March 3rd, 2014Articles
From the creation of online tools to the development of DNA tests, the Kennel Club Genetics Centre at the Animal Health Trust (AHT) has proven beneficial to many dog owners and breeders in helping to improve the health and welfare of dogs.
The Centre, which celebrates its fifth anniversary in 2014, was created to combine the resources and expertise of the Kennel Club and the AHT with the aim of benefitting thousands of dogs – both individuals and whole breeds.
By developing essential tools, minimising the risk of breeding affected puppies and designing breeding programmes which improve overall health of breeds, the Kennel Club Genetics Centre has helped dog breeders improve the health of their dogs by avoiding inherited diseases in their breeds.
Professor Steve Dean, Chairman of the Kennel Club, said: “We are committed to helping dog breeders address inherited diseases , and by working with the AHT we have, together, created a centre of excellence, which in just five years has already helped to significantly improve the health and welfare of a number of pedigree breeds.
“The Kennel Club invests a significant part of its income towards improving dog health and welfare. Historically we have information on our registration system about millions of pedigree dogs which we use to further knowledge of dog diseases and how to prevent them. By working in partnership with the AHT, we have been able to provide a number of practical resources and expertise to aid dog breeders in their ambition to reduce or eradicate inherited diseases.
The Kennel Club Charitable Trust invested £1.2 million into the Centre when it opened in 2009. Since then, and led by Dr Cathryn Mellersh and Dr Sarah Blott of the AHT, the Centre has:
- collected and stored DNA samples from 11,000 dogs from 170 different breeds
- undertaken genome-wide association studies using DNA samples from 1,461 dogs of 25 different breeds
- identified 10 unique mutations responsible for inherited disorders known to affect 29 different breeds and developed DNA tests which have been used to test more than 38,000 dogs through the AHT’s DNA testing facility
Dr Cathryn Mellersh, Head of Canine Genetics at the AHT, said: “The creation of the Kennel Club Genetics Centre has enabled us to take huge steps forward in our mutation detection work. This is assisting dog breeders in their breeding decisions and, most importantly, minimising the risk of breeding affected puppies.
“The work we are doing within the Centre is making a significant difference for thousands of dogs.”
In addition to the mutation detection work, the Centre has helped the Kennel Club to develop and launch the revolutionary web tool, Mate Select, enabling dog breeders to find the most suitable mate for their dog.
One of the first tools launched through this platform was the algorithm for calculating inbreeding coefficients of all Kennel Club registered dogs and for prospective matings. This service now attracts more than 23,000 searches per month.
At Crufts 2014, scientists from the Kennel Club Genetics Centre will be demonstrating the next phase of Mate Select, which will include giving dog breeders and owners access to estimated breeding values for hip dysplasia in 15 breeds and elbow dysplasia in five breeds.
These breeds account for more than 80,000 Kennel Club registrations per year, so these EBVs will initially be available for 33 per cent of all Kennel Club registered dogs.
The Centre has also begun analysis of the population structure and rate of inbreeding for all 211 Kennel Club recognised breeds in an effort to better understand how this may contribute to an increased rate of inbreeding.
Analysis has shown that approximately 40 per cent of the 132 breeds analysed to date have effective population sizes below 50 – the minimum size recommended in order to manage inbreeding.
Dr Sarah Blott, Head of Quantitative Genetics at the AHT, said: “Management of complex diseases, those which are caused by more than just one defective gene, pose the greatest threat to the health of dogs. Of the 489 currently known genetic diseases in dogs, 72 per cent are believed to be complex.
“The research the quantitative scientists are undertaking in the Kennel Club Genetics Centre is helping dog breeders to develop breeding strategies that will maintain long-term health by managing rates of inbreeding and reducing the prevalence of existing diseases.”
To continue this vital work, the Kennel Club Charitable Trust has committed £1.6 million to the Kennel Club Genetics and Cancer Centres at the AHT over the next five years (2014 – 2018), helping to further accelerate research into inherited diseases affecting dogs.
The Kennel Club Genetics Centre will continue to investigate and identify mutations, develop DNA tests and enhance services available to breeders to address diseases that are clinically severe or affect large numbers of dogs.
