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  1. Last week
  2. Earlier
  3. Following on from my blog on the Seminar for the FBDCA we are thrilled to find that the French Bulldog Club of England has shared their Breed Health and Conservation Plan (BHCP). Link here; PDF attached, below. These plans are being assembled by the health team at The Kennel Club, until recently spearheaded by Katy Evans (now the Jane H. Booker Chair in Canine Genetics at The Seeing Eye in the USA). Similar to coverage in my talk (video link here), the focus is very broad in the BHCP and makes clear the challenges ahead for this breed, internationally. The BHCP incorporates statistics from Sweden and Britain, from our IPFD Partners Agria Pet Insurance/Agria Djurförsäkring and VetCompass. Work like the BHCPs in the UK, Breed-specific Breeding Strategies from Sweden (RAS) and Finland (JTO) and others will be incorporated into our new development, the IPFD Health Strategy Database for Dogs (HSDD) coming soon. Then we will be able to provide an interactive resource where 'all' health information can be accessed to inform the great efforts being made by groups throughout the world. Congrats and thanks to The KC and the French Bulldog Club of England. breed_health_and_conservation_plan_-_french_bulldog_final__1_.pdf
  4. Dave St. Louis

    Preview of IPFD Annual Report 2018

    A preview of IPFD's 2018 Annual Report, which is available for download here on DogWellNet.com. Please be sure to share this video and link with your friends and colleagues to show the important work being done by the IPFD and its supporters.
  5. Ann Milligan

    Cambridge Puppy Nostril Study

    Cambridge University is carrying out an important research project into the development of the nostrils in brachycephalic (short-faced) dog breeds. The breeds in this study are French Bulldogs, English Bulldogs and Pugs.
  6. Dave St. Louis

    IPFD Annual Report 2018: Hitting Our Stride

    In 2018, our fourth full year of operation, we focused our efforts on key initiatives, including: Harmonization of Genetic Testing for Dogs (HGTD); planning for the 4th International Dog Health Workshop (IDHW) in May 2019; and lending an independent voice in addressing complex and often controversial challenges, such as the health and welfare issues in brachycephalic breeds.
  7. The Harmonization of Genetic Testing for Dogs (HGTD) and several of our Leadership GTPs were recently featured in a USA Today article on Dog Genetic Testing.
  8. Ann Milligan

    Keeshond

  9. 4th IDHW: Don't Miss Out - Register Now! News & Highlights IPFD Annual Report 2018: Hitting Our Stride Make a Donation Stay Informed!
  10. Dave St. Louis

    Dutch Kennel Club

    Raad van Beheer (The Dutch Kennel Club (DKC)) is the official kennel club of The Netherlands. Founded in 1902, it currently represents around 200 breed clubs with 150,000 members. The DKC is a proud sponsor of IPFD's Harmonization of Genetic Testing for Dogs Initiative.
  11. Aimee Llewellyn-Zaidi

