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Brenda Bonnett

Administrators
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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

Recent Profile Visitors

7,533 profile views
  1. 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
  2. Ian Seath, a great friend and collaborator of IPFD has provided a clearly and thoughtfully profiled an article from our Partners at The Kennel Club in the UK in his post: NEARLY 20 YEARS OF DNA TESTING – WHAT CAN WE LEARN? Ian does a great job of summarizing and highlighting the material in this important paper and I will let you read his coverage, and, as he suggests, the original paper: "I don’t want to dwell on the detail of the research; you can read that for yourself, here: https://goo.gl/PiQmMF – I want to discuss how and why this paper might be important. The study covers the results of 8 DNA tests in 8 breeds for the period 2000 to 2017. 2 of the DNA tests applied to 2 breeds, resulting in 10 test+breed combinations. The key metric used to measure progress was the Mutation Frequency ...". In essence, for these tests in these breeds, the authors, Tom Lewis and Cathryn Mellersh, respected geneticists, go beyond the findings in specific dogs to calculate a broader impact on inheritance. The paper shows the tremendous potential for validated tests, used appropriately to positively impact the health of breeds. Ian's suggestions on how The KC could take these findings further by considering how to incorporate in registration and breeding strategies are on point. In his section on "Wider Implications?" Ian also highlights some of the cautions that must also be taken into consideration, and further, says: "There are over 700 inherited disorders and traits in dogs, of which around 300 have a genetically simple mode of inheritance and around 150 available DNA tests. This tells us that we should not rely on DNA testing to solve the “problem” of diseases in pedigree dogs." Building on this, and without detracting in any way from the research, its impact or Ian's excellent discussion, I want to stress further caution. Accepting that this is strong evidence that "DNA testing works!" we must be clear that this has been shown for these tests in these breeds and our enthusiasm must not expand to include all genetic testing, across the board, as being proven as impactful by this study. These are primarily simply inherited, very specific, well-characterized, but relatively rare conditions with well-validated tests. Certainly we are optimistic that there are now, and will be more, test-by-breed-by-condition combinations that will also support health strategies and breeding decisions. But it is extremely important to remember that only a small proportion of the conditions affecting dogs will fall into this category, even a small proportion of those for which genetic tests are or will be available. In terms of perspective, the IPFD Harmonization of Genetic Testing in Dogs (HGTD) database lists over 250 genetic tests marketed to over 400 breeds/varieties. So I echo Ian's recommendations that even as we take this as good news, we: look to researchers and breed advisors to continue their work to not only identify potentially useful tests but also to monitor them as they are used to determine their impact we continue to educate consumers and breeders on the complexities of genetic testing, as well as, the realistic benefits and limitations of genetic tests and testing and we promote and support balanced, 'Big Picture' development of breed-health strategies that consider not only genetic testing but all other available tools to help define the health and disease picture within breeds as well. The IPFD HGTD is in place to support genetic counselling; and the Expert Panel development to provide informed advice and the Health Strategies Database for Dogs including an interactive resource supporting that Big Picture view are coming soon to help all stakeholders do their best for dogs and their owners as we navigate the complexities of dog health and welfare. Kudos again to Drs. Lewis and Mellersh, and The KC for stellar work and to Ian Seath for his insightful commentary. This is progress – over 20 years. One can be optimistic that there will be many more advances in the next 20 years if we focus on both the details and the broad perspective. See also: New Research blog on the same article.
  3. Brenda Bonnett

    Latest on brachycephalics from Sweden

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

    French Bulldog Health Seminar October 2018

    I was honored to address the French Bulldog Club of America at their National Specialty in Louisville, KY on October 31st, 2018. The invitation came from the Health & Genetics Committee of the French Bull Dog Club of America (FBDCA). This invitation was prompted by my presentation on the IPFD Harmonization of Genetic Testing initiative at the AKC-CHF Health Conference in St. Louis in August 2017. Jan Grebe, Calvin Dykes and the others on the Committee stressed that the "club is dedicated to Frenchie health, and the harmonization project will be an invaluable resource for breeders". The final presentation, following discussions with the committee, reflected various issues impacting the breed - and I complement the FBDCA on their interest in health and welfare of their breed and in both a national and international perspective. French Bulldogs are challenged by issues including alarming increase in numbers, health concerns related to the brachycephalic condition and scrutiny by veterinary and regulatory groups throughout the world. The FBDCA video-taped the presentation and we have made this available here. It was quite an experience to be in a hotel with about 300 French Bulldogs. The incredible commitment and attachment that Frenchie owners have for these dogs was very evident. I was excited to see information and videos on the increased interest in performance activities for this breed. What a great way to identify and highlight those dogs who are healthy and active. See other relevant resources on brachycephalic issues internationally and coverage of these issues from the 3rd International Dog Health Workshop (IDHW) in our discussion paper. More international actions for health and welfare will undoubtedly be forthcoming following the 4th IDHW in May, in the UK.
  5. Brenda Bonnett

