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‘Health-conscious’ Breeding – our Hereditary Disease Committee (HDC) calls on veterinarians and breeders to step up

Published: 1/2/2019

Position Paper urges greater use of advances in genetic testing and counselling... The WSAVA’s Hereditary Disease Committee has launched a Position Paper calling on veterinarians and breeders to reduce the suffering caused by hereditary disease in companion animals by adopting a ‘health-conscious’ approach to breeding and by making full use of advances in genetic testing and counselling.

Among its recommendations, it urges veterinarians and breeders to ensure that criteria used for the selection of breeding animals include the ability to reproduce naturally and exclude anatomical characteristics that predispose to hereditary disease. These include extreme conformations including size, skin folds, angulation and extremely short faces (brachycephaly). It also encourages breeders to utilize pre-breeding health screening to select animals that are likely to produce healthy offspring.

HDC Chair Dr Jerold Bell explains: “We hope our Position Paper will help to highlight the suffering caused by hereditary disease around the world and highlight the benefits that advances in DNA testing can offer to veterinarians and breeders.

“We also encourage veterinarians to ensure that they are up to date with the availability and proper use of genetic tests and calls for individual tests to be validated for the specific disease and the breed being tested.”

Read the press release here!

Review the HDC’s Position Paper here!