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Found 42 results

  1. Come for the looks, stay for the personality? A mixed methods investigation of reacquisition and owner recommendation of Bulldogs, French Bulldogs, and Pugs ...is the latest analysis of data collected and reported on in a 2019 study - see - Great expectations, inconvenient truths, and the paradoxes of the dog-owner relationship for owners of brachycephalic dogs. As we said in that blog: "Popularity of brachycephalic (flat-faced) dog breeds is increasing internationally despite well-documented intrinsic health and welfare problems associated with their conformation." The previous study looked at aspects of the dogs and people that lead to such an intense bond. This 2020 article, based on the need for further understanding of the complexity of health and welfare of these flat-faced breeds, uses excellent scientific methods to explore data that explores emotions, beliefs, and feelings - i.e. human factors. They say: "Physical appearance is as a dominant factor attracting owners to brachycephalic breeds; however, whether these owners will choose their current breed for future ownership and develop ‘breed-loyalty’ in the face of health problems is not yet known." It is well-known that these breeds suffer with numerous conditions that result in ongoing, costly veterinary interventions. They may die young, and the whole situation is often heart-breaking for owners. And yet... do they want to get another one? Do they recommend the breed to friends and family members? Investigating these questions was the aim of this study. Study in a nutshell: included 2168 owners: (Pugs: n = 789; French Bulldog: n = 741; Bulldogs: n = 638) 93% of owners were highly likely to own their breed again in the future and 65.5% would recommend their breed to others there analysis showed that there was a tendency for increased attachment in first time owners, and that increased the likelihood of re-acquisition and/or recommendation however, those actions were decrease when the dog experienced an increased number of health problems, and dog behaviour being worse than expected people who thought their dog had better health than the average for the breed were less likely to get another or recommend so, when people have a dog with a lot of health issues, AND they perceive that this could be even worse in other dogs of the breed... they are less likely to reacquire or recommend of great concern was that owners say a great benefit of these breeds is their low requirement for exercise... that they have a sedentary nature Unfortunately, previous work by Dr. Packer, from years ago, and other studies since, show us that owners of flat-faced dogs tend not to recognize or admit that breed-typical characteristics like snorting, snoring, poor exercise and heat tolerance are truly indications of ill health, or of suffering. And as evidenced in the results of this study, they do not understand that reluctance to move and exercise might stem from clinical problems, e.g. inability to breath, rather than having a 'lazy' personality. Allowing dogs to become obese and not keeping them fit will only aggravate underlying problems. Do owners accidentally love them to death? The point of research like this it to learn about the people behind the breeds, so that we can develop educational resources and programs to help people understand the issues in the these incredibly population breeds. Their incredible surge in popularity, combined with the welfare challenges in individual dogs, are leading to heightened legislative regulations in Europe that may impact entire breeds, and, of course owners. Other relevant material: For more information on the Big Picture in French Bulldogs, see our Get a GRIHP! article. Owners' perception of 'responsible dog ownership' - blog by Dr. Brenda Bonnett DogWellNet section on Extremes of Conformation/Brachycephalics
  2. Finnish Investigation: Improving the implementation of animal welfare legislation in animal breeding Part II: Preliminary analysis of problems and means of intervention in the breeding of dogs Officially published in Finnish; unofficially translated to English. This investigation underpins the Finnish report: An investigation would curb problems with dog breeding through monitoring criteria and ethical delegation. (That link contains a translated Summary of the report written by the Finnish Food Authority as well as link to Kirsi Saino's Commentary, IT MUST BE POSSIBLE TO PROMOTE THE HEALTH OF DOGS EFFECTIVELY IN THE WHOLE OF FINLAND which was recently posted on the FKC's website.) The report outlines monitoring criteria with the aim is to eliminate dog breeding that causes the animal suffering and hereditary diseases. It is encouraging that the recommendations from the Finnish authorities are based on the excellent investigation described below and that they included authors and experts with a background in and understanding of pedigree dog breeding as well as veterinary science. For example, Katariina Mäki, PhD (animal breeding) and researcher, participated as an independent expert, and with the permission of Kennellliitto (the Finnish Kennel Club, FKK), where she is employed as a Breeding Expert. Through her role with the FKK, Katariina is a great collaborator with IPFD and has provided excellent content to DogWellNet.com (see below) and participated in the International Dog Health Workshops. Legislative and monitoring efforts for pedigree dogs and all dogs are more likely to be effective when efforts proceed collectively rather than unilaterally.