    "We do this for the dogs' sake"

    I have frequently heard people say that what they are doing is 'for the dogs'' when it might seem it is mainly for their own goals.- but the Swedish Kennel Club has posted an informative video about the Breed Specific Instructions that makes it clear that the only goal with this program is to promote the health and welfare of dogs. Renowned judges explain why they think their role in promoting health and welfare is so important. We have lots of information on the BSI and the Swedish Breed-Specific Breeding Strategies, in general (as well as, lists of breeds with breed specific strategies from several countries on DogWellNet.com and this video really puts it all in perspective. We all know that health and welfare of dogs is the responsibility of all stakeholders in the dog world and judges are no exception. The impact of dog shows and the awarding of wins to specific dogs has a big impact on the public perception of pedigree dogs, in general, and also of specific breeds. It is crucial that dogs that achieve success in these increasingly 'prime time', public displays epitomize the best of the best - not just in looks, but also in health. All organizations licensing dog judges insist on 'judges education' but the BSI program takes it a step further, insisting that judges take responsibility in only promoting dogs without physical manifestations of conditions/ conformations that may limit health and welfare. The BSI process is followed in all Scandinavian countries, as well as several other European countries. A key part of the BSI process is the completion of reports by the judges (discussed in the video); and here is a link to an example of a report required for German Shepherd Dogs by Rad van Beheer in The Netherlands. The Canadian Kennel Club instituted an observer program in 2017, but I haven't found full details on the goals of the program. The AKC has a Field Rep program and, although at the moment I do not think these North American programs have breed-specific requirements similar to the BSI, clearly there are structures in place that could facilitate such an approach. A striking comment in the video was that judges must be on the lookout for negative trends and help ensure that these do not progress. I am not a judge; I briefly showed dogs in the distant past; and I am often concerned by what I see at show events. I was recently at the National Specialty of the French Bulldog Club of America in Louisville, KY, USA, at the end of October 2018. It was an honor to talk to the club members who are concerned about health issues in this breed. However, I was confused by seeing many dogs being shown that clearly had no actual tails (maybe 2 coccyx vertebrae), clearly so in the eyes of this veterinarian, and described as such by the competitors as a recent trend. And yet, I was repeatedly assured that 'the standard specifies that a French Bulldog must have a tail'. Such a contradiction, such an extreme, would presumably not be allowed, under the BSI, especially when this is not a cosmetic change, but a structural one. It is particularly concerning given that we know that French Bulldogs have an increased risk for spinal abnormalities and a new paper suggests that selection for screw tails may have led to a syndrome of abnormalities in both English and French Bulldogs. Every one who has bred dogs knows that focus on one characteristic, especially going for extremes, can lead to occurrence of unforeseen consequences. Nothing happens in isolation with breeding and selection. Congrats to the Swedes for this video and I hope it will encourage more judges to take an approach like this - regardless of whether or not they are under a requirement to do so. Because our activities really should be 'for the dogs' sake'.
  6. Posted originally 26 July 2018; UPDATED 30 July 2018 Congratulations to the authors (Lisa Moses, Steve Niemi and Elinor Karlsson) for their commentary in Nature (and pdf, below). In “Pet genomics medicine runs wild” these authors have done a great job describing the myriad challenges related to genetic testing in pets. In fact, their concerns reflect those underpinning the International Partnership for Dogs (IPFD) initiative - the Harmonization of Genetic Testing for Dogs (HGTD). The IPFD, together with an impressive team of Partners and Collaborators (national kennel clubs, animal industries, veterinary, academic, welfare and other organizations) and our Leadership Sponsor Genetic Test Providers (GTPs), is providing a practical and effective tool to support consumers, veterinarians and researchers. However, as we face these challenges, it is important to not lose sight of the phenomenal potential for genetic testing to support health, well-being and welfare in dogs, as well as aspects of human-dog interactions. Although the authors of the commentary justifiably call for this segment to have some controls, at the moment, there is no regulatory body that has the authority to impose standards on this burgeoning and unregulated industry - especially not on an international basis or in a timely fashion. Rather than waiting for consensus on controls, the IPFD (an independent, non-profit, registered in Sweden), together with our Partners, Collaborators and experts, as well as concerned GTPs, has created a platform that will provide the foundation to address many of the concerns raised in the Nature article.
  7. Brenda Bonnett

