Vets Asked to Report Caesarean Operations

(BVA Release) Veterinary associations are asking vets to start reporting caesarean operations to the Kennel Club in the new year as part of the profession’s commitment to improving dog health and welfare.

The Kennel Club (KC) has announced that from January 2012 it will no longer register any puppies born by caesarean section from a bitch that has had two previous caesarean operations. The British Veterinary Association (BVA) and British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA) are now calling on vets in practice to engage with the new reporting system that will be put in place next year ahead of the rule change.

The change has come about following discussions between the Kennel Club, RCVS, BVA and BSAVA. Vets are being asked to report caesarean operations in the same way as the current reporting system for procedures altering the natural conformation of a dog.

In addition, the Kennel Club is amending its rules to make it a condition of registration, or continued registration, that the owner consents to the reporting, to the Kennel Club, of any caesarean operation carried out on their bitch (subject to approval by the KC General Committee on 4th January 2011).

Although the move is welcome the BVA and BSAVA are very disappointed that the KC has not gone further. Both organisations lobbied strongly for KC to stop registering puppies from a bitch that has undergone one caesarean operation, with no exceptions, and will continue to push for this rule change.

The BVA and BSAVA are also concerned about the get-out clause in the KC rules which will allow exceptions for “scientifically proven welfare reasons”. The organisations believe that this is an ill-defined term that could be open to abuse and that there should be no exceptions.

In addition the BVA and BSAVA are also calling for the compulsory microchipping of the sire, dam and puppies to confirm the identity of any animal subject to a reporting form as well as improving traceability, which will assist with research into hereditary diseases.

Commenting on the changes, Harvey Locke, President of the BVA, said:

“We are pleased to report that the BVA, BSAVA, Kennel Club and RCVS have come together to tackle the worrying problem of breeding bitches undergoing several caesarean operations and we hope that these measures will start to deter breeders from mating animals where the breeding is likely to rely on caesareans.

“But this will only work if vets engage with the new system. We are urging all vets in practice to make use of the new reporting procedures that will be put in place next year to help safeguard dog health and welfare in the future.

“We remain disappointed that the rule changes do not yet go far enough and that they are not being brought in earlier. The sooner we can start to tackle these major health and welfare problems, the better.”

Grant Petrie, President of BSAVA, added:

“No bitch should be expected to go through the trauma of a caesarean operation more than once. These rule changes are not perfect but they are a step in the right direction and we will continue to lobby the Kennel Club to tighten up its registration rules further.

“Responsible breeders do understand the need to look after the health and welfare of both the puppies and their parents. As veterinary surgeons we must encourage the responsible breeders and deter the irresponsible.”

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