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DNA testing scheme for miniature poodles approved
OC in miniature poodles is characterised by abnormalities in cartilage and bone development.

Scheme tests for osteochondrodysplasia

A new DNA testing scheme for osteochondrodysplasia (OC) in the miniature poodle has been launched by the Kennel Club following consultation with the breed’s health coordinator.

OC in miniature poodles is characterised by abnormalities in cartilage and bone development, resulting in severe dwarfism. Symptoms include stunted growth and abnormal movement in puppies as young as three weeks old.

Because the joints become very stiff, many puppies affected by OC are euthanised. While joint stiffness lessens as the dog matures, mobility can remain restricted owing to physical deformities. Adult dogs affected by OC are also at higher risk of osteoarthritis.

In a press release, the Kennel Club said that it constantly reviews DNA testing schemes in conjunction with breed clubs to ensure that breeders are supported in their decisions.

“The Kennel Club works alongside breed clubs and breed health coordinators in a collaborative effort to improve the health of pedigree dogs and is happy to accommodate a club's request to add a new DNA test to its lists,” a spokesperson said. “A formal request from the breed's health coordinator or a majority request from the breed clubs is normally required to do this.”

The Kennel Club said that test results will be added to the dog’s registration details which will trigger the publication of the result in the next available Breed Records Supplement.

The results will then appear on any new registration certificate issued for the dog and on the registration certificates of any future progeny of the dog. They will also appear on the Health Test Results Finder on the Kennel Club website.

Image (C) Diane Pearce/Kennel Club.

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RSPCA braced for ‘hectic hedgehog month’

News Story 1
 The RSPCA says that it is bracing itself for a ‘hectic hedgehog month’ after calls to the charity about the creatures peaked this time last year.

More than 10,000 calls about hedgehogs were made to the RSPCA’s national helpline in 2018, 1,867 of which were in July. This compares with just 133 calls received in February of the same year.

Evie Button, the RSPCA’s scientific officer, said: “July is our busiest month for hedgehogs. Not only do calls about hedgehogs peak, but so do admissions to our four wildlife centres as members of the public and our own officers bring in orphaned, sick or injured animals for treatment and rehabilitation.” 

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A sample of these were tested at the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute, resulting in the detection of African swine fever DNA fragments.

DAERA said that while the discovery does not pose a significant threat to Northern Ireland’s animal health status, it underlines the importance of controls placed on personal imports of meat and dairy products. Holidaymakers travelling overseas are being reminded not to bring any animal or plant products back home.