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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 3rd IDHW in Paris
    Yes
  • Theme attended at 3rd IDHW in Paris
    IPFD Harmonization of Genetic Testing for Dogs

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  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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...
  5. 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.
  6. Many of our colleagues, collaborators, members and readers have a special interest in their own breed(s) and on DogWellNet.com we try to provide extensive breed-specific content. However, a key underlying tenet of IPFD and our platforms is that there is great deal of information and experience that is relevant across breeds, across activities and across regions. Therefore our emphasis on sharing. Thanks to Barbara Thiel who recently shared a presentation on Actual challenges in breeding show type Greyhounds by Dr. med. vet. Barbara Kessler, scientist at the Chair for Molecular Animal Breeding and Biotechnology Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich. Notwithstanding the title and the information on some Greyhound-specific diseases, much of this talk is about challenges of selection, inbreeding, and impact on diversity that applies to all breeds. Barbara Kessler has makes some strong statements based on her academic and personal experience. She lists, e.g. some autoimmune diseases associated with reduced genetic (sic) variability, including allergies, diabetes, and hypothyroidism - conditions seen, perhaps increasingly in some other breeds. There are great graphics provided by veterinarian Barbara Thiel highlighting the breeding separation of Greyhounds based on their activities. And Barbara Kessler contrasts the breeding approaches of 50 years ago to more recently. Some of the challenges they highlight exemplify discussions at the 4th International Dog Health Workshop on 'The Concept of Breeds and its Impact on Health'. This recalls to mind a discussion I observed at an international meeting of Springer Spaniel Clubs at the time of the World Dog Show in Sweden in 2008. There were passionate and conflicting claims that the breed was first and foremost a working/hunting breed or now a show breed; long time breeders and experts were adamant that it was a breed with strong working capabilities that was also beautiful - just as it was (i.e. without a long, silky coat or other adaptations to the show ring). I do not want to imply that any one approach is the only or right one. However, I can concur strongly with one of Kessler's messages, specifically that people who are applying strong selection, breeding rapidly and intensely for specific appearances, need to be very aware of the larger and longer-term consequences of that approach. These issues are fraught with emotion, attachment to certain ideals, and even well-established human behaviours. Many accuse anyone of providing this type of information as being anti-dog shows or anti-purebred dogs. However, in many cases those who are calling for awareness, change and addressing challenges head on are themselves passionate about these breeds and fully committed to their preservation, health and welfare. The talk goes on to an interesting and thought-provoking section on genetic diversity and I hope our working group on this topic from the 4th IDHW will find it useful. As stated in this box... we depend on breeders to 'keep their 'eye on the whole dog' ... but then it must be that - and not getting swayed into too much focus on appearance, extremes, the latest fashion. or what judges are awarding Let's keep the lines of communication open. It seems that many are taking increasingly extreme and opposing views on challenges in dog breeding and the world of pedigree dogs. Perhaps this stems from sincere and increasing concerns... whether it is veterinarians and researchers who are more worried about the health and welfare of the dogs ... or breeders and exhibitors and judges feeling that their pastimes, culture and even livelihoods are under attack. But regardless, confrontation is not likely to be best for the dogs or their humans. Thoughtful awareness of the impact of our actions; compassion more than judgement: and a willingness to listen are all good to consider. And let's keep sharing the wonderful material and resources from around the world. Original link: http://katrin-und-joachim.de/2019/07/24/actual-challenges-in-breeding-show-type-greyhounds/ "On occasion of the Finnish Greyhound Club Show, Dr Barbara Kessler was invited to talk about Greyhound health"... The Greyhound Show website: http://katrin-und-joachim.de Also see: DWN's Greyhound page
