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  • Brenda Bonnett

    COVID-19 - a novel experience for dogs and people

    By Brenda Bonnett

    Sources of accurate and relevant COVID-19 information for your dog, your puppies and you. In the face of the great uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 and its impact on pets and pet owners, many veterinary and regulatory organizations have been providing excellent information and advice, as have kennel and breed organizations.  It is important to remember that recommendations and restrictions vary depending on location and owners need to access and follow local recommendations, especially as t
    • 2 comments
    • 1,529 views

Our community blogs

  1. Pandemic Puppies - Research Confirms the Challenges

     

    The first phase of the Pandemic Puppies 2020 project has led to one publication already, with another two under review.

    PACKER, R. M. A., BRAND, C. L., BELSHAW, Z., PEGRAM, C. L., STEVENS, K. B. & O'NEILL, D. G. 2021. Pandemic Puppies: Characterising Motivations and Behaviours of UK Owners Who Purchased Puppies during the 2020 COVID-19 Pandemic. Animals, 11, 2500. https://www.mdpi.com/2076-2615/11/9/2500

     

    As we have discussed previously (see 'Pandemic Puppies' and COVID-19: How to Navigate This Complex Issue) - as well as what is seen in articles on welfare and veterinary sites all over the internet - the benefits to humans of pet ownership during the pandemic is tempered by concerns for the animals, as people who were not previously thinking of getting a pet bought them on impulse.  They had more time on their hands...but they weren't thinking about what would happen when things changed in the future.  

    The research team for this article includes IPFD collaborators Rowena Packer and Dan O'Neill.  They are continuing with a further survey for UK Residents that can be accessed here.

    But this paper gives a clear indication that our concerns were justified, and that the situation for pandemic puppies is unfolding as predicted.

     

    The simple summary states:

    "Simple Summary: Widespread media reports suggest that unusually high numbers of the public purchased, or sought to purchase, puppies following the first ‘lockdown’ phase of the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK. This study aimed to explore this phenomenon by comparing the reasons why, the methods how, and by whom “Pandemic Puppies” were purchased during this period (from 23 March 2020 - 31 December 2020), and compare these responses with owners who purchased their dog during the same date-period in 2019. Valid responses were analysed from owners of 1148 puppies from 2019 and 4369 Pandemic Puppies. Key differences included Pandemic Puppy owners being more likely to be first-time dog owners, have children in their household, pay a deposit without seeing their puppy, collect their puppy from outside their breeders’ property, see their puppy without their littermates, and pay > £2000 for their puppy, compared with 2019 puppies. Over 1 in 10 Pandemic Puppy owners had not considered purchasing a puppy before the pandemic, while 2 in 5 felt their decision to purchase a puppy had been influenced by the pandemic, most commonly due to having more time to care for a dog. Changes in puppy purchasing during the pandemic raise a range of welfare concerns including relinquishment, behavioural problems and poor health. "

    The further statement: "Puppy owners...were less likely to seek out a breeder that performed health testing on their breeding dog(s) or view their puppy in-person, and were more likely to pay a deposit without seeing their puppy" confirms that all the worst practices of puppy acquisition were followed...and we can only wait and see whether this will end up with more challenges for the dogs in terms health and welfare and possible relinquishment.

     

    The pet industry has taken full advantage, and people have been helped.  But the challenge to the pets themselves is impacting veterinarians and having wider ramifications (see Trends in the Pet Industry - Interesting or Troubling?).  The fate of many of these dogs remains to be seen.

     

    Other relevant information:

     

  2. An outcome from the International Dog Health Workshop - Virtual, on Standardizing Genetic Testing, is to improve transparency on how genetic tests are performed - e.g. information on assays or other technical details. The primary focus of this was increasing transparency on where a linkage vs direct variant (mutation) test is being offered. 

     

    New HGTD Phenes resource:

    The phenes searchable database in HGTD has always provided genetic test provider (GTP)-specific information on how tests are undertaken, including the specific GTP-reported variants/mutations for each test they offer, especially where their test is different than the variants reported in the literature.

