring a well-socialized puppy.
A special thanks to the Skippy Frank Fund for making this project and trip possible. Also many thanks to my personal French translator and mom-extraordinaire, Lindi Dreibelbis, for accompanying me on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. What wonderful memories we made together in Paris.
The stellar group of participants at the IPFD 3rd International Dog Health Workshop (3rd IDHW) came to collaborate and we really put them to work. The attendees, who certainly engaged and challenged and stimulated each other, accomplished a lot and it seems they are going home extremely satisfied with the experience. More importantly, the majority have committed to participate in specific actions, with clear objectives, goals, timelines and deliverables. There is a clear potential for real momentum to carry us forward towards the 4th IDHW in the UK. Our diligent efforts were assisted by candy bars courtesy Mars Veterinary ... between those and lots of strong French coffee, we pulled it off!
A huge shout out to the French Kennel Club (SCC) for putting on a well-organized event at a great venue. The food was fantastic - thanks to Agria for sponsoring the breaks and lunches. The boat cruise on the Seine was extraordinary - thanks to Royal Canin ... more good food and wine with a panoramic view of the sites of Paris, including the amazing icon of the Eiffel Tour, complete with its delightful, hourly light-show.
More information soon on the topics, challenges and future plans in the days to come. We will be posting material from speakers, posters, and break out sessions, and photographs as well as the detailed plans addressing breed-specific health strategies, behaviour and welfare implications of early socialization, exaggerations of conformation, the harmonization of genetic testing, education/ communication on appropriate use of antibiotics, and the need for numbers/ quantitative information. There will be lots of outreach to stakeholders who weren't at the meeting; hopefully to further engage the wider dog community in this important work.
Thanks to all those who contributed... from individual dog owners, breeders, breed club reps, kennel club advisors and executives, many veterinarians, researchers, corporate and industry people, welfare organisations ... I feel like I am at the Academy Awards and will surely miss someone!
This was a diverse community united by a commitment to enhance the health, well-being and welfare of dogs and to promote the best in human-dog interactions. It is an honour and privilege to be part of this devoted and passionate community. The future looks bright for innovative and sustained international collaboration.
People are starting to arrive in Paris for the 3rd IDHW !
Paris in the spring is living up to its reputation with sunshine and flowering trees. Too bad we will keep our delegate inside working hard for the dogs for 2 days!
We are expecting about 135 delegates from 24 countries. We have vets and breeders, researchers and judges, experts in welfare and behaviour, genetic advisors, various non-profits, industry representatives, dog owners... and more... so a wide array of stakeholders.
As is common in the dog world, many people wear more than one hat.
We have representatives from 18 National kennel clubs and the FCI; including the current or former Presidents of at least 4 KCs.
There are scientists from at least 13 Universities and research institutes, from at least 6 different countries. There are over 15 companies from the pet industry attending, including many genetic testing labs.
There are numerous veterinary organizations and welfare organizations represented.
As well as, breed clubs, breeders and dog owners.
This is a real working meeting... we hope to engage all present in discussions with the result being definite action plans to be underway immediately following the workshop; leading to results ready to present at the 4th International Dog Health Workshop to be held in the UK in 2019, hosted by The KC.
Stay tuned for more information. Check us out on Facebook and our new Twitter feed @IPFDogs and #IDHWParis ...
Health and welfare issues continue to be in media, with a comment in the latest issue of The Veterinary Record entitled "Brachycephalic tipping point: time to push the button?" and a report: "It's now time to curb advertising using flat-faced dogs, say vets". The latter has comments from industry representatives, researchers, vets and others. Many in the UK are alarmed at the burgeoning popularity of these dogs. As Caroline Kisko, of The Kennel Club states, for all breeds, less than a third of these dogs are registered/ come under the umbrella of The KC. Which means the vast majority are bred by those who do not participate in health programs of the registering body; the same is true in many countries. And although most attention (and blame) is directed towards breeders of pedigree dogs, it may be that, globally, the major source of these dogs is commercial breeders. Regardless, it seems that unless we can influence those acquiring these dogs (consumers) it is unlikely that the numbers can be markedly reduced. Why do so many people want these dogs in spite of many attempts over numerous years to educate them to the potential problems?
