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International Partnership for Dogs - Enhancing Dog Health, Well-Being, and Welfare - Join Us.

Brenda Bonnett

Administrators
  • Content Count

    1,042
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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

  1. IPFD is creating a series of articles on the BIg Picture of health and welfare within breeds as resources for veterinarians, owners, caretakers, breeders and others who want to understand the key issues for individual dogs and breed populations, internationally; under the 'Get a GRIHP!' initiative, i.e. Globally Relevant Integrated Health Profiles.
  2. In Windsor (UK) in June 2019, the IPFD 4th International Dog Health Workshop (IDHW) took place (Pegram et al., 2020) a key recommendation was to initiate a multi-stakeholder International working group on extreme conformation, with an initial focus on brachycephalics . Premise: The International Working Group on Extreme Conformation in Dogs (IWGECD) will be a platform in which national and international working groups, experts and stakeholders join forces to enhance the health, well-being and welfare of all dogs by limiting the negative welfare impacts from extreme conformations in dogs. Mission The IWGECD will: Identify different approaches Collect, when needed review, and share scientific papers and other material Identify different opinions – agree that sometimes we disagree but that we can all grow in knowledge from these disagreements Share experiences and/or data Share new ideas Build on successes See how we can move forward together The international working group is not intended to forcefully harmonize national working groups but, as we learn together, it is likely that successful strategies will be adopted more widely. Members will also contribute to shared international strategy. IWGECD will offer a forum of information sharing and support that aims to enhance the work of each of the national and international members. Members Multistakeholder national working groups involved in breed-associated health problems due to their extreme conformation. In countries where there is a need, but no such group has yet been established, the IWGECD will promote and/or facilitate setting up national working groups National and International stakeholder organizations with the same aim including veterinary and charity bodies Individual experts Industry is also considered to be a stakeholder Academia Breed clubs and kennel clubs Government and legislative bodies The IWGECD founding board includes: Monique Megens DVM (chairperson)1, Dr. Dan O'Neill2 and Dr. Åke Hedhammar3. 1 Monique Megens DVM, Chief Operating Officer IPFD; Member WSAVA Hereditary Disease Committee; past-president FECAVA; Member Health Committee Dutch Kennel Club; https://dogwellnet.com/ipfd/who-we-are/leadership/ 2 Dr. Dan O’Neill, Senior Lecturer - Companion Animal Epidemiology; VetCompass Animal Surveillance; Veterinary Epidemiology Economics and Public Health, Royal Veterinary College; Chairperson UK brachycephalic Working Group; https://www.rvc.ac.uk/about/our-people/dan-o-neill 3 Dr. Åke Hedhammar Dipl. ECVIM - Companion Animals, Senior Professor Internal Medicine Small Animals, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala Sweden; scientific advisor to the Swedish Kennel Club. Initiator of the First Dog Health Workshop held in Stockholm 2012, Member WSAVA Hereditary Disease Committee; https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7048-3851/print PEGRAM, C. L., BONNETT, B. N., SKARP, H., ARNOTT, G., JAMES, H., HEDHAMMAR, Å., LEROY, G., LLEWELLYN-ZAIDI, A., SEATH, I. J. & O'NEILL, D. G. 2020. Moving from information and collaboration to action: report from the 4th international dog health workshop, Windsor in May 2019. Canine Medicine and Genetics, 7, 4 https://cgejournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s40575-020-00083-x
  3. Welsh Corgis - Get a GRIHP! This article on Welsh Corgis is part of a series to highlight the Big Picture of health, welfare and breeding and to help develop Globally Relevant Integrated Health Profiles (GRIHPs) for many breeds. See IPFD's Get a GRIHP! on Breed Health Initiative.