    Research - Long-term impact of DNA tests on dog diseases

    2019 Lewis TW, Mellersh CS. Changes in mutation frequency of eight Mendelian inherited disorders in eight pedigree dog populations following introduction of a commercial DNA test. Plos One, https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0209864 DNA Testing - General Subject: DNA Testing Type: Research Journal/Source: peer-reviewed research publication Authors/Researchers: University, Kennel Club (IPFD Partners); HGTD Participants Recommended For: Veterinarians, Owners/Breeders This study is one of the very few to investigate the impact of DNA testing on changing a dog population's disease risk. The research looked at determining changes in frequency of disease causing mutations (how common a mutant gene is in a population) as a result of breeding-pair selection based on DNA test results. The results indicated that there has been an overall decline in disease causing mutations in the 8 diseases in 8 breeds investigated. While the paper recognises that there can be variations in how quickly a disease is reduced or eliminated (such as breed population size), it concluded that where dog breeders appear to incorporate DNA test results as part of breeding plans, there is success in decreasing the frequency of mutation. The study looked at: prcd-PRA in Labrador Retriever and Cocker Spaniel, HC in Staffordshire Bull Terriers, EIC in Labrador Retriever, PLL in Mini-Bull Terrier, EF and DE/CC in Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, PRA rcd-4 in Gordon, and Irish Setter, and spinocerebellar ataxia in Parson Russell Terrier. Within the UK at least, this represents a spectrum of large and small breeds, and generally "known" diseases within the breeds. 2019 Lewis TW, Mellersh CS. Changes in mutation frequency of eight Mendelian inherited disorders in eight pedigree dog populations following introduction of a commercial DNA test. Plos One, https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0209864 See also: Nearly 20 Years of DNA Testing – What Can We Learn? : IPFD CEO's blog post with discussion of wider implications of the study's approach and findings; based on Ian Seath's commentary (Dog-ED: Social Enterprise) with a breeder/health council perspective on the article above. IPFD Harmonization of Genetic Testing (HGTD) and search on the mentioned diseases for more information on the the condition, phenes, tests and more.
  12. Ian Seath, a great friend and collaborator of IPFD has provided a clearly and thoughtfully profiled an article from our Partners at The Kennel Club in the UK in his post: NEARLY 20 YEARS OF DNA TESTING – WHAT CAN WE LEARN? Ian does a great job of summarizing and highlighting the material in this important paper and I will let you read his coverage, and, as he suggests, the original paper: "I don’t want to dwell on the detail of the research; you can read that for yourself, here: https://goo.gl/PiQmMF – I want to discuss how and why this paper might be important. The study covers the results of 8 DNA tests in 8 breeds for the period 2000 to 2017. 2 of the DNA tests applied to 2 breeds, resulting in 10 test+breed combinations. The key metric used to measure progress was the Mutation Frequency ...". In essence, for these tests in these breeds, the authors, Tom Lewis and Cathryn Mellersh, respected geneticists, go beyond the findings in specific dogs to calculate a broader impact on inheritance. The paper shows the tremendous potential for validated tests, used appropriately to positively impact the health of breeds. Ian's suggestions on how The KC could take these findings further by considering how to incorporate in registration and breeding strategies are on point. In his section on "Wider Implications?" Ian also highlights some of the cautions that must also be taken into consideration, and further, says: "There are over 700 inherited disorders and traits in dogs, of which around 300 have a genetically simple mode of inheritance and around 150 available DNA tests. This tells us that we should not rely on DNA testing to solve the “problem” of diseases in pedigree dogs." Building on this, and without detracting in any way from the research, its impact or Ian's excellent discussion, I want to stress further caution. Accepting that this is strong evidence that "DNA testing works!" we must be clear that this has been shown for these tests in these breeds and our enthusiasm must not expand to include all genetic testing, across the board, as being proven as impactful by this study. These are primarily simply inherited, very specific, well-characterized, but relatively rare conditions with well-validated tests. Certainly we are optimistic that there are now, and will be more, test-by-breed-by-condition combinations that will also support health strategies and breeding decisions. But it is extremely important to remember that only a small proportion of the conditions affecting dogs will fall into this category, even a small proportion of those for which genetic tests are or will be available. In terms of perspective, the IPFD Harmonization of Genetic Testing in Dogs (HGTD) database lists over 250 genetic tests marketed to over 400 breeds/varieties. So I echo Ian's recommendations that even as we take this as good news, we: look to researchers and breed advisors to continue their work to not only identify potentially useful tests but also to monitor them as they are used to determine their impact we continue to educate consumers and breeders