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WSAVA honors Blue Dog anti-bite campaign

Program founder Dr. Tiny de Keuster will be recognized at the World Congress in Denmark.

WSAVA honors Blue Dog anti-bite campaign
Dr. Tiny de Keuster with the Blue Dog Program mascot.

A multimedia program designed to prevent childhood dog bites has earned the World Small Animal Veterinary Association’s 2017 Global One Health Award.

Animal behaviorist Tiny de Keuster, DVM, DECVBM, founder of the Blue Dog Program, will accept the award in September at the WSAVA World Congress in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Dr. de Keuster thanked the late Ray Butcher, an internationally known animal welfare advocate, along with veterinarians, animal behaviorists, child psychologists and teachers who helped with the program’s development.

“Many people have worked together to create this project,” she said. “It is difficult to single out one individual, but [Butcher] … was an inspiration to us all and did so much for Blue Dog.”

Assistance also came from the Federation of European Companion Animal Veterinary Association, the European Society of Veterinary Clinical Ethology, Dogs Trust and the British Veterinary Behavior Association.

The program offers a variety of educational resources — fact sheets, a DVD, a booklet and the website www.thebluedog.org — for parents, teachers and children.

“Dog bites account for tens of millions of injuries annually, with the highest risk occurring amongst children,” said Michael Day, BVMS, Ph.D., DSc, DECVP, chairman of WSAVA’s One Health Committee. “Blue Dog is an inspiring example of a project that aims to tackle this problem by providing a science-based but practical solution.”

Blue Dog Program is still evolving a decade after its worldwide launch, said Dr. de Keuster, a visiting professor at the University of Ghent in Belgium.

“Moving forward, we still have a great deal to do and are now harnessing the latest technologies to help to bring Blue Dog to an even wider audience,” she said.