Showsight - November 2017

WHAT DOES YOUR VETERINARIAN KNOW ABOUT HEALTH TESTING? by DEBORAH LYNCH I am assuming that most of the people reading this article go to reproductive veterinarians. These are the professionals most Have your Health committee contact the Veterinary School in your state and offer to make a presentation (Tip pizza and dogs will help draw students).

information there either. Why? Because there is a giant hole in our information distribution and a knowledge and com- munication gap between breed health testing requirements and veterinarians. Think about the young woman who decides to breed her Golden Retriever, she asks her veterinarian for help. What should she do prior to breeding her dog? Well just let them know when she comes in season may be the response. No information about CHIC, the par- ent club or health testing. Will all of them do the testing even if they get the information? Probably not. But most of them won’t even be presented with the opportunity. It does us little good to pursue canine health research, develop valuable health tests and then not do everything in our power to make sure they are used. Veterinarians need this information and it is far past time that OFA, AKC, AKC/CHF and the AVMA develop programs to provide it. Companies that offer these tests have offered to help provide the infor- mation and have been met with indif- ference. That needs to stop. The AVMA recently suggested that breeders need to screen their dogs for health and not breed those that are not healthy. Yet, there has been little done to educate veterinarians about what health testing is required by Parent Clubs and where to find that information. Parent Clubs who have heroically funded the tests, worked with AKC/CHF and the Veteri- nary Schools to raise funds, collect sam- ples and guide research need to step in again. What can you do? Make sure the organizations that represent you do their job. Work with the AKC, AKC/CHF, and the AVMA and OFA and don’t stop your advocacy until the needed educational programs are in place. Perhaps, a congratulations packet for each Veterinary School grad- uate with an information piece could be sponsored by one of the health testing companies.

likely to be familiar with CHIC testing and the requirements for some if not many breeds. However, most of us use local veterinarians for routine proce- dures and we try to seek out the best of those available. What do they know and what do the newer veterinary school graduates know about health testing. Hmm. I would be interested in knowing about your experiences. Here is one scenario experienced recently. A young bitch that just needed a patella check to complete her CHIC requirements, was presented to a local veterinarian. She had been practicing about five years. When she asked what was required she confidently informed the client that there was no registry or certification for patellas. She said this with great authority. Imagine her sur- prise when she was informed that, yes indeed there was a registry for patella certification and had been for at least two decades. In fact, it was offered by OFA along with many other registries for individual conditions and for most breeds of purebred dogs. She also got an introduction to the concept of the Canine Health Information Center also managed by OFA. Why is this important? Why is this somewhat of a calamity for purebred dogs? Because this veterinarian is a graduate of one of largest veterinary schools in the United States and she graduated without any knowledge of canine health testing? Further in her five years of practice she had not acquired this knowledge. That is only part of the story. The fact is that the major- ity of all purebred puppies are bred by people who only breed one litter. That has ever been the case. And if these one time breeders go to their vets, as they are likely to do, there is a good chance they will not get any accurate or helpful

Local veterinary societies hear pre- sentations, recruit one of your breeder/ veterinarians to make a presentation to them, or have your health committee make one. The veterinarians and the students will be impressed with your efforts to advance the health of dogs. Make sure that your veterinar- ian receives information about CHIC and where to access information about health testing of all breeds on line. If need be, develop you own information piece. Then, when the next person comes in with a Keeshond, Golden Retriever, or any other breed they will be given the information on the health tests required by their breed club. They will not just wander off after consulting their professional, thinking they have everything they need for a healthy litter. DEBORAH LYNCH, MSSA, BIO Deborah Lynch was the first Execu- tive Vice President of the AKC Canine Health Foundation, she served in that role from it’s founding in 1995, until 2003. She has a Masters Degree in Non Profit Administration from Case Western Reserve University and has worked with several non profits in mission development, and strategic planning including United Way Ser- vices, the Mandel Center for NonProfit Organizations, CWRU and Ursuline College. She is a member of the Buck- eye Keeshond Club and the Keeshond Club of America and has served on its Board of Directors and as its Presi- dent. She has bred over 30 AKC Cham- pions and has judged her breed in the United States and England. She is currently a writer and consultant. She lives with her family and Keeshonden in Burton, Ohio, and can be contacted at


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