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Blog by Kelly Arthur, Colorado State University veterinary student. Her summer 2016 IPFD project, "A Veterinarian’s Role in the Ethics and Welfare of Breeding Dogs" was generously supported by the Skippy Frank Fund. Kelly continues to provide thought-provoking blogs for the DogWellNet.com community as she competes her veterinary degree.  

 

 

Entries in this blog

Kelly Arthur

IMG_7426.JPGThe 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!

 

IMG_7427.JPGThe 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.

 

FullSizeRender 3.jpgA 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. 

Kelly Arthur

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.

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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. 

  1. Clarifying the client understands the pet’s disease.
  2. Communicating with the client on their needs, beliefs, and goals for treatment.
  3. Developing the unique EOL treatment plan.
  4. 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. 
 

Kelly Arthur

I'm very proud to report that the Colorado State University Veterinary Animal Welfare Judging Team took first-place in the veterinary division at the international Animal Welfare Judging and Assessment Contest (AWJAC) in November. Colorado State University (CSU) began competing with an undergraduate and graduate team in 2012. For the past three years, CSU's Veterinary School has also participated. This year, I coached the veterinary team with a fellow veterinary student, Angela Varnum. 

 

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The competition, in existence since 2002, has continued to grow and hundreds of undergraduate, graduate, and veterinary students have competed. Increased participation is exciting as more students see the need to evaluate the complexities of animal welfare, including science, ethics, and philosophy. 

 

In preparation for the contest we studied journals and brought in species experts for the six veterinary students who competed. Through our preparation, we learned more about the welfare of breeding dogs, laying hens, guinea pigs, and meat sheep. As the veterinary team coach, I integrated what I learned in my IPFD project, A Veterinarian's Role in the Ethics and Welfare of Breeding Dogs, into our preparation. The resources created through IPFD proved very helpful for the students. 

 

More than 100 veterinary, graduate, and undergraduate students competed this year, representing 15 schools. The CSU Veterinary team competed against 9 other veterinary teams. CSU's graduate team also took first-place in the graduate division. 

 

The competition is supported by the American Veterinary Medical Association. For more information and how to participate, please see the AWJAC's webpage. 

 

Thanks again to the Skippy Frank Fund for supporting my IPFD project.

 

 

 

 

Kelly Arthur

Improving animal welfare is the basis of veterinary medicine. However, improving animal welfare can oftentimes be costly. A new consultation structure, PetWise MOTs, created by the UK’s leading veterinary charity, PDSA, is a step to overcoming these obstacles. PetWise MOTs can be used to improve pet welfare and generate additional revenue for practices. 

 

A review of the UK’s Animal Welfare Act in 2010 placed additional emphasis on veterinary involvement in promoting better pet welfare. The PetWise MOTs model was created because while clients value their pet’s welfare, they are often unsure how to improve it. The video below explains the development of the PetWise MOT concept. 

The five areas that are focused on in these appointments are good health, the ability of an animal to express normal behavior, availability of companionship, providing a safe environment, and feeding a suitable diet. During a PetWise MOT appointment, veterinarians are able to ask more in-depth questions of their clients that may not be able to be discussed during a normal visit.

 

Using this structure, PDSA saw an up to 40% uptake of preventative medicine services and a 28% increase in treatment for problems that usually would go unnoticed with a traditional appointment. 100% of clients believed that every practice should offer this service. 

 

Through 2016 the introductory training course is free and there are still openings for the 13 December 2016 training course.

 

Please comment if you know of other similar services or have experience with PetWise MOTs. Would love to hear from you!
 

Kelly Arthur

Veterinary school has started back up again but my interest in tough questions pertaining to the health and welfare of breeding dogs still remain...

 

Deleterious traits exist in mixed breed, purebred, pedigree, and unknown origin dogs. Often with pedigree dogs, breed standards are frequently blamed for the existence of deleterious traits in breeding dogs.

 

As this Wall Street Journal video states, there are traits of certain breeds, such as the bulldog, that lead to poor health outcomes.  At the end they mention that revisions to breed standards may include how color can negatively impact a dog’s welfare.

 

“A genetic assessment of the English bulldog” by Niels Peterson revealed that bulldogs have low genetic diversity and has brought about much discussion on the welfare of the breed. An opinion piece by David Sargan at the University of Cambridge suggests the “best way of breeding back to a less extreme skull shape would be to introduce dogs from outside the current breed registers.”

