From the makers of Pedigree Dogs Exposed, the latest news and views regarding inherited disorders and conformation issues in purebred dogs.
Seriously. It's great that vets can help dogs in need, but technology has become an excuse for breeding dogs to be more and more freakish. Vets should be there to help animals stay as normal as possible, not perpetuate pathological traits and pathological ideals.
A veterinarian after my own heart. I hope the audience heard her message and internalizes it and then bloody-well acts on it. We (veterinarians) are supposed to be advocates for animal welfare and to be the voice for those who have none. We (veterinarians) should be taking the lead on this but our need to remain "popular" with our clientele makes it challenging to speak frankly about this. We need more vets brave enough to speak out to embolden the rest of us to join the chorus. Thank you, Dr. Rusbridge!
Please, let it be soon.
Frightening that this is a "hope" and not already a reality. One has to question the ethics of the Veterinary Bodies which have allowed this to go on for so long without making it a widely publicised issue. Full credit though to those individual vets who have spoken out.
Veterinarians who specialise in pedigree dogs are a small proportion of the profession.The majority of the veterinary profession has no control whatsoever over the breeding of the animals who come through their doors. We may roll our eyes after a client leaves with their new baby bulldog (particularly if we live in a town with an average daily summer temperature of over 100F) but apart from warning the owner about the risks to their dog what can we do? No point in berating them as fools for buying the poor puppy. Very few people ask their vet what they should buy before they do.The health of pedigree dogs is widely researched and discussed in the veterinary profession. The profession knows that popular sires, founder bottlenecks and closed studbooks have turned purebred dogs into "endangered species" and that show breeding has created extreme conformation which endangers health. (not just brachycephalics and GSD's - deep chested breeds and gastric torsion; toys with open fontanelles, giant breeds with bone deformities - pick a breed and you'll find a problem)Jemima has reported on Paul McGreevy's results which the Canine councils claimed supported that their dogs are healthy - but which of course did no such thing.The veterinary profession can provide the evidence but it's up to the public and people like Jemima to keep banging away until the message finally gets out.
Lots of difference between publishing studies and standing up, spreading the message. Especially unambigiously from the main professionally bodies, not simply individuals about the problems. Where is any statement about Crufts for instance?
Good thinking. I'll ask.
I think it is great that a vet has spoken out, but as the post above says, vets are in an unenviable position when an owner brings a dog with deliberately bred-for deformities. The problem with over-used stud dogs and imploding genepools is also not something vets can combat by themselves. All over the main puppy-selling websites there are sales pitches like, "champion-sired" - yet how many would-be buyers would register to use 'MyKC' and check just how busy the sire has been, or even see evidence of siring lots of litters as unethical? It's a real shame that the KC have, in fairness, provided some very useful tools to help decision-making, but in typical KC fashion, they shy away from putting out any clear, unequivocal message that jumping on the stud-bandwaggon is short-sighted and stupid! It's the same with the coefficient of inbreeding: you can work it out using MyKC and even find the breed average, but how many people really care?
Exactly right. That is why it is up to the KC to sort this out. They should refuse to register more than a maximum number of litters from each stud dog. They should refuse to register litters where the COI is too high. It should not be up to the consumer, who is easily mislead by advertising. It should be up to the organisation that sets itself up to protect dogs.Chris R.
It would be really useful if when vets are asked for advice on breeding that instead of just giving a basic once over and pronouncing that the animal is fit to breed that they actually check to see what health tests are required for that particular breed. Information that is readily and quickly available online. Unbelievably there are still some vets who recommend that every Bitch should have a litter.