  4. Ian Seath has again stimulated our 'little grey cells' and maybe even touched on some emotions, attitudes, and even deep-seated beliefs in his DOG-ED: SOCIAL ENTERPRISE post (23 June 2020): CULTURE EATS STRATEGY FOR BREAKFAST! Catchy title - firstly - where does that come from, and what does it mean? "Management Guru Peter Drucker famously stated that culture eats strategy for breakfast. So, What does "culture eats strategy" mean for you and your organization? In a very practical sense: No matter what business strategy or strategic plan you try to implement with your team, its success and efficacy are going to be held back by the people implementing the plan if the culture does not support it. " from: SME Strategy Management Consulting Ian's article draws on his extensive knowledge and background in business, strategy, and change management - as well as his fantastic dog expertise - to examine topical international information on COVID-19 and to draw comparisons with challenges in the dog world. He wants to encourage us to think about various aspects of health and welfare in dogs. Further moving his title discussion into the dog world: it means that if those needed to implement and drive change (in attitudes or practices) aren't passionate about the change or at least willing to embrace change or - even worse - if they deny the need for change at all (i.e. deny the existence of 'a problem') or are apathetic to the issues, then you stand no chance implementing a plan. Ultimately it is all about the people. Denial or apathy or resistance to change may occur if there is great passion for and attachment to an existing culture. In terms of the complex problems of the dog world, IPFD exists because it is clear that these issues have many stakeholders who bear responsibilities for the challenges and the solutions. And each of the stakeholder communities has their own culture - and that influences their views and actions and even willingness to collaborate. Ian goes on to describe bench-marking, i.e., ways to define, measure and characterize issues and actions on 3 levels. Let's further describe this relative to the dog world, and with a few possible examples: Metrics (statistics, measures) - tell you “what the performance is” or define and quantify aspects of the issue. E.g., prevalence and increased breed-specific risks of disease in various populations based on quantitative analysis vs. anecdote from personal experience (e.g. MY dogs are healthy!) Challenges: differences across regions, types of dogs, etc.; lack of consensus on how much is too much; perspectives of those who see dogs from different populations - e.g. veterinarians in practice vs. show judges. Lack of comprehensive, clear evidence fosters a reliance on culture-based interpretations...spin! Process (how the situation came to be, or what has influenced those levels): E.g. the influences of breeding practices (how diligently have breeders prioritized health and longevity). It must be noted that these processes have certainly been driven by culture. E.g., breeding for performance vs. for the conformation show ring vs. for companion dogs vs. for the trendy puppy trade E.g. health programs implemented by breed and kennel clubs (Ian gives some good examples) Challenges - the perception of the need for and time frame of change; and the amount of change; the acceptance of any authority over practices and processes from within or outside a community or culture. There is a tendency to look for simple solutions to complex problems - and then to be surprised that the outcome wasn't ideal. Culture tells you the story behind the processes...and that includes attitudes, tradition, beliefs, and habits...of the people involved. Those within a community (e.g. show world, veterinarians, the wider public) may share one culture...or there may be various cultures within a wider community. Culture can change. There are many cultures and communities in the dog world! From those who believe pedigreed dogs are the most important and breed standards are essentially inviolable; to those who feel there is room for evolution and flexibility, even within existing registries; to those who feel pedigreed dogs are not necessary. From those whose culture defines dogs as commodities or chattels; to those who accept dogs as sentient beings with some rights; to those who think they should be essentially be accorded human-level treatment. Challenges - all those attitudes impact what that community, culture, or group accepts as reasonable levels of welfare or disease or longevity. In fact, when cultural influences are strong, they may impact the willingness of those inside the culture to objectively view metrics, or to embrace processes and programs. And let's face it - a group or individual's attachment to their culture may be so strong, that they tend to view it not as one view, but the only acceptable view. 'Cultural norms' may be very different across communities. Rigidity is a major barrier to collaboration. Keys to moving forward Firstly, reflecting sincerely on how YOUR culture influences you, and then, if you want others to respect your culture Being aware of the differences across stakeholders - in their culture (attitudes, attachments, basic beliefs, approaches, etc.) wouldn't if be great if we could respect all views? but at least we must be aware of whether our disagreements are arising from different interpretation of the metrics and evidence OR from a different approach and process OR from the cultural sphere Taking the brave step outside cultural influences - embrace collaboration and collective actions while never assuming there is a one-size-fits-all solution. Leadership from various cultures and communities is needed. The ultimate question is - do we have common ground on which to advance? For IPFD, that would mean that even if we have slightly different definitions on the specifics, everyone comes to the table with a desire to enhance the health and welfare of dogs. Human aspects are critical as well - but there must be a balance.
  5. Congratulations to the University of Sydney and OMIA - the Online Mendelian Inheritance in Animals database. 25 years old 25 May 2020. Check out the celebration webpage here. This amazing resource underpins research and education on genetics in many species and has been a key support for advancement in the world of dog genetics and genomics. The development and maintenance of this fantastic database is due to the input and support of many academics, researchers, and others, many of whom volunteer their expertise and time. But it would not have existed or been maintained without the commitment and passion of Frank Nicholas. We gratefully congratulate him on this milestone. OMIA is a collaborating partner of the IPFD, and we have been coordinating and linking with them to maintain the quality of the Harmonization of Genetic Testing for Dogs database and resources. The OMIA numbering system is vital for international collaboration and critical to harmonizing genetic phenes across research and industry. IPFD is very proud of and grateful for this association and will help celebrate this event with a donation via the OMIA site. Why not join us in recognizing this important and necessary achievement?
