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    April 30th, 2015Laura P (Editor)Articles

    The 2015 General Election is now just one week away, and the outcome looks as uncertain as ever. It has never been more important for the British people to use their votes to support the issues that matter to them.

    For us here at Dogs In The News, the important issues are, well, those which affect dogs! From puppy farming to pet passports, dog control orders to compulsory microchipping; we’ve reported on them all since we launched our service shortly after the coalition formed in 2010. So we thought we’d help you decide who to vote for on May 7th by outlining all the parties’ key canine policies.

    As ever, DITN aims to remain neutral – we’re not endorsing any one party, but rather aiming to provide a summary of the election promises which they have made.  (We also wanted to tell you what sort of dog each of the party leaders favoured, but unfortunately all of them are non-dog owners; a sad commentary on the state of UK politics, if you ask us!)

    Conservatives

    The Tories have pledged to hold a free vote to repeal the ban on hunting with dogs, and will protect traditional country pursuits such as shooting. They have stated that they will “encourage other countries to follow the EU’s lead in banning animal testing for cosmetics”. They said they will “protect animal welfare”, but were not specific about how.

    Liberal Democrats

    The Lib Dems would also seek to minimise the use of animals (including Beagles) in scientific experiments. They have pledged to “review the rules surrounding the sale of pets to ensure they promote responsible breeding”.

    Labour

    Labour has specifically produced a mini-manifesto on animal welfare issues. In it they have promised to uphold the hunting ban of 2004, and to work to prevent non-target animals (including dogs) becoming trapped in hunting snares. They have pledged to “improve the protection of dogs” by reviewing legislation concerning the breeding and selling of puppies, and by tackling illegal puppy trafficking from Ireland and the rest of Europe.

    Green

    The Green party, not surprisingly, has by far the most comprehensive set of proposals affecting dogs. They have dedicated 2 pages of their manifesto to measures aimed at protecting welfare, which includes a pledge to ban the use of electric shock collars and to take action on dog fighting. They want to regulate the pet trade and to see a reform of breeding practices (including controls on breeding which creates “exaggerated characteristics likely to cause suffering”). They have pledged to end the use of dogs in non-medical experiments and military training, and undertake a formal review of the Greyhound racing industry. They would also extend the hunting ban to cover all hunting of animals for sport.

    UK Independence Party 

    UKIP are against the influx of European breeds, including French Bulldogs, Hungarian Vizslas and German Shepherds, which are pushing our native British breeds out of fashion… Just kidding!

    UKIP is another party which is for the reduction in animal vivisection, and it has said that it would introduce tougher jail sentences for people convicted of animal cruelty.

     

    Plaid Cymru

    This party’s only comments about animals are that they will “support the introduction of a European-level Animal Welfare Commissioner” and “support adoption at all government levels of the new and comprehensive Animal Welfare law to end animal cruelty”.

    SNP

    Responsibility for animal welfare in Scotland is devolved to the Scottish Parliament.

    Other 

    If animal welfare is really your hot button issue, you can always vote for the Animal Welfare Party – they have four candidates in the running.  The website Votes for Animals should also have some useful information as to how your current MP has voted on animal issues in the past.

    Or, if you live in South Thanet, you can vote for Al Murray’s Free United Kingdom Party, which unveiled just 5 policies on it’s fag-packet manifesto, one of which was “Free dogs for all!”

    If you’re still undecided as to who to vote for, try a site such as Vote for Policies, which asks you a series of questions to determine which party best matches your political ideologies.

    However you chose to vote on Thursday, we hope you have found this article informative. We’d love to know which canine issues matter most to you – please leave a comment below. 

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    March 24th, 2015Laura P (Editor)Articles

    The Kennel Club and the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) have joined forces to make countryside dog walks safer and more stress free for both pet dogs and farm animals, by creating new footpath signs which encourage responsible dog ownership, particularly when around livestock.

    Photo credit: onEdition

    Photo credit: onEdition

    The signs were launched at the world’s biggest dog event, Crufts, and they mark a new partnership between the Kennel Club and NFU that aims to help dog owners to enjoy the UK’s landscapes while avoiding causing unintentional injury or distress to farm animals such as sheep and cattle.

