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Theme attended at 3rd IDHW in Paris

Found 64 results

  1. 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!
  2. 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
  3. Brenda Bonnett

    Breeding: A Moral Choice?

    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
  4. 2019 - Denmark - Publisher: Companion Animal Group, Danish Veterinary Association Antibiotic Use Guidelines for Companion Animal Practice (2nd ed)
  5. 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
  6. Brenda Bonnett

    French Bulldog Health Seminar October 2018

    I was honored to address the French Bulldog Club of America at their National Specialty in Louisville, KY on October 31st, 2018. The invitation came from the Health & Genetics Committee of the French Bull Dog Club of America (FBDCA). This invitation was prompted by my presentation on the IPFD Harmonization of Genetic Testing initiative at the AKC-CHF Health Conference in St. Louis in August 2017. Jan Grebe, Calvin Dykes and the others on the Committee stressed that the "club is dedicated to Frenchie health, and the harmonization project will be an invaluable resource for breeders". The final presentation, following discussions with the committee, reflected various issues impacting the breed - and I complement the FBDCA on their interest in health and welfare of their breed and in both a national and international perspective. French Bulldogs are challenged by issues including alarming increase in numbers, health concerns related to the brachycephalic condition and scrutiny by veterinary and regulatory groups throughout the world. The FBDCA video-taped the presentation and we have made this available here. It was quite an experience to be in a hotel with about 300 French Bulldogs. The incredible commitment and attachment that Frenchie owners have for these dogs was very evident. I was excited to see information and videos on the increased interest in performance activities for this breed. What a great way to identify and highlight those dogs who are healthy and active. See other relevant resources on brachycephalic issues internationally and coverage of these issues from the 3rd International Dog Health Workshop (IDHW) in our discussion paper. More international actions for health and welfare will undoubtedly be forthcoming following the 4th IDHW in May, in the UK.
  7. View IPFD Board member Patricia Olson's presentation at The Role of Clinical Studies for Pets with Naturally Occurring Tumors in Translational Cancer Research: A Workshop (June, 2015) Best-practices for conduct of clinical trial for animal patients Also see the PDF... http://www.nationalacademies.org/hmd/~/media/Files/Activity Files/Disease/NCPF/2015-JUN-8/Olson.pdf Other presentations from the workshop are available. http://www.nationalacademies.org/hmd/Activities/Disease/NCPF/2015-JUN-08/Day 2 Videos/Session 6 Videos/28-Olson-Video.aspx See: Dr. Mathew Breen's presentation which elaborates on the powerful opportunity possible with identification of genetic factors in the dog contributing to advancing cancer research in humans and Dr. Heidi Parker's - Canine Cancer Genomics
  8. Purdue's Center for Animal Welfare Science The CAWS Project aim is "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." Establishing science-based standards for the care and welfare of breeding dogs...
