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The Ruff Report: Dogs and Adoption

Advice for those adopting purebred dogs

leading animal welfare organization, responding to reports about irresponsible breeding practices causing inherited health problems in purebred dogs, is offering guidance to those considering adopting one or who already own one.

People can reduce the chances of their purebred dog having health problems by being diligent and doing research, Blue Cross animal charity in Britain says.

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"We believe that by making the right choices, every single pet owner can make a difference to the health of pedigree dogs," Blue Cross chief executive Kim Hamilton states in a media release.

A recent survey of more than 1,000 pet owners conducted by Blue Cross found that 74 percent were concerned about inherited health defects in some dog breeds while 33 percent thought they would be able to help reduce the problem if they knew more about it.

In response Blue Cross offers the following tips for those who own or are considering adopting a purebred dog.

Do research

Consider what type of pet is best suited to your home and lifestyle, taking into account the cost and time required.

Research the size, temperament, exercise requirements, expected lifespan and health predispositions of different breeds. Then contact your veterinarian, local animal charity, breed club or rescue society for advice about the different traits and inherited health issues that are associated with specific breeds.

Consider a rescue pet

Thousands of rescue dogs and cats are desperate for a good home and animal welfare organizations can offer support and advice about individual pets as well as qualities relating to the breed.

Use a reputable breeder

Ask your veterinarian or relevant breed club to recommend a responsible breeder. Hip scores, elbow grades, eye screening and even DNA tests can give an indication of whether a dog is prone to inherited conditions.

Ask the breeder to produce all relevant paperwork for the animal, including pedigree registration papers, health screening certificates and a written medical history, including vaccinations and worming. Meet the animal’s parents and the rest of the litter to observe temperament and general health and welfare. Find out if the parents or any of their other litters have developed inherited diseases. Ask to contact the breeder’s veterinarian and other people who have bought puppies from them to verify this; if they refuse, go elsewhere.

Help protect the next generation

Your veterinarian will be able to look for and treat early signs of disease, particularly if the breed is prone to certain conditions. If your pet is diagnosed with a condition that could be inherited, it’s important to tell the breeder and alert the relevant breed club.

Make sure you get your pet neutered to prevent them from passing on the problem to future generations. This also prevents unwanted pets and can have huge benefits for the animal’s long-term health, such as a reduced incidence of certain types of cancer.

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