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Found 87 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. 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.
  9. Illegal pet trade in the EU, report released In Europe the large majority of dog from illegal sources are sold online. These dogs often do not comply with the health requirements established in the EU Regulation, are too young to have been vaccinated, and are accompanied by fraudulent passports which provide false information on their origin. The illegal Europe-wide trade in dogs threatens not just the welfare of the animals involved, but also animal health, public health and consumers. Therefore, it is urgent to improve the current situation to ensure this trade can happen in a sustainable, humane way. On 21 April 2020, the Croatian Presidency of the Council of the European Union and Eurogroup for Animals (https://www.eurogroupforanimals.org/who-we-are) held an expert workshop on the illegal pet trade. Around 100 participants from European institutions, Member States, academia and the animal welfare sector debated the issue focusing on four areas: Pets and Traceability; Pets and Consumers; Pets and Online Platforms; and Organised Crime and Tax Evasion. FECAVA, IPFD’s collaborating member, also joined and will keep addressing the topic.
  10. One Welfare is a collaborative effort of veterinary schools in Australia and New Zealand to engage the veterinary community in animal welfare discourse. Using a scenario-based teaching module, One Welfare introduces different ways of thinking about welfare and investigates how personal bias impacts these dialogues.
  11. How can veterinarians and veterinary students engage with animal welfare? Answers to this question were provided by Dr. Paul McGreevy, Professor of Animal Behaviour and Animal Welfare Science at the University of Sydney, in an interview last week. Dr. McGreevy commented on the importance of veterinary involvement in animal welfare discussions stating, "we can lead the debate…we shouldn't just wash our hands of these ethical discussions…we are the informed guardians of animal welfare."
  12. 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
  13. Consequences and Management of Canine Brachycephaly in Veterinary Practice: Perspectives from Australian Veterinarians and Veterinary Specialists Fawcett, et al., including Paul McGreevy, University of Sydney, Australia Animals 2019, 9, 3; doi:10.3390/ani9010003 https://www.mdpi.com/2076-2615/9/1/3 For: Veterinarians, health care professionals, all stakeholders Review: Brenda Bonnett, DVM, PhD This comprehensive review covers the health problems and welfare issues in brachycephalic dogs highlighting a veterinary perspective. The text of the paper comprises 19 pages and includes a wide-range of topics. This paper is an excellent resource for veterinary health care professionals and clinicians. However, topics in this paper are also important for all stakeholders involved with the brachycephalic issue in dogs. At the end of the paper, there is an important discussion of the ethical challenges for veterinarians, both as individuals and the profession as a whole. Concerned that readers, especially those who are not clinicians, may not persevere through the clinical information to reach this important section, I will highlight the importance of that discussion below. First, a general overview: “Simple Summary: Canine and human co-evolution have disclosed remarkable morphological plasticity in dogs. Brachycephalic dog breeds are increasing in popularity, despite them suffering from well-documented conformation-related health problems. This has implications for the veterinary caseloads of the future. Whether the recent selection of dogs with progressively shorter and wider skulls has reached physiological limits is controversial. The health problems and short life expectancies of dogs with extremely short skulls suggests that we may have even exceeded these limits. Veterinarians have a professional and moral obligation to prevent and minimise the negative health and welfare impacts of extreme morphology and inherited disorders, and they must address brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS) not only at the level of the patient, but also as a systemic welfare problem.” The broad range of topics include: · Concern that “Despite well-documented conformation-related health problems, brachycephalic dog breeds are increasing in popularity.”; · Detailed enumeration and description of associated health problems; · Behavioural impacts of brachycephaly, as well as · “substantial evidence that brachycephaly compromises the welfare of affected dogs”, highlighting insurance data and research findings; · Problems for individual dogs and their owners as well as for breed populations; · Immediate concerns as well as future perspectives; · Clinical diagnosis and management of BOAS and other problems in brachys, and · A thought provoking discussion of “Ethical Challenges Associated with Brachycephalic Breeds” and the role of veterinarians. Understanding the Complexity – the veterinary perspective Past all the discussion of clinical findings and approaches, the section on ethical challenges has excellent coverage of the concerns and conflicting interests for veterinarians. For example, the best resolution for competing issues is not always clear, e.g.: · the best interests of an individual dog, in general, and in relation to a specific health event; · its owner’s attachment, attitudes, wishes, needs, and ability to provide care; and · concerns for the breed overall, as well as · the practical reality of the veterinarian as both a caregiver and a business person. Two of the authors have also provided this summary: “Vets can do more to reduce the suffering of flat-faced dog breeds”: February 12, 2019 2.16pm EST http://theconversation.com/vets-can-do-more-to-reduce-the-suffering-of-flat-faced-dog-breeds-110702 It is important for all stakeholders to be aware of the challenges facing others as the dog world moves toward doing is what is best for dogs. Also see: DWN's Extremes of Conformation Category Latest on brachycephalics from Sweden Approaches to Breed-specific Extremes
  14. 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.
