Wednesday 11 May 2016

Thirty years ago, how one brave vet tried to raise the alarm


  1. Remarkable, and the KC mouthing platitudes did what exactly that instead made the dogs even worse?!

    Remarkable again. And very good reading. Im aghast! I know it pertains particularily to the UK but still. I only read this now.

    Caroline Kisko exposed yet again! LOL Still making everything sound like they're on the job.
    Is any of the veterinary establishment still so reliant on funding by the KC one has to wonder.

    Lets hope its a new erra and vets can now make a real change for pedigree dogs in the UK, without the issue sliding into obscurity conveniently yet again!

    1. Of course the veterinary establishment is reliant on the KC, because the explosion in veterinary practices with ever more expensive diagnostic tools has not come about because the KC have been encouraging the breeding of health functional dogs has it?
      As much as I applaud vets for standing up now. There are still a few ethical ones. There are though a lot that will not want to bit the hand that feeds them, especially if they have just invested in a new MRI machine.

    2. Literally cash handed over for research type dependance? I imagine they still are, who else would be receiving it or doing their research in the UK? The politics of it all causing the paralysis that's leaving dogs in the cold.

    3. That's a bit mean about vets, a bit like saying oncologists want cancer to continue because otherwise they'd be out of a job. Most people don't want to see these dogs suffer, and man, wouldn't it be amazing to say I was a vet that was around when we eliminated brachychephalic airway disease. Sadly all this is governed by the kennel clubs. The trouble is the whole thing is wrong, they are breeding for looks not purpose and the stud books are closed. Merging breeds back together-Norfolk and Norwich terrier etc would help but so would some strategic opening of stud books (as with that Dalmatian/pointer cross). Trouble is the kc isn't interested in anything like that so the whole thing just goes round in circles.

    4. No, no, no, it is not like saying oncologists want cancer to continue. Nothing like that. Being brachy is a man-made health issue deliberately bred into dogs and many vets have profited from it's proliferation rather than stand up and say stop breeding dogs like this, but for most vets it was just easier to conform, blame the KC and think aren't I bloody wonderful to treat these poor dogs, and pay the mortgage. Cognitive dissonance is not just something suffered by the KC.
      Most veterinary surgeries have managers now and seminars are given to vets on ways to get pet owners in to surgery more often and how to humanize pets and shame owners in to expensive treatments, that often just prolong suffering and the inevitable for a loved pet. Dogs are now over wormed and over vaccinated. I know vets who are ashamed the way the profession is heading.
      I don't care for the KC, but if a few more of you vets stood up together years ago and expressed your opinions to them the ball might be rolling faster, towards open stud books, but it just happens that a vet was at the helm of the KC for a few years and really did nothing for brachy dogs, but hey, you keep telling yourself that it's all the KC's fault.

    5. Anonymous 19:48 because you vets would never use cute photos of French Bulldog pups that had to be born by c-section to promote the new state of the art surgery just opened

      Now would you?

    6. Anonymous12 May 2016 at 17:50 Thats reasuring for breeders of fucked up dogs!

  2. Bill Edmunds says the KC is the governing body of pedigree dogs. To govern in the Oxford dictionary says 'Rule with authoriy, conduct policy and affairs, curb control, sway, influence, constitute law, rule, principle. Got that wrong then didn't he? All the KC is, is a registering body. If they are a governing body, then why have they not put their 'foot down' to rule that there shuld be no in breeding etc.? Wishful thinking on the KC part I think, they wish they had legislation, but they don't.

    1. The KC will do a U turn on any progress whenever groups such as the Canine Alliance protest. You are right, the KC has no real power although they are the mouthpiece. The real responsibily lies with the breed clubs, something the KC refrains from promoting as they don't want to offend or admit.

  3. Is anything being recommended for the widespread problem of medial patellar luxation, particularly among toy breeds? I've read some stats that said over 1 in 4 Poms has this problem, but that it is also common among pretty much all the small to medium-sized spitz breeds including Keeshonds and American Eskimo Dogs.

    Apparently, the condition is caused by congenital malformations in the hips (but not hip dysplasia). How can breeders work to improve these dogs, particularly Poms, when so many of them have this problem?