 

The question then becomes, do traits like color or others, such as the degree of brachycephaly, have more of a welfare impact? Are breed standards to blame? What else influences a breed’s health and welfare?

 

 

 

In addition, how do we categorize which changes would make more of an impact?

 

Should it be based on animal’s affected or severity of disease?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Kelly Arthur

People often are enamored and proud of the close relationship they share with their pet. The video below features interviews with pet owners and shows the close bond humans have with various animals. 

 

However, pet ownership comes with responsibility and people should thoughtfully consider their options before getting a pet. B4UGETAPET, created by the University of Guelph, encourages people to do research before acquiring a cat or dog to find a best fit. 

 

Initial questions important for people to consider if they are thinking about acquiring a new pet are below. 

1. What kind of pet is best for your family?
2. If a dog, what kind?
3. Why that kind of dog?
4. What is the best source for that kind of dog? 

 

During this project I have been amazed at the breadth of resources available to help people find the best dog for their lifestyle. The goal of this post is to organize these resources so veterinarians, veterinary students, and breeders have additional tools to advise people looking for a new dog. Promoting informed decision-making regarding acquisition of a dog may lead to better matching, retained ownership, and a closer human-dog bond. 

 

In addition to B4UGETAPET, there are numerous other resources to assist with dog acquisition. While they start with a general introduction, most resources have a slant towards re-homed dogs or breed-specific acquisition.

 

The RSPCA’s Smart Puppy and Dog Buyer’s Guide helps you to be prepared, introduces different types of dogs, describes where to get your dog, and includes caring for your dog post acquisition. This source advises adopting from a local shelter and if you can’t find a dog there, breeders may be acceptable if they are not puppy farms. Similar is Finding Fido, a program by the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies. It includes inspiring stories of dog rescue, multiple pages on caring for a fido, choosing a puppy or adult, etc. The site strongly opposes puppy mills but provides some resources for finding a reputable breeder, such as Essential questions to ask a breeder. Other programs, such as ASPCA’s Meet Your Match, provides resources for shelters and rescue organizations so they can better match adoptable dogs and families in the hopes of decreasing return rates. 

 

Many other resources focus on matching a dog’s breed to an owner’s lifestyle. The American Kennel Club’s Find a Match program asks progressive questions about housing type, children, other animals in the house, and activity level of prospective owner. It then suggests breeds that match the answers provided. The Kennel Club (UK) also has a Puppy Buying Guide App that can help you select a dog including choosing a breed, what to ask a breeder, links to local breed clubs, etc. Purina’s Dog Breed Selector has fill-in-the blank questions to figure out what breed is best for a prospective owner. 

 

There are also interactive materials for people to use post-acquisition of a dog to maintain quality care. One example, is the Dog Log Book, an app that tracks your dog’s behavior and and suggests ways to better meet you dog’s needs. 

 

All of these resources seem to have the same goal in mind—improving the fit between dogs and their owners. However, in spite of these resources it seems that owner-dog mismatch is still an important contributing cause of relinquishment of dogs to shelters. As written in “Characteristics of Shelter-Relinquished Animals” some factors might include:

  • Physical and behavioral characteristics of the animal
  • Characteristics, knowledge, experience, and expectations of the owner
  • Extenuating circumstances (e.g. income, owner health issues, housing changes)

In the study they found that dogs that were younger, owned for a shorter time, intact, mixed-breed, obtained from a friend, pet store, or shelter, had behavioral issues (house soiling, destructive, fearful, or bit someone) were relinquished more often. 

 

A study supported by the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy stated that the number one reason for dog relinquishment was behavior problems. A 2012 American Humane Association study on retention of pets adopted from shelters, stated dogs who had seen a veterinarian, had a 93% chance of retention six-months post adoption. For dogs that had not seen a veterinarian, only 53% were retained. While the study does caution that the data may be attributed to the fact that if someone is unsure they will keep an animal, they may not have taken it to a veterinarian before deciding. However, if this data could be validated in another study, this could show the importance of veterinary intervention in early human-dog connections. 

 

As a veterinary student we are educated on many resources that can help our clients, but questions still remain. 

