Tuesday, 23 November 2010

More from the KC School of Trying To Look Good...

.. while putting in sneaky caveats so that nothing much has to change.



Today, it's the announcement from the Kennel Club that from January 2012, it will no longer register puppies that have been delivered by C-section from a bitch that has already had two C-sections.

This is in response to veterinary (and other) concerns that some breeds have an extremely high C-section rate because they have been bred to such a distorted shape that birthing naturally is no longer an option. The rates for C-sections are  eye-watering as revealed in a paper earlier this year, using data drawn from the 2004 KC/BSAVA health survey. The highest C-section rates were for the Boston Terrier, Bulldog, French Bulldog, Mastiff, Scottish Terrier, Miniature Bull Terrier, German Wirehaired Pointer, Clumber Spaniel, Pekingese and Dandie Dinmont. In the Boston Terrier, Bulldog and Frenchie, the rate was more than 80 per cent.

The idea behind the C-section limit is to encourage breeders to produce dogs that can actually meet this most basic test of survivability - the ability to reproduce.  For this to happen we would, for instance, need Bulldogs bred with smaller heads and wider pelvises. 

However, the KC has added a caveat to the new no-more-than-two C-section limit. And it's this: "...except for scientifically proven welfare reasons and in such cases normally provided that the application is made prior to mating."

I have just emailed the KC's Caroline Kisko with the following question: "If a bulldog breeder's vet contacts you prior to a delivery and points out that for welfare reason he must do that third or fourth C-section, will the KC will register the puppies?"

Now Caroline is not answering my emails at the moment, so am not terribly hopeful of a response.  But unless I am missing something, I can only assume that the KC is fudging the issue again. Because it seems to me that the breeders only have to get one of their bulldog-friendly vets to write to the KC to tell them that the bitch in question will die if forced into a natural delivery and the KC will register the pups.

Now this IS a fiendishly difficult issue because, if the ban was categorical, some breeders may put their bitch through a natural delivery that may kill her and the pups. But as it stands, this is a classic piece of KC spin. Nothing will change.

So what's the answer? Give the breeders a reasonable deadline - such as that from 2020 (which gives the breeders 10 years to change the conformation and to select bitches that can whelp naturally), bitches that need a second C-section must be spayed at the same time. No exemptions. None.

UPDATE
Have now heard back from the KC. In answer to my question: ""If a bulldog breeder's vet contacts you prior to a delivery and points out that for welfare reason he must do that third or fourth C-section, will the KC will register the puppies?" the KC's Caroline Kisko has replied: "No Jemima – we won’t – and I think the release makes it clear."

You be the judge. Here's what the release says:

"The Kennel Club has confirmed that it will no longer register any puppies born by caesarean section from any bitch which has previously had two such operations, except for scientifically proven welfare reasons and in such cases normally provided that the application is made prior to mating."

I've gone back and asked for an example of what a scientifically-proven welfare reason might be - because as it stands surely a vet saying that the dog would not be able to whelp naturally would qualify?

38 comments:

  1. an ex friend of mine had EVERY litter delivered by section because it was easier and she didnt like to hear the bitches cry !!
    Each bitch had 3 litters, some having 2 sections in 6 months.

    interestingly people who bought bitches from her had their pups naturally so the high section rate in some breeds may not always be due to structure but because people think its inevitable with some breeds and dont give natural birth a chance.

    Another of my dogs breeders also had every litter by section apart from one who had them behind the chair as no one was watching her.
    So again is it need or because they've always done it ?

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  2. I wonder if there's not a more worrying welfare problem with the breeds that have 20-30% caesarians? That's still scarily high, but low enough for some people to think it won't happen to them.

    The breeders who responded to the questionnaire were obviously clued-up enough to recognise when a bitch was in trouble and get her to a vet.

    What happens if any of her daughters or grand-daughters ends up with a puppy farmer who isn't willing to spend money or with a naive owner who doesn't know how long labour should last and possibly doesn't have the £700+ cost of a caesarian?

    To my mind it's really the breeds who are at the lower end of the scale where there ought to be an absolute ruling that the bitch should be spayed if she hasn't been able to give birth naturally. (Obviously only after she's reared the pups if they were delivered alive).

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  3. Margaret Carter23 November 2010 16:19

    I am puzzled?

    "except for scientifically proven welfare reasons and in such cases normally provided that the application is made prior to mating".......

    Under what circumstances could there ever be a scientific welfare reason to deliberately put a bitch through a third C-section?

    In what circumstances would there ever be a welfare reason to agree an application for a third C-section even if made before mating?

