Guest post by Ian J Seath, Chairman, Dachshund Breed Council
In recent years much of the discussion at meetings of Clubs has been devoted to health and welfare. This has continued to dominate the work of the Council and we have a committed H&W Sub-committee, plus a number of other Club officers who “take the lead” on particular topics. There are typically three strands to our work on any health issue: firstly evidence gathering, to establish more than anecdotal information about a potential problem; secondly education of breeders so they can make informed decisions about their stock and thirdly, working with the KC, AHT and others to establish the most appropriate approach to health-testing and breeding strategies.
The most significant health condition affecting Dachshunds is Inter-vertebral Disk Disease (IVDD) and over the past couple of years we have been reviewing the research evidence to see if it might be possible to establish a UK screening programme. Although an X-ray screening approach has been adopted in Scandinavia, the advice we have received from UK experts is that it would be preferable to look for a DNA-based test. That is where we are focusing our current efforts.
Another significant and distressing condition is Lafora's Disease. This is a form of late onset epilepsy that affects between 5 and 10% of UK Miniature Wires. A DNA test is available and the Wirehaired Dachshund Club is currently working towards implementing a full UK scheme which will be approved by the Kennel Club. Anyone thinking of buying a Mini Wire should ask the breeder if they have participated in the screening programme which was launched in 2010.
By comparison with these two conditions, the cord1 Retinal Degeneration (PRA) problem found in all three varieties of Miniature has a far lower impact on the health of our Dachshunds. Nevertheless, responsible breeders of these three varieties should be commended for the positive approach they have taken to screening for cord1 and for the success they have had in reducing the prevalence of this mutation. However, just because a DNA test exists for cord1 doesn't mean we should ignore other possible eye conditions for which regular clinical examinations are still appropriate (in all six varieties).
A major initiative of the Council at the end of 2009 was the launch of a dedicated Health Reporting website. This provides the facility for owners to report any health problems, or the cause of death of their Dachshund, confidentially, so we can build a more evidence-based view of current issues and identify emerging trends.
The website (http://www.dachshundhealth.org.uk) also provides access to health information for owners and vets. I know lots of DIL members also participated in our Dachs-Life 2012 Breed Health Survey, so thank you for helping us get such an amazing response rate. The data are immensely useful to us in developing our plans for health improvement.
Our main website dachshundbreedcouncil.org.uk provides the latest advice and information for owners and potential owners of Dachshunds.
Can I make two requests?
1. If your Dachshund is ill, or dies, please submit a report on our Health website
2. If you're on Facebook, please “Like” the Dachshund Breed Council's page and then you can stay up-to-date with all our news
And finally, I'd like to thank Lisa and all the DIL members for their support of the Breed Council and our work.