11 January 2012: Pedigree dog health campaigner Carol Fowler has today launched the Dog Breed Health website (www.dogbreedhealth.com), a website that has information on the inherited health problems of 130 dog breeds.
Carol has been campaigning on dog health since 2003, after the death of her Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Bonnie, from Syringomyelia, an incurable neurological condition. Her current dog, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Rosie, also has Syringomyelia, Mitral Valve Disease, and inherited Middle Ear Disease.
The Dog Breed Health website has information on the health of each of 130 breeds: including the coefficient of inbreeding (COI); health and welfare problems caused by a breed’s conformation (physical characteristics); the health schemes and tests that are available for the breed; and other breed related diseases for which currently there is no testing or screening. This enables potential dog owners to quickly evaluate various breeds: to see if a breed would suit their lifestyle; to find a breed (or cross breed) with fewer serious health problems; and to understand what information they should get from a breeder before buying a puppy.
"I decided to create the Dog Breed Health website to provide people with information on the genetic health of most UK breeds in an easily accessible and understandable format," said Carol. "Until now, if people wanted to find this information for different breeds, they would have to do extensive research because much of the information isn't easily available. I hope this website will help future dog owners to make better choices and will also help to improve the future genetic health of dogs."
The website also offers general advice on responsible dog ownership, such as whether having a dog is right for you; whether a puppy or an adult dog is the best option; whether a particular breed fits in with your lifestyle; and the importance of temperament when choosing a dog.
A number of experienced vets and animal researchers have advised Carol on the content of the website, including former president of the British Veterinary Association, Harvey Locke, Veterinary Neurology specialist Dr Clare Rusbridge, animal behaviour expert Dr Nicola Rooney, general practice vet Mark Norcott and Dan O’Neill, general practice vet and epidemiologist, who is also involved in the Royal Veterinary College's VetCOMPASS Animal Surveillance project.
Neil Parish MP, Chairman of the Associate Parliamentary Group for Animal Welfare (APGAW) said: "The website is an excellent way of informing the public of what to look for when buying a puppy or dog and provides easy to understand information on health issues. Really anyone thinking about taking on the responsibility of owning a dog should look at this website to ensure they know what it entails and what pitfalls there are when making a breed choice. A tremendous amount of work has gone into creating something to help both members of the public and also the future welfare of dogs and APGAW is pleased to endorse this website."
Professor Sheila Crispin, Chairman of the Advisory Council on the Welfare Issues of Dog Breeding said: "Carol works tirelessly to raise the profile of health problems in all breeds of dog; sadly, she is not short of subject matter. Her website is informative and easy to navigate and represents a huge amount of work. There are useful links to other similar websites and she is to be congratulated on providing such a valuable resource."
Carol, who has spent almost a year putting together the website, also runs the Cavalier Campaign website (http://www.cavaliercampaign.com/
), which focuses on the health of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.