  3. Get a GRIHP! on French Bulldogs This article on French Bulldogs is part of a series to highlight the Big Picture of health, welfare and breeding. Concerns for the welfare of brachycephalic breeds, including the French Bulldog, have been the subject of much debate over the past several years. The popularity of French Bulldogs is undeniable; demand for this breed has soared over the past decade. Supply and demand has led to production of pups by less than scrupulous breeders who are not operating under the umbrella or direction of KCs and Breed club health improvement program recommendations. Extremes of conformation are recognized as contributing factors in development of health and welfare challenges. French Bulldogs are short-muzzled dogs - the breed has historically exhibited short noses. But over time, incrementally shorter faces and heavier, shorter-backed body proportions (related to spinal abnormalities) have become an accepted norm in the breed. Extreme examples of some brachycephalic breeds go even further than the drift that has occurred in the conformation rings over the past 100 years into the realm of essentially deformed dogs with almost no muzzle, deformed jaws, no tails, unbalanced proportions and poor skeletal structure. The catastrophic health problems associated with extreme conformations has been well documented.** Health management and breeding strategies constructed by Kennel and Breed clubs are focused on identifying the prevalence of and effective methods to address key health concerns in the breed. In some cynological organizations Breed Standard wording has been clarified to minimize the acceptability of extreme traits. In 2020 legislative action was taken by the Netherlands to regulate breeding of Brachycephalic breeds with the goal to enhance health and welfare. Additional legislative processes are underway in several other countries in Europe. Criteria for breeding outlined in the Dutch legislation involves the requirement to increase the ratio of length of muzzle to back skull (CFR). The information in this article will assist all stakeholders to see the Big Picture - internationally - for the French Bulldog. It should help the veterinary community to guide clients and to educate potential owners in determining whether a French Bulldog is the right breed for them. Sourcing of puppies from breeders who practice critical, rational, logical thinking about breeding decisions focused on health and welfare of the dogs produced and kept as companions is an important pre-purchase consideration for anyone with an interest in obtaining a French Bulldog. However, more than one research study has shown that people who are attracted to the appearance of Frenchies, do not prioritize health when they are acquiring one of these dogs, and, in spite of serious and costly veterinary care, as well as suffering for the dog and the owner, many indicate that they would purchase another one. Why do people choose the dogs they do - and what is the impact on dog health and welfare?
  4. Finnish report: An investigation would curb problems with dog breeding through monitoring criteria and ethical delegation As we have been reporting, there is a surge of regulatory efforts to address concerns about the health and welfare of pedigreed dogs, especially brachycephalic breeds, in several countries. The potential impact on not only dog breeders and pedigreed dog organizations, but also on dog owners and even veterinarians may be considerable, as well as on many stakeholders in the pet industry. It is apparent that some of these efforts are proceeding unilaterally rather than collaboratively, however, discussions about these issues have been ongoing for many years, without the change that many think is necessary. See, for example: Challenges for Pedigree Dogs: Regulatory Enforcement of Brachycephalic Dogs in the Netherlands; which includes links to responses from various other stakeholders and kennel clubs. The regulatory body (Finnish Food Authority) in Finland has published the Summary (below) on 02 Sep 2020. These are apparently recommendations based on an investigation (separately reported in an 89 page report in Finnish ). This report follows numerous other investigations and regulatory decisions being undertaken in numerous countries, prompted by concerns for dog health and welfare, especially, but not necessarily limited to, brachycephalic breeds. IPFD has been following and reporting on such developments, and where possible, adding links to actions being taken by national kennel clubs. The Finnish KC is an IPFD partner. Please see The Finnish KC's website for commentary on the Report at: KOIRIEN TERVEYTTÄ PITÄÄ PYSTYÄ EDISTÄMÄÄN TEHOKKAASTI KOKO SUOMEN KOIRAKANNASSA. (Finnish) Article Title, English Translation: IT MUST BE POSSIBLE TO PROMOTE THE HEALTH OF DOGS EFFECTIVELY IN THE WHOLE OF FINLAND. In her commentary, Kirsi Saino focuses on cooperation and "... emphasizes that health problems must be addressed in the entire dog population if sustainable results are to be achieved."
