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  1. On July 14th, 2016, I had the privilege of speaking with Dr. Paul McGreevy, BVSc, PhD, University of Sydney professor, researcher, veterinary specialist in behavioral medicine and expert in companion animal welfare. The complex issues affecting the welfare and behavior of purebred dogs is one area in which Dr. McGreevy focuses his research. Below are some of the topics that we discussed and an example is provided to illustrate each point. 1. The benefits of health practices differ among species. So, in one setting a health practice may be acceptable as the standard of care and in another banned. The procedure of tail docking illustrates this point well. In the book, Dilemmas in Animal Welfare, the authors discuss tail docking in general and state, "as the acute pain can be controlled…and the absence of a tail has seldom been shown to disadvantage the animals greatly, a utilitarian analysis focusing on direct effects might conclude tail docking to be an acceptable procedure where demonstrable and significant benefits are obtained." (p. 21) The modern pork operation docks tails to protect the pigs from cannibalism, a behavior that occurs in intensive rearing systems. In this case, the acute pain of tail docking benefits the herd as a whole by reducing biting injuries and infection. Of course, there is growing evidence that tail-biting can be reduced with environmental enrichment and optimal management, so the surgical approach in pig production may eventually come to an end. The American Veterinary Medical Association opposes tail docking in dogs performed for cosmetic purposes. Canine tail docking in the UK has been banned since 2006, with certain exceptions for working dogs, and additional restrictions relative to dog shows. However, the situation is not consistent across countries and in the UK further changes are being sought by The Kennel Club. More information on tail docking in the UK can be found on the British Veterinary Association's Policy position: tail docking of dogs. In the end, tail docking may be appropriate for certain species in specific situations while not appropriate in others. Overall, the inconsistencies in species' welfare-related recommendations may call into question the profession's integrity, as mentioned in the article "How might veterinarians do more for animal welfare?" 2. Studying animal welfare is challenging because it is at the intersection of the sciences and social sciences. As animal welfare scientists, it is our charge to focus on animal well-being and health, while at the same time adopting optimal practices that are feasible within the constraints of the management system. Most standardized approaches to animal welfare focus on the animal specifically, but not necessarily how obtainable the goals are for veterinarians, breeders, and producers. For example, The Five Freedoms, originally written in 1965, emphasize "avoidance of unnecessary suffering and the provision of needs", including protecting animals from disease/pain, thirst/hunger, discomfort, fear, and allowing them to express natural behaviors. Although never intended to provide a checklist or to be equally weighted, they have attracted some criticism for being too ambitious or simplistic. David Fraser's adapted model of animal welfare focuses on the intersection of an animal's health, affective states, and natural living. While both of the above models have been influential in the development of animal welfare science, their implementation is challenged by other factors — such as productivity and profitability, the animal caretaker's well being, and management feasibility. By adopting a more integrative approach, we can develop ways to improve animal welfare — making it more accessible to the public, veterinarians, breeders, and producers and at the same time enhancing business outcomes. 3. Veterinarians can improve the welfare of breeding dogs. A case example is the critical role veterinarians play when performing cesarean sections on dog breeds that cannot deliver naturally. For these breeds, their biological fitness is reliant on a veterinarian's ability to surgically deliver the puppies. This highlights the need for continued work between breeders and veterinarians because, in the case of cesareans, the fate of the breed is dependent on us. Our training allows us to help the individual dog but are we perpetuating genetic problems? One article used breed club data to determine the "Proportion of litters of purebred dogs born by caesarean section". For the Boston terrier, Bulldog, and French bulldog, the rates of cesarean section were greater than 80%. Cesarean sections give veterinarians the opportunity to work directly with breeder clients, but in doing so are we providing adequate breeding advice in the form of genetic counselling? Do veterinarians receive proper training to educate clients? Are we even involved in these discussions with clients? 