Support For Responsible Breeding

Photo Credit: Flicker CC license, m-gen, BulldogThe American Veterinary Medical Association’s (AVMA) Animal Welfare Committee has proposed a policy pertaining to breeding of dogs, cats, and other companion animals. The policy titled, “Inherited Disorders in Responsible Breeding of Companion Animals” is up for approval when members of the AVMA House of Delegates meet later this month.

The policy reads as follows:

The AVMA supports the responsible breeding of companion animals such that only animals without deleterious inherited disorders are selected for breeding. Companion animals exhibiting inherited characteristics that negatively affect the animal’s health and welfare should not be bred, as those characteristics and related problems are likely to be passed on to their progeny. This would include inherited conditions such as brachycephalic syndrome, some joint diseases, bone deformation (e.g., radial hypoplasia “twisty cats”, munchkin), heart and eye conditions, or poor temperament (e.g., Springer rage syndrome). The AVMA encourages veterinarians to educate breeders, pet owners and the public on the responsibilities involved with breeding and selecting pets to ensure that they are not contributing to poor welfare issues.

The potential impact of the policy

Assuming the AVMA will adopt this policy in January (they darned well better!), how will this policy statement be put to use? It’s not as though the AVMA has any direct control over the actions of people who want to breed their animals.

It sounds like the intent of this policy is to give veterinarians a kick in the pants to have more intentional conversation with their clients about breeding their pets (or not breeding them). Every veterinarian has exposure to irresponsible breeding yet, goodness knows, most of us have been far too silent on this topic. Guaranteed, there’s not a veterinarian whose been in practice for more than a few years who hasn’t been in the exam room with a sobbing client while euthanizing a beloved pet because of an inherited defect. And we’ve all examined animals with faddish extremes of conformation that we know will ultimately result in pain and suffering. How many of us have performed artificial insemination and cesarean sections on dogs who are unable to breed and whelp normally on their own?

Without question the majority of veterinarians could be doing a much better job advocating for responsible breeding practices. Perhaps this AVMA policy will help us step closer to this goal.

It’s about time!

While I’m certainly pleased to see that the AVMA is considering this policy, part of me wants to ask, “Where have you been all my life?” To my way of thinking, not only is this policy a “no brainer” now, it would have been so when my career began some 30 plus years ago. Call me impatient, but I can’t help but wonder why good things take so friggin’ long to come to fruition within large organizations. The bottom line is, whether now or then, anything that favors responsible breeders and removes others from the gene pool makes really good sense.

How do you feel about this policy? Thumbs up or thumbs down?

Happy new year,

Nancy Kay, DVM

Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Author of Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life
Author of Your Dog’s Best Health: A Dozen Reasonable Things to Expect From Your Vet
Recipient, Leo K. Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year Award
Recipient, American Animal Hospital Association Animal Welfare and Humane Ethics Award
Recipient, Dog Writers Association of America Award for Best Blog
Recipient, Eukanuba Canine Health Award
Recipient, AKC Club Publication Excellence Award
Become a Fan of Speaking for Spot on Facebook

Please visit to read excerpts from Speaking for Spot and Your Dog’s Best Health.   There you will also find “Advocacy Aids”- helpful health forms you can download and use for your own dog, and a collection of published articles on advocating for your pet’s health. Speaking for Spot and Your Dog’s Best Health are available at,, local bookstores, and your favorite online book seller.



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18 Comments on “Support For Responsible Breeding

  1. I was concerned enough about the original policy on ethical breeding that I wrote to Dr. Kay telling her of my concerns. During the course of our “discussion”, I asked her if she, as a member of the AVMA, could do anything to help change/clarify the policy as outlined in her blog. She wrote a letter to the AVMA. Initially the response was “too late, the policy has been decided”. Then today she sent me the revised policy voted on and passed by the entire membership. It is much more broadly stated and does not include “examples” of breeds or characteristics of specific breeds. It is a much more general policy. I would dare say no one could object to it since most of us who follow Dr. Kay’s blogs supposedly love companion animals and only want what is best for them.