    The signs reinforce the year-round need to keep dogs on leads around livestock and emphasise that it is safer to release a dog if threatened by inquisitive cattle, so that walkers and dogs can get to safety separately.

    In light of recent research carried out by the University of Central Lancashire, which found that many otherwise responsible dog owners do not realise the need to pick up dog waste in the countryside or that they can put bagged dog waste in any public waste bin, the signs also help walkers understand that leaving dog waste where animals graze can cause cattle to abort their calves and lead to brain damage or death in sheep.

    Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: “Government figures show that dogs are taken on half of all countryside visits, and in the vast majority of cases these walks are problem free for dog owners and farmers alike.

    “It is important for dog owners to be aware of the need to put their dog on a lead at certain times and to always pick up their dog’s waste on farmland, to make sure that everyone can continue enjoying the countryside safely.

    “We are proud to be working with the NFU on this new partnership, which will help walkers in the countryside make good choices about what they can do with their mdogs and we are looking forward to the new signage being well used.”

    NFU livestock board chairman, Charles Sercombe, a sheep farmer from Leicestershire, said:  “The NFU is delighted to partner with the Kennel Club for the first time to encourage responsible dog walking in the countryside. These signs are designed to provide guidance and inform the public of the risks and dangers of walking their pets across farmland.

    “Now spring is here we tend to see an increase in the number of people out walking their dogs. But it’s important to remember that farms are working environments so please be aware of your surroundings.

    “The advice is, if you have a dog with you keep it close by your side and under control. Where there are cows and sheep put it on a short lead. Remember, cows are inquisitive and may come to investigate, if you feel threatened walk calmly towards the field boundary and let your dog go to allow it to run to safety.”

    More information on all of the Kennel Club’s activity can be found at www.thekennelclub.org.uk and information on the National Farmers’ Union is available at www.nfuonline.com.

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    March 14th, 2015Laura P (Editor)Articles

    It’s Pet Theft Awareness Week 2015. The thought of having your pet stolen probably ranks high on the list of any dog owner’s worst nightmares. And, while it’s true that pet theft is on the rise, and also true that pet theft could affect anyone, there are many steps you can take to safeguard your dogs.

    1) Get your dog microchipped

    If you are in the 40% of dog owners who have not already taken this precaution, we cannot stress this point enough. Microchipping will be compulsory from April 2016 in England anyway, so what’s stopping you?

    If it’s the cost, check this out- you can get your dog chipped for free at Dogs Trust centres across the UK. They’re usually done alongside puppy vaccinations (many vet surgeries offer a package deal price), but a chip can be inserted at any point in a dog’s lifetime.

    In the three years which we have been reporting canine news, we have yet to come across a ‘dog reunited’ story which did NOT feature a microchip. If you want to greatly increase your chances of finding your dog if it is lost or stolen, a microchip is your best bet.

    Aside from this aspect, a microchip can also be an identification tool if there is a dispute. A microchip has never been proof of ownership and is unlikely to be considered so in the future, but at least you’ll be able to know for certain if the found dog who looks like yours really is.

    Finally, tell the world that your dog is microchipped – this can deter potential thieves and it gives anyone who finds him a reminder to scan the chip for your details. By law all dogs must wear a collar and ID tag when in a public place. Include your surname, telephone number, address and full postcode on the tag; and the message “I am microchipped”. (Do not put your dog’s name on their tag. This can help thieves lure your dog away from you and gives them something to work with if they are trying to demonstrate that they know the dog.)

    If you have your pet microchipped, ask your vet to check your dog’s chip every time you visit. This will ensure that it hasn’t moved, and will remind you to follow step two.

    For more details of how technology can help prevent pet theft, click here.

    2) Keep your microchip details up to date

    This should be obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t update the microchip information when they move or change phones.

    110,000 stray dogs are picked up by police, local authorities and animal welfare charities each year. Over half of these stray dogs cannot be returned because their owner could not be identified. If approximately 60% of all dogs in the UK are chipped, that means that 22,000 dogs whose owners were untraceable would have been in possession of a chip with incorrect or out of date information. Don’t let your dog be one of them.

    3) Make your home and garden secure

    It’s estimated that 52% of stolen dogs were taken from their owner’s gardens, while a further 19% were taken from their homes during break ins.

