First up in the morning was a TBD block of presentation from Royal Canin, one of the sponsors of this years Congress. Dr. Emmanuel Fontaine, formerly of France, was the chosen speaker and Dr. Fontaine put on a wonderful presentation on the advancements of the specialization of reproduction in veterinary medicine. While his accent at times grew a bit thick, the presentation itself was still an enjoyable one. Then again, as a medic myself, I'm sort of into those kinds of things.
Following the reproduction presentation was the representative from Germany, who provided us with a profile on Ridgebacks in Germany. Following the Germany Profile was a similar presentation on the Ridgebacks in the UK. It has been pretty enlightening to see how the structure of dog enthusiasm is forced to differ depending on the laws and governing bodies of the home countries. How the importance of the regional, and then national clubs takes on or loses significant importance depending on the countries Kennel Clubs and other ruling bodies.
The last lecture before lunch was presented by Dr. Stephanie Reid, a board certified Veterinarian and Acupuncturist. She gave a very informative, if a bit lengthy, presentation on what Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture is, how it works, and how it can be used as an alternative to, or in cooperation with traditional vet medicine to help our four leggeds be whole again. Strong emphasis on herbal and acupuncture treatments as a supplement to current traditional practices opened my view on the topic, and will certainly prompt more research, as I am informed that at least one of the vets at our clinic back home is also a certified acupuncturist.
Following Dr. Reid were the country profiles for both Australia, and then Russia. Victoria Moritz, who I mentioned in my last blog post as the owner of Ujamaa Ridgebacks, gave the profile for Australia. I'm afraid I do not remember the Russian blokes name, but his presentation was very well done. Considering the short amount of time that Ridgebacks have called Russia home, (1993), the country has produced a significant amount of history, and enthusiasts of the breed. Perhaps, even guardians. As he outlined that currently the national RR club has been suspended due to the ever changing government, politics and social turmoil, a Kennel Union protecting some of the top 15 RR Kennels in the country has stepped forward and is currently informally acting to the best of its ability as a preserver and guardian for the breed. Commendable, to say the least.
After the lunch break, we returned for a rousing, energetic and fairly humorous presentation on Allergies in dogs by Dr. Stephen Waisglas. Much like Dr. Zink the day before, Dr. Waisglas knew how to work a crowd, and presented his material in an easy to understand, easy to follow fashion. Allergies are a small concern in the Ridgeback, but also a concern that seems to be steadily growing, and it was valuable information to be sure.
Following the Allergy presentation, Denise Flaim took the stage to broach a rather somber, and even taboo topic. Deafness in the Rhodesian Ridgeback. Having already read her article earlier this year in The Ridgeback Register (a quarterly magazine) I was familiar with much of the subject matter of her slides. Though I was shocked to see how many of the attendees at the congress had not been aware of the simple recessive trait in our breed that carries a still as of yet unidentified deafness gene. This, as I said, was not a very joyous presentation, but it was absolutely necessary.
|Some levity was required, due to the subject matter.|
Unfortunately due to time constraints, the presentation Bekah had been looking forward to all day by Lauren Meadows regarding Degenerative Myelopathy was bumped from the schedule entirely. Instead we pushed on through the USA country profile, which did more to plug a current study on proper testing for Elbow Dysplasia than it did at profiling the Ridgeback in the US, and then pressed straight into the final event of the day, a Health Panel made up of Victoria Moritz, Denise Flaim, a gal from Scandinavia and another gal that I didn't catch the name or nation of origin of.
This panel began as a 'To test, or not to test." discussion based on the hereditary conditions known to the breed. It ballooned, alarmingly quickly, into an open forum on all things from DM, Deafness, and Displaysia, all the way through the gambit to irresponsible breeding. In the end, Diana Pethick, the Chairperson, reined in the discussion and it was practically unanimously voted on that there be created a World Congress Health Panel, charged with spending the next four years between this and the next congress researching a list of conditions and topics that were put forth in the form of shouts from those gathered and recorded for posterity.
All in all, it was a very full day. Productive, informative, necessary, but full. Friday there will be a Rally Competition, Obedience Competition, then Conformation. After all of those shows, the Banquet and Closing Ceremonies will commence. Friday promises to be even more full than Thursday.... At least there should be more Ridgebacks around than there have been the past few days :)