  9. Brenda Bonnett

    "We do this for the dogs' sake"

    I have frequently heard people say that what they are doing is 'for the dogs'' when it might seem it is mainly for their own goals.- but the Swedish Kennel Club has posted an informative video about the Breed Specific Instructions that makes it clear that the only goal with this program is to promote the health and welfare of dogs. Renowned judges explain why they think their role in promoting health and welfare is so important. We have lots of information on the BSI and the Swedish Breed-Specific Breeding Strategies, in general (as well as, lists of breeds with breed specific strategies from several countries on DogWellNet.com and this video really puts it all in perspective. We all know that health and welfare of dogs is the responsibility of all stakeholders in the dog world and judges are no exception. The impact of dog shows and the awarding of wins to specific dogs has a big impact on the public perception of pedigree dogs, in general, and also of specific breeds. It is crucial that dogs that achieve success in these increasingly 'prime time', public displays epitomize the best of the best - not just in looks, but also in health. All organizations licensing dog judges insist on 'judges education' but the BSI program takes it a step further, insisting that judges take responsibility in only promoting dogs without physical manifestations of conditions/ conformations that may limit health and welfare. The BSI process is followed in all Scandinavian countries, as well as several other European countries. A key part of the BSI process is the completion of reports by the judges (discussed in the video); and here is a link to an example of a report required for German Shepherd Dogs by Rad van Beheer in The Netherlands. The Canadian Kennel Club instituted an observer program in 2017, but I haven't found full details on the goals of the program. The AKC has a Field Rep program and, although at the moment I do not think these North American programs have breed-specific requirements similar to the BSI, clearly there are structures in place that could facilitate such an approach. A striking comment in the video was that judges must be on the lookout for negative trends and help ensure that these do not progress. I am not a judge; I briefly showed dogs in the distant past; and I am often concerned by what I see at show events. I was recently at the National Specialty of the French Bulldog Club of America in Louisville, KY, USA, at the end of October 2018. It was an honor to talk to the club members who are concerned about health issues in this breed. However, I was confused by seeing many dogs being shown that clearly had no actual tails (maybe 2 coccyx vertebrae), clearly so in the eyes of this veterinarian, and described as such by the competitors as a recent trend. And yet, I was repeatedly assured that 'the standard specifies that a French Bulldog must have a tail'. Such a contradiction, such an extreme, would presumably not be allowed, under the BSI, especially when this is not a cosmetic change, but a structural one. It is particularly concerning given that we know that French Bulldogs have an increased risk for spinal abnormalities and a new paper suggests that selection for screw tails may have led to a syndrome of abnormalities in both English and French Bulldogs. Every one who has bred dogs knows that focus on one characteristic, especially going for extremes, can lead to occurrence of unforeseen consequences. Nothing happens in isolation with breeding and selection. Congrats to the Swedes for this video and I hope it will encourage more judges to take an approach like this - regardless of whether or not they are under a requirement to do so. Because our activities really should be 'for the dogs' sake'.
  10. England: October 1st 2018: new Regulations replaced a number of existing licensing regimes involving activities related to dog ownership, management and dog breeding: selling animals as pets providing for or arranging for the provision of boarding for cats or dogs hiring out horses dog breeding keeping or training animals for exhibition For a look at the new regulations see... The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 Associated documents can be found here: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2018/486/resources. Among the associated documents are the "Explanatory Memorandum for THE ANIMAL WELFARE (LICENSING OF ACTIVITIES INVOLVING ANIMALS) (ENGLAND) REGULATIONS 2018: 2018 No. 486 " and the "Final Impact Assessment" which covers effects of these new regulations on the business and public sectors - both documents provide insights into issues and inconsistencies with previously existing regulations - which are addressed to one degree or another by the new Regulations. Statistics cited in the Final Impact Statement show how many licensed businesses are subject to the New Regulations. Dog Breeding comes in at 4,950. Under the new Regulations it is hoped that the Risk-based assessments for determining the length of time between business license renewals (1 up to 3 years) will result "in a shift towards more favourable practices by businesses in order to move into the lower and medium risk categories" - thereby reducing costs.
