Thursday, 23 August 2012

Vet checks come under pressure from contradictory decision

Doowneerg Usi

Three weeks ago, Neapolitan Mastiff health rep, Kim Slater, was on cloud nine when her heavy male, Doowneerg Usi, went Best of Breed at Leeds and passed his vet check - going on to take 4th in the Group. He has also passed a vet check at Paington Show. But this week, Usi went BOB at the Welsh Kennel Club Championship Show (WKC) - and failed his vet check. His angry owner is now demanding an enquiry.

Kim Slater has worked hard for the health of the breed and has supported the vet checks (brought in earlier this year for 15 high profile breeds) in the face of a lot of opposition.  She feels that Usi's recent wins are vindication both for that support and proof that a "typey" dog could win.

I have to confess that while I was happy for Kim after Leeds (I admire her in many ways), my heart sank a bit.  Usi is clearly in good health and has a very good hip-score of 7/7. But he does have ectropion (as do most NMs) and I wince when I hear Mastino breeders refer to their dogs - as Kim does Usi - as having "plenty of nice quality skin". I find it impossible to see that as a desirable quality, knowing the toll it takes, particularly as the dogs age and particularly in the heavier dogs like Usi.
So while Usi might be brimming with health at the moment, I worry for his future.

Kim knows that I much prefer her lighter, leaner, tauter-skinned Vaoila who is the first Neapolitan Mastiff within the show-world that I have ever truly liked. The Mastinorati look down their nose at her though. Not 'typey' enough.

So I was concerned that Usi's wins at Leeds might herald a return to the heavier NM being rewarded in the ring.  And when Usi went BOB again at WKC last weekend it confirmed him as the Top Neapolitan Mastiff of 2012.  But then he failed his vet check - for abnormal eye conformation which the vet said interfered with normal tear drainage and for scarring and hairloss on his jowl. This is another common problem in Mastino (often the result of skin infections aggravated by slobber),  routinely overlooked by judges before the increased focus on health.

"This isn’t just about my feelings – it’s about the future of the Neapolitan Mastiff in the UK," a very angry Kim slater told Dog World this week. "He is a healthy dog – hip scored, heart and thyroid tested etc.

"I want the world to know that nothing about this process is right. Show are being affected because people are nervous and not turning up.

"If even the best of the best isn’t good enough where do we go from here? I told the vet I have worked my guts out for this breed and that he was judging him on the wrong criteria.

Clearly, there was a bit of an exchange and KC Chairman Steve Dean was called:  "But I received a message saying he was unavailable,” says Kim. "I was barking mad. I think the vet began to realise I knew what I was talking about. I told him I wasn’t a bog standard exhibitor and this wasn’t a bog standard dog."

She followed it up with a letter to KC Secretary Caroline Kisko demanding a full enquiry: "I feel totally let down," she wrote. "After all my years of study, engagement, hard work, supportive stance to the KC throughout a difficult and high pressure period of time for all involved in the high-profile breeds, the very time I required the KC’s support during an unfair and incorrect vet check assessment,, Steve Dean could not walk 20 yards when I have travelled hundreds of miles to attend Clarges Street to support the launch of the KC film in my own time, with my own money."

I'm not sure about the attempt to play the "you owe it to me" card here. Kim may feel she has some leverage as a breed health co-ordinator and it is true that she has supported the KC through difficult times, but she must surely realise that there was no way Steve Dean could get involved - it would totally undermine the principle of the vet checks which are supposed to be independent.

However, she has a point about vet-check inconsistency.  It is, perhaps, inevitable given that vets are human beings and will grade issues differently. Maybe one just has to accept that. After all, the dog world accepts that a dog may win one week but goes unplaced the next.

I still struggle, too, with the fact that breeders are trying to produce a healthier dog without sacrificing what they see as essential type - when it's that essential type that is the problem. It's like the pug breeders trying to find a gene for brachycephalic airway syndrome in order to be able to continue to breed dogs with really flat faces.  In both instances, it's possible. But an awful lot of dogs are doing to suffer along the way.

43 comments:

  1. You would expect a breed health co-ordinator to have at least basic understanding of what the health checks are for. The hip score and heart and thyroid tests have no relevance.