  • Will our clients use the resources provided to them to inform their decisions? 
  • How many clients are coming to veterinarians before they purchase a dog?
  • How do we find more effective ways to communicate with prospective puppy owners before they have the dog and become bonded? 

 

These questions point to a need for greater understanding of where people are getting their dogs. Good breeders carefully screen potential buyers to try to insure a good match. Those selling dogs from other sources – commercial breeders, questionable online sources, etc – may not be so careful.

 

For a further look at some of the complex issues related to acquisition of a purebred dog, see the module “How Can You Promote Informed Decision-Making in Acquiring a Purebred Dog?” 
 

Kelly Arthur

USyd-logo-Jan101.pngOn July 14th, 2016, I had the privilege of speaking with Dr. Paul McGreevy, BVSc, PhD, University of Sydney professor, researcher, veterinary specialist in behavioral medicine and expert in companion animal welfare. The complex issues affecting the welfare and behavior of purebred dogs is one area in which Dr. McGreevy focuses his research. Below are some of the topics that we discussed and an example is provided to illustrate each point.

 

1.    The benefits of health practices differ among species. So, in one setting a health practice may be acceptable as the standard of care and in another banned.


The procedure of tail docking illustrates this point well. In the book, Dilemmas in Animal Welfare, the authors discuss tail docking in general and state,
"as the acute pain can be controlled…and the absence of a tail has seldom been shown to disadvantage the animals greatly, a utilitarian analysis focusing on direct effects might conclude tail docking to be an acceptable procedure where demonstrable and significant benefits are obtained." (p. 21)

 

The modern pork operation docks tails to protect the pigs from cannibalism, a behavior that occurs in intensive rearing systems. In this case, the acute pain of tail docking benefits the herd as a whole by reducing biting injuries and infection. Of course, there is growing evidence that tail-biting can be reduced with environmental enrichment and optimal management, so the surgical approach in pig production may eventually come to an end. 

 

The American Veterinary Medical Association opposes tail docking in dogs performed for cosmetic purposes. Canine tail docking in the UK has been banned since 2006, with certain exceptions for working dogs, and additional restrictions relative to dog shows. However, the situation is not consistent across countries and in the UK further changes are being sought by The Kennel Club. More information on tail docking in the UK can be found on the British Veterinary Association's Policy position: tail docking of dogs.

 

In the end, tail docking may be appropriate for certain species in specific situations while not appropriate in others. Overall, the inconsistencies in species' welfare-related recommendations may call into question the profession's integrity, as mentioned in the article "How might veterinarians do more for animal welfare?"

 
2.    Studying animal welfare is challenging because it is at the intersection of the sciences and social sciences.


As animal welfare scientists, it is our charge to focus on animal well-being and health, while at the same time adopting optimal practices that are feasible within the constraints of the management system. Most standardized approaches to animal welfare focus on the animal specifically, but not necessarily how obtainable the goals are for veterinarians, breeders, and producers.

 

For example, The Five Freedoms, originally written in 1965, emphasize "avoidance of unnecessary suffering and the provision of needs", including protecting animals from disease/pain, thirst/hunger, discomfort, fear, and allowing them to express natural behaviors. Although never intended to provide a checklist or to be equally weighted, they have attracted some criticism for being too ambitious or simplistic. David Fraser's adapted model of animal welfare focuses on the intersection of an animal's health, affective states, and natural living.

 

While both of the above models have been influential in the development of animal welfare science, their implementation is challenged by other factors — such as productivity and profitability, the animal caretaker's well being, and management feasibility. By adopting a more integrative approach, we can develop ways to improve animal welfare — making it more accessible to the public, veterinarians, breeders, and producers and at the same time enhancing business outcomes.

 

3.    Veterinarians can improve the welfare of breeding dogs.dog and veterinarian.jpg


A case example is the critical role veterinarians play when performing cesarean sections on dog breeds that cannot deliver naturally. For these breeds, their biological fitness is reliant on a veterinarian's ability to surgically deliver the puppies. This highlights the need for continued work between breeders and veterinarians because, in the case of cesareans, the fate of the breed is dependent on us. Our training allows us to help the individual dog but are we perpetuating genetic problems?

 

One article used breed club data to determine the "Proportion of litters of purebred dogs born by caesarean section". For the Boston terrier, Bulldog, and French bulldog, the rates of cesarean section were greater than 80%.

