Brenda Bonnett

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About Brenda Bonnett

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Profile Information

  • Region
    North America
  • Location
    Georgian Bluffs, Ontario, Canada
  • Current Affiliation
    International Partnership for Dogs, CEO
  • Position / Title
  • Academic Credentials
    Bachelors degree
    Veterinary degree (e.g. DVM)
    Masters (e.g. MSC)
    Veterinary Specialization
    Judging Certification
    Other (see below)
    Not Applicable
  • Expertise/Proficiencies
    Dog Health/Veterinary Medicine
    Dog Training
    Dog Shows/Exhibitions
    Dog Breeding
    Human-Animal Interactions

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  1. Indeed, in Sweden most dogs are intact, male and female, although the trend is changing somewhat in recent years. And, unfortunately, we do not have information on their neuter status in the data. Are there some results that you think would be markedly affected by that? All breeds in Sweden have Pyometra as a relatively common occurrence, because bitches are intact to higher ages. Certain breeds show an increased risk compared to All Breeds. Thanks for the comments!
  2. The International Partnership for Dogs (IPFD) announces the “Harmonization of Genetic Testing for Dogs” initiative: to support the appropriate selection and use of DNA testing in dog health and breeding decisions The ever-increasing emergence of new canine DNA tests and testing laboratories has made choosing quality DNA testing providers and the right DNA tests for health and breeding decisions increasingly challenging for many owners, breeders and veterinarians. Working with a wide-spectrum of stakeholders in dog health, the International Partnership for Dogs (IPFD) "Harmonization of Genetic Testing for Dogs" initiative will provide practical support to address these challenges.
  3. The IPFD 3rd International Dog Health Workshop: hosted by the French Kennel Club in Paris 21-23 April, 2017. PUBLIC REGISTRATION OPENS February 9th 2017. Below find information on the Plenary Speakers; Themes for Breakout Sessions; Schedule; and more... Further information will continue to be provided... check back for further information.
  4. IPFD will oversee a multi-stakeholder, collaborative effort to create an open access, sustainable online resource that will: Catalog information provided voluntarily from commercial test providers (CTPs) for genetic testing (GT) in dogs. Describe expertise, quality assurance, activities and resources; host expert panel reviews of genetic tests; Coordinate a program for standardized proficiency testing and potentially peer review and audit; Collate/assemble existing and new resources for genetic counselling and education; and provide the foundation for further developments. Our Steering Committee includes: Brenda Bonnett, CEO, IPFD; Aimee Llewellyn-Zaidi, Harmonization Project Director, IPFD; Diane Brown, AKC Canine Health Foundation; Matthew Breen, North Carolina State University; Cathryn Mellersh, Animal Health Trust; Sofia Malm, Swedish Kennel Club; Wim van Haeringen, VHL Genetics, Netherlands; Sue Pearce-Kelling, Optigen; and Eddie Dzuik; Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA). IPFD, our Partners and other stakeholders in this initiative recognize the input and work of many other experts and organizations in addressing the use of DNA tests in dogs. The Harmonization initiative is working to further engage numerous experts to participate in panels to develop the resource, provide evaluation of tests and work to advance genetic counseling. IPFD is actively engaging Leadership Sponsors to help develop a prototype to be presented at the 3rd International Dog Health Workshop. During the breakout session for this Theme we will look for input on the prototype and further discussion on how to move forward on this international collaboration. Some of our key Partners and Leadership Sponsors (more coming soon): Read more about IPFD Partners and Sponsors Other potential sponsors and collaborators are welcome to contact us to explore opportunities. Contact: IPFD CEO or Project Director “Mars Veterinary and the Mars Veterinary logo are trademarks of Mars, Incorporated and its affiliates. Used with permission.”
