Mocha’s puppies are 3 weeks old

Mocha’s pups are now 3 weeks old and eating solid food 4 times a day.

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My critique from judging Best in Show at the Dachshund Club Championship Show 2022

My critique from judging Best in Show at the Dachshund Club Championship Show 2022.

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Mocha’s puppies are 2 weeks old

It’s been a busy week for Mocha and the puppies (and Sue!). 10 sets of toenails were cut for the first time and the puppies have been bottle-fed 4 times a day. It’s a bit of a logistical challenge, remembering who’s been fed and who’s left. I suggested Sue should feed them in “rainbow order” – ROYGBIV coloured collars – for anyone who remembers O’level Physics! They have also been wormed for the first time; 3 days of Panacur delivered by syringe. They all seem very content and they are just beginning to open their eyes.

Mocha’s infection seems to have cleared up with the antibiotics, at last, and she’s a lot brighter in herself but she’s still been getting us up several times a night to go outside. She’s been back to going on walks with the other dogs as well, this week, which she seems pleased about as it gives her a bit of a break from the tedium of motherhood.

Feeding with solid food began today, so it’s all going to start getting messy from here on. We’ll probably be moving them into a large pen in the utility room next week so they can begin to get used to the sights and sounds of daily life.

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The Kennel Club’s Health Conference 2022

Around 80 people attended The Kennel Club’s health conference held at Chesford Grange Hotel in Warwickshire on Saturday 12th November. After numerous (excellent) online webinars run by the KC’s Health Team over the past couple of years, it was great to be back with an in-person event. The day provided ample opportunity for networking, as well as some fixed appointments for Breed Health Coordinators to meet KC staff to discuss their breed’s current challenges and opportunities.

The participants included Breed Health Coordinators, breed club and rescue representatives, as well as a number of interested dog owners. I attended with my Dachshund Health UK (charity) Trustee hat on and a couple of my fellow KC Directors were also present.

In addition to formal, organised, presentations, there were representatives from the KC’s health team (Breed Rescue and the Assured Breeder Scheme) on hand to answer queries and offer advice. Scientists from the Cambridge Vet School BOAS research group and KC Genetics Centre were also there, speaking informally with attendees interested to find out more about current research projects.

The day was introduced by Bill Lambert, who welcomed everyone and set the scene for the day. The first presentation was “Social media, digital tools and media training for health and welfare”, delivered by Heidi Ancell-Day, Helena Byrne-Stevens and Charlotte-Louise Page from the KC’s press and marketing teams. They talked about how to use these tools to your best advantage, and showcase and promote the work you do for the health and welfare of your breeds. A key message for breed clubs and councils was that your website and any social media channels should be kept up-to-date and refreshed regularly with new content. These tools should be used proactively and your choice of which channels to use will depend on the audiences you wish to engage with.

Presentation 2 was made by Dr Joanna Ilska, the KC’s genetics specialist, who discussed “Breeding tools for the future”. This was a comprehensive talk about genetics, the use of DNA testing for (simple) autosomal recessive mutations, the principles behind Estimated Breeding Values when considering complex (multi-factorial) diseases, and the emerging development of Genomic Estimated Breeding Values. I expect most of the audience were reasonably familiar with Joanna’s discussion of breeding strategies where recessive mutations can be DNA tested. The explanation of confidence intervals for EBVs was useful in helping us understand why screening test results are needed from lots of dogs.

After lunch, the final presentation was made by Dr Hannah Stephenson, a veterinary cardiologist. Hannah’s talk; “The heart of the matter” took us through a discussion of the main types of heart disease found in dogs (Subaortic Stenosis, Dilated Cardiomyopathy and Mitral Valve Disease) and their clinical signs and symptoms. She also shared her views on what makes a great screening programme and acknowledged some of the challenges facing breeders participating in schemes (such as the need for repeat examinations as dogs get older and the associated costs of this).

There were Q&A sessions after each of the 3 presentations and a further opportunity at the end of the afternoon for people to discuss the day’s topics informally, over a cup of tea.

I know how much effort goes into organising an event such as this and I am sure all of us who attended really appreciate the contribution of the speakers and everyone from the KC who helped make this a welcoming and engaging day.

Mocha’s puppies are a week old

Mocha’s puppies are a week old and doing well.

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