 

Cesarean sections give veterinarians the opportunity to work directly with breeder clients, but in doing so are we providing adequate breeding advice in the form of genetic counselling? Do veterinarians receive proper training to educate clients? Are we even involved in these discussions with clients?

 

4.    There can be unintended consequences in advancing animal welfare.


An article on the challenges associated with pedigree dog health, explains that although the incidence of inherited disease can be decreased through the use of genetic tests and screening, if fewer animals are then in the breeding population, this can lead to the unintended consequence of reduced genetic diversity. Reducing the breeding pool, could result in the inadvertent outcome of enhancing inherited disease. It raises the probable need for outcrossing to other breeds.

In addition, some breeds may not have enough genetic diversity in their population to correct some of the challenges with inherited disease. This is described in "A genetic assessment of the English bulldog". The study cites the small founder population and artificial bottleneck as causes for the lack of diversity.

 

Additionally, selection for certain traits can have unintended consequences. One study describes the causative mutation for short-tailed dogs as heterozygous in a variety of breeds. The genetic basis of bobtails is of interest to breeders because of the perceived need for tail docking in certain breeds. However, this defect was shown in the study to decrease litter size, likely due to early embryonic death of homozygous animals.

 

As a result of this conversation, I saw additional angles to the breeding dog debate and Dr. McGreevy provided insightful challenges related to purebred dogs that sparked my interest about further perspectives on animal welfare. By looking at these, and other animal welfare-related complexities from multiple angles, veterinarians can be more proactive in leading animal welfare discussions.

 

Reference:
Appleby, M.C., Weary, D.M., Sandoe, P. (2014). Dilemmas in Animal Welfare. Oxfordshire, UK: CAB International.

 

For more information about Dr. McGreevy's educational platform developed for veterinary students, see:

 

Additionally, see the article published on welfare educational opportunities in the U.S. for additional ideas on how to get more involved in thinking about animal welfare.

 

 

Photo source: http://www.hillspet.com/HillsPetUS/v1/portal/en/us/locale/img/about_us/HP_about_animalwelfare_section1_md.jpg

Kelly Arthur

In reading more about dog behavior for my project, characteristics such as head shape of dogs and how it can relate to behavior has made me think—are there other physical characteristics that we could look at to make inferences about an animal’s behavior? 

 

Dr. Paul McGreevy aDog head shapes.jpgnd others have published articles on how skull characteristics may be related to behavior. In a recently published article, researchers looked at various physical characteristics, including head shape, and correlated them to a behavior assessment involving unfamiliar humans, different stimuli, and various objects. Almost 70,000 dogs were assessed over the course of seven years. From the data, they were able to make some generalizations about dog behavior. For example, they found that shorter dogs tended to show more aggression while taller dogs were usually more playful and friendly. Generalizations were made in this study relative to breeds and sizes of dogs. Additionally, although the authors used a structured instrument, assessment of behavior is always somewhat challenging, but the trends are very interesting.

 

For the past 20 years, leading cattle welfare expert, Dr. Temple Grandin, has asserted that hair whorls may have some genetic basis relating to behavior of cattle. While similar studies on the genetic influence of hair whorls in humans have been published, it is disputed whether it is purely Mendelian inheritance or more complicated. 

 

The research on hair whorls in various species has also translated to studies on dogs—from their anatomic basis to how they could be related to behavior. One study looked at the probability of a dog successfully becoming a Guide dog by looking at several factors, including hair whorls.

 

While these unique physical measures show some relation to behavior, they are observed as part of a more comprehensive behavioral assessment. Looking at these characteristics alone should be observed with caution. Generalizations are challenging because of the extreme differences across dog breeds, even when researchers try to take these variations into account. 

Whorls2.png

In a previous article from 2012, “Breeding dogs for beauty and behaviour: Why scientists need to do more to develop valid and reliable behaviour assessments for dogs kept as companions”, the authors remind us that ‘Many dogs exhibit behaviours their owners consider undesirable and these dogs may cause disruption and injury to humans and other animals. As a consequence, many are relinquished to shelters.’ They go on to suggest that owner-dog (or we might say owner-breed) mismatch may contribute to the problem, especially if the owner’s interest is more on the appearance of the dog than other factors. ‘The measurement of behaviour and limitations of existing canine behaviour assessments are discussed’ in the article and the authors stress that more accurate assessments are needed. They also stress that behavior, as well as the changing roles of dogs, must be considered in the wider context of dog breeding.