    1. I've noticed something else strange about Poms, they seem to have something extraordinary odd going on with their necks. Bent straight backwards like the dog has some kind of broken neck! This along with very short backs and tail curled over, doesn't look right for a dog. Its an extreme, they look like this from tiny. I don't know how badly it affects their health but it must do surely?

  4. I'm glad you posted this, but it depressing that people have been talking about this problem of inbreeding and extreme breeding for decades, without succeeding to change public opinion about it. That doesn't mean we'll never get there, but now I'm even more disappointed in breeders and consumers than before.

  5. A man before his time. Would be interesting to get his 'take' on things now.

  6. So frustrated.

    PHYSICS applied to biology can explain WHY there has been no real progress in bringing change to the K.C orgs.

    We have not only closed pedigrees with distinct standards for each breeds, independent of common standards, but a closed culture in control of these 'breed standards'.

    As mentioned, the 'Common' purpose for dogs in our lives is as a companion and pet. There are standards that need to be met to cater to that need.
    Health. Temperament. longevity.

    BREED standards with out influence by common standards is an encapsuated system. Any influence attempted by Org. members to change is Pi**ing against the wind.

    There is a belief system inherent in the K.Cs that it is unethical to breed any but the known, documented and verifiable standard pedigree.
    It is a belief system. Signed on with membership. That breeding dogs out side that encapsulated system is WRONG.
    That predictability, NOT reliability, is the goal.
    The unknown is the great evil.
    Purity the antidote.
    No science but the predicable science can hold solutions.

    So we are locked in to system that will use health tests and DNA testing before out crossing. And eventualy must.

    The goals of the K.Cs were clear. Improvement.
    Until the Org. decreed that breeding out side of that system and its protocols and standards was not acceptable for members.
    That is not based on science. That is a belief system incompatible with science.

    Even in Orgs today that might not have that ruling written as specificaly, the belief is inherent and actively promoted.
    A pedigree breeder is not a 'Real' pedigree breeder with out that ideology. They are "no better than a Back yard breeder". And will suffer attrition in the encapsulated environment of the K.Cs.

    It is not a shared environment of common goals or standards. It is an environment unto itself. Exclusive.
    An environment can NOT and will not be shared in exclusivity.

    What is excluded is the common environment and any needs or demands- the common standards. There is no responsibility to that.
    Responsibility is only to the Pedigree and an uncommon standard.
    While any responsibility shown out side that system is deemed invalid. Because it breaks the continuity of the predictable pedigree.
    A belief system.

  7. @anonymous 1948 quote "Merging breeds back together-Norfolk and Norwich terrier etc would help"
    Hardly think that will help in this case in fact a very bad move as the Norwich terrier is blighted by CECS (Canine Epiliod Cramping Syndrome) and no test is availble there either So what is the kennel club doing for them i ask!!!

  8. Reading this and the comments you get from breeders makes me think that a problem, not to be rude about it, is that many pedigree dog breeders have a very low level understanding of genetics and perhaps science in general. Instead they just believe whatever is told to them by their slightly cult like breed club about the history of the breed and the necessity of breed purity and 'good lines'. I think the average person on the street would believe that stuff too without a scientific education. Perhaps someone could set up a gcse or a level biology class for KC breeders to help them really grasp the impact of inbreeding, recessive genes, a limited gene pool and the importance of natural selection etc?

    1. The thing is that when these breeds were first set in stone (mostly in the Victorian period) we didn't fully know how genetics worked, so fair enough. But now that we do, there seems to be little excuse to carry on down this road - in fact we can now see why it will lead to these inevitable outcomes of genetically weakened dogs.

    2. FREE, high quality courses on genetics, evolution, and genomics are available on line and are developed by world class universities such as Harvard, Stanford and UK universities such as Glasgow. There are several platforms with MOOCs available in Genetics.

      There are no longer ANY excuses for dog breeders or the KC for that matter not to be accountable about this. The only excuses are apathy..Or, they are not intelligent enough to understand and apply the science (most people can learn anything if sufficiently motivated) and or can't be bothered and or there are NO consequences if they fail to educate themselves that would force them to be uncomfortable, psychologically or physically. It's shocking that dogs are continually suffering in the lack of scientific evidence and lack of accountability by an organisation that considers itself to be the forerunner in canine welfare.