4. There can be unintended consequences in advancing animal welfare. An article on the challenges associated with pedigree dog health, explains that although the incidence of inherited disease can be decreased through the use of genetic tests and screening, if fewer animals are then in the breeding population, this can lead to the unintended consequence of reduced genetic diversity. Reducing the breeding pool, could result in the inadvertent outcome of enhancing inherited disease. It raises the probable need for outcrossing to other breeds. In addition, some breeds may not have enough genetic diversity in their population to correct some of the challenges with inherited disease. This is described in "A genetic assessment of the English bulldog". The study cites the small founder population and artificial bottleneck as causes for the lack of diversity. Additionally, selection for certain traits can have unintended consequences. One study describes the causative mutation for short-tailed dogs as heterozygous in a variety of breeds. The genetic basis of bobtails is of interest to breeders because of the perceived need for tail docking in certain breeds. However, this defect was shown in the study to decrease litter size, likely due to early embryonic death of homozygous animals. As a result of this conversation, I saw additional angles to the breeding dog debate and Dr. McGreevy provided insightful challenges related to purebred dogs that sparked my interest about further perspectives on animal welfare. By looking at these, and other animal welfare-related complexities from multiple angles, veterinarians can be more proactive in leading animal welfare discussions. Reference: Appleby, M.C., Weary, D.M., Sandoe, P. (2014). Dilemmas in Animal Welfare. Oxfordshire, UK: CAB International. For more information about Dr. McGreevy's educational platform developed for veterinary students, see: One Welfare Brachycephalic Dog Scenario Overview article on the One Welfare Platform Additionally, see the article published on welfare educational opportunities in the U.S. for additional ideas on how to get more involved in thinking about animal welfare. Photo source: http://www.hillspet.com/HillsPetUS/v1/portal/en/us/locale/img/about_us/HP_about_animalwelfare_section1_md.jpg
  2. 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!
  3. The SKK - Svenska Kennelklubben (Swedish Kennel Club) is Sweden's largest organisation dedicated to dogs and dog owners, representing the interests of their 300,000 members – first time dog owners, experienced breeders, hunters, dog lovers, puppy buyers, exhibitors, agility competitors, and many more. The SKK is one of the founding partners of IPFD.
  4. Graussies -- Documentation for the Brussels Griffon X Australian Terrier crossbreeding is extensive. Researchers hope that their findings will improve breeding guidelines and develop more sophisticated ways of screening so that fewer toy breed dogs develop Chiari-like malformation.
  5. The Finnish Kennel Club has written instructions for breed crossing. The instructions are of help for breeders and breed clubs in planning, applying and monitoring breed crosses and crossbred individuals. This information is presented in The Finnish Kennel Club: Crosses between Breeds on DogWellNet.com in the Breeding for Health section: sub.section Crossbreeding.
  6. Whether you've just purchased a puppy or are thinking about bringing a new dog into your home, what you know about puppy development and socializing dogs will make a difference in the relationship you will have with your pet...
  7. "These guidelines are intended to assist companion animal veterinarians throughout the world in their understanding of contemporary animal welfare concepts and science, and provide guidance on addressing potential animal welfare problems, navigating some more common ethical issues, and promoting good animal welfare through effective communication , both within the veterinary clinic* and beyond."
  8. In this article we provide a link to IPFD collaborator WSAVA's content pertaining to investigation of clinically relevant information on hereditary diseases and genetic predispositions in dogs.
  9. 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.