    The new option to include Assay/Test Information in the phenes database allows for comment not just specific to individual GTPs, and aims to add clarity where a test is exclusively linkage based, exclusively direct variant, or both. This should also improve transparency where we have reports of tests being performed as a linkage/markers tests by GTPs who are not participants in HGTD or who do not provide linkage/markers information to HGTD.

     

    Why would a linkage test be offered?

    A linkage or markers test may be the preferred test performance for a GTP for a number of reasons, including:

    • The direct variant(s) are difficult to assay or are part of a panel, and a linkage/markers assay is easier to perform consistently and robustly
    • The direct variant isn't known, and only a linkage/marker is available to test
    • The direct variant is patented or proprietary, and a linkage test is a way around this

     

    Why is it important to know if a test is a direct mutation or linkage test?

    While linkage tests are usually very accurate, generally, direct mutation tests are felt to be more robust so are often the preferred method of test performance by GTPs. Where a linkage test is used (for whatever reason), there may be an increased risk of false-results. This could explain why some owners have experienced different test results for the same genetic test, from different test providers. Knowing whether or not a test is performed as a direct mutation or as a linkage test can be helpful in increasing the confidence of a test result if there are concerns about accuracy. There can be many reasons a test result may appear to differ from the phenotype of a dog, however, so it is valuable to report to a genetic test provider when a test result is in question. It could be a testing error (including owner sampling errors), or that the phenotype is an unknown direct variant, variation on a known direct variant, or something else! In this way, we can work collaboratively to improve the robustness of genetic testing for everyone. It is worth noting that the majority of testing errors across all kinds of genetic tests are due to samples being incorrectly taken or submitted with the wrong dog details, which is why many GTPs offer to re-run a test where there are concerns about the result. 

     

    Additional Information:

    This week in HGTD: direct variant/mutation, linkage, and risk tests – what are they?

     

     

  3. Andersen SS, Meyer I, Forkman B, Nielsen SS, Sandøe P. Regulating Companion Dog Welfare: A Comparative Study of Legal Frameworks in Western Countries. Animals (Basel). 2021 Jun 2;11(6):1660. doi: 10.3390/ani11061660. PMID: 34199669; PMCID: PMC8228344.

    Commentary: A hobby breeder's point of view

    Of late the role of legislation in maintaining the welfare of companion animals has been receiving a good deal of attention within the Agricultural divisions in governments (federal, state or local) - these are the entities that are responsible for elucidating policy and may see to establishment of enforcement means and mechanisms that ensure regulations are adhered to.

    The decisions made in creation of regulations spill over into various aspects of the dog keeping society - hobby dog breeders of purebreds or mixed breeds as well as pet owners are impacted.  The media and social media channels are quick to pick up on legal issues that impact the very fabric of lives spent in the company of dogs.  Animal Welfare Act's content/provisions related to management of animals are under increasing scrutiny and subject to amendments made by lawmakers in many countries. Who influences the legislatures? In some cases it is organizations such as Kennel and Breed Clubs, but often Animal Welfare Groups with massive international followings have considerable access to lobby legislators. Veterinarians and canine researchers weigh in. The sensibilities of and challenges faced by different stakeholders vary.

    Several European countries have enacted 'new' regulations that restrict breeding in specific purebred dog breeds, restrict or place veterinary examination criteria on the exhibition of dogs at public events and there are the beginnings of provisions that regulate living conditions (exercise requirements, space, training...) that must be met by puppy sellers, breeders and owners. (See our article: Overview - Country Specific legislation - Welfare Laws which provides links to a few current country specific legislative matters that impact dogs.) The newly adopted or introduced regulations applying to companion animals may go well beyond those that have been the standard applied to operating procedures for government licensed commercial farmers, animal brokers, dealers, zoos, laboratories... farm animals/food source animals or for animals used for exhibition or in research.

