Showsight Presents The Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen

THE HEALTHY PBGV BY LAURA LISCUM Vice Chair, PBGVCA Health Committee – Vice President PBGV Health & Rescue Foundation

T he American Kennel Club web- site sums up why I share my life with this breed. Th ey write “It’s tough to resist falling for PBGVs at first sight. Not only are they ridiculously cute, they’re among the hap- piest dog breeds—and their zest for life is infectious.” PBGVs are hearty, active scent hounds that were bred to hunt rabbits and other small game in the rough terrain of the Vendéen region of France. Fortunately, the PBGV is a remarkably healthy breed. Since the 1980s, when PBGVs were introduced in the US and the PBGV Club of America (PBGVCA) was formed, the individuals who established the breed in the US had the foresight to adopt the best health prac- tices of other breeds before there were sub- stantial health problems in PBGVs. So far this has kept the PBGV relatively healthy, a trend that we hope will continue. Two groups that oversee PBGV health in the US are the PBGVCA Health Com- mittee and the PBGV Health & Rescue Foundation. Th ese groups have distinct, but overlapping, memberships so that they can fulfill their objectives with ample cross communication. PBGVCA HEALTH COMMITTEE Mission. Th e mission of the PBGVCA Health Committee is to have the most cur- rent information on PBGV health readily available to Club members and non-mem- bers alike. Th is allows PBGV owners to provide optimal health care and make wise choices in managing breed-specific health care issues. Committee members develop and maintain educational information targeted to the general health care of PBGVs. Th is information can be found on the PBGVCA website. Articles on PBGV health care appear in almost every issue of the quarterly club magazine, Saber Tails . We also develop and maintain a knowl- edge base of medical problems specific to the PBGV on the Club website. Th ese include clinical resources to assist with

diagnoses, treatment and management of breed specific health issues. Health Surveys. Knowledge of PBGV- specific health issues comes from two types of health surveys that have been conducted in the past. Our first health surveys col- lected data cumulatively over many years. Th is gave us some qualitative information on health issues that a ff ected PBGVs, but ultimately proved unhelpful because own- ers would register their dog, enter their first health issue, and then rarely or never update the dog’s information. Th erefore, in 2011 we turned to a ‘snapshot’ format in

were asked to identify any problems in one or more of 18 groups of health conditions, and to briefly describe each problem. We kept in mind that it is much more com- mon for individuals to respond to surveys when there are problems than when there are no problems. Th erefore, the percentag- es of dogs with specific conditions would likely be much lower if we had received a health survey for every single currently liv- ing PBGV. For the dogs with health issues, the majority of conditions reported were either relatively minor or managed so that quality of life was well maintained. Th e most frequent issues reported still only a ff ected 11 or 12% of the dogs. Th ese were endocrine/hormonal disorders, such as hypothyroidism and Cushing’s disease; allergies; arthritis in senior PBGVs; eye issues, such as cataracts, persistent pupil- lary membrane, and glaucoma; and gas- trointestinal complaints, such as pancre- atitis, inflammatory bowel disease, and colitis/gastritis. Reproductive, cardiovas- cular and urinary disorders a ff ected less than 10% of dogs a ff ected. We paid close attention to any reports of glaucoma and idiopathic epilepsy in our breed. Fortu- nately, the PBGV is not a breed that is at high risk for either disease. However, hav- ing a disease that will lead to blindness or recurring, unpredictable seizures is dis- proportionately traumatic for the dog and his/her family. Health surveys like this provide an important snapshot of a breed’s health. When compared to previous surveys, it is possible to determine which disorders have been successfully reduced or eliminated in the breed, and which are increasing. Th e 2011 survey form was short and uncom- plicated. We were disappointed that only 40% of the club membership participated. We recognized that some breeders might be concerned that public knowl- edge of their kennel’s health issues might a ff ect the breeder’s reputation. To allay these fears, our snapshot health surveys

“THESE GROUPS HAVE DISTINCT,

which owners provide health information on all PBGVs who were alive at any time during a one-year period. Information was gathered on age, sex, reproductive status, source of the dog, health testing that has been performed, and diseases or condi- tions that a ffl ict the dog. Th e good news from our 2011 survey was that the PBGV is a healthy breed. Of the 302 PBGVs surveyed, 134 (44.4%) had no health conditions. Survey responders BUT OVERLAPPING, MEMBERSHIPS SO THAT THEY CAN FULFILL THEIR OBJECTIVES WITH AMPLE CROSS COMMUNICATION.”

246 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , A PRIL 2015

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