  11. There is a steady stream of articles / work / initiatives coming in relative to those brachy breeds identified as highest risk for health and welfare issues. Coming from KCs - e.g. SKK... (See the background of and supportive documentation for this NKU project below...) the Mops Club, Netherlands... See the recent discussion of main features of the BALV (outcross, approval and stricter breeding rules) and communication with government and other KC's... and from the veterinary sector ... e.g. FECAVA... ‘Extreme breeding’ of companion animals: Raising public awareness is key In general, the work is based on scientific evidence. Of course, some of the initiatives (measurements etc) are 'new' and not yet fully proven in efficacy for what is proposed. Regardless of the basis, these proposal evoke extreme emotional and even personal responses (e.g. FB, confrontations and disagreements, etc.). Because... at heart these issues relate to a seemingly widespread human attraction to 'extremes'. We are happy to also present excellent articles on avoidance of extremes in other breeds - e.g. Dachshunds and Rottweilers. Clearly, we need not only an evidence-based approach to deal with these issues, but also innovative communication strategies to effect change in human behaviours and attitudes. Background information Brachycephalic projects by the Nordic Kennel Union's affiliated Kennel Clubs is available at: 2018 - SKK's work for brachycephalic health Of particular interest are project planning documents put together by the NKU's Working group and SKK. These documents outline health and welfare issues and offer proposed actions, definitions, parameters and procedures for evaluation of dogs. 1. STATEMENTS AND PROPOSALS REGARDING RESPIRATORY HEALTH IN BRACHYCEPHALIC DOGS Internal link: NKU STATEMENTS AND PROPOSALS REGARDING RESPIRATORY HEALTH IN BRACHYCEPHALIC DOGS.pdf ADDITIONAL INFO... 2. REVEALING THE PHENOTYPIC AND GENOTYPIC VARIATION IN FOUR BRACHYCEPHALIC BREEDS (SKK) As part of the work to combat breathing problems in brakycephalics, the Swedish Kennel Club has started a project to inventory the health status in four dog breeds: Boston Terrier, English Bulldog, French Bulldog and Pug. excerpts... ♦ All these topics - extremes, breed and communication will be a focus in the 4th IDHW.... ♦
  12. "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."
  13. From the First International Conference on Human Behaviour Change for Animal Welfare Richard Casey: Using PetWise MOTs to Improve Animal Welfare What are PetWise Mots? https://www.pdsa.org.uk/education-centre/petwise-mot/what-are-petwise-mots Also see: Kelly Arthur's Blog post, Welfare Consultations to Improve Pet Wellbeing and Generate Revenue
  14. See Dr. Brenda Bonnett's presentation from the First International Conference on Human Behaviour Change for Animal Welfare. HBCAW website: www.hbcanimalwelfare.com All presentations from the conference are available from HBCAW's YouTube channel. Also see DWN's Human Dog Interactions Category.
  15. A terrific free educational resource for dog owners produced by The Kennel Club... An essential guide full of vital information and practical advice to help you train your puppy, such as house training, teaching basic commands, nutrition, behavioural management and much more.
  16. Brenda Bonnett

    European Parliament event: Health Before Looks

    Health before looks -- Collaborative action is urgently needed to stop the practice of extreme breeding in dogs and cats This message was delivered to the European Parliament at an event organized by our Collaborating Partner the Federation of European Companion Animal Veterinary Associations (FECAVA) together with the EU Dog and Cat Alliance and the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe(FVE). (Download PDF below.) This event was "aimed at ending the unnecessary suffering of dogs and cats bred with exaggerated features such as flat faces, narrowed nostrils, skin folds and protruding eyes" and is part of the ongoing work, especially throughout Europe, to address health and welfare in brachycephalic breeds. The speakers represented the veterinary, welfare and breed organization perspectives on the issue. It was great to see this international, multi-stakeholder approach, similar to that we have promoted through the IPFD International Dog Health Workshops (IDHWs) and reflected in the many resources on the brachycephalic isssue on DogWellNet.com. Kristin Prestrud (a veterinarian from another of our Partners, the Norwegian Kennel Club) put into perspective that although there are wide variations across dog breeds in form and function, there should be defined limits for extremes, so that selective breeding does not compromise health or welfare. The challenge, raised at our IDHWs is that those limits are not clear nor consistent across regions and cultures; we need research and collaborative work to define those limits. As