Rottweilers under primary veterinary care in the UK: demography, mortality and disorders
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Data on age, sex, neuter status and bodyweight were extracted. The cause, date and manner of all deaths was recorded. Clinical notes were reviewed manually to identify all disorders that existed during Fromdogs attending clinics, there were 1.
The Rottweiler dropped from 1. Average lifespan overall was 9. The most common grouped causes of death were cancer The most common specific disorders were aggression 7. Males were more likely than females to have aggression 9. The most common disorder groups were joint The Rottweiler appeared a relatively short-lived breed and cancer was a common cause of death.
Compared with female Rottweilers, males were significantly heavier, shorter-lived and predisposed to aggression. Awareness of breed health issues and sex-related differences may assist prospective owners to decide on a male versus female puppy. Background The Rottweiler is believed to have originated from mastiff-type herding dogs taken north by the Roman army as they campaigned across Europe. In a town in southwest Germany called Rottweil, these dogs were mixed with sheepdog bloodlines to create the Rottweiler that was used for protecting property and their owners, herding and driving cattle, as well as pulling carts in the 19th century [ 1 ].
The onset of the industrial revolution resulted in a sharp decline in breed numbers but the Rottweiler regained popularity as a police and armed forces dog in the s and the Rottweiler was exhibited at Crufts in [ 2 — 4 ]. However, evidence suggests that the breed has been in recent decline in the UK where annual Kennel Club KC registration counts for Rottweilers have dropped from in 1.
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Rottweilers are reported as predisposed to a number of health disorders [ 6 ]. Predisposition has been reported to a variety of musculoskeletal conditions including cruciate ligament disease, hip and elbow dysplasia, osteochondritis dissecans and osteosarcoma that may be associated with the rapid growth and large bodysize typical of the breed [ 7 — 9 ]. Other reported predispositions include dilated cardiomyopathy [ 10 ], parvovirus enteritis [ 11 ], lymphoma [ 12 ], histiocytic sarcoma [ 13 ] and cystic endometrial hyperplasia [ 14 ].
However, prevalence values for many of these disorders in the wider dog population are largely lacking [ 15 ]. This deficiency of reliable population-based prevalence data makes it problematic to apply an evidence based approach to scientifically prioritise health issues within the breed [ 16 ].
Undesirable behavioral issues in Rottweilers have been the subject of considerable debate for many years and may be related to specific guarding characteristics deemed to be desirable in the breed [ 1718 ]. Studies in the US have reported that The Rottweiler has been scored as high among breeds for aggression using behaviour-specific questionnaires [ 1821 ].
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Male dogs have been reported as more likely to exhibit aggression than females [ 22 ]. Due to the strong natural guarding instincts of Rottweilers, the breed has become popular as a status dog with those seeking a macho image and has consequently suffered some bad publicity [ 1 ].
However, negative media stories may unfairly prime the public to perceive the breed as less approachable, more dangerous and aggressive than other breeds [ 23 ].
Unprompted information recorded on veterinary electronic patient records EPRs could represent another perspective to help elucidate a truer picture on undesirable behaviours in Rottweilers.kc reg rottweiler pups for sale
Veterinary EPR data are increasingly being used to explore breed-based and disorder-based topics in dogs [ 24 — 26 ] and are reported as a useful data resource that is representative of the wider dog population [ 27 ].
The current study aimed to describe the demography, mortality and the most commonly recorded diseases in Rottweilers under veterinary care in the UK in order to extend the current evidence base supporting disorder prioritisation for improved health and welfare in the breed. Comparisons between females and males for demography and disorder prevalence were of particular interest in order to assist veterinarians and prospective owners to make evidence-based decisions on the sex selection within the breed.
Rottweilers under primary veterinary care in the UK: demography, mortality and disorders
Methods The study population included all dogs under primary veterinary care at clinics participating in the VetCompass Programme during Dogs under veterinary care were defined as those with either a at least one EPR VeNom diagnosis term, free-text clinical note, treatment or bodyweight recorded during or b at least one EPR recorded both before and after Collaborating practices can record summary diagnosis terms during episodes of care from an embedded VeNom Code list [ 29 ].
Data fields available for VetCompass researchers include a unique animal identifier from each practice management system provider along with species, breed, date of birth, sex, neuter status, insurance status and bodyweight, and clinical information from free-form text clinical notes, summary diagnosis terms VeNom codes and treatment with relevant dates.
A prevalence study design derived from the cohort clinical data of dogs registered at participating practices was used to estimate the 1-year period prevalence of the most commonly diagnosed disorders [ 30 ]. Sample size calculations estimated that dogs would be needed to represent a disorder with 2. Dogs recorded as Rottweiler breed were categorised as Rottweiler and all remaining dogs were categorised as non-Rottweiler. All-age Bodyweight Kg described recorded all available bodyweight and date combinations.
Neuter described the status of the dog entire or neutered at the final EPR.
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Age described the age at the final date under veterinary care during and was defined at the earlier of December 31st, or the date of death. The list of unique Rottweiler animal identification numbers was randomly ordered and a subset was reviewed manually in detail to extract the most definitive diagnostic term recorded for all disorders that existed during and to manually link this to the most appropriate VeNom term as previously described [ 32 ].
No distinction was made between pre-existing and incident disorder presentations.
Disorders described within the clinical notes using presenting sign terms e. Mortality data recorded cause, date and method of death were extracted on all deaths at any date during the available EPR data. Under the new plans, pet shops will also be required to give buyers written information about the animals they buy, with details of the five welfare needs owners must meet under the Animal Welfare Act around environment, diet, behaviour, housing and freedom from pain.
This advice is particularly important when buying exotic pets, which can have very specific welfare needs. We are particularly pleased that it will be illegal to sell a puppy below the age of 8 weeks and that there will be tighter licensing rules which will require sellers of pets to display their licence when advertising. We also applaud the move towards a risk based single licensing system which will incorporate those breeders that have gained UKAS approval rather than exempting them.
We believe that Local Authority Inspectors need support to enforce these tighter licensing rules. As such, moves to mandate the use of Model Conditions and for inspectors to be offered training and standards to be set is most welcome.
Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary said: We are pleased that Defra will be taking forward proposals to ban the sale of puppies under the age of 8 weeks by commercial third parties; we have called for a ban on third party sales, and refuse to register puppies being sold to third parties, but this new rule is a step in the right direction. We also welcome the requirement for pet sellers to provide written information about the animals they sell and for those who sell pets online to display their licence number.
As the litter licensing threshold is set to reduce from five litters to three we look forward to working with Defra on the new risk based licensing system, to ensure that UKAS accredited Assured Breeder Scheme ABS members will continue to be inspected by the Kennel Club for the maximum licence length of three years.