  5. Behaviour & Welfare Index Behaviour - especially as broadly related to breeding - has been a theme in both the 1st, 2nd and 3rd International Dog Health Workshops. IPFD and DogWellNet hope to develop this topic and to help to integrate issues of behaviour and health, with the help of Experts - from all areas of the dog world. See an overview of DWN's Behaviour & Welfare Resources below. The content falls into the following categories: IDHW Presentations and Work products DWN Articles Catalog Resources by Country Research ALSO: please see articles available in this category.
  6. 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.
  7. IPFD is creating a series of articles on the BIg Picture of health and welfare within breeds as resources for veterinarians, owners, caretakers, breeders and others who want to understand the key issues for individual dogs and breed populations, internationally; under the 'Get a GRIHP!' initiative, i.e. Globally Relevant Integrated Health Profiles.
  8. Get a GRIHP! on Dachshunds This article on Dachshunds is part of a series to highlight the Big Picture of health, welfare and breeding and to help develop Globally Relevant Integrated Health Profiles (GRIHPs) for many breeds. See IPFD's Get a GRIHP! on Breed Health Initiative
  9. Get a GRIHP! on Welsh Corgis This article on Welsh Corgis is part of a series to highlight the Big Picture of health, welfare and breeding and to help develop Globally Relevant Integrated Health Profiles (GRIHPs) for many breeds. See IPFD's Get a GRIHP! on Breed Health Initiative.
  10. 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.
  11. Sources of accurate and relevant COVID-19 information for your dog, your puppies and you. In the face of the great uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 and its impact on pets and pet owners, many veterinary and regulatory organizations have been providing excellent information and advice, as have kennel and breed organizations. It is important to remember that recommendations and restrictions vary depending on location and owners need to access and follow local recommendations, especially as to issues around accessing veterinary care. An additional challenge is that the advice and situation continue to change rapidly and what was known, thought or suggested last week may not hold next week. There are some aspects that apply regardless of location... including what we know (a little) and don't know (a lot) about possible transmission to or from animals and humans. As with all information about this novel corona virus there is a lot of uncertainty about COVID-19 and pets; basically we simply are leaning as we go. Be very cautious about discussions and dire predictions on Facebook and social media from those who likely do not have the appropriate level of expertise. Putting your trust in the types of sources described below is your best bet. At a local level, dog owners can look for information from their regional veterinary association and even your own veterinarian maybe providing updates. For an example from the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, you can see a short video and article here. Prof. Scott Weese of the Ontario Veterinary College is referenced in that article and he has a recent blog post where he suggests that, in the face of the uncertainty and with an abundance of caution, "Social distancing and dog walking are compatible… with some common sense". Dr. Weese says, "To me, social distancing is a whole household activity, not just a human activity. If I wouldn’t go and shake someone’s hand, why would I let the same person pet my dog, and then touch the same spot on my dog myself right away? " It is all about doing everything we can to reduce risk. Be sure to keep up to date on recommendations and restrictions in your area. For breeders, there are all the issues as for owners in addition to some major concerns about breeding, and rehoming litters. Many of