  6. UNDER CONSTRUCTION IPFD and our Partners support the health, well-being and welfare of ALL DOGS - and human-dog interaction. This section will link you to content and resources to support you and your dog - no matter what breed or type it is. Topics include: - education - activities - health and breed-specific issues (even for cross breeds and mongrels!) - behaviour, socialization - legislation Education of Consumers and the Public In this section we share information, material and links to our Partner's and Collaborator's content relevant to the education of consumers and the public, in the broadest sense. Responsible dog ownership and Pre-acquisition resources are available. Education is key to addressing the health and welfare of all dogs!
  7. The HGTD arose from discussions at the IPFD International Dog Health Workshops (IDHWs); it is a proud achievement, exemplifying the IDHW tagline: Information – Collaboration – Action! In 2019, the HGTD project could be summarized in one word: Growing. We’ve consistently grown our list of genetic test providers (GTPs). Participating GTPs have provided information on their accreditation, expertise, and practices – all of which helps individuals find a GTP that has the quality measures most important to them. The generic phenes database provided a centralized resource for researchers, vets, and owner/breeders, spurring unexpected benefits. We’ve seen more consistency in test naming among international providers, benefiting owners seeking testing information. It also allowed international researchers to spot industry-wide challenges, and have them addressed through a centralized platform. To better support dog owners, the veterinary community, and dog health advisors, we introduced Breed Relevancy Ratings across genetic tests. The HGTD database relevance rating indicates the amount of available evidence supporting the relevance of a specific genetic test for a specific breed/type. Currently, the relevance rating is based on a wide-variety of evidence sources. This includes peer-reviewed research papers, recommendations from the original researchers/test developers, input from additional experts including veterinary specialists, and breed experts. It is hoped that, by being more informative about what we currently know or do not know about a specific test for a specific breed, that dog health advisors and owners can make more informed decisions. The collaboration across the dog world, and the participation of those in the testing industry, dog owners, and experts around the globe, has helped to shape our achievements for 2019 and develop exciting plans for 2020.
  8. And not all dams and sires with 'clear' test results will be good choices for breeding. Oh, would that life and breeding decisions could be made easy! But every experienced breeder knows that nothing is simple. Breeding and inheritance and health and temperament are very complex issues - each on their own - and combined they constitute a puzzle with no guaranteed solutions. With the increased availability of genetic testing, with its media-inspired aura of high-tech infallibility and direct-to-consumer marketing campaigns, there has been a rush to embrace it as THE most important pre-breeding test. It is probably underpinned by the vague hope of breeders that IF they spend their money and do all the possible genetic tests, they will have fulfilled their 'due diligence''. Many of my colleagues and I have repeatedly reminded the breeding community that, in spite of genetic testing being an extremely important decision-making tool, it is crucial that attention be paid to conditions that are considered important for a breed - regardless of whether there is a 'DNA test' for the condition, or even any test at all The Big Picture is crucial. I described in another blog a genetics symposium in Canada in November 2019. During discussions with committed breeders, at we came to some very important questions. For example, everyone says they want healthy animals with good longevity. But think about these items before you nod your head: How many breeders could say that those are the primary criteria they use when selecting mating pairs? Is there good evidence in your breed that the main focus of breeding has been on producing healthy, long-lived offspring? When breeders choose inbreeding or line-breeding is it to improve health and longevity, or, more likely, aimed at fixing specific traits, often to do with appearance? These questions are not meant as any judgement but to provoke critical, rational, logical thinking about breeding decisions which are, for better or worse often influenced by something else. Primarily, people need to look honestly at the history and culture of breeding and admit that, as for anything in life, a) saying and wishing and hoping is not doing; and b) you cannot achieve a theoretical or even heartfelt goal if your actions are in direct opposition to its achievement. I say I am committed to being slender and fit and then spend all my time in front of the computer and maintain a deep and satisfying relationship with potato chips. But at least I am not shocked when the slender-fit thing just doesn't happen. Our IPFD friend and collaborator Ian Seath posted another recently called 'Health-tested does not mean healthy'. And rightly highlights that health and longevity (or 'healthgevity') is a function of many factors beyond breeding or genetics. Owners must do their part to maintain health and not push all blame for ill-health to breeders. E.g. the well-loved, but morbidly obese Pug in this shot, had, by nature and breeding, specific health risks, all, no doubt aggravated by its body condition. All stakeholders in the health and welfare of individual dogs and breeds need to contemplate their roles and take responsibility. More coming on the topic of health testing and health, soon.
