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Dog breeders urged to use pre-mating health tests
Popular Labrador crossbreeds were identified as being frequently affected by hip and elbow dysplasia.
Test awareness especially low among owners of ‘designer crossbreeds’  

Dog breeders and owners are being urged to speak to their vet about pre-mating health tests as new figures show many clients with ‘designer crossbreeds’ or pedigrees are unaware of the available schemes.

Results from BVA’s Voice of the Veterinary Profession survey show that 70 per cent of small animal vets often or always see puppies without the relevant pre-mating screening tests, such as the Canine Health Schemes. Awareness of the tests is exceptionally low among owners of ‘designer crossbreeds’, with 77 per cent of vets reporting that many owners have not even heard of the tests.

The figures come at the start of Canine Health Schemes Month which aims to raise awareness of the important part these schemes can play in improving canine health. BVA junior vice president Daniella Dos Santos commented:

“Vets in practice regularly see cases of debilitating and distressing inherited conditions, but we know that many people may wrongly believe these tests are only relevant for Kennel Club-registered pedigrees and that crossbreed owners may be especially unaware of the dangers.

"Pre-mating screening helps breeders make the best possible choices as part of a responsible breeding programme. If we want to reduce the suffering caused by painful inherited diseases, then these tests are key.

“Your local vet and the veterinary team are perfectly placed to have conversations about pre-mating tests such as the Canine Health Schemes. Prospective puppy buyers can also do their bit for dog health by using the Puppy Contract to ensure they’re buying from a responsible breeder.”

BVA’s Voice of the Veterinary Profession survey Autumn 2018 shows 90 per cent of companion animal vets see cases of lameness of joint pain related to hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia every month. The most commonly reported breeds with both conditions are Labradors, with popular Labrador crossbreeds also identified as frequently affected.

The survey also reveals that a third of vets see incidents of hereditary eye conditions at least once a month. An average of 11 cases treated per year most commonly involved spaniels and collies. 

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Huge spike in ‘designer’ dogs going into rescue

News Story 1
 The RSPCA has reported a huge spike in the number of ‘designer’ dogs arriving into its care.

Figures published by the charity show there has been a 517 per cent increase in the number of French bulldogs arriving into its kennels. During that time, the charity has also seen an increase in dachshunds, chihuahuas, and crossbreeds.

RSPCA dog welfare expert Lisa Hens said: “We know that the breeds of dog coming into our care often reflect the trends in dog ownership in the wider world and, at the moment, it doesn’t get more trendy than ‘designer’ dogs like French bulldogs and Dachshunds."


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The guidance includes every step - from the presentation of sheep and facilities for shearing, through to using a contractor and shearers - and aims to ensure shearing is carried out safely, efficiently and with high standards of animal welfare.

Guide co-author Jill Hewitt from the NAAC said: “Shearing is a professional job that takes significant skill. Shearers take their responsibility to protect animal welfare very seriously and it will be a positive step to remind everyone of the importance of working together.’