A few years ago the PBGV Club of America conducted a brief survey designed
for breeders to share information relating to breeding and combining
pedigrees. As here in the UK, they were aware of a downward trend in breeders,
litters and individual registrations which might eventually lead to lack of
diversity in breeding stock.
Stemming from our 2016 Health Survey, the BGVC is following a similar
path with the aim of finding out what health concerns beset BGVs and also
obtaining information about a BGV’s age at death and the cause. This will
help identify the longevity of the breed and what health problems are of most
concern with the goal of shaping medical research priorities for the betterment
of our BGVs. This is an ongoing initiative to collect clinical health
information on all BGVs during their lifespan.
A successful and enjoyable day was held at the AHT, Newmarket, on 2 December
when PBGV owners congregated for free eye-testing, measuring the height of
their PBGVs and a series of short lectures on the Give a Dog a Genome project,
canine epilepsy research and an update on DNA testing
Head of Canine Genetics, Cathryn Mellersh, used the data collected to help
in progressing research into whether * any PBGV's eye pressures have risen since last eye tested and since
their DNA tests; and * there is any correlation between the height of a PBGV and
its POAG genotype, which might explain why PBGVs have
such a high frequency of the POAG mutation when GBGVs don’t seem to carry the
mutation at all.
The final conclusion was that ADAMTS17 POAG mutations are strongly associated
with height in the PBGV, and the association appears to have an additive
effect. Of course these findings possibly pose more questions than
they answer for PBGV breeders, especially those of us who own animals on the
lower end of the height range who are DNA tested clear.
Health Survey 2011-2012
Over the years the BGV Club has conducted several surveys. It is
only in this way that a balanced view can be obtained of the overall health of
both GBGVs and PBGVs.
In 2008 in Orlando conducting simple surveys went a step further when
Gavin Robertson and Linda Skerritt seized the opportunity to join forces with
health representatives from other countries. The meeting that took
place heralded the formation of a World Health Committee with the
intention of working together for the health of the breed.
The aims of the World Health Committee were to share best practice on relevant
serious health matters in the breed with the ultimate goal of eradicating any
such conditions. Conducting regular worldwide health surveys and sharing
the results and findings with all BGV Clubs and participants was also
paramount. In cognisance of data protection, the data would also be made
available to any Kennel Club, University or Health Research Laboratory for the
betterment of BGV health.
In collaboration with the PBGV Club of America, a worldwide Health Survey
subsequently took place during 2011 and, at the 3rd World Congress 2012 hosted
by the BGV Club, Health Officer Peter Marks gave a presentation of the
For many years the BGV Club has held seminars designed to give BGV owners
a better understanding of the health of the breed, highlighting any known
issues. Here you can see brief details of some of the seminars mounted
over the past few years.
Health Seminars at Third BGV World Congress November 2012
The first part of the World Congress followed PBGV judging with a welcome from
Hector Heathcote, Hound Association Chairman. As a member of the Kennel
Club, he described the important liaison between the KC and breed clubs, not
only on general matters but on maintaining the Standards, all the more
important for the BGVC, being the custodian of two breeds.
Peter Bedford followed this by a talk on the current status of eye health in
the BGV. He said that, unfortunately, as with many eye problems,
veterinary circles could only ameliorate onset of glaucoma and not stop
it. He stressed the importance of regular eye examination, as early diagnosis
was the answer. Club records showed that, as of August 2012, 300 BGVs had
been examined with 26 affected with POAG. The number of carriers was not
known. The worldwide health survey carried out by the PBGVCA in
collaboration with the BGVC supported the view that, in live PBGVs, eye
problems remained the most significant area of concern, topped only in America
by dermatological problems. One explanation offered for this was the
extremes of temperature and humidity levels in the various States.
Whilst POAG remained the top eye problem in the UK, cataracts and PPM were
prevalent in the States, with glaucoma featuring to a much lesser extent.
