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Health Seminar Day 2016

A Report on the Health Seminar Day on February 28th 2016 from Heather Weeks - Field Spaniel Breed Health Coordinator

The first speaker was Veterinary Specialist Dr John E F Houltom talking about IOHC, Incomplete Ossification of the Humeral Condyle, Hip and Elbow scoring schemes.

John began his talk by explaining the development of bones in young puppies. The bones should normally be fused by 8 - 12 weeks of age. Continuing with a description of how the fissures in IOHC manifest in the bone. Dogs may present with intermittent lameness and following CT scan are diagnosed with IOHC and in some cases no lameness is observed but the dog breaks the elbow during activity and again following CT scan we see a fissure, therefore 2 causes of the condition IOHC and stress. He did say the stress break dog will have had IOHC. Lots of work has been carried out both in the United Kingdom and abroad into treatment of this condition but no significant work has been done into the cause. John was asked if we could presume that findings undertaken for another breed, could be assumed to be correct for our Field Spaniels, he said that each breed should be taken individually and due to the different genes in each breed, you cannot assume the same findings for both. He explained as an example this is why DNA testing for illnesses like epilepsy cannot be used for every breed, as it depends on the DNA set up of the breed, some are similar but others are not, therefore assumptions can not be taken across breeds.

His talk on the scoring systems was also informative. John explained the chosen positions for providing the best radiographs how the graphs are read and interpreted.  He also thought elbow testing now that it was available was a good test to have done - prevention was better than cure so to test to ensure our breed remains healthy could only be a good thing.

Our second speaker was due to be Shannon Sage , but unfortunately she was taken ill so Paddy Galvin kindly stepped into the breach and spoke on canine nutrition. He described the canine digestive system and its working. Discussed the vitamins and amino acids required in the diet. Then talked about tailored diets and food amounts for each individual dog. Looking at age, condition of the dog and its environment and how this can affect what and amounts fed. Thus providing our dogs with the best for their development.

Our third speaker Emeritus Professor of Veterinary Ophthalmology Peter Bedford gave a talk on eye disease and the need for screening. Again very informative. Peter began by talking about eye shape and condition , what is good and bad about the way dogs have been designed. He explained anatomy of the eye and it's working. He then talked about being aware of what hereditary diseases can affect the Field Spaniel. Peter has been screening eyes for our breed since the seventies and said then the health of our breed's eyes was good with nothing to concern us. However in more recent times the BVA/KC has seen Retinal Dysplasia  (RD) - a crinkling in the retina that depending on the severity does not effect the dog’s sight and Cataracts, which can be treated, he showed us a video of how they remove a cataract or part cataract .  But more importantly with careful breeding both can be eradicated. We have not got a large gene pool and should be very careful how we tackle hereditary problems as we could make matters worse, by dismissing certain dogs with certain genes you could then be encouraging another issue later down the line by focusing on just 1 issue, you really need to take the whole dog into consideration.  His best recommendation was to have litters screened and any older breeding dogs/ bitches tested.  Although he did mention a DNA test could be something we could look at for the future.

This was a truly informative Health Seminar and I know those attending enjoyed their day  - all the speakers answered numerous questions.

If you require further information on the topics discussed you can contact the BVA Canine Health Schemes or download information from their online site. http://www.bva.co.uk/Canine-Health-Schemes/

Heather C Weeks

Field Spaniel Breed Health Coordinator


The Field Spaniel 2016 Health Seminar

Time : 10am – 3pm  Venue:   Stoneleigh Village Hall,

Date: 28th February 2016  Stoneleigh CV8 3DD


Speakers: -

John Houlton MA VetMB DVR DSAO MRCVS DipECVS , is a veterinary specialist in orthopaedics qualifying as a vet in 1970.  He has held several senior and advisory positions over the years. He has been published extensively and co-edited 5 text books. John worked in private practice for many years and is now semi – retired. John will talk on IOHC and understanding the BVA hip and elbow scoring.  Major interest being gundogs, Labradors in particular. (see online bio)


Emeritus Professor Peter Bedford, a specialist in Veterinary Ophthalmology will talk on the various eye conditions/disease that we have our dogs checked for and provide explanations of how and why the information is used.  A graduate of the Royal Veterinary College of London Peter has held many senior posts worldwide. Peter has many publications including scrutineered papers, congress proceedings and text book chapters in his name. Interests include all aspects of veterinary and comparative ophthalmology.  His research includes angle bypass surgery for the treatment of canine glaucoma, the aetiology of retinal pigment epithelial dystrophy in the dog and inherited ocular disease in the dog.(see online bio)


Shannon Sage canine nutritionist, has been employed by Royal Canine dog food since 2012 although her talk is not a talk about dog food brands. Shannon will speak about differences in canine and human digestive systems.  How food is broken down in the canine system and nutritional benefits gained.  Why the food we give our dogs may differ at various stages in life from puppy, pregnancy, whelping and senior.  Shannon breeds and shows Shetland Sheepdogs and has been involved with dogs all her life.


All speakers will talk for around an hour with time for questions also.

I hope to see many of you at the seminar

Heather C Weeks  (Breed  Health Coordinator)

Health Schemes

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