By Ann MilliganINTRODUCTION
The Kennel Club launched a dynamic new resource for breed clubs and individual breeders – the Breed Health and Conservation Plans (BHCP) project – in September 2016. The purpose of the project is to ensure that all health concerns for a breed are identified through evidence-based criteria, and that breeders are provided with useful information and resources to support them in making balanced breeding decisions that make health a priority.
The Breed Health and Conservation Plans take a holistic view of breed health with consideration to the following issues: known inherited conditions, complex conditions (i.e. those involving many genes and environmental effects such as nutrition or exercise levels, for example hip dysplasia), conformational concerns and population genetics.
Sources of evidence and data have been collated into an evidence base (Section 1 of the BHCP) which gives clear indications of the most significant health conditions in each breed, in terms of prevalence and impact. Once the evidence base document has been produced it is discussed with the relevant Breed Health Coordinator and breed health committee or representatives if applicable. Priorities are agreed and laid out in Section 2. A collaborative action plan for the health of the breed is then agreed and incorporated as Section 3 of the BHCP. This will be monitored and reviewed.