Health testing designed to support responsible dog breeding by
screening for hereditary conditions is helping to improve the
health of breeds across the UK, according to new statistics from
the Canine Health Schemes.
The British Veterinary Association (BVA) and the Kennel Club
jointly run the Hip and Elbow Dysplasia Schemes to screen dogs for
certain inherited conditions. Owners and breeders can use the
results from the schemes to make informed breeding decisions to
help produce healthier puppies and work towards eliminating
debilitating inherited conditions.
The latest data from the Hip and Elbow Schemes show a clear and
sustained reduction in the incidence and severity of these
conditions. BVA President Sean Wensley said:
"The latest statistics from Canine Health Schemes clearly
demonstrate that responsible breeding, supported by testing, can
make a difference to the health and welfare of dogs.
"Health considerations are particularly important when it comes
to mating, and it is vital that the risk of passing on inherited
conditions is continually reduced. The hip and elbow dysplasia
tests are extremely useful tools for breeders and vets, both of
whom want to ensure the health and welfare of future generations of
"Vets have a vital role to play both in encouraging clients to
screen for inherited conditions before dogs are used for mating,
and, for the Hip and Elbow Schemes, in submitting all diagnostic
x-rays taken so that an accurate picture of what is happening in
the different breeds is obtained. Anyone thinking of breeding from
their dog or considering buying a puppy should ask their vet about
relevant health screening."
Results from the Hip Dysplasia Scheme, which celebrates its 50th
anniversary this month, showed improvements in the median scores of
20 of the 21 most-scored breeds over the last 15 years, indicating
a reduction in the incidence and severity of hip dysplasia in
scored dogs. The remaining breed, Tibetan Terrier, has maintained a
low median score for the entire period.
Results from the Elbow Dysplasia Scheme give the numbers and
percentage of the different grades (0-3) for all breeds combined
for each year since 1998. This also shows a clear reduction in the
incidence and severity of the condition in the dogs which have been
assessed under the scheme, with a higher percentage dogs from all
breeds achieving grade 0 (normal elbows) and fewer dogs grading 1,
2 and 3 (affected).
Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: "This data goes to
show just how much of a positive effect health testing is having on
the health and welfare of dogs.
"The BVA/KC Canine Health Schemes are useful tools to support
responsible breeding and, as evidence from the data from the hip
and elbow schemes, they are going a long way in protecting the
future health of the UK's dogs."
"Breeders who health test their dogs should be tremendously
proud that they are having such a sustained positive impact on dog
health, and we would encourage any breeder who does not currently
use the schemes to do so, to enable the positive results to
The Canine Health Schemes cover hip and elbow dysplasia as well
as hereditary eye disease and Chiari-malformation/Syringomyelia.
Breeders interested in using Canine Health Schemes testing should
contact their vet for further information.
The statistics and additional information about the Canine
Health Schemes are available at www.bva.co.uk/Canine-Health-Schemes/.