Oct 2, 2009

Nationwide Dog Health Survey

G'day Dog Lovers,

In response to RSPCA concerns about the health of purebred dogs in Australia following the screening of the UK television program "Pedigree Dogs Exposed", the Master Dog Breeders and Associates (MDBA) is calling on all Australian dog owners to participate in the first ever nationwide survey of dog health.

The survey has been developed by the MDBA's Health and Genetics Committee to determine the type and frequency of current health problems being encountered in the Australian dog population. It commences on 1 October, and dog owners from around the country will be asked to complete a survey for each dog they own, whether purebred, first cross or mixed breed.

"This research aims to gather information about the health status due to genetic disorders of dogs bred in Australia," said Julie Nelson, CEO of the MDBA."The survey will assist in tracking differences in health issues between breeds. "One of the major goals of this project is to assist dog breeders in making better breeding decisions by identifying the most significant health issues occurring in their breeds.

"Educational material will be developed from the results of this survey to better inform breeders," Mrs Nelson said."This will enable breeders to develop strategies which will ensure the overall health and wellness of the dogs they breed, and will enable the public and future owners to understand health issues in their dogs."

Mrs Nelson said the results of the health survey would also be available to veterinarians and researchers."We are not aiming to prove anything, but we are hoping that people will be able to take a look at what we collect and decide if some areas warrant further studies and research, and more importantly determine what we need to get a better look at now, in order to make informed decisions in our own breeding programs."

"We anticipate that this study will facilitate collaboration to enhance knowledge sharing, and hence improve efficiency, output and functionality of purebred dog breeding programs to improve the health and welfare of our breeds," Mrs Nelson said."We would encourage every dog owner to give the few minutes it takes to complete the survey, as the more data we have to analyse the more we will know about the overall health of our dogs.

"This has the potential to benefit every dog in Australia."

Anyone wanting to participate in the study should go to www.mdba.net.au

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