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The Kennel Club/British Veterinary Association Canine Health Schemes update regarding the current national lockdown

The following update from the Kennel Club Health Team has been sent to Breed Health Coordinators today (08/01/2021)

The Kennel Club and the British Veterinary Association (BVA) would like to provide an update to all breeders currently awaiting results from hip or elbow screening and to provide reassurance of the measures being taken to ensure those waiting for results receive them at the earliest possible opportunity. 

Furthermore we wish to issue guidance relating to use of the Kennel Club/British Veterinary Association Canine Health Schemes (CHS) during the current national lockdown. 

Customers waiting for results for dogs screened pre-January 2021

As of 5th January 2021 England entered a third lockdown since the beginning of the Covid 19 pandemic, this means that unfortunately the processing of results for the hip and elbow schemes are being continually impacted. This is due to the quality and consistency measures of scoring and grading for the schemes, which require two scrutineers and members of the BVA CHS team to travel into central London to undertake scoring sessions in Covid secure conditions. It is essential to the efficacy of the scheme that this process is upheld at this time even given the logistical challenges that the pandemic presents. Changes to the process are being considered and trialled, but will only be implemented once the existing quality and consistency standards for the scheme are met.  It is essential that the Kennel Club and BVA maintain the integrity of CHS which has been in operation for 65 years.

Furthermore BVA has to ensure the safety of its staff and of the scrutineers when co-ordinating the sessions. Due to Covid restrictions a number of sessions have had to be postponed and rescheduled and we hope that customers of the scheme will respect that delays have been caused by the unprecedented circumstances we are now all trying to work and operate within.

The following actions are now being taken to ensure that customers receive results from screening at the earliest possible opportunity;

·       The BVA premises in London will remain open for scoring sessions each week during the current lockdown.

·       Increasing the number of scoring sessions taking place.

·       Increasing the number of X-rays scored at each scoring session.

It is hoped that these actions will enable a return to normal turnaround times by Spring 2021.

We hope that customers will be reassured by our continued commitment to ensuring they receive their results whilst we also maintain the integrity of the schemes and the service provided. We ask for customers to be respectful and patient with CHS team members during this extremely challenging time for us all. Abusive behaviour towards the staff will not be tolerated.

Customers wanting to have dogs screened during the current lockdown 

For those customers intending to have dogs screened using CHS during the current lockdown we wish to draw your attention to the latest guidance provided by BVA and RCVS relating to veterinary treatment during this period which clearly advises veterinary professionals to only carry out work that is essential for public health and animal health and welfare, in the context of the very strong ‘stay at home’ messages from government.

In a joint statement BVA and RCVS said:

“We recognise that this continues to be a very challenging and difficult time for our colleagues, and we want to thank veterinary teams across the UK for continuing to work safely so that we can all play our part in stopping the spread of Covid.

“Once again we thank animal owners for their understanding and ask them to continue to respect their vets’ decisions at this time. The range of services available will vary between practices so that vets can work in Covid-safe ways to keep their colleagues and clients safe.”

We therefore suggest that all owners consult their vet in the first instance to ask whether screening is available at this time and further to consider their personal safety and the safety of others when making decisions if screening is appropriate for their dogs and personal circumstances.

The Kennel Club and BVA ask for all owners and breeders to respect your vet’s judgement at this time if screening is not available to you during the current national lockdown. This applies to all canine health schemes that require travel and contact with others at a time of very strong ‘stay at home’ guidance from the government.

The Kennel Club is happy to offer support and advice to all owners wishing to plan a litter of puppies and consider appropriate health screening including use of CHS, for more information, support or advice please email [email protected]

For useful links, updates and information please see below;