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Brenda Bonnett

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About Brenda Bonnett

  • Rank
    Administrator

Profile Information

  • Region
    North America
  • Location
    Georgian Bluffs, Ontario, Canada
  • Country
    Canada
  • Current Affiliation
    International Partnership for Dogs, CEO
  • Position / Title
    CEO
  • Interests
    Dog Breeding
    Dog Health
    Education
    Research
    Legal/Regulatory Issues
    Kennel Clubs
    Human-Dog Interactions
  • Academic Credentials
    PhD
    Bachelors degree
    Veterinary degree (e.g. DVM)
  • Expertise/Proficiencies
    Dog Health/Veterinary Medicine
    Dog Breeding
    Welfare
    Education
    Research
    Human-Animal Interactions
    Statistics/Epidemiology
    Writing/Communication
  • Specific Breed(s) of Interest
    Rhodesian Ridgeback
  • Breed Club Rep; Board Member or Breeding/ Health Committee member
    No
  • Attended an International Dog Health Workshop
    Yes
  • Theme attended at 3rd IDHW in Paris
    IPFD Harmonization of Genetic Testing for Dogs

Recent Profile Visitors

9,196 profile views
  1. 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.
  2. 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
  3. An article in The Canine Chronicle October, 2019, by Caroline Coile, is entitled: When 23 and Me Has Gone to the Dogs. PDF-Reprint version It is a summary of some of the discussions and presentations at the 2019 AKC CHF National Parent Club Canine Health Conference. I have already written a blog on my experiences speaking and participating at that meeting: AKC-CHF SYMPOSIUM: Harmonization of Genetic Testing and Breed-Specific Resources, where I cover some of the same ground at Ms. Coile. In that blog, I described the challenges voiced by breed club health committee reps, reflected in the questions they asked during the panel discussions. I said, for example: "It is not surprising that you are confused and frustrated...the world of genetic testing IS confusing and frustrating!" The worst challenges in communication and understanding have arisen, at least to some extent, by a combination of these factors: A very fast progression from hesitancy to mass acceptance of genetic testing as the ultimate measure of health and disease to inform breeding decisions. Driven by, e.g.: The 'Social Phenomena' and marketing of tests Direct-to-Consumer (see my talk at the American Veterinary Association). The underlying desire for absolute, straight-forward, black-and-white, simple answers to complex situations. And hampered by, e.g.: Lack of the full, key information for properly integrating genetic testing into best breeding practices. This lack due to, e.g.: Overemphasis of research on discovery of new genetic associations compared to study of clinical validity and ultimate utility of genetic tests relative to actual disease occurrence in the populations to which they will be applied. Rapid commercialization and offering of tests without anywhere near the level of validation and assessment of quality that is demanded for genetic tests in the human sphere and for virtually all other sorts of tests used in veterinary medicine. Inadequate availability of informed genetic counseling - with the genetic counselors challenged by the situations described above. Many genetic test providers providing full results on the plethora of tests and trusting consumers to be able to access counseling and/or figure it out themselves. An important aspect of this emphasis on genetic testing, mentioned in the Coile article is that, with this rush to genetic testing, there is a tendency to ignore or reduce the emphasis on the big picture of health in a breed, and to sometimes abandon or neglect health strategies and breeding decisions based on them. This I discuss in basically all my talks, e.g., in a presentation to the French Bull Dog Club of America in 2018. So - challenges, challenges, challenges - for genetic testing from research to application and from validity and quality issues to understanding and communication of best practices for all stakeholders and consumers. However, let's not 'throw the baby out with the bathwater'. Genetic testing has already supported health and breeding decisions, especially for simple recessive, fully-penetrant conditions. Unfortunately, these are the 'low-hanging fruit' for scientific discovery, and