An Introduction from Liz Ballantine
As your new Breed Health Co-ordinator, I think I should introduce myself. I have been owned by samoyeds for the last 30 years approximately. During that time, I have both worked and shown our samoyeds. It was from the working side, that I developed a keen interest in structure (for obvious reasons) and then the natural follow on was a keen interest in health and nutrition in samoyeds.
Picking up from Serena, I feel I have big boots to fill but hopefully, I can do the position justice. My mission is to make the health of our breed a more prominent feature in all of our lives. It has always been important for us all, of course, but I believe my task is to make it more visible and not just across show people but all Samoyed owners.
The Kennel Club require all Assured breeders to score their dogs under the BVA hip dysplasia scheme and also recommend eye testing as well, but there are not that many Samoyed breeders within the scheme. The Code of Ethics for the breed makes the following statement:
Breeders should not knowingly breed from any stock which has hereditary diseases. It is advised that all breeding stock be X rayed for Hip Dysplasia by a qualified veterinary surgeon and that all the plates should be submitted to the BVA for hipscoring under the KC/BVA scheme, even if the hips are poor so that a picture of hip displasia in the breed can be asses.
In short health matters.
With the increased use of social media, health within the breed is also more transparent. The Cause of Death/Illness survey continues to be very relevant although input into this survey remains low currently. It is my plan to make sure that this becomes more prominent in an effort to increase uptake by all Samoyed owners. What is also important is that it is not just viewed as a Cause of Death survey but for the breed to be aware of health issues arising during a dogs lifespan, for example, I already know from our own experience and by discussion with veterinary eye specialists, that indolent ulcers are more common in samoyeds than a lot of other breeds and especially as when they are over 7 years old.
The breed is also aware of the ongoing issue of diabetes within samoyeds and is supporting research to identify the relevant markers which show a predisposition to this disease. Hopefully in the future it will lead to a test.
With the Samoyed community becoming more international with overseas dogs here, and also dogs exported from the UK health and health testing becomes more central to ensuring that not only UK samoyeds remain healthy but that we don’t import or export any health issues. We can only do this by being very open about issues we come across in the breed in our own dogs.
Part of this role is to complete an annual health survey which is submitted to the Kennel Club. To make this relevant, I need input from all owners on health issues arising as well as cause of death. I believe that each health survey should be published (at least in summary form) so that we can all see how our beautiful breed is doing.
We are very lucky in our breed as it is a Category 1 as far as the Kennel Club is concerned, i.e. with no big issues but to keep it that way, we need to work at it.
It is important to say here that all the information I receive as Breed Health Co-ordinator is Confidential. I cannot stress this enough, so please fill in the Cause of Death/Illness Form and sent it to me by post, or email me at email@example.com or message me via Messenger. I really don’t mind how you contact me.
In advance, I would like to thank you all for your input.
Cause of Death Form – Now available ONLINE
Information Sheets regarding HIP TESTING, BLOAT, SEBACEOUS ADENITIS and EYE TESTING can be found on the DOWNLOADS PAGE