    I would like to “publically” thank Dr. Kay for taking time to listen to my concern about the policy and then actually DO something about it. She went above and beyond simply informing. So, THANK YOU
    Dr. Kay. I truly appreciate your time and effort.

  2. Mommy, What’s A Puppy or Mommy, I Want a Puppy? Which will our future hold?
    Society changes – every generation has their opinion on whether it has changed for better or worse. One of the most notable changes is how we feel about smoking. I was on a flight back from the Royal Canin Dog Show in Orlando when a little girl in my row asked my seatmate “Mommy, what’s smoking?” Some societal changes are healthy, such as reducing smoking. Some changes are not as heathy. As other societal opinions have changed, we have seen the effects of the animal rights movement’s on the opinions of American’s about pet ownership, livestock management, and food consumption, just to name a few.
    If we allow the animal rights movement to continue on its charted path, the next question you may hear is “Mommy, what’s a puppy?” instead of the much more societally healthy question, “Mommy, I want a puppy.”
    Americans are very connected to their dogs. Even the personal identity of many people is tied to the dogs they live with and love. We used to take great pride in owning purebred dogs, even owning puppies produced from show dogs. I am from the baby boomer generation. My mother’s dream was for me to have a purebred cocker spaniel to accompany me on my walks around the neighborhood.
    So, what went wrong? Where did this derail?
    Many dog owners still prefer to seek out dog breeders, local and at a distance, to obtain a specific breed. Why does this group of dog owners seek purebreds as the dogs they share their lives and time with? In a word, predictability. Owning a purebred dog means you know the size they will grow to, their coat type, the grooming they will require, their activity level, their personality, their exercise requirements, how they will be around their kids and neighbors, and what kinds of “work” they will want to do. There is a great deal of security in knowing you have the potential to keep this dog forever when you know what to expect. Additionally, they are secure knowing the puppies they are purchasing from dog breeders have been carefully screened for many genetic disorders, selectively bred for health and other important traits, raised in a loving home with plenty of human attention, and that their breeder is there with an experienced ear when help is needed while navigating the challenges of raising a new puppy.
    But now, some die-hard purebred owners are changing their ownership patterns. Not because they don’t value the benefit of predictability but because they are being pressured by politically active groups such as PETA and HSUS and well-meaning family members and co-workers to take in a “rescue dog”. These dog come from many sources, some legal and some not. But few are predictable. You don’t know their parents, their genetic makeup, and how they will be to live with for the next 15 or so years. We are seeing increasing numbers of dog owners who purchase a purebred dog, then make a second purchase of a “rescue” dog, as penance for owning a purebred dog.
    Unfortunately, many people believe purebred dogs are unhealthy, and all rescue dogs or mixed breed dogs are blessed with the better health associated with “hybrid vigor”, because their genetic makeup is from a combination of unrelated parents. These same people have been left with the impression that purebred dogs from breeders are unhealthy because the breeders are testing their dogs for inherited diseases and their parent breed clubs are supporting research to find the DNA behind inherited disorders. Of course, this is quite the contrary.
    All dogs, purebred or mixed breed, have genetic defects. The purebred dog fancy’s goal to chase down and breed away from genetic diseases speaks to their level of responsibility and care for the future of their breed, not to the fact they have genetic flaws. The increasing number of recognized disorders and the development of DNA tests to find the genetic basis of these disorders is evidence breeders are increasingly intolerant of breeding dogs with genetic defects. It should not be interpreted to mean our dogs have more disorders, only that we understand them better. Our current population of dogs is living longer than any previous generation. As nutrition, disease prevention and management improve, and we embrace delaying the age of spaying and neutering, we can expect ever better longevity.
    One unintended consequence of this AVMA HOD document is that breeders and buyers may misinterpret how to use the DNA data. We are already experiencing a narrowing of the gene pool, when well-meaning but misguided or peer-pressured breeders and consumers throw “carrier” status dogs out of the breeding pool of animals. These “carrier” dogs, with autosomal recessive genetic defects can and should be used for breeding – “carrier” dogs bred to a “clear” produce only “carrier”, never “affected” offspring. When “carrier” animals are eliminated, we are making the gene pool smaller, and actually increase the risk of magnifying other genetic diseases. Additionally, when we put genetic pressure on our breeding stock, we may inadvertently increase genetic defects by selecting against certain disorders.