The funding will also enable the AHT’s cancer research team, working with the Kennel Club Cancer Centre, to acquire an innovative technology known as the ‘GeneAtlas System’. This equipment enables the investigation of tumour biopsies, collected for diagnostic purposes, in a manner that has not been previously possible.
Initially the technology will assist in identifying gene markers that are characteristic of the metastasis (spread) of uveal melanomas, the most common primary eye tumour in dogs. It is hoped, through this research, that a test will be developed to identify whether a tumour in an individual dog will spread or not, and therefore prevent the unnecessary removal of eyes from dogs with uveal melanomas. Longer term, the intention is for the GeneAtlas System to be used in the investigation of many cancers, including lymphoma, oral melanoma and mast cell tumours.
Professor Steve Dean added: “The Kennel Club remains passionate about improving the health and welfare of dogs. The addition of a capability to study the genetic factors associated with cancer development is a new avenue for our co-operation with the AHT and one we are very excited about, given the dominance of cancers as a cause of death and suffering in dogs. We know there is still much to do on all health related fronts, so I’m extremely pleased that we will be funding a further five years of research, within the Kennel Club Genetics Centre and also the more recently-founded Kennel Club Cancer Centre at the AHT.”
Dr Mark Vaudin, Chief Executive of the AHT, said: “We’re delighted to continue our partnership with the Kennel Club on these important welfare issues. Our level of skill and expertise within the canine genetics and cancer fields is widely recognised and it is exciting to know that we will be applying our knowledge to further equip dog breeders and owners with essential information to improve the health of their breeds.”Tags: Articles, KC Press Release
March 2nd, 2014Articles
Crufts, the world’s greatest dog show, is no stranger to publicity stunts. But one exhibitor is hoping to turn heads for a good cause this year when she enters the ring in a spotted Minnie Mouse onesie, complete with ears and tail.
Denise Hurst, who shows Chihuahuas, is hoping to raise £1000 pounds for Macmillan Cancer Support. “I’ve had personal experience of the help Macmillan can give,” she said. “My husband Ray has just finished 12 courses of chemotherapy for bowel cancer and probably faces further treatment in the future. Macmillan provide both practical and emotional help to face that fight and help make sure no one faces cancer alone.”
Denise is also raising money in memory of fellow exhibitor Sylvia Brady, who was involved with Chihuahuas before she died of cancer last year. She was scheduled to judge the Smooth Coats at Crufts 2014.
Mrs Hurst was inspired by a group of ladies who raised over £12,600 for Cancer Research at this year’s Ladies Kennel Association show by wearing their onesies in the ring. She says she has the full support of the Kennel Club – although she has been told she’ll have to change outfits for the Group if she wins best of breed!
Mr and Mrs Hurst will be showing a Chihuahua each – Lynpix Layla at Dejacqueray and Alltoyways Silk’n’Saffron at D. This will be Ray’s first show since his diagnosis; he will be sticking to more traditional attire.
Mrs Hurst as Minnie Mouse can be seen on the Saturday of Crufts in ring 27, class 1736. So far, Denise has raised almost £480, and she is hoping to get over the halfway mark before Crufts.
People can donate through the link below or at the show, as Mrs Hurst will have Macmillan collecting tins with her. We here at Dogs In The News would like to wish her the best of luck.
Tags: Articles, Charity
Donate through JustGiving.
February 25th, 2014Articles
Vets at the British Veterinary Association (BVA) are warning animal owners in flood-stricken areas to be aware of the new dangers posed by receding flood waters.
The water, which has flooded homes and land across the UK, is finally beginning to subside but vets are warning that the danger to pets and livestock remains. In areas where water has been contaminated by sewage, chemicals and other waste, farmers and pet owners will need to remain vigilant about potential health threats to their animals.
BVA President and vet Robin Hargreaves said:
“The terrible flooding has devastated many areas and it will be a huge relief for residents to see the waters subside. Unfortunately, the challenges for animal owners remain, as contaminated water continues to pose a threat to pets and livestock.
“Pet owners should try to keep their animals from drinking contaminated water, as effluent and bacteria can be very harmful. It is also worth checking with your vet that you are up-to-date with all vaccinations. This will give your pet the best possible protection against diseases, such as leptospirosis, which can be spread through stagnant water.
