WSAVA takes on brachycephaly, dentistry, dog and cat meat trade

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The World Small Animal Veterinary Association has focused attention on the issues facing brachycephalic dogs, released global guidelines for veterinary dentistry, and strongly expressed opposition to trade in dog and cat meat.

Brachycephalic dog

The WSAVA held a panel discussion on brachycephalic dogs during the WSAVA Congress, Sept. 25-28 in Copenhagen, Denmark. Also during the congress, the association released its Global Dental Guidelines for small animals.

Ahead of the congress, the WSAVA released a position statement voicing concerns about the welfare of dogs and cats in meat trade and the public health risks of the trade.

Brachycephalic dogs

On Sept. 26, the WSAVA Congress featured a lecture stream on hereditary disease and the importance of responsible breeding. During a panel session, experts from around the world discussed not only the issues facing brachycephalic breeds but also the implications for veterinarians.

Panel members offered a number of recommendations to help veterinarians take steps to improve the health and welfare of brachycephalic dogs. The introduction to the recommendations states, "As advocates of, and experts in, animal health and welfare, veterinarians should speak up and show leadership in taking action against the breeding of dogs with excessive traits which can lead to health and welfare problems, such as brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS)."

The recommendations, available at, are for veterinarians at both the practice level and the level of veterinary organizations.

Dental guidelines

On Sept. 24 at the congress, the WSAVA launched its Global Dental Guidelines to support veterinarians around the world in improving recognition of dental disease and in providing a higher standard of dental care to patients. The association hopes that the document will help bridge what it perceives as a substantial gap in veterinary education globally and encourage a greater emphasis on dentistry in the veterinary curriculum.

The guidelines include information on and images of oral anatomy and common diseases as well as recommendations for best practices in oral examinations and an easily implementable scoring system for dental health. The document also includes evidence-based guidance on periodontal treatment, radiology, and dental extractions, together with details of minimum equipment recommendations.

A key theme is the WSAVA's rejection of anesthesia-free dentistry, which the association describes as ineffective and a cause of unnecessary stress and suffering for patients.

The guidelines are available at

Dog and cat meat

Released Sept. 13, the WSAVA position statement on trade in dog and cat meat recognizes cultural variance in this area but voices strong concerns about the welfare of dogs and cats at all stages of the meat trade. The statement also highlights evidence of public health risks of the trade in terms of compromising regional efforts to control rabies and increasing the risk of transmitting diseases such as rabies, cholera, and trichinellosis.

The statement concludes by calling for the rigorous enforcement of existing laws and supporting new controls and regulations where current legislation does not exist, aimed at banning trade in dog and cat meat.

The position statement is available at

Related JAVMA content:

AVMA passes policy on responsible pet breeding (March 1, 2017)

True Prophylaxis (Jan. 15, 2016)

Below the surface of anesthesia-free dentistry (Feb. 1, 2016)