our partner national kennel clubs have been providing information and updates. We have been sharing these on our channels, as again, some issues are the same globally; others are defined regionally. See, e.g. Breeders and coronavirus (COVID-19) FAQs from The Kennel Club in the UK, or Placing Puppies in the Age of COVID-19: Safety Advice for Breeders from the American Kennel Club. There are many broader impacts for dog welfare and human-dog interactions that are developing with the COVID-19 situation. Please check out Brenda's Blog: "DOGS ARE FOR LIFE, not just for Coronavirus." Within that blog you are also directed to an excellent discussion of unintended consequences from IPFD collaborator Ian Seath. Our IPFD Board member and President of the German Kennel Club, Prof. Dr. Peter Friedrich, has posted a heartfelt statement that discusses many of the current challenges and those that we have left to face, even when we think things are starting to return to normal. (In German, but perfectly understandable with google translator.) Below are some links to sites and organizations that are doing a great job with information at an international level pulled together by our IPFD COO, Monique Megens, a Dutch veterinarian, living in Spain, and former president of FECAVA, one of the organizations on the front lines in Europe. Mid-April 2020: What do we know about dogs and COVID-19 virus? Although several dogs have tested positive to COVID-19 virus following close contact with infected humans, to date, there is no evidence that dogs play a significant role in spreading the disease. Therefore, the OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health) states there is no justification in taking measures against companion animals, which may compromise their welfare. When people are sick with COVID-19, when possible, close contact with dogs should be avoided; the dogs should preferably be taken care of by another member of the household, taking appropriate hygiene measures into account. Studies are underway to better understand the susceptibility of and risks for other dogs. To stay up-to-date and for more information regarding dogs and COVID-19, go to the OIE website. Can I still visit my veterinary surgeon In many countries, veterinarians are considered to be an essential profession by their national authorities; therefore in most countries you can still visit your vet. However, some vets only see urgent cases; you should always call beforehand. For more information: IPFD’s collaborating partner the Federation of European Companion Animal Practitioners (FECAVA) together with the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe (FVE) have published advice for pet owners for visiting the vet. Information for veterinary teams can be found locally and regionally at, for example from American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and at IPFD’s collaborating partner the World Small Animal Veterinary Association's (WSAVA) website. In all the craziness and concerns of this pandemic, dogs are a great support to their families. Let's remember them in all the changes, planning and considerations we have for ourselves. We are all in this together. Stay safe . OTHER RESOURCES: En Francais - La Newsletter de la Centrale Canine - beaucoup d'excellentes ressources auf Deutsch - und weiser Rat von unserem IPFD-Vorstandsmitglied und Präsidenten des Deutschen Kennel Clubs, Prof. Dr. Peter Friedrich, Präsident des VDH. Corona virus
  12. Ian Seath hosted a webinar on Breed Health Improvement Strategies for the Danish Kennel Club on June 11th 2020. An important subject that is more current than ever, where some breeds are faced with a difficult time in relation to health and considerations for the future of the breed. Many thanks to Ian for sharing the video and accompanying slideshow with the DogWellNet community! Thanks goes to Katrine Jeppesen, from the Danish Kennel Club for permission to share this DKK webinar!