Prestrud, explained, for pedigree dogs breeding happens according to written breed standards - however those are often open to interpretation and may vary widely across countries. "“We love that dogs look cute, that they have some particular look that we love. And so, short legs have got shorter, heavy bodies got heavier, long coats got longer, loose skin got looser, long ears got longer and wrinkles more extended. Not in all cases, not in all breeds, but in several breeds.” And when breeders select really strongly for some traits and restrict genetic input from outside, there is always the risk of reducing genetic variation." The British Veterinary Association’s encouragement of data reporting of conformation altering surgery (and caesareans) - by veterinarians with the consent of owners - was described. Similar registers are underway in, e.g. Scandinavian countries. However, there are challenges to compliance with these programs and only time will tell whether they achieve the goal of determining the prevalence of dogs that need such surgery. Speakers also highlighted the role of veterinarians in this issue, saying, “we must be aware that there are a lot of vets who earn their money by doing this very expensive surgery." I was encouraged to see that the discussion by the politicians did not focus simply on legislation of breeding as being the best solution. They discussed the need to control the marketing of unregistered puppies and kittens, “the majority of which are on the internet and are totally without control” . It was estimated that over half of puppies In the Netherlands come from unsupervised sources and it may be as high as 90% for some breeds, e.g. the French Bulldog. One of the members of parliament suggested that "efforts would be better focused on reducing demand by making extreme breed animals unfashionable. “We have to make unhealthy bad conformation unfashionable, it has to stop.”" And, so, as has been discussed in much of our work, we come back to this fact: the challenges are about the people, more than the dogs, and successfully improving health and welfare of dogs needs an approach that addresses human-animal interactions, human attitudes and actions, and using techniques of education that are likely to result in human behaviour change. Addressing sourcing of dogs and communication for change will be two themes at the upcoming 4th IPFD IDHW in Old Windsor, UK, May 30-June 1 2019. Congratulations to FECAVA and their co-organizers for an important event and to the European Parliament for taking an interest in the health and welfare of dogs. Health before looks Collaborative action is urgently needed to stop the practice of extreme breeding in dogs and cats Download: European Parliament Event article by Parliament Magazine - 7-2018
  17. Starting this project made me ponder: There always seems to be another perspective related to welfare and ethics that I had not thought of before. There appear to be two camps online—those for breeding and those against (and there is little in between). Veterinarians seem to be under-represented in the breeding dog public debate. This provides further validation for an aspect of my project – to create educational resources for veterinarians/veterinary students. In seeking resources, I came across One Welfare (see link below), a collaborative effort of veterinary schools in Australia and New Zealand to engage the veterinary community in animal welfare discourse. It highlights some of the questions I have been pondering related to the complexities surrounding dog breeding. Dogs have great species differences in size, color, and temperament and people can choose from registered purebred dogs to homeless dogs, and everything in between. One Welfare resources can be used to inform questions related to the adorable internet video posted below. Hazel is a purebred rescue. No one can deny that she is cute, well-deserving of a good home, and born with a genetic condition that leaves her challenged. Difficult questions still remain: Is the breeding pair that produced Hazel still breeding? What genetic defects are in their lines? How could they be prevented or detected? Are we glorifying “disabled animals” because they are cute and not thinking critically about breeding practices? Hazel has a happy ending, what is the outcome for other disabled dogs? The goals of One Welfare and IPFD are similar—to engage in conversations that inform, raise awareness, and improve animal welfare. Check out all the resources on their page and look at articles we will be posting on IPFD for more details - for example: An Interactive Scenario from One Welfare to Illuminate Brachycephalic Welfare Challenges. I hope my veterinary project generates greater understanding between veterinarians and breeders, so we can come together to improve the welfare of individual animals, understand the needs of breeders, and improve future generations of dogs.