    There is nothing  inherently wrong with the press to see to the creation of new provisions in animal regulation that actually have a strong possibility of improving the health and welfare of all companion animals - noting that companion animal welfare has not been an area historically focused upon in Animal Welfare laws. Sadly, in this writer's opinion the new laws and regulations in some cases have fallen short in making substantial progress in the very reasons the regulations were made to exist in the first place - measurable improvement in health, welfare and the lives of all dogs - serving as pets and companions.

    It's complicated!

    Kennel Clubs and Breed Clubs which have historically managed pedigree dogs, seen to welfare, public education and health matters in purebred dog breeds are in some cases grappling with governmental regulations that target particular breeds and their management. At this point in time Kennel and Breed Club affiliated breeders make up a relatively small percentage of breeders managing, producing and selling purebred and mixed breed dogs in most countries - sourcing is a consideration. (See resource materials below for perspectives.) There is a great deal of outrage, animosity and contentious commentary proliferating in the social media channels by those who seem to have taken sides in the 'fight' to see to the best possible welfare for dogs. Everybody wants the same thing - happy, healthy well cared for dogs - but how to get there with common sense and equitably address challenges is quite another matter.  Lawyers and the courts have become the venues responsible for sorting the latest challenges in companion dog welfare legislation. Courts do not typically resolve matters in a rapid manner.

    More Info

    We have previously written about the legislation topic in our article, Reframing Current Challenges Around Pedigree Dogs - "Legislative actions in Europe have provoked intense, confrontational responses within the pedigree dog community. Many within the dog show world see regulatory actions as attacks on their community and on all pedigree dogs, beyond the direct focus on brachycephalic (flat-faced) breeds. Some government actions have been instituted somewhat unilaterally, without wide enough consultation; no doubt political agendas are involved. In some cases, stakeholder groups have welcomed any action as better than none, perhaps without clear evidence that they will effectively address broader concerns. However, many people who are committed to pedigree dogs as an integral and beneficial part of society see that there are problems in certain breeds that need to be addressed. Emotionally charged in-fighting or proclamations of being ‘at war’ with others weaken collective efforts to support the health and welfare of dogs in a meaningful way that is in line with the demands of society. All stakeholders have contributed in some way to the current situation; all have a role and responsibility to contribute to solutions."

    doggy.PNGSo... what does all of this chatter have to do with the Research paper featured in this Blog, Regulating Companion Dog Welfare: A Comparative Study of Legal Frameworks in Western Countries? Well, it could be helpful for stakeholders working on laws and measures that see to welfare of companion animals to get a better sense of how different country's' governments approach regulations. This research provides a comparison of legislation with an impact on the welfare of companion dogs in eleven Western jurisdictions. The scope and the specificity of the regulations varies. Legislation in Austria, Denmark, England, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Australia-New South Wales, New Zealand, Sweden and the USA were looked at in this research. It is important to recognize that this study examines the legal norms but does not address the enforcement mechanisms of the rules so... the study does not give a full picture of the effects legal requirements actually have on the welfare of companion dogs.

    "In each jurisdiction, the researchers identified and classified the dog-related legislation with reference to the following welfare issues:

    • Breeding of dogs with potentially adverse welfare characteristics;
    • Reproductive limits (on minimum age for mating and number of litters);
    • Sales (point of sale, minimum age for puppies on sale, and mandatory care instructions);
    • Surgical interventions (neutering, tail docking, ear cropping, and debarking);
    • Day-to-day handling by owners (design of indoor and outdoor environment, dog walking, duration of time spent alone, use of collars);
    • Killing (incl. euthanasia)."

    Be sure to check out the Supplementary documentation Tables for specifics...tables legislation on welfare (1).pdf

    The research provides links (Page 20 of the Supplementary Tables) to the country's commercial keeping, breeding and sales regulatory documents which are extremely helpful resources for anyone wanting to further examine provisions.