We have focused on health and welfare issues for brachycephalic breeds in various articles on DogWellNet.com. And as discussed in a recent research article, acquisition of dogs may not be driven as much by prospective health or welfare, as by owner preferences. I have highlighted the factors influencing choice of breeds in many talks over the years and other blogs, and it is obvious that consumers are heavily influenced by the popularity of breeds in the media, movies, popular culture, etc. It seems there is, in general, an underlying need for many people to 'stand out' by owning the most popular, most extreme, biggest, fastest - whatever - and those attitudes may lead to them wanting extreme dogs. Can it be that consumers still don't know these dogs are at risk? Might it even be, in some cases, that people want to take on a potentially compromised dog and see themselves in the role of "extreme" care-giver?
As for the Veterinary Record decision, most of us are, in general, not fond of across-the-board breed bans that tend to impact all dogs or owners, not just the 'worst'. However, The Vet Record comment makes a good case for their decision. Although not specifically mentioned, this decision moves on from recommendations about the use of compromised dogs/ breeds in the media brought to the forefront by CRUFFA (The Campaign for the Responsible Use of Flat-Faced Animals, on Facebook) over the past several years. Jemima Harrison (Pedigree Dogs Exposed - The Blog) has been a tireless, if controversial campaigner on this issue and is the creator of the CRUFFA page.
And there are some pretty scary images out there online... obviously chosen because they are thought to be particularly cute or funny, but which may actually represent anatomical issues of great concern. Like this one (left) on a pet business website. And one (right) I found years ago on a site called FunnyDogSite.com. Not funny, actually ... the dog is in that position so that it can sleep without passing out. This dog on the right is also challenged by its obesity.
What perhaps needs to be done, beyond restricting advertising, is to try to address the considerable influence of celebrities on consumer choice of breeds. It is likely that concerted, evidence-based education programs warning consumers about problems in certain breeds, go unnoticed or at least pale in the face of, e.g. one instagram post of a desirable celeb with a French Bulldog.
As we try to move from simply informing the public to actually changing behaviours around health and welfare of dogs, we must all search for creative and effective ways to communicate. To do so, we must know what are the most important influencers of human behaviour and how to 'tip' the situation to the better.
At the IPFD 3rd International Dog Health Workshop to be held in Paris, 21-23 April 2017 we have a Theme devoted to Health and Welfare Issues of Extreme Conformation. Experts, breeders, veterinarians ... decision-makers from various stakeholder groups will come together to discuss the work being done nationally and internationally to address these problems and to identify collaborative international actions that will help advance the health and welfare of these beloved dog breeds.
For those of us working the animal care field, do we know how most people want their pets to die? This was the topic of conversation when speaking with Dr. Kathleen Cooney, DVM, MS, CHPV earlier this month.
Dr. Cooney is an expert in end-of-life care and founder of Home to Heaven, P.C. in Loveland, Colorado, one of the world’s first, and largest, animal hospice services. In addition, she is founder of Cooney Animal Hospice Consulting and past President of the International Association for Animal Hospice and Palliative Care (IAAHPC).
At the end of the year, the American Animal Hospital Association and IAAHPC published the End-of-Life Care Guidelines on the collaborative efforts needed to provide animals a comfortable death. These guidelines were created by Dr. Cooney and colleagues to educate practitioners, veterinary technicians, and animal caretakers on end-of-life (EOL) care. This grassroots movement in veterinary medicine is especially important because how a veterinary clinic responds to a pet’s death can be a key factor in retention of that client, according to Dr. Cooney.
EOL care strives to maximize patient comfort and minimize suffering. Animal hospice can help with this process by addressing the physical, social, and emotional needs of animals and their caregivers alike. As Dr. Cooney describes, through education in this field we can ensure “the walk towards death is enriching, peaceful, and comfortable.”
Another main focus of the guidelines is developing a treatment plan for hospice care, which includes these four steps. For more detail, see the link to the guidelines above.