  13. "The Kennel Club provides veterinary practices and their clients with information resources and online tools which aim to educate, promote and further the development of canine health and welfare." https://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/for-vets-and-researchers/ Publications: https://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/for-vets-and-researchers/kc-research-publications-and-health-data/
  14. And not all dams and sires with 'clear' test results will be good choices for breeding. Oh, would that life and breeding decisions could be made easy! But every experienced breeder knows that nothing is simple. Breeding and inheritance and health and temperament are very complex issues - each on their own - and combined they constitute a puzzle with no guaranteed solutions. With the increased availability of genetic testing, with its media-inspired aura of high-tech infallibility and direct-to-consumer marketing campaigns, there has been a rush to embrace it as THE most important pre-breeding test. It is probably underpinned by the vague hope of breeders that IF they spend their money and do all the possible genetic tests, they will have fulfilled their 'due diligence''. Many of my colleagues and I have repeatedly reminded the breeding community that, in spite of genetic testing being an extremely important decision-making tool, it is crucial that attention be paid to conditions that are considered important for a breed - regardless of whether there is a 'DNA test' for the condition, or even any test at all The Big Picture is crucial. I described in another blog a genetics symposium in Canada in November 2019. During discussions with committed breeders, at we came to some very important questions. For example, everyone says they want healthy animals with good longevity. But think about these items before you nod your head: How many breeders could say that those are the primary criteria they use when selecting mating pairs? Is there good evidence in your breed that the main focus of breeding has been on producing healthy, long-lived offspring? When breeders choose inbreeding or line-breeding is it to improve health and longevity, or, more likely, aimed at fixing specific traits, often to do with appearance? These questions are not meant as any judgement but to provoke critical, rational, logical thinking about breeding decisions which are, for better or worse often influenced by something else. Primarily, people need to look honestly at the history and culture of breeding and admit that, as for anything in life, a) saying and wishing and hoping is not doing; and b) you cannot achieve a theoretical or even heartfelt goal if your actions are in direct opposition to its achievement. I say I am committed to being slender and fit and then spend all my time in front of the computer and maintain a deep and satisfying relationship with potato chips. But at least I am not shocked when the slender-fit thing just doesn't happen. Our IPFD friend and collaborator Ian Seath posted another recently called 'Health-tested does not mean healthy'. And rightly highlights that health and longevity (or 'healthgevity') is a function of many factors beyond breeding or genetics. Owners must do their part to maintain health and not push all blame for ill-health to breeders. E.g. the well-loved, but morbidly obese Pug in this shot, had, by nature and breeding, specific health risks, all, no doubt aggravated by its body condition. All stakeholders in the health and welfare of individual dogs and breeds need to contemplate their roles and take responsibility. More coming on the topic of health testing and health, soon.
  15. 2020... Hélène Denis from the Club du Bulldog Anglais shared the French Kennel Club's BREATH Protocol (BRachycephalic Exercise Aptitude Test for Health) - SCC Service Santé et Gestion des ressources génétiques
  16. 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.
  17. Breeder Education The Breeders School (Oppdretterskolen) of the Norwegian Kennel Club (NKK) was established in 1992. This education for dog breeders include two week-end seminars, which are hold in all the 11 regions of the Norwegian Kennel Club, to make the education available for breeders all over the country. Everybody will have a lot to learn on these courses, both people who consider having their first litter, as well as breeders with life-long experience.
  18. 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... See a follow-up:
