An exploration of attitudes towards pedigree dogs and their disorders as expressed by a sample of companion animal veterinarians in New Zealand

Farrow, T., Keown, A.J. and Farnworth, M.J. ORCID: 0000-0001-6226-0818, 2014. An exploration of attitudes towards pedigree dogs and their disorders as expressed by a sample of companion animal veterinarians in New Zealand. New Zealand Veterinary Journal, 62 (5), pp. 267-273. ISSN 0048-0169

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To explore veterinary perception of pedigree dogs within New Zealand, with particular focus on inherited disorders and how these affect animal health and welfare.
An online questionnaire was distibuted to members of the Companian Animal Society (CAS) of the New Zealand Veterinary Association (NZVA) using an online survey system. Data were analysed using SPSS predictive analytical software v21.0 for Windows (IBM Inc., Chicago IL, USA). Responses which were incomplete or ambiguous were classified as missing. Results were considered significant if p≤0.05.
The most commonly identified breeds were Boxer, German Shepherd (GSD), Bulldog, Shar Pei, West Highland White Terrier (WHWT), and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (CKCS). The most commonly identified inherited disorders were Hip dysplasia, Elbow dysplasia, Atopy, Skin problems, Cardiac disease, and Brachycephalic syndromes. Veterinarians felt little had changed in the attitudes of breeders and owners of pedigree dogs toward inherited disorders, and that legislative change was unlikely to decrease the prevalence of inherited disorders in pedigree dogs. Veterinarians possessed a strong sense of obligation to treat the problems arising from inherited disorders, and to try to prevent propagation of inherited disorder through breeding advisement. Veterinarians gave a number of suggestions to decrease the prevalence of inherited disorders with in pedigree dogs.
Inherited disorders appear to be a significant issue in a number of pedigree breeds in New Zealand, though the breed-disorder associations identified by veterinarians in New Zealand occasionally differ from those within the literature. This may reflect a unique New Zealand context resulting from being a geographically (and genetically) isolated country. Veterinarians are concerned about inherited disorders in pedigree dogs, seem supportive of measures to improve the welfare of pedigree dogs, and appear motivated to assist in decreasing the prevalence of inherited disorders. Uncertainties remain over how veterinarians assess the importance of inherited disorders, and how this may impact advice given to breeders and clients. Further exploration of inherited disorders in the specific New Zealand context would be beneficial.
Clinical Relevance:
The prevalence and perceived importance of inherited disorders will impact how the clinician advises his/her clients. An understanding of the most common breed-associated inherited disorders, and how these impact animal health and welfare is critical to provide prudent guidance to pedigree breeders and dog owners in clinical practice.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: New Zealand Veterinary Journal
Creators: Farrow, T., Keown, A.J. and Farnworth, M.J.
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Date: 2014
Volume: 62
Number: 5
ISSN: 0048-0169
Divisions: Schools > School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 08 Mar 2018 15:23
Last Modified: 08 Mar 2018 15:23

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