    I can see that if a bitch is accidentally mated, and the owner did not know in time, or if the owner was greedy and callous enough to break the new rules, the third C-section may have to be performed for the bitch's sake.

    Registration of such a litter, however, will not add anything to the dam's wellbeing, only to the owner's pocket.

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  4. At least your KC is trying! Are the kennel clubs here in America even trying?

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  5. So are vets now required to report every Caesarean to the KC? If not, how is the KC going to know when a bitch has had two Caesareans? Is it up to the breeder to report it?

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  6. You can spey a bitch at the same time as a ceasarian. You do not need to wait til she has reared her pups.

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  7. Yep, anyone could get a litter registered if the breeder tells the vet at the time of the mating that there may be a problem and the breeder would like the vet to be available just in case there is a problem, because a natural delivery may endanger the health and well being of the dam and/or the puppies.
    Oh, there will be ways to get around this little hiccup. Consider if the bitch is moved out of the UK and registered elsewhere, will the puppies be eligible for registration as imports?

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  8. "except for scientifically proven welfare reasons and in such cases normally provided that the application is made prior to mating."

    Wat? That makes no sense, and you can't even begin to guess at the meaning without any commas. Funny how the first part is super-clear. The only thing I can figure out is that the KC lady's response to your question was probably accurate, if disingenuous - it specifies "prior to mating," not delivery.

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  9. On a slightly different note.........c-sections are very often the result of nervous owners who panic about puppies getting ''stuck'' or even surviving.......when a lot of effort has been put into breeding a bitch and the results are highly anticipated, people are on edge and want things to have a fairytale ending..............
    a vet faced with this dilema will often suggest a c-section......come on, is this hard to imagine?

    I can just hear the vet now.......''Well we could give her a bit more time, or we could be safe and go ahead and do a caesarian......................that'll be £800 please.''

    So whilst I agree that are too many c-sections being performed, I would argue that many are not required but chosen instead.

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  10. what is the point you citisise them every step of the way i thought you wanted change!!!!!!

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  11. breeding from bitches that have had ceasarians is a very dangerous thing due the amount of scarring and adhesions that surgery causes i applaud the KC on this decision and so shouldl you Jemima!

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  12. If it really was a ban, I would stand up and cheer. The problem is the caveat which appears to give breeders an awful lot of wriggle room. However, I have asked the KC for clarification. If I have misunderstood, I will re-blog.

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  13. what about inertia or an oversized puppy in a normal shaped dog it isnt just brachycephalic breeds that have to have ceasarians there are many factors, instead of the constant barrage of critism why dont you try and offer up some solutions!

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  14. Well I thought I did..

    You're right, it isn't just brachy breeds that need sections and I understand that one-sized rules don't fit everyone hence the the need for a little wiggle room, just not as much as the KC seems to be proposing.

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  15. your passion for this is ore inspiring, if you had worked with the KC and Show People instead of against them you could have achieved so much, if the KC blanket bans registering puppies from Ceasarians, what would stop bulldog clubs and the like starting theyre own registries, holding theyre own conformation shows........nothing! the KC have no statutory powers so theyre approach maybe softly softly catchy monkey. could you imagine if breeders of extreme type dogs had NO ONE to answer to?

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  16. But this argument has now been used by the KC for half a century now. Many breeds have got worse in that time, not better. The softly-softly approach has not worked.

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  17. Margaret Carter24 November 2010 16:42

    Of course it is not only brachycephalic breeds that need sections, any bitch that has had two C-sections obviously has reproductive problems and should not be put in whelp.

    If there are people who care so little for their dogs that they would prefer to leave the Kennel Club rather than refrain from breeding a third time from one of their bitches, surely they would be better outside the KC than masquerading as reputable dog breeders?

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  18. Caesarians aren't simply a matter of shape, but that's not really the point - if the bitch had uterine inertia or a tendency to produce single, over-sized puppies she'd be just as dead without medical help.

    The whole argument for pedigree breeding is that the breeders are selecting "better" dogs, so why is it so difficult to say that a bitch who needs a caesarian (or who has eclampsia or any other abnormal conditions) shouldn't be selected for future breeding?

    I can see that with the breeds with 80% caesarian rates there might be a need to have some litters from the bitches who can't give birth naturally in order to avoid reducing the gene pool still further, but 2 caesarians is surely plenty.

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  19. I dread to think what you must be like with a scab on a cut, pick, pick , pick never letting it heal but always at it with no reason but to make a mess of it when there was no need other than to get you noticed

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  20. Anon last post, 25th Nov 08.56
    scabs normally occur in response to a problem. If the problem (wound/ kennel club policy) does not clear up due to secondary infection (unclear definitions/caveat) which could potentially lead to further wound break down and problems, then yes, the scab and wound needs cleaning up and addressing.