much attention has been paid to them. They are often rare conditions, and although detection and health strategies for them are very important to the limited number of dogs/lines affected, they may not be the most important conditions for the breed. The most common and important conditions, as also stated in the Coile article, are much more complex. Great things are possible with genetic testing. Whole genome analysis will offer even more potential to help animals and people. However, it looks like genomic testing will also be implemented in spite of great gaps in our understanding of what it means and how to apply it. This video from the human side offers some startling information that should increase our concern (see Strategic Planning Workshop: Genomics in Medicine). It is important to also focus on the good work being done to support stakeholders in dog health. Coile mentions the OFA and AKC-CHF is busy with many endeavours (including supporting IPFD). A great example is the Webinar by Joan Coates tomorrow (Thursday 16 October) on the topic of the hour - DM. Dr. Coates' comments at the Parent Club Symposium were important and it is great that they are being expanded to a Webinar. It is expected that she will clarify the DM-testing benefits and challenges, but we cannot kid ourselves that it can rectify the already-entrenched attitudes about DM in specific and genetic testing in general among the public. Hope is also offered by the existing and continuing developments by IPFD, on DogWellNet.com, and produced in collaboration of a wide network of international collaborators, although dependent on funding and further support. These include (and see my CHF talk): The Harmonization of Genetic Testing for Dogs (HGTD) - catalog on genetic test providers (GTPs) and tests (see the HGTD on DogWellNet.com). Initiative to clarify which tests are being offered specifically as targeted, relevant for a breed; collating information on benefits and challenges of panel testing vs. a breed-specific approach. Working Groups from the 4th International Dog Health Workshop (see article on post workshop genetics theme) on: A comprehensive matrix of the test discovery-commercialization-application pathway . Details on criteria need to provide validation at each step. Aspects of laboratory quality and best practices for GTPs. The potential for enhanced Proficiency Testing. Development of an Expert Panel application to assess and provide collective opinion on key issues about tests and testing. The Big Picture: developing the Heath Strategies Database for Dogs (HSDD), that will provide an interactive resource by breed and condition for all diseases/conditions considered important in health strategies from international and local kennel clubs and breed organizations, to include but not be limited those for which a genetic test is available. A structure for an Globally Relevant International Health Profile to summarize the state of health for breeds. Working together, we can improve our ability to make the best decisions for dogs and capitalize on the potential tools and strategies available.
  4. Thanks Clement. We will check it out. Please feel free to send any information you think should be included in the Breed Database to Ann Milligan, our content manager
  5. Th Kennel Club in the UK has posted information on a "New Dog Breeding Regulation". This relates to regulations from the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) for breeding operations and related to members of The KC Assured Breeders Scheme. "Changes to breeding regulations in England New regulations on dog breeding in England will be live from 1st October. There are no changes to breeding regulations in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. A number of significant changes are being made," which include requirements for a dog breeding licence. In addition, there is a defining of minimum welfare standards. "Risk rating Alongside welfare, the breeder’s compliance history will also be assessed, to determine whether the breeder is either a low risk or high risk operator, i.e. whether it should be expected the breeder will maintain their standards for the duration of their licence period." And DEFRA has a matrix to assess risk. And you can also download the notice by the Kennel Club. UK dog breeding regulation.pdf Information on the Assured Breeder Scheme requirements and recommendations here.
