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  5. New in 2020: Genetic tests listed by breed include a 'relevance rating'. Here is what that is and why it is important. A work in progress... this will be a dynamic index that may change as new information becomes available. Essentially, it is a visual expression of the level of evidence we have for the use of a given test in a specific breed. The red, yellow, green ('traffic-light') layout is shown in paw prints beside the test listing returned in a breed search (see below), or as coloured badges on the Generic Phene page.
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  7. Thoughtfully researched and well written. Much appreciated. In the U.S. it seems to me that the best bet, although not a perfect solution, is to consult with the database available at www.ofa.org to see if the dame and sire have been health tested and if so to what extent. From there one can have at least an idea of the likelihood of obtaining a healthy puppy from a litter. It is far far better than nothing. While there can be lying by omission, and refusing to post results for certain tests, even that tells somewhat of a tale when evaluating and considering a puppy from a breeder. There is also a "Puppy Selection Tool" available at www.BRTCA.org, which I helped create and which should be widely publicized and used in selecting a puppy regardless of the breed. It simply causes the puppy buyer to ask breeders the right questions. So perhaps it is more useful than most other solutions to simply educate the public about informational resources which are available such as www.ofa.org rather than just the issues surrounding poor versus excellent breeding practices. I have noticed that the Irish Wolfhound organization in the UK possesses a program rich in breeding checks and balances. So does the American Leonberger organization. There are others as well but the IPFD seems to be the best clearing house organization for dissemination of such valuable information. Let's get together and promote the IPFD and Ian Seath's tenets for responsible dog breeding and puppy selection.
  8. Another interesting post from our IPFD friend and collaborator and Dachshund Breed Health Council Coordinator Ian Seath. Following his insightful discussion about puppy socialization that was prompted by reports of increased numbers of mini-dachs [(see here)] he has provided a classification of breeders to help define sources of puppies (see: Breeders, the good, the bad and the future). I think it is important emphasize his message and to add a few further comments. As was discussed in our Supply and Demand theme at the 2019 International Dog Health Workshop - the issues surrounding why, how and from where consumers acquire puppies is a complex issue. Although Ian's categories are very helpful to educate those buying pets, the further complication is that there are better and worse sources within each category of breeder, and there are no guarantees of overall quality, welfare, socialization or short or long term health based simply on the type of breeder. We can likely assume a higher probability of a good 'product' from some categories, but it is not a 'given'. And unfortunately, depending on country, region, licensing requirements and, most importantly, enforcement of any regulations there are few sources of information on specific breeders for prospective buyers. I am reminded here of our challenges in deciding what is the most important health issue in a breed, i.e., the most common? the most severe? the one that is most topical on social media? the one that seems to be affecting MY dogs? And how we have tried to use ranking systems. e.g. GSID, but challenges remain. We need to consider breeders from several angles; not only on volume of puppies produced, but also on, e.g.: Quality of the whelping and puppy-rearing environment. I have seen some commercial breeders with phenomenal facilities and puppies in 'the home' in deplorable conditions. Socialization - same thing; producing just one litter at a time does not guarantee that puppies will be well-adjusted to other dogs or people. Attention to good breeding practices - e.g. health testing, genetic testing, consideration of impact on the breed (e.g. use of Coefficients of Inbreeding). And these are just a few examples but they underline that it is the actual circumstances for each puppy that are important... which may not be reflected in a description of the breeder, per se or their operation. I have to also point out the probability of a safe and successful acquisition is also variable when getting a dog from a 'shelter' or 'rescue' organization. As discussed previously, [see DHW Supply & Demand resources] unfortunately, among the groups sourcing re-homed pets are both bonafide and questionable/ unknown or downright dodgy suppliers. There are many doubtful groups that have jumped in to supply the internet-fueled demand for rescues over primary-sourced dogs - even though it has been shown that there are groups buying dogs from large commercial breeders and puppy farms and re-selling them as 'rescues'. It is very difficult to distinguish the well-meaning from those out for commercial gain. And, sadly, just as for breeders, being 'well-meaning' is not enough to ensure health and welfare of the dogs on offer. So for now, we can try to educate with articles like Ian's, and perhaps lobby for better oversight, but the phenomenal demand that is driving the problem is unlikely to change soon. In fact, consumers also may be 'well-meaning' in terms of intending to carefully research what pet suits their situation and to carefully screen the source...but then succumb to their desire for the trending pet of the moment and wanting what they want right now. Kennel clubs may also have shied away from regulations, as, there being such a difficulty in defining a 'good breeder', most proposed regulations may be seen as a threat to their members. The most important thing is to keep this topic front-and-center in all discussions of dog health, well-being and welfare. And - work across stakeholder groups and internationally for solutions. We look to many of our working groups identified at the 4th IDHW to help us advance... Thanks Ian! See additional information: Detailed Discussion of Dog Auctions and Retail Rescue