    It is just a failed test. People who understands what the test encompass understands what a fail means and will judge you and your dog accordingly. So many of these failed vet checks people react like the world is ending.

    If your peers have as poor an opinion of the tests as you do, they are not going to judge you or your dogs harshly for it, are they? It speaks a lot about you and your peers(or at least your opinion of them) if you think a failed vet check will destroy your reputation.

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  2. The vet checks will always be flawed because what one vets thinks is acceptable another will not. This may be swayed by the vets experience with breeders in their pratice or by their own dog owning history. Vets can be as guilty of being blinkered by what is 'normal for the breed' as breeders and judges.
    There will be yet other vets who can see problems in the dogs put before them but allow their win to stand because, despite the faults the dog is a much healthier example than many others in the breed.
    Perhaps there are still other explanations...ectropion will increase in a tired dog compared to a fresh one, skin problems wax and wane and temperature can really effect both breathing, movement and skin problems. Maybe this dog just passes some days and will just fail on others under the same vet?

    Unfortunatley though I have a lot of sympathy with this breeder who is doing her best for a very challenged breed, her behaviour risks looking just like being a bad loser.

    VP

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  3. I'm amazed any Neo can pass the health checks, if the ones at Crufts this year were anything to go by.

    The fact that most Neos have ectropian, does not make it okay. It's still painful and it's still abnormal. Perhaps the vet failed the dog on ectropian plus the hairloss, which may not have been quite so severe when he passed last time?

    At least I now have an inkling as to why the KC have dragged their feet for so long regarding reform...

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  4. Perhaps the Leed's Vet was in error or lenient..and perhaps a case of placing accreditation ONLY to those who judge in your favour and those who don't are discredited. One could scream 'foul' in the case of the Leed's show equally...sigh
    Damn it, one must work harder I suppose.

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  5. Kim, Kim Kim Kim... there is a difference between *health* and *health testing*. The rest of us know this... are you too stupid to figure it out? Ectropian, hair loss, sagging weak rear, stumbling, these things are not healthy. Nothing about them is healthy, and the hip scores of the dog have NOTHING to do with it!

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  6. What is this sense of entitlement that leads "important" show dog owners to believe that their "wins" are ordained of God, and anyone who denies it to them must be punished?

    The vet did not take her dog out back and shoot it when it failed the exam. The dog has not been deregistered and its offspring rounded up for sterilization. The vet just voided a decision by a judge who is part of a collective that have clearly demonstrated over decades that it is not to be trusted with the physical welfare of dogs.

    Apparently, having once passed a vet check, it is divinely predestined that a dog -- which is not a biological creature subject to change -- may never fail such an exam for all eternity.

    Let's do a thought experiment:

    Someone has a top-winning show dog, let's say a French bulldog. She didn't breed the dog, she bought it. And it has many firsts.

    Then information comes to light, and it is proven, that the "Frenchie" is 1/4 Boston Terrier. A mutt. Mongrel. Cur. Of impure blood. The owner didn't know that, but the guilty party confesses, the DNA proves, that the dog is not, by the rules of The Fancy, a French Bulldog.

    The animal would not only have its wins voided, it would be de-registered, as would its progeny. Rendered "worthless" to its owner.

    I can guaranfreakintee you that there would be no "outcry" over the kennel club's action. It would be regarded as inevitable, absolutely necessary, unquestionable. All the vitriol would be directed at the vile mongrelizer who hoodwinked not only buyers, but so many expert judges.

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  7. I don't like the heavier-type Mastino but do feel strongly that the vet checks should be consistent. The vets have been instructed to not DQ on conformation alone - there has to be an aggravating consequence of that conformation; in other words not just ectropion but soreness/infection.

    Kim has emailed me this afternoon. She maintains that this vet DQ'd on conformation alone and therefore broke the rules. The fact that the dog's tears drain laterally rather than normally is probably not sufficient in itself for DQ (as this happens in most cases of ectropion) and she insists that the scarring and hairloss on the jowls has nothing to do with pyoderma or other skin infection. We don't have the vet's side of the story, so it's a hard call.

    As I say above (just edited it to add), my main worry is that, while this dog might be in rude good health, I am uncomfortable about the message it sends out - i.e.. that the heavier type dog is what the show-ring is looking for. Kim of course believes that it shows that it is possible to have health and this kind of type. My worry are the number of fails produced in the attempt to produce a dog with these contrary criteria.

