18 January 2013

Dog Database Set Up To Help Quantify Health, Illness, and Care of Dogs

A database for dogs was set up to help veterinarians study patterns, causes, and effects of health and disease conditions of dogs in a defined population.

One obstacle in the research and advancements in treating dog conditions and diseases is the lack of studies and data regarding these. Most dog owners call on veterinary doctors only when their pets are already sick.

Having a database of dogs would extremely help in quantifying and keep track of dogs and their health conditions within a geographic and time based period.

Also for pet owners, a reliable dog database can allow owners to compare their pet's development to other pets within the project. For researchers and veterinarians, a database would help them improve the lives of all dogs the world over.

Dogslife Internet-based Project

Using data collected about Labrador Retrievers, research published in BioMed Central's open access journal BMC Veterinary Research is beginning to quantify the health, illnesses, and veterinary care of dogs.

The UK is a nation of pet lovers – but what do we know about the health of our pets? To date the long term (longitudinal) study of canine diseases has been patchy, relying on information from referral centers and details about pet illnesses which are not reported to a vet have never been studied before.

Video: - Veterinary Medicine: Human, animal and environmental health

The Dogslife internet-based project was organized in conjunction with the Kennel Club. From the 1st July 2010 the owners of all Labrador Retrievers born after 1st January 2010 and registered with the Kennel Club were invited to be part of the project. In the first year of the study 1407 dogs were enrolled in the study.

Early results to come out of this study show that four out of ten of all dogs were ill at some point. Analyzing their data the researchers estimated that about 80% of dogs had been ill by the time they were one year old – but that only half were considered by their owners to be ill enough to need to visit the vet.

Discussing the Dogslife project, Dr Dylan Clements from the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies and The Roslin Institute, which are both part of The University of Edinburgh, and lead author of the study said, "Labrador Retrievers are the most popular pedigree dog in the UK, and breeders and owners are passionate about the health of their pets. We are extremely grateful for the time and commitment provided by owners and breeders contributing to the study. We hope to follow the health of these dogs throughout their lives so that we can identify aspects of care which might reduce the risk of dogs developing disease in the future."


BioMed Central
BMC Veterinary Research
Dogslife: A web-based longitudinal study of Labrador Retriever health in the UK
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