  18. Hello IPFD Community, My name is Kelly Arthur and I am a third-year veterinary student at Colorado State University (for more background see my introduction page). I’m very excited to announce my participation in IPFD through the newly created veterinary student projects. Projects are being initiated in various countries to educate students on the need for an international perspective and multidisciplinary approach to the issues facing pedigree dogs. Projects involve gathering, evaluating information, and creating educational resources for dog breeders and owners, veterinarians/veterinary students, as well as other stakeholders. My project is generously supported by the Skippy Frank Fund. My project specifically will focus on welfare and ethics of breeding dogs, with an emphasis on veterinarians and veterinary students. See an overview of my project, A Veterinarian's Role in the Ethics and Welfare of Breeding Dogs, for an ongoing list of my work. When I first heard about this project, I could think of the following as important issues in ethics and welfare of breeding dogs, from a veterinary perspective: What are veterinarians doing to improve breeding genetics? Is selective breeding detrimental to decreasing diversity in certain breeds? Does breed specific regulation really help in protecting the public from dog bites? What is the influence of the breeding dog supply on the overall dog populations around the world? While it is easy to come up with quick opinions on these issues, the more I read, the more I realize that these issues are highly complex. For example: Veterinarians can play a role in breeding dog education, however there may be economic disincentives to decreasing the number of dogs born with inherited disease. Selective breeding has allowed us the great diversity that we have from dogs that serve in the military to assisting people with disabilities. Even if breed specific regulation can decrease dog bite incidents, the ability of people to prove the genetic makeup of their dog can be challenging legally. While some may say that only rescue is an appropriate way to get a dog because of pet overpopulation in some countries, there is still a great demand for purebred dogs. I hope others will join me on this journey. There will be opportunities for your participation and comments as we go. If this project interests you or you have a perspective you would like to share, I would love to hear from you. Please register at DogWellNet.com so you can follow not only my blog, but other resources I will be developing! I’m grateful for the opportunity to work with a collaborative group invested in the health and well-being of pedigree dogs. I hope it has overarching appeal both for veterinarians and breeders to encourage cooperation. Cheers, Kelly Photo source: http://www.wookiebooks.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Dog-Questioning.jpg
  19. Welfare education is on the rise and there is a growing number of veterinary students with an interest in animal welfare. Some schools have taken notice and have either integrated animal welfare throughout their curriculum or have individual classes to educate students on the topic. In the United States there are opportunities to get involved with animal welfare but they are few and far between. Specific to breeding dog welfare, Purdue University has a project focused on the welfare of purebred dogs. In terms of broad animal welfare education, Iowa State University has a variety of formal classes and even a clinical rotation in animal welfare. Their faculty research interests are primarily large animal but the courses cover companion, livestock, and wildlife animals. Michigan State University also offers an online animal welfare course. In addition, the Animal Welfare Judging and Assessment Contest, started in 2002, continues to expand including international participation. While the importance of animal welfare in some circles is growing, it is not echoed everywhere. In talking with IPFD Board member Patricia N. Olson, DVM, PhD, a Diplomate of the American College of Animal Welfare and the American College of Theriogenologists, I learned more about gaps in our United States welfare education. Formal courses on animal welfare training are limited and some challenges still remain… The American College of Animal Welfare was recently created for veterinary board certification in animal welfare. While this is a great step towards veterinarians having the formal training to lead animal welfare discussions, funded training programs at U.S. veterinary colleges have been slow to develop, making it difficult for veterinarians to obtain the education required for completion of the specialty. The American Kennel Club recently announced expanding residency program funding. This is a great step forward to advance the science/education of dog breeding. Also important is the integration of welfare and ethical aspects on topics like dog breeding, dog behavior, cosmetic surgery, etc. in these training programs. A recent article, “Survey of animal welfare, animal behavior, and animal ethics courses in the curricula of AVMA Council of Education–accredited veterinary colleges and schools”, published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, reported that only 6 out of 30 U.S. schools offer a formal course with welfare in the title. As stated in this article, written by Chelsey Shivley, DVM, PhD, some of the schools may offer animal welfare education throughout the curriculum, rather than a specific class, but it speaks to a need for transparency in education. In addition, when the 30 schools were surveyed through the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges about the education they offered related to animal welfare, only 33% responded. Why such a low response rate? Lack of interest? Why did the Humane Society of the United States launch its own veterinary association specifically focusing on welfare? Did they feel that the emphasis on welfare was lacking elsewhere in the veterinary profession? An article entitled "Student perspectives on animal-welfare education in American veterinary medical curricula", published in the Journal of Veterinary Medical Education in 2010, stressed the need for more animal welfare education in schools. One wonders what the progress has been since then given the more recent report cited above. In a book review on Ethics of Animal Use I wrote, I acknowledge a need for additional educational materials to be used in animal welfare education. I recommend “that veterinary and other animal science students read this book to engage in animal ethics discussions, whether or not it is included in their education as a required text.” As I hope more students become involved in animal welfare, I would like to know other educational opportunities you have participated in, or are aware of, that broaden a veterinarian’s understanding of animal welfare. Hopefully together we can increase awareness of a growing interest for more education in this area. Please register on DogWellNet if you haven’t done so to comment below.