 

So, just to keep you thinking about the complex issues in ethics and welfare of breeding dogs, I wonder: 

  • Are there other characteristics beyond these that we should be considering when thinking about dog behavior?  
  • How is this incorporated into breeding healthy, happy dogs?  
  • Are veterinary students being well-prepared for all these issues?

 

 

For up-to-date information on project my developments, see A Veterinarian's Role in the Ethics and Welfare of Breeding Dogs.
 

In addition, please check out my first learning module: Introduction to the Module: What is Your Role in Addressing Inherited Disease in Purebred Dogs?  ... and ...

 

Stayed tuned for my next educational module looking at Supply and Demand of dogs which will highlight what we know and don’t know about how people choose their dogs and where those dogs come from.

 

Skull Shape image credit: https://cdn.psychologytoday.com/sites/default/files/styles/image-article_inline_full/public/field_blog_entry_images/Dog head shapes.jpg?itok=edD7ujTW

Whorl photo credit: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-hGoXIo019ic/UOUF0j8MhQI/AAAAAAAABTQ/_V-JO5GXntY/s1600/Whorls2.png

Kelly Arthur

Welfare education is on the rise and there is a growing number of veterinary students with an interest in animal welfare. Some schools have taken notice and have either integrated animal welfare throughout their curriculum or have individual classes to educate students on the topic. 

 

In the United States there are opportunities to get involved with animal welfare but they are few and far between. Specific to breeding dog welfare, Purdue University has a project focused on the welfare of purebred dogs. In terms of broad animal welfare education, Iowa State University has a variety of formal classes and even a clinical rotation in animal welfare. Their faculty research interests are primarily large animal but the courses cover companion, livestock, and wildlife animals. Michigan State University also offers an online animal welfare course. In addition, the Animal Welfare Judging and Assessment Contest, started in 2002, continues toACAW.jpg expand including international participation.

 

While the importance of animal welfare in some circles is growing, it is not echoed everywhere. In talking with IPFD Board member Patricia N. Olson, DVM, PhD, a Diplomate of the American College of Animal Welfare and the American College of Theriogenologists, I learned more about gaps in our United States welfare education. Formal courses on animal welfare training are limited and some challenges still remain…

  • The American College of Animal Welfare was recently created for veterinary board certification in animal welfare. While this is a great step towards veterinarians having the formal training to lead animal welfare discussions, funded training programs at U.S. veterinary colleges have been slow to develop, making it difficult for veterinarians to obtain the education required for completion of the specialty. 
  • The American Kennel Club recently announced expanding residency program funding. This is a great step forward to advance the science/education of dog breeding.  Also important is the integration of welfare and ethical aspects on topics like dog breeding, dog behavior, cosmetic surgery, etc. in these training programs. 
  • A recent article, “Survey of animal welfare, animal behavior, and animal ethics courses in the curricula of AVMA Council of Education–accredited veterinary colleges and schools”, published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, reported that only 6 out of 30 U.S. schools offer a formal course with welfare in the title. As stated in this article, written by Chelsey Shivley, DVM, PhD, some of the schools may offer animal welfare education throughout the curriculum, rather than a specific class, but it speaks to a need for transparency in education. In addition, when the 30 schools were surveyed through the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges about the education they offered related to animal welfare, only 33% responded. Why such a low response rate? Lack of interest? 
  • Why did the Humane Society of the United States launch its own veterinary association specifically focusing on welfare? Did they feel that the emphasis on welfare was lacking elsewhere in the veterinary profession?

 

An article entitled "Student perspectives on animal-welfare education in American veterinary medical curricula", published in the Journal of Veterinary Medical Education in 2010, stressed the need for more animal welfare education in schools. One wonders what the progress has been since then given the more recent report cited above. In a book review on Ethics of Animal Use I wrote, I acknowledge a need for additional educational materials to be used in animal welfare education. I recommend “that veterinary and other animal science students read this book to engage in animal ethics discussions, whether or not it is included in their education as a required text.”