  10. The wonderful thing about our IPFD collaborator, brilliant person, and incredibly knowledgeable dog person Ian Seath, is that, when major issues are at foot, my procrastination at commenting is rewarded by him posting an article that says almost everything I wish I would have said. All that is left for me to do is to add a few comments and send it out. This is very true for his latest installment on his platform Dog-Ed: COVID-19: A (dog) world of unanticipated consequences Ian does a great job of describing our situation, with relation to other experience of times of disruption: "In the world of business and leadership development, there’s a concept that’s been around for a while that describes the world we’re in. It’s VUCA, which stands for Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous. ...There are no simple solutions in a VUCA world; we need to understand that decisions made in one part of a system can have quite surprising and unanticipated consequences elsewhere. Often, those consequences will be counter-intuitive." He goes on to describe different possible outcomes and ramifications for dog registrations in the UK - a situation IPFD is monitoring together with our many KC Partners from different countries. As Ian suggests, things could go either way. In Iceland, after the financial collapse in 2008, breeders were worried they would not find homes for their puppies; in fact, demand was higher as people realized they would not be able to travel outside the country as much and embraced the new reality and options. It is clear that there is an uptick in adoptions in North America (and UK as described in Ian's article). And while we totally agree that pets are fantastic companions, we have to think about 'unintended consequences'. Where did your Covid-dog come from? And what happens when life goes back to normal? Ian does an excellent job describing concerns about sourcing of puppies, supply and demand, rescues, and more. In every case it is, at least potentially, a 'for better and for worse situation'. Firstly, being able to determine the quality and welfare of dogs from various sources of dogs is an ongoing challenge, possibly increased during the Covid situation when people are in a rush to get a pet. For example, some sources, especially with online sales, even if promoted as 'rescues', may be re-sourcing puppy-farmed dogs. Beyond that concern - in North America there is a generally positive response to news that shelters and rescues are emptying out... which is great as long as there is not a flood back to shelters when economic hardships hit if restrictions continue, or if, when people return to work, they suddenly remember why they did not really have the capacity to be responsible dog owners. And I saw a report that dogs adoptions were not allowed now in France, for various reasons, no doubt - and that approach may both prevent some and create other problems. Beyond immediate and short terms concerns, animal welfare problems are an ongoing concern throughout the world and may be more marked as we move out of the current crisis and into the new normal. One example - given economics and financial expenditures for the pandemic, many (most?) non-profits will be challenged in the near future with reduced funds and donations. And, will animal welfare programs suffer with the focus on the problems of people? We must work to be sure that does not happen. And, as has been discussed in other blogs, What about the dogs?!? Ian does a great job describing possible impacts on the dogs, themselves. I would add that online training courses are great, but without the opportunity for e.g. puppy classes, dogs might not get the socialization with others of their own kind. One of our IPFD consultants is concerned about similar issues with her 19-month-old toddler - surrounded by adults but deprived of play opportunities with other children. (We feel he may be fine however, as his best friend is their Corgi, who is likely an excellent surrogate for other kids!) Then, as Ian suggests, perhaps being overly-socialized (my term) with people - receiving 24/7 attention now - what happens when that suddenly stops? Ian's main point is unintended consequences - and I might add that in times of stress, urgency, and uncertainty there is likely an increased tendency for impulsive vs. well-considered decisions - about many things, including breeding or acquiring a dog. At IPFD, everything we do reminds us of the inter-connectedness of issues of health and welfare, the role of human-dog interactions, and the roles and contributions of many stakeholders. And everything we do, DogWellNet.com, International Dog Health Workshops, my blogs, etc. tries to remind us of the big picture. As Ian suggests, models are great - but! As an epidemiologist, I have been asked about this frequently lately. And this is the reality: Models are only as good as the data and assumptions on which they are founded. Even with great inputs models inherently output predictions not certainties which should be expressed as such, with ranges ('error' in statistical terms) and as best-case/ worst-case scenarios, never exact proclamations. In the case of the novel (i.e. new to us) coronavirus there are vast unknowns, and therefore the uncertainties for models and decision making are huge. Ian ends with: "There are unanticipated consequences of any decision, but my glass is always half-full and I am optimistic that we will come out of this situation stronger as a dog community. Remember: DOGS ARE FOR LIFE, not just for Coronavirus." And that last bit I started with as the title of this