Thursday, September 27, 2007

"Her Daddy Done Got To Her"

Recently, on a day that I was bogged down with appointments, a client came in and asked the receptionist how much it would cost to pregnancy check her one year old American Bull Dog. As the receptionist was giving her the price for a pregnancy ultrasound, I was coming up to reception to get a file and over heard her say, "We really want to know because her daddy done got to her." despite my time constraints with rooms full of clients and pets, I paused immediately and told her that the preg check needs to be performed ASAP since, if the dog was indeed pregnant, the pregnancy would need to be terminated, a process that is performed by hormonal injection, and most effective and safe for the female the earlier it is done.

The woman proceeded to give me a bewildered look, and then it hit me quickly that she had PLANNED THE BREEDING AND ACTUALLY WANTED THE PUPPIES! I then asked her, "Mam, did you actually want for this to happen?" "Yes," she answered. I replied,"Mam, are you not aware of the dangers of inbreeding related dogs? Even cousins have a high potential to have genetic diseases. With father and daughter, the likelihood is exceptionally high that the puppies will be not be health overall, have behvarioravl problems, and not live healthy lives. "

She answered, "well, I was told that it was okay in dogs." I replied, "you need to be careful who you take your advice from, because whoever told you this either has a complete lack of ethics, is grossly misinformed, or both. It is no more safe for dogs to inbreed like this than it is for people. In addition, your dog is way too young to have been bred. Many genetically inherited diseases do not appear until 2 years of age, so breeding a dog before this age even to a dog that is of no familial relation, means that you could be unknowingly be passing these diseases to future generations." I then recommended she visit the Breeder Page of WebDVM so she can get an idea of what responsible and ethical breeding entails. I also told her that she needs to make an appointment for a preg check and pregnancy termination in the event that the dog is pregnant, ASAP. She said would do both, walked out the door, and we never heard from her again.

By now those puppies likely have been born, and many poor unsuspecting people just wanting to adopt a pure bred American Bull dog, have likely paid a lot of money for dogs that have a high likelihood of having many different possible genetic diseases, aggressive temperaments, and have a low likelihood of living long, healthy lives. The people that buy these puppies think that they must be getting good quality puppies because they are not from a pet store, and they are AKC registered. They have no idea that ignorant and/or unscrupulous breeders can be every bit as bad as pet stores. They also do not realize that AKC registration is meaningless. All one has to do to get puppies registered with the AKC is to simply state that the puppies are a certain breed and send their check, period.

Now, this is an extreme case of breeder ignorance for certain. However, while many breeders are not this misinformed or unscrupulous, the vast majority of breeders are not doing what is necessary to give the highest probability that puppies will be free of genetic disease and strengthen, rather than weaken, a given breed as a whole. Later in life, when dogs are afflicted with genetic diseases such as skin allergies, skeletal disorders, cardiac disorders, and cancer, among many more, they often aim their blame at the vets who charge for their services to manage these problems, rather than the breeders that created them. Always remember that a large percentage of sickness that is seen in veterinary practice is the result of genetic aberrations created by bad breeding.

To be fair, it is usually not the fault of the pet owners whose only mistake was trusting that these breeders were breeding ethically and responsibly. Therefore, until there is government implemented regulation of animal breeding, be certain to educate yourselves and others in the market for a new puppy. Never forget that it requires no degree, training, or licensing whatsoever to call oneself a breeder. As such, never assume that a breeder has even a remote clue of what they are talking about, and use the WebDVM Breeder Page as a guide to help you weed out backyard breeders from good, ethically based, responsible breeders.

Roger L. Welton, DVM

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

WebDVM's Maiden Blog

Hello Pet Lovers Around the world! Although not quite yet complete, the WebDVM already has a substantial web presence that we could not hide from the major search engines. Believe me, I am not complaining. It is very encouraging that pet lovers around the world are already making use of our site with it still yet to be finished, as well as with our organization having yet to promote the WebDVM at all. However, since we are already experiencing a lot of hits on the site, I decided to write my inaugural blog a bit sooner than expected, as a courtesy to the good people that are already frequenting the site with regularity.

While the core pages are all completed at this point, the one daunting task that remains is to complete the drafting of all of the disease article pages that represent all the pertinent disease links that make up both the "Diseases A-Z" and "Symptom Checker" pages. However, it is easy to tell which disease articles are complete on either page, as the ones that are complete are clearly linked to their respective articles, whereas the ones that are incomplete are clearly not linked. If you find our database lacking at this point, I invite you check back regularly, as we are working very hard to complete the disease articles, linking between 2-10 disease article pages per day, making our estimated finish time between 2 - 4 weeks from the date of this blog.

So one may ask, why my colleagues and I have decided to launch the WebDVM. The answer for me started in 2002 when I created as a veterinary question and answer pay site both for fun, as well as to generate some extra income. While the income was certainly helpful, what I found the most exciting about my new Internet venture was the global correspondence my site achieved, with consultations coming from all over the US, as well as the entire world, from places as far away a Singapore.

Later in 2004, when I incorporated my veterinary advice service into my new veterinary hospital's website, at the same time I also spun off a free pet health chat forum, which quickly swelled to over 1000 worldwide members in less than a year's time. I just found it so overwhelmingly gratifying that from this modest little venue, animal enthusiasts all over the world could correspond with one another, meanwhile utilizing my hospital web site's modestly sized health article database to learn from.

Well, early in 2007, it occurred to me that if my modest little hospital website and pet chat forum could bring so many people from different countries and from all walks of life together with the common purpose of bettering the lives of animals, imagine what a mega portal like WebDVM could achieve. The WebDVM's mission is to provide more news and information for more pet loving people for an ever growing global online community on a scale never before seen in the animal care industry.

We hope your enjoyment and benefit for WebDVM matches our passion for it!