 

As I hope more students become involved in animal welfare, I would like to know other educational opportunities you have participated in, or are aware of, that broaden a veterinarian’s understanding of animal welfare. Hopefully together we can increase awareness of a growing interest for more education in this area. Please register on DogWellNet if you haven’t done so to comment below. 

 

 

Kelly Arthur

Hello IPFD Community, dog-question.jpg

 

My name is Kelly Arthur and I am a third-year veterinary student at Colorado State University (for more background see my introduction page). I’m very excited to announce my participation in IPFD through the newly created veterinary student projects. Projects are being initiated in various countries to educate students on the need for an international perspective and multidisciplinary approach to the issues facing pedigree dogs. Projects involve gathering, evaluating information, and creating educational resources for dog breeders and owners, veterinarians/veterinary students, as well as other stakeholders.  My project is generously supported by the Skippy Frank Fund.

 

My project specifically will focus on welfare and ethics of breeding dogs, with an emphasis on veterinarians and veterinary students. See an overview of my project, A Veterinarian's Role in the Ethics and Welfare of Breeding Dogs, for an ongoing list of my work.

 

When I first heard about this project, I could think of the following as important issues in ethics and welfare of breeding dogs, from a veterinary perspective:

 

  • What are veterinarians doing to improve breeding genetics?
  • Is selective breeding detrimental to decreasing diversity in certain breeds?
  • Does breed specific regulation really help in protecting the public from dog bites?
  • What is the influence of the breeding dog supply on the overall dog populations around the world?

 

While it is easy to come up with quick opinions on these issues, the more I read, the more I realize that these issues are highly complex. For example:

 

  • Veterinarians can play a role in breeding dog education, however there may be economic disincentives to decreasing the number of dogs born with inherited disease.
  • Selective breeding has allowed us the great diversity that we have from dogs that serve in the military to assisting people with disabilities.
  • Even if breed specific regulation can decrease dog bite incidents, the ability of people to prove the genetic makeup of their dog can be challenging legally. 
  • While some may say that only rescue is an appropriate way to get a dog because of pet overpopulation in some countries, there is still a great demand for purebred dogs. 

 

I hope others will join me on this journey.  There will be opportunities for your participation and comments as we go. If this project interests you or you have a perspective you would like to share, I would love to hear from you. Please register at DogWellNet.com so you can follow not only my blog, but other resources I will be developing!

 

I’m grateful for the opportunity to work with a collaborative group invested in the health and well-being of pedigree dogs. I hope it has overarching appeal both for veterinarians and breeders to encourage cooperation.  

 

Cheers, 
Kelly

 

Photo source: http://www.wookiebooks.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Dog-Questioning.jpg

Kelly Arthur

Starting this project made me ponder: 

  1. There always seems to be another perspective related to welfare and ethics that I had not thought of before. 
  2. There appear to be two camps online—those for breeding and those against (and there is little in between). 
  3. Veterinarians seem to be under-represented in the breeding dog public debate. 

This provides further validation for an aspect of my project – to create educational resources for veterinarians/veterinary students. 

 

In seeking resources, I came across One Welfare (see link below), a collaborative effort of veterinary schools in Australia and New Zealand to engage the veterinary community in animal welfare discourse. It highlights some of the questions I have been pondering related to the complexities surrounding dog breeding. 

Dogs have great species differences in size, color, and temperament and people can choose from registered purebred dogs to homeless dogs, and everything in between. One Welfare resources can be used to inform questions related to the adorable internet video posted below. Hazel is a purebred rescue. No one can deny that she is cute, well-deserving of a good home, and born with a genetic condition that leaves her challenged. Difficult questions still remain:  

  1. Is the breeding pair that produced Hazel still breeding?
  2. What genetic defects are in their lines? How could they be prevented or detected?
  3. Are we glorifying “disabled animals” because they are cute and not thinking critically about breeding practices?   
  4. Hazel has a happy ending, what is the outcome for other disabled dogs?
     


 

The goals of One Welfare and IPFD are similar—to engage in conversations that inform, raise awareness, and improve animal welfare. Check out all the resources on their page and look at articles we will be posting on IPFD for more details - for example: An Interactive Scenario from One Welfare to Illuminate Brachycephalic Welfare Challenges.

