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Leonberger provided with Estimated Breeding Values
The new EBVs for the Leonberger will form part of the Kennel Club’s online Mate Select service.

Resource to help tackle hip and elbow dysplasia

The Leonberger has become the latest dog breed to be provided with Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs), an online resource that helps individuals breed away from hip and elbow dysplasia.

EBVs make use of Kennel Club data to link hip and elbow scores for an individual dog, with the available scores of all its relatives. Kennel Club says this provides more accurate measuring genetic risk than by using an individual’s hip scores or elbow grades alone.

The new EBVs for the Leonberger form part of the Kennel Club’s online Mate Select service - a resource that helps people make informed breeding decisions based on data that estimates gentic risk.

“Despite being a numerically small breed, the Leonberger demonstrated high scoring rates, which helped to make the EBVs viable for both traits,” explained Dr Tom Lewis, quantitive geneticist for the Kennel Club. “We hope that anyone breeding pedigree dogs will use Mate Select and that the veterinary community will also encourage breeders to use this resource."

Welcoming the EBV scheme, Sharon Springer, chair of the Leonberger Club of Great Britain said: “As with hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia is an incredibly difficult issue, with many factors involved in the development of a healthy elbow joint, from complex heritability, through to early nutrition, environment, exercise and the risk of early injury to the vulnerable joint.

“EBVs provide us with a much more useful way of assessing the actual genetic risk of breeding from an individual because it factors in the genetic risk of developing a condition throughout the whole line, rather than fixating on one individual alone. With this knowledge, we can make more informed breeding decisions, and prevent the risk of needlessly removing valuable contributions for a wide range of traits from an already declining gene pool.”

EBVs currently exist for 29 breeds including the Airedale Terrier, bearded collie and the Siberian Husky. The Leonberger is the seventh breed to have EBVs for both hip and elbow grades, along with Labrador retrievers, golden retrievers, German shepherds, Rottweilers, Bernese mountain dogs and Newfoundlands.

Image (C) Diane Pearce Collection/The Kennel Club.

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Endangered turtles rescued from smugglers

News Story 1
 A group of endangered turtles have found a new home at London Zoo after being rescued from smugglers.

The four big-headed turtles arrived at the zoo at the end of last year, after smugglers tried to illegally import them to Canada, labelled as toys.

One of the turtles, named Lady Triệu after a Vietnamese warrioress, has moved to a new exhibit in the zoo’s reptile house. She is the only one of her kind in a UK zoo.

Big-headed turtles have such large heads that they cannot pull them back into their shells. To compensate, they have armour plating from head to tail and a very sharp beak to fend off predators. They are ranked number 18 on ZSL’s EDGE of Existence reptile list, which puts threatened species at the forefront of conservation action. Image © ZSL  

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Professor Abdul Rahman announced as keynote speaker for BVA Members’ Day 2019

Celebrated Indian vet and parasitologist Professor Abdul Rahman is set to deliver the keynote speech at BVA Members’ Day 2019.

Professor Rahman will present his insights into the human behaviour challenges of controlling zoonotic disease in his talk: ‘A One Health approach to rabies elimination in Asia’. The talk will outline efforts to gain political support for dog vaccination programmes in China, as well as the need for a collaborative approach between vets, public health, livestock and animal welfare agencies.

The event takes place on Thursday, 19 September at Brangwyn Hall, Swansea. Tickets are free but must be reserved through the BVA website as places are limited.