So what have we been doing?
Read our Breed Health Timeline here to see how proactive we have been, and how committed we are, as a breed, to healthy hounds
Bloodhound Health Commitment Timeline
1978/79/80 Early Bloodhound Club Health Surveys
1992 As Bloodhound eyes do not generally suffer from the conditions covered at the time by the KC/BVA Scheme, Professor Peter Bedford devised an Eye Assessment Scheme specifically for Bloodhounds using a scale of 1-5 for scoring the hounds.
A Clinic was then held by Professor Bedford at the Royal Veterinary College for the Bloodhound Club. It was attended by 42 hounds of age range from under 12 months to 10 years, the day finishing with a talk by Professor Bedford followed by a question-and-answer session.
1994/1998/2002 Three further clinics were held by Professor Bedford, after which his workload increased and he reluctantly had to withdraw from the scheme.
2003/04/05/06/12 Alongside the clinics we also ran a series of Four Eye Surveys from 2003 – 2006 inclusive to monitor progress, and again in 2012 to run alongside Ian Mason’s clinic. The results provided us with more valuable information with a large proportion of the active bloodhound population of the period taking part. An average over the five years of 59.8 returns covering 154.8 hounds. The results showed a consistently low number of incidences of the named conditions, with an average across the first 4 years of only 4.2%. If we factor into the equation that some of these are repeat cases from previous years it lowers this figure still further. Also of interest were the age related questions which provided the opportunity to monitor the longevity of bloodhounds and I am pleased to report that their average lifespan was also shown to be on the increase. 34 of the hounds surveyed were over 7 years old. This is around 26% of those surveyed with ages given. The eldest was 12.5 years old, with the biggest cluster in the 7–9-year age group. With this in mind and so much attention being focused on eyes we must avoid the danger of ignoring the main killers of our hounds, GDV/Bloat and Cancer.
Professor Bedford was originally contacted in 1992 because of a general dissatisfaction with the state of the bloodhound eye by those within the breed, and we have worked closely with breeders from the inception of the eye scheme to date with the common view of eradicating the problems.
Since the early clinics we have largely got rid of the poor eyes of the past: Small deeply sunk eyes giving no support to the upper lid, which constantly turns inward and irritates the eyeball. The focus has been on producing clean eyes, without upper lid entropion or serious trichiasis, and the movement toward the lower end of the scale of the clinical scores, clearly shows the progress that has been made.
2007 After a five-year gap we decided to proceed with further clinics with other specialists from the KC/BVA panel as we felt it would be beneficial to show continued progress, and that for all of the negatives attributed to the bloodhound eye, it is not prone (to the best of our knowledge) to PRA and hereditary cataract, which are a major source of interest to some other breeds. It seemed to us that the focus had been entirely on eye conformation irrespective of how healthy the eye may be in some other respects. With this in mind a clinic was conducted by John Goodyear using the criteria set by Professor Bedford.
2011 ABB Health Survey
2012 Ian Mason, chief panellist on the BVA/KC/ISDS Eye Scheme agreed to conduct an Eye Clinic for us. He used a slightly different grading scheme with a 0-3 scale. 29 bloodhounds were assessed. 72% of the hounds examined scored 1 or less, with only one hound scoring 3.
2012 Presentation on Eyes by KL at the Kennel Club Eye Seminar. This was well received by a large audience, among who was Peter Bedford who commented on the progress made to that date.
2013 Health Website launched.
2013 ABB Health Survey
2013 Presented at Discover Dogs with the Karlton Index Award for the breed showing the most significant progress in breed health between 2011 & 2013.
2014 The Crufts Bloodhound Health Stand awarded 1ST Prize in the hound category receiving many plaudits.
2014 Joint Health Scheme formulated from members of the ABB & Bloodhound Club committees.
2014 Introduction of the Bloodhound health Award Scheme with Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum and Stud Dog or Brood Bitch of Merit awards.
2014 ABB Eye clinic conducted by Rachel Grundon.
2014 Bloodhound Club Health Clinic conducted by Rebecca Rowe & Eye Clinic conducted by Ian Mason.
2015 Bloodhound Health Seminar at the Dick White Referral Clinic, Six Mile Bottom, Cambs. A first-rate educational event by experts.
2016/17 Joined the AHT Give a Dog a Genome scheme and were included in the first phase, with two older healthy hounds selected to be participants. This involved a £1,000 contribution, but was considered worthwhile for such a beneficial scheme. A presentation of the project was given by Sally Ricketts of the AHT prior to the autumn open show.
2017/18 Fiona McKenzie launched her independent GDV/Bloat survey.
2018 Health Clinic at Bloodhound Club with Rebecca Roe MRCVS.
2019 Health Scheme 1st Gold & Platinum Awards made.
2020 Participation in the Clubs or BVA/KC/IDS Eye Scheme and the BVA/KC Hip & Elbow Schemes added as recommendations in the Assured Breeder Scheme.
2023 New Health Website Launched.
2023 Breed Health Survey, produced in collaboration with the Kennel Club
2023 GDV/Bloat Survey produced in collaboration with Nottingham University and The Kennel Club.
Both breed societies websites have links to this Bloodhound Health Website which is regularly updated.
Health updates regularly appear in publications of both societies.