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New Health Screening at U.K. Dog Shows

Posted: February 24, 2011, 5:40 p.m., EDT


The Kennel Club has announced that any dog belonging to 15 high profile breeds that win Best of Breed at the 2012 Crufts Show-and at all Kennel Club-licensed General and Group Championship Shows after that--will need to be given a clean bill of health by the show veterinarian. Only then will their Best of Breed awards be confirmed, allowing them to compete in the final stages of the show.
 
The move, which will become effective from March 2012, was taken by the Kennel Club on the advice of its Dog Health Group in order to ensure that these breeds, including the likes of the Pekingese and the Bloodhound (which may suffer from health issues), do not undermine the hobby of dog showing.
 
The other breeds of concern are the Basset Hound, Bulldog, Chow Chow, Clumber Spaniel, Dogue de Bordeaux, German Shepherd Dog, Mastiff, Neapolitan Mastiff, Pekingese, Shar-Pei, St Bernard, French Bulldog, Pug and Chinese Crested.
In addition, before the Champion title of any dog within these breeds can be confirmed, it will have to undergo a successful veterinary examination at a Group or General Championship Show.
 
These new changes follow measures put in place in 2009 with the aim of ensuring that only healthy dogs are rewarded in the show ring. Judges now already have the power to remove dogs that look unhealthy from competition, and show monitors can also ask show veterinarians to determine whether a dog is healthy enough to continue competing. These existing requirements will continue to be in place at Crufts this year.
 
Veterinary Involvement
 
The Kennel Club confirmed that the detailed new regulations are currently being developed and will be published in due course. In general terms though, show vets will be given clear guidelines on the issues that need to be considered in deciding whether or not to allow a dog to proceed further into the Group competition.

Veterinarians will be directed only to prevent dogs from going forward if they are suffering from some clinical problem that obviously adversely affects the dog’s well-being. They will not be permitted to exclude dogs merely for esthetic reasons or because of exaggerations alone, unless these are causing an adverse clinical effect on the dog’s health or welfare.
 
The guidance being drawn up will focus on clinical signs associated with pain or discomfort and will come under the headings of external eye disease, lameness, skin disorders and breathing difficulty. The show veterinarian will be looking for signs such as ectropion, entropion, corneal damage, dermatitis, breathing difficulty on moderate exercise and lameness.

In the case of the Chinese Crested, however, the principal issue will be any indication of skin damage arising from hair removal and thus inspections will concentrate on signs of clipper rash or chemical usage on the skin.



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