Dear Reader

Bolting the stable door…

Statistics from a survey*, commissioned by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), reveal that nearly a quarter of the owners who bought a pure-bred puppy in the past two years based their decision mainly on its appearance, while over half of the new owners did not see the puppy with its mother before they bought it.

But perhaps of even greater concern is the fact that one in five of the people who had acquired a puppy within the two-year period, no longer had the dog.

The RSPCA believes that this state of affairs is largely down to people letting their heart rule their head when it comes to buying a puppy, and failing to prepare themselves for the practical commitment and cost of owning a dog.

So tell us something new, I hear you say. Anyway, we run puppy parties and vaccination clinics and give new owners sound advice on worming and nutrition. And when things start to go pear-shaped, we recommend qualified behaviour counselling.

Hmm. I now hear the sound of distant horses’ hooves and slamming stable doors.

In her excellent review of brachycephalic breeds and their respiratory problems (p92), Daniella Simes, points out that despite the advancement of corrective surgical techniques, the real answer to improving these dogs’ well-being lies in tackling the problems at their root. “Responsible breeding is better than cure,” she says.

The author goes on to say, “Part of a veterinary nurse’s work is to act as an ‘educational facilitator’ for the General Public and progressively to improve its realisation that there are trained people to help pet owners understand more about their pet’s health and well¬being. As a consequence, clients will better understand the role of the Veterinary Nurse.”

Surely the time has come for the veterinary nursing profession to take this part of its role more seriously and to adopt a more aggressive approach to reducing the number of unwanted puppies by using every available means to prevent their acquisition in the first place?


David Watson BVetMed MA MRCVS 


To cite this editorial use either

DOI: 10.1111/j.2045-0648.2010.00021.x or Veterinary Nursing Journal Vol 26 pp 70

• VOL 26 • March 2011 • Veterinary Nursing Journal