  7. Thanks to VDH (the German Kennel Club) and our friend and collaborator, veterinarian Barbara Thiel, please see attached press release about their latest efforts to support brachycephalic health and welfare. They state that their goal is to identify "the most resilient dogs among the pug population in order to establish the healthiest possible pool of dogs for breeding". Pug fitness test Germany 2019.pdf The new effort in German exemplifies several important approaches: It has been developed collaboratively across various stakeholder groups including the VDH, academics, and veterinary organizations. The test is "available not only to dogs bred under VDH supervision, but to all pugs". The test is done under controlled, standardized and well-supervised conditions. And fantastically, it is being offered for free for two years courtesy of the German Society for the Support of Canine Research (GFK) . Congatulations to VDH and its partners for this excellent program and thanks for sharing the information with us. Great to see collaboration focused on dog well-being making a difference. Links at VDH (in German) Neuer Fitnesstest für Möpse GKF Flyer 2019 We have descriptions of fitness tests from other countries on DogWellNet.com, see for example: Sweden: Swedish Kennel Club: Making assessments of dogs' respiration - BSI (Video Link) https://dogwellnet.com/media/media/5-making-assessments-of-dogs-respiration-bsi/ Bullies, Pugs and Bulldogs – the current top runners Germany: IKFB: (Includes Video Link) https://dogwellnet.com/content/health-and-breeding/breed-specific-programs/breed-specific-breeding-strategies/breed-specific-programs-country/bullies-pugs-and-bulldogs-–-the-current-top-runners-r232/ Finnish walk test for brachycephalic breeds ready https://dogwellnet.com/blogs/entry/88-finnish-walk-test-for-brachycephalic-breeds-ready Scheme launched to improve health of French Bulldogs, Pugs and Bulldogs - The Kennel Club | Cambridge https://dogwellnet.com/content/hot-topics/brachycephalics/scheme-launched-to-improve-health-of-french-bulldogs-pugs-and-bulldogs-the-kennel-club-cambridge-r636/
  8. Thanks to our friend and collaborator Dr. Jerold Bell, veterinary practitioner, Adjunct Professor of Clinical Genetics at Tufts University, and Chair of the World Small Animal Veterinary Medical Association Hereditary Disease Committee, for sharing this link and video: I-Team: Are doggy DNA tests reliable, worth your money? Several journalists are taking this approach of testing one or a few dogs by sending material to several companies and on the basis of that determining relative quality of the genetic test provides GTPs). Wouldn't it be lovely if life were that simple! Raising awareness is a great first step, and this presentation, e.g. is simple and clear and worth watching, however, there is the need for further education of consumers. The message from the experts (Dr. Bell and another veterinarian) are also worth heeding. I will add my spin on their cautions, which include: Breed identification tests should be taken 'with a grain of salt' There is variation across companies. IPFD with our Harmonization of Genetic Testing for Dogs and associated resources is working to help provide transparency and improve best practices in the industry. Breed testing is only one type of DNA test. Others include testing for existing or potential diseases, use in clinical diagnosis or for breeding decisions and more... so consumers should know what they are testing for and why before selecting tests and keep this in mind in selecting the GTP and interpreting the results. IPFD is working to provide tools to help consumers. Veterinarians - although challenged like all of us to keep up with this burgeoning field of genetic testing, are important to consult... they are especially good at putting DNA testing into the perspective of the big picture of health and wellness for pets. Genetic Testing is a key theme are the upcoming 4th International Dog Health Workshop (IDHW) being held in Old Windsor, England at the end of May 2019. Many stakeholders in dog health - kennel and breed clubs, owners, breeders, researchers, veterinarians, welfare groups are all represented at the IDHWs and focused on address of these challenges. See below for links to other resources on DogWellNet.com. Getting Started with Genetic Testing Choosing a Genetic Test Provider
  9. Our colleagues at Human Behaviour Change for Animals posted this on their Facebook page: "Fantastic work exploring the demand for rhino horn with the aim of creating campaigns with messaging that is more likely to work than current messaging. At HBCA we believe that it is vital that we don't make assumptions about why people do or don't do things and that we find out for ourselves so we enjoyed reading this article and the papers it links to." And directed us to: We asked people in Vietnam why they use rhino horn. Here’s what they said. (Image: Malaysia’s wildlife department seized 50 African rhino horns destined for Vietnam last year. EPA-EFE/FAZRY ISMAIL) As I read it I noticed parallels to challenges with human behaviour change