    Jemima

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    1. My worry are the number of fails produced in the attempt to produce a dog with these contrary criteria.

      That would be my worry too....

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    2. Even if the disqualification was in error, it was still a complete overreaction on her part.

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    3. Hmm, so the KC thinks conformation problems are okay and shouldn't be penalised? Surely if ectropian was listed as a disqualifying feature both in the breed standard and vet checks, everybody would be rushing to breed away from it?

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    4. I agree with you Jemima - the health checks MUST be consistent to have any merit at all and it is correct that an 'abnormality' is not sufficient to withhold the BOB. There has to be clear evidence that this 'abnormality' causes or has caused discomfort or pain to the dog.
      I think this is an issue that a lot of people have reservations about, even if they aupport the general principal of the checks. If an issue is sufficient to warrant the with-holding of a Best of Breed award, then it should be apparent to a lay person with no veterinary training (i.e. a judge - which is the rationale behined the checks). It should also, importantly be of such 'severity' that it is indisputable.

      The veterinary checks are not intended as a second judging assesment, they are to ensure that the winners of the High Profile Breeds do not proceed to Group judging displaying conditions affecting their health and welfare. It is a fail safe approach and should, no MUST be a clear and obvious desicion without any subjectivity on the part of the vet. There may be some cases where an issue will be absent one week and evident another, e.g lameness, hence the checks are done on the day. However, it is reasonable to assume that 'scarring' would be a persistant rather than intermittant issue, hence I can understand the confusion (and anger) of exhibitors whose dogs are passed by one vet and failed by another.

      Although I do not know Kim personally and the Mastino wouldn't be on my list of favourite breeds, I have the greatest respect for her approach and determination to improve problems within the breed. Those of you who have never bred dogs seem to be under the impression that they are built on a production line and changing a 'component' is achievable overnight once a problem becomes apparent. Breeding away from an issue often takes several generations and is a significant and heartbreaking undertaking as a balance has to be found to ensure more problems do not creep in while the focus is elsewhere. Surely it must be preferable to have a dog with good hips, heart and thyroid and some slight hairloss due to drool rather than one with dysplasic hips but a clean mouth? Neither falut is desirable but soundness will have a far more profound effect for the animal - and its progeny.

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    5. I do not think Kim's reaction is unreasonable either. Once a dog has failed a vet check then that undoubtedly puts a question mark over it for the rest of its time in the show ring and additionally over its breeding potential. It goes well beyond the receipt of a piece of card and competing at the next level. Future judges may be reluctant to select the dog for BOB on the basis it may fail again - which reflects badly on them. Breeders may be reluctant to use the dog for stud duties, inspite of his good health tests and may turn instead to an inferior dog. Kim is correct to say exhibitors will be nervous to continue competing, especially if dogs of their breed reguarly fail. With entries costing so much they may stay away from shows but continue breeding, without getting the assesment that the show ring provides - perhaps allowing additional problems to appear in the breed. There will be no incentive for breeders to aim to produce dogs that could pass the vet checks if they are not being shown either. If the dog has failed fairly on the guidelines set out by the KC then that is sad but acceptable. However, if it has been failed due to mis-interpretation or the vet being too 'picky' then there is certainly a case for contention.

      I think too that many of you have misinterpretated the reason for Kim's anger at the apparent appathy of Mr Dean. I very much doubt she would have expected him to be able to over-rule the vet's desicion based solely on who she was, but he may have been able to confirm that the desicion had been made correctly based on the written criteria of the vet checks, if there was some doubt that the vet was being over zealous. Clearly some of the checks done at Crufts (with the pen torch) went beyond their remit and it would have been a simple matter for a senior figure at the KC to be on hand to confirm the checks were consistant and adhering to the guidance. No exhibitors should receive preferential treatment at any stage in the judging/checking process. However, when an exhibitor who is playing a pivotal role to assist and develop health improvements within the breed, is so disinfranchised by apathy from the KC then one is left questioning whether the KC has decided to disown rather than support the breeds under scruitiny. I sincerely hope this is not that case as it contradicts everything the KC is supposed to stand for.