  15. Graussies -- Documentation for the Brussels Griffon X Australian Terrier crossbreeding is extensive. Researchers hope that their findings will improve breeding guidelines and develop more sophisticated ways of screening so that fewer toy breed dogs develop Chiari-like malformation.
  16. The Finnish Kennel Club has written instructions for breed crossing. The instructions are of help for breeders and breed clubs in planning, applying and monitoring breed crosses and crossbred individuals. This information is presented in The Finnish Kennel Club: Crosses between Breeds on DogWellNet.com in the Breeding for Health section: sub.section Crossbreeding.
  17. Whether you've just purchased a puppy or are thinking about bringing a new dog into your home, what you know about puppy development and socializing dogs will make a difference in the relationship you will have with your pet...
  18. "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."
  19. In this article we provide a link to IPFD collaborator WSAVA's content pertaining to investigation of clinically relevant information on hereditary diseases and genetic predispositions in dogs.
  20. The wonderful thing about our IPFD collaborator, brilliant person, and incredibly knowledgeable dog person Ian Seath, is that, when major issues are at foot, my procrastination at commenting is rewarded by him posting an article that says almost everything I wish I would have said. All that is left for me to do is to add a few comments and send it out. This is very true for his latest installment on his platform Dog-Ed: COVID-19: A (dog) world of unanticipated consequences Ian does a great job of describing our situation, with relation to other experience of times of disruption: "In the world of business and leadership development, there’s a concept that’s been around for a while that describes the world we’re in. It’s VUCA, which stands for Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous. ...There are no simple solutions in a VUCA world; we need to understand that decisions made in one part of a system can have quite surprising and unanticipated consequences elsewhere. Often, those consequences will be counter-intuitive." He goes on to describe different possible outcomes and ramifications for dog registrations in the UK - a situation IPFD is monitoring together with our many KC Partners from different countries. As Ian suggests, things could go either way. In Iceland, after the financial collapse in 2008, breeders were worried they would not find homes for their puppies; in fact, demand was higher as people realized they would not be able to travel outside the country as much and embraced the new reality and options. It is clear that there is an uptick in adoptions in North America (and UK as described in Ian's article). And while we totally agree that pets are fantastic companions, we have to think about 'unintended consequences'. Where did your Covid-dog come from? And what happens when life goes back to normal? Ian does an excellent job describing concerns about sourcing of puppies, supply and demand, rescues, and more. In every case it is, at least potentially, a 'for better and for worse situation'. Firstly, being able to determine the quality and welfare of dogs from various sources of dogs is an ongoing challenge, possibly increased during the Covid situation when people are in a rush to get a pet. For example, some sources, especially with online sales, even if promoted as 'rescues', may be re-sourcing puppy-farmed dogs. Beyond that concern - in North America there is a generally positive response to news that shelters and rescues are emptying out... which is great as long as there is not a flood back to shelters when economic hardships hit if restrictions continue, or if, when people return to work, they suddenly remember why they did not really have the capacity to be responsible dog owners. And I saw a report that dogs adoptions were not allowed now in France, for various reasons, no doubt - and that approach may both prevent some and create other problems. Beyond immediate and short terms concerns, animal welfare problems are an ongoing concern throughout the world and may be more marked as we move out of the current crisis and into the new normal. One example - given economics and financial expenditures for the pandemic, many (most?) non-profits will be challenged in the near future with reduced funds and donations. And, will animal welfare programs suffer with the focus on the problems of people? We