    Do not leave your dog unattended in your garden if it’s not 100% secure, and make sure that any gates, dog runs, kennels etc are firmly locked when your dogs are using them. Ensure your fencing is adequate and check it regularly for wear and tear. It should keep your dog in and trespassers out. Dogs who have escaped and/or wandered off are easy for thieves to snatch. Most thefts are opportunistic, so don’t give the criminals a chance.

    With regards to burglaries, you need to adopt a common sense approach and take whatever precautions are necessary for your type of accommodation. Install motion sensor lights around any kennel buildings if your dogs stay in them at night. If your dog sleeps in a different part of the house to yourselves, consider a baby monitor so that you can hear if there are any disturbances.

    Try not to advertise too much that you have dogs living at your property, especially if they are pedigrees, which studies have shown are the key targets for gangs out to make money from selling dogs on or using them for breeding. Those “A spoilt rotten Pug lives here” signs are cute, but possibly not worth the risk.

    4) Be wary on walks – and refine your recall!

    16% of stolen dogs were taken while they were out on their walks. Either they would have strayed out of their owners sight and been stolen then, or the owners may have been distracted, either on purpose or by something like their phone. There have also been rare incidences of violent thieves snatching a dog in plain sight of the owner, so be aware of your surroundings and where your dog is.

    Do not let him get out of your sight, and practice your recall so you can instantly bring him back to you if you suspect it may be in danger.  Put your dog on a leash when you stop to talk to strangers, no matter how friendly they are.

    Try to vary your routes and routines, as criminals may follow your behaviour to identify a pattern before making their move.

    Finally, try not to brag about your dog to strangers, or to divulge too many personal details, as they may be scouting out if your dog is worth stealing or not. This is again especially true if you have a purebred dog.

    5) Have your dog neutered

    Dogs are often stolen for breeding purposes, so neutering your dog is one way to make them less of a target. This is especially applicable to purebreds and short coated male dogs (where the difference is often visually apparent).  If your dog is neutered or spayed, put this information on their dog tag, as a thief may decide to let your dog go once he learns this information.

    6) NEVER leave your dog tied up outside of a shop

    Ever. While only 7% of stolen dogs were taken from outside shops, this is probably because this practice is already becoming less widespread than it used to be, presenting less opportunities to would-be thieves.

    We know it can be tough if your town is not particularly dog friendly, or if you don’t want to leave your dog in the car (see below), but consider whether you’d leave your mobile lying around on a coffee shop table while you nipped to the loo, or if you’d leave your laptop charging in the middle of a shopping centre unattended. You never see mothers leave their child outside while they run into a supermarket to buy milk – it’s just not worth the risk!

    7) Make sure your car is secure

    It is thought that 5% of stolen dogs were taken from their owner’s cars. While it is usually safe to leave your dog in a locked car for a short period of time (in cool weather), do consider whether he is visible to people walking past and whether he would be considered a target if so.

    It may be safer to leave your dog at home while you go on your outing than to leave him waiting in the car. If you do have to leave him in the car make sure he is out of direct line of sight, and that all the doors and windows are secure. Try to park where you can see your car, so you can return to your vehicle if you suspect someone is trying to break in.

    8 ) Read the news – and pay attention to your environment

    You can, of course, keep up to date with the daily doggie news via our Twitter feed, but keep an eye on your local news sources as well. Pet thefts often happen in batches, so be aware if there have been headlines about stolen dogs, or an increase in missing pet posters in your area. Keep your eyes and ears open to any suspicious activity in your neighbourhood. If you suspect anything, tell your local authority or other relevant body.

    There have been many articles about thieves ‘tagging’ houses – a white chalk circle means a small dog, a triangle means the owner works 9-5 etc. Most of these turn out to be hearsay or urban myth, but do be vigilant. If you see something, report it.

    The Pet Theft Awareness Campaign has a blog with plenty more useful advice and statistics. Don’t make yourself a target!

    Want advice about what to do if your pet is stolen? Click here.

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    March 14th, 2015Laura P (Editor)Articles

    On Tuesday 10th March 2015, while the rest of the dog world was distracted by the aftershocks of a controversial Crufts, a long-haired Chihuahua named Frankie was stolen from a Dogs Trust van parked in Hackney, East London.