    In fact, all of us as humans have genetic flaws. In spite of the fact humans are the most outcrossed species on the planet, all of us still have some kind of genetic flaw. My mom has hip dysplasia and my dad has allergies – and they bred anyway, producing me, free of both disorders – lucky for me!
    Fast forward to January 2017, where the AVMA, the American Veterinary Medical Association, has coming before its House of Delegates, a proposal to govern how veterinarians work with dog breeders. Or is is companion animals – the terms are used interchangeably in this document as if the terms are one in the same. Dogs are easily defined. Companion animals may include birds, gerbils, rats, bearded dragons, fish, goats, pigs, and even horses. What do they really mean to govern?
    At first blush, this document seems benign enough – the title is “Inherited Disorders in Responsible Breeding of Companion Animals.” Sounds like mom and apple pie – no one wants to breed dogs with inherited disorders. But in merely 4 sentences, they pick out specific defects and breeds as examples. This begs the question of which breed or defect is next? Much of the language in this document is imprecise. It states “only animals without deleterious inherited disorders are selected for breeding.” Who decides what is deleterious? And what will we find in the next decades as more DNA tests are developed that turns out to be inherited that we don’t think is inherited now? Parvovirus? Pyometra? These are frequently categorized as viral and bacterial diseases, but both have a breed predilection – this can only mean these are inherited disorders. And what does “poor welfare issues” mean? This language starts us down a slippery slope.
    We already have frighteningly small gene pools in many breeds, with some like the Otterhound, numbering under 1000 in the world, nearing extinction. Only with careful management of breeding programs and assistance from geneticists will we be able to maintain many breeds of dogs. Frozen semen that dates back to the 1970s and 1980s will be a crucial resource in restoring genetic diversity. {For those of you with frozen semen, please do not destroy it but rather work with the AKC and your breed clubs and colleagues to retain and manage this important resource.}
    We need to look at our purebred dogs as endangered. The only genetic material we have in each breed is already locked down, with no new incoming genetic material except for the occasional and likely undesirable mutation. Some are already proposing the “outcrossing” of breeds, not within the breed but actually bringing in the genetics of other breeds to “improve” their breed.
    I have spent 34 years of my veterinary career working with dog breeders. I am Chairman of the Board of the National Animal Interest Alliance (, a former member of the AVMA Judicial Council, and former member of the board of the Society for Theriogenology ( I too am a breeder and compete with my dogs. The breeders we work with in our 6 doctor practice in Wisconsin are kind, smart, dedicated, hard-working people who want nothing more than to breed their next generation of dogs to be healthier and better than the last generation. They spend countless hours poring over pedigrees and consulting their fellow breeders and veterinarians to determine what the next best genetic mix will be. I have NEVER met a breeder who says they want to breed a dog with a genetic defect, who suffers, and will have a short lifespan.
    The Society for Theriogenology and American College of Theriogenologists are the veterinary experts in animal reproduction. They work with livestock and companion animals and their owners on a full-time basis, not only executing breedings and managing fertility of their patients, but counseling owners on the logistics and ethics of animal reproduction. In 2011, the Theriogenology groups adopted a position statement titled “The Welfare of Breeding Animals”, reprinted below. It contains language that is far more comprehensive and better crafted than this recently developed AVMA document that from outward appearances looks like an effort to stop the breeding of all dogs, purebred or mixed breed.
    There are several broad categories of breeders – from breeders who have committed their lives to breeding competitive purebred dogs to commercial breeders to rescue organizations who are now using “puppy production” to create new revenue streams to support their profitable non-profits. Unless we find a way to help dog breeders manage their genetics, regardless of the type of breeder we are referring to, we as a society will no longer have a sufficient and suitable supply of US bred dogs for people to love as family members, use as working dogs, or enjoy in competitions. And as veterinarians, our small animal practitioners will go the way of the equine veterinary community when the automobile was invented.