  6. Our colleagues at Human Behaviour Change for Animals (HBC) posted an interesting article today. The original paper is: The Responsible Dog Owner: The Construction of Responsibility from Carri Westgarth and others at the University of Liverpool, UK. The research article is published here. Their key message is: While “responsible dog ownership” has considerable appeal as a concept, how it is perceived and interpreted varies so extensively that simply telling owners that they should “be responsible” is of limited use as a message to promote behavior change. In other words, many owners consider the dog a member of the family and themselves as caretakers. Based on their feelings, they think they are giving great care to their beloved pet. Of course, veterinarians, other dog owners and breeders are aware of many examples of irresponsible or at least inappropriate care provided by well-meaning owners. One of the most obvious examples is obesity. I took this photo of a pug in a park in Chicago, with the owner's permission. In conversation it was obvious that she was extremely attached to this dog, thought she was wonderful, told me the dog was so important in her life, and she no doubt thought I wanted a photo because the dog was so cute. I am sure my readers will know that was not my first impression. This dog's obesity was startling. When I touched the dog, my hands literally sank into depths of fat. Even worse, this was a brachycephalic dog and she grunted and snuffled, and I have no doubt her breathing was compromised and I could only imagine her inability to cope on hot days. Here was a clear example of an owner felt she was giving loving - responsible - care, and I was hard pressed not to tell her that this dog's condition could be viewed as quite the opposite, in fact, tantamount to animal abuse. I also know that this woman would have been devastated to hear that. In these situations I always ponder whether our first responsibility is to the owner or to the dog... Behaviour problems also are often examples of inadequate or inappropriate care. It is very common to hear owners say 'my dog has separation anxiety' as if it was an inherited condition - so sad, but there it is. When in fact, the owner - if they have had the dog since it was a pup - carries the primary responsibility for creating or not preventing that behaviour in the dog. The HBC post linked us to a short review of the research article here The problem with promoting 'responsible dog ownership. Their key summary points: Dog welfare campaigns that tell people to be 'responsible owners' don't help to promote behaviour change, a new report suggests. Dog owners interviewed for a study all considered themselves to be responsible owners, despite there being great variation in key aspects of their dog-owning behavior. We have had discussions at the 4th International Dog Health Workshop (IDHW) by our colleagues at HBC and since. It is clear that many issues related to dog health and welfare, supply and demand, and even genetic testing and its use in best breeding practices are affected by communication, education and understanding, as much as science and evidence. You can read more about this in Tamzin Furtado's presentation at the 4th IDHW: Canine Welfare - The Human Element - Human Behaviour Change for Animals. Other talks in the Supply and Demand theme at the 4th IDHW also addressed owner issues and understanding about sources of dogs and, really, responsible dog acquisition. Several of the proposed actions from this theme also relate to communication. I addressed some of the challenges of communication about genetic testing in my blog: AKC-CHF SYMPOSIUM: Harmonization of Genetic Testing and Breed-Specific Resources. We all understand that human-dog interactions are at the core of everything that happens with the animals we love. Focus on the impacts, barriers and effective promoters from the human side must be considered in all recommendations and decisions about their health, well-being and welfare.
  7. The parallels between human and dog testing are many, especially in terms of the challenges (and potential) arising from the market move to Direct-to-Consumer testing in both species. I talked about these issues in my presentation to the AVMA conference. In the slide here, I make the point that in recent years there have been rapid changes, not only in the fantastic and ongoing developments in science and technology, but also in terms of how and why genetic testing is accessed by consumers. And not just in the dog world. For humans as well, genetic testing is very much trending in social media and popular, not simply in medical applications. An article in Scientific American caught my eye, as it highlights some similar issues that were discussed September 7, 2019, when I addressed the Canadian Kennel Club Board. This article is about sperm banks and how they are admitting they cannot 'guarantee' donor anonymity in the face of services like 23 and Me and Ancestry.com. The basic point, similar in dogs and humans, is that once a sample is submitted for DNA testing, the lab has the material to compare and contrast to other samples they have tested, and to identify related individuals. The labs have the information, or the potential to have it, regardless whether the sample was originally submitted for ancestry testing or a panel of disease tests or one specific test. There