“Farmers need to consider the risks posed by contamination both to drinking water and feed for their livestock. Both silage and forage may have been contaminated by chemicals or waste and should not be fed to animals if they show signs of spoilage or mould. If alternative water or feed is not available it may be best to consider selling animals and reinvesting when conditions improve.”
Animal owners in affected areas should speak to their vet if they have concerns and check with their environmental health team, who should be in a position to advise on local levels of contamination.
For more information and advice from vets on animal welfare issues visit the BVA website at www.bva.co.uk/newsTags: Articles, BVA Press Release
February 25th, 2014Articles
As Crufts approaches, the Kennel Club urges people to remember forgotten breeds.
New registration statistics released by the Kennel Club reveal that the Skye Terrier, which is one of the most vulnerable of Britain’s native dog breeds – and more rare than the Giant Panda – has fallen to a record low of just 17 puppy registrations in 2013, as foreign breeds continue to thrive.
The annual registration statistics for 2013, which have been released ahead of Crufts, where more than 200 pedigree breeds will be on show, has seen a 59 percent drop on 2012 registrations for the breed. It is estimated that there are less than 400 of the breed left in this country, making it the rarest of Britain’s vulnerable native breeds, alongside the Otterhound.
The Kennel Club’s list of vulnerable native breeds monitors those native dog breeds whose numbers are below 300 puppy registrations each year, which is thought to be a suitable level to sustain a population. An ‘at watch’ list monitors those between 300 and 450 registrations per annum that could be at risk if their numbers continue to fall.
In total there are 25 vulnerable native breeds, including the Cardigan Welsh Corgi, Dandie Dinmont Terrier and Deerhound, and eight ‘at watch’ breeds, including the Irish Setter and the Pembroke Welsh Corgi.
Full registration statistics for all the VNBs can be found here.
Sue Breeze, a Kennel Club Assured Breeder of Skye Terriers, who won the Best in Group at Crufts last year, said: “As somebody who adores this breed, I am terrified by this new record low in their numbers. The simple reason that Skye Terriers are in decline is that people don’t know they exist. It’s that basic.
“We need to find ways that we can protect the breed or they won’t be around for future generations to enjoy. Winning Best in Group at Crufts last year led to a lot of enquires about the breed, but there weren’t many pups available and we’ve all been too scared to breed in recent years, for fear of the pups not having homes to go to.”
The shift in fashion, from native to foreign breeds, can be seen in the Kennel Club’s top ten registered breeds of 2013, with the French Bulldog knocking out long term British favourite, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Registrations of the French Bulldog, owned by the likes of Jonathan Ross, Reese Witherspoon and Hugh Jackman, have increased by 50 percent since 2012, with 6,990 registrations in 2013. This is an increase of over 1,000 percent in the last ten years. Four of the top ten breeds in the UK are now from overseas.
The increase in popularity of foreign breeds comes as the Kennel Club prepares to recognise the Hungarian Puli, Picardy Sheepdog and the Griffon Fauve de Bretagne for the first time, on its Imported Breeds register, taking the number of dog breeds recognised by the Kennel Club to 215. These are three of only five new breeds to be recognised in the past five years.
There are now 138 breeds which have originated overseas since the Kennel Club opened its registers in 1874, when there were just 43 breeds. There will also be two new breeds competing in their own classes at Crufts this year – the Eurasier and the Catalan Sheepdog, which have moved from the Import Register to the Breed Register and so become eligible.
Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: “The Skye Terrier and other vulnerable breeds, which normally don’t register on people’s radars, will get much needed profile at Crufts, both in the show rings and the Discover Dogs area.
“Of course, there will be imported and foreign dog breeds celebrated at the event as well – including those that have only just come into the UK – but we want Crufts to help people to remember our forgotten breeds. We register 213 breeds of dog and not just the ten or twenty obvious ones, so people should do their research and find the breed that is truly right for their lifestyle.
“The plight of many of our native breeds is largely down to shifts in fashion and awareness. Some breeds, such as the French Bulldog and the Chihuahua, which have some very high profile owners, are thriving and the Labrador Retriever continues to maintain its top spot on our list of most popular breeds. But many of our oldest breeds simply do not have that profile. People need to ensure that the dog that they choose is right for them and that they go to a responsible breeder.”