  20. 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
  21. I'm very proud to report that the Colorado State University Veterinary Animal Welfare Judging Team took first-place in the veterinary division at the international Animal Welfare Judging and Assessment Contest (AWJAC) in November. Colorado State University (CSU) began competing with an undergraduate and graduate team in 2012. For the past three years, CSU's Veterinary School has also participated. This year, I coached the veterinary team with a fellow veterinary student, Angela Varnum. The competition, in existence since 2002, has continued to grow and hundreds of undergraduate, graduate, and veterinary students have competed. Increased participation is exciting as more students see the need to evaluate the complexities of animal welfare, including science, ethics, and philosophy. In preparation for the contest we studied journals and brought in species experts for the six veterinary students who competed. Through our preparation, we learned more about the welfare of breeding dogs, laying hens, guinea pigs, and meat sheep. As the veterinary team coach, I integrated what I learned in my IPFD project, A Veterinarian's Role in the Ethics and Welfare of Breeding Dogs, into our preparation. The resources created through IPFD proved very helpful for the students. More than 100 veterinary, graduate, and undergraduate students competed this year, representing 15 schools. The CSU Veterinary team competed against 9 other veterinary teams. CSU's graduate team also took first-place in the graduate division. The competition is supported by the American Veterinary Medical Association. For more information and how to participate, please see the AWJAC's webpage. Thanks again to the Skippy Frank Fund for supporting my IPFD project.
  22. For those of us working the animal care field, do we know how most people want their pets to die? This was the topic of conversation when speaking with Dr. Kathleen Cooney, DVM, MS, CHPV earlier this month. Dr. Cooney is an expert in end-of-life care and founder of Home to Heaven, P.C. in Loveland, Colorado, one of the world’s first, and largest, animal hospice services. In addition, she is founder of Cooney Animal Hospice Consulting and past President of the International Association for Animal Hospice and Palliative Care (IAAHPC). At the end of the year, the American Animal Hospital Association and IAAHPC published the End-of-Life Care Guidelines on the collaborative efforts needed to provide animals a comfortable death. These guidelines were created by Dr. Cooney and colleagues to educate practitioners, veterinary technicians, and animal caretakers on end-of-life (EOL) care. This grassroots movement in veterinary medicine is especially important because how a veterinary clinic responds to a pet’s death can be a key factor in retention of that client, according to Dr. Cooney. EOL care strives to maximize patient comfort and minimize suffering. Animal hospice can help with this process by addressing the physical, social, and emotional needs of animals and their caregivers alike. As Dr. Cooney describes, through education in this field we can ensure “the walk towards death is enriching, peaceful, and comfortable.” Another main focus of the guidelines is developing a treatment plan for hospice care, which includes these four steps. For more detail, see the link to the guidelines above. Clarifying the client understands the pet’s disease. Communicating with the client on their needs, beliefs, and goals for treatment. Developing the unique EOL treatment plan. Initiating palliative or hospice care. In addition to these four steps, pet loss support provided before, during, and after death is essential. AAHA accredits small animal hospitals in the U.S. that hold themselves to specific standards. In creating these guidelines with AAHA, it is the hope that more veterinary clinics will implement hospice and palliative care practices. As Dr. Cooney describes, some clinics are already providing “more care, emotional and physical, from terminal diagnosis to death” but reaching a broader audience with these guidelines is important. This comprehensive approach to death is different than what is currently taught in veterinary school as this new model focuses on the human animal bond, rather than just palliation. The AAHA/IAAHPC guidelines build on the American Veterinary Medical Association’s policy on hospice care. The guidelines also mention that “as the value of animal hospice care and its availability increase, so will the feasibility of ethically managed, high quality, hospice-supported natural death, and the decision to euthanize will become more nuanced.” I asked Dr. Cooney about how we can address this and she described