Minutes - 18.10.2009

Members present.

David Taylor (NBTC, Chairman), Norman Ames (BTA), Frank Bebbington (NBTC), Garry Hurley (BTA), Dr Hefin Jones, OBE (MBTC), Derek Owen (NBTC), Dorothy Owen (MBTC) and Stuart Yearley (BTA).

A Tribute.

At the start of the meeting members took the opportunity to pay tribute to Christine

Bell and to place on record their appreciation of all that she had done on behalf of the Health group and for the Bedlington terrier and its enthusiasts, in general. She

was always prepared to give unstintingly of her time to help and to advise others.

 She will be sadly missed by everyone.  Our sympathy goes to Harvey and family.

Minutes of the last meeting held on Sunday, 14th June 2009.

Draft minutes of the meeting had been circulated to members of the Health Group and any notified amendments subsequently carried out by the acting secretary.  The meeting accepted the amended minutes as a true record of the meeting.

Matters arising from the Minutes.

The matters arising from the minutes of the meeting held on 14th June 2009 were the subject of items on the agenda of the current meeting.


Correspondence addressed to members of the Health Group was discussed, principally to formalise how the group should respond.

In the past it has been the ‘custom and practice’ to offer financial help towards veterinary costs where this was considered to be an appropriate action.  Usually this took the form of a subsidy towards the cost of ‘running’ a clinic but occasionally was given to an individual.  It was agreed that this practice was still pertinent and that such help was still merited if it was directed towards something which would have a direct benefit to the breed as a whole.  Any request for help would be reviewed on its merits and the potential benefits to be gained.

Interpretation of the requirements of the Data Protection Act/Freedom of Information Act may, on occasion, present problems.  The BTHG has a longstanding agreement with the Animal Health Trust AHT which allows the BTHG to maintain a list of the results of all CT tests carried out at the Trust.  However, there may well be repercussions if this information is disclosed to a third party.  On the other hand, Vetgen have never disclosed any results other than to the person submitting the sample.  The Health Group fully endorse the view of the AHT that would-be purchasers of puppies should receive/see a copy of any documents that shows the CT status of the sire and the dam.

As lay-persons, members of the Health Group can only comment in general terms about health problems and they must ALWAYS advise that professional veterinary advice be sought in such cases.

Action - DT to contact the AHT to clarify the position regarding the circulation list of recipients for the CT test results.

Action - FYB to contact Nigel Holmes to check the feasibility of inserting a clause in   the CT test application form asking for permission to release results to 3rd parties.

The Eye Clinic – Feedback.

An eye testing clinic, under-written by the Health Group, was hosted by the BTA at their Championship Show on Saturday, 10th October.  30 Bedlington terriers and 7 dogs of other breeds were examined.  Feedback from participants was that the clinic had been well organised.  All the Bedlington terriers tested were declared clear of TRD, the only recognised inherited condition that affects the breed.

Action - FYB to notify Diane Brooks-Ward (KC Health Coordinator) of this information.

Action - FYB to write to the Secretary of the BTA to thank them for hosting the eye clinic and for the work done in ensuring its success

Action - FYB to write to thank Mrs Barbara Scott for her help with administration during the running of the clinic.

In view of the fact that the test for TRD is a ‘once only’ test, it was agreed that the KC be asked to consider changing the Accredited Breeders requirement that parents of litters submitted for registration under this scheme should have been tested for TRD within the 2 years prior to the registration application.

Action - FYB to contact the KC regarding this matter.

BTHG Constitution.

The BTHG constitution, as discussed and amended to incorporate suggestions from the BTA was agreed.  This revised constitution is to be presented to the AGMs of the breed clubs for ratification.

The Breed Health Co-ordinator.

The documents received from the KC had been forwarded to members of the Health Group prior to the meeting. Various points, referred to in the documents, were discussed.

Although there is no ‘job description’ for the role of Breed Health Co-ordinator, it was obvious from the documents already received that the main aim is to facilitate collection of data on health problems and that to achieve this it is essential to establish an effective communication network involving all interested parties.

How this can best be achieved was discussed.  It was agreed that all communications received from the KC should be copied to members of the Health Group and to the breed club secretaries.  These documents can then be discussed at HG/Breed Club committee meetings and any comments, where appropriate, be communicated to the Breed Health Co-ordinator for consolidation and forwarding to the Kennel Club.

It was felt that there may be occasions when it is considered necessary to gather information from the wider ‘club membership’ in which case it may be appropriate to make such requests via club bulletins/newsletters and via the ‘Breed Columns’ in the dog press.

The primary initiative at this stage appears to be the establishment of “Breed Watch”.  The first batch of communications from the KC contained a document offering guidance to show judges.  Whilst most of these seemed to be relatively straight-forward, there were several that merited comment from the health group members, specifically because they necessitate an assessment of what is acceptable or unacceptable – for example, what is to be regarded as ‘excessive tear staining’.

Action - FYB to contact Diane Brooks-Ward to seek clarification of certain points in the Breed Watch documentation.

Update from the USA on Copper Toxicosis Research.

After several attempts to contact Pam Dickerson, the BTHG Chairman has finally received an update of the USA situation re Copper Toxicosis and the search for the ‘second CT gene’ being undertaken by Dr Diane Cox.

Dr Cox has processed all the blood samples she has received but the buccal (saliva) samples have proved to be unsuitable and more blood samples are required if the research is to progress.

It is understood that the minimum requirement is for blood samples from 5 ‘control’ dogs (dogs that have been biopsied unaffected and with a copper level of less than 400ppm dry weight) plus 5 ‘affected’ dogs (dogs that have been biopsied affected and with a copper count of more than 1000ppm dry weight).

To date, Pam Dickerson has located a possible 4 of the 5 ‘control’ dogs needed but finding the ‘affected’ dogs is proving more difficult.

Any Other Business.

No items were tabled.

Date of the Next Meeting.

The next meeting will be held on Sunday, 28th February, 2010.

The meeting closed at 1.30 pm.

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