Current VetCompass understanding on canine health

July 11, 2014
Current VetCompass understanding on canine health
Figure 1: Toby and puppy (Labradoodles). Credit: Kim Cawley

The VetCompass project is a joint initiative involving the Royal Veterinary College, the University of Sydney and a growing number of general veterinary practices in the UK and more recently Australia. VetCompass uses clinical information shared from veterinary practices to examine health issues in dogs. Current hot topics in canine health include whether crossbred dogs are healthier than purebred dogs and which breeds are the healthiest. VetCompass studies show that these questions do not have simple answers.

Regarding crossbred and purebred , VetCompass studies show, on the one hand, that crossbreds live 1.2 years longer than purebreds (O'Neill et al 2013) but, on the other hand, crossbred dogs have lower occurrences for only three from the top 20 disorders recorded in dogs (O'Neill et al 2014). Crossbred dogs do appear to benefit from a hybrid vigour effect for general characteristics such as longevity but seem to enjoy less advantage when it comes to specific common disorders.

Current VetCompass understanding on canine health
Figure 2: Bella (Working Cocker Spaniel). Credit: Pippa Powell

On the question of the healthiest breeds, the lifespan of breeds varies widely, from 5.5 years in the Dogue de Bordeaux up to 14.2 years in the Miniature Poodle (O'Neill et al 2013). However, across many common and important disorders, breeds at high risk for one disorder are often at lower risk for another disorder (Kearsley-Fleet et al 2013, Mattin et al 2014, O'Neill et al 2014, O'Neill et al 2013). So, although we now know which breeds live the longest and which breeds are most at risk for specific disorders, we do not yet have an answer for which are the healthiest overall. VetCompass work will continue to help answer these vexing questions.

Explore further: See spot see

More information: Kearsley-Fleet, L., O'Neill, D. G., Volk, H. A., Church, D. B. & Brodbelt, D. C. (2013) Prevalence and risk factors for canine epilepsy of unknown origin in the UK. Veterinary Record 172, 338. DOI: 10.1136/vr.101133

Mattin, M., O'Neill, D., Church, D., McGreevy, P. D., Thomson, P. C. & Brodbelt, D. (2014) An epidemiological study of diabetes mellitus in dogs attending first opinion practice in the UK. Veterinary Record 174, 349 DOI: 10.1136/vr.101950

O'Neill, D. G., Church, D. B., McGreevy, P. D., Thomson, P. C. & Brodbelt, D. C. (2013a) Longevity and mortality of owned dogs in England. The Veterinary Journal 198, 638-643 DOI: 10.1016/j.tvjl.2013.09.020

O'Neill, D. G., Church, D. B., McGreevy, P. D., Thomson, P. C. & Brodbelt, D. C. (2014) Prevalence of disorders recorded in dogs attending primary-care veterinary practices in England. PLoS One 9, 1-16 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0090501

O'Neill, D. G., Elliott, J., Church, D. B., McGreevy, P. D., Thomson, P. C. & Brodbelt, D. C. (2013b) Chronic kidney disease in dogs in UK veterinary practices: prevalence, risk factors, and survival. Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine 27, 814-821 DOI: 10.1111/jvim.12090

Related Stories

See spot see

March 2, 2013

(HealthDay)—It's a dog-see-dog world. With no sniffing involved, dogs can recognize the faces of other dogs among the faces of humans and other animal species, according to a new study.

Longer 'sausage dogs' are at risk of slipped discs

July 25, 2013

Long-and-low dwarf breeds are prone to painful and debilitating slipped discs, and a new study from The Royal Veterinary College published on 24th July 2013 in the journal PLoS ONE, reveals that dogs with longer backs relative ...

Recommended for you

Genomes uncover life's early history

August 24, 2015

A University of Manchester scientist is part of a team which has carried out one of the biggest ever analyses of genomes on life of all forms.

Rare nautilus sighted for the first time in three decades

August 25, 2015

In early August, biologist Peter Ward returned from the South Pacific with news that he encountered an old friend, one he hadn't seen in over three decades. The University of Washington professor had seen what he considers ...

Why a mutant rice called Big Grain1 yields such big grains

August 24, 2015

(Phys.org)—Rice is one of the most important staple crops grown by humans—very possibly the most important in history. With 4.3 billion inhabitants, Asia is home to 60 percent of the world's population, so it's unsurprising ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.