is a degree of confidentiality, in that, presumably humans at least can elect not to accept identifying information if the company tells them a relative has been found. Perhaps you can opt out of receiving any information, but in reality many people either are looking for this information, and others do not fully realize what the options mean when they submit a sample. In the field of human testing, numerous initiatives are looking at ethical concerns in research and for application. One obvious example is where an individual agrees to participate in genetic disease testing, either in a research setting or by consumer choice. Depending on the condition and the results, the tested individual may now know or suspect information about their relatives - relatives who did not sign an informed consent or make the choice to 'know'. It is a complex and challenging situation. How does this relate to the world of dogs? We have had discussions recently at the 2nd International Meeting of Kennel Clubs in Stockholm, at the 4th International Dog Health Workshop and at the various talks I have given lately. Some kennel clubs, who are expanding or developing health and pedigree linked databases, are suggesting that 'all' registered dogs should have forensic identification and parental verification. Registries have always recognized that dog identification by, e.g. tattoo, and even microchips, are subject to error - accidental or otherwise. When information is going to be part of the permanent record of the dog, accuracy is of extreme importance. However, even if almost all registries demand 'permanent' dog identification, this varies in type (e.g. tattoo, microchip, DNA), potential for errors and, let's face it, the ability of many registries to be absolutely sure that the results are from the specified dog. The Dutch Kennel Club has a phenomenal program for identification of all registered puppies, made possible partly by the limited size of the country. We will try to provide more information on this in another blog or article. The complexities of dog identification have additional ramifications and impacts on health strategies... A recent paper by Tom Lewis (The impact of incorrectly recorded parentage on inferred genotypes over multiple generations, attached below), geneticist at The KC in the UK, has shown the dangers of designation of 'clear by parentage' when there may be error in the identity of the dog and its ancestors. His work underpins the decision by The KC to limit the clear by parentage to two generations. Presumably, dogs beyond this limited time frame must then be re-tested. Of course, with DNA identification (of all tested dogs) theoretically a much lower error rate could be achieved. (Parentage verification is highly accurate, and there are standards and proficiency testing in place for this type of testing.) Tying this back to the concept of confidentiality, the KCs at the International meeting also discussed data privacy concerns around genetic testing and data banks. I won't go into the handling of owner data, de-identification of samples, and numerous other issues, but I will mention one point of discussion that relates to the sperm bank example above. The genetic testing laboratory or researcher or commercial test provider will have the ability - or potential - to detect related individuals by their genetic profiles, whether or not they have owner identification. Not that this means it will be used in a way that should cause concern, but as in the human example, it is perhaps something of which to be aware. Have we been paying enough attention? It seems there is great concern on the human side. This is all complex and confusing; stayed tuned for a coming blog explaining forensic, identification, parentage testing and more. All of this raises tough issues that will have to be considered by the dog world, as some registries and kennel clubs move towards mandatory DNA identification / parentage testing and others do not. This is another angle where the evolving technology of genetic testing is creating both benefits and challenges. Resources: Tom Lewis Impact of Incorrectly Recorded Parentage.pdf
  8. Thanks for the comment David. In general, we are in support of international data collection. Quite a few kennel clubs are building health and pedigree-linked databases, some of which are publicly available. The concept of OFA as a register is encouraging. As with all these efforts, many side issues arise, including data quality on identification of the dog and parents, quality and relevance of DNA test results and many more. IPFD with our collaborators and via the International Dog Health Workshops continues to support and promote these efforts, as well as international collaboration, sharing and transparency, In terms of an international breed database, again, great resource. If you have not yet seen it, please check out the Irish Wolfhound Database. They are doing an amazing job in all aspects. Maura Lyons and Per-Arne Flatberg presented on this resource at the 4th IDHW and you can see all posters here. And Per-Arne's presentation can be downloaded here. Also know that you can message them via DogWellNet.com. We also are built on the foundation of community engagement, so absolutely great to have people like you weighing in. Please share links, data and descriptions, any time, with our Content Manager Ann Milligan. Thanks!