    Frankie had been part of a charity display team at a community event aimed at promoting responsible dog ownership and free micro chipping. When he was done strutting his stuff, Frankie was left in the front of the locked van with the windows open slightly for ventilation. Staff returned just 25 minutes later to discover that the glass had been forced down and Frankie had been snatched by thieves.

    Despite an urgent social media appeal, Frankie is still missing. This is especially poignant today, as Saturday 14th March marks the start of Pet Theft Awareness Week (PTAW).

    Pet theft is a growing problem in the UK, with a census undertaken in 2013 estimating that three cats and dogs are stolen in this country every day. Certainly we have noticed an increase in the headlines regarding pet theft since we launched in 2010. It is thought that dogs are becoming the new targets as police and local authorities crack down on scrap metal theft. They are stolen to be sold on for profit, to be used for breeding purposes and sometimes with the aim of holding the dog to ransom for a reward. Unfortunately, they are also sometimes used as bait dogs in dog fighting. PTAW aims to ensure that all owners know how to protect their pets.

    5% of all dog thefts happen when dogs are left in vehicles, like Frankie, while 52% happen when animals are left unattended in insecure gardens. Like Brook, a Labrador stolen from his owner’s backyard in April 2011. Or Fern, the Cocker Spaniel, who was last seen on her owner’s driveway in April 2013. Both are still missing – it only takes a second for an opportunistic thief to cause years of heartbreak.

    In some cases, thieves go to greater efforts to obtain their targets. 19% of pet thefts happen as a result of a home break in, with almost half of the victims surveyed believing that their pet was the sole object of the thief’s intent. Marnie the Yorkshire Terrier (still missing) was taken in shocking circumstances by thieves who attacked and threatened her owners on their property in June 2011. Tia & Maisie the Cocker Spaniels were taken from private estate in Winchester in the middle of the night on New Year’s Eve 2012; their owners believe that the theft was re-planned, due to a number of incidences in the days preceding their disappearance. (Tia has been returned after a police raid, but Maisie is still missing.)

    Crimes can happen away from the home too, with 16% of thefts occurring during walks. Theo’s owner was distracted by two gentlemen one evening in March 2014, and when she turned around after talking to them, another dog walker had used her Staffie to lure Theo over and steal him. Angel, meanwhile, was taken while her owner was loading one of her other dogs into her car in December 2012. In both cases, they had only taken their eyes off them for a second.

    It is surprising, therefore, that some people still choose to leave their dogs tied up outside shops. 7% of dog thefts happen this way. Zola was snatched from outside a Tesco Express in London in October 2014. PTAW has produced a thought provoking graphic to highlight this issue, and urges pet owners to re-consider before they leave their dogs unattended.

    leave-your-valuables

    We here at Dogs In The News are proud to support PTAW and have written an article about how to avoid becoming a victim of pet theft, as well as one about what to do if your dog is stolen. If you are looking for a stolen pet and would like us to publicize their details, please get in touch via the Contact Us button below.

    Dogs Trust is urging anyone with any information about Frankie’s whereabouts to come forward. He is microchipped, neutered, has identification tags and comes when called.

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    March 7th, 2015Laura P (Editor)Articles

    Carolyn Menteith from Woking in Surrey has received the prestigious Kennel Club Accredited Instructors (KCAI) Award at a special prize giving ceremony at Crufts on Saturday 7th March 2015.

    Photo credit: onEdition

    Photo credit: onEdition

    Carolyn is a qualified behaviourist with over 20 years’ experience working with animals. She is also a British Horse Society qualified instructor. Aside from dog training, Carolyn has written prolifically about dogs and their training, behaviour, care and welfare in national magazines and books for many years. She is an experienced broadcaster who appears regularly on radio programmes as a dog trainer expert and also works with dog rescue organisations in the UK and around the world.

    The KCAI is the first and only scheme in the UK for instructors in dog training and behaviour to be approved by City & Guilds NPTC. The competition, held in partnership with PRO PLAN, is based solely on public vote and aims to reward inspirational trainers who have made a tremendous difference for dog owners and their dogs.

    With over 100 dog trainers nominated on the Kennel Club website, competition was fierce. Thousands of nominations flooded in from dog owners giving their paw of approval for the trainers that go above and beyond for their customers and their much-loved pets. Carolyn came first with 565 votes.