that when we realize an animal has a life limiting illness, euthanasia is no longer our only modality to help patients and clients—but rather we should use all the modalities at our disposal. This may include symptomatic relief (such as pain control), communication with clients about changes the pet may be experiencing, and how we can medically and emotionally address these changes. She shared that 95% of her clients want their pets to die naturally but at some point are okay with euthanasia. We, as animal caretakers and veterinarians, need resources like these guidelines, to formulate questions and help clients through the grief process. Dr. Cooney also shared educational opportunities related to EOL care. On April 3rd, 2017, a 6-hour certificate course will open for those in the veterinary and pet care field that want to expand their knowledge on pet hospice. This course will be offered through Vetfolio, an online course company that is partnering with AAHA and The North American Veterinary Community (NAVC) to create this course. For veterinarians and technicians seeking more specialized training, IAAHPC has a 115-hour certification program on hospice and palliative care. This program includes four modules, three online and one that is competed at the national conference, with special sessions for those completing the certification. Thanks to Dr. Cooney for the insight into the growing field of hospice and palliative care for our beloved pets.
  23. The 2017 International Dog Health Workshop in Paris was the culmination of my summer 2016 project entitled, "A Veterinarian's Role in the Ethics and Welfare of Breeding Dogs." I'm very grateful to have attended this workshop that featured ways we can work collaboratively to improve dog health and welfare. My project poster was displayed among many other interesting research projects. I was impressed by the diversity of attendees including dog owners, veterinarians, kennel club members, researchers, and many more! The International Dog Health Workshop stands out to me among other conferences I've attended because it truly was a working meeting, rather than simply being presented in a lecture format. I left inspired to take action due to the creativity of my group and ideas generated during the meeting. Many thanks to the Behavior and Welfare theme facilitators, Dr. Patricia Olson and Ms. Caroline Kisko, and the group participants. The Behavior and Welfare theme was tasked to address early canine socialization and its influence on creating a suitable lifetime companion. We acknowledged that a more thorough literature search would be beneficial followed by research to address gaps we identify. Beyond research, our group also discussed the need for more positive marketing to the public to communicate the benefits of acquiring a well-socialized puppy. A special thanks to the Skippy Frank Fund for making this project and trip possible. Also many thanks to my personal French translator and mom-extraordinaire, Lindi Dreibelbis, for accompanying me on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. What wonderful memories we made together in Paris.
  24. Improving animal welfare is the basis of veterinary medicine. However, improving animal welfare can oftentimes be costly. A new consultation structure, PetWise MOTs, created by the UK’s leading veterinary charity, PDSA, is a step to overcoming these obstacles. PetWise MOTs can be used to improve pet welfare and generate additional revenue for practices. A review of the UK’s Animal Welfare Act in 2010 placed additional emphasis on veterinary involvement in promoting better pet welfare. The PetWise MOTs model was created because while clients value their pet’s welfare, they are often unsure how to improve it. The video below explains the development of the PetWise MOT concept. The five areas that are focused on in these appointments are good health, the ability of an animal to express normal behavior, availability of companionship, providing a safe environment, and feeding a suitable diet. During a PetWise MOT appointment, veterinarians are able to ask more in-depth questions of their clients that may not be able to be discussed during a normal visit. Using this structure, PDSA saw an up to 40% uptake of preventative medicine services and a 28% increase in treatment for problems that usually would go unnoticed with a traditional appointment. 100% of clients believed that every practice should offer this service. Through 2016 the introductory training course is free and there are still openings for the 13 December 2016 training course. Please comment if you know of other similar services or have experience with PetWise MOTs. Would love to hear from you!
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