    With so many countries moving forward enacting new provisions in regulations governing care and management of companion dogs including pedigree / purebred dogs and other pet / companion animals, all stakeholders who have or want to have influence over the actual text content and implementation of equitable and effective regulations - we suggest sharing of knowledge is needed - work together. Leadership is needed. Reaching a firm understanding of how existing health management system's (KC/BC based breeding strategies) and new or proposed legislation actually impacts health and welfare of companion animals in the sphere of society at large is critical. See our article, IPFD and Pedigree dogs - You want leadership - we are ready.

    And please do check out the research paper mentioned here and our DogWellNet resources to gain a perspective on welfare in companion animals. Comments are welcome.

    Other Resources IDHW - Supply and Demand Theme Presentations

    tables legislation on welfare (1).pdf

  4. The idea for this post came during the discussions around our virtual International Dog Health Workshop on genetic diversity in May (see Ian Seath's great article about the workshop). We were discussing what kind of population statistics would breeders and breed clubs need, in order to take care of their breed population in a best possible way. I spoke to the group about the tools in the Finnish Kennel Club's breeding database, which elicited enthusiastic reactions.

    The Finnish Kennel Club (FKC), as well as other Nordic kennel clubs, is well-advanced in analyzing data and making it available to breeders and breed clubs. Let’s make a short tour on the FKC breeding database and see what specific tools there are for breed-level genetic diversity.

    The FKC advises to:

    1. avoid inbreeding especially in the first 5 generations (fast inbreeding) or keep this inbreeding coefficient (COI) below the breed average
    2. find individuals with rare alleles for breeding, and
    3. use as many dogs for breeding as possible, with as even number of offspring as possible.

     

    Regarding the advise No 1. - calculating the COI for planned litters is possible using 4-8 generations data:

    COI of planned litter.png

    It gives you the pedigree and this info:

    COI of planned litter 2.png

     

    Regarding the advise No 2. - no mean kinships etc are available, so there's clear need for either pedigree-based or genetic tools for that. But males which not yet have registered progeny you can indeed find in the database, using different search criteria:

    find males.png

     

    Regarding the advise No 3. - you can follow the numbers of litters and offspring per males and also per females:

    offspring per males.png 

    Here the cumulative % is very useful, you can see that 10 males accounted for 29 % of all puppies registered during the chosen time period (now 2017-2022). Gipstern Ifender accounted for 4.46 % of puppies during that period. The columns 'Total' are all puppies, also those born outside the chosen period.

    You can also rearrange this statistics by clicking on the underlined titles. At that point the cumulative % doesn't make sense anymore.

    And you can click on the name of the dog, which brings you to the page where you can see the pedigree of the dog and the results of health and temperament tests, trials and shows, as well as Estimated breeding values and the list of siblings and offspring.

    For monitoring, there are statistics by year and by generation (4 years):

    • breeds' average COI ('Inbreeding' - this is calculated with as deep pedigrees as the data for each dog allows, but usually not reaching to the founders)
    • N of different sires, dams and grandparents
    • ratio of sires/dams
      • a figure describing the use of popular sires. If this is 1, there are no popular sires, as the use of males is as variable as possible. 
      • this breed is Hovawart, which is famous for its' good breeding practices, but there are breeds where this figure is as low as 0.30.
    • effective population size
      • (should be calculated per generation, so the per year -figure doesn't tell you the right thing. Hopefully removed from the next version of the database.)
    • % of dogs used for breeding
      • note that Hovawarts are not used at a young age so the percents are low here - they are going to grow in the future for these age classes.

    Annual stats reg.png

    Annual stats gene pool.png

    And the good news is that most breeders / breed clubs know what to do with all this info. The FKC has a template for breed-specific breeding strategies (first version was developed in the beginning of 2000s) and has updated it a few times since then. The template walks you through on which information to include in the strategy and how to 'translate' it.

    See the sections 4.1, 6.2 and 6.3: https://www.kennelliitto.fi/en/forms/breeding-strategy-jto-template-breeds-large-populations.

     

    Thanks for reading!

    In case you have questions, or want to share information on your own kennel club or breed club, please feel free to contact us at info@ipfdogs.com.

