The Kennel Club and University of Cambridge are offering free Respiratory Function Grading (RFG) scheme training for vets in Wales and Scotland, to increase availability of the scheme for dog owners and breeders, and to improve dog health.
The RFG scheme assesses Bulldogs, French Bulldogs and Pugs for Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS), a life-limiting and progressive disorder that can impair a dog's ability to breathe, sleep, eat, play and exercise. The aim of the scheme is to advise owners if their dog is affected by BOAS before surgery is considered, and gives guidance to breeders so they can make informed decisions to lower the risk of producing affected puppies. It is now a mandatory requirement for Kennel Club Assured Breeders of Bulldogs, French Bulldogs and Pugs to participate in this scheme prior to breeding. More information about the scheme can be found at on The Kennel Club website.
The Kennel Club is holding two veterinary training days led by Dr Jane Ladlow MA VetMB CertVR CertSAS DipECVS MRCVS, of the University of Cambridge, on Wednesday 19 April in Scotland, at Whitsome Ark, Main Street, Whitsome, Near Duns, Berwickshire, TD11 3NA, and on Wednesday 3 May in Wales, at Knighton & District Community Centre, Bowling Green Lane, Knighton, Powys, LD7 1DR, and invites local veterinarians to apply.
To become an assessor, vets are required to attend one training day, followed by a review each year. The training day is completely free of charge and lasts a full day (10am - 4pm). The day starts with a theory-based session, which includes a presentation from the scheme’s Chief Assessor, Dr Jane Ladlow, on the research behind the RFG scheme and an overview of its progress since its launch in February 2019.
The presentation is followed by a practical session, which provides an opportunity to observe and practice the assessments on volunteer dogs under the Chief Assessor’s supervision. These training days are designed to deliver all the information a vet needs to become an assessor and offer this service to all owners and breeders of Bulldogs, French Bulldogs and Pugs within their region.
Any veterinarian that lives in Wales or Scotland and is interested in attending the training day to become an assessor for the RFG scheme can register at bit.ly/3JHyW5E before Monday 27 March for Scotland, and Monday 10 April for Wales. Places will be confirmed via email shortly after registering.
Bill Lambert, Health, Welfare and Breeder Services Executive at The Kennel Club comments: “The Kennel Club and University of Cambridge, as well as responsible owners and breeders, collaborated to develop this ground-breaking scheme in order to help improve the health of Bulldogs, French Bulldogs and Pugs for generations to come, and we hope to continue to work together with vets to make this scheme more accessible and increase its impact on improving the health of these dogs. We have also funded research into BOAS in a number of other breeds with a view to extend the scheme as necessary.
“Whilst we urge people to stop and think before buying a brachycephalic dog, we also want to give those who make the decision to breed and buy these much-loved dogs the tools to do so in an informed and responsible way. The scheme vitally helps to advise owners if their dog is affected by BOAS and gives guidance to breeders to lower the risk of producing affected puppies – whilst facilitating important data collection and enabling researchers to monitor the frequency of the condition and progress in the breed affected, which will inform ongoing research, for the overall improvement of relevant breeds.
“We look forward to continuing to work with vets and other collaborative parties dedicated to improving brachycephalic dog health across the board through promoting the scheme, and engaging vets, breeders and puppy buyers to raise awareness and understanding of this complex syndrome.”
Interested vets who are unable to attend this training but would like to be added to The Kennel Club’s waiting list for future training days can email the health team on Health (The Kennel Club) .
More information about the RFG scheme and what The Kennel Club is doing to improve and protect brachycephalic health.