CANINE health campaigner Carole Fowler has been received the ‘pet lovers welfare award’ from Ceva Animal Health in its 2012 honours.
Mrs Fowler of Wotton-under-Edge, Gloucestershire, was nominated by Dan O’Neil of VetCompass, a nationwide survey of small animal disease, for her campaign and her website, which provides information on the inherited health problems of 130 dog breeds.
"Carol’s caring, focused and determined approach to improving the future of British dog breeding has been outstanding,” said a spokesman for Ceva.
"Her time has been spent helping owners to recognise hereditary disorders affecting UK dog breeds, giving helpful advice to many owners.
"Carol should be recognised for her sterling efforts to improve pedigree dog welfare.”
Mrs Fowler launched her website in January and it has received the backing of the Dog Advisory Council (DAC) and the Associate Parliamentary Group for Animal Welfare (APGAW).
Mrs Fowler has been campaigning about canine health since 2003 following the death of her Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Bonnie, from syringomyelia. Her current Cavalier, Rosie, has the same condition, in addition to mitral valve disease and inherited middle ear disease.
Her website contains the coefficient of inbreeding (COI) obtained from the Kennel Club’s online programme Mate Select; health and welfare problems caused by a breed’s conformation (physical characteristics); health schemes and tests available for breeds; and other breed-related diseases for which there is no testing