blog. Another blog is scheduled to cover the impacts in the veterinary world... including the constantly and quickly evolving world of veterinary regulations in the face of COVID-19, including the expanded possibilities or 'telemedicine'. Let' follow Ian's lead, and try to think about the glass being half-full, look for creative ways to remain positive, and move forward with compassion for all. After note: Since posting this blog, another article has come to my attention. "I Got a Pandemic Puppy, and You Can Too" in The Atlantic. This article is full of wonderful reasons why a dog is a great support and benefit to humans. And does caution, "as long as new owners act intentionally and with long-term planning in mind, the prolonged stretch of time at home might provide a unique chance for owners to bond with new pets." My concern is whether most people, in the rush to satisfy their short term needs, have really planned explicitly for those long term challenges or just think they can figure all that out down the road. And heaven forbid we start a trend where having a 'Pandemic Puppy' becomes a status thing. The authors go on to say, "This difficult period may mean that people become more attached and attuned to their pets than if they were seeing their animals for only a few hours a day, which may help get them through the hurdles of pet ownership with slightly less frustration." Indeed, and yet presumably people will transition rather easily to going back to work and adjust to less time with their dog. As mentioned it the blog above and the other we have cited... how easy will it be for the dog? Remember - that bond goes both ways. Will we have shelters getting inundated with 'Pandemic Puppies' with separation anxiety when their owners return to their busy lives? More unintended consequences? Also pertinent to the discussion above, and with absolutely no reference to specific sources mentioned to the article in The Atlantic, if a retail source can markedly and quickly increase the number of puppies available in response to Covid demand - I would want to carefully determine from where those animals came. Glass half full again - let's hope we end up with more committed, responsible dog owners and well-adjusted healthy dogs in good situations. Let's hope. .
  11. This blog is going to be a little different. Still about health and well-being... but this time about veterinarians and the veterinary community. Many of you may not realize that every veterinary conference now has a major stream on the well-being of veterinarians, themselves. On self-care, and caretaker fatigue, and mental health. And on suicide prevention. You may not have seen this Time article: Veterinarians Face Unique Issues That Make Suicide One of the Profession's Big Worries, but these challenges are an increasing priority for veterinary associations over recent years. Issues like depression, anxiety and burnout build on crippling debt for many graduates. Unfortunately, there are many more articles on this topic. When I graduated - many years ago - vets were at the top of the lists of most respected and trusted professions. That status has diminished. I don't want to go into all the reasons, but I will say this. Years ago when someone would ask what I did and I would say I was a vet, I heard nothing but accolades, and heartfelt thanks, and people telling me they had wanted to be a vet. It was humbling and gratifying. These days when it comes up, the first thing I hear is 'Do you know how much I had to pay for my last vet bill?' or worse. There are a lot of changes in the veterinary practice world, and I can say I am not sorry to be off the front lines. There are lots of frustrations for consumers as well. The majority of vets are devoted to being in the profession and to the animals and people they serve. Unfortunately, the stresses that go beyond the care of animals are simply insurmountable to some. A former graduate student recently contacted me; she is a practice owner and committed to supporting her colleagues, especially the newer ones. She was shocked at a recent support meeting to hear that the majority of veterinarians in that group had, at some point, considered suicide. All health professions struggle with such issues because our work is intense. But the rise in concerns in veterinary medicine are beyond troubling. As is the fact that there is a need for this site: 'Not One More Vet'. I wanted to let you know that the veterinary community has recognized this as a major priority. The VMX meeting (formerly NAVC) is a massive conference at which I have spoken on numerous occasions. Today another former student shared this link on my personal facebook page... and it prompted me to pass it along with these personal comments. A Poem for the Veterinary Community - performed by Andrea Gibson, an American Poet at VMX 2020. Please have a listen to this powerful and heartfelt message. I know many of you will identify with it. What is important to understand is just how desperately many veterinarians in practice need to hear that they are appreciated. If any of you are motivated to reach out to a veterinarian who has helped you and your beloved animals, to acknowledge anyone on the clinic team ... please do so; don't hesitate. In spite of all the challenges for clients of veterinarians these days... we might all agree that the world is better place with veterinarians than without them. For any vets reading this, always ask your colleagues how they are doing and if they need help. And if you are a vet who needs support, your veterinary community has resources - please reach out.