  9. Here we post excerpts or links to published articles, commentaries, etc. that reference IPFD or DogWellNet.
  10. Learn more the important work being done by IPFD and our contributors as we lead the dog world from information to action……for the love of dogs.
  11. In our final installment of the Digest for 2019, we are putting the spotlight on 2019 milestones, and looking forward to 2020 – which promises to be a pivotal year for IPFD and DogWellNet.com. In 2019, our fifth full year of operation, we focused our efforts on several key initiatives, including: the Harmonization of Genetic Testing for Dogs (HGTD); the 4th International Dog Health Workshop (IDHW); the continued growth of DogWellNet.com and our online community. We provided an independent voice in addressing complex and often controversial challenges, including "Hot Topics" such as canine genetics; and shared resources e.g. on health and welfare issues in brachycephalic breeds. See other interviews and news reports featuring IPFD here. As a start up non-profit five years ago, we represented a good idea, with an admirable mission. Many were enthusiastic about the concept, but perhaps unclear about the details of what could be accomplished. IPFD developed based on a strategy of 'if we build it, they will come'. The progress has been gratifying, but never fast enough for me, personally. The acknowledgement of the need for multi-stakeholder, international collaboration and action is widespread; but the realities of the dog world and the demands of local, regional, and national responsibilities of our volunteers and collaborators continues to pose challenges. As we move into a phase of enhancing stability and sustainability, we have a lot to celebrate and great potential on which to capitalize. The word cloud created from participants' comments from the 4th International Dog Health Workshop exemplifies many of our issues, goals, and efforts We have a substantial focus on science and evidence, but we never forget that the human element underpins everything we do. Our Spotlight video in December's Digest shows a softer side, reminding us that it is our love and appreciation for dogs that motivates us. People are always the strength of an organization, and now is a good time to acknowledge and thank the small but committed team of consultants who do the lion's share of work at IPFD. Please check out their profiles and read more about their efforts, below and in the Digest. The IPFD Board has gone through a transformation in 2019, with three members transitioning off the Board and five enthusiastic new Board members joining. The Board now comprises both old friends and new faces with renewed energy and purpose to help launch IPFD into the new decade, capitalizing on existing strengths and addressing ongoing challenges. Bios for the Board are here; we can all look forward to learning more about them in our 2019 Annual Report, and hearing from them in articles and blogs. In the spirit of the season, below are some highlights from 2019 – these could make for some great holiday reading! Thanks to everyone who has supported IPFD and participated in our work in 2019. And here's to a stellar 2020... as we leap ahead with great aspirations. New IPFD Contributors We welcomed two new Contributing Partners in 2019: The Canadian Kennel Club (January) Raad van Beheer (The Dutch Kennel Club) the official kennel club of The Netherlands (February). A new two-year Sponsor, the Morris Animal Foundation (July). And several Non-Breed Specific Collaborators, which are organizations serving health and welfare interests for all breeds: European School for Advanced Veterinary Studies (ESAVS) (June) Global Pet Obesity Initiative (August) And going into 2020, we have renewed and ongoing contracts with all existing Contributing Partners! Harmonization of Genetic Testing for Dogs (HGTD) The HGTD Project has seen significant growth in 2019, and currently lists 76 Genetic Test Providers (GTPs) across 22 countries, worldwide with 42 currently participating or starting their participation. Thanks to Project Director Aimee Llewellyn-Zaidi! We have made several improvements to the information we record for both genetic test providers and test information. This includes clearer information on what