in dogs. Words like: deeply held beliefs... status... and focus on personal wants and needs and not what consumers consider 'remote' issues. From the article: "Our findings shed light on why current campaigns against rhino horn purchases aren’t working. For example, they tend to highlight the plight of rhinos, suggest that rhino horn doesn’t have medicinal properties or emphasize the legal consequences of purchasing it. ... From our research it’s clear that people who buy rhino horn won’t be won over by any of these arguments." As the authors suggest... in order for education efforts to make a difference - actually change outcomes - "[campaigns] must be "better informed about the values associated with the use of rhino horn and that target the most prevalent types of uses." I would suggest that we can cross out rhino horn and write in any number of current controversial issues in the dog world and take this as good advice. To become 'better informed' we must listen to each other and not impose our perception of the important issues or compelling arguments onto others if we want to be effective. Many of us are thinking about these issues as we approach the 4th IDHW in Windsor, UK, later this month. See, e.g. Ian Seath's latest blog: We need to stop trying to change people’s minds!
  10. Love is Blind is a joint initiative of the Australian Veterinary Association and the RSPCA: "We’re raising public awareness about the animal welfare problems caused by exaggerated physical features such as brachycephaly, short limbs and excessive skin wrinkling, and how these problems can be prevented." This campaign stresses many of the issues in international work being presented on DogWellNet.com and the work - building on previous Workshops - that will happen at the imminent 4th International Dog Health Workshop (IDHW), in Windsor, UK, 30 May - 01 June, 2019. Including: The challenges of the brachycephalic breeds need to be understood by current AND future owners, breeders, veterinarians, kennel and breed clubs and other stakeholders, All these groups need to work together for the benefit of individual dogs and the breeds. The material suggests actions needed to be taken by each of these groups, including attention to sourcing of dogs, breeding, showing and more. Resources: See the Australian Love is Blind homepage for links to material, including several videos explaining the increased susceptibility of these dogs to heat and providing practical advice for owners. We have recently posted on Facebook a video entitled 'The Purebred Crisis' that describes this campaign, interviews veterinarians, owners and a breeder-judge. This video highlights the very different attitudes and perceptions for various individuals. It is this variation in opinion and approach to these dogs that complicates efforts to improve health and welfare in these breeds. I have discussed this in previous blogs. There is no question that people are attracted and deeply attached to these dogs that have, as the Aussies say, "squishy faces", and that they have delightful personalities. However, it is also clear that some owners do not realize the health and welfare challenges in these breeds. One of the themes at the 4th IDHW is effective communication, and we need to use all available tools and knowledge from experts in order to change human behaviour - to not only educate people but also to encourage collaboration. See more in Brenda's blogs, including: French Bulldog Health Seminar October 2018 Breeding: A Moral Choice? and: 4th International Dog Health Workshop Pre-Meeting Resources, for example: 4th IDHW Theme #5: Exaggerations and Extremes in Dog Conformation And this previous post on DogWellnet.com: Love is Blind - Dr Philip Moses
  11. Thanks to Kevin Colwill for his thoughtful piece entitled "Breeding: Is it a moral choice" in the Our Dogs Newspaper and thanks to both for permission to reproduce here. In this concise yet thought-provoking article Kevin discusses his thoughts on the question: When it comes to breeding pedigree dogs, how much is too much and how far is going too far? Some points worth considering: Issues in extreme breeds reflect on all breeders. Certainly, negative attention in the media moves quickly from one particular issue or breed and soon expands to include all pedigreed dogs; Beyond that, legislation meant to address specific problems/breeds may result in broad restrictions on breeding - and often undesirable and unfortunate (even for the dogs) consequences. Although he says "Each breed is its own unique little, or not so little, community" and implies that trying to make blanket decisions for the massive diversity of breeds presents challenges. However, he is also saying that many issues, especially ethical ones, should apply across all breeds and breeding and cannot be left to e.g. individual breed clubs. The International Partnership for Dogs (IPFD) is founded on the