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  21. Kate Price seems to fail to recognise the clause that ""...except for scientifically proven welfare reasons and in such cases normally provided that the application is made prior to mating." would only have been put there because the KC, Vets and everyone (even the self appointed "experts" on here) do not know just what the future or science will have and how that might benefit dogs, is it not better to allow for such changes at the start than be too rigid and controlled in its thinking as many here would seem to have want it. Most other rules and restrictions have already have such clauses in them, are they abused? if you have proof say so! or perhaps you are not aware of the strict process and information that must be given (by independent vets and experts) for those wanting and exception to the rule to be granted, and just how very few are applied for and even less granted. But like scab pickers on here they would rather pick, pick, pick and as where mother nature provides the scab to protect from risk of secondary infection they appear to take pleasure in infecting the good work just to make a mark for them selves........ or scar the good work of others.

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  22. "If there are people who care so little for their dogs that they would prefer to leave the Kennel Club rather than refrain from breeding a third time from one of their bitches, surely they would be better outside the KC than masquerading as reputable dog breeders?"
    Margaret that is a lucicrous thing to say if the kennel club had more power they would be able to make things happen much quicker, there are way to many people without the knowledge breeding attitudes need to change and this nonense from you jemima is not helping you are just going to bore people with your ranty sensationlism when you think about this blog should be buzzing - buts it not! it is the people who dont care that cause these problems - let the KC be the only governing body for dogs!

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  23. No, I fail to understand the clause.
    Is it mother nature to allow a bitch to go through two c-sections, let alone 3?

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  24. Margaret Carter26 November 2010 21:23

    In replt to Anonymous at 16:43.

    Give the KC more power? Let them be the only governing body for dogs?
    The thought sends shivers down the spine.

    It is ludicrous to argue that the Kennel Club needs more power to make things happen faster.

    They have been a monopoly for a hundred years. They alone are responsible for not taking action years ago when the problems of closed stud books, inbreeding, loss of genetic diversity and stupid unfeeling people breeding for extreme traits became apparent.

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  25. Mother nature would le a botch be mated time and time again be it to her brother, father or son, so do you approve of that too Ms Price?

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  26. Presuming that was supposed to be "let a bitch be mated time and time again, be it to her brother, father or son"..? Although it is true that the domestic dog (although not all) have lost the ability to discriminate against close kin, Mother Nature in the main avoids inbreeding - and certainly the dog's ancestor, the wolf, practices inbreeding avoidance (unless they have no choice because of geography or very isolated populations).

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  27. I do not agree with inbreeding.
    In the wild, if this occurs, the effects are increased likelyhood of genetic disease, smaller numbers of offspring, weaker offspring. offspring that live shorter lives. I guess thats mother natures way of saying if you do it those are the consequences. It's called survival of the fittest.

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  28. "Although it is true that the domestic dog (although not all) have lost the ability to discriminate against close kin, Mother Nature in the main avoids inbreeding - and certainly the dog's ancestor, the wolf, practices inbreeding avoidance" just what proof do you have to back up this claim? Mother nature by its very virtue has NO CONTROL over who or what mates together in the same species, it is indeed the very reason why the origin of species was formed as animals of the same variation (which would normally be the same line/strain) mated together as they had an advantage due to some physical or mental difference to the norm of their species in the area they lived, and so for the start would be inbreed, after all humans can be traced to the same family in Africa. As for Wolves they live in dominate society controlled by Alpha female as to who can breed, when she is overtaken it is by her daughter and so the gene pool again is restricted and inbred.

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  29. Please at least try doing some research before posting this kind of palpable nonsense.

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  30. Even plants know to avoid inbreeding, and they do not have brains....
    http://news.softpedia.com/news/How-Petunias-Avoid-Inbreeding-164930.shtml

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  31. "Please at least try doing some research before posting this kind of palpable nonsense." the same could be said about most of your artocles, broadcast and blogs, as Ofcom and the others proved, but do you have actuual proof that wild animals do not mate in this way? Plants by their very nature reproduce, by sourcing themselves, and its only when one plots a family line/pedigree does the term inbreeding get used, as up to that point no one has any idea of ancestors, as for Kate Price basing idea on petunias and reading information across it sounds as in most things she is away with the faries!!! even PDE never tried such a stupid link..............and did stoop low in many of them!!

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  32. I have allowed the last comment through to make the following point: if anyone wants to post here that the earth is flat and that the sun orbits the earth not the other way round, I will expect them to furnish the evidence. And when I say evidence, I mean proper references, not just a paragraph pasted and copied from the Journal for Stupid Dog Breeders.