If people are interested in Skye Terriers they should contact the Kennel Club or the Skye Terrier Breed Club.Tags: Articles, KC Press Release, VNB
February 18th, 2014Articles
A special ‘Flood Fund’ has been set up by the Kennel Club Charitable Trust (KCCT), for those dogs that are in need as a result of the recent floods that have beset the country.
The flooding has meant that some people and their dogs have had to leave their homes, whilst others are left marooned and the dogs may be going without food supplies, access to critical veterinary care or medicines. The debris underfoot and ever rising water levels may also be causing dogs injury and damage.
The Kennel Club Charitable Trust Flood Fund will enable people to donate to dogs that have become victims of the flooding and for those in need to apply for a grant.
Mike Townsend, Chairman of the Kennel Club Charitable Trust, said: “Our hearts go out to all those who have been affected by the terrible floods. The Flood Fund will help support those dogs that have been injured or that need shelter in these difficult times and we urge those who want to make a financial contribution and those who are in need of help to come forward.”
Those who would like to donate to the Flood Fund, by cheque or debit card, or apply for a grant to help a dog or dogs that have become victims of the flooding, should contact Richard Fairlamb, KCCT Administrator, at 1-5 Clarges Street, Piccadilly, London W1J 8AB. He can also be reached by email at richard.fairlamb@Tags: Articles, Current Affairs, KC Press Release
thekennelclub.org.uk, or by phone on 020 7518 6874.
February 18th, 2014Articles
Following reports that a puppy in Cornwall has died after biting into an e-cigarette refill, vets are warning pet owners to ensure they are kept out of reach of animals.
British Veterinary Association (BVA) President and vet Robin Hargreaves said:
“This is a tragic case and very worrying when you consider how many people are now using e-cigarettes. Nicotine poisoning acts very quickly and can be fatal, especially when large doses are involved. E-cigarettes and refills can easily contain sufficient quantities of nicotine to kill a small animal very quickly.
“If you use e-cigarettes, we recommend storing all equipment safely out of reach of your pet. If you suspect your pet has chewed or eaten an e-cigarette or any toxic substance then it is vital that you contact a vet for treatment as quickly as possible.”
BVA understands that the female puppy was a recently rehomed Staffordshire cross. It became unwell on Sunday after apparently consuming an e-cigarette refill and passed away on Monday morning after failing to respond to treatment.
Information about other household substances which can be poisonous to pets is available by downloading the Animal Welfare Foundation leaflet: Pets and Poisons.
For more information and advice from vets on animal welfare issues visit the BVA website at www.bva.co.uk/newsTags: Articles, BVA Press Release
February 13th, 2014Articles
Friends for Life 2013 winners Haatchi and Owen (aka Little B) have enjoyed a lot of publicity, both before and especially after their win at Crufts. But today they can expect to become even bigger stars, with the release of their book (written by Wendy Holden) and the announcement that they’re the stars of a YouTube documentary.
The film was made by a team of student as part of their documentary filmmaking course at the University of Hertfordshire. “We made this film to not only tell the families story, but to raise awareness of Schwartz Jampel Syndrome and to show how incredible rescue dogs are. A little bit of love can go a hell of a long way.”
The book, which is released today, was written by Wendy Holden and tells the story how the boy and the dog found each other and formed their special bond. It can purchased through Amazon (link below), in both hardback and Kindle format.
“On a bitterly cold night in January 2012, Haatchi the dog was hit over the head, and abandoned on a railway line to be hit by a train. The driver saw the adorable five-month old Anatolian Shepherd moments too late. Somehow, the terrified puppy survived the blood loss from his partially severed leg and tail and managed to crawl away to safety.
Fortunately, Haatchi was rescued, although vets couldn’t save his leg and tail. A Facebook appeal brought him to the attention of a couple of kind-hearted dog lovers, Colleen Drummond and Will Howkins, who are also the dad and stepmum of Owen (known to his family as Little B for ‘little buddy’). One look at Haatchi’s expressive face told them all they needed to know and the lucky dog moved into the Howkins’ family home just six weeks after almost being killed.
Owen, now aged eight, has a rare genetic disorder which causes his muscles to tense permanently. Largely confined to a wheelchair, he was withdrawn and anxious and found it difficult to make friends. But when Owen awoke the morning after Haatchi arrived he immediately fell in love with the severely disabled rescue animal who would, in turn, rescue him.
