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Large-scale survey to estimate the prevalence of disorders for 192 Kennel Club registered breeds


    B. M. Wiles 1* , A. M. Llewellyn-Zaidi 2 , K.M. Evans 1,3 ,D.G.O ’ Neill 4 and T. W. Lewis 1,3

     

    Abstract

    Background

    Pedigree or purebred dogs are often stated to have high prevalence of disorders which are commonly assumed to be a consequence of inbreeding and selection for exaggerated features. However, few studies empirically report and rank the prevalence of disorders across breeds although such data are of critical importance in the prioritisation of multiple health concerns, and to provide a baseline against which to explore changes over time. This paper reports an owner survey that gathered disorder information on Kennel Club registered pedigree dogs, regardless of whether these disorders received veterinary care. This study aimed to determine the prevalence of disorders among pedigree dogs overall and, where possible, determine any variation among breeds.

    Large-scale survey to estimate the prevalence of disorders for 192 Kennel Club Registered breeds (internal - PDF)

     

    Quote

    Plain English Summary
    It is often repeated that pedigree or purebred dogs have an unacceptably high occurrence of disorders due to inbreeding and selection for exaggerated features. However, there are few single studies that report the occurrence of all disorders across multiple breeds; instead most focus on specific breeds or specific conditions. Information on the frequency of various conditions is important in prioritizing health concerns in dogs. Therefore, a survey of dog owners was undertaken to gather health information on Kennel Club registered pedigree dogs, regardless of whether or not these disorders were diagnosed at a veterinary practice.


    The purpose of this study was to identify the most common conditions affecting the current Kennel Club registered pedigree dog population.
    From a total of 43,005 live Kennel Club registered dogs, just under two thirds of live dogs had no reported disorders. The most commonly reported diseases/conditions for all live dogs across all breeds were lipoma (fatty masses) (4.3%), skin cysts (3.1%) and allergic skin disorder (2.7%). Differences between the within breed prevalence and overall prevalence across breeds of some disorders were found. The results from this study will substantially contribute to the current understanding of disorder occurrence in UK dogs. It is anticipated that these results will assist the forthcoming Kennel Club Breed Health & Conservation Plans that will identify and prioritise the most pressing welfare concerns and provide advice to breeders/owners on steps that may be taken to minimise the risk of common conditions in particular breeds. Future breed-specific studies are recommended to gather more precise health information across more individual breeds.

    Comments from article co-author Aimee Llewellyn-Zaidi follow...

    "I was very pleased to be a part of this research. I think it is of fundamental importance to have an over-view of the health concerns across a dog population in order to help target priorities from the dog's welfare perspective. This research should help not only provide inspiration for Kennel Club research collaboration priorities, but also aspects of diseases and health that are general to dogs - not just breed-specific concerns. While the Kennel Club dog population probably does have some unique attributes - correct breed and type identification for one - it is interesting to see that the data by and large reflects similar pedigree, and non-pedigree "breed/type" data from other "big data" sources such as Vet Compass and insurance data. This gives some confidence that the concerns we see in the KC population probably applies across similar breeds and breed-types. It is also interesting to see how this work puts some perspective on how common diseases are across specific breeds - both higher and lower that you might expect from anecdotal evidence. My great hope is that by more accurately identifying issues that really matter to the dogs, we are more likely to be able to put actions into place - including ongoing monitoring of (hopefully!) improvement. I also hope this will encourage increased participation by owners for any follow-ups to this study, and inspire national and international interest in collecting similar data."

Edited by Ann Milligan


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