Today’s Veterinary Business Staff
The World Small Animal Veterinary Association is urging veterinarians and breeders to make full use of genetic testing and counseling in an effort to reduce the frequency of hereditary diseases in cats and dogs.
A position statement prepared by WSAVA’s Hereditary Disease Committee and posted at http://bit.ly/2RhVD2I takes issue with “extreme conformations” popular with breeders and pet owners. These include flat faces in pugs and French bulldogs and some cat breeds as well as non-traditional skin folds and body sizes, all of which can lead to serious health problems and suffering, WSAVA stated.
The position paper highlights the importance of health-conscious breeding.
“The WSAVA calls on veterinarians and breeders to ensure that criteria used for the selection of breeding animals include the ability to reproduce naturally and exclude anatomical characteristics that predispose to hereditary disease,” the position paper noted.
“The WSAVA also calls on breeders to utilize pre-breeding health screening to select animals that are likely to produce healthy offspring,” the paper added.
The British Veterinary Association reported in 2017 that nearly half of the veterinarians surveyed thought that conformational deformities and pedigree breeding were major animal welfare concerns.
The American Veterinary Medical Association encourages responsible pet breeding. The organization’s official policy reads in part: “The AVMA supports research in genetic and inherited disorders to better educate the profession and breeders on identifying and minimizing inherited disorders in companion animal breeding programs. … The AVMA also encourages veterinarians to educate breeders, companion animal owners and the public on the responsibilities involved with breeding and selecting companion animals.”