  12. National Kennel Clubs are major stakeholders in the governance and regulation of dog breeding. As such, they have been the targets of major criticism related to dog health issues. It is therefore interesting to investigate to what extent health and welfare is a priority for kennel clubs (KCs), and what are the capacities and actions implemented to deal with those issues. A survey was sent in 2017 to 40 KCs with 15 answers received from 11 European (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Latvia, The Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the UK) and 4 non-European countries (Australia, Mexico, Uruguay, and the USA) aimed at describing and comparing information across countries in dog breed health management (Wang et al. 2018). First, in order to determine the population of dogs under the responsibility of KC, the percentages of all dogs being registered as ‘pedigree’ dogs were estimated considering the 15 surveyed KCs, as well 35 other countries, using sources such as the FCI online statistics. Across countries, the average and median percentage of the entire dog population that were registered pedigree dogs, respectively was 20% and 14%. However, there was a large variation across countries, with European Nordic countries showing, in general, a larger proportion of pedigree dogs (see Figure 1). This aspect is of importance, since it is expected that the responsibility toward general dog health, as well as the capacity to improve the situation, relates to the proportion of dogs that are at least to some extent under the influence of the KCs. When asked about the current challenges, KCs ranked exaggerated morphological features and inherited disorders as the most important issues, showing those two problems are now clearly identified as priorities (Figure 2). By contrast, issues such as economic constraints to breeding were rarely viewed as problematic for dog breeding. Kennel clubs also commented on challenges related to the difficulty to find balance between increased regulation and the risk of losing members; to achieve consensus and compliance of breeders and clubs toward breed health strategies; as well as lack of capacity regarding information provision and education. Surveyed countries showed great diversity in terms of information management, implementation of breeding strategies, recommendations, requirement, restriction and tools. Most KCs indicated that information on genealogies, breed standards and dog shows were recorded in their data base for most, if not all breeds; however, health information (e.g. screening examinations, genetic tests) was more sparsely recorded and provided to the public, both for breeds within countries and across countries (Figure 3). For instance, KCs from Austria, Australia, Denmark, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Norway, the UK and the USA provided health information status on pedigrees and in online data bases, but in general, not all breeds were covered. When considering implementation of breeding strategies, six countries indicated that there were no breeding strategies implemented by any breed clubs, while in three countries (Austria, Sweden and the Netherlands) it was reported that each breed club had its breeding strategy. Several countries indicated that they were planning to develop breeding tools and provide health information to users, and for instance, France and Belgium reported having ongoing work to develop tools to provide online pedigree with health information or estimate breeding values for complex disorders such as hip dysplasia. Although limited by the relatively low number of countries considered, this survey showed that despite large differences in their approach to breeding policies and management, the awareness to improve breeding and health of pedigree dogs was strong among the surveyed Kennel Clubs. The dog breeding world is increasingly global in scope. The understanding of both the diversity of health initiatives and the potential for coordinated actions internationally is key to further efforts to promote dog health and welfare. There is probably still a lot of progress to be made in term of information provision and collection, as well as planning breeding strategies considering dog health. In particular, finding a consensus in terms of constraints and priorities for breeding, is expected to be particularly challenging for Kennel Clubs and breed clubs in order to implement those strategies. Although the situations differ across countries, exchanges of experiences may surely help to find the most adequate solutions toward improvement of health and welfare. Reference: Wang, S., Laloë, D., Missant, F. M., Malm, S., Lewis, T., Verrier, E., ... & Leroy, G. (2018). Breeding policies and management of pedigree dogs in 15 national kennel clubs. The Veterinary Journal. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tvjl.2018.02.018
  13. 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 Utrecht University posted an article in January 2019... Criteria for breeding healthy short-nosed dogs https://www.uu.nl/en/background/criteria-for-breeding-healthy-short-nosed-dogs "New animal welfare criteria The report Fokken met kortsnuitige honden ["Breeding with short-nosed dogs"] by the Expertise Centre Genetics of Companion Animals outlines a limited number of enforcement criteria and describes numerous additional criteria that can further help vets and breeders to select for healthy parent animals. The report is available Dutch and has been translated into English and German." Internal English - eng_breeding_short-muzzled_dogs_in_the_netherlands_expertisecentre_genetics_of_companionanimals_2019_translation_from_dutch.pdf Internal German de_zuchten_mit_kurzschnauzigen_hunden_-_kriterien_zur_durchsetzing_-_ubersetzung_aus_dem_niederlandischen.pdf