    Read also my other blog post on how the FKC is promoting open studbooks and other important genetic diversity tools

     

  5. After the recent publication of Degenerative Myelopathy - Diagnosis and Inheritance, we received an excellent query from an experience breeder of French Bulldogs, who was concerned that her middle-aged dog was showing "classic" signs of Degenerative Myelopathy (DM).

    The dog had a clear genetic test for the SOD 1 mutation, but was experiencing clinical signs associated with DM: awkward and uncoordinated hind gait, loss of balance and falling when turning and also when stressed. The breeder had also observed French Bulldogs over the years in dog showing with uncoordinated hindlegs, dragging feet, and other mobility challenges that they questioned, could this be DM?

    There have been concerns raised by researchers in DM diagnosis, and usage of testing for SOD 1 in the French Bulldog. French Bulldogs are currently not included as a breed associated with DM. French Bulldogs have been the subject of research investigating neurological disorders in the breed identifying other myelopathies of concern, but not DM (Mayousse, 2017). The current best available information is that SOD 1 mutation testing is unlikely to be relevant for the breed.

    Unfortunately, clinical signs of DM across many breeds of dog can mimic or appear very similar to other more common breed-associated spinal or neurological issues, it can be very difficult to confirm a diagnosis of DM without a post-mortem. This may explain why the breeder's dog appears to have clinical signs, but has tested clear for SOD 1. Some more common conditions in the French Bulldog include degenerating hemivertebrae, or missing hemivertebrae, both of which could have similar clinical signs. 

    One of the main concerns raised by vets and researchers regarding DM is the potential for misdiagnosis for more common and in some cases treatable or more manageable conditions.

    French Bulldogs are currently listed as "orange" for SOD 1 breed relevance rating (BRR), which means that the evidence reviewed is either inconclusive for relevance, or the disease has never been observed in the breed. There are some breeds listed as green (some evidence) or yellow (no research available), for SOD 1 testing. However, given the very low predictability of risk for even "green" breeds, it is a genetic test that should be approached with caution. Even for the breeds where the risk prediction value is better, it appears that the SOD 1 test is best for eliminating DM as the likely condition rather than use for breed-wide management. 

    The breeder's dog almost certainly does not have DM, but there are a number of other conditions that have similar clinical symptoms, including those that respond to treatment and management. Even for breeds where DM testing may be relevant, as described in the articles around using SOD1 (and SOD2) genetic tests for DM, the usefulness is mostly in eliminating DM as a diagnosis. 

     

    Resources:

    Infographic of SOD 1 testing for DM
    Summary of new research
    Original research, including diagnosis definition, which may be especially interesting to vets

     

    Ref:

    Mayousse, V., Desquilbet, L., Jeandel, A. et al. Prevalence of neurological disorders in French bulldog: a retrospective study of 343 cases (2002–2016). BMC Vet Res 13, 212 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12917-017-1132-2

     

    Image by JK Creative via Pexels

  6. 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

     

     

  7. 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

     
     
  8. 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!

     

     

     

  9. 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.  

    UPDATED 7-15-2019

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

    "Walk test

    The walk test is meant for short-muzzled (brachycephalic) breeds that have symptoms caused by upper respiratory tract disorders. These breeds include Pug, English Bulldog and French Bulldog. The dog's exercise tolerance and the ability to breathe normally are evaluated in the walk test and the clinical examination included in it. In the walk test, the dog must walk a certain distance in a defined maximum time and recover from the exercise within a defined time frame."

    Updated 2-18-2021 - See the 2-8-2019 FKC article

    The Finnish Kennel Club’s walk test helps eliminate dogs with severe breathing problems from breeding

  10. 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: 

     

     

     


     

  11. 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.

     

     

  12. 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

  • Blogs Disclaimer
    The contents of these blogs are for informational purposes only and represent the opinion of the author(s), and not that of the International Partnership for Dogs (IPFD). This is not intended to be a substitute for professional, expert or veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. We do not recommend or endorse any specific tests, providers, products, procedures, opinions, or other information that may be mentioned on, or linked to from these blogs.

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