must work to be sure that does not happen. And, as has been discussed in other blogs, What about the dogs?!? Ian does a great job describing possible impacts on the dogs, themselves. I would add that online training courses are great, but without the opportunity for e.g. puppy classes, dogs might not get the socialization with others of their own kind. One of our IPFD consultants is concerned about similar issues with her 19-month-old toddler - surrounded by adults but deprived of play opportunities with other children. (We feel he may be fine however, as his best friend is their Corgi, who is likely an excellent surrogate for other kids!) Then, as Ian suggests, perhaps being overly-socialized (my term) with people - receiving 24/7 attention now - what happens when that suddenly stops? Ian's main point is unintended consequences - and I might add that in times of stress, urgency, and uncertainty there is likely an increased tendency for impulsive vs. well-considered decisions - about many things, including breeding or acquiring a dog. At IPFD, everything we do reminds us of the inter-connectedness of issues of health and welfare, the role of human-dog interactions, and the roles and contributions of many stakeholders. And everything we do, DogWellNet.com, International Dog Health Workshops, my blogs, etc. tries to remind us of the big picture. As Ian suggests, models are great - but! As an epidemiologist, I have been asked about this frequently lately. And this is the reality: Models are only as good as the data and assumptions on which they are founded. Even with great inputs models inherently output predictions not certainties which should be expressed as such, with ranges ('error' in statistical terms) and as best-case/ worst-case scenarios, never exact proclamations. In the case of the novel (i.e. new to us) coronavirus there are vast unknowns, and therefore the uncertainties for models and decision making are huge. Ian ends with: "There are unanticipated consequences of any decision, but my glass is always half-full and I am optimistic that we will come out of this situation stronger as a dog community. Remember: DOGS ARE FOR LIFE, not just for Coronavirus." And that last bit I started with as the title of this blog. Another blog is scheduled to cover the impacts in the veterinary world... including the constantly and quickly evolving world of veterinary regulations in the face of COVID-19, including the expanded possibilities or 'telemedicine'. Let' follow Ian's lead, and try to think about the glass being half-full, look for creative ways to remain positive, and move forward with compassion for all. After note: Since posting this blog, another article has come to my attention. "I Got a Pandemic Puppy, and You Can Too" in The Atlantic. This article is full of wonderful reasons why a dog is a great support and benefit to humans. And does caution, "as long as new owners act intentionally and with long-term planning in mind, the prolonged stretch of time at home might provide a unique chance for owners to bond with new pets." My concern is whether most people, in the rush to satisfy their short term needs, have really planned explicitly for those long term challenges or just think they can figure all that out down the road. And heaven forbid we start a trend where having a 'Pandemic Puppy' becomes a status thing. The authors go on to say, "This difficult period may mean that people become more attached and attuned to their pets than if they were seeing their animals for only a few hours a day, which may help get them through the hurdles of pet ownership with slightly less frustration." Indeed, and yet presumably people will transition rather easily to going back to work and adjust to less time with their dog. As mentioned it the blog above and the other we have cited... how easy will it be for the dog? Remember - that bond goes both ways. Will we have shelters getting inundated with 'Pandemic Puppies' with separation anxiety when their owners return to their busy lives? More unintended consequences? Also pertinent to the discussion above, and with absolutely no reference to specific sources mentioned to the article in The Atlantic, if a retail source can markedly and quickly increase the number of puppies available in response to Covid demand - I would want to carefully determine from where those animals came. Glass half full again - let's hope we end up with more committed, responsible dog owners and well-adjusted healthy dogs in good situations. Let's hope. .