  9. Sources of accurate and relevant COVID-19 information for your dog, your puppies and you. In the face of the great uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 and its impact on pets and pet owners, many veterinary and regulatory organizations have been providing excellent information and advice, as have kennel and breed organizations. It is important to remember that recommendations and restrictions vary depending on location and owners need to access and follow local recommendations, especially as to issues around accessing veterinary care. An additional challenge is that the advice and situation continue to change rapidly and what was known, thought or suggested last week may not hold next week. There are some aspects that apply regardless of location... including what we know (a little) and don't know (a lot) about possible transmission to or from animals and humans. As with all information about this novel corona virus there is a lot of uncertainty about COVID-19 and pets; basically we simply are leaning as we go. Be very cautious about discussions and dire predictions on Facebook and social media from those who likely do not have the appropriate level of expertise. Putting your trust in the types of sources described below is your best bet. At a local level, dog owners can look for information from their regional veterinary association and even your own veterinarian maybe providing updates. For an example from the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, you can see a short video and article here. Prof. Scott Weese of the Ontario Veterinary College is referenced in that article and he has a recent blog post where he suggests that, in the face of the uncertainty and with an abundance of caution, "Social distancing and dog walking are compatible… with some common sense". Dr. Weese says, "To me, social distancing is a whole household activity, not just a human activity. If I wouldn’t go and shake someone’s hand, why would I let the same person pet my dog, and then touch the same spot on my dog myself right away? " It is all about doing everything we can to reduce risk. Be sure to keep up to date on recommendations and restrictions in your area. For breeders, there are all the issues as for owners in addition to some major concerns about breeding, and rehoming litters. Many of our partner national kennel clubs have been providing information and updates. We have been sharing these on our channels, as again, some issues are the same globally; others are defined regionally. See, e.g. Breeders and coronavirus (COVID-19) FAQs from The Kennel Club in the UK, or Placing Puppies in the Age of COVID-19: Safety Advice for Breeders from the American Kennel Club. There are many broader impacts for dog welfare and human-dog interactions that are developing with the COVID-19 situation. Please check out Brenda's Blog: "DOGS ARE FOR LIFE, not just for Coronavirus." Within that blog you are also directed to an excellent discussion of unintended consequences from IPFD collaborator Ian Seath. Our IPFD Board member and President of the German Kennel Club, Prof. Dr. Peter Friedrich, has posted a heartfelt statement that discusses many of the current challenges and those that we have left to face, even when we think things are starting to return to normal. (In German, but perfectly understandable with google translator.) Below are some links to sites and organizations that are doing a great job with information at an international level pulled together by our IPFD COO, Monique Megens, a Dutch veterinarian, living in Spain, and former president of FECAVA, one of the organizations on the front lines in Europe. Mid-April 2020: What do we know about dogs and COVID-19 virus? Although several dogs have tested positive to COVID-19 virus following close contact with infected humans, to date, there is no evidence that dogs play a significant role in spreading the disease. Therefore, the OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health) states there is no justification in taking measures against companion animals, which may compromise their welfare. When people are sick with COVID-19, when possible, close contact with dogs should be avoided; the dogs should preferably be taken care of by another member of the household, taking appropriate hygiene measures into account. Studies are underway to better understand the susceptibility of and risks for other dogs. To stay up-to-date and for more information regarding dogs and COVID-19, go to the OIE website. Can I still visit my veterinary surgeon In many countries, veterinarians are considered to be an essential profession by their national authorities; therefore in most countries you can still visit your vet. However, some vets only see urgent cases; you should always call beforehand. For more information: IPFD’s collaborating partner the Federation of European Companion Animal Practitioners (FECAVA) together with the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe (FVE) have published advice for pet owners for visiting the vet. Information for veterinary teams can be found locally and regionally at, for example from American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and at IPFD’s collaborating partner the World Small Animal Veterinary Association's (WSAVA) website. In all the craziness and concerns of this pandemic, dogs are a great support to their families. Let's remember them in all the changes, planning and considerations we have for ourselves. We are all in this together. Stay safe . OTHER RESOURCES: En Francais - La Newsletter de la Centrale Canine - beaucoup d'excellentes ressources auf Deutsch - und weiser Rat von unserem IPFD-Vorstandsmitglied und Präsidenten des Deutschen Kennel Clubs, Prof. Dr. Peter Friedrich, Präsident des VDH. Corona virus
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