laboratories are used for outsourced testing and when information has been updated by GTPs. Thanks to our App developer Michael Edwards (Coding Jungle), we continue to further automate the updating process and add on new functions. See further details on HGTD in the Digest. In 2020, in addition to expanding engagement with GTPs, we will integrate various projects (Expert Panel, Health Strategies Database (HSDD), the Get a GRIHP Program) to enhance breed-specific information and outputs. Read about these initiatives in Brenda's presentation under Breed-Specific Health Strategies at the 2019 4th IDHW, here. 4th International Dog Health Workshop (IDHW) The IDHWs bring together a wide range of stakeholders in dog health, science, and welfare to improve international sharing of information and resources, provide a forum for ongoing collaboration, and identify specific needs and actions to improve health, well-being, and welfare in dogs. IPFD is responsible for the International Dog Health Workshops and partners with other organizations who manage meeting logistics. Access the amazing resources from the four IDHWs here. The 4th IDHW, co-hosted by the Kennel Club in Windsor, UK, in May/June 2019, included more than 130 decision leaders from 17 countries, who joined us to share their experiences and expertise across five Themes addressing some of the most pressing issues in the dog world. We’ve compiled pre- and post-meeting resources here, both for the benefit of workshop participants and for those who were unable to attend. We continue to see the dividends of the important work done at the first three IDHWs (read more in our publication from the Paris 3rd IDHW and look for a new publication in the Journal of Canine Epidemiology and Genetics in 2020), and Working Groups have begun work on issues addressed at the 4th IDHW earlier this year. The 5th IDHW takes place in 2021, with the date and location to be confirmed soon! DogWellNet.com Our internet platform, DogWellNet.com, is an open access, ever-expanding information hub, providing links, documents, and additional resources to breeders and others in the dog world. For an overview of the site, including an explanation of key content areas and features, please visit DogWellNet.com: At A Glance. Although almost all DogWellNet content is available to guests, we encourage readers to sign up as members on the site. As of the publishing date for this issue, more than 1,200 people have signed up on DogWellNet.com, including more than 500 Members and 700+ Advanced Members. One of the popular resources on the site is the Breeds Database, ably overseen by our Content Manager Ann Milligan. A former breeder, and current judge, Ann is always thrilled to get information from breed clubs and breeders, as we continue to expand this resource. In 2020, there will be further integration of material from the breeds database with our other initiatives (HGTD; HSDD, etc.). DogWellNet Digest This is our eighth 2019 issue of DogWellNet Digest – a collection of the latest news from IPFD and DogWellNet.com. A link to each new issue is emailed to all IPFD Members and posted to our social media accounts, and all previous issues are archived on DogWellNet.com. See also IPFD in the Media for excerpts or links to published articles, etc. that reference IPFD or DogWellNet. IPFD Social Media In 2019, our social media presence expanded further into the dog world with several targeted campaigns and a growing following of our Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts. Thanks to Dave St. Louis, our Communications Specialist, for keeping us in touch with our Partners, Members, and the dog world, in general. Another key online tool is our video resources. See our latest, a feel-good offering for the season, and tantalizing, early glimpse of our 2019 Annual Report. Enough looking back, let's talk about... Moving Forward in 2020 With additions to HGTD and other genetic counseling resources, implementation of the Expert Panel, creation of the HSDD, planning for the 5th IDHW; enhanced activities with our revitalized Board, ongoing outreach with our Partners and Sponsors...the possibilities are exciting! All the best for the holiday season and Happy New Year from IPFD...where every year is the Year of the Dog.