This book tells their inspiring true story – one astonishing little boy and the very special dog who has changed his life forever.”
Tags: Articles, Book Club
Owen and Haatchi will be at Basingstoke Waterstones from 12:30 – 1:30 pm on Saturday 15 February 2014 for book signings and photo ops. Come along if you can to meet this wonderful pair.
February 10th, 2014Articles
Vets are asking dog owners to keep their dogs on leads when walking near sheep as the annual lambing season gets underway. Ewes are particularly vulnerable at this time of year, as they prepare to give birth, and sheep worrying can have tragic consequences.
Precise figures for the numbers of sheep and other livestock injured by dogs are not collated. Statistics obtained by Farmer’s Guardian under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act showed reported dog attacks on livestock increased from 691 in 2011 to 739 in 2012. Sheep were involved in most cases, with many being attacked, injured or killed. The real figures may be much higher as many farmers do not report attacks.
More information on sheep attacks was released last year by the National Sheep Association.
It is good practice for owners to keep dogs on leads at all times when walking near livestock but it is particularly important during the spring. Vets have seen a rise in the numbers of attacks, the results of which may often lead to lambs being lost and sheep being killed and injured.
Know the law:
~ The Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act 1953 makes it an offence for a dog to be at large (that is to say not on a lead or otherwise under close control) in a field or enclosure in which there are sheep
~ Section 9 of the Animals Act 1971 provides that the owner of livestock, the landowner or anyone acting on their behalf, is entitled to shoot any dog if they believe it is the only reasonable way of stopping it worrying livestock
British Veterinary Association (BVA) President and vet Robin Hargreaves said:
“Even dogs who are usually calm and good natured can become very excitable and difficult to control when faced with livestock. Tragically this can lead to chasing, attacks and fatalities for sheep and other animals.
“Over the coming months ewes in the field are likely to be heavily pregnant or to have recently given birth. Chasing and worrying can have severe consequences at this time, leading to serious injuries, early labour and fatalities.
“Later in the season the arrival of lambs brings fresh temptation as their energy and activity can be irresistible to dogs. We ask that owners in rural areas keep their dogs on leads when walking near livestock. They should also consider taking alternative routes during the lambing season to avoid causing distress.”
Fiona Lovatt, President of the Sheep Veterinary Society, has worked with sheep farmers in County Durham and across the country. She said:
“The results of these attacks are very distressing for the sheep, the farmer and for the vet. I’ve treated sheep which have been practically shredded by dogs and you often have no choice but to put them down. At this time of year a dog attack can have drastic effects even for the ewes who are not injured, as the stress may cause them to abort.
“I think most owners are well meaning but if your dog is off the lead you may not even be aware of the chasing or attack. It’s important to know where your dog is at all times as they can cause a lot of damage in a short time.”
For more information and advice from vets on animal welfare issues visit the BVA website.
(With thanks to Best of Both Worlds for the legal information.)Tags: Articles, BVA Press Release, Law
January 29th, 2014Articles
Have you seen Budweiser’s new Superbowl 2014 advert yet? It’s adorable:
Budweiser is promoting the ad with the hashtag #BestBuds. It’s sure to be huge favourite when it airs next weekend; it’s already garnered quite a buzz on the internet since being posted this morning.
(Incidentally, this isn’t even the first time that Budweiser have used a dog in their advertising. A pair of Dalmatian siblings featured in their Superbowl advert in 1999.)
Budweiser were brave to use a puppy in their commercial. Not only does the advice “Never work with children or animals” fly completely out of the window, but dogs as advertising motifs have a mixed history. Adverts like the Cesar dog food “Love Them Back“, featuring a charming old man and his Westie companion, have been praised by dog lovers and advertising execs alike. And who can forget Harvey, the Thinkbox rescue dog who went to great lengths to get adopted?
Over in the States, Subaru have recently released a series of “Dog Tested, Dog Approved” adverts featuring a family of 5 Golden Retreivers, which have received a lot of media attention.
However, there can be negative aspects of using dogs in advertising too. The Dulux paint brand adverts in the UK are notorious for causing a raise in Old English Sheepdogs in rescue in the 80s and 90s after people saw the breed on their televisions and decided they had to have one. And both John Lewis and Morrisons caused upsets with their Christmas adverts which featured dogs left out in the snow and being fed inappropriate foods.