Joint, cardiovascular and dermatological problems were high on the UK living
dogs PBGV list, as were problems with ears, urinary, reproductive and
gastrointestinal systems. In total information was gathered on 787 PBGVs
and, worthy of mention, in 189 of the 296 living UK PBGVs no problems were
With Peter Marks having given the UK health survey findings earlier, Helen
Ingher, Chairman of the American Health Committee, was there to represent the
PBGVCA with their results.
To round off the health seminar, a valuable Question & Answer session
took place, panelled by representatives from Sweden, the UK, the Animal Health
Trust and the Kennel Club.
Health Seminar April 2015 It was an interesting and very informative day near Chesterfield at the event
organised by the BGVC. Cathryn Mellersh from the AHT gave an update on
the DNA test for POAG. As people from other breeds attended Cathryn
explained about the AHT and its many functions, as well as outlining in
basic terms what POAG actually is. She praised Oliver Forman PhD, her
highly dedicated colleague who had actually found the genetic marker for the
mutated gene. Oliver had persevered when they had drawn a blank with the
experiments they had already done on the DNA strands and this resulted in him
finding the mutation. This abnormality is known as inversion when a chromosome
rearrangement results in a segment of a chromosome being reversed end to end.
Thus a section of a strand of DNA literally flips itself over to become
"back to front".
One worrying factor was that during the screening process of PBGVs another type
of glaucoma had been found, Primary Closed Angle Glaucoma. This is more
difficult to detect as the problem occurs further down in the eye structure and
pressures can be perfectly alright one day and through the roof the next.
Cathryn also added it is more complex than POAG and could involve more
than one type of mutation, making it harder to find in the canine DNA.
She explained what it meant for the breed going forward. She felt it was
important not to narrow the gene pool down by taking carriers out of the
breeding program as other diseases and issues could arise. Eye testing
should still take place, as there are other eye diseases that might be detected
and picking them up early will help prevent it becoming an issue for the breed
in the future. Cathryn also spoke a little about epilepsy and meningitis. For epilepsy,
the AHT is collecting DNA from affected dogs that have a veterinary diagnosis
for epilepsy. Owners who would like to participate can request a DNA kit from
Bryan McLoughlin by emailing him at email@example.com. Cathryn
added that the neurology section of the AHT will also give advice free and
welcome vets calling them.
Health Seminar 2011
The BGV Club, in conjunction with the Portuguese Podengo Club of Great Britain
held a very successful seminar and fun event on 29 January 2011 at Steventon
Village Hall. Two key speakers took to the stage with just over 40 attendees
for the health seminar followed by an informal lunch and puppy match in the
Dr Cathryn Mellersh of the Animal Health Trust, who works closely with
the BGV Club Health Sub-Committee very kindly gave up her time to talk on
Genetics and Epilepsy. The seminar started off with an overview of the Animal
Health Trust and genetics and moved onto specifically talk about epilepsy and
the current work being done in this field, which the BGV Club supports. This
was followed up with a question and answer session for the audience.
Following this Adele Caldwell of Ark House Veterinary Surgery talked
specifically on Juvenile Meningitis, Sudden Pain Syndrome and Juvenile
Arthritis in dogs and after this the audience was invited to ask questions on
general veterinary matters.
Following an informal lunch provided by Pete and Deborah Wilson our mystery
judge was revealed for the puppy match. Mr Howard Ogden officiated over the
match which saw BGVs, Podengos, a couple of Italian Greyhounds and a Beagle
competing ! After three very hotly contested rounds Mr Ogden declared Best in
Match as Belle the PBGV owned by Ms Linda Lewis and Reserve Best in Match was
Arranbourne Cavalo the Portuguese Podengo owned by Mrs Segui.
WE ARE HERE TO HELP YOU ......If you have any concerns about your BGV's well-being which appear to be related to any of the known health problems in the breed, let us know. We are here to support you.