PETscan helps vets assess skull criteria

Rules for breeding brachycephalic dogs tightened by ministry

The Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality (LNV) announced today that the rules for breeding brachycephalic dogs will be tightened. This is to prevent the continued breeding of dogs with traits that cause unnecessary suffering. The Genetics Expertise Centre at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine has drawn up the criteria that can be used to test whether a dog complies with the current legislation. The PETscan diagnostic system includes an interactive scoring form, which can be used by vets to issue such a statement for a breeding animal.

PETscan supports vets in their role in the prevention of hereditary health problems," said veterinary specialist Hille Fieten of the Genetics Expertise Centre. "This allows us as a profession to prevent animal suffering together with breeders and animal owners. I think it is great that our research can contribute and have an impact in this way.

dr. Hille Fieten

Health problems

Extremely short-skulled ('brachycephalic') dogs suffer from numerous health problems, including respiratory problems and eye damage. Therefore, since 2019, dogs may be bred only if they meet six criteria, that have been drawn up by experts from the Genetics Expertise Centre at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. These rules have now been laid down in a policy rule.

No more exceptions

The policy rule ends the temporary exception for breeding extremely short-skulled dogs under conditions. This means that adult dogs that do not meet the criteria may no longer be used for so-called outcross, the deliberate crossing of dogs to improve a breed. This exception is no longer necessary, according to the ministry, because breeders have had enough time over the past 4.5 years to gradually work towards dogs with healthy skull conformation.

Dogs that have undergone corrective surgery, such as rhinoplasty or shortening of the soft palate, are also explicitly excluded from breeding in the new policy rule.

PETscan supports veterinarian

The veterinarian will have an important role in supporting breeders in the selection of breeding stock. To support veterinarians in this, the Veterinary Genetics Expertise Centre has developed the diagnostic system PETscan. PETscan includes an interactive scoring form, which supports veterinarians in assessing the skull criteria. This allows vets to support breeders even better in selecting healthy breeding animals.

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