General Goals and Outcomes - all Themes:
By the conclusion of the 3rd IDHW participants should leave with a clear sense of key decisions on priorities / needs within the theme; remaining gaps/ challenges/ controversies; List of specific tasks/ actions to be undertaken over the next two years, by whom; and a clear understanding of how they, personally, will help achieve the desired outcomes.
Please see: 3rd IDHW_Program Overview, Schedule, Themes and Speakers for further information.
Breed-Specific Health Strategies Theme
National and international programs and approaches to studying and improving health of dogs within a breed.
• Working Group Coordinator(s): Helena Skarp, Sweden;
• Resource persons: Brenda Bonnett; Ian Seath, UK (plenary speaker); Catherine Andre (plenary speaker);
• Facilitator: Gregoire Leroy, France
• Note Taker: Kim Bellamy, Norway
Keys To The Breed-Specific Health Strategies Theme:
An issue frequently raised by breeding advisors, breed clubs and individual breeders, is how do they define and understand the ’big picture’ for their breed and how do the manage all the complex inputs that affect the health and welfare of their dogs? They hear in the media that they should test for and preferably prevent every possible disease, health and welfare issue in their breed as well as improving temperament/ behaviour and do that while maximizing genetic diversity of the population. Breed clubs must be able to make some kind of ranking of importance in terms of influence on longevity, severity, death vs. chronic disease, costs etc.; they must be able to put this together with good information on the accuracy/ efficacy of screening strategies - DNA tests, other - as well as the strategies that are available; and from all that make balanced, preferably evidence-based decisions as to what is an appropriate strategy for the long term health of the breed; and then they must advise breeders on how to proceed with individual breeding decisions. Of course, there is also the issue that the primary goal of the breeder, might be to, at least in the short term, breed a competition-winning dog.
Unfortunately, without access to the needed holistic information, evidence and effective tools we tend to see challenges, e.g. running off after the DNA 'test of the month'; knee-jerk reactions to storms on Facebook; breeding strategies that change when the executive of the breed club changes... etc. etc. Our plenary speaker, Ian Seath, will give us an overview of what the Dachshund Breed Council in the UK is doing. The approach to managing health and disease at a breed level varies widely across countries, kennel clubs, breed clubs and breeds. Notwithstanding, there is a great potential to learn from and work together with those who are dealing with similar issues. Key concepts for this theme include a need to:
- Increase exchange of information about disease prevalence, population structure and health programs between countries.
- Identify and propose strategies to limit the obstacles that differently designed health programs in different countries present to the possibility to use breeding stock between countries
- Move away from the adoption or creation of new health initiatives without adopting a holistic approach
- Find and share the best resources and tools to address these issues.
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