on the complexities of genetic testing, as well as, the realistic benefits and limitations of genetic tests and testing and we promote and support balanced, 'Big Picture' development of breed-health strategies that consider not only genetic testing but all other available tools to help define the health and disease picture within breeds as well. The IPFD HGTD is in place to support genetic counselling; and the Expert Panel development to provide informed advice and the Health Strategies Database for Dogs including an interactive resource supporting that Big Picture view are coming soon to help all stakeholders do their best for dogs and their owners as we navigate the complexities of dog health and welfare. Kudos again to Drs. Lewis and Mellersh, and The KC for stellar work and to Ian Seath for his insightful commentary. This is progress – over 20 years. One can be optimistic that there will be many more advances in the next 20 years if we focus on both the details and the broad perspective. See also: New Research blog on the same article.
  13. February 2019 We'd like to call your attention to two posts in DWN's New Research Blog. Consequences and Management of Canine Brachycephaly in Veterinary Practice: Perspectives from Australian Veterinarians and Veterinary Specialists See Brenda Bonnet's review of this research coming from Austalia that "covers the health problems and welfare issues in brachycephalic dogs highlighting a veterinary perspective."
  14. Consequences and Management of Canine Brachycephaly in Veterinary Practice: Perspectives from Australian Veterinarians and Veterinary Specialists Fawcett, et al., including Paul McGreevy, University of Sydney, Australia Animals 2019, 9, 3; doi:10.3390/ani9010003 https://www.mdpi.com/2076-2615/9/1/3 For: Veterinarians, health care professionals, all stakeholders Review: Brenda Bonnett, DVM, PhD This comprehensive review covers the health problems and welfare issues in brachycephalic dogs highlighting a veterinary perspective. The text of the paper comprises 19 pages and includes a wide-range of topics. This paper is an excellent resource for veterinary health care professionals and clinicians. However, topics in this paper are also important for all stakeholders involved with the brachycephalic issue in dogs. At the end of the paper, there is an important discussion of the ethical challenges for veterinarians, both as individuals and the profession as a whole. Concerned that readers, especially those who are not clinicians, may not persevere through the clinical information to reach this important section, I will highlight the importance of that discussion below. First, a general overview: “Simple Summary: Canine and human co-evolution have disclosed remarkable morphological plasticity in dogs. Brachycephalic dog breeds are increasing in popularity, despite them suffering from well-documented conformation-related health problems. This has implications for the veterinary caseloads of the future. Whether the recent selection of dogs with progressively shorter and wider skulls has reached physiological limits is controversial. The health problems and short life expectancies of dogs with extremely short skulls suggests that we may have even exceeded these limits. Veterinarians have a professional and moral obligation to prevent and minimise the negative health and welfare impacts of extreme morphology and inherited disorders, and they must address brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS) not only at the level of the patient, but also as a systemic welfare problem.” The broad range of topics include: · Concern that “Despite well-documented conformation-related health problems, brachycephalic dog breeds are increasing in popularity.”; · Detailed enumeration and description of associated health problems; · Behavioural impacts of brachycephaly, as well as · “substantial evidence that brachycephaly compromises the welfare of affected dogs”, highlighting insurance data and research findings; · Problems for individual dogs and their owners as well as for breed populations; · Immediate concerns as well as future perspectives; · Clinical diagnosis and management of BOAS and other problems in brachys, and · A thought provoking discussion of “Ethical Challenges Associated with Brachycephalic Breeds” and the role of veterinarians. Understanding the Complexity – the veterinary perspective Past all the discussion of clinical findings and approaches, the section on ethical challenges has excellent coverage of the concerns and conflicting interests for veterinarians. For example, the best resolution for competing issues is not always clear, e.g.: · the best interests of an individual dog, in general, and in relation to a specific health event; · its owner’s attachment, attitudes, wishes, needs, and ability to provide care; and · concerns for the breed overall, as well as · the practical reality of the veterinarian as both a caregiver and a business person. Two of the authors have also provided this summary: “Vets can do more to reduce the suffering of flat-faced dog breeds”: February 12, 2019 2.16pm EST http://theconversation.com/vets-can-do-more-to-reduce-the-suffering-of-flat-faced-dog-breeds-110702 It is important for all stakeholders to be aware of the challenges facing others as the dog world moves toward doing is what is best for dogs. Also see: DWN's Extremes of Conformation Category Latest on brachycephalics from Sweden Approaches to Breed-specific Extremes
  15. Ann Milligan

