The Kennel Club has introduced a new online health survey aimed at gaining a deeper understanding of spinal issues in different pedigree dog breeds.

This initiative seeks to gather insights on the prevalence and types of spinal (neck, back, or tail) problems affecting dogs, and to identify any breed-specific nuances that may influence the development of these conditions. The findings will guide future research efforts in targeted areas requiring further attention.

Call for Participation from All Dog Owners

The survey is open to all dog owners, regardless of breed, and welcomes contributions from current owners and those whose dogs have passed away. Charlotte McNamara, Head of Health at The Kennel Club, highlighted the increasing commonality of spinal problems, especially in aging dogs. These issues encompass a range of abnormalities affecting the neck, back, and/or tail, including general pain, degenerative myelopathy (DM), hemivertebrae (HV), intervertebral disc disease (IVDD), and osteoarthritis.

“Understanding the causes and signs of these conditions is crucial to improving our knowledge and understanding, and better supporting owners in maintaining their dogs’ quality of life,” McNamara stated. She urged owners to take a few moments to complete the survey for all dogs owned, past or present, even if they have never experienced spinal problems. “By participating, you’ll play a crucial role in advancing our understanding and efforts to improve canine spinal health,” she added.

Survey Details and Confidentiality

The Kennel Club will manage the survey, ensuring all personal information provided remains confidential and presented anonymously. The survey, estimated to take no more than 10 minutes to complete, can be accessed here. For further information, contact the Health team at The Kennel Club.

The Kennel Club utilises insights from its health data to inform its Breed Health and Conservation plans. These plans provide breeders with information and guidance to ensure the future health of pedigree breeds. The Kennel Club’s comprehensive review of over 4,000 research papers makes this project the most extensive examination of pedigree health data globally.

Advancing Canine Spinal Healt

In addition to the survey, The Kennel Club invites dog enthusiasts to watch a recent webinar on IVDD, a common degenerative neurological condition in dogs that can lead to pain, nerve damage, and even paralysis. In this webinar, Professor Paul Freeman, Principal Clinical Neurologist at the Queen’s Veterinary School Hospital, University of Cambridge, discusses current research, symptoms, treatment options, risk reduction methods, and future research avenues. The webinar and other health-focused content are available on The Kennel Club’s YouTube channel.

The Kennel Club’s new survey and its ongoing efforts reflect a commitment to improving canine health through comprehensive data collection, research, and education. By participating in the survey and engaging with available resources, dog owners can contribute significantly to the well-being of their pets and the broader canine community.