  14. For some time, pet obesity has been recognized as a crucial, widespread issue that impacts the health, welfare, and lifespan of dogs. Earlier in 2019, following the 4th IDHW, IPFD endorsed the Global Pet Obesity Initiative Position Statement, joining 24 International Veterinary Professional Organizations, including the American Veterinary Medical Association Board of Directors, British Small Animal Veterinary Association, Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, World Small Animal Veterinary Association, among others. Pet obesity is a studied health and welfare issue that is, presumably, quite straightforward... and under control of owners to fix. However, as for issues around human obesity, in reality the situation can be more complicated; and recent studies have examined some of the complexities, for people and their pets. An IPFD collaborator, Prof. Peter Sandoe (University of Copenhagen), and others published a paper in 2014 on Canine and feline obesity: A One Health perspective that offers a broad coverage of the problem, why it is important, how the Human-Animal Bond impacts challenges, and, importantly, "Why we should care". From the article: "Recent years have seen a drastic increase in the rates of overweight and obesity among people living in some developed nations. There has also been increased concern over obesity in companion animals. In the latest article in Veterinary Record's series on One Health, Peter Sandøe and colleagues argue that the relationship between obesity in people and in companion animals is closer and more complex than previously thought, and that obesity should be treated as a One Health problem." Below, under Recent Research you will find articles that address specific challenges, including perception of obesity and inaccurate assessment of body conditions score (as a measure of obesity). The evolution of obesity: from evolutionary advantage to a disease describes the historical perspectives and the current situation: "Obesity as a disease was first described by Hippocrates" ... and ... "in 1920’s the Insurance Companies, in 1948 World Health Organisation and in 2013 both American Medical Association and The American Heart Association, American College of Cardiology and The Obesity Society recognized obesity as a disease." As described above, this approach has also been taken in the veterinary world. These acknowledgements are made with the goal of facilitating treatment, promoting research, and with an aim to curb this growing health and public health problem. Obesity can cause or worsen many health conditions, and the risk is enhanced for certain breeds and types of pets. Brachycephalic (flat-faced pets), already challenged in terms of respiratory function and heat regulation, are further compromised if overweight. This can be viewed as not only a health problem, but also as a welfare problem - but many owners remain unaware. See, e.g. Owners' perception of 'responsible dog ownership in our Blogs section. Veterinarians can offer clients sound advice for management of their pet to optimize health. Here, we'll feature work done by IPFD's collaborators as well as provide links to industry reports, research and educational tool kits which have been developed to assist owners and veterinary practices. Check out articles, surveys and other important info at the Global Pet Obesity Initiative's website + see the 2019 Pet Owner Survey - An opportunity to contribute! US Residents: would you like to participate in ongoing research into obesity? The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention is conducting the 12th Annual National Pet Obesity Awareness Day Survey This survey was opened to US residents on October 9, 2019. To participate, sign up here. Veterinary practice/clinic participation in this organization's 2020 pet weight data collection survey next October is sought as well.
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    Establishing Science-Based Standards for the Care and Welfare of Dogs in US Commercial Breeding Facilities 4th IDHW presenter, Candace Croney's, talk covers Purdue's Center for Animal Welfare Science (CAWS) project which "aims to help the US pet industries address the socio-ethical and scientific (well-being) concerns embedded in commercial dog breeding. With the support of dog breeders, pet industry representatives, animal health and welfare experts, and other key stakeholders, the researchers are developing and testing voluntary standards for the care and well-being of dogs in commercial breeding facilities." More resources are available at: Purdue's Center for Animal Welfare Science (CAWS).
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    Tamzin Furtado's presentation from the 4th International Dog Health Workshop considers how human behaviours affect welfare. "There are good reasons why we should better understand human behaviour: It’s the root cause of most welfare issues– people doing, or not doing, certain care, management or training practices. It can help campaigns and work with clients (vets, trainers) to improve compliance, rapport and efficiency. We are used to considering animal behaviour, what about the human animal?"