    Speaking about her award, Carolyn said: “I’ve been fortunate enough to win the first KCAI Award but I represent thousands of trainers around the country that are helping improve the relationship dog owners have with their dogs. I’m absolutely thrilled that this is being recognised today.”

    Speaking about this year’s awards, Kennel Club Secretary, Caroline Kisko said: “Carolyn is a great example of someone who goes above and beyond for dogs, and we are delighted that her passion and dedication to making a difference for our four-legged friends has been recognised by her winning the first KCAI Award – she well and truly deserves it.

    “Carolyn won through a public vote, showing how grateful many people are for her tremendous contribution to the world of dogs. The Kennel Club congratulates Carolyn and we are very thankful for all she does for dogs through her work.

    “The inaugural KCAI Awards have been a huge success, and each and every one of the trainers who made it to the final has helped to change and improve the quality of life of dogs and their owners. With their specialist knowledge and skills, KCAI members make a tremendous difference for dogs and their owners and we are glad that they get the recognition they deserve. “

    Judith Nicholson, Head of Vet and Recommendation at PROPLAN said: “PRO PLAN would like to congratulate Carolyn on winning the KCAI Award in 2015. Carolyn works tirelessly to improve the lives of dogs, and we are pleased that this has been recognised by her winning this award.”

    Four finalists were selected for the KCAI Award for their outstanding work and the winner was decided by the public through an online voting system.

    Shirin Merchant from India was also nominated for an International Commendation to recognise her work as a pioneer in dog training and canine behaviour overseas.   Speaking about her award, she said: “I’m speechless. When you work with dogs, you don’t necessarily think about awards. Seeing the smile on the dog owner’s face and the dog wagging its tail is rewarding enough. This is a huge honour and I feel on top of the world.”

    If you are a dog trainer and would like to join the KCAI scheme, please visit www.thekennelclub.org.uk/kcai.

    For more information on the KCAI scheme, please visit www.thekennelclub.org.uk/training/.

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    March 7th, 2015Laura P (Editor)Articles

    The Kennel Club is expanding its cutting edge dog health resources as part of its existing Mate Select service, to help even more breeders to reduce the risk of inherited aspects of two complex conditions – hip and elbow dysplasia.  Visitors to Crufts over the weekend can try the resource on the Kennel Club stand in Hall 3.

    Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs), which were launched at Crufts 2014, use data from the British Veterinary Association (BVA)/Kennel Club Hip and Elbow schemes to calculate an inheritance ‘risk factor’ for each dog.

    EBVs reduce the risk of inheriting hip and elbow dysplasia by using individual elbow and hip scores more efficiently to assess genetic risk. Complex inherited disorders such as hip and elbow dysplasia are influenced by environmental or external factors and EBVs strip these away and estimate only the genetic component of these conditions.

    Last year, 15 breeds representing more than 25 per cent of all Kennel Club registrations had EBVs available. This year, 13 more breeds have been added bringing the service to 28 breeds from the popular Labrador Retriever, to the rarer, vulnerable native breed, the Gordon Setter.

    EBVs were developed with scientists at the Animal Health Trust, and the Roslin Institute and Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies at the University of Edinburgh, and will help breeders of pedigree dogs make sensible and informed choices for breeding, to ensure that they have the best possible chance of producing healthy puppies.

    EBVs are now available for – Airedale Terrier, Akita, Alaskan Malamute, Bernese Mountain Dog, Bearded Collie, Border Collie, Clumber Spaniel, English Setter, Flat Coated Retriever, Gordon Setter, German Shepherd Dog, Golden Retriever, Hungarian Puli, Hungarian Vizsla, Irish Setter, Italian Spinone, Labrador Retriever, Large Munsterlander, Leonberger, Newfoundland, Old English Sheepdog, Samoyed, Siberian Husky, Rottweiler, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Tibetan Terrier, Weimaraner and Welsh Springer Spaniel.

    Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: “As more and more breeders hip and elbow score their dogs using the BVA/KC schemes, we expect that more breeds will be added in the future.  Estimated Breeding Values are an invaluable resource and are another example of the cutting edge work being carried out for the improvement and protection of dog health.