  19. In our final installment of the Digest for 2019, we are putting the spotlight on 2019 milestones, and looking forward to 2020 – which promises to be a pivotal year for IPFD and DogWellNet.com. In 2019, our fifth full year of operation, we focused our efforts on several key initiatives, including: the Harmonization of Genetic Testing for Dogs (HGTD); the 4th International Dog Health Workshop (IDHW); the continued growth of DogWellNet.com and our online community. We provided an independent voice in addressing complex and often controversial challenges, including "Hot Topics" such as canine genetics; and shared resources e.g. on health and welfare issues in brachycephalic breeds. See other interviews and news reports featuring IPFD here. As a start up non-profit five years ago, we represented a good idea, with an admirable mission. Many were enthusiastic about the concept, but perhaps unclear about the details of what could be accomplished. IPFD developed based on a strategy of 'if we build it, they will come'. The progress has been gratifying, but never fast enough for me, personally. The acknowledgement of the need for multi-stakeholder, international collaboration and action is widespread; but the realities of the dog world and the demands of local, regional, and national responsibilities of our volunteers and collaborators continues to pose challenges. As we move into a phase of enhancing stability and sustainability, we have a lot to celebrate and great potential on which to capitalize. The word cloud created from participants' comments from the 4th International Dog Health Workshop exemplifies many of our issues, goals, and efforts We have a substantial focus on science and evidence, but we never forget that the human element underpins everything we do. Our Spotlight video in December's Digest shows a softer side, reminding us that it is our love and appreciation for dogs that motivates us. People are always the strength of an organization, and now is a good time to acknowledge and thank the small but committed team of consultants who do the lion's share of work at IPFD. Please check out their profiles and read more about their efforts, below and in the Digest. The IPFD Board has gone through a transformation in 2019, with three members transitioning off the Board and five enthusiastic new Board members joining. The Board now comprises both old friends and new faces with renewed energy and purpose to help launch IPFD into the new decade, capitalizing on existing strengths and addressing ongoing challenges. Bios for the Board are here; we can all look forward to learning more about them in our 2019 Annual Report, and hearing from them in articles and blogs. In the spirit of the season, below are some highlights from 2019 – these could make for some great holiday reading! Thanks to everyone who has supported IPFD and participated in our work in 2019. And here's to a stellar 2020... as we leap ahead with great aspirations. New IPFD Contributors We welcomed two new Contributing Partners in 2019: The Canadian Kennel Club (January) Raad van Beheer (The Dutch Kennel Club) the official kennel club of The Netherlands (February). A new two-year Sponsor, the Morris Animal Foundation (July). And several Non-Breed Specific Collaborators, which are organizations serving health and welfare interests for all breeds: European School for Advanced Veterinary Studies (ESAVS) (June) Global Pet Obesity Initiative (August) And going into 2020, we have renewed and ongoing contracts with all existing Contributing Partners! Harmonization of Genetic Testing for Dogs (HGTD) The HGTD Project has seen significant growth in 2019, and currently lists 76 Genetic Test Providers (GTPs) across 22 countries, worldwide with 42 currently participating or starting their participation. Thanks to Project Director Aimee Llewellyn-Zaidi! We have made several improvements to the information we record for both genetic test providers and test information. This includes clearer information on what laboratories are used for outsourced testing and when information has been updated by GTPs. Thanks to our App developer Michael Edwards (Coding Jungle), we continue to further automate the updating process and add on new functions. See further details on HGTD in the Digest. In 2020, in addition to expanding engagement with GTPs, we will integrate various projects (Expert Panel, Health Strategies Database (HSDD), the Get a GRIHP Program) to enhance breed-specific information and outputs. Read about these initiatives in Brenda's presentation under Breed-Specific Health Strategies at the 2019 4th IDHW, here. 4th International Dog Health Workshop (IDHW) The IDHWs bring together a wide range of stakeholders in dog health, science, and welfare to improve international sharing of information and resources, provide a forum for ongoing collaboration, and identify specific needs and actions to improve health, well-being, and welfare in dogs. IPFD is responsible for the International Dog Health Workshops and partners with other organizations who manage meeting logistics. Access the amazing resources from the four IDHWs here. The 4th IDHW, co-hosted by the Kennel Club in Windsor, UK, in May/June 2019, included more than 130 decision leaders from 17 countries, who joined us to share their experiences and expertise across five Themes addressing some of the most pressing issues in the dog world. We’ve compiled pre- and post-meeting resources here, both for the benefit of workshop participants and for those who were unable to attend. We continue to see the dividends of the important work done at the first three IDHWs (read more in our publication from the Paris 3rd IDHW and look for a new publication in the Journal of Canine Epidemiology and Genetics in 2020), and Working Groups have begun work on issues addressed at the 4th IDHW earlier this year. The 5th IDHW takes place in 