BVA urges vets to join #BreedtoBreathe campaign - Veterinary Practice
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BVA urges vets to join #BreedtoBreathe campaign

With around half of UK vets (49%) citing the high profile
of brachycephalic breeds in social media and advertising
as one of the main reasons that clients choose to get
a brachycephalic pet, the BVA is urging vets to join its
new #BreedtoBreathe campaign and help challenge the pervasiveness of these ‘cute’ images. Nine out of
10 companion animal vets report that the number of
brachycephalic dogs being brought into their practice has
greatly increased over the past three years, according to
the BVA’s Voice of the Veterinary Profession survey. Almost
all the companion animal vets surveyed (98%) had treated
brachycephalic dogs for conformation-related health
problems in the past year.

The BVA is urging practices to avoid using images
depicting dogs with brachycephalic conformation across
their own channels where possible and for vets to use the
template provided as part of the #BreedtoBreathe toolkit
to individually reach out to brands using brachycephalic
breeds in their communications, in a collective effort to help
combat the normalisation and rise in popularity of these
extreme features. Its position statement lists 10 actions that
practices can undertake to improve the breeds’ welfare and
promote responsible ownership:

1. Offer pre-purchase consultations with prospective
dog owners, where the potential health problems of
brachycephalic conformation can be clearly outlined.

2. Strongly advise against breeding if a dog is suffering from BOAS or requires conformation-altering surgery.

3. Promote the Puppy Contract through practice
communication channels.

4. Promote and actively participate in available health
schemes, including those for brachycephalic breeds
that currently exist among breed clubs.

5. Carry out exercise tolerance tests and functional
grading for brachycephalic breeds as part of their
annual health assessment.

6. Enrol the practice in clinical surveillance
programmes such as VetCompass and SAVSNET, to
contribute to data gathering and evidence generation.

7. Develop a practice communication strategy to clearly
communicate the health problems experienced by dogs
with brachycephalic conformation.

8. Develop practice policy to ensure that practice
communication channels do not portray such dogs as
cute, humorous or appealing.

9. Ensure practice policy supports staff to appropriately
convey evidence-based information and advice to
owners of dogs with brachycephalic conformation.

10. Support local breed clubs and representatives to
develop and implement plans to improve the health of
dogs with brachycephalic conformation.

The #BreedToBreathe toolbox, with more information
and resources, is available at www.bva.co.uk/brachys

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