    “We’d encourage as many people as possible to visit the Kennel Club stand at Crufts over the weekend to find out more about the new resource and the many initiatives in place which have such a positive effect on the health of dogs.”

    The Kennel Club stand at Crufts, held on 5th to 8th March at the NEC in Birmingham, is located in Hall 3.  More information can be found at www.mateselect.org.uk.

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    March 7th, 2015Laura P (Editor)Articles

    The Kennel Club Charitable Trust and the British Veterinary Association (BVA) have pledged up to £30K to support breeds concerned about the health condition Chiari Malformation/Syringomyelia (CM/SM).

    This funding will allow any owners of Kennel Club registered dogs that have had MRI scans taken before the inception of the BVA/KC CM/SM Scheme in 2012, to have their scans assessed by the Scheme and results published for free, a process to the value of £100.

    Assessing older MRI scans will aid in the understanding of the disease, and provide invaluable data to help in the development of Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) and other valuable resources for responsible dog breeders who are working to reduce the risk of this disease in future puppies.  EBVs are a resource that can be used to help select those dogs at lower risk of passing on complex inherited diseases such as hip and elbow dysplasia, or CM/SM, for breeding.

    Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: “Conditions like CM/SM are scientifically complex and by gathering the data necessary for developing tools such as Estimated Breeding Values, we will achieve a far better understanding of them and develop a more reliable means of protecting breeds that may be affected in the future.

    “Both the Kennel Club and BVA are committed to eradicating this condition and are pleased to be able to help owners with older MRI scan results by funding their assessment through the BVA/KC CM/SM Scheme.”

    To participate in this offer, MRI scans must have been taken before January 2012, and they can only be accepted from Kennel Club registered dogs at this time. Not all MRI scans may be suitable for assessment as they must meet the CM/SM Scheme Procedures Notes.

    Interested owners should contact the Canine Health Schemes Department at the BVA on 020 7908 6380.

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    March 6th, 2015Laura P (Editor)Articles, Crufts

    A survey carried out by the British Veterinary Association (BVA) has identified the top six factors that vets believe would impact dogs’ health and welfare. BVA is today releasing these figures to coincide with Crufts, taking place between 5-8 March 2015 at the NEC in Birmingham.

    BVA’s second Voice of the Veterinary Profession survey ran from 17 September to 9 October 2014. 752 vets completed the survey.

    448 small animal and mixed practice vets were asked “Thinking about the dogs that you see and treat, what impact would the following have on their health and welfare?”

    1. 95% felt better weight control would have a significant impact on canine health and welfare
    2. 88% felt that providing more exercise would have a significant impact on canine health and welfare
    3. 82% felt that better early socialisation would have a significant impact on canine health and welfare
    4. 75% felt better selective breeding for improved conformation would have a significant impact on canine health and welfare
    5. 64% felt a change of diet would significantly impact on canine health and welfare
    6. 43% felt that more screening for inherited conditions such as hip dysplasia and eye problems would have a significant impact on canine health and welfare

    Other factors mentioned which vets felt could have an impact on canine health and welfare include:

    • Better owner understanding of canine behaviour, handling and training
    • Better owner education prior to obtaining a pet regarding the time and cost of keeping a pet and lifestyle considerations
    • Better dental care
    • More regular antiparasitic treatments

    John Blackwell, British Veterinary Association President, commented:

    “Vets who regularly see dogs in their practices are aware of a number of issues that impact pets’ health and welfare, ranging from weight problems to poor socialisation and the subsequent behavioural problems this can lead to.

    “As vets, we want to work with owners to improve the health and welfare of their pet and we are more than happy to give advice and guidance. From help on selecting the right diet and quantity of food for your dog to advice about training and behaviour, owners should talk to their vet to get sound advice and to be confident they are doing the best they can for the animal’s health and welfare.

    “With the spotlight on dogs with Crufts, the BVA would encourage anyone thinking of getting a dog to do their homework carefully first.

    “The BVA and Kennel Club Canine Health Schemes help breeders to make informed decisions when selecting dogs for breeding, and thus help reduce the risk and incidence of disease. It’s also worth remembering that it’s not just pedigree dogs that can inherit disorders such as hip and elbow dysplasia or hereditary eye disease. There is a misconception that crossbred dogs are protected from hereditary problems but that’s not the case. Anyone thinking of breeding from their dog or thinking about buying a puppy should ask their vet about health screening and how it can be used to inform their decisions.

