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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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Nominations for 2019 RSPCA Honours Awards now open

News Story 1
 People across the UK are being urged to nominate a standout animal champion for the 2019 RSPCA Honours Awards.

The awards recognise those who have worked tirelessly to improve animal welfare, campaigned on behalf of animals, or shown true bravery. Previous winners include comedian John Bishop, who was awarded Celebrity Animal Champion of the Year, and 11-year-old Lobby Cantwell, who raised more than £1,000 for the charity through mountain climbs and bike rides.

To submit a nomination or find out more about the awards visit the RSPCA website. Nominations will remain open until 4 pm on Friday, March 15.  

Click here for more...
News Shorts
New £1m project to investigate dairy cow lameness

Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) is leading a new £1 million research project to investigate the causes of lameness in dairy cows.

One in three dairy cows are affected by lameness every day in the UK, costing the industry an estimated £250 milion annually.

The project will take three years to complete and is due to finish by November 2021.

Professor Georgios Banos of SRUC commented: “In addition to pain and discomfort to the animal, lameness is associated with decreased milk production and inflated farm costs.

“Among cows raised in the same environment, some become lame while others do not. Understanding the reasons behind this will help us develop targeted preventive practices contributing to enhanced animal welfare and farm profitability.”