    Rather than encouraging breeders to seek veterinary care in screening their breeding dogs, will this new proposal instead serve to drive breeders underground and breed without educated ethical veterinary input? What will the short term and long term ramifications of this be to veterinarians and their staff, their breeder clients, and the consumers who still desire to own well-bred dogs? What will the replacement source of dogs become? Will this lead to the further legal and illegal importation of dogs from outside the United States, where there is no oversight on the quality of dogs bred and the conditions under which the dogs are raised? Aren’t we better off guiding dog breeders, aiding them in selecting appropriate breeding stock rather than slamming the door to all breeding shut?
    Does the AVMA HOD need to adopt a policy about breeding companion animals? What purpose does it serve? How, if at all, will it be enforced? Would this be better coming from the Theriogenologists or the AVMA Ethics Committee?
    Ask your veterinarian to talk to her or his AVMA Delegate to carefully consider this proposal. Ask them to recall and redraft this proposal into one that is more friendly to the ongoing breeding of healthy, happy dogs within the United States by our high quality, conscientious, skilled and educated breeders with appropriate veterinary oversight. The AKC, National Animal Interest Alliance, AVMA Ethics Board, local and national breed clubs, and the 3 affiliated Theriogenology groups along with interested veterinarians can join together in drafting a more effective and useful ethical tool to guide breeders.
    Ask them to consider using the Position statement from the Theriogenology group (see below) or the following short statement: “The AVMA supports scientifically valid and reliable data as the basis for the responsible breeding of companion animals to minimize inherited disorders. The AVMA encourages veterinarians to continue their education in the emerging area of genetic disease causation and consequences to enable veterinarians to educate breeders, pet owners, and the public.”
    With the wrong approach, “Mommy, what is a puppy?” has the potential to become a reality in our society. This would indeed be a tragic, unintended and undesirable outcome resulting from this type of AVMA action.
    Society for Theriogenology’s Position Statement on the Welfare of Breeding Dogs:
    The American College of Theriogenologists and Society for Theriogenology promote the breeding of healthy, genetically superior dogs to maintain a diverse canine population that meets the needs of society for companion dogs and working dogs. The College and Society support practices to promote optimal health of all breeding dogs. Purpose-bred dogs are maintained subject to regulation by institutional and government agencies, while similar guidelines for non-institutional breeders are lacking. This position statement refers to care and management of breeding of dogs intended for personal ownership. It is the position of the ACT and SFT that:
    – Animals must be provided water, food, proper handling, health care, and environments appropriate to their species and use, and should be cared for in ways that prevent and minimize fear, pain, distress, and suffering.
    – Specifically, all breeding animals should be housed in clean, properly sized facilities that permit them to express normal behavior, include environmental enrichment, and are appropriate for stage of life. Male and female dogs may be co-housed in social units except for those times when bitches are in estrus. Specific attention to individual temperament to avoid inter animal aggression is required. Regular observation of and interaction with dogs by handlers must occur.
    – Dogs should have access to a balanced diet that is appropriate for their life stage and fed to them in a manner that will permit them to maintain a body condition score (BCS) of 4 or 5 out of 9, excepting certain breeds of dogs such as sight hounds that are naturally lean in body type. Fresh water should be available. Dogs should have routine health care and disease prophylaxis including regular veterinary examination, vaccination, internal and external parasite control, dental care and coat care when applicable.
    – Dogs intended for breeding should be evaluated for hereditary disorders before being bred. Owners of breeding dogs should develop a breeding plan with a veterinarian to minimize or eliminate production of puppies with hereditary defects.
    – All dogs intended for breeding should be appropriately tested for canine brucellosis to prevent spread of this disease. At a minimum, both members of a breeding pair should be tested prior to each breeding. All dogs intended for breeding should be regularly tested for canine brucellosis, either at the time of breeding or every six months.
    -Intact male dogs should be regularly evaluated by a veterinarian for prostate and testicular disease. Bitches should be regularly evaluated by a veterinarian for pyometra and mammary neoplasia. Decisions about when to spay or castrate individual dogs and bitches no longer intended for breeding should be made with the counsel of a veterinarian.
    – Bitches should not be bred before they are physically mature and should not be bred on the first estrous cycle without the advice of a veterinarian.
    – Bitches may be bred on consecutive estrous cycles if they maintain or regain their breed appropriate body condition and are deemed healthy on the basis of veterinarian examination prior to the onset of the next proestrus.