    “Whether a potential owner is opting for a pedigree or crossbred puppy, BVA supports the use of the Animal Welfare Foundation/RSPCA Puppy Contract and Puppy Information Pack, which contains a section for the breeder to fill out about any health screening or DNA tests and results to give added reassurance to owners. In addition, for Kennel Club registered breeds, the Assured Breeder Scheme requires certain breed-specific health tests as part of registering puppies from Assured Breeders.”

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    March 6th, 2015Laura P (Editor)Articles

    The British Veterinary Association (BVA) today welcomed the decision by the Council of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) to permit veterinary surgeons in the UK to use the courtesy title ‘Doctor’.

    The RCVS decision follows a consultation that received over 11,000 responses, with 81% of respondents being in favour of the change. 50% of the respondents were veterinary surgeons, 22% were veterinary students and 21% animal-owning members of the public. Other respondents included veterinary nurses, veterinary nurse students, practice managers and non-animal-owning members of the public.

    The use of the title is optional and guidance has been produced to support the change, including emphasis on the importance of not misleading the public. This includes ensuring that a veterinary surgeon’s  use of ‘Doctor’ or ‘Dr’ does not imply or suggest they hold a medical qualification or a PhD. If the title is used, it should be used in conjunction with the veterinary surgeon’s name and either the descriptor ‘veterinary surgeon’ or the postnominal letters ‘MRCVS’.

    BVA President John Blackwell said:

    “The phenomenal response to the RCVS consultation on veterinary surgeons’ use of the courtesy title ‘Doctor’ shows how much this issue matters to our colleagues and our members. The move brings the UK in line with international usage of ‘Doctor’, most veterinary surgeons worldwide using the title.

    “The RCVS has been extremely well-led in the consultation by its President, Professor Stuart Reid, who made a clear commitment to consider the use of the title when he took office last summer.

    “It is particularly heartening that one in five of the respondents to the consultation were animal-owning members of the public. This is a testament to the high regard that clients hold their vets in. We know this respect has to be earned and that we cannot be complacent about this. Together with the RCVS, BVA will continue to work towards the highest standards in the veterinary profession for all of us, whether or not we choose to use the title ‘Doctor’”.

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    March 4th, 2015Laura P (Editor)Articles

    In this month’s Vet Futures guest blog Javier Dominguez Orive, the Food Standard’s Agency’s Veterinary Director and Head of Foodborne Diseases Control Unit,  asks if veterinary surgeons working outside clinical practice are considered ‘second class’ vets by the rest of the profession.

    To tie in with the blog, this month Vet Futures is asking members of the profession whether vets are considered to be ‘second class’ vets if they work outside of clinical practice.

    Javier Dominguez Orive suggests that veterinary surgeons in UK can add value to society by using their skills and knowledge in non-clinical work, such as in the food processing industry or for the Government working on food safety policy.

    He writes that veterinary surgeons, for instance, are best placed with their understanding of animal physiology, health and production to help prevent and control diseases by maintaining high standards of food and animal safety.

    He says, however, that vets in other regions of the world, such as continental Europe, the USA, South America and Australia, are valued and recognised more for their non-clinical work than vets in the UK. He says it is widely accepted and encouraged in these regions that many veterinary graduates will pursue a career outside of clinical practice.

    “Are we preparing the next generation of vets for these possible roles? Or are we creating yet another generation of veterinary surgeons who won’t consider these careers because they will be viewed as ‘second class’ vets?,” he asks.

    This month’s poll asks: Would you agree that vets working in non-clinical roles are considered ‘second-class’ vets? We encourage members of the veterinary team and the public to take part in the poll so that we can generate debate on the issue of non-clinical veterinary careers.

    February’s poll asked members of the profession whether they agree that VAT should no longer be levelled on vet fees? A majority – 62% of the 107 respondents – thought that VAT should no longer be levelled on vet fees. Leaving 38% or 41 respondents believing that VAT should still be charged on vet fees.

    To read Javier Dominguez Orive’s blog and contribute to the discussion please visit www.vetfutures.org.uk/discuss.

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