  17. Our colleagues at Human Behaviour Change for Animals (HBC) posted an interesting article today. The original paper is: The Responsible Dog Owner: The Construction of Responsibility from Carri Westgarth and others at the University of Liverpool, UK. The research article is published here. Their key message is: While “responsible dog ownership” has considerable appeal as a concept, how it is perceived and interpreted varies so extensively that simply telling owners that they should “be responsible” is of limited use as a message to promote behavior change. In other words, many owners consider the dog a member of the family and themselves as caretakers. Based on their feelings, they think they are giving great care to their beloved pet. Of course, veterinarians, other dog owners and breeders are aware of many examples of irresponsible or at least inappropriate care provided by well-meaning owners. One of the most obvious examples is obesity. I took this photo of a pug in a park in Chicago, with the owner's permission. In conversation it was obvious that she was extremely attached to this dog, thought she was wonderful, told me the dog was so important in her life, and she no doubt thought I wanted a photo because the dog was so cute. I am sure my readers will know that was not my first impression. This dog's obesity was startling. When I touched the dog, my hands literally sank into depths of fat. Even worse, this was a brachycephalic dog and she grunted and snuffled, and I have no doubt her breathing was compromised and I could only imagine her inability to cope on hot days. Here was a clear example of an owner felt she was giving loving - responsible - care, and I was hard pressed not to tell her that this dog's condition could be viewed as quite the opposite, in fact, tantamount to animal abuse. I also know that this woman would have been devastated to hear that. In these situations I always ponder whether our first responsibility is to the owner or to the dog... Behaviour problems also are often examples of inadequate or inappropriate care. It is very common to hear owners say 'my dog has separation anxiety' as if it was an inherited condition - so sad, but there it is. When in fact, the owner - if they have had the dog since it was a pup - carries the primary responsibility for creating or not preventing that behaviour in the dog. The HBC post linked us to a short review of the research article here The problem with promoting 'responsible dog ownership. Their key summary points: Dog welfare campaigns that tell people to be 'responsible owners' don't help to promote behaviour change, a new report suggests. Dog owners interviewed for a study all considered themselves to be responsible owners, despite there being great variation in key aspects of their dog-owning behavior. We have had discussions at the 4th International Dog Health Workshop (IDHW) by our colleagues at HBC and since. It is clear that many issues related to dog health and welfare, supply and demand, and even genetic testing and its use in best breeding practices are affected by communication, education and understanding, as much as science and evidence. You can read more about this in Tamzin Furtado's presentation at the 4th IDHW: Canine Welfare - The Human Element - Human Behaviour Change for Animals. Other talks in the Supply and Demand theme at the 4th IDHW also addressed owner issues and understanding about sources of dogs and, really, responsible dog acquisition. Several of the proposed actions from this theme also relate to communication. I addressed some of the challenges of communication about genetic testing in my blog: AKC-CHF SYMPOSIUM: Harmonization of Genetic Testing and Breed-Specific Resources. We all understand that human-dog interactions are at the core of everything that happens with the animals we love. Focus on the impacts, barriers and effective promoters from the human side must be considered in all recommendations and decisions about their health, well-being and welfare.
  18. 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.
  19. 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
  20. 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
  21. 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!
  22. 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.
  23. A presentation by Chris Laurence MBE to the 2013 AWF Discussion Forum. Part of a session exploring what happened next to issues discussed at the Forum from 2006 - 2012. This video offers a historical perspective of animal welfare issues in the UK. A complete group of AWF/BVA videos in the Discussion Forum is at: https://www.youtube.com/user/BVAAWF/videos The videos cover many species; dog's/companion animal's welfare concerns are included in some of the talks. Also see AWF's website: https://www.animalwelfarefoundation.org.uk/
  24. The reality of sourcing – national vs. registered/ pedigree populations; commercial breeding: the reality; new developments in health and welfare management, e.g. in the USA and Ireland; ‘rescues’ / marketing; the role of different stakeholders.
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