An update on conformation altering surgery

An update on the Association's response to conformation altering surgery following our autumn 2010 meeting...

We are supposed to report all caesarians and conformation-altering surgery to the Kennel Club using the form (and guidance notes) at and the KC will now not register pups from bitches with 2 caesarians.

The BVA / BSAVA wanted the limit to be only 1 caesararian:

Interestingly the conformation-altering stuff is only an issue regarding showing animals not breeding animals, and if an owner wants to show their dog after surgery they have to write to the KC and include a vet letter about the surgery.


Reporting of conformation-altering surgery and of Caesarian Sections

The Cambridge autumn meeting 2010 seems a long time ago now, and there has at last been some progress by the RCVS and Kennel Club (KC) regarding the reporting of conformation-altering surgery. From now, vets should use the Reporting Form for every KC-registered Caesarian and conformation-altering surgery, sending one copy to the Kennel Club and keeping one copy themselves.

This scheme is dependent on the compliance of vets across the country, and AVSTS encourages its members to be involved as fully as they can – both in completing the forms, and in encouraging others so to do. It was clear in Cambridge that as surgeons we are repeatedly placed in highly complex situations involving individual animals with severe breed-related welfare problems. Whilst we are always able to deal with the individual animal we have, until now, had no way of directing our frustrations to address the broader issues. This scheme represents a start, and as more information becomes available (for example from the workings of the Advisory Council on the Welfare Issues of Dog Breeding, chaired by Professor Sheila Crispin; or from the Kennel Club) then we will alert AVSTS members to it.

There are a number of difficulties and problems with this voluntary reporting, which we hope will be addressed over time:

  1. Only KC-registered dogs are involved
  2. Reporting relies on veterinary compliance
  3. There is no clear picture of what constitutes conformational-altering surgery – though the RCVS advises the answer lies in the professional judgement of a Veterinary Surgeon. 
  4. It is not clear who has access to the data generated, and how it is used currently
  5. It is also not clear how these data are planned to be used to help improve the welfare of future generations of dogs

Please email with any comments or suggestions you have about this topic.