2021, with the date and location to be confirmed soon! DogWellNet.com Our internet platform, DogWellNet.com, is an open access, ever-expanding information hub, providing links, documents, and additional resources to breeders and others in the dog world. For an overview of the site, including an explanation of key content areas and features, please visit DogWellNet.com: At A Glance. Although almost all DogWellNet content is available to guests, we encourage readers to sign up as members on the site. As of the publishing date for this issue, more than 1,200 people have signed up on DogWellNet.com, including more than 500 Members and 700+ Advanced Members. One of the popular resources on the site is the Breeds Database, ably overseen by our Content Manager Ann Milligan. A former breeder, and current judge, Ann is always thrilled to get information from breed clubs and breeders, as we continue to expand this resource. In 2020, there will be further integration of material from the breeds database with our other initiatives (HGTD; HSDD, etc.). DogWellNet Digest This is our eighth 2019 issue of DogWellNet Digest – a collection of the latest news from IPFD and DogWellNet.com. A link to each new issue is emailed to all IPFD Members and posted to our social media accounts, and all previous issues are archived on DogWellNet.com. See also IPFD in the Media for excerpts or links to published articles, etc. that reference IPFD or DogWellNet. IPFD Social Media In 2019, our social media presence expanded further into the dog world with several targeted campaigns and a growing following of our Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts. Thanks to Dave St. Louis, our Communications Specialist, for keeping us in touch with our Partners, Members, and the dog world, in general. Another key online tool is our video resources. See our latest, a feel-good offering for the season, and tantalizing, early glimpse of our 2019 Annual Report. Enough looking back, let's talk about... Moving Forward in 2020 With additions to HGTD and other genetic counseling resources, implementation of the Expert Panel, creation of the HSDD, planning for the 5th IDHW; enhanced activities with our revitalized Board, ongoing outreach with our Partners and Sponsors...the possibilities are exciting! All the best for the holiday season and Happy New Year from IPFD...where every year is the Year of the Dog.
  20. Once again our IPFD friend and collaborator Ian Seath has come out with a thought provoking but practical article. In BREED HEALTH AT THE START OF A NEW DECADE – WHAT’S YOUR VISION FOR 2030? on the DOG-ED: SOCIAL ENTERPRISE site, Ian does several things: Makes it personal - by sharing what he himself is doing - as a breeder, as chair of the Dachshund Breed Council in the UK, as the leader of the Breed-Specific Health Strategies theme at the IPFD International Dog Health Workshops (IDHW). In the description of his efforts, he provides great information on the process and structure of building health strategies for any breed, and he shows himself and the Dachshund groups in the UK as role models for other breed clubs. And he credits others who are doing good work. He 'walks the walk' (definition: 'to show that something is true by your actions rather than your words'). I know Ian well, and he is not doing this for personal acclaim. He passionately cares about the health and well-being of dogs - all breeds - and he does everything he can to say to all of us - "C'mon... we can do this!!" Ian challenges everyone to look ahead to 2030 and to seriously consider how what they are doing will impact the breed over that period. And he says: "It’s that time of year when New Year Resolutions have either already been forgotten or are well on the way to become good habits." I would encourage everyone to do as he says and to look ahead - not just breed club health committees but individual breeders, judges, veterinarians, researchers, owners... all stakeholders in the dog world. Too often we look to others to take responsibility... too often we give up because we don't see the potential for change (or just think it is too much work). And I would also like to stress the mention of good habits. It isn't just about knowing, it is about doing. Saying one thing and doing another is a very bad habit. I will risk offending you by suggesting some examples, all in the spirit of improving the health, well-being and welfare of dogs over the next 10 years. Health committees, breeders, individuals say: 'We want healthy, long-lived dogs!'. But do their health programs, recommendations and ACTIONS! truly reflect that goal? If the tendency is to select for the physical characteristics that are being rewarded in the show ring... you are not going to just accidentally get health and longevity... in fact, it's more likely you will get the opposite. Every individual breeder's decisions impact the whole breed! In another blog I described an interactive session at the Canadian Kennel Club genetics symposium, where a breeder, after listening to Dr. Kari Ekenstedt and I talk about many issues, including inbreeding, wanted us to specify 'what level of inbreeding was ok?'