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Hip and elbow screening improves long-term dog health, study finds
"Breeders are increasingly choosing breeding stock with better scores," Dr Tom Lews, genetics research manager at the Kennel Club.

Kennel Club research shows schemes are being used more widely 

Kennel Club research has revealed a significant improvement in hip and elbow scores for some of the UK’s most commonly health-screened dog breeds.

The study, published in the journal Frontiers, assessed the importance of hip and elbow screening on the long-term health of dogs. Researchers analysed data from six commonly-screened breeds (Labrador retriever, golden retriever, German shepherd, rottweiler, Bernese mountain dog and Newfoundland).

Scientists found that not only have the proportion of dogs screened for hip and elbow dysplasia increased over time but that the grades and scores of dogs used for breeding have also been improving. In most of the reviewed breeds, there was a marked decline in severe hip scores and a more modest, but still notable, decline in severe elbow scores.

Researchers also looked at from Estimated Breeding Values (a resource that links hip scores and elbow grades to family/pedigree data) and found that in the six breeds studied, recent generations of dogs are genetically at a lower risk of dysplasia than dogs bred 30 years ago.

“Our research shows that these screening schemes have become more widely used, resulting in fewer puppies being born from untested parents,” explained Dr Tom Lewis, quantitative geneticist and genetics research manager at the Kennel Club.

“Breeders are increasingly choosing breeding stock with better scores and this careful consideration is significantly helping to improve dog health, demonstrating the significant positive impact that responsible breeders can have, and have had, on the health of dogs.”

Bill Lambert, senior health and welfare manager at the Kennel Club added: “The Kennel Club closely collaborates with breed clubs, vets and researchers as part of our Breed Health and Conservation Plans project which aims to identify, prioritise and tackle inherited breed-specific diseases. 

“This research will be used to help the six breeds studied develop strategies for continuing to reduce the risk of dysplasia in future generations and also demonstrates to other breeds – particularly those that are currently trying to tackle hip and elbow dysplasia – how their concentrated efforts can make a significant difference to dog health and welfare.”

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Rare chimp birth announced at Edinburgh Zoo

News Story 1
 The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) welcomed the birth of a critically endangered western chimpanzee on Monday 3 February at Edinburgh Zoo's Budongo Trail.

The baby girl will be named in the coming days through a public vote, and staff will carry out a paternity test during its first health check to determine the father.

Mother Heleen's first infant, Velu, was born in 2014, making this new baby only the second chimpanzee born in Scotland for more than 20 years.

Budongo Trail team leader Donald Gow said: "While we celebrate every birth, this one is particularly special because our new arrival is a critically endangered Western chimpanzee, a rare subspecies of chimpanzee."

Image (c) RZSS/Donald Gow. 

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BEVA offering free membership to vet students

The British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) is offering free membership to veterinary students. As part of a new initiative with the aim of encouraging more veterinary professionals into equine practice.

According to BEVA, less than one in ten veterinary students choose to work in equine practice. The association hopes that this initiative will provide insight into the field and the benefits of a career in equine medicine.

Benefits of membership include:
▪ access to a network of nearly 3,000 members
▪ special student rates to attend BEVA Congress
▪ online access to BEVA's Equine Veterinary Education (EVE) journal
▪ free access to the association's online learning platform
▪ free access to BEVA's practical veterinary apps
▪ exclusive discounts on a range of things from cinema tickets to grocery shopping.

BEVA will be releasing a series of short videos over the next few months from BEVA Council members, explaining what inspired them to work in equine practice.

Image (c) BEVA.