principal that although individuals may operate within a limited community - local or national - dogs and dog breeding are a global phenomenon and many challenges must be considered and addressed with an international - and multi-disciplinary - perspective. "Breed clubs aren’t defending the time-honoured look of the breed. They’re defending a relatively modem interpretation of how their breed should look." Here he is debunking the claims of some that extreme dogs must look the way they do to preserve the history and traditional of the breed, when, in fact, many/most breeds were originally both more moderate and more diverse in appearance. His suggestion that "the KC must be much more hard¬nosed in confronting breed clubs and insisting on change." Many KCs and breed clubs, especially throughout Europe are confronting the issues head-on. However, there seems to be resistance from breeders, judges and others. Support from the broader community of breeders to implement change is needed. For many years, lecturing about breed-specific issues in dogs, even before the existence of IPFD, in discussions with the breeding community, veterinarians and others, it was becoming self-evident that if concerns were not addressed by the dog community, society would likely impose 'solutions' on them. This is coming to fruition in many areas, and society and the media wants to move at a much faster pace than many in the pedigreed dog world. I think Kevin Colwill's call to action by KCs, and all ethical breeders - not limited to those in specifically affected breeds - is timely and important to consider. PDF version - Breeding-is it a moral choice - PDF.pdf
  12. Why do people choose the dogs they do and how does that influence the health and welfare of dogs? How can what we know – and don’t know – about these complexities inform our efforts to educate people and safeguard the well-being of our canine companions? A new open access article is an excellent, comprehensive review of published evidence about factors influence dog acquisition: Acquiring a Pet Dog: A Review of Factors Affecting the Decision-Making of Prospective Dog Owners By Katrina E. Holland, Dogs Trust. Animals 2019, 9(4), 124 See Attached (internal): Acquiring a Pet Dog - A Review of Factors Affecting the Decision-Making of Prospective Dog Owners The ‘Simple Summary’: “Each year, many people around the world get a pet dog. With so many different types and breeds of dogs available, and a variety of sources from which to obtain a dog, the process of getting a dog can be complex. The decisions involved in this process are likely influenced by a variety of human- and dog-related factors and this review explores the factors that appear to be the most important.” The paper contains a wealth of information and extensive review of research on the topic. Key points: “Across the stages of dog acquisition there is potential for practices that may promote or compromise canine welfare.” “those working in the canine welfare sector, [must] refine their ability to identify and respond to trends in the behavior of potential dog owners.” “The most widely reported factors associated with acquisition behavior include: the dog’s physical appearance, behavior and health; social influences, such as trends in the popularity of certain breeds; demographic and socioeconomic factors; and the owner’s previous ownership experience.” “Overall, the research discussed in this paper highlights that complex interactions likely underpin the various factors that might influence prospective owners’ motivators and behaviors.” COMPLEX! That is the real take home message. Many in the dog world have been trying to get the message out to people about the risks for poor health and compromised welfare for certain breeds and similar concerns based on the sources of dogs. However, for those from welfare and veterinary backgrounds especially, it seems obvious that getting a healthy pet should be the number one priority. Much of the cited research makes it clear that – although the motivations are complex – health is not at the top of the list for many who are making the decision to get a dog. Even if people do ‘research’ or seek advice, it may not sway them from a deep-seated preference for a specific breed. This may be most marked for those with an affinity for brachycephalic breeds which may be based on their ‘infantile” appearance, the dogs’ strong human attachment. I have said in presentations and articles that if a consumer's strongest desire is for, e.g. a dog with a specific appearance, with specific behavior traits, maybe even related to the need for intense care-giving ... then stressing the importance of health may not be effective. I liken it to, e.g, telling a young person who is intent on acquiring a fast, loud, trendy car that they should, first and foremost, be looking for a vehicle that has low fuel consumption. The information being provided