INTRODUCTION TO VISUAL HEALTH ASSESSMENTS
The purpose of the visual health assessments is for breed representatives to collect veterinary verified information on the prevalence of visible conditions listed for a specific breed on Breed Watch. The thirteen breeds listed as category three breeds (HPB’s) and the thirty-four breeds listed as category two breeds all currently have visible conditions listed. More information can be found on the specific conditions listed for each breed by visiting the Kennel Club website and using the Breed Watch tool http://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/services/public/breed/watch/Default.aspx
Q. Why should we conduct visual health assessments?
Visual health assessments provide the owner and breed health group with information on the visible health of individual dogs. Similar to a basic health check a Veterinary Surgeon is required to assess the visible health of the eyes, skin & locomotion (movement) of the dog being assessed. Additionally sections can form part of the assessment form for certain breeds such as the assessment of the dog’s coat if linked to a welfare problem. The information can form a basis for evidence on the visible health of the breed and the prevalence of certain conditions considered to be of concern.
Q. Where should visual health assessments be conducted?
Health assessment forms can be sent to owners to be taken to individual Veterinary Surgeons to conduct the assessment or alternatively the breed representative(s) (health group or committee) can decide to organise group health assessment testing sessions at breed club shows or other breed club events.
Q. How long is the assessment? How much does it cost? What does the owner receive?
The assessment should take no more than 25 minutes including the completion of the health assessment form. This should give the Veterinary Surgeon ample time to assess the dog, complete the paperwork and discuss any comments with the owner.
It is at the discretion of the breed representative(s) to decide a fair and consistent cost for the health assessment. Veterinary Surgeons are likely to charge a discretionary fee if an individual assessment is conducted not at a group testing session. For group testing sessions the breed representative(s) should agree a fee with the Veterinary Surgeon in advance and then decide a fair and consistent cost to the owner. Some breeds have provided free health assessment testing at shows, although owners have been asked to give a donation to the breed health fund.
The health assessment form will be in triplicate copies. The original copy should be retained by the owner of the dog, the second copy retained by the Veterinary Surgeon and the third copy should be retained by the breed representative appointed to administrate the health assessment scheme.
Q. Who should administrate the health assessment scheme? Why do we need to appoint an administrator?
The breed representative(s) should appoint an administrator for the health assessment scheme to ensure that information is disseminated and collected in a comprehensive way. The role of the administrator will be to advertise the breed health assessment scheme to owners of both show and pet dogs using a variety of communication methods both online and in breed publications. The administrator will send out forms where individual testing is agreed and/or for group testing sessions at breed club events make all the appropriate arrangements. This could involve, liaising with the breed club secretary and the Veterinary Surgeon, making arrangements for a suitable private room or location to be available at the show to conduct the assessments, booking in owners for assessments at the show and potentially assisting with the completion of paper work and the scanning of microchips.
The health assessment scheme administrator should also be responsible for recording all of the information provided on the health assessment forms.
If further information is required on visual health assessments then please contact either the appointed Breed Health Assessor/Co-Ordinator (Tanya Booth), the Breed Club Secretary of where the Group Assessment is taking place or Bonnie.Wiles@thekennelclub.org.uk