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12/05/2011 Vets to provide information

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A nationwide data base of information regarding the health problems suffered by dogs is being developed with the help of vets across the country. It will form a computer-based system of anonymous diagnoses from vets to provide statistically significant prevalence data for each breed.

The resultant information will be analysed to provide data on the specific conditions suffered by specific breeds with an eye on further development to analyse the conditions suffered by pedigrees and crossbreeds. The information will help address the current problem of having a lack of prevalence data for specific diseases. The information will make it less difficult to co-ordinate effective future breeding programmes.

The VEctAR Animal Surveillance Project is being launched throughout the UK through small animal practices. Breed groups and clubs have also been invited to become involved. Supported by the RSPCA, Pfizer and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, the project will collect coded clinical animal records, broken down by disease between species, breed, age, sex, colour, weight, clinic. The information will inlcude whether the animal is neutered and microchipped, has a passport, treatment given, summary diagnoses, season and geographical area.

Dogs are still suffering from disorders which could be reduced or avoided if there was enough information and advice including conditions such as elbow dysplasia and eye disorders.

The information will increase the knowledge on which breeds are most affected and if breeding programmes can be used to limit the genetic components of cause and whether diet can be used as a preventive measure.

The scheme will run indefinitely and assess health over extended time periods.

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