  9. I was honoured to again be invited to speak at the 2019 AKC Canine Health Foundation National Parent Club Canine Health Conference August 9-11 in St. Louis, Missouri. This is a great event that brings together breed club health committee members, other interested breeders, stellar researchers, and others from the dog community. There was a broad coverage of CHF sponsored research topics, as well as a definite focus on genetics and genetic testing, reflecting the continued need for information and support for the dog community on these issues. In addition to lectures, there were two panel discussions which allowed attendees to ask questions of the scientists. The first was on Saturday afternoon. I gave my talk on Sunday, and that session was also followed by a panel discussion. A pdf copy of my talk, with post-talk notes, is attached: BONNETT CHF Harmonization of Genetic Testing and Breed Specific Resources 11Aug2019_with notes.pdf As I note in this document, I heard a lot of frustration from those asking questions, and others who approached me over the weekend. As I said to all of them, "It is not surprising that you are confused and frustrated... the world of genetic testing IS confusing and frustrating!". Although many exciting developments in genetic research were presented over the weekend, and other talks focused on application of testing, there were few if any simple, yes/no, black and white answers. 'Genetics' underlies all life in our universe, is the basis of all evolution... it is not now, nor will it ever be, simple, uncomplicated and, perhaps, never really fully understood. Even while we are struggling to get a hold on the appropriate use of the many tests available for single-gene disorders, some researchers are moving ahead on diseases with a more complex inheritance. And even now the research world is moving more and more into whole-genome sequencing, which may be available at a reasonable price within a couple of years. And then what? We will know more and more about the genetic makeup of individuals and breeds. But will we have the detailed information needed on the meaning of all these results? The key information for properly integrating genetic testing into best breeding practices? Probably not. As is the current situation, the technology will likely advance faster that our ability to deal with it in a practical sense. And, for all the potential good, there are significant risks to applying tests in the face of insufficient clinical/population-based information. This same situation is also arising in human medicine; a topic I touched on in my recent talk at the American Veterinary Medical Association meeting. Leigh-Anne Clark from Clemson University gave a great talk on risk across the various combinations of a three genes associated with dermatomyositis - combinations which highlighted the added complexity of multi-gene disorders. (see abstract: pg. 68) Her work also showed the kind of explicit risk percentages that are needed to really understand the results from genetic testing. We recently posted on Facebook a link to a video of a previous talk Dr. Clark gave which is well worth viewing. Another recurring challenge brought up by attendees involved breed clubs' frustrations in communicating health strategies to their members and in achieving compliance with recommendations. I mention in my talks 'Decision making by Facebook'. Unfortunately, the latter drives a lot of the focus for many in kennel and breed clubs. Several clubs brought up instances where rare diseases, or diseases with unknown importance in their breed, were being pushed forward to have a genetic testing strategy, sometimes taking emphasis away from common, known, important conditions in the breed. Several of the experts recommended not basing testing strategies for such condition just because a test was available, but rather looking at the big picture of health in the breed. It became quite clear that many of breed club's frustrations stem not from a lack of research or information or having complex information, but on an inability to effect behaviour change in their members through traditional channels of education. This was a common theme at the IDHW as well and we brought in experts on Human Behaviour Change for Animals to educate us. I personally think that learning how to communicate more effectively is desperately needed. All these concerns and experiences underlie IPFD's work on improving and expanding the tools needed to deal with genetic testing and health strategies in breeds. See my talk from the CHF meeting for information on the latest work on the Harmonization of Genetic Testing for Dogs (HGTD), a coming development, the Health Strategies Database for Dogs that will catalog all conditions in breeds (not just those for which there are genetic tests based on identified health issues from breed clubs, kennel clubs, and others worldwide. We are starting a project in Golden Retrievers as a prototype of our Get a GRIHP! tool to pull all relevant information together for a breed. It is so wonderful to meet with those people so passionate about health in their breeds. Thanks to AKC-CHF and all the attendees for a great experience.
