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New heart scheme for Cavaliers
Assessments will initially be carried out in groups by cardiologists, who will then grade the dogs using a pre-defined protocol.
Grading system to reduce risk of MVD

A new heart scheme has been launched to reduce the occurrence of mitral valve disease (MVD) in Cavalier King Charles spaniels.

The scheme has been launched by the Kennel Club, in collaboration with the Veterinary Cardiovascular Society (VCS) and the breed clubs.

Dogs will be assessed using a grading system that advises owners if their dog is affected by heart disease, and provides guidance to breeders on how to reduce the risk of producing affected puppies.

Assessments will initially be carried out in groups by cardiologists, who will then grade the dogs using a pre-defined protocol.

Hannah Stephenson, a cardiologist at VCS said: “With heart problems being the most prevalent condition in Cavaliers - Mitral Valve Disease is a condition that we see on a daily basis - the scheme is a great step forwards in improving the health of these dogs.

“Obtaining and centralising the data through this scheme will also go a long way in protecting the health of the breed and contributing to future research.”

Bill Lambert, senior health and welfare manager at the Kennel Club, added: “Developing the scheme collaboratively with the VCS and the breed club was crucial and we look forward to working alongside breeders, who we encourage to utilise and support the scheme.

“It is these people who are making the important decisions that determine the breed’s future and our job as the Kennel Club is to support them and offer them the tools to do this in a way that will improve the breed’s health.”

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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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ASF traces found in seized meat at NI airport

More than 300kg of illegal meat and dairy products were seized at Northern Ireland’s airports in June, DAERA has revealed.

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.