  12. The Extremes of Conformation Theme has been discussed at the Dog Health Workshops held in 2012, 2015, 2017 and 2019. This document provides a timeline-based group of resources available on DogWellNet including articles, blogs and links to plenary presentations from the workshops. brachy - extremes theme - dwn - idhw - 1-4 - timeline.pdf During the past decade a great deal has been accomplished to address health and welfare issues that relate to conformation extremes across breeds. Particular focus has been paid to health challenges present in the short muzzled breeds, several of which have become exceedingly popular in recent years. Efforts have included scientific research, Kennel and Breed Club educational programs, involvements by veterinary associations located throughout the world and governmental approaches to regulating breeds provide an informed view of how extremes can impact health and welfare of dogs - views come from different stakeholder groups. We at DWN are pleased to be a part of sharing information from the Dog Health Workshops as well as other collected resources with the community.
  13. Thank you so much for this very informational blog!
  14. Packer RMA, O’Neill DG, Fletcher F, Farnworth MJ (2019) Great expectations, inconvenient truths, and the paradoxes of the dog-owner relationship for owners of brachycephalic dogs. PLoS ONE 14(7): e0219918. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0219918 Abstract Popularity of brachycephalic (flat-faced) dog breeds is increasing internationally despite well-documented intrinsic health and welfare problems associated with their conformation. Given this apparent paradox, greater understanding of the expectations and reality for brachycephalic dog owners and factors driving the dog-owner bond are needed. This study reports a large-scale online survey with valid responses from 2168 owners of brachycephalic dogs (Pugs: n = 789, median age of dogs 2.5 years; French Bulldog: n = 741, median age 2.0 years; Bulldogs: n = 638, median age 2.5 years). The most common owner-reported disorders in their dogs were allergies, corneal ulcers, skin fold infections and Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS). One-fifth (19.9%) of owners reported that their dog had undergone at least one conformation-related surgery, 36.5% of dogs were reported with a problem with heat regulation, and 17.9% with problems breathing. Despite awareness of their dog’s health issues, 70.9% owners considered their dog to be in very good health or the best health possible. Paradoxically, just 6.8% of owners considered their dog to be less healthy than average for their breed. Dog owner-relationships were extremely strong across all three breeds. Emotional closeness to their dog was highest for owners of Pugs, female owners, and owners with no children in the household. Ownership of brachycephalic dog breeds is a complex phenomenon, characterised by extremely strong dog-owner relationships and unrealistic perceptions of good health set against high levels of disease in relatively young dogs. Perceptual errors in owner beliefs appear to exist between brachycephalic owner perspectives of their own dog’s health versus the health of the rest of their breed, which may be fuelled by cognitive dissonance processes. These novel data improve our understanding of the cognitive processes and relationships that facilitate the rising popularity of breeds that paradoxically are affected by high levels of conformation-related morbidity. Comment: Breeder View This study may be of interest to clubs or breeders who are responsible for educating buyers regarding health concerns present in Pugs, Bulldogs and French Bulldogs. Value exists in educating potential owners of these breeds as to health concerns that may impact owner experiences with their dogs over a given dog's lifetime. The reality is, the dog's ages represented in this survey may have had a some influence on owner assessments of costs of veterinary care and of owner perceptions of time and resources dedicated to caring for their dog - costs and perceptions that may change as their dog ages. It was not entirely clear to me the source of dogs whose owners participated in this survey - in other words from whom were the dogs purchased - show breeders (health tested/conformation evaluated dogs) or other sources. The references listed in this research provide perspective. DogWellNet has collected a number of resources that address the Brachycephalic Issue. The IPFD's Dog Health Workshops have included plenary talks from the Extremes of Conformation theme in which stakeholder concerns over management of health and welfare in brachycephalic breeds and actions to improve matters are addressed. Related article: JAVMA: Owners of brachycephalic dogs are a complicated lot Posted Oct. 9, 2019 https://www.avma.org/News/JAVMANews/Pages/191101h.aspx This article is an easy read and summarizes the study.
