Getting priorities straight: risk assessment and decision-making in the improvement of inherited disorders in pedigree dogs.
ABSTRACT The issue of inherited disorders in pedigree dogs is not a recent phenomenon and reports of suspected genetic defects associated with breeding practices date back to Charles Darwin's time. In recent years, much information on the array of inherited defects has been assimilated and the true extent of the problem has come to light. Historically, the direction of research funding in the field of canine genetic disease has been largely influenced by the potential transferability of findings to human medicine, economic benefit and importance of dogs for working purposes. More recently, the argument for a more canine welfare-orientated approach has been made, targeting research efforts at the alleviation of the most suffering in the greatest number of animals. A method of welfare risk assessment was initially developed as a means of objectively comparing, and thus setting priorities for, different welfare problems. The method has been applied to inherited disorders in pedigree dogs to investigate which disorders have the greatest welfare impact and which breeds are most affected. Work in this field has identified 396 inherited disorders in the top 50 most popular breeds in the UK. This article discusses how the results of welfare risk assessment for inherited disorders can be used to develop strategies for improving the health and welfare of dogs in the long term. A new risk assessment criterion, the Breed-Disorder Welfare Impact Score (BDWIS), which takes into account the proportion of life affected by a disorder, is introduced. A set of health and welfare goals is proposed and strategies for achieving these goals are highlighted, along with potential rate-determining factors at each step.
- SourceAvailable from: Peter C Thomson[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Purebred dog health is thought to be compromised by an increasing occurence of inherited diseases but inadequate prevalence data on common disorders have hampered efforts to prioritise health reforms. Analysis of primary veterinary practice clinical data has been proposed for reliable estimation of disorder prevalence in dogs. Electronic patient record (EPR) data were collected on 148,741 dogs attending 93 clinics across central and south-eastern England. Analysis in detail of a random sample of EPRs relating to 3,884 dogs from 89 clinics identified the most frequently recorded disorders as otitis externa (prevalence 10.2%, 95% CI: 9.1-11.3), periodontal disease (9.3%, 95% CI: 8.3-10.3) and anal sac impaction (7.1%, 95% CI: 6.1-8.1). Using syndromic classification, the most prevalent body location affected was the head-and-neck (32.8%, 95% CI: 30.7-34.9), the most prevalent organ system affected was the integument (36.3%, 95% CI: 33.9-38.6) and the most prevalent pathophysiologic process diagnosed was inflammation (32.1%, 95% CI: 29.8-34.3). Among the twenty most-frequently recorded disorders, purebred dogs had a significantly higher prevalence compared with crossbreds for three: otitis externa (P = 0.001), obesity (P = 0.006) and skin mass lesion (P = 0.033), and popular breeds differed significantly from each other in their prevalence for five: periodontal disease (P = 0.002), overgrown nails (P = 0.004), degenerative joint disease (P = 0.005), obesity (P = 0.001) and lipoma (P = 0.003). These results fill a crucial data gap in disorder prevalence information and assist with disorder prioritisation. The results suggest that, for maximal impact, breeding reforms should target commonly-diagnosed complex disorders that are amenable to genetic improvement and should place special focus on at-risk breeds. Future studies evaluating disorder severity and duration will augment the usefulness of the disorder prevalence information reported herein.PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(3):e90501. · 3.53 Impact Factor
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Abstract AIMS: To explore veterinary perceptions of inherited disorders in pedigree dogs within New Zealand and how these affect animal health and welfare. An online questionnaire was distributed to the 647 members of the Companion Animal Society of the New Zealand Veterinary Association using an online survey system. The questionnaire collected details of practitioners, pedigree dog breeds and disorders most often encountered in practice, and responses to questions and statements regarding inherited disorders and pedigree dogs. Of the 216 respondents, 194 (89.8%) believed inherited disorders in dogs were a significant issue. The most commonly identified breeds presenting with inherited disorders were Boxer, Bulldog and German Shepherd dog. The most commonly reported inherited disorders were hip dysplasia, brachycephalic syndromes and elbow dysplasia. Of 207 respondents, 100 (48.3%) had advised clients against purchasing a pedigree dog due to common inherited disorders and 183 (85.6 %) considered the health and welfare of some breeds to be too compromised to continue breeding. Of 199 respondents, 132 (66.3%) reported seeing no change in prevalence of inherited conditions, 103/204 (50.5%) reported seeing a positive change in attitudes toward inherited disorders among dog owners, and 81/207 (39.1%) thought legislative support would help decrease inherited disorders in pedigree dogs. Attitudes were not associated with time since graduation or ownership of a New Zealand Kennel Club registered breed of dog. The most common suggestions to decrease prevalence of inherited disorders were to alter breed standards, educate public or buyers and compulsory genetic testing. Among respondents, veterinarians considered inherited disorders as significant issues in a number of pedigree breeds. Veterinarians were concerned about inherited disorders in pedigree dogs, felt they had an obligation to treat such animals and were supportive of measures to make genetic testing for inheritable disorders a requirement for registration of pedigree breeds. Prevalence and perceived importance of inherited disorders influences how clinicians advise their clients. Respondents to this survey provided a number of mechanisms by which inherited disorders may be managed and these could form the basis of future discussions within the profession.New Zealand veterinary journal 03/2014; · 1.06 Impact Factor
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Canine hip dysplasia (CHD) is a serious and common musculoskeletal disease of pedigree dogs and therefore represents both an important welfare concern and an imperative breeding priority. The typical heritability estimates for radiographic CHD traits suggest that the accuracy of breeding dog selection could be substantially improved by the use of estimated breeding values (EBVs) in place of selection based on phenotypes of individuals. The British Veterinary Association/Kennel Club scoring method is a complex measure composed of nine bilateral ordinal traits, intended to evaluate both early and late dysplastic changes. However, the ordinal nature of the traits may represent a technical challenge for calculation of EBVs using linear methods. The purpose of the current study was to calculate EBVs of British Veterinary Association/Kennel Club traits in the Australian population of German Shepherd Dogs, using linear (both as individual traits and a summed phenotype), binary and ordinal methods to determine the optimal method for EBV calculation. Ordinal EBVs correlated well with linear EBVs (r = 0.90-0.99) and somewhat well with EBVs for the sum of the individual traits (r = 0.58-0.92). Correlation of ordinal and binary EBVs varied widely (r = 0.24-0.99) depending on the trait and cut-point considered. The ordinal EBVs have increased accuracy (0.48-0.69) of selection compared with accuracies from individual phenotype-based selection (0.40-0.52). Despite the high correlations between linear and ordinal EBVs, the underlying relationship between EBVs calculated by the two methods was not always linear, leading us to suggest that ordinal models should be used wherever possible. As the population of German Shepherd Dogs which was studied was purportedly under selection for the traits studied, we examined the EBVs for evidence of a genetic trend in these traits and found substantial genetic improvement over time. This study suggests the use of ordinal EBVs could increase the rate of genetic improvement in this population.PLoS ONE 10/2013; 8(10):e77470. · 3.53 Impact Factor