I attended a KC Roadshow last year and I was absolutely astounded at the sheer arrogance of the members of the panel. I genuinely expected intelligent discussion and evidence that the KC wanted to engage with dog owners around the country and I came away in shock! There was mention of MyKC and the COI tool. "Who has used it?" (several hands were raised) "Liked it?" (we assumed the person nodded) "Good!" That was that, then! The 'Roadshow' was one long brag about how well the KC are doing and any discussion about breed standards was dismissed out of hand. Whether it be dogs that are physically compromised by the way they are bred, or dogs that are registered even though they are non-standard colours, the stock response was, "we provide information and people can make choices". (Good to see they were equally dismissive of the 'the show-ring must dictate the future' and the welfare-first folk - although that was the only bit of impartiality shown by them all evening!)We've seen what the 'provide information and allow the child to make choices' approach has done to our education system. If the KC really wants to work for the benefit of dogs and to safeguard the future of pedigree dogs, it must actually DO something and show some clear leadership. I'm not anti-pedigree dogs if they are healthy and fit for purpose. I'm not anti-crossbreeds if the same applies. I detest the practice of churning out litter after litter of doodles, oodles and woodles in flithly conditions, to satisfy the current craze for crossbreeds. I detest the practice of maintaining breeds with a genepool that would make a Romanov blush and faults in the construction that make them incapable of leading healthy lives. The KC, the Show Community and some of the veterinary, pet-owners and behaviourist communities seem hell-bent on polarising the debate into pedigree vs crossbreed and for most people, I don't believe that is the main issue. The main issue is unhealthy animals being deliberately produced to satisfy either ego and prestige or the bank balance (or both) with little regard for the welfare of the animal, or the effects of producing these animals on the rest of society. Sadly, anyone who makes an observation about the show community is bombarded with accusations like, "I bet you watched that Jemima Harrison's programme! Well, these designer mongrels....blah, blah, blah..." If you dare suggest many of the unhealthy pedigree dogs are bred by hobby breeders and puppy farms, who really don't give a monkey's about anything other than how much they can sell them for and at least (in theory) there is some sort of peer-review within a good breed club, you get, "It's the show people! They are the ones who breed deformed dogs! They started it!"I wish there was a bit more honesty all round. There are some excellent breed clubs, run by sensible people and there are some outfits that are beyond parody because nobody outside the dog world would believe they could be so unprofessional and silly. I wish we could have a series of tv programmes where we have some sensible, intelligent debate and some clear, straightforward guidance for dog owners.Jemima - I'm not knocking what you did with PDE. It was timely and called for. However, I was disappointed with how far it didn't go in some directions. I was disappointed with all the 'filler' footage of dogs suffering and also dissapointed that there was no acknowledgement that many pedigree dogs are bred by puppy farmers and back yard breders who don't have anything to do with the show community. Laying the whole issue at the door of people who show was a little disingenuous, although there are enough 'eccentrics' in that community to make for entertaining television. I agree, in some breeds, the show community are definitely the culprits, but not all.
What did you think was "filler" footage of dogs suffering?
Hello again. I recall quite a bit of footage repeated several times of the poor boxer stumbling around and other shots of dogs in distress. I support your decision to show the effects of hereditary problems, but my personal opinion is that there were too many cut-backs to the footage. I think genuine animal lovers will have been shocked and saddened enough seeing it once and those who didn't care, wouldn't care if they saw the same or similar clips played 100 times.It was a long time ago now, but I remeber shouting at the screen, "okay, we get the point - no need to labour it because as a dog lover, this is really not nice to watch and its starting to feel a bit ghoulish" I'd rather there had been more investigation into where the affected dogs were coming from. Was there a markedly high % bred by 'names' in the show world, or sold through 'puppy supermarkets' that buy in litters from elsewhere? I don't know what the answer would be and (I hope it was clear from my post above) I'm not out to damn or be an apologist for the show world, but I am curious.In an ideal world, I'd like to see the show community leading the way by breeding sound, healthy, long-lived dogs that are capable of doing what they were bred for. I believe anyone who thinks this is happening now, accross all breeds, is living in Cloud Cuckoo Land and I'm delighted yoru blog is pointing this out.On the other hand, I believe there are many breeders of pedigree dogs who do not do recomended health tests; breed too close or select unhealthy dogs to breed from and breed with no regard to temperament that operate completely outside the influence of the show community. Some use the KC as a registration body though.Having said all that - I can only imagine how much goes into putting together a programme like PDE and I'm sure there were other avenues and issues you would have liked to have had more time to delve into!Hope that explains what I meant? I didn't mean 'filler' as in stock footage from an image library. I'd still much rather have a documentary that raises the points you raised, then no documentary at all.My favourite bit was when you showed the photo of the Basset to the show exhibitors. I think documentraies work best when you let people condemn themselves out of their own mouths, rather than relying on repeated use of distressing footage.These are just my opinions though and I'm rambling now, so I'll finish! Thanks for giving me the chance to elaborate anyway. I hope you're not offended by my observations.
It's such a complex problem I think we all need to try to make small progress where we can- lobby locally and nationally for legislation against puppy farms so that raised welfare standards and a willingness to prosecute cut the profits off from these people. A licensing system for all breeding of all dogs- I'm not allowed to breed pigs in my backyard so why do people expect to breed dogs for a bit of pin-money? Education to cut off the market for damaged, inbred dogs and a general level of public disapproval generated by getting the message out. I'm a dog-walker- I chat to anyone who admires my x breed dog. I tell anyone with a x breed how much better are that dog's prospects. I admire pedigree dogs but explain I'd never want one currently because breeding has become so brutal and a real welfare issue. Some owners react well, some not so well. I told a VET with a lovely working cocker last week how I couldn't have another because the their gene pool was about to dry up! She was stunned.