  5. Why is it so hard to engage breeders in breed club health initiatives? In September I had the pleasure of making a presentation to the Breath Health Coordinators of The Kennel Club, in the UK: I asked them to share with me their biggest challenge relative to their work on the health of their breeds and with breed clubs. Many said their greatest difficulty was getting members of breed clubs to engage actively in health-related efforts, specifically in sharing accurate data on the occurrence of health problems. This problem has been raised by many breed clubs, in various countries. Why is this such a challenge? Here’s a partial list that comes to my mind: - Denial – if we don’t talk about ‘it’ and don’t count ‘it’ maybe we can pretend the problem isn’t that bad. - Protecting my line, my brand – not wanting to admit that there are any problems in my dogs. - Afraid of the fall-out that might come with honesty; worse now with social media. - A feeling that others won’t be transparent, so why should I? - Wanting to celebrate the good aspects of the breed, of the dogs… to have fun with shows and breeding and not focus on the ‘negative’. - Perhaps not understanding enough about health issues or recognising problems. - Frustrated with results of previous attempts? - Maybe it all just too overwhelming. I can really understand the desire to go to shows, have fun looking at beautiful dogs; to have puppies and enjoy them and that whole process. But dog breeding should be seen as a great responsibility, not simply a right – not something to do just because you can. And we should all think that beauty is not just skin deep – a truly beautiful dog / breed must be healthy and have good temperament, be free of issues compromising welfare and quality of life – and maybe even have a good chance at a long life. With this attitude, there would be commitment to the tough stuff, not just the fun. And understanding that the responsibility includes collaborative work with others to improve and maintain the health of the breed – health in its most holistic sense. Collaborative is an important term here… none of this can be done by an individual – it has to be a collective group effort. But then, data sharing, for example, must occur in a respectful, supportive – even compassionate – environment. But let’s face it… this is a somewhat idealistic picture. Everyone is busy, could use some support and we all want to see results. Is all this work paying off? What if you could find those working in other countries on the same issues? What if you could share the load and have fun making a difference with other like-minded individuals? What if you could help prevent someone from making the same frustrating mistakes you made? And what if you could learn from others' successes and challenges? So… here’s what we are doing on Welcome breeders, health committee representatives and breed clubs to share information with us - e.g. on their breed, on health surveys and data collection efforts and to help pass it on to others who are interested. We are also looking to share experiences and expertise - stories about successes and failures, what has worked and what has not. We also will endeavour to connect those who share a breed, or interests or challenges from around the world. Strength in numbers! At we can also provide restricted-access or open forums for discussions - by breed, by project, etc. We can help you get talking internationally. Collaborating and sharing with an underlying goal to support actions to enhance health and well-being. If you have material to share let us know! If you have comments, we would love to hear them. In the Spotlight section of our latest Digest, see what breeds’ reps have joined us lately and also some of the great work being done. Digest: Issue #4 - 15 November 2016
  6. It is important to remember, has been discussed in various articles on is that it may not be the Breed Standard, per se that is the major contributing factor but, rather, how that Standard is interpreted and applied by judges and breeders. See for e.g. a great presentation by Anne-Marie Class.
  7. I saw the PetWise MOTs model demonstrated at the Human Behaviour Change for Animal Welfare conference in the UK in September 2016 and was very impressed. I like the traffic light concept. Although it may seem overly simple for some situations, it is an effective communication tool with clients. One always worries nowadays when we see veterinarians looking for more ways to 'generate revenue'. However, PDSA really seems to have an emphasis on providing preventive health care. Hopefully, having this communication model will help clients get the care they need for their pet before major problems arise. Unfortunately, we have little good evidence in veterinary medicine as to whether our interventions really make animals healthy or live longer. Nice to see PDSA also taking efforts to monitor the impact of the program.
  8. Please join us for the: PUBLIC REGISTRATION NOW OPEN! CLICK HERE • Organized by the International Partnership for Dogs (IPFD) and the Société Centrale Canine (SCC), in cooperation with other partners. Thanks to our latest Sponsors: Royal Canin and Agria Animal Insurance. • Paris, France on 21-23 April 2017. Venue: Novotel Paris Centre Tour Eiffel • Number of participants: between 125 and 150 individuals. Language: English. Aims: to once again bring together key decision leaders and diverse stakeholders of the global dog world in order to: ► share information about the good work done since the last Workshop in Dortmund ► identify and prioritize issues and challenges in breeding, health and welfare of dogs ► engage in dialog across stakeholder groups ► identify existing and needed information, guidelines, and other resources to promote actions ► share expertise, educate, and build community and collaboration across international stakeholders in dog health, well-being and welfare to address common goals.