. In other words, sure, father X daughter was out... but what was okay? I challenged her to consider why she wanted to do inbreeding? Was it because she thought this would improve health and longevity in the breed? Almost undoubtedly it was not - it was to as quickly as possible achieve 'a look'. We all need to think about the big picture. Veterinarians - what are you doing within your practice, one on one to stop the normalization of health issues - genetic and otherwise? Do you make clear to your devoted owners of brachycephalic dogs that snorting and snuffling and bug eyes are not 'cute' or 'funny' but serious concerns? Do you work hard to counteract the rampant obesity problem in pets? No, your clients may not want to hear the messages... but what is your personal responsibility? Pet industry - are you focusing your marketing to profile healthy dogs... or still using challenged but popular breeds? So, at IPFD we continue to promote international efforts on the challenges for dogs; we work to bring together stakeholder groups and organizations that can undertake actions and make decisions that can impact the dog world in beneficial ways. But I urge people to read and hear the messages in Ian's article - at both a group and individual level. As he says, echoing the wide focus of the 4th IDHW in Windsor, "The final element in making progress is engagement with breeders, owners and buyers. They are the primary groups whose behaviour needs to be influenced if the plans are to be implemented. There are others to engage with (e.g. vets, KC, researchers, judges) but taking action on both the supply and demand side of the dog population is essential." I am an impatient person... 10 years is too long to wait for an improvement! But I know how fast it goes. Get going on those good habits for dog health so that when Ian writes another article you can say, with great honesty: 'Yes sir! I am doing my bit!'
  21. What a great weekend of education - with the Canadian Kennel Club and about 170 participants, including breeders with a range of experience from over 40 years to novices. Speakers Dr. Kari Ekenstedt, a geneticist from Purdue University in Indiana and IPFD CEO Dr. Brenda Bonnett covered 'everything you need to know to understand genetic testing' in a clear, concise and entertaining series of talks. Interactive discussions with the many knowledgeable, committed attendees were interesting and thought-provoking. Read more here. Download the schedule here: CKC Seminar Schedule Final.pdf My talks covered the Harmonization of Genetic Testing and the many initiatives IPFD is pursuing to support breeders, as well as a talk together with Kari on Ethics and Welfare. In addition, both speakers addressed issues about genetic diversity, selection and inbreeding. Dr. Ekestedt's presentation was a primarily science-based coverage, including description of various tools, including calculation of Coefficients of Inbreeding (COIs). My talk on Population Health and Diversity presented a more conceptual coverage of diversity (see below), including examples from other species. Both talks included practical suggestions for including these aspects in breeding decisions, but this was also meant to promote discussion and consideration by breeders as they examine their own role, as well as the roles of breed and kennel clubs in promoting and conserving health and longevity in their breeds. It is clear that many breeders are struggling with definitions and implications of genetic diversity, inbreeding and line breeding, and with resolving new information from the fast-advancing world of genetics and genomics with long-held attitudes and practices that are firmly embedded in dog breeding culture. Below are some key points and challenging issues raised in these talks and in the interesting and frank discussions with participants. Thanks to the Canadian Kennel Club and all the participants for a stimulating and enjoyable weekend of continuing education! Congrats to the CKC team who put on a great event. Stay tuned as we will post on DogWellNet.com the video of my talk and links to the rest of the program - hopefully in early January 2020. Additional reading on Genetic Diversity Understanding Breeds as Populations - J. Bell What we can learn from each other: Show Greyhounds Is Crossbreeding a Part of the Plan for Bulldogs -- Genetic Considerations (references Pederson Study) Small Population Breeds and Issues of Genetic Diversity - J. Bell
  22. 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.
  23. The AKC Canine Health Foundation (CHF) is the largest nonprofit funder of health research focused solely on dogs. Donations from individual dog lovers, dog clubs, foundations and corporations are invested in a diverse portfolio of innovative canine health research grants that aim to find better treatments, more accurate diagnoses, and an improved understanding of the mechanism that cause disease in dogs. The Canine Health Foundation is a proud sponsor of IPFD's Harmonization of Genetic Testing for Dogs Initiative.
  24. 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
  25. 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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