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    6. Part 2..

      I do not think Kim's reaction is unreasonable either. Once a dog has failed a vet check then that undoubtedly puts a question mark over it for the rest of its time in the show ring and additionally over its breeding potential. It goes well beyond the receipt of a piece of card and competing at the next level. Future judges may be reluctant to select the dog for BOB on the basis it may fail again - which reflects badly on them. Breeders may be reluctant to use the dog for stud duties, inspite of his good health tests and may turn instead to an inferior dog. Kim is correct to say exhibitors will be nervous to continue competing, especially if dogs of their breed reguarly fail. With entries costing so much they may stay away from shows but continue breeding, without getting the assesment that the show ring provides - perhaps allowing additional problems to appear in the breed. There will be no incentive for breeders to aim to produce dogs that could pass the vet checks if they are not being shown either. If the dog has failed fairly on the guidelines set out by the KC then that is sad but acceptable. However, if it has been failed due to mis-interpretation or the vet being too 'picky' then there is certainly a case for contention.

      I think too that many of you have misinterpretated the reason for Kim's anger at the apparent appathy of Mr Dean. I very much doubt she would have expected him to be able to over-rule the vet's desicion based solely on who she was, but he may have been able to confirm that the desicion had been made correctly based on the written criteria of the vet checks, if there was some doubt that the vet was being over zealous. Clearly some of the checks done at Crufts (with the pen torch) went beyond their remit and it would have been a simple matter for a senior figure at the KC to be on hand to confirm the checks were consistant and adhering to the guidance. No exhibitors should receive preferential treatment at any stage in the judging/checking process. However, when an exhibitor who is playing a pivotal role to assist and develop health improvements within the breed, is so disinfranchised by apathy from the KC then one is left questioning whether the KC has decided to disown rather than support the breeds under scruitiny. I sincerely hope this is not that case as it contradicts everything the KC is supposed to stand for.

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    7. question marks in the eyes of who? Stupid ignorant people?

      >they may stay away from shows but continue breeding, without getting the assesment that the show ring provides - perhaps allowing additional problems to appear in the breed

      Oh how will breeders access their dogs without putting them in the show ring. Outside of the show ring, there is no other ways to access dogs.

      >There will be no incentive for breeders to aim to produce dogs that could pass the vet checks if they are not being shown either.

      Again, you seem to have a pretty low opinion of breeders. I would imagine producing dogs that don't suffer is a pretty strong incentive. But maybe you are right and for many breeders, that is not an incentive.

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  8. "Vet-check inconsistency"? Hah! What about judging inconsistencies? What about judges who ignore breed standards? Inconsistencies are the bellwether of purebred breeding competitions.

    If a breeder fears whoever the vet will be at a show, don't enter that show. That is the philosophy regarding judge-shopping. Now, you've got to vet-shop, too. -- Rod Russell, Orlando, Florida USA

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    1. How can you vet-shop when the vet's identity isn't publicised in advance?

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    2. In that case, I would say one cannot. -- Rod Russell, Orlando, Florida USA

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  9. one check is all that should be done ONE.and one ONLY.. once a dog is certified healthy for the ring.)vets have their prejudices also and cannot be counted upon to be fair)... it has PASSED.perhaps Steve Dean was too busy worrying about banning "dance steps' and how they "demean dogs" to respond to a person who obviously is knowledgeable about their own breed.

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  10. The inconsistency of the various health tests this particular dog underwent just goes to show that the current vet tests performed at shows are as highly subjective as the judging process itself! One man's meat is another man's poison, in other words.
    As a judge, I don't see why a heavy, yet healthy & functional dog conforming to the breed standard shouldn't win over a lighter specimen with worse faults than his, even if I also generally prefer a sportier style in my breed. I certainly wouldn't try to change the goalposts to suit my personal preference. Why on earth should a vet therefore assess his health any differently than a lighter dog's of the same breed? If he doesn't have any discernible health problems, he should pass his vet test: FAIR IS FAIR!
    In view of the glaring subjectivity of the (admittedly rather superficial) health tests performed at shows, perhaps the time has come to simply abandon these in favour of a more comprehensive assessment (mandatory breed-specific health tests and detailed breeding examination of conformation and character) of of all breeding stock prior to registering their progeny and granting pedigrees, as we do in many European countries...