    The Brachycephalic Issue: Evidence, Emotion and Challenged Beliefs

    Sandøe, Peter & Kondrup, Sara Vincentzen & C. Bennett, P & Forkman, B & Meyer, Iben & F. Proschowsky, H & Serpell, James & Lund, Thomas. (2017). Why do people buy dogs with potential welfare problems related to extreme conformation and inherited disease? A representative study of Danish owners of four small dog breeds. PLoS ONE. 12. 10.1371/journal.pone.0172091. Why do people buy dogs with potential welfare problems related to extreme conformation and inherited disease? A representative study of Danish owners of four small dog breeds
  16. Brenda Bonnett

    Latest on brachycephalics from Sweden

    IPFD has an ongoing role to report on international activities for health and welfare for dogs and to serve as an information hub. Issues with brachycephalic dogs continue to be at the forefront of health efforts by many stakeholders. Our partners at the Swedish Kennel Club have recently posted information on two initiatives involving 'Trubbnosar' (short nosed) breeds. 1. We previously posted information on the activities of the SKK in brachycephalic health , as well as, a new, collaborative research study on an inventory of dogs of several brachycephalic breeds and their health status. "The purpose of the inventory is to create a better picture of the respective breed's situation, genetic width and exterior variation. The hope is to find sufficient variation both exterior and genetic to ensure a healthy development of these breeds with the reduction of BOAS-related health problems." There is a notice on the SKK site of events where individuals are being invited to bring their dogs to participate. Great to see that this effort involves research, grass-root support, gives individual owners an evaluation of their dog and brings awareness to health and welfare issues in these breeds. 2. As of next year, the Swedish Kennel Club is expanding the rules concerning show dogs with health issues, especially breathing problems. "Dogs have been disqualified due to ill health since 1998 but now SKK will tighten up the penalties." In an effort to make sure affected dogs are not used in breeding programs, dogs disqualified from the show ring because of ill health may be excluded from "all forms of exhibition, exams, competitions and breeding". It seems the program will incorporates 'due process' that may involve additional review, veterinary examinations and the possibility of appeals. The hope is surely that breeders/owners will (eventually) be discouraged from bringing affected dogs into the ring and that, therefore, the dogs seen by the public and used in breeding will tend towards less extreme, healthy individuals. See: https://www.skk.se/sv/nyheter/2019/2/osunda-hundar-kan-stangas-av/ Note: my translator unfortunately gives me "Unhealthy dogs can be turned off" as the (literal) title of this article... but clearly meaning they can be 'eliminated' in some sense. We are working on an inventory of all of our brachycephalic resources... and we will continue to highlight efforts by all of our Partners.
  17. The Harmonization of Genetic Testing (HGTD) and IPFD were referenced in an Associated Press Article on February 11, 2019: Dog DNA Testing Takes Off, and Generates Debate
  18. 2019 - UK - February 4th from The Kennel Club And Cambridge We are thrilled to read news about a Scheme launched to improve health of French Bulldogs, Pugs and Bulldogs... "A new screening scheme aims to provide breeders of French Bulldogs, Pugs and Bulldogs with more information about the health of their dogs, helping them reduce the risk of breeding puppies with potentially serious breathing problems." See more on the scheme at The University of Cambridge and The Kennel Club's website...
  19. An overview of the International Partnership for Dogs (IPFD).
  20. Brenda Bonnett