  9. I will weigh-in first on the spay/neuter (s/n) issue first. As Patty has commented, we have had, for many decades in North America, very strong advice about age for elective s/n, but the guidelines were not based on particularly strong evidence. Newer studies on retrospective, veterinary teaching hospital data are raising serious questions, but, may not really provide strong enough evidence to prompt broad-based policy changes. Teaching hospital records generally have weak data for age-at-neuter, especially, and there may be many dogs with no information at all. When we are not sure how representative these hospital (often referral) populations are for the larger dog population, dropping many potential subjects renders the possibility for error and bias even greater. And the direction of any associations are very important… potential breeding animals that have, say, bad hip dysplasia test results, will likely be neutered… but the orthopedic problem would not have been caused by the neutering. And why is there such a dearth of prospective research in veterinary medicine? And little focus on long term outcome evaluations? Well, that could be the subject of several blogs and articles! So, even though Ann has found lots of references to papers and discussions on s/n, very few, to date, have conclusive evidence across breeds and different populations. And, as much as owners and veterinarians are likely to focus on the individual dog, it must be remembered that s/n has presumably important implications at a population level. In the USA, it is believed that without routine s/n, the unwanted dog problem would be much worse. Most papers I have seen do not look at the big picture and certainly do not quantify the actual number of dogs who would be affected by problems purported to be influenced by s/n compared to the number of dogs potentially helped, or the number who might suffer if s/n guidelines were radically changed. It might be worth pointing out that in Sweden, there have been extremely low rates of neutering, i.e. <7% of females and even lower numbers of males (data from the late ‘90s) and there is no dog-overpopulation problem. Regardless, there is a high risk of orthopedic problems in, e.g. German Shepherd Dogs. So, again, not a simple situation. As Kelly has pointed out relative to several issues, it is very challenging to consider all the inputs and impacts simultaneously, but avoiding the true complexity of health and welfare issues, including the role of those pesky humans, is unlikely to fully support the dogs or their owners, in the long run. On the issue of tools and information for veterinarians, IPFD through various programs and on is working to create just such resources. This will best be served by increased participation across all stakeholder groups. Thanks all for your participation.
  10. It is great to see the increased momentum for addressing issues of health and welfare in brachycephalics around the world. IPFD hopes to facilitate collaborative international efforts across multiple stakeholder groups. It is clear that this issue is a global one and requires a coordinated approach to be truly effective. Perhaps what is also needed is a recognition that these are complex challenges, with no easy solution. The issues involve not only medicine and science, but are fraught with emotion and influenced by long-held beliefs. Aspects of human-dog interactions both enrich and complicate the situation. Success is most likely to come from positive collaborative efforts where all stakeholders take responsibility for their own roles and work together on common goals, rather than trying to criticize others and apportion blame. There is a need for information and evidence, compiled and interpreted in a logical and unbiased way. There is a need to share resources, experience and expertise, with reduction of redundant efforts. There is need for courage, as this is a challenging and evocative issue. But there is also a need for compassion - for the dogs, first of all, but also for owners who may not understand; for breeders who did not set out to purposely create problems; to veterinarians who may struggle with conflict of interest serving their business, their clients and their patients; for dog show judges, many of whom struggle for a balanced approach; and more. The controversies and challenges represent an opportunity now to work together to enhance the health, well-being and welfare of dogs and to support human-dog interactions. See below for a summary of and links to recent international efforts and resources. We will continue to edit and update this document.
  11. Indeed - and IPFD is in discussion with others on how to best share such information to support owners, breeder and veterinarians.
  12. The Finnish Kennel Club continues to inspire us! Finland is a country of about five and half million people and with the highest ratio of dogs to people. They are fiercely proud of their historical association with dogs - and so they should be. It is a country where a high percentage of dogs are still used for their original purpose. The dog continues to be integrated closely with Finnish culture. And that wonderful, deep, and long history is now celebrated online with the Finnish Canine Museum. ... but I'm not giving you the link yet... once you go you may not come back! This has to be a brilliant accomplishment – for dogs and for the new age of museums. The amount of information is impressive. Tons of history… including videos Amazing reproductions of art ... including this sculpture credited as: Hopeinen suomenpystykorvaveistos 1979, Pekka Ketonen which most of us can't pronounce... but we can appreciate its artistry! And their special exhibition is on the Finnish Spitz focused on history, breeding and more. This is a wonderful resource to inform and entertain. Congratulations to our Founding Partner The Finnish Kennel Club. Amazing! The Finnish Canine Museum Online. Thank you! Any other kennel clubs – send us links to great work you are doing … please contact us!
  13. Do you know Who is Who and Where They Come From?? Check out our quiz on Native Breeds.