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    1. Well, how about some evidence first that all that extra loose skin and ectropian don't impinge on the dog's quality of life.

      Let's see how well this dog ages compared to the breeder's lighter Vaoila. The more Neos with fewer exaggerations, the more comparisons can be made between the less exaggerated dogs and those which make everybody, outside of Neo World, wince.

      I do think entropian and ectropian should be disqualifying features. Even if they don't cause discomfort every single day, why deliberately breed for something that a lot of the time WILL cause problems/discomfort? Otherwise, the KC's mantra about 'happy, healthy dogs' is a farce. It should really be: 'happy, healthy dogs, so long as health and happiness don't stand in the way of breeding for freakish exaggerations.' But I guess that doesn't have quite the same ring to it.

      If the dog's happiness really was important, Neos would no longer exist.

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  11. Dear Anonymous23 August 2012 17:26,

    If you truly feel that one exam and one only should suffice for the career of the dog, are you then realizing that a failure at the first show means the first show is the last show for that dog's lifetime?

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  12. I do hope the KC don't view these vet-checks as any more than a stop-gap measure, and are busy devising a universal system that will be fair (or at least fairer) to all - such as Jackie Beare suggests. In 90% of breeds that would simply enforce what most breeders are doing anyway. In the current HPB's and maybe one or two others, breeders need steering towards better canine eugenics - as vet-checks aim to do, but in an efficient and even-handed way.
    With modern computers the necessary admin is less laborious and more reliable than ever before, so come on KC, you've started doing the job, now do it properly.

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  13. I really do not understand the hoo ha over this. So a dog failed a vet check one day and passed another. Why wouldnt it?
    Different day, different vet, different conditions, different opinion.

    Ms Slater was delighted to take the bouquets surley she should be happy to take the brickbats?

    I am sure she is a nice person and I am sure she loves her dogs and her breed, but she needs to get over it

    It amazes me how many bredeers have such large egos they cannot take a little critisism. And as for that comment "I told him I wasn’t a bog standard exhibitor and this wasn’t a bog standard dog"

    Get over it sister! What gives you the right to put yourself over everyone else?

    Manwhil Jemmima continues to critisise the kennel club whatever thet do....I notice that the vet escapes critisism

    Some things never change.......

    Carol

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  14. Well, it's really hard to comment without hearing what the vet says. It is entirely possible that the dog had clear eyes one day and red and irritated ones another day if the dog has ectropian then something as simple as a windy or dusty area might put his eyes over the threshold for irritation.

    I really liked Kim's lighter bitch. It does sound like she is a dedicated breeder who wants the best for her dogs. I still think, though, that breeders of these extreme breeds have blinders on when they look at their animals. But if the dog was failed incorrectly, that should still be rectified. Without knowing more about the judge's decision, I suppose it's just hard to say.

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  15. It isn't funny, but it is, in a sad way. "He has all this healthy skin!"

    It puts me in mind of an Invader Zim episode (yes, it's a children's cartoon, bear with me) wherein the alien main character was stealing/absorbing people's organs (cartoon). At the end, a nurse at the school said "Look at this nice healthy boy. He has so many organs!"

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    1. "More organs means more human!"

      Which is strangely appropriate when talking about some breeds, where more hair means more Afghan, and less legs means more Dachshund, and evidently more skin means more Neo.

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  16. * The dog has Ectropion, this is admitted, but then Ms. Slater tries to characterize this as a simple issue of poor conformation. It's not. It's a health and welfare issue, it is not a simple lack of aesthetics!

    * The second factor, I contend, of "scarring and hair loss to jowl" is also a health and welfare issue and NOT an old bite scar as Ms. Slater contends.

    I've outlined the details in my post, Mastino Fails, Owner Wails, but the essence of the argument is this:

    - Blue Mastinos (as all Blue dogs) are susceptible to Color Mutant Alopecia which causes hair loss and scarring.

    - Mastinos have poor immune systems consistent with their small gene pool due to being reconstituted from only a few dogs and the inevitable inbreeding. This can lead to several conditions that would cause inflamed skin, loss of hair, and scaring; e.g. Demodex, Hypothyroidism, etc.