 

I hope my veterinary project generates greater understanding between veterinarians and breeders, so we can come together to improve the welfare of individual animals, understand the needs of breeders, and improve future generations of dogs. 

 

 

  • Dog Health Workshop

    Pre/ Post-meeting resources
    Success!  Thanks to all for your participation and let's keep this good work going!
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  • 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://www.ikc.ie/
      Irish Kennel Club Blog at DogWellNet: - under construction -

    •  

      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 between pets, pet owners, breeders, shelters and veterinarians through valuable insights into pets as individuals.

       

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      Mars Veterinary is a proud sponsor of IPFD's Harmonization of Genetic Testing for Dogs Initiative.

       

       

       

       

       

       

    • The Fédération Cynologique Internationale is the World Canine Organisation. It includes 92 members and contract partners (one member per country) that each issue their own pedigrees and train their own judges.

       

      The FCI has five sections: Europe, The Americas and the Caribbean, Asia and the Pacific, Middle-East and Africa.

       

      Website: http://www.fci.be/en/Presentation-of-our-organisation-4.html

       

      FCI Blog at DogWellNet: - under construction -

       

    • 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 feature of the UK pet insurance industry. In the UK, Agria insures cats, dogs and rabbits.

    • 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 has recognised the importance of working closely with the veterinary profession since insuring the first horse in 1890.

       

      Website:  http://www.agria.se/
      Agria Blog at DogWellNet: - under construction -

    • The Norwegian Kennel Club (NKC) was founded in 1898, and is the largest organisation for dog owners in Norway.

       

      Website: http://web2.nkk.no/en/
      Norwegian Kennel Club Blog at DogWellNet: - under construction -

    • 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 dog owners, experienced breeders, hunters, dog lovers, puppy buyers, exhibitors, agility competitors and many more.

       

      Website: http://www.skk.se/en/
      Follow this link for the SKK Blog at DogWellNet

      Follow this link for more information on the Swedish Kennel Club including our organizational structure, code of ethics, and more.

    • 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 out everything there is to know on the subject of life with dogs, on dog sports and on dog breeding. As an umbrella organisation for its 175 member clubs the VDH today represents more than 650,000 members.

       

      Website: http://www.vdh.de/en/home/
      VDH Blog at DogWellNet: - under construction -

       

      Also see the: Rasselexikon (BREEDOPEDIA) - http://www.vdh.de/welpen/rasse
      A comprehensive online reference of 343 breeds including a detailed description of each breed which covers the general appearance, the character, the history and coat. Some breed profiles contain a video presentation (in German). In addition: the Breedopedia includes addresses of VDH member clubs and breeders with VDH-seal of approval. The breed listing is alphabetical and a specific breed search function is available.

    • 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 ones as well. The Société Centrale Canine became soon the reference canine organization, being recognized as a public interest organization by decree of the Council of State in April 1914. The SCC is proud to be one of the founders of the FCI in 1911, together with the Kennel Clubs from Germany, Austria, Belgium and the Netherlands.

       

      Website: http://www.scc.asso.fr
      Follow this link for the French Kennel Club Blog at DogWellNet

    • Founded and originally incorporated as a private not for profit foundation in 1966, the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals will soon celebrate its 50th anniversary. Its initial mission: To provide radiographic evaluation, data management, and genetic counseling for canine hip dysplasia.

       

      While the OFA continues to focus on hip dysplasia, today’s OFA Mission, “To improve the health and well being of companion animals through a reduction in the incidence of genetic disease,” reflects the organization’s expansion into other inherited diseases and other companion animals such as cats.

       

      Website: http://www.ofa.org/index.html
      OFA Blog at DogWellNet: - under construction -

    • 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.

       

      Website: http://www.thekennelclub.org.uk
      Kennel Club Blog at DogWellNet: - under construction -

    • 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 pedigree dogs, support diverse dog-related activities and improve dog-keeping standards in Finland. FKC disseminates expert information and serves as a comprehensive lobbying organisation for Finnish and international dog activities.

       

      Website: http://www.kennelliitto.fi/en/home
      Finnish Kennel Club Blog at DogWellNet: - under construction -

    • 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 Health Nutrition and shared knowledge, the most precise nutritional solution for cats' and dogs' health nutrition needs, by building on constantly deepened scientific knowledge and Royal Canin's roots in the feline and canine professional networks.