      There are no longer ANY excuses for the KC to not insist that genetics course and applied behavioural science courses in canine behaviour are not mandatory if breeders want to belong to the assured breeders scheme (farce) given the fact they are freely available. The KC are not doing enough. Why do they have an office in central Mayfair for example? Just imagine how much of that rent could go towards genuine welfare issues.

      Here are a list of courses, and some of them are FREE, in genetics and dog cognition. All these courses will give you CPD certificates too:

      You can go to town on Khan academy - population genetics!

      No more excuses. I demand to see evidence of education in genetics from dog breeders who claim to be KC Assured Breeders.
      Don't you?

    3. It doesn't seem to help though.
      Quoting facts and figures is easy for some. Understanding what it means and how that affects decisions seems to be another matter.

      You can quote population genetics and will be told 'Ah, but do realize thats for beans?'

      Theres little understanding that biology is part of physics. That gentics is ruled by physics and not just random choice.
      Theres an assumption that species affects on genetics is variable.
      Genetics vary with species, yes. But not because the species affects genetics, but because genetics affects species.

      The whole pedigree system operates 'bass akwards'.
      It tells us that the cart comes before the horse.

      A belief the value has to come before the dog.
      The dog IS the value. The purpose is the dog.

      'Values' are non existent with out purpose. They don't give purpose ( a belief promoted by K.C constitution by insisting pedigree comes before a dog worth breeding )

      Values only come about in support of a purpose. But we are taught values ARE the purpose. That our values give us purpose.

      Wrong. Values are promoted only when they can support a common purpose.

      So we loose value when there is no common purpose.

    4. """There's an assumption that species affects on genetics is variable.""""
      I used to think this but Im beginning to think a lot of breeders do it simply because they don't think animals matter as much as humans. Supposed dog lovers. Different moral standards for different species. So what, take a few short cuts to the detriment of the animal, they can't complain?! Right.

      The logic that we are all animals might have been lost on a great many. However I don't think this could possibly be true in the 21st Century except for the most extreme of polarised societies or until the good old cognitive dissonance starts kicking in.

      In this regard a lot could depend on education of course and how we've been taught. That would read "21st Century AD" of course.

      Lying to children and young adults for religious beliefs is still deemed fully acceptable, even in one the largest Western nations in the world, notably America. Similar beliefs exist elsewhere, in many of the perhaps more primitive societies for example . Who knows what affects this might have on their collective world view as adults even today.

      I will consider it a renaissance in them parts of the world when Disney does a take on The Origin Of Species.

    5. It's not really a scientific problem at its heart. No amount of molecular biology, genetics, biomechanics will sort this problem.

      The problem is social. We have come to believe that a dog with provenance is more valuable than the same dog without provenance. The best dogs have a provenance of a closed gene pool. And of those, the very very best have been awarded a cheap scrap of fabric and maybe a plate or cup of the very lowest material quality to show that their owners have the approval of others. The criteria by which these worthless scraps are awarded are largely arbitrary and take no regard of the health, well-being, mental soundness, temperament, longevity or practical usefulness of the dog in question.

      Take away these warped priorities and the problem resolves itself pretty darn quickly -- there's no more incentive to keep an untenable situation going. And guess what? There'll still be purpose-bred dogs just as there long have and long will be.

    6. The 'whys' of social problems still come down to science. Physic is discovering that more each day.

      The warped priorities have a source. We operate on the messages we receive.
      And guess what? If that message is that dogs have no purpose in common society, we will errode any purpose till there are NOT purpose bred dogs.
      Not for common Man anyway

      Seems to be having effect. Look.

    7. Physics says if you don't recognize your environment, responsibility is lost.

      You don't see denial of responsibility? Blaming the environment and restricting that instead?

  9. Do you think in the long run, the current trend of Rescues insisting Dogs be spayed/neutered is going to do damage as healthy dogs are being removed from the gene pool?