Of course, there are loads of dog food commercials which feature canines of various breeds and talents. But it seems that using them to promote other products can be a mixed bag. On the one hand, you have the potential for your video to go viral, as the Budweiser spot is almost certain to do. On the other, you could end up offending a large portion of pet loving society if you get it wrong!
One thing that is for certain is that adverts with dogs in them stick in the memory (at least for us dog aficionados anyway). Whatever happened to the Go Compare dog, for example? And who remembers the Renault Senic advert where the car acted like a dog? O2 are currently using canines in their “Be More Dog” series of adverts, while Andrex has been capitalising on their puppies for years.
What’s your favourite canine commercial? We’re sure there’s some we missed.
Tags: Articles, TV
Ad Week – “Budweiser Set to Charm the World With Its ‘Puppy Love’ Super Bowl Ad”
Bleacher Report – “Budweiser Going Emotional with Clydesdale and Puppy Super Bowl Commercial”
Business Insider – “Budweiser’s ‘Puppy Love’ Super Bowl Commercial Is Irresistibly Heartwarming
January 28th, 2014Articles
Update 3 Feb 2014: The storyline has gone ahead. However, both a petition and an Early Day Motion have been set up to encourage the BBC to handle the issue responsibly. If you’re concerned by anything you see, please sign one and encourage your MP to support the other.
Last Wednesday, we posted about an upcoming Eastender’s storyline.
Eastenders is to feature a “breeding puppies for money” storyline next week. With a British Bulldog no less.http://t.co/Wl3P0tjniH
— Dogs in the News (@DogsInTheNews) January 22, 2014
The show, which is due to air at 7:30pm on BBC1, Tuesday 28th January, has released spoiler images of Lady Di, the show’s resident Bulldog, wearing large pink pants. This was revealed to be part of a plot line where the family who own her realise how much money they can make from selling purebred puppies – the pants are an attempt to prevent her from mating with an unsuitable partner.
Dog lovers all over the internet expressed their disbelief that the popular soap would condone such actions, particularly within the current pedigree dog climate. At the time, we tweeted to @EastEndersPress: “Appalled to see that you’re condoning breeding a dog for money in an upcoming storyline. This is a huge welfare issue which many charities are currently campaigning to end. How can you trivialize this and undermine all their hard work?”
We also complained formally through the BBC website. We recently received the following reply, which, based on various comments on Facebook pages, is a stock reply which has been sent out to everyone who did so.
“We understand you are unhappy with the current storyline involving Bulldog breeding.
Whilst breeding Lady Di for money is mooted within the Carter family, they soon find out she’s been impregnated by Abi’s dog, Tramp, which is a Bearded Collie cross. She eventually has non-pedigree puppies which are sold, but for very modest sums of money.
The issues surrounding the ethics of breeding Bulldogs are addressed in a later episode in this storyline.
Nonetheless, we appreciate your feedback on this matter and would like to assure you that we’ve registered your concerns on our audience log. This is a daily report of audience feedback that’s made available to many BBC staff, including the programme team and senior management. The audience logs are seen as important documents that can help shape decisions about future programming and content.
Thanks again for taking the time to contact us. Kind Regards, BBC Complaints”
So, in short, the storyline is to go ahead.
Not only is the show condoning irresponsible breeding, but they are also demonstrating a lax attitude towards responsible dog ownership; the Carters were paying so little attention to their dog that they had no idea she had mated with a neighbourhood mutt. We just hope they don’t call the pups “Collie-Bulls” and start a trend for highly intelligent and active brachycephalic cross breeds! (Unusually, Jemima Harrison of Pedigree Dogs Exposed has been very quiet on this issue.)
We’ll see how they handle the issue in the coming weeks. If you’re upset by anything you see, do let us (and Ofcom!) know.
The Kennel Club have written an Open Letter to the BBC themselves, to complain about the mooted storyline. We have no idea if they received the same stock reply as we did, but we’ll keep you updated.
The Mayhew has issued their own statement on the issue also.
What do you think? Is this storyline a welfare disaster waiting to happen? Or could it shed some interesting light on a current topic?Tags: Articles, Current Affairs, TV