Info for owners

Info for owners

What is Dogslife?
What’s involved and how can I benefit from registering with Dogslife?
Why is there a need for this study?
Why is Dogslife only evaluating Labrador Retrievers at the moment?
Who funds the project?
Do you have ethical approval for the project?
I want to take part in the project, but my Labrador Retriever was already registered with the Kennel Club before 1st July 2010?
My Labrador Retriever is not registered with the Kennel Club, can I join the project?
What are the aims of Dogslife?
Can you tell me what is wrong with my dog if he/she is ill?

What is Dogslife?

"Dogslife" is a revolutionary clinical research project which aims to recruit information about canine health using a website based platform to study the factors which affect the health and illness (epidemiology) of domestic dogs. The project is a collaboration between The Roslin Institute and Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies at the University of Edinburgh, Centre for Integrated Genomic Medical Research at the University of Manchester, Faculty of Veterinary Science at the University of Liverpool and The Kennel Club.

The study aims to recruit dogs from the UK's most popular breed (Labrador Retriever) through The Kennel Club. Labrador Retriever dog owners are being requested to enrol onto the project when they register their puppy with the Kennel Club. Subsequently, owners will be requested to submit further information on their dog's health on a monthly basis for the first year (and three-monthly thereafter) of their dog's life using a web-based data capture system; the "Dogslife" website. The data collected will be provided through owner description of symptoms and other aspects of the dog's life and through owner entry of veterinary diagnosis.

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What’s involved and how can I benefit from registering with Dogslife?

Contributing to the Dogslife project is quick and easy. All you need to register is your dog’s date of birth and Kennel Club number. You’ll then be guided through a series of simple questions about your dog’s health and any illnesses. It should only take 5-10 minutes to set up your puppy’s profile initially and then all you need to do is update the answers on a monthly basis until your dog is 12 months of age, and every three months thereafter. It should only takes around five minutes to update the details each time.

We’ve added a number of interesting and fun features to the website so that you enjoy your regular visits to Dogslife, these include:

  • Your own personal online puppy scrapbook to display photos and memorable events in your puppy’s life – share the scrapbook link with friends and relatives keen to see how your puppy’s developing.
  • Opportunities to win prizes for your dog – regular input of your puppy's information means you can be entered into a prize draw to win vouchers for pet products.
  • Useful links for dog health tips and advice.
  • Enter your dog for Featured Dog and share with other owners, why your dog is so special.
  • Receive updates on your dog’s development compared to others in the project.
  • Most importantly, take part in the largest dog health survey of its kind and contribute to a study which hopes to improve the lives of all dogs.

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Why is there a need for this study?

At present, large and rigorous population-based studies of dog health have not been performed. Reports of factors which might be associated with the risks of disease are either largely anecdotal or based on specialist veterinarians or insurance data, and are thus imprecise and subject to inaccuracies. Furthermore most of these studies are cross-sectional and do not follow dogs for long periods of time – as we know, problems can occur at any point in the clinical, lifestyle, environment, diet or reproductive history of individuals. Perhaps more importantly the frequencies of the most common veterinary presentations, such as vomiting, diarrhoea, respiratory tract infection and parasite infestation are impossible to calculate from studies utilising secondary referral centres, as these conditions are normally treated at the primary practices or at home. The Dogslife project aims to find out what the true frequencies of disease are in a large population of Labrador Retrievers.

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Why is Dogslife only evaluating Labrador Retrievers at the moment?

We regret that at present we are unable to include other breeds of dog in the Dogslife project. This is solely because we do not have the funding and manpower required to store and analyse data from other breeds at present. We hope that this will become possible in the near future, and if you are interested in funding the project for a different breed of dog, then please feel free to contact us at funding@dogslife.ac.uk

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Who funds the project?

The Dogslife project has been generously funded by the Kennel Club Charitable Trust. The funding pays for the development and upkeep of the website, and personnel to maintain the website.

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Do you have ethical approval for the project?

The Dogslife project has been approved by the Veterinary Ethical Review Committee at the University of Edinburgh.

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I want to take part in the project, but my Labrador Retriever was already registered with the Kennel Club before 1st July 2010?

Yes, you can still register providing your dog was born after the 1st January 2010.

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My Labrador Retriever is not registered with the Kennel Club, can I join the project?

Unfortunately, we can only analyse data from dogs registered with the Kennel Club, but thank you for your interest.

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What are the aims of Dogslife?

  • To determine the incidence (frequency) of disease in the UK Labrador Retriever dog population.
  • To identify environmental risk factors for the development of the most common diseases.
  • To encourage responsible pet ownership within the general dog owning public.
  • To provide a platform to allow the study of canine health over a period of time (longitudinal study).
  • To provide a tested framework to facilitate similar studies in other breeds.

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Can you tell me what is wrong with my dog if he/she is ill?

No. The Dogslife project does not provide answers or opinions about individual dogs’ health. If you are concerned about your dog’s health, then we would advise you contact your own vet.

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