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Accredited Breeder Scheme Resignation

Shallowford was the first Golden Retriever breeder in County Durham and amongst the earliest Labrador Retriever breeders to join the Kennel Club Accredited Breeder Scheme. We have been members for over 5 years and have strongly supported the scheme.

In the early days, it was made clear that to qualify, amongst other conditions, dogs would need be permanently identified and at that stage, dna profiling was the preferred option. The advantages of dna profiling are tremendous, mainly as only a small cell sample, taken onto cotton wool from the inside of the cheek is required there are absolutely no side effects. A parentage check can be carried out at a relatively low cost on the progeny of any two parents that are dna profiled and dna samples can be included in very valuable research.

DNA profile

The dna profile is the ultimate in individual identification and offers a 'tamper-proof' means of identity. The profile need only be produced once and the DNA sample used to produce it can be stored as a permanent DNA record throughout the dog's life. Identification could be essential in a number of instances. For example, the availability of a profile could be used to identify an animal that may have been lost or stolen, and subsequently recovered. The profile could also be used to check the authenticity of a DNA sample being used to screen for the presence of disease-causing genes. Many such tests are being developed and it would be invaluable to be able to verify that the correct dog's DNA is being tested for the presence of the deleterious gene. Repeating the DNA profile on the same sample of DNA being used to carry out the gene test would be straightforward and prove conclusively that the correct animal is being tested. From - http://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/item/463/

It was recently decided by the BVA however that either a microchip or tattoo was to be compulsory for their hip, elbow and eye testing schemes. A dna sample is not acceptable. When I telephoned to query this, I was told that it was not considered practical to use dna testing as means of permanent identification for the schemes. Although the tattoo is on the inside of the ear, I find this very unattractive and having taken a microchipping course and researched the subject quite thoroughly some years ago I have very serious concerns regarding the side effects from microchips. I did consider offering microchipping as a service, identifying any pups bred, but quickly decided against this.

Microchipping

Microchipping a dog is often recommended as a way to prevent the dog from becoming permanently lost, or for a way to identify the dog if it is stolen. A microchip is a tiny radio transponder which can be implanted by a veterinarian, or a person trained to do so, such as an animal control officer or humane shelter worker. Typically it is inserted in the skin between the shoulder blades. There are some common minor side effects, and a couple of serious, though anecdotal, side effects.

  • Pain - The microchipping process is similar to a vaccination, although the needle is larger. This can cause pain or discomfort in the injection area, especially if the chip is injected into the muscle by mistake
  • Swelling - Some swelling can also occur, but should dissipate within a day or two.
  • Infection - Although unlikely, a possible side effect of microchipping a dog is infection at the site of implantation.
  • Blood Loss - There has been a report of a dog bleeding to death in Los Angeles, where microchipping is mandatory.
  • Cancer - There also are rare anecdotal reports of dogs developing cancer at the microchip site. Trials show a small percentage of mice developing malignant tumours at their microchip site, but mice are much smaller in relative size to the microchip
  • Risks vs. Benefits - People concerned about the very unlikely potential for a tumour developing at the microchip site must weigh the risk against that of their dog becoming lost. Some people are requesting having microchips removed from their dogs, this procedure requires anaesthesia and a deep surgical excision.
Shallowford are not prepared to risk the health of their dogs by inserting a chip, nor to have them ‘defaced’ with a tattoo and so have withdrawn from the Kennel Club Accredited Breeder Scheme. PLEASE READ ON!

Mr Stuart Ellis of Riverbank Veterinary Centre, 16-22 Watery Lane, Ashton-on-Ribble, Preston, PR22NN and Mr Mark Lingard of Moy Farm Veterinary Centre, Chapel Lane, Out Rawcliffe, Lancashire PR3 6TB both of whom test under the BVA scheme are at liberty to test on a private basis. Just as in the past our dogs will be health checked (by these same specialists) with a report directly from them. The only difference will be is that the results will not be verified by the BVA, nor recorded on their database.

Again, as in the past, only dogs that meet our own stringent criteria for breeding will be used in our breeding program. This will include all tests recommended by the BVA for both Labradors and Golden Retrievers. In addition, we are extremely careful that we breed only from dogs of excellent, true to breed temperament and free from congenital abnormalities.

If you have lost a beloved Lab or Golden due to a tumour or other illness that you believe may have been connected to a microchip please take the time to complete our online questionnaire. (coming soon, today’s date 07/07/2010) Information and statistics, once collated will be forwarded to the BVA. If you would rather, mail your comments, please send them to enquiries@shallowfordretrievers.co.uk or telephone us on 0792 117 4597. Similarly, if you have a positive story or feel strongly that microchips are the way forward, we would like to hear from you too.

Come on BVA! With rescue centres being full to capacity and animals now being put to sleep due to lack of funding and homes, surely it is time that those breeders producing puppies from non health checked parents were encouraged towards better breeding practice rather than those who ARE health checking being forced to identify their dogs by a means which may cause health issues, the very thing we are trying to avoid.

In fairness, the BVA have suggested that dna profiling may at some time in the future be accepted as a means of permanent identification.
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Further Reading:
Micro Chipping of Animals: Dogs Suffer Cancer After ID Chipping What Lessons for Humans? by Chelsea Schilling http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=18531

Are Microchips Safe for Your Dog? Posted by sara in Dog Health Issues
http://doghealth1.com/are-microchips-safe-for-your-dog/

BVA – MPs back the compulsory microchipping of dogs July 2010
http://www.bva.co.uk/1932.aspx no mention here of side effects!

PLEASE NOTE: This document is a work in progress (7th August 2010) but I have published it today as I feel an explanation for our withdrawal from the Accredited Breeder Scheme is necessary.