  15. The severity of Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS) is assessed by means of walk tests. With the help of walk tests, individuals with the most severe symptoms can be eliminated from breeding.
  16. News & Highlights IPFD and DogWellNet 2019-2020: Looking Back and Moving Forward... Make a Donation Stay Informed!
  17. For some time, pet obesity has been recognized as a crucial, widespread issue that impacts the health, welfare, and lifespan of dogs. Earlier in 2019, following the 4th IDHW, IPFD endorsed the Global Pet Obesity Initiative Position Statement, joining 24 International Veterinary Professional Organizations, including the American Veterinary Medical Association Board of Directors, British Small Animal Veterinary Association, Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, World Small Animal Veterinary Association, among others. Pet obesity is a studied health and welfare issue that is, presumably, quite straightforward... and under control of owners to fix. However, as for issues around human obesity, in reality the situation can be more complicated; and recent studies have examined some of the complexities, for people and their pets. An IPFD collaborator, Prof. Peter Sandoe (University of Copenhagen), and others published a paper in 2014 on Canine and feline obesity: A One Health perspective that offers a broad coverage of the problem, why it is important, how the Human-Animal Bond impacts challenges, and, importantly, "Why we should care". From the article: "Recent years have seen a drastic increase in the rates of overweight and obesity among people living in some developed nations. There has also been increased concern over obesity in companion animals. In the latest article in Veterinary Record's series on One Health, Peter Sandøe and colleagues argue that the relationship between obesity in people and in companion animals is closer and more complex than previously thought, and that obesity should be treated as a One Health problem." Below, under Recent Research you will find articles that address specific challenges, including perception of obesity and inaccurate assessment of body conditions score (as a measure of obesity). The evolution of obesity: from evolutionary advantage to a disease describes the historical perspectives and the current situation: "Obesity as a disease was first described by Hippocrates" ... and ... "in 1920’s the Insurance Companies, in 1948 World Health Organisation and in 2013 both American Medical Association and The American Heart Association, American College of Cardiology and The Obesity Society recognized obesity as a disease." As described above, this approach has also been taken in the veterinary world. These acknowledgements are made with the goal of facilitating treatment, promoting research, and with an aim to curb this growing health and public health problem. Obesity can cause or worsen many health conditions, and the risk is enhanced for certain breeds and types of pets. Brachycephalic (flat-faced pets), already challenged in terms of respiratory function and heat regulation, are further compromised if overweight. This can be viewed as not only a health problem, but also as a welfare problem - but many owners remain unaware. See, e.g. Owners' perception of 'responsible dog ownership in our Blogs section. Veterinarians can offer clients sound advice for management of their pet to optimize health. Here, we'll feature work done by IPFD's collaborators as well as provide links to industry reports, research and educational tool kits which have been developed to assist owners and veterinary practices. Check out articles, surveys and other important info at the Global Pet Obesity Initiative's website + see the 2019 Pet Owner Survey - An opportunity to contribute! US Residents: would you like to participate in ongoing research into obesity? The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention is conducting the 12th Annual National Pet Obesity Awareness Day Survey This survey was opened to US residents on October 9, 2019. To participate, sign up here. Veterinary practice/clinic participation in this organization's 2020 pet weight data collection survey next October is sought as well.