    - Mastinos have grossly excessive amounts of skin on their face which not only causes drooling and the placing of mouth bacteria on to the skin, they also constantly soil their facial skin when they eat and drink. The folds are perfect places to harbor bacteria leading to facial pyoderma, acne, etc.

    I took a screen capture of Ms. Slater's post on Facebook of this dog's face and her response. You can view it on my post. Her interpretation of the situation is not encouraging. She knew she was "pushing the envelope" and "treading the line" with this dog. Sadly she can't see that this breed stepped over that line decades ago and is now firmly in the realm of inhumane and gross exaggeration at the expense of health and well-being of the dogs.

    This dog is not NEAR any such line, it's miles over it. That Ms. Slater thinks the line is close is troubling.

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    1. Annie Macfarlane24 August 2012 19:13

      I agree with you Borderwars. The people responsible for making the breed healthier are normally those involved in making it unhealthy in the first place.

      I've seen and heard the arrogance so often...certain people do have inflated egos, and certain dogs are used to promote those egos.

      I much prefer the bitch she owns.

      Ectropion can cause problems one day...and none the next. The breeders should be breeding dogs without it...simples!

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  17. I posted yesterday but it has been lost....but basically while human vets do the vet checks there will be differences of opinion in borderline cases even if two vets saw the dog on the same day.
    In this case two vets saw the dog on different days. Ectropion can appear worse in a tired dog than a fresh one; the eyes may be redder or have more discharge on some days than others (outdoors, hot day, lots of dust vs air conditioned inside); skin conditions can wax and wane.
    Perhaps the dog did not 'pass with flying colours' the first vet check but just passed. The next time he just fails. He could have just been pipped to first place by another dog on either day; same outcry? Or an acceptance of divergent opinions?
    Health and health testing are also two different side of a coin; a dog can definitley pass a number of health checks and yet have other health issues!
    Unfortunatley someone who has done a lot to improve her breeds health (though maybe not enough yet) is looking like a really bad loser by reacting in this way. The inconsitency in vet checks could have been discussed without her publicly throwing her toys out of the pram.
    VP

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  18. Ummmm..................I just don't get it could someone please explain why some people insist on inflicting pain and suffering on the animals they claim to love and "bust their guts" for? Perhaps those that think this outrageous exaggeration looks nice should carry a couple of bags of sugar off their chins, have their skin chaffing with every move and not be allowed to close their eyes all day and maybe then they may consider how the dog feels rather than how it looks, does anyone have an explanation how this look may benefit the dog? a few light wrinkles may look distinctive but masses of skin folds with lots of loose heavy skin, red raw eyes etc. is just hideously unsightly and dare i say such deformities and defects should have no place in the show ring at all

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  19. Good that vet checks are nibbling away at some of the unhealthy extremes to which the preferences of the show ring have pushed dog breeding. Not surprising that there are differences of opinion and inconsistent results from vet checks.

    Physical appearance is an unbalanced indicator of health. The dramatics of health checks in the show ring shouldn't detract from more holistic approaches. Concern about skin folds and ectropian is a bit like getting dramatic about zits, physique, or low pigmentation in humans. The cult of the blond Aryan, muscle-man, or the anorexic look is a bit like show ring stupidity. These have health implications, but focus on them is not an efficient route to good health. There are many breeds that look fine and suffer severely compromised lifespans due to high frequency of certain diseases.

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  20. Forgive my ignorance but, am I right in thinking from the above text that a dog gets his/her vet check after they win a prize and not before they enter the show ring?

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    1. Yes you're right. The check is when a dog has been declared Best of Breed. The vet is supposed, in the same time and conditions that the judge had (ie, less than 2 minutes per dog and with no additional lighting or equipment), to decide whether that individual has genetic conditions that are hazardous to its own health and that of its offspring. Transient and temporary conditions are not supposed to affect the verdict. Therefore when two separate independent vets have passed an animal it's odd that a third would reject it.