    We have a rescue GSD who at 10+ could put many younger dogs to shame. It's sad his 'healthy' genes will now be removed whilst the rather iffy ones from Breeders will remain.

    1. Yes its sounds like some kind of conspiracy against non pedigree dogs doesn't it?

      There's very little stopping anyone breeding what they like, though. It does mean of course that shelter dogs in some countries are mostly excluded, though. One could always try and make a case for them (if spotted in time) that the dog would be of benefit to a specific breeding programme. How successful that would always be I don't know.

      I do personaly know of at least one very well known dog with no pedigree that was rescued from the RSPCA intact. He was then registered as normal with the breed association and then went on to be successfully appraised as a stud dog in the stud book registry after his progeny were carefully appraised and deemed OK. Outside of any KCs of course. The wagging tongues were very quickly hushed when the character and quality of his progeny were appraised, at least three dogs and some bitches (not sure how many now) went on to be registered in the stud book. All very outgoing athletic useful happy family and serious homestead guardian dogs built like tanks.

      He was badly abused in his former home so he always tended to be stand offish and very aggressive towards everyone making any advances. All except to his dear owner a small, strong, wiry and skinny rather determined Scottish woman whose heart he stole. This allowed her to see his worth while working in the shelter where he was discovered. She was the only one brave enough to enter and clean his run with him still in it. I think the vet might have postponed the deed as a result or was considering euthanasia.

      So yes perhaps a fair number of dogs worthy of any gene pool are lost this way!

  10. Would it be possible to post the article as a .pdf or give a link to some other format. I find it very hard to read, and magnifying it produces blur. Thank

  11. I think it shows that culturaly, we are not choosing dogs to breed based on demonstrated values inherent in the dog.
    How capable the dog is to its purpose.

    Instead its dependent on where the dog comes from.( its environment) Whats certifiably known of its back ground environment and where its going TO.

    We are making choices based on environment and not values to purpose.

    Instead of improving the environment dogs are bred and kept in through insisting we all bear equal responsibility to common values,
    we've all to some degree been influenced by the K.Cs belief system that values should depend on environment.

    That those out side the K.C system CAN'T be responsible.
    Should not be making decisions on what has value or not.

    The belief that the dog in in front of us is not where the value lies, but in its certifiable predictability.

  12. Ian, I have thought the same thing. I have seen many good, healthy, non exaggerated examples of many breeds(that probably have never been near a show ring!) that have been spayed/neutered - probably on veterinary advice on the first visit to the vet. Maybe if we followed Norway's example and only neutered for legitimate health reasons , there would be a wider gene pool of healthy, unexaggerated dogs of proper type - to the eye and not a wrotten, meant to say written, but rotten probably describes most breed standards! I'm of the opinion that most dogs in this country are neutered for the owners convenience. If you can't cope with a dog in it's natural state, maybe you shouldn't have one.

  13. Iain, I was thinking the same thing. I see many good, healthy, unexaggerated examples of breeds that have been spayed/neutered (most that have probably never been near a show) and thought what a loss they were to the gene pool of the breed. These dogs I would say were good examples of their breeds (to my eyes) whatever the wrotten, meant to say written, but rotten probably describes most written breed standards. Maybe we should follow Norway's example and only spay/neuter for legitimate health reasons, not human convenience or at the advice of the vet, usually on the first consultation with a puppy! if you can't cope with a dog in it's natural state, maybe you shouldn't have a dog.

  14. I have another idea. What breeders want from their pedigree puppies is predictability of temperament and appearance, so 'you know what you are getting' with that breed, etc etc. You must have seen on the news recently that there's a growing trend for cloning your pet dog when they die so youcan have another just the same. Why not, in all seriousness, take the best example of a dog from each breed and produce infinite clones of it in the lab? No more breeding. No more new genetic health problems, you would know exactly what you were getting from your dalmation for example. Perfect breed type would be preserved and you would save some breeds that are going to go extinct if they continue to inbreed to produce puppies. Isn't that what breeders want? Meanwhile all the mutts can go about happily interbreeding.

  15. Yea some real idiots have cloned their pets, one woman lost her boxer I think it was due to cancer and she had it cloned. The likelihood of the clone also dying early from cancer are quite high.

