Page 683 - WSAVA2017
P. 683

A. Hedhammar1
1Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Clincal Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden
Åke Hedhammar DVM, PhD, Dipl. ECVIM- CA
Department of Clinical Sciences, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden
Small animal veterinarians nowadays are commonly faced with health problems in dogs that have a genetic background. Breeders and cynological organizations have been blamed for the situation - past and current. With a critical look also at roles and responsibilities of the veterinary profession, the aim of this paper is to review past and current involvement by small animal veterinarians in the enhancement of canine genetic health and to propose an even stronger involvement in the future.
Genetic factors are involved to a greater or lesser
extent in congenital malformations, metabolic disorders, disorders of immune function, disorders associated with aging and cancer. These categories of disease have become relatively more important as infectious, parasitic, and nutritional diseases have become less common
due to vaccination programs and advancing knowledge about nutrition, treatments and diagnostic methods.
With this change in pattern of disease, issues related to inherited disease now comprise a considerable proportion of their practice for many veterinarians.
We are now better suited to assist in the selection of breeding stock by diagnosing specific clinical entities
and screening for early signs. An increasing interest in preventive measures and animal welfare calls for a closer tie with other stakeholders in these measures. To reveal their inherited nature we are collaborating with geneticists and breeders. To arrange for screening programmes and certification we need to ideally work together with the national cynological organisations.
The sources of information about genetic diseases for the veterinary community are now numerous compared to what was available in the 60’s in, e.g. the first edition of textbooks like Current Veterinary Therapy (1) This kind
of information is now available online (2,3) and a website on diagnostic testing have been launched by WSAVA in Collaboration with WIN (4).
A special issue of the Veterinary Journal (formerly British Veterinary Journal) on hereditary defects in dogs features several review articles on issues related to veterinary involvement in control measures against hereditary disorders in dogs [5]. Likewise the entire fall issue of European Journal of Companion Animas was devoted to Hereditary Diseases in Dogs (6)
As an example of earlier collaborations between the veterinary and the cynological organisations it should be noted that as early as 1967, at the WSAVA congress in Paris, the late Professor Saki Patsaama reported
on the breed standards that encouraged exaggerated anatomical features and an increased risk of various health problems [7].
The long-time work on hip dysplasia in many countries and the work of The International Elbow Working Group [36] are other good examples of how the veterinary profession over many years, in collaboration with geneticists and breeders, have contributed to enhance genetic health by the launching of a screening programme.
Much of the work that is needed must come from or at least be supported by veterinary professionals in their various roles. The following section outlines specific needs or areas of development and how veterinarians might support them.
is to diagnose and treat
As practicing veterinarians our prime responsibility is to cure whenever possible and at least to give symptomatic relief. For hereditary diseases, which most commonly
are congenital and/ or developmental or metabolic and/ or degenerative it is usually not possible to cure. It is however equally important to come up with an etiology based diagnoses. Even if it is not to permanently cure these conditions, it is of outmost importance for any breeding advices to be given.
is to assist in control and prevention
As small animal practitioners we are more and more involved in preventive measures.
For hereditary diseases it is mainly to assist in the performance of various screening programs and registration of verified cases of genetically defined diseases. Specialists in various sub disciplines are also involved in the introduction and design of screening procedures and health programs
An Urban Experience

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