may be about a factor not even on their radar. These challenges and issues all underlie our focus at the 4th International Dog Health Workshop (IDHW) we are combining attention to addressing issues related to Extremes and Exaggerations (of conformation) with identifying communication strategies to promote human behavior change. At the 4th IDHW we also have a theme on Supply and Demand, which is integrally involved with/influenced by these same issues. Even if people do adequate research on ideal sources of acquisition for dogs (e.g. approved breeders) they may not actually access the better sources due to, if not impulse buying, at least a desire for a timely purchase. An additional concern is that consumers may be oblivious as to the actual source of their dog. Is the ‘breeder’ - selling online or kindly offering to meet you somewhere to save you trouble finding their kennel - a good, health-conscious breeder or a representative of a puppy mill? Have the dogs at shelters/rescues been purchased from auctions or puppy farms – with good intention, perhaps – but with what ramifications.? How do you determine a community-based, good quality rescue from what is essentially a commercial re-homing business? And again, source might not be high on that decision-making list for many consumers, perhaps more a matter of convenience. We know that the best-qualified and highest quality breeders cannot come close to supplying demand. In some countries, e.g. Sweden, rules and societal pressure for responsible dog ownership exist and are enforced, and welfare is very high. In general, people do not acquire pets if they cannot fulfill the criteria. Elsewhere? As there has been an increased acknowledgement of dogs being a ‘member of the family’ and ‘good for human health and welfare’, in many countries the pet industry, veterinarians, and even welfare groups have pushed for increased dog ownership. This may have been with good intentions, but an increase in demand, without a consideration of supply, has supported the increase in commercial breeding, questionable online marketing, illegal or uncontrolled trade/importation and even proliferation of sources which are seemingly impossible to regulate. COMPLEX! The author of the attached paper has done a good job covering all the possible stages of decision-making involved with acquiring a dog, but admits that even the extensive literature has limitations. There are so many factors – attitudes, social, physical – about the people – about the dogs, etc. – that no studies have been able to truly address the complete picture. Given the complexity, it seems clear that effective education and communication will never be easy, straightforward or ‘one-size fits all’. To effect human behavior change the messages must be targeted based on specific breeds (e.g. brachycephalic breed acquisition seems different than for other breeds), consumer characteristics (e.g. age, attitudes and other factors), and perhaps region, country and more. It is obvious that this will need collective and collaborative actions across many stakeholder groups and there will no doubt be specific actions identified at the 4th IDHW as we work together to enhance the health and welfare of dogs. Thanks to Katarina Holland and Dogs Trust for this contribution to the literature on this complex topic. Other resources: Article | Video Don't know or don't care? Presentation at Human Behaviour Change for Animals Conference 2016. PDF Don’t Know or Don’t Care_Bonnett_Sandoe_2016 HumanBehaviourChangeConference Blog Disclaimer The contents of this blog are for informational purposes only and represent the opinion of the author(s), and not that of the International Partnership for Dogs (IPFD). This is not intended to be a substitute for professional, expert or veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. We do not recommend or endorse any specific tests, providers, products, procedures, opinions, or other information that may be mentioned on, or linked to from this blog.
  13. We invite all participants of the 4th International Dog Health Workshop (IDHW) to present a poster to facilitate information transfer and foster networking opportunities. Posters will be displayed from the Thursday reception until Saturday lunch in the reception/coffee/public areas at the workshop venue.
  14. 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 Blog Disclaimer The contents of this blog are for informational purposes only and represent the opinion of the author(s), and not that of the International Partnership for Dogs (IPFD). This is not intended to be a substitute for professional, expert or veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. We do not recommend or endorse any specific tests, providers, products, procedures, opinions, or other information that may be mentioned on, or linked to from this blog.
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