    French Bulldog Health Seminar October 2018

    I was honored to address the French Bulldog Club of America at their National Specialty in Louisville, KY on October 31st, 2018. The invitation came from the Health & Genetics Committee of the French Bull Dog Club of America (FBDCA). This invitation was prompted by my presentation on the IPFD Harmonization of Genetic Testing initiative at the AKC-CHF Health Conference in St. Louis in August 2017. Jan Grebe, Calvin Dykes and the others on the Committee stressed that the "club is dedicated to Frenchie health, and the harmonization project will be an invaluable resource for breeders". The final presentation, following discussions with the committee, reflected various issues impacting the breed - and I complement the FBDCA on their interest in health and welfare of their breed and in both a national and international perspective. French Bulldogs are challenged by issues including alarming increase in numbers, health concerns related to the brachycephalic condition and scrutiny by veterinary and regulatory groups throughout the world. The FBDCA video-taped the presentation and we have made this available here. It was quite an experience to be in a hotel with about 300 French Bulldogs. The incredible commitment and attachment that Frenchie owners have for these dogs was very evident. I was excited to see information and videos on the increased interest in performance activities for this breed. What a great way to identify and highlight those dogs who are healthy and active. See other relevant resources on brachycephalic issues internationally and coverage of these issues from the 3rd International Dog Health Workshop (IDHW) in our discussion paper. More international actions for health and welfare will undoubtedly be forthcoming following the 4th IDHW in May, in the UK.
  21. Pilot study of head conformation changes over time in the Cavalier King Charles spaniel breed https://veterinaryrecord.bmj.com/content/184/4/122.full Breed Specific: Cavalier King Charles Spaniel: Conformation Traits/SM|CM Knowler, SP., Gillstedt, L., Mitchell, TJ., Jovanovik, J., Volk, HA., Rusbridge, C. (2019) Pilot study of head conformation changes over time in the Cavalier King Charles spaniel breed Veterinary Record 184, 122. Abstract Modern interpretation of head conformation in the Cavalier King Charles spaniel (CKCS) has favoured a smaller, more exaggerated, brachycephalic type than originally described in the 1929 breed standard. Recent research studies identified brachycephaly and reduced hind cranium as two conformational (dysmorphic) features that increase risk for symptomatic Chiari-like malformation and secondary syringomyelia (SM). A prospective pilot study investigated the hypothesis that dysmorphic head features could be assessed visually and correlated with risk of SM. Thirteen CKCS, selected from anonymised photographic evidence, were physically appraised by authorised Kennel Club judges using a head shape checklist. These subjective evaluations were then matched with objective measurements of the cranium (cephalic index and rostrocaudal doming) and their subsequent MRI. A positive correlation (P=0.039) between the judges’ checklist score and rostrocaudal doming (hindskull ratio) and a positive correlation between the cephalic index and hindskull ratio (P=0.042) were identified. Five CKCS had no SM and their status tallied with 62 per cent of the judges’ evaluation. Although the ability of adjudicators to identify differences in head conformation varied, there was sufficient association between the dysmorphic parameters and the risk of SM to cause concern and propose a larger study in CKCS breed. Breeder viewpoint: This research paper is a readily understandable PILOT study that covers how head shapes relate to scientific information on SM/CM in Cavaliers. Which skull shapes represent identifiable extremes and can/should anything be done to curtail the drift towards hypertype over the past few decades? Which direction do the breed enthusiasts want to go? In the Discussion section, "breeders have acknowledged that there has been a more brachycephalic interpretation of the breed standard over the last few decades." Further, " The concept that increased exaggeration of head shape in the CKCS can be recognised visually and supported by the proven association of brachycephaly with resulting rostrocaudal doming5 suggests the possibility for selection against the extreme head shape in the CKCS to enable a reduction in CM/SM incidence." Take a look at this study for photos that represent different shapes and measurements of CKCS head type/backskulls. Maybe it's worth considering the information offered when choosing dogs for showing and breeding. Yes, it's a small study - and yes, there is some variation in interpretation of the degree to which dogs viewed are visibly extreme, and, there are Limitations to the study that are outlined by the researchers. But given the possible relationship between squished backskulls and their potential association with SM/CM and its impact on the quality of life for dogs - maybe this research is worth a glance for breeders and for judges. Lots of illustrations and pictures were helpful. Breed Advisor viewpoint: Veterinary Epidemiologist viewpoint:
  22. The study is here... https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29446145 Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis 8 (NCL8) Breed: Saluki - HGTD - https://dogwellnet.com/ctp/?module=items&controller=phenes&id=176&breeds=483 OMIA: https://omia.org/OMIA001506/9615/
  23. the only current breed-specific test available for salukis is the variant of NCL. Test created by Dr Frode Lingaas (NMBU), and was made commercially available as of December 2017.
  24. View IPFD Board member Patricia Olson's presentation at The Role of Clinical Studies for Pets with Naturally Occurring Tumors in Translational Cancer Research: A Workshop (June, 2015) Best-practices for conduct of clinical trial for animal patients Also see the PDF... http://www.nationalacademies.org/hmd/~/media/Files/Activity Files/Disease/NCPF/2015-JUN-8/Olson.pdf Other presentations from the workshop are available. http://www.nationalacademies.org/hmd/Activities/Disease/NCPF/2015-JUN-08/Day 2 Videos/Session 6 Videos/28-Olson-Video.aspx See: Dr. Mathew Breen's presentation which elaborates on the powerful opportunity possible with identification of genetic factors in the dog contributing to advancing cancer research in humans and Dr. Heidi Parker's - Canine Cancer Genomics
  25. We're excited to present a summary of our achievements in our second full year of operation in the IPFD Annual Report 2016.
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