  10. IPFD friend and collaborator Dr. Jerold Bell, Adjunct Professor Tufts University, and Chair of the Hereditary Disease Committee of the World Small Animal Veterinary Association, has recently circulated a letter about DM testing in French Bulldogs (attached below). According to his research and communication with international neurologists there has never been a confirmed case of DM in this breed, and yet the test is recommended in several countries. French Bulldogs do have spinal problems, but these are generally due to widespread prevalence of vetebral abnormalities and not DM. Testing - and then perhaps eliminating dogs from the breeding stock based on test results - is not a beneficial strategy for the population. Part of the problem of wrongly recommended tests may related to the unfortunate use of language for some genetic tests. Results of allele frequencies may be reported as 'clear', 'carrier', or 'affected'. In fact, 'affected' in this case means 'genetically affected' and may or may not relate to clinical disease, as in the case of DM in French Bulldogs, at least as far as we know. Discussions like these are crucially needed as part of better genetic counselling. See further discussion on this issue in my talk to the American Veterinary Medical Association. Here is the letter from Dr. Bell: Degenerative Myelopathy Does NOT Occur in French Bulldogs.pdf
  11. As many of you may know, there has been a lot of focus of health and welfare issues in brachycephalics and in the spring information about Pugs in the Netherlands. The situation of government regulations on dog breeding is a complex one, and without appropriate inclusion of all relevant stakeholders, we cannot be sure that the best interests of dogs will be served. Our partners the Dutch Kennel Club have been working intensely with various groups and have come out with their thoughtful and evidence-based recommendations in the attached breeding strategy document. Thanks to veterinarian Laura Roest for sending us this communication. Dear reader, Enclosed you find the translated proposal the Dutch Kennel Club ‘Raad van Beheer’ has sent to the Dutch Government. This is not a certified translation, but gives us the opportunity to inform the international community. Please feel free to ask questions regarding the document. In March 2019, the report “BREEDING BRACHYCEPHALIC DOGS*" was published in The Netherlands (in Dutch) with enforcement criteria for the breeding of brachycephalic dogs. These criteria were active from that day onwards. The Raad van Beheer concurs with almost all criteria and wishes to adapt them in its own regulations, in close collaboration with the involved breed clubs. The Raad van Beheer does not agree with the Craniofacial Ratio (CFR) as a prohibiting criterion for breeding. This criterion would make it impossible to breed certain breeds while the prognostic value and the reproducibility of the CFR are being questioned among scientists. The Raad van Beheer wants an exception for the regulated pedigree breeding, so these breeds can be bred in The Netherlands in a healthy form and with the effort to achieve a longer muzzle. We hope to receive soon a positive reaction on our proposal from our Government and we will keep the International Dog World posted! Kind regards, Laura Roest, DVM and Gabri Kolster Board Member Raad van Beheer Breeding Commission Dutch Kennel Club ‘Raad van Beheer’ Translated version: English... Breeding strategy brachycephalic dogs in the Netherlands.pdf Also see: background articles/resources: Stricter rules for breeding brachy dogs https://dogzine.eu/en/newsarticle/stricter-rules-breeding-brachy-dogs *FOKKEN MET KORTSNUITIGE HONDEN (Dutch) Fokken_met_kortsnuitige_honden_.pdf
  12. I had the honour to be invited to give a talk at the annual American Veterinary Medical Association conference in Washington, DC on 04 August 2019. I was asked to speak on the One Health aspects of genetic testing. Many of you will have heard of One Health. The human medical establishment started to coin this phrase in the early 2000's to indicate an approach to health that considered humans, animals an the environment. As a veterinarian and an epidemiologist I can tell you that we had that figured out a long time before, but as it was also put forward by Hippocrates, I don't suppose we will worry about who came first! For more info see this article by One Health Sweden... and their image. I specify how genetic testing fits under that umbrella. It actually is a bit of a no-brainer isn't it? Everything we do with dogs is tied up with people and so many conditions of concern are affected by where and how we live, in the broadest sense. When we talk about genetic testing, both from the science to the commercialization and application there are so many points of intersection between the human and pet world. As you will see in my talk, attached below, the impacts can't be ignored if we are to successfully navigate the world of genetic testing. For us and for our pets! Although many of the issues raised are a cause for concern and increase our awareness of significant challenges, we should always keep in mind that there are a host of potential and even remarkable benefits to be realized from genetic testing. However, with Direct-To-Consumer marketing, the popularization of genetic testing, and the many challenges raised on the spectrum from discovery to application we all need the information