    European Parliament event: Health Before Looks

    Health before looks -- Collaborative action is urgently needed to stop the practice of extreme breeding in dogs and cats This message was delivered to the European Parliament at an event organized by our Collaborating Partner the Federation of European Companion Animal Veterinary Associations (FECAVA) together with the EU Dog and Cat Alliance and the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe(FVE). (Download PDF below.) This event was "aimed at ending the unnecessary suffering of dogs and cats bred with exaggerated features such as flat faces, narrowed nostrils, skin folds and protruding eyes" and is part of the ongoing work, especially throughout Europe, to address health and welfare in brachycephalic breeds. The speakers represented the veterinary, welfare and breed organization perspectives on the issue. It was great to see this international, multi-stakeholder approach, similar to that we have promoted through the IPFD International Dog Health Workshops (IDHWs) and reflected in the many resources on the brachycephalic isssue on DogWellNet.com. Kristin Prestrud (a veterinarian from another of our Partners, the Norwegian Kennel Club) put into perspective that although there are wide variations across dog breeds in form and function, there should be defined limits for extremes, so that selective breeding does not compromise health or welfare. The challenge, raised at our IDHWs is that those limits are not clear nor consistent across regions and cultures; we need research and collaborative work to define those limits. As Prestrud, explained, for pedigree dogs breeding happens according to written breed standards - however those are often open to interpretation and may vary widely across countries. "“We love that dogs look cute, that they have some particular look that we love. And so, short legs have got shorter, heavy bodies got heavier, long coats got longer, loose skin got looser, long ears got longer and wrinkles more extended. Not in all cases, not in all breeds, but in several breeds.” And when breeders select really strongly for some traits and restrict genetic input from outside, there is always the risk of reducing genetic variation." The British Veterinary Association’s encouragement of data reporting of conformation altering surgery (and caesareans) - by veterinarians with the consent of owners - was described. Similar registers are underway in, e.g. Scandinavian countries. However, there are challenges to compliance with these programs and only time will tell whether they achieve the goal of determining the prevalence of dogs that need such surgery. Speakers also highlighted the role of veterinarians in this issue, saying, “we must be aware that there are a lot of vets who earn their money by doing this very expensive surgery." I was encouraged to see that the discussion by the politicians did not focus simply on legislation of breeding as being the best solution. They discussed the need to control the marketing of unregistered puppies and kittens, “the majority of which are on the internet and are totally without control” . It was estimated that over half of puppies In the Netherlands come from unsupervised sources and it may be as high as 90% for some breeds, e.g. the French Bulldog. One of the members of parliament suggested that "efforts would be better focused on reducing demand by making extreme breed animals unfashionable. “We have to make unhealthy bad conformation unfashionable, it has to stop.”" And, so, as has been discussed in much of our work, we come back to this fact: the challenges are about the people, more than the dogs, and successfully improving health and welfare of dogs needs an approach that addresses human-animal interactions, human attitudes and actions, and using techniques of education that are likely to result in human behaviour change. Addressing sourcing of dogs and communication for change will be two themes at the upcoming 4th IPFD IDHW in Old Windsor, UK, May 30-June 1 2019. Congratulations to FECAVA and their co-organizers for an important event and to the European Parliament for taking an interest in the health and welfare of dogs. Health before looks Collaborative action is urgently needed to stop the practice of extreme breeding in dogs and cats Download: European Parliament Event article by Parliament Magazine - 7-2018
  8. Brenda Bonnett

    Dutch Kennel Club

    Michael - let's talk about this... but Robert was looking into Nexus for me before and it seemed that the donation button was only offered on check out when people were purchasing other items, etc. We have nothing else to sell at the moment, no one would have a 'cart', and I do not think we need any of the other Nexus functions. We want donation opportunities either living in sidebars or that pops up as people are leaving that says something like "did you find this content useful? Help us keep it going." As I said, if Nexus can do this I would consider it, but when R. and I looked into before it didn't seem to be a good option. Anyway - I think Michael and I are going to try to skype later today and we will see what we can figure out.
  9. This work highlights both important areas of concern for individual dogs and breeds, as well as a need to engage a wider range of stakeholders to address health and welfare in all dogs. While continuing to engage and encourage best practices across kennel clubs, globally, we must also work with those who, in addition to cynological organizations, can work for sustainable wellness in all dogs.
  10. Brenda Bonnett

    AKC National Parent Club Conference

    And it is so important to have young, vets of the future involved with us! Thanks, Kelly.
  11. Brenda Bonnett