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    2. Not quite true; the vet is not making any reference to 'genetic conditions'. They are only commenting on conformational issues which ON THE DAY are affecting the dogs health. So skin folds themselves are not a fail but skin folds showing infection and inflammation are; ectropion is not an automatic fail but if there is discharge from the eyes and inflammation because of the ectropion the dog fails THAT DAY; stenotic nares are not in themselves a fail but a dog struggling to breath because of them is.
      VP

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    3. Thanks for your replies, I'm quite shocked that it is not the case that every dog that is presented before a judge with the potential to win a ticket, represent the breed "as the best" and win BIS has not passed a vet inspection on that day before being placed. It is my view that this should be a must and that certificates and titles are not awarded until all clinical tests that are available are passed - whilst this I'm sure would disgruntle the folk that like winning prizes with their dogs, I'm sure simple measures such as this would be a great start in helping secure a better future for our dogs - breeding for extremities must become a thing of the past, healthy happy dogs suitable for the family home is an absolute must this is after all where most of them live!

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  21. I think that veterinary examinations at conformation shows are inadequate. If dogs are to be excluded because of unhealthy genetic conditions, they should not be limited to brief, superficial exams of external appearances. Instead, I think that physical exams should be required as a condition for being permitted to compete. Those exams should be breed-specific, but certainly some, such as eye exams, should apply to all breeds.

    If a breed has a widely recognized, widespread genetic health disorder (such as mitral valve disease and/or syringomyelia for the cavalier King Charles spaniel) which should prevent the competing dog from being bred if recognized veterinary-recommended breeding protocols were followed, then all competing dogs in that breed should be examined for those disorders, and if any dog has the disorder, it should not be eligible to compete in the conformation event. Such exams should not be limited to once in a lifetime, unless the disorder is recognized as not having late onset or the likelihood of progressing. Annual exams could be a solution to late onset and progression of the disorders. -- Rod Russell, Orlando, Florida USA

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  22. I will bet that if Kim personally had severe ectropian, she would be seeing an eye surgeon to have it corrected. And if she personally had a medical condition which gave her extra pounds of skin, and a doctor said she could fix it, Kim would go for that fix. In fact, people who have lost large amounts of weight DO get extra skin removed because besides being uncomfortable, it also has health consequences.

    Dogs are not people and we allow (justly) all sorts of things with animals that we do not allow with people. I guess I just would invite Kim to think of how she would feel if a child of hers had medical conditions that resulted in the conditions expressed by the dog, and then the logical follow up is why intentionally create dozens of dogs who suffer from these conditions?

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    1. Excellent point Beth,how true!

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  23. Previous poster said

    "There are many breeds that look fine and suffer severely compromised lifespans due to high frequency of certain diseases."

    Oh YES this comment certainly aplies in Border Terriers.

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  24. Hi Jemima

    I'm unaware of the comment stream as I merely want to interject for a moment. But can I just ask why you only seem to be (and I apologise for using such a strong word but) targeting only the show dogs?

    Why not look into the working dogs too, as from where I'm standing their inbreeding coefficient can't possibly be doing any better, you just seem to have a very biased view point.

    Just saying...

    x

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    1. Some working breeds dog have COI problems but the whole point of a working dog is that it's go to be healthy enough to do the job! Working clumbers and working cockers have both had coi issues as they started rebuilding working lines from a relatively low number fo dogs, yet they have managed to do it and so far to maintain/improve health, temperament and working ability! Popular sire syndrome is alive and well in the working dog world but thankfully the prizes are given to dogs which can actually do the job; the cripples and mental cases don't win so don't breed. The same may not be true when selecting for looks alone (see today GSD clip). Where working spaniel breeders (my area) have been slow is inaccepting that a dog which works well and wins trials could be a carrier of a genetic disease but slow progress is being made with some really nice dogs now being tested both in the field and in the lab!
      VP

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  25. I was waiting for this to happen... Ms Slater is exhibiting perfect cognitive dissonance. She sees the breed through the breed-club rose-tinted spectacles that conveniently filter out what the rest of us see.

    The club clearly shows it doesn't care about the welfare of it's own breed when they can't even get ONE PERSON to run a rescue & welfare concern for Neapolitans in need.

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  26. I totally agree Anonymous. They all bitch about injustices in the show ring but what about the injustice of taking away the only welfare group that cared for and rehomed the abandoned and unwanted neapolitans. It's people like me that DO care about this breed that clear up the breeders mess and care day in and day out treating the sore eyes and infected folds of skin that the breeders "bust a gut" to achieve.

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