Clarifying the client understands the pet’s disease.
Communicating with the client on their needs, beliefs, and goals for treatment.
Developing the unique EOL treatment plan.
Initiating palliative or hospice care.
In addition to these four steps, pet loss support provided before, during, and after death is essential.
AAHA accredits small animal hospitals in the U.S. that hold themselves to specific standards. In creating these guidelines with AAHA, it is the hope that more veterinary clinics will implement hospice and palliative care practices. As Dr. Cooney describes, some clinics are already providing “more care, emotional and physical, from terminal diagnosis to death” but reaching a broader audience with these guidelines is important.
This comprehensive approach to death is different than what is currently taught in veterinary school as this new model focuses on the human animal bond, rather than just palliation. The AAHA/IAAHPC guidelines build on the American Veterinary Medical Association’s policy on hospice care.
The guidelines also mention that “as the value of animal hospice care and its availability increase, so will the feasibility of ethically managed, high quality, hospice-supported natural death, and the decision to euthanize will become more nuanced.” I asked Dr. Cooney about how we can address this and she described that when we realize an animal has a life limiting illness, euthanasia is no longer our only modality to help patients and clients—but rather we should use all the modalities at our disposal. This may include symptomatic relief (such as pain control), communication with clients about changes the pet may be experiencing, and how we can medically and emotionally address these changes. She shared that 95% of her clients want their pets to die naturally but at some point are okay with euthanasia. We, as animal caretakers and veterinarians, need resources like these guidelines, to formulate questions and help clients through the grief process.
Dr. Cooney also shared educational opportunities related to EOL care. On April 3rd, 2017, a 6-hour certificate course will open for those in the veterinary and pet care field that want to expand their knowledge on pet hospice. This course will be offered through Vetfolio, an online course company that is partnering with AAHA and The North American Veterinary Community (NAVC) to create this course.
For veterinarians and technicians seeking more specialized training, IAAHPC has a 115-hour certification program on hospice and palliative care. This program includes four modules, three online and one that is competed at the national conference, with special sessions for those completing the certification.
Thanks to Dr. Cooney for the insight into the growing field of hospice and palliative care for our beloved pets.
Approaching fast – but there are still places available at the IPFD 3rd International Dog Health Workshop hosted by the French Kennel Club in Paris 21-23 April 2017 - Register here!
Why not join us in Paris for a truly interactive working meeting of international decision-leaders in dog health and welfare. We already have people registered from over 20 countries, including breeders, kennel club health advisors, communication experts, Directors and Presidents; veterinarians; researchers; veterinary organizations; welfare organizations; judges; geneticists; industry representatives; and more.
Share your information, expertise and experience and be part of global actions to improve the health, well-being and welfare of dogs.
There are short plenary talks early on Saturday. From 10:45 on Saturday until 2 pm on Sunday the focus is on interactive breakout sessions designed to identify priorities, needs and actions need to advance within six Themes. Each attendee participates in one theme; as well as plenary sharing sessions to share goals and convergence across themes and a final summary to identify key actions moving forward toward the 4th IDHW (in the UK in 2019).
Please see the Workshop website to register and for more information on the venue and program; including the listing of internationally recognized speakers who will deliver our short but powerful plenary talks.
Here are the Themes:
Breed-Specific Health Strategies: By breed, nationally and internationally.
Exaggerations And Extremes In Dog Conformation: Health, welfare and breeding considerations; latest national and international efforts.
IPFD Harmonization of Genetic Testing for Dogs Initiative: Selection, evaluation and application of genetic testing
Behaviour and Welfare: How can we better integrate concepts of welfare, behaviour and health in breeding and raising dogs?
Education and Communication - Antimicrobial Resistance/ Prudent Use of Antibiotics: How can international collaboration support education and communication within and across stakeholder groups (esp. between veterinarians and breeders).
Show Me The Numbers: Integrating information from various sources for prevalence, risks and other population-level information
Participate and make a difference for dogs!
Need more information? Contact:
Brenda Bonnett, CEO IPFD firstname.lastname@example.org
Anne Mary Chimion, SCC email@example.com