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BVA wants vets to become breeding educators

Inherited canine health issues emerge as a top concern of practitioners.

BVA wants vets to become breeding educators
German shepherds, Labrador retrievers and Rottweilers are among the dog breeds most commonly afflicted with hip dysplasia.

British veterinarians consider breeding and hereditary defects to be most pressing animal health and welfare issue, a survey found.

The British Veterinary Association urged its members to speak to clients about responsible dog breeding and purchasing.

“It is more important than ever to screen before breeding dogs,” said BVA President Gudrun Ravetz, BVSc, MRCVS. “Vets in practice regularly see cases of inherited conditions such as hip dysplasia and eye problems that are debilitating and distressing for dogs.”

The BVA survey of 700 veterinarians found that two-thirds of respondents who work in a companion animal practice identified hereditary defects as a major issue.

Britain’s Canine Health Schemes, available at http://bit.ly/2eKiqTh, are used to guide the screening of dogs for inherited conditions such as hip and elbow dysplasia, eye disease and Chiari malformation, an abnormality in the lower part of the brain.

“Dog owners and breeders can use the results to make more informed breeding decisions and help improve the health of breeds susceptible to debilitating or life-limiting inherited conditions,” BVA reported.

The organization also called for the screening of crossbreed dogs such as Labradoodles and Cockerpoos.

“Anyone thinking of breeding from their dog or thinking about buying a puppy should ask their vet about available health schemes and how they can be used to inform their decisions,” Dr. Ravetz said.

The release of the survey was timed to Puppy Awareness Week, which is observed Sept. 4 to 10.