  18. What a great weekend of education - with the Canadian Kennel Club and about 170 participants, including breeders with a range of experience from over 40 years to novices. Speakers Dr. Kari Ekenstedt, a geneticist from Purdue University in Indiana and IPFD CEO Dr. Brenda Bonnett covered 'everything you need to know to understand genetic testing' in a clear, concise and entertaining series of talks. Interactive discussions with the many knowledgeable, committed attendees were interesting and thought-provoking. Read more here. Download the schedule here: CKC Seminar Schedule Final.pdf My talks covered the Harmonization of Genetic Testing and the many initiatives IPFD is pursuing to support breeders, as well as a talk together with Kari on Ethics and Welfare. In addition, both speakers addressed issues about genetic diversity, selection and inbreeding. Dr. Ekestedt's presentation was a primarily science-based coverage, including description of various tools, including calculation of Coefficients of Inbreeding (COIs). My talk on Population Health and Diversity presented a more conceptual coverage of diversity (see below), including examples from other species. Both talks included practical suggestions for including these aspects in breeding decisions, but this was also meant to promote discussion and consideration by breeders as they examine their own role, as well as the roles of breed and kennel clubs in promoting and conserving health and longevity in their breeds. It is clear that many breeders are struggling with definitions and implications of genetic diversity, inbreeding and line breeding, and with resolving new information from the fast-advancing world of genetics and genomics with long-held attitudes and practices that are firmly embedded in dog breeding culture. Below are some key points and challenging issues raised in these talks and in the interesting and frank discussions with participants. Thanks to the Canadian Kennel Club and all the participants for a stimulating and enjoyable weekend of continuing education! Congrats to the CKC team who put on a great event. Stay tuned as we will post on DogWellNet.com the video of my talk and links to the rest of the program - hopefully in early January 2020. Additional reading on Genetic Diversity Understanding Breeds as Populations - J. Bell What we can learn from each other: Show Greyhounds Is Crossbreeding a Part of the Plan for Bulldogs -- Genetic Considerations (references Pederson Study) Small Population Breeds and Issues of Genetic Diversity - J. Bell
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    ON THE ORIGINS OF BREED TYPES BY MEANS OF HUMAN ACTION Slides from Peter Friedrich's plenary talk from the 4th IDHW, Windsor, 31 May 2019 Also see: Friedrich, Peter, 2018, Questionable Phenotypic Traits in the Rottweiler - which offers information on valuable breed traits, comments on the "Redesigned Rottweilers with extreme characteristics..." i.e. the impacts of trendiness supported by media and human motivations to possess special, extravagant and innovative dogs."
  20. Purdue University News - Press release - Your dog might be hiding its true colors From the Press release... " New research from Purdue University’s College of Veterinary Medicine shows that some breeds of dogs have hidden coat colors – and in some cases, other traits – that have been lurking all along. Example: There are around 18 recognized breeds of dogs that have the genetic potential to be born without a tail – such as the popular Australian Shepherd (shown in photo). But the data shows that up to 48 of the breeds analyzed possess the tailless gene variant, usually at a very low frequency." Wisdom Health - Press release - First-of-its-kind study reveals genetic traits determining coat colors and physical appearance in over 200 dog breeds November 2019 From the Press release... "As our study demonstrates, purebred dogs have so much more than meets the eye - literally. The information provided by a WISDOM PANEL dog DNA test can help us better understand the hidden elements of dog genetics," said Dr. Angela Hughes DVM PhD, veterinarian and canine genetics expert at Wisdom Health. "While our study focused primarily on purebred populations, these hidden traits can also have ramifications for mixed breed dogs. When unexpected or hidden traits are passed to mixed breed dogs from their purebred ancestors, it further complicates the already difficult task of visual breed identification making DNA tests the only reliable method of determining breed ancestry." Read the study... True Colors: Commercially-acquired morphological genotypes reveal hidden allele variation among dog breeds, informing both trait ancestry and breed potential Comment: Extracted content of interest to dog breeders & breed managers... See S3 Table. Unfavorable or “fault” phenotypes possible by breed and breed registry. "Breeds genotyped to have alleles that would produce phenotypes considered as a “fault” by either the American Kennel Club (AKC), Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI), United Kennel Club (UKC), or The Kennel Club of the UK (KC). The level of tolerance within each breed registry is designated as either not allowed (N), not preferred (n.p.), allowed (Y), or ambiguously worded (amb.). A breed not recognized by a given organization is indicated with a dash (-). Inheritance of the fault-causing allele is designated as dominant (D), recessive (R), or compound heterozygote (CH). Breed name abbreviations are as listed in S1 Table. Probabilities for producing the non-standard phenotype were calculated assuming random mating within the breed, and account for multi-gene inheritance, expression, and epistatic effects." https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0223995.s005 " Much recent emphasis has been placed on the importance of genetic diversity within breeds [69–76]. With the conservation of diversity in mind, breeders and breed organizations must weigh the relative value of breed standard conformity with preservation of genetic diversity. The existence of unfavorable, though arguably benign pigmentation or morphological variations, has here been quantified and can be addressed by applied genetic screening to reduce the carrier frequency of breeding stock, or by reassessing breed standards to broaden the acceptance of preexisting variation. Likewise, though our analyses have indicated that production of disallowed phenotypes is generally quite low, the occurrence of an undesirable pigmentation trait should not necessarily exclude a dog from purebred status if that variant has been detected in the appropriate population. As a recent example, effective 1 January 2019, the Great Dane Club of America revised their breed standard to allow merle coloring on a black base. Canine genetic research has clarified that the presence of the merle allele is required for the Harlequin phenotype [14]; since this relationship was previously unclear, the breed had not allowed merle (without the Harlequin modifier) until this change. These revisions demonstrate the purebred dog community recognizing and willingly implementing the findings from canine genetic research. The present work will guide similar decision-making by breed clubs regarding definition of acceptable breed colors. "
  21. From - Standards, Health and Genetics in Dogs - Chapter II - Genetic testing in dogs - Marie Abitbol (France) "The first part of this chapter presents the genetic characteristics of the canine species and the basics of canine genetics. The second part addresses the use of screening and diagnostic tests for inherited diseases, with a focus on genetic counselling and the parameters that determine the interpretation of test results. The third part concentrates on the search for informations on canine inherited diseases and the tests available. The final part presents tests for aesthetic characteristics such as coat colour."
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    Jerold Bell outlines concerns involved with use of genetic tests - 2012 IDHW
  23. Jerold S Bell DVM (jerold.bell@tufts.edu) Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University presented this article at the 2019 AKC Canine Health Foundation National Parent Club Canine Health Conference. The article has been reprinted here with the written permission of the author.
  24. Following discussions at the August 2019 AKC Canine Health Foundation National Parent Club Canine Health Conference, DogWellNet.com's collaborators at AKC-CHF hosted a webinar available for viewing at VetVine, Canine Degenerative Myelopathy: From Gene Mutation Discovery to Clinical Trials (free VetVine registration required). Dr. Joan Coates' presentation (free VetVine registration required) gave a detailed overview of the disease and current research, including veterinary and human applications. In this excellent overview, parts of the presentation were somewhat technical – digestible to a veterinarian or researcher level audience – but nonetheless also of interest to breeders. The application side of this test, i.e. what results mean and how the test should be used to support breeding decisions, is particularly complex, and the situation is very different in various breeds. This complicates the situation for owners and breeders in terms of deciding whether this highly-marketed test is needed, and in interpretation of the results. Dr. Coates mentioned that, in the paper by Jonas Donner and colleagues: Frequency and distribution of 152 genetic disease variants in over 100,000 mixed breed and purebred dogs, Degenerative Myelopathy is the most common 'disease'. [See statistics: Rank 1: Allelle frequency]. BUT, it is really the most commonly tested for disease – for various reasons. We do not have great evidence on the actual prevalence of the condition across or within breeds. Challenges - Confusion over interpretation and application of DNA tests within the breed and veterinary communities is not unique to DM. Working