The SFLS in conjunction with FLC of GB has launched a new Breed Health website, https://www.finnishlapphundhealth.co.uk/ – bringing together key health information for the breed, and to enable the Breed Health Coordinator (BHC) to capture and share information for the betterment of the breed.
As with any website this will be a “work in progress” and content will be added over time, which we hope will be useful to all people who own or look to own the breed.
As BHC it is my role to collate breed health information and highlight areas of concerns for the breed. Hopefully by keeping accurate records we can identify trends in health issues before they become huge insurmountable issues. More information about the BHC role at https://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/health-and-dog-care/health/breed-health-co-ordinators/
The website also enables us to share a range of useful statistics with enthusiasts and prospective owners, some of which had previously only been available as yearly snap shots in the Breed Club’s Yearbooks, now for example you can see details of all litters born today, which are the popular sires, the COI for each litter and size of litters born. Plus we bring you details of a range of conditions reported publicly and information on dogs that sadly died relatively young for our breed.
The website launch also coincides with a new Breed Health Survey – the last survey took place in 2014, so we are well overdue to get an up-to-date snapshot of health information. The Breed health survey can be completed totally anonymously if preferred or can be confidential between you the dog’s owner and myself as BHC, the dog’s details will not be shared with anyone. Or of course you can agree to the information being public. Of course, I am sure that everyone will understand that the more open and transparent we are about the health of the breed the more chance we have of identifying potentially inherited conditions and working towards preventing other dogs from contracting some disease/conditions where scientifically possible. Back in the 1990s the then breeders/owners deserve a huge pat on the back for being transparent about the incidence of PRA. By taking DNA samples of affected dogs and close relatives and getting these tested as part of a research programme we were able to identify the gene responsible for PRCD-1 PRA and now no Finnish lapphund needs to go blind because of this condition.
It is up to today’s owners/breeders to be equally transparent about health conditions affecting their dogs, so we can fund future research projects as required. I sincerely hope you will also set aside 15 minutes to work through the survey and give as much detail as possible, for each Finnish Lapphund owned by you. (Breeders – if you know not all your puppy owners are members of the two breed clubs, please can you share the survey with them, so we get a good response for the breed). The statistics shows around 1400 Finnish lapphunds have over time been registered with UK Kennel Club, let us see how many health survey returns we can achieve. Remember we are interested in learning about dogs that have sadly passed away as well as those currently with us. Ideally it would be good to get our survey completed by the end of April – then the results can be analysed and I can report back on the findings. (It is hoped that we will then be able to run the survey more frequently to keep accurate picture of the breed health here in UK and compare with information collected in other countries).
For information there are two research projects which have been funded with help from members of the SFLS and from our Spitz in the Park events, the first is a generic project run by KC Genetics centre into cataracts in Northern Breeds see https://www.finnishlapphundhealth.co.uk/health-schemes/eye-testing/hereditary-cataracts/ , the second is through the Royal Veterinary College looking at whether there are any markers/indicators for Addison’s disease in the breed – see https://www.finnishlapphundhealth.co.uk/priorities/addisons/