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Canine Health Schemes review

The BVA and Kennel Club have been taking part in a joint management scheme to review the Canine Health Schemes. The review began in 2006, and hopefully will answer many concerns of dog breeders which have been sent to both the KC and the BVA. The joint committee overseeing the re-launch of the Canine Health Schemes is made up of KC Chief Executive Rose Smart, KC Genetics Advisor Jeff Sampson, KC Health Officer Diana Brooks-Ward, The current BVA president Nicky Paull, BVA secretary General Henrietta Alderman, Head of Finance Derek Salt and the Canine Health Schemes Manager Sandra Webber.

Additionally experts will be asked to sit on the committee dependant on what is being reviewed, i.e. if the canine eye testing scheme is under review then the chief panellist would be invited to attend, or if it was for the canine hip or elbow scheme then the chief scrutineer would be invited to attend the committee.

Commenting on the review BVA President Nicky Paull said: “With the recent publicity over pedigree dogs the re-launch of the CHS is timely. The dedicated ‘health zone’ at Crufts earlier this month provided us with a perfect opportunity to raise awareness and encourage uptake of the schemes to breeders and the imminent British Small Animal Veterinary Association Congress provides an equally ideal environment for promoting the schemes to the profession”.


In response to concerns expressed by both breeders and vets, the BVA are currently looking into investing in equipment to read digital submissions, for hips and elbows and increasing access to health screening, developing new schemes including one to address heart problems and another for syringomyelia.

At present only about 10% of veterinary practices have the digital equipment to photograph hips and elbows for submission to the chief scrutinizer for the hip scoring and elbow scoring panel. At present it vets with this equipment have to get the photograph developed then submit it. Plans are now being put in place so that these vets will be able to submit their radiographs by disc or online, although the latter will take more time to set up. At present the forms will still have to be sent in by post with the discs or radiographs.

Nicky Paull told Our Dogs: “There are a number of initiatives currently being developed, not least those being explored by the BVA Animal Welfare Foundation, to identify practical solutions to the problems associated with breeding in dogs. The BVA/KC CHS are, however, already in place but, in many breeds, underused. Our message to both breeders and the veterinary profession is quite simple - the Canine Health Schemes are here and by using them you can assist in identifying, sometimes painful, inherited defects in dogs.”

The BVA plan to meet with veterinary students before they leave university to go into general practice and to contact veterinary practices to promote the Canine Health Schemes and hopefully to leave information in vets waiting rooms to draw dog owners attention the schemes. It is hoped that these moves will encourage more take up of the schemes and will help to make the general public more aware of canine health matters.


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