  21. 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.
  22. National Kennel Clubs are major stakeholders in the governance and regulation of dog breeding. As such, they have been the targets of major criticism related to dog health issues. It is therefore interesting to investigate to what extent health and welfare is a priority for kennel clubs (KCs), and what are the capacities and actions implemented to deal with those issues. A survey was sent in 2017 to 40 KCs with 15 answers received from 11 European (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Latvia, The Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the UK) and 4 non-European countries (Australia, Mexico, Uruguay, and the USA) aimed at describing and comparing information across countries in dog breed health management (Wang et al. 2018). First, in order to determine the population of dogs under the responsibility of KC, the percentages of all dogs being registered as ‘pedigree’ dogs were estimated considering the 15 surveyed KCs, as well 35 other countries, using sources such as the FCI online statistics. Across countries, the average and median percentage of the entire dog population that were registered pedigree dogs, respectively was 20% and 14%. However, there was a large variation across countries, with European Nordic countries showing, in general, a larger proportion of pedigree dogs (see Figure 1). This aspect is of importance, since it is expected that the responsibility toward general dog health, as well as the capacity to improve the situation, relates to the proportion of dogs that are at least to some extent under the influence of the KCs. When asked about the current challenges, KCs ranked exaggerated morphological features and inherited disorders as the most important issues, showing those two problems are now clearly identified as priorities (Figure 2). By contrast, issues such as economic constraints to breeding were rarely viewed as problematic for dog breeding. Kennel clubs also commented on challenges related to the difficulty to find balance between increased regulation and the risk of losing members; to achieve consensus and compliance of breeders and clubs toward breed health strategies; as well as lack of capacity regarding information provision and education. Surveyed countries showed great diversity in terms of information management, implementation of breeding strategies, recommendations, requirement, restriction and tools. Most KCs indicated that information on genealogies, breed standards and dog shows were recorded in their data base for most, if not all breeds; however, health information (e.g. screening examinations, genetic tests) was more sparsely recorded and provided to the public, both for breeds within countries and across countries (Figure 3). For instance, KCs from Austria, Australia, Denmark, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Norway, the UK and the USA provided health information status on pedigrees and in online data bases, but in general, not all breeds were covered. When considering implementation of breeding strategies, six countries indicated that there were no breeding strategies implemented by any breed clubs, while in three countries (Austria, Sweden and the Netherlands) it was reported that each breed club had its breeding strategy. Several countries indicated that they were planning to develop breeding tools and provide health information to users, and for instance, France and Belgium reported having ongoing work to develop tools to provide online pedigree with health information or estimate breeding values for complex disorders such as hip dysplasia. Although limited by the relatively low number of countries considered, this survey showed that despite large differences in their approach to breeding policies and management, the awareness to improve breeding and health of pedigree dogs was strong among the surveyed Kennel Clubs. The dog breeding world is increasingly global in scope. The understanding of both the diversity of health initiatives and the potential for coordinated actions internationally is key to further efforts to promote dog health and welfare. There is probably still a lot of progress to be made in term of information provision and collection, as well as planning breeding strategies considering dog health. In particular, finding a consensus in terms of constraints and priorities for breeding, is expected to be particularly challenging for Kennel Clubs and breed clubs in order to implement those strategies. Although the situations differ across countries, exchanges of experiences may surely help to find the most adequate solutions toward improvement of health and welfare. Reference: Wang, S., Laloë, D., Missant, F. M., Malm, S., Lewis, T., Verrier, E., ... & Leroy, G. (2018). Breeding policies and management of pedigree dogs in 15 national kennel clubs. The Veterinary Journal. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tvjl.2018.02.018
  23. 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
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