Reporting C-sections and surgeries

A mother with her puppies

Why is it important that c-sections and conformation surgeries are reported?

The information we collect is used to:

  • provide information about breeding lines that may be passing on certain defects
  • encourage breeders not to use dogs displaying evidence of hereditary problems
  • encourage the use of dogs with natural birthing processes, so as to not normalise caesareans
  • assist dog show judges to ensure they are not assessing dogs with hereditary defects which have been so well corrected by surgical intervention that these cannot be detected
  • monitor changes and trends in prevalence and share anonymised data with research specialists - to know exactly where and how to target education and information to dog breeders, owners and the public

Vets - how you can help

We ask that vets let us know about all c-sections and procedures carried out that change the natural look, shape or structure of any Kennel Club registered dog.

The BVA, BSAVA and RCVS support this reporting process as it provides information to help correct some of the problems identified in the breeding of dogs.

How to report

Why we need you to report

For many years, most of the reports we receive (around 95%) come from owners of dogs registered with The Kennel Club. We receive very few reports from vets. This needs to change and we encourage vets to help us tackle canine inherited conditions together.

Client confidentiality issues

When an owner registers their dog with The Kennel Club they sign a declaration agreeing that caesarean operations and any operations that alter their dog's conformation can be reported to The Kennel Club by any veterinary surgeon. You will not be breaching client confidentiality if you report such operations to us.

Details about the declaration

The declaration regarding the reporting of operations which change natural conformation was made a condition of Kennel Club registration in 1990 and caesareans were added to the declaration in 2010.

The declaration in The Kennel Club General Code of Ethics reads:

“...will agree without reservation that any veterinary surgeon performing a caesarean section and/or an operation on any of their dogs which alters the natural conformation of the animal, may report such operation to The Kennel Club. All data received will be retained and processed securely. Any form received where the dog is not identified as a Kennel Club registered dog will be securely destroyed.”

Make reporting easier

We recommend that you keep any dog’s Kennel Club registration details on the patient records as a matter of practice policy. However, we recognise that this doesn’t always happen or you may have clients who are reluctant to provide information. Reminding clients of The Kennel Club's regulations at the beginning of their relationship with your practice could reduce some of the reluctance associated with reporting.

Questions and answers

Which conformation surgeries should I report?

Currently the removal of dewclaws may be excluded from operations to be reported, since the results of such a procedure would be self-apparent.

On the whole, if you think a surgery may apply, it is better to report it to us. That way, even if we ultimately dismiss the matter, at least we have had the opportunity to make an assessment. 

Here is a non-exhaustive list of procedures that can be reported: 


  • Brachycephalic airway obstruction syndrome
    • Stenotic nares
    • Elongated soft palate
    • Everted laryngeal saccules
  • Laryngeal collapse
  • Tracheal collapse
  • Tracheal hypoplasia
  • Cleft palate
  • Hair lip


  • Any joint replacement (other than for proven trauma)
  • Cruciate repair
  • Joint dysplasia
  • Patellar luxation


  • Adnexal problems
    • Entropion
    • Ectropion
    • Other eyelid plastic surgery
    • Distichiasis
    • Trichiasis
    • Incomplete eyelid closure
    • Diamond eye
    • Nictitating gland prolapse
  • Lens luxation
  • Cataract
  • Glaucoma
  • Retinal detachment
  • Keratoconjunctivitis sicca
  • Corneal ulceration that is breed associated


  • Any cardiac or major vessel surgery (e.g, PDA)


  • Syringomyelia
  • Intervertebral disc protrusion
  • Cervical spinal instability (Wobbler syndrome)
  • Atlantoaxial subluxation
  • Lumbosacral stenosis
  • Dermoid sinus
  • Persistent hepatic portal vein
  • Hydrocephalus


  • Skin fold surgery
  • Ear canal surgery


  • Dental malocclusion
  • Cheiloplasty
  • Vascular ring anomalies
  • Cricopharyngeal achalasia
  • Hiatus hernia
  • Gastric torsion
  • Pyloric stenosis


  • Retained testicle
  • Vaginal prolapse
  • Urolithiasis
  • Ectopic ureter


  • Umbilical hernia
  • Inguinal hernia
Am I obligated to report any surgery?