    French Bulldog

    Thanks, Laura! Is your club collaborating with other work, e.g. with NKU on brachys? This is such an important issue right now. The site looks great! Using Google translator works fairly well... but I will send you some questions via email. Thanks again.
  12. Last weekend I was honored to participate in the 2017 National Parent Club Canine Health Conference presented by the AKC Canine Health Foundation and Nestlé Purina PetCare, in St. Louis, Missouri. It is always great to interact with breeders and club reps that are so committed to the health and welfare of their dogs and their breeds. This meeting is a mix of breeders (106 parent clubs represented!), vets, and researchers and includes Board members from some of the collaborating organizations who sponsor research, including IPFD Partners and Sponsors: the AKC, the AKC-CHF and the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA). The OFA sponsored 32 veterinary students to attend the meeting. Our IPFD 2016 Student Kelly Arthur was among the participants! The research covered a wide array of key topics - from ticks and infectious disease - epilepsy - latest developments in cancer - to issues of reproduction (see list of speakers and topics, below). What an impressive panel of speakers and internationally renowned researchers. It was great to see two of our speakers from the 3rd International Dog Health Workshop, Jason Stull and Rowena Packer, as well as numerous others who participated in that meeting. It certainly feels like the international community of those committed to dog health, well-being and welfare is going strong! Thanks to the many people who stopped by the IPFD table to talk to us about our organization, DogWellNet.com and especially the Harmonization of Genetic Testing for Dogs initiative (and to grab some chocolate to keep their energy up!). Special thanks to CA Sharpe, from our IPFD Collaborating Partner Australian Shepherd Health & Genetics Institute (ASHGI) for helping me out at the table. It was very gratifying for me to hear someone else talking so enthusiastically about our efforts. Congrats to AKC-CHF for their continued strength and leadership; for promoting multi-disciplinary interaction; and for an exciting conference. Attached is the PDF of the slides of my talk (slightly altered, of course) and the abstract. BONNETT - AKC-CHF Presentation - Harmonization of Genetic Testing for Dogs BONNETT Abstract - CHF June 2017 The 2017 AKC-CHF Conference Program included presentations on the following topics... Lymphoma & Epigenetics - Jeffrey Bryan, DVM, PhD, DACVIM-Oncology Lymphoma & Flow Cytometry - Anne Avery, VMD, PhD Chemotherapy & FortiFlora® - Korinn Saker DVM, PhD, DACVN Genetics of Cancer/Lymphoma - Matthew Breen, PhD Diet & Rehabilitation - Wendy Baltzer DVM, PhD, DACVS Genetic Predisposition to Infections - Urs Giger, DVM, PhD, DACVIM, DECVCP Lyme Disease - Jason Stull, VMD, PhD, DACVPM Tick-Borne Disease - Ed Breitschwerdt, DVM, DACVIM (*Keynote) Ehrlichia & Lymphocytosis - Anne Avery, VMD, PhD Canine Cognition - Bill Milgram, PhD Genetics of Epilepsy - Gary Johnson, DVM, PhD Epilepsy & the Microbiome - Karen Munana, DVM, PhD, DACVIM-Neurology Epilepsy & Nutrition - Rowena Packer, PhD IPFD: Harmonization of Laboratory Genetic Testing for Dogs - Brenda Bonnett, DVM, PhD Semen Evaluation, Quality, and Effects of Aging - Stuart Meyers, DVM, PhD, DACT Brucella Update - Angela Arenas, DVM, PhD, DACVP Pyometra - Marco Coutinho da Silva, DVM, PhD, DACT New for 2017! Panel discussions with our speakers on: Canine Lymphoma Tick-Borne Diseases Epilepsy Reproductive Diseases AKC-CHF Facebook
  13. Thanks, Ariel. As companion animals share our environment so closely, and many of our lifestyles exposures, they are an important part of any comprehensive One Health initiative. However, getting the human and animal docs and researchers to work well together is an ongoing challenge. The key point is - we need behavioural change across the board to develop prudent attitudes and actions in regard to antibiotic use, regardless of the species on which they are being used. Your compendium of existing guidelines and different approaches internationally will be an important resource.
  14. This section will serve as a table of contents and compile resources available elsewhere on DogWellNet.com. Current AR/AMR information and links to news from national and international organizations and agencies will be posted. The TOC has been mainly compiled as part of the IPFD Student Project of Ariel Minardi and supported by the Skippy Frank Fund. For a list of Ariel's work see, also, IPFD Student Project 'B.A.R.K. | Bacterial Antimicrobial Resistance Knowledge' - Chronological Overview.
  15. Version 1.0.0

    119 downloads

    This guideline is intended to be used by breed clubs for breeds in which at least 250 dogs have been registered over the last five years. ' The template outlines the content and structure for the Breeding-specific Breeding Strategy Document (JTO). The recommended total length of a breeding strategy for these breeds is 25-30 pages. Received from Katariin Mäki, Kennelliitto
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