  3. The problem with bad breeding go so much deeper than just the breefing of dogs with currently detectable genetic disorders (although doing that worsen it, of course). Lack of genetic diversity is rampant in most pedigree breeds, seeding new genetic disorders in the next generations as we talk. Quite a few breeds have so distorted conformities throughout, that selecting against particular disorders will not make much of a difference… Severe conformity distortions like brachycephalic syndrome, teeth problems, eye problems, heat regulation problems and many more are so normal within certain breeds (let’s just mention the usual suspects, pugs and bulldogs, but there are many more), that breeders of them wouldn’t want to take advice from generalist vets about breeding choices.

    Honest veterinary advice would be to simple stop breeding them, but which breeder would listen to that? They would just find another vet.

    I think this initiative will do more harm than good, by reinforcing the illusion that if only the few “bad apples” are removed from the gene pool based on medical tests for a few known breed specific disorders, then the remaining pedigree dogs will be healthy

  4. As a responsible breeder of Bulldogs, I understand the concern. However; I do not want a “generalist” Veterinarian with less experience in my breed than I have dictating decisions regarding my breeding practices. We do health testing for genetic diseases and provide excelent care. We do not want to be lumped together with the less informed clients who have not devoted their time, energy any years of study that we have. As a responsible member of the Bulldog Club of America we do not need additional restrictions based on uneducated or uncaring breeders. We certainly would listen to a professional opinion based on a specific dog but advice based on a generalization is less than helpful.

  5. Sadly, I’m afraid that too often it’s all about greed (breeders who will sell whatever they produce) and stupidity (puppies are so CUTE and we wanted our kids to see how babies are made)!

  6. I am a vet tech, dog trainer and a former instructor of vet techs. I also volunteered for many years with the BCSPCA. I agree that veterinarians have a responsibility to dogs to advocate for them and wholeheartedly support this policy by the AVMA. The breeding and selling of dogs is big business here in Canada and in the US. Profit is making the decisions about breeding otherwise there would be no market for expensive designer mixed breed dogs or poorly bred purebreds. The sheltering community and more recently training professional organizations have stood alone for many years encouraging responsible breeding as well as responsible pet ownership. Our dogs bring us such pleasure whether they are purebred champions or mixed breed family pets. Owners of pet dogs as well as show and breeding dogs use veterinarians – we know this as the incidence of canine distemper and parvovirus has dropped almost to zero in many parts of N. America. If vets can influence people to this extent, then it is their responsibility to inform and educate their clients re the breeding of dogs. In my opinion dogs should be bred only if their offspring have an excellent chance of being not only physically sound but behaviorally sound as well.

  7. I totally agree with this policy. I had both my dogs in confirmation and pulled both of them. I had such difficulty with the entire concept. It seemed to me to be like a canine runway similar to a model runway for humans. Both are committed to make the either canine or human bodies look as attractive as possible. I observed so much of the time this occurred with total disregard to the purpose of the breed and little regard to the health impact on the breed. I also see a disconnect with breeders and vets. It seems to me that breeders expect vets to comply with what they need for their specific breed. They appear to be the “expert” about their breed and look for little guidance. I would like to think I am wrong about this and that there is much more hope for conversation and relationship building between vets and breeders. I see both breeders and vets as educators. But together they need to continue to learn from each other.