groups coming out of the genetic theme at the 4th IDHW are underway to address validation issues in genetic testing. Stay tuned to DogWellNet.com, as we will be providing more information in the near future. The DNA testing topic is being addressed by IPFD's partners, collaborators and team through development and implementation of tools such as the HGTD as well as covered in Themes work done at the IPFD's International Dog Health Workshops, the IPFD CEO's outreach presentations, articles and blogs* - work done in collaboration with individuals and groups of multidisciplinary stakeholders, all of whom share the aim to improve the health and welfare of dogs. Additional information... Talks & Blogs - Genetic Testing Recently, Brenda Bonnett blogged about challenges faced by breed clubs related to applying results of this particular DNA test (DM) to breed management in Concern about genetic testing Degenerative Myelopathy (DM) in French Bulldogs. The blog includes a link to a letter, Degenerative Myelopathy Does NOT Occur in French Bulldogs that IPFD collaborator Dr. Jerold Bell circulated to add to the discussion/understanding of DM testing in the French Bulldog breed. The current state of affairs for canine genetic testing development and distribution, along with comments on appropriate interpretation and application of DNA tests to improve health of dogs, are discussed In Brenda Bonnett's talk to AVMA in August 2019: Genetic Testing to Improve Canine Health: The Big Picture & the Blog covering the AVMA conference. A presentation Harmonization of Genetic Testing and Breed-Specific Resources was given at the AKC-CHF Parent Club Health Symposium. Brenda’s Blog offers further discussion. RELATED: Video: Canine Degenerative Myelopathy - Stages of Disease "Veterinary neurology expert Dr. Joan Coates, DVM, MS, DACVIM (Neurology) discusses the progressive nature of canine degenerative myelopathy and provides examples of affected dogs in the various stages of progression. Learn more on this topic and view the entire presentation On Demand.
  25. I just listened to The role of client communication and euthanasia for the veterinarian | VETgirl Veterinary Continuing Education Podcasts with Professor Jane Shaw from Colorado State University. What a great explanation of aspects of best practices in communication on sensitive issues like euthanasia and of the gaps there can be across pet owner and veterinarian perceptions. This is worth listening to for both vets AND for anyone who has had, or will have, the experience of humanely letting go of a dear pet. Dr. Jane explains, with examples, some of the complex human issues in these kinds of visits and gives practical pointers on how communication can be improved. Her message is to vets, but I think owners can learn from this as well. Not every veterinarian has had the benefit of 20-plus hours of communication training from someone like Jane. Some veterinarians can struggle with euthanasia discussions. So, a knowledgeable client can be proactive in bringing up their concerns, and should not feel that their personal and emotional issues about their pet, or issues in their life, are irrelevant to the situation. Feel free to ask questions and share with your veterinarian. We know that everything to do with pets is built on human-animal interactions. It can be challenging, but the complicated, complex human side is often as (or more) important than the medical facts. Only good can come from improved veterinary-client communication*. It was my honour to work with the authors of the paper on which this interview was based (see below). And to have personally known Smokey the dog who was the canine patient in the study. Not every dog would say how thrilled he was to go to lots and lots of vet visits in the last months of his life, but Smokey seemed delighted with the outings! The contributions of the animals, their owners, and the innovative approach of the researchers combined to bring this important work to fruition. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2019 May 1;254(9):1073-1085. doi: 10.2460/javma.254.9.1073. Comparison of veterinarian and standardized client perceptions of communication during euthanasia discussions. Nogueira Borden LJ, Adams CL, Bonnett BN, Ribble CS, Shaw JR. Impacts of the process and decision-making around companion animal euthanasia on veterinary wellbeing Matte, AR., Khosa, DK., Coe, JB., Meehan, MP. (2019) Impacts of the process and decision-making around companion animal euthanasia on veterinary wellbeing Veterinary Record 185, 480. A qualitative study using group and individual interviews involving 10 veterinary hospitals in Wellington County, Ontario, explored how the practices involved in euthanasia-related care impacts the wellbeing of veterinary professionals. *Also see DogWellNet.com's articles: How Can We Improve End-of-Life Care? One Welfare: The Intersection of Veterinary Education and Animal Welfare and Ethics
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