New veterinary checks introduced at Crufts 2012 have been welcomed by the British Veterinary Association as “a positive step by the Kennel Club to improve dog health and welfare in the show ring”.
New veterinary checks introduced at Crufts 2012 have been welcomed by the British Veterinary Association (BVA) as “a positive step by the Kennel Club to improve dog health and welfare in the show ring”.
Veterinary checks of the Best of Breed (BoB) winners in each of the 15 high profile breeds were introduced at Crufts, which took place at the Birmingham NEC from March 8-11, 2012.
The initiative, which saw six dogs removed from the competition, will continue at all championship dog shows from now on.
Vets were asked to look specifically for conditions related to externally visible eye disease, lameness, skin disorders and breathing difficulty – the four main areas where clinical signs are commonly associated with the structure (conformation) of the high profile breeds.
Although the Kennel Club believes that the reason each individual dog failed the check is a private matter, it confirmed that the majority of the dogs did not pass the veterinary check due to eye related symptoms (reported by some sources to be signs of ectropion with secondary conjunctivitis).
The 6 high profile BoBs that failed their veterinary checks and were not represented in the group judging were:
Kennel Club chairman, Prof Steve Dean, said: “I am aware some exhibitors were disappointed about those breeds that did not pass but this should not detract from the very real progress several of these breeds have made in improving breed health.
“The trend noted with eye problems is perhaps a signal that across all breeds we need to pay particular attention, when breeding, to the health of the canine eye to ensure dogs have the best chance of living life with good vision, free of discomfort.”
Of the veterinary checks, BVA past-president Harvey Locke said: “This initiative by the Kennel Club is to be applauded. It is a huge step forward in tackling the health problems in pedigree dogs as a result of their exaggerated conformation.
“The KC deserves the support of the veterinary profession and dog welfare organisations at this time.”
Mr Locke also paid tribute to the two BVA members who were chosen to carry out the veterinary checks during the show, saying they had “performed their duties in a highly professional manner” and had “set an example to the show vets” who will carry out these checks at future championship shows.
He concluded: “What has happened at Crufts this year should act as a catalyst for all vets in practice: Firstly, to be more proactive in educating their breeder and owner clients on the health consequences of breeding dogs for extreme conformation. And secondly, to ensure that any caesarean sections and surgical procedures to correct conformation problems performed on KC-registered dogs are reported to the KC.”
- A full Q&A on the new veterinary checks is available on the Kennel Club website