  8. Agreed: this is a meaningless motion to make people think they are doing something. This week, there are 15 Siberian huskies in Los Angeles dog pounds (a place that kills is NOT a “shelter”), not counting a few that people actually saw pushed out of vehicles and left in unfamiliar places!!! We are long past due for meaningful control of these idiot breeders, on a legal level. The AKC is equally culpable for the tragic state of dogs (and cats) in our society today: they hand out “Papers” for any dog with a lineage. Some years ago I was watching a major dog show on TV; the dog who took Best in Show was a German Shepherd with such deformed hips, he could barely walk around the ring: an AKC champion! He would have been bred and produced hundreds of puppies with his genetic defects so celebrated by the AKC.
    In my 30 years of loving and rescuing dogs, I have met very few “responsible” breeders: they DO exist, but.they are scarcer than hen’s teeth. IMHO a responsible breeder not only does all genetic tests, but perhaps more importantly, has a contract that requires their dogs come back to them if the buyer decides not to keep the dog for any reason; they take responsibility for the dogs they produce, for the life of the dogs. Sadly, most buyers, unless they live nearby, won’t go to the expense of sending a dog back; they dump them in the nearest pound.
    I would love to see someone work out and run with the idea that breeders MUST be better regulated. I envision some sort of ENFORCEABLE law that all dogs and cats must be microchipped by the breeder, and that registration stays with the animal in perpetuity (others can be added). Then when the animal ends up in a pound or a shelter, they can be traced back to the breeder, who must pay for all food, boarding, and veterinary care until the animal is adopted. As it stands, these greeders make big bucks selling innocent lives; and when those poor animals are dumped, we the taxpayers pay all the costs that really should be the breeder’s responsibility…as part of the cost of doing business. That right there would get rid of 99% of them. Then, if some idiot buys a pet that is not chipped, THEY are registered as the responsible party for the life of the animal. All new pets going to any vet (including the VIP shot clinics and the like) MUST be checked for microchips; any not chipped, the owner becomes the responsible party. Every vet I know already does this. How can we make this enforceable???
    This would also help the truly responsible breeders get their dogs back, too.
    And I envision a corps of volunteers who go through the ads every week and pose as puppy buyers; then they check to see if the seller is a registered breeder. And the breeder license should cost a minimum of $500, preferably much more, since they are the ones responsible for all costs of the pounds. How hard could it be to get volunteers to go look at puppies???
    When the AVMA takes a stand like this, then I will applaud.
    This past weekend, I found a post for a Siberian with a FRACTURED PELVIS. She had been sitting in the pound like that for 3 weeks, and her time was almost up. Why give vet care to an animal who will likely be killed? I see this ALL THE TIME, and it is obscene. When I called to make arrangements to get her, she had just been adopted, hopefully by someone who can afford her care.
    If you can judge a society by how animals are treated, we are barbarians.

  9. This law helps in several ways. It helps to send the message to veterinarians that talking with breeders is needed and encouraged. This takes the talk away from a veterinarian opinion argument by giving the support of a law. It also can help in when encouraging for health choices over cuteness choices as with brachycephalic syndrome.

  10. While I’m wholeheartedly in favor of people who are considering breeding their dog being educated as to WHY they’re breeding their dog (Is it a sound representative of its breed?) and whether they should do so (Is it functionally normal?/Has it passed all breed-specific health testing available?), the AVMA’s statement implies that veterinarians are well-informed on the subject as well. In my neck of the woods, many vets don’t think about dog reproduction much beyond spaying and neutering. It will take some professional education to teach vets how to best advise pet owners thinking about breeding and to assist but not alienate more knowledgeable breeders who are trying to do all the right things.

  11. Thumbs up for sure. The AVMA passing this later this month will help;
    animals, owners, as well as the veterinary profession in the long run.
    Having been in our business for nearly 35 years, (vet tech) I’ve heard that expression, “reputable breeder” my entire career. We commonly hear breeders describing how much they’ve spent to have hips, elbows, eyes, and heart evaluations done on which ever breed they have. Honestly, many are more likely to divulge that information to the hospital staff, rather than the veterinarian. It isn’t unusual to hear some say, “I spent so much having the hips evaluated, I’m not going to get the eye certification this time around.” My point is, we can’t “make” them do it. We can suggest any client interested in a particular breed, do their homework, and be certain to ask for paperwork regarding what they’ve had done with their animals. Personally, I try and nudge them toward a purebred rescue organization, or their local animal shelter.