    Cloning unfortunately is a bit of a welfare issue itself at the moment, cant remember exactly but it wasn't very pleasant for the bitches involved. Think its quite wasteful of life to produce one successful litter.

    A friend of mine cloned her horse when it was quite old already, three of the foals died after a few weeks of birth until she got herself a clone viable enough to live. It turned out a chestnut, the original was grey?? It was a stallion, why she didn't just breed with it when it was able I don't know. She claimed it was because it was always in training and competition. Anyway the clone is not much like the original in character and cost at least thirty times more.

    1. Of course not, character is formed by experiences as much as by genetics. But this might be the only way to preserve the sacred "breed type" without inbreeding a breed into extinction. I wonder what the Kennel Club would think??

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  17. Well going on the KC past performance I would think they would take the same stand as the Jockey Club which strictly outlaws cloned Thoroughbreds from being registered. They also do not allow artificial insemination or embryo transfer. The statement issued on their feelings about cloning was a resounding "no, so there" attitude.

    " The Jockey Club, as an organisation dedicated to the improvement of Thoroughbred racing and breeding, believes that the short- and long-term welfare of the sport of Thoroughbred racing and the Thoroughbred breed are best served by the current rules."

    Of course the Thoroughbred as a breed is in dire need of some outside help, its frame in particular is not quite up to the speed generated by the selected muscle mass and inbreeding is a problem just amongst a few examples. So we have a highly accident, breakdown prone inbred animal.

    AI is accepted by the KC or how could bulldogs be born and be able to compete, however I would think they would consider cloning cheating, pure and simple.

    The only positive about ruling against A1 besides economics, supply and demand, is that it diminishes the gene pool substantially, however of course as expected it's not banned by the KC!

    They seem rather content with the state of inbreeding in pedigree dogs otherwise and so probably wouldn't accept the argument that it would duplicate healthy animals instead of breeders producing unhealthy ones naturally. Who knows maybe there are cloned dogs winning already, their registration procedure is not exactly fool proof.

    Cloning is certainly not a way to increase the gene pool however, all cloned dogs would also have to be desexed.

    1. Why would they have to be desexed?

    2. Well if they're not the gene pool would become even more dangerously impoverished. Each cloned animal has exactly the same genes as its donor.

    3. Oh, I know what a clone means.

      The clones wouldn't necessarily make the gene pool more impoverished. Likely the only people who would waste the money on cloning would be the fanatical show breeders desperate for ribbons and the people who erroneously believe that a clone of their animal will be like the original.

      Maybe the show dogs will all become clones one day but show dogs make up a tiny percentage of the overall population. No one is going to sell cloned dogs as pets to the general public (it would be a huge waste of money for a start). There would still be backyard breeders and puppy mills with dogs with more genetic diversity than seen in show dogs. Also there would still be all the reputable breeders who aren't idiotic enough to start cloning their dogs. The few breeders that do keep breeding from their clones probably won't affect the general pet population that much.

    4. Well popular sire syndrome is already incredibly damaging to the gene pool of many pedigree dogs even with "puppy mills" and "backyard breeders" in numbers!

      "Popular clone syndrome" could mean the end of a breed.

      Many breeds don't have working dog populations with genetically sound numbers to fall back on, many many breeds are not bred by "backyard breeders" or puppy mills. These kind of breeders usually breed the more popular common, 'easier' and easily available breeds. A lot of breeds are only bred by showing owners etc etc.

      Take the otterhound, if you cloned a litter from one outstanding dog (if you could find it) and produced seven outstanding males, the breed would be worse off by seven outstanding males because they are genetically identical as you already understand. You could just keep on cloning though Im not sure of the consequences of doing so, think it becomes detrimental, least in plants it does, you start getting undesirable mutations, deformities like misshapen petals, undesirble colour mutations, streaks flecks, lack of vigour etc.

      Technically the process is getting easier and easier. Who would've though so many of our plants today for example would be clones. It's also become a vital industry producing virus free plants for one of the many examples. Using in-vitro merristem culture/cloning, food crops all sorts of applications.

      I wouldn't say our pets wont all be clones in the future because as we advance the tech they very well might end up being exactly that.