No, but the BVA, BSAVA, RCVS and The Kennel Club all encourage vets to submit these reports.

Should I report all conformation defects or just the surgeries to correct them?

No, the reporting is for conformation-altering surgery only and not for reporting defects that have not been or cannot be corrected. The purpose of the regulation that permission to show must be sought is to ensure as far as possible that nothing is done to deceive the dog show judge.

I have all the dog’s registration details on record already. As I don’t need any further permission to report from the owner, can I just report the surgery without telling them?

It is advisable to tell the client that a report will be made, as covert reporting may be construed negatively by the client.

What if my client is unaware of the regulations?

The owner may not have fully read The Kennel Club's registration documents they received from the breeder and so may not be aware of the regulations. If this is the case, you may want to let the client know that The Kennel Club asks that you report the surgery you are due to perform on their dog, and that they report it themselves. You should also explain that it is a condition of continued registration that they consent to veterinary reporting of these types of surgeries. An explanation of the reasons for reporting could also be helpful.

Doesn’t this put some vets in a difficult situation if another practice nearby is known to not report surgeries?

Yes. This is why BVA, BSAVA, RCVS and The Kennel Club all encourage reporting; it’s something all vets need to do as professionals in the interests of dog health and welfare. The number of reports by vets is far lower than the number of reports by the owners themselves, which suggests that many owners do not understand the need for compliance with our regulations nor do they know why reporting is important for monitoring dog health and welfare.

Should I report surgeries to non-showing Kennel Club registered dogs or just to the ones that participate in showing?

You should report for both – it will help us identify potential genetic/breed-specific problems. We are interested in the health and welfare of all dogs, not just in show dogs.

The form has a space for “counter-signature of client to confirm the dog’s identity (if applicable)” and says that a copy should go to the client. What should I do if the client refuses to sign the form?

You should send the form in anyway along with what information you have (e.g. microchip number/pet name/description) and we will follow this up with the client.

My client has specifically asked me not to report this surgery, what should I do?
  • You can still report the surgery without their signature if you wish as it is a condition of the dog’s continued registration with The Kennel Club that the owners have already consented to reporting surgeries
  • You are not obligated to submit these reports but it is encouraged by BVA, BSAVA, RCVS and The Kennel Club
  • You will need the dog’s Kennel Club registration number in order for the report to be able to be recorded by us, which can sometimes prove difficult to obtain from the owner. Even without this information we would wish to receive the report in order to add to the overall statistics relating to a particular breed. We will follow up with the owner if they refuse to provide the registration number, if you provide whatever information you have (e.g. microchip number, pet name, description)
I want to report surgical alterations to natural conformation. What should I tell any client when recommending surgery?
  • It is advisable to let the client know that The Kennel Club asks that you report the surgery you are due to perform on their dog, and to reiterate that if they show or plan to show their dog, they will need to ask for permission from The Kennel Club to do so after the surgery
  • Explain why The Kennel Club needs to collect this data
  • If the client wants to breed from their dog you can advise that the problem is, or may be, hereditary so they are aware of any problems they may have with future progeny
I don’t want to report the surgery because then my client’s dog will/might be prevented from showing and so I think I would lose their business. Do all reports result in a ban?

Many procedures are actually granted automatic permission to show, which means owners generally uphold this duty to report surgeries and ask for permission to continue to show.

However, some reports go to an internal committee of The Kennel Club for consideration and to decide whether the dog should be prevented from showing in the future. This means some owners are reluctant to inform us of surgeries, even though it is a requirement that they do so. We therefore ask vets to report surgeries carried out on Kennel Club registered dogs.

Who is responsible for reporting surgery for cases sent to a referral centre?

The vet who performs the surgery is responsible for making the report.

Can a veterinary nurse submit a report?

A veterinary nurse can fill out the reporting form, but the report should be signed by the vet who performed the surgery.