and tools to make the best decisions. These issues were also raised, discussed at the 4th IDHW and working groups are moving ahead to address them. IPFD has the Harmonization of Genetic Testing already available and we are working on further developments like the Expert Panel and the Health Strategies Database for Dogs, as well as breed specific tools to help owners, breeders, advisors, researchers, veterinarians - really all stakeholders in the crazy-wonderful world of genetic and genomic testing. [[link to Aimee's article]] Warning - the complexities of genetic testing are not going to go away in the near future! Let's continue to work together for the health, well-being and welfare of our animal companions and the humans who wouldn't want to live without them. One Health! BONNETT - Genetic Testing The Big Picture_AVMA talk August 2019.pdf
  13. Several IPFD collaborators are speaking at the AVMA conference this weekend! Thanks to IPFD collaborator, Dr. Jason Stull, there are sessions focusing on Canine Genetics in the Dr. James H. Steele One Health stream, including: Angela Hughes DVM, PhD from Wisdom Health is presenting Utilizing Genetic Panel Testing in Dogs for Breed and Disease and IPFD CEO Brenda Bonnett, DVM, PhD who is talking about Genetic Testing to Improve Canine Health: The Big Picture and why this truly needs to be considered from the One Health approach. Hint: We care about the dogs, but it is people who complicate everything!! In addition, Theme Leader at the 3rd International Dog Health Workshop in Paris, Jason Stull VMD, MPVM, PhD, DACVPM, is giving a series of talks on infectious disease concerns in veterinary practices, including, e.g. The Dummies' Guide to Preventing Hospital-Associated Infections. Harmonization of Genetic Testing for Dogs (HGTD) collaborator, Kari Ekenstedt DVM, PhD, is delivering a whole afternoon of talks on clinical genetics, including Practical Applications of Genetic Testing in Dogs and Cats. Hope to see vets and vet techs that are keen to expand their practical knowledge about dogs and genetics...
  14. Thanks to our co-hosts, The Kennel Club, the 4th International Dog Health Workshop was a great success. The consensus seems to be that the IDHWs just keep getting better and better. This is due in great part to the efforts of the attendees - decision leaders from 18 countries, representing all stakeholders in dog health and welfare - including representatives from research, the veterinary world, welfare organizations, kennel and breed organizations, and more. Stellar plenary speakers set the tone for intense and productive breakout sessions in the various themes. The themes were: Genetics, Breed-Specific Breeding Strategies, The Concept of Breed and its Impact on Health, Supply and Demand, and Extremes of Conformation. Below you will find links to fantastic pre- and post-workshop materials. Be sure to check in to DogWellNet.com and follow us on Facebook and Twitter for important updates from the several working groups who are already moving ahead with needed actions. As seen in the word cloud from our participants, a key aspect of this meeting is collaboration and networking. Coming together with others who are dealing with similar challenges and who share a commitment to health dogs provides a boost of energy for both cooperative efforts as well as the day to day work by these committed dog people. Below you will also see reports and write ups about the 4th IDHW, and there will be more as the work continues. Thanks to all who attended, and we will keep you informed on developing plans for the 5th IDHW in 2021. 4th IDHW Pre- and Post-Meeting Resources From pre-meeting reading material to posters and slide presentations from the workshop, we've compiled materials from the 4th IDHW, so that participants can refer back to them - and so that those who were unable to attend can also benefit from this impressive collection of downloadable resources. Pre-Meeting Resources | Post Meeting Resources Articles on the 4th IDHW Vet Record News: 4th IDHW workshop - "Improving the health of pedigree dogs" Lance Novak, Executive Director, Canadian Kennel Club: From My Side of the Desk: Canine Health and Wellness Several articles by Ian J. Seath of the Dachshund Breed Council (DBC): My report on the 4th International Dog Health Workshop for Our Dogs My presentation to the 4th International Dog Health Workshop (IDHW4) Breed Health Strategies – Addressing the challenges: My July 2019 “Best of Health” article The why and how of Breed-specific Health Strategies – “Best of Health” June 2019 Aimee Llewellyn-Zaidi's Report from the Genetic Testing Theme, from the 4th International Dog Health Workshop Canine Genetics and Epidemiology Journal. As following the 3rd IDHW, we are compiling a report on the 4th that will be review and published by our collaborating partners at CGE. If you haven't seen the previous article, check it out here. Global Pet Obesity Initiative After an overwhelming show of support by attendees of the 4th IDHW, IPFD has confirmed its support of the Global Pet Obesity Initiative Position Statement (launched by The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP)) calling for the veterinary profession to adopt uniform nomenclature for canine and feline obesity. IPFD is currently in discussions with APOP to look at ways to collaborate on the important issue of canine obesity.
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