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The AKC CHF National Parent Club Conference

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90 – October, 2017

By Caroline Coile

The most important dog event in America does not happen every year in New York. Nor does it happen every year in Orlando. In fact, it does not happen every year at all. It happens every two years, in St. Louis: the AKC Canine Health Foundation National Parent Club Canine Health Conference.

This August marked the 11th such conference, all sponsored by Purina, and I’ve been fortunate enough to attend the last 10 of them. The meeting is a mix of researchers, veterinarians and breeders, with a large part of the audience consisting of representatives from AKC parent clubs—- 106 parent clubs were represented this year. The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals sponsored the attendance of 32 veterinary students with an interest in purebred dogs. I took the opportunity to speak with several about the views of veterinary schools and their fellow students about purebred dogs. That will be a separate write-up, but the overall gist is that we desperately need to continue to expose students like these to the good that purebred dog en- thusiasts are doing.

The CHF began funding research in 1995. I recall writing in an article at the time that it was a good move, but worried it was “too little, too late?” I was right on the first count, but could not have been more wrong on the second. Since then they have funded $38.3 million toward canine health research that has resulted in 673 sci- entific publications. Those publications in turn have been cited by 23,971 other publications; in other words, these studies have in turn contributed to further research. There’s never enough to fund all the research that is deemed worthy by reviewers. Despite 2016 being CHF’s most successful fund-raising year to date, they were only able to fund 35 of the 82 proposed projects that would have cost $5.7 million. Some highlights of ongoing projects were presented at this year’s symposium.

Click here to read the complete article
90 – October, 2017

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