  12. Well, it’s certainly a start. Advocating for responsible breeding in both the lay and professional community is just one more leverage tool that could be used to bring an end to puppy mills and the sale of dogs through backyard breeders and pet stores. Let’s hope the veterinary community utilizes this platform to its full potential.

  13. As the Health Chairman of my National Breed Club (Borzoi Club of America) for almost 15 years now, health checks on inherited diseases prior to mating are always highly recommended and rewarded. However, in dealing with a breed that has a relatively small gene pool, you cannot eliminate every dog that shows some type of inherited disease. Rather, the test results provide the conscientious breeder with the tools to make smart decisions on who this dog/bitch might be bred to in order to reduce the incidence of the disease in their bloodline. Severely culling potential breeding dogs can be the ruination of a breed and is something that when carried too far cannot be undone. Breeding choices must be made with sound science and there is no room for emotional decisions if the breeder intends to move forward with improving the health of their bloodline as well as the overall health of the breed. For a moment, detach the heart strings from that dog you adored before deciding the value of keeping it in your breeding program.

  14. As the owner of pure bred dogs since 1974, and someone who has dealt only with responsible breeders, I, too, am astonished that it’s taken this long to acknowledge that doing health clearances, and breeding sound, good temperament pets hasn’t been stressed earlier. I bred one litter in 1989 and my bitch had every clearance available at the time from hips to thyroid. Today it’s even better with DNA analyses for many disorders – as for my breed late onset PRA, Cerebellar Atrophy, and the usual – hips, elbows, and thyroid. Our national club’s code of ethics expects us all to only breed the best, although we all know not everyone will abide by it. But having our veterinarians stress it might make them think twice.

  15. As a long-time (and very small time) breeder of Labs, I agree with the comment above and share the astonishment that it has taken vets so long to take a stand against irresponsible breeders. I would rather have a puppy mill owner who uses vet services than a puppy mill that doesn’t (and this does occur) so I don’t think vets should turn away these clients (or even try to persuade them not to bred). But I have been frankly astonished and appalled when I have heard vets I know (and use) recommend breeding a pet dog with no assessment of genetic disease whatsoever! Truly. Despite my efforts at education (and I am relentless), I have been sent pet owners who want to breed a pet bitch or dog that should not be bred. My best hope is that the vet hopes I will educate the pet owner, but referral to me has an accepting stance and power that I will never overcome with education. For heaven’s sake, I have had one of my vets buy a puppy from a puppy mill! What on earth does this say to pet owners?

  16. The general public seems to be of the opinion their vets knows very little about purebred dogs. I don’t agree with that thought but I really can’t see many breeders taking advise from veterinarians on which dogs should be bred. Many breeders just do not see vets as an important source of such opinion and information. From the vets point of view, I think those who have tried to counsel breeders on not breeding certain dogs soon find that breeders don’t care what the vet thinks; they see themselves as the professionals or they have the attitude they will do what they want in spite of the issues with any particular dog. While I agree the conversation between vet and client should occur, I am not hopeful it will do much more than alienate vets from a good number of breeders.

  17. The AVMA walks on the line of becoming irrelevant in many companion animal issues
    So hooray, they say we officially think you should not be breeding irresponsibly. How is this even considered an eventful announcement? How about they man up and come out dead set against puppy mill breeding. Is it hard to draw a line in the sand on some issues like what makes you a hobby breeder versus a puppy mill? Maybe, but not that damn hard. Big lobbyists put forth money to fight ever bit of legislation that people try to pass on state levels about that. How about they do something really useful like work on a wording of anti companion animal used as production animal bill and fight for something like that. Help make sure such bills are worded properly not to impact food animal production or tge average actual reputable breeder. Make a difference for the companion animals we care for and not just produce a useless gee whiz statement.

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