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The two  vets who carried out the checks on 15 BOBs at Crufts have put out a joint statement in the Veterinary Record, the journal of the BVA


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Not sure I entirely agree with all of that. Judges have to work their way up to judging at Ch shows, attending seminars, being assessed, breeding dogs with stud book numbers - they have to have training and experience to get to the top as judges. I would be glad to see vets getting some additional training , on top of their professional veterinary qualifications, on how the vet checks are to be carried out, what they should be looking for, and what are disqualifying faults.

Vets who want to become BVA eye specialists spend at least three years doing hands on eye checks under supervision of panellists and attending additional training in ophthalmology, before they become panellists themselves. Why not some specialist training for vets who want to become approved vets  doing health checks on show dogs? Maybe some specialist knowledge of the health and conformation problems of specific breeds too? it would inspire more confidence in the checks being done ........ and harder to argue with the results too.

'The process is quite clear: the KC health team has produced an excellent illustrated booklet, which concisely states the areas of concern for each breed'.

Perhaps the KC health team illustrated booklet is more detailed than the one line statement from the breed standard. Some haw but without excess and inspecting for disorders caused by breeding for extremes is the what the KC is trying to deal with. Both documents would appear to have the same goal.

Put out by the Canine Alliance today


24th March 2012

The steering committee of the Canine Alliance is concerned that some outside observers have misinterpreted the main reason for its formation.

... Whilst the veterinary examinations of fifteen Best of Breed winners that were carried out at Crufts may have been the catalyst for this formation, the steering committee of Canine Alliance is keen to remind everyone of its main purpose.

Secretary Robert Harlow said, “It should be recognised that, far from being opposed to veterinary examinations, the alliance feels that basic veterinary examinations should become routine for all show dogs, but prior to entering the competition ring, not after they have been awarded any prizes.”

In his opening speech at the meeting where Canine Alliance was born Andrew Brace, now Vice Chairman and Press Officer of Canine Alliance, told all present “At the outset let me say that the purpose of this meeting is not to oppose the Kennel Club’s stance on health monitoring. Quite the reverse in fact; it is to discuss the methods that were employed at Crufts and to attempt to produce a set of recommendations that will actually HELP the Kennel Club progress in its quest to improve the health of our purebred dogs, whilst at the same time supporting the breeders, exhibitors and judges who fall under its jurisdiction.”

Furthermore, Canine Alliance feels that much more should be done to ensure the health of pedigree dogs. Robert Harlow said, “The overwhelming feeling of members of the alliance is that we work with the Kennel Club to ensure that the method for health testing and checks is in place, and carried out in a manner that is both fair and equitable for all dog owners. The Canine Alliance will campaign hard on behalf of its members to this end.”

The process as is allows the breeders and judges to self manage the extremes in a cost and time effective way. Now that this has been introduced and carried out, I am sure exhibitors will assess their dogs, and judges alike. At best of breed level it allows both parties to have control over the decision. The vet check then looks at the health disorders as a final before group. These vets are volunteers, realistically how long would it take to vet check these dogs before they enter the ring. Judges and exhibitors are very much involved in the process as it is. Vet check before and you do not allow Judges and exhibitors a chance to make a decision on what is excessive and causing disorders. I believe the current process is more carrot than stick.

Tracy, I believe the final paragraph in your extract from Dog World hits the nail on the head and is possibly the catylist that sparked all this outrage.  If the BOB winning Clumber bitch had shown any irritation or eye inflammation then an experienced and highly respected judge like Ferelith Somerfield would not have put her through.  I think the vets were over zealous.  The fact that they believed they were there "to overrule the judge" scares the sh.. out of me.  The fact that they were randomly picked fron ordinary practitioners also scares the sh.. out of me. 

Tracy, I do not think that any judge or vet should pull a dogs eyelids about.  If a vet has to do that in order to try and find something then it goes beyond his instructions.  If the eyes are not inflammed or watering then poking them about could aggravate them and cause them to water..   I would think Ferelith Somerfield would have been acutely conscious of the fact that her BOB was to be subjected to a vet check so she probably looked at the heads and eyes of all her exhibits much closer than she would normally do.

I am sorry Tracy but I do think that the choice of a vet to carry out something as sensitive as a check of this kind should be given serious consideration and not be subject to a random decision regardless of skills.

Tracy, sadly in the case of the Clumber bitch I understand the eyes were pulled about more than was normal.  It is only what people have told me.  It was certainly an experience that left the owner totally shaken.  This is not how it should be.




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