    So there you are anon: a challenge. Try and find me some scientific references that prove that "Mother Nature" shags her sons - or that it is THE NORM for species to inbreed, not the other way round. Hell, just find me one.

    Some hints: try googling "genetic diversity" or "inbreeding avoidance".

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  33. All subspecies of Galápagos tortoise evolved from a common ancestor that arrived from mainland South America by overwater dispersal of a pregnant female or a breeding pair, so unless in your colourful way of speaking it "Shagged itself" its off spring must of mated to each other and even back to the mother to form the species!! The fact you belittle and show no respect t others who might disagree with shows why you are no longer a viable journalist (and why there is no broadcaster will commission you again about pedigree dogs)and not a credible person due to your pre judged views.

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  34. Good try. But if you had done more than copy and paste a bit from Wikipedia, you would have found that this has been at a cost to the turtles who have very little genetic variation. Here's a reference: rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/271/1537/341.full.pdf

    There are, indeed, many examples of small, isolated populations that have had no option but to inbreed and which survive. (It is rarely without cost though.) However, what I asked for is a reference that showed that inbreeding is THE NORM - through choice, rather than because there's no option.

    This isn't "disagreeing" with you, Anon. It isn't my opinion that nature in the main avoids inbreeding. It's fact. And yet here you are clinging to your beliefs without doing anyone the courtesy of actually learning just a little bit about genetics, natural selection or evolution. Without genetic diversity (which is what happens when you inbreed), there is no evolution. Those Galapagos turtles are doomed if there's a change in their environment - there's no variation which would allow them to adapt. Same goes for cheetahs - so genetically similar that cat flu could wipe out an entire population. Indeed, if we were all as genetically similar as cheetahs, the Black Death wouldn't just have killed millions - it could have wiped humans off the face of the earth. As it was, some people didn't get it even when exposed and others got it but didn't die. That is genetic variation at work. You owe your very existence to it.

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  35. So now anon you are dismissing research done by the National Science agency, a United States Government agency?
    Try this link. It also has a basic picture to explain

    http://www.nsf.gov/news/mmg/mmg_disp.cfm?med_id=57267&from=mn

    Alternatively, have a read of this;

    http://breedinginquiry.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/final-dog-inquiry-120110.pdf

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  36. "Those Galapagos turtles are doomed if there's a change in their environment" odd the how they are one of the longest living animals on the planet and its only the intervention of man that has caused them any threat. If you look back on the history of most breeds of dogs you will see that for every benefit it had been thought a cross has brought in, even more damage has been caused by an extra problem, which with the DNA test now available can confirm. I bet that in 10 years time the Labradoodle will be recorded as being one of the wrost health records going, bred with few or any health teat , no knowledge of the ancestor (be that health or temprement), bred ONLY for looks (as they served no purpose), sold by those with no knowledge of dogs yet an eye for quick profit based on media, and with no direction after the 2nd or theird generation cross, afterall any good breeder will tell you a repeat mating is the wrong direction for a breed, and that what are based on.

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  37. So... you are not able to provide any evidence that inbreeding is the norm in the wild, choosing instead to change the subject.

    That Galapagos turtles are also being impacted by man is a separate issue.

    "If you look back on the history of most breeds of dogs you will see that for every benefit it had been thought a cross has brought in, even more damage has been caused by an extra problem, which with the DNA test now available can confirm"

    Want to supply some solid examples/references of the above? And not least because outcrosses are hardly commonplace, at least within the KC-registered population.

    As for Labradoodle... Bad breeding is bad breeding, whoever is doing it. There are some bad breeders of labradoodles, to be sure - but there are good ones too; just the same as in the mainstream purebred population.

    And I think you should have a bit of a think about why a repeat mating might be considered bad for a breed - and then consider whether the same criteria applies to a crossbreed mating. I think you'll find it doesn't.

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  38. Genetic diversity protects against disease by reducing the chance that a recessive disease gene will be matched by both parents. THAT is how you reduce health problems... you cannot remove disease genes by reducing genetic diversity, you only make it easier for new recessives to become matched up as the genes of the population become more and more similar. Inbreeding is a slow spiral into immune system failure and other problems, not a way to 'protect' health. You may be able to 'remove' a handful of health problems, but at the cost of introducing many more as the dogs become more and more closely related.

    THAT is the problem with inbreeding, and why the argument that outcrossing is worse for health than inbreeding is based on a fundamental ignorance of basic population genetics. Such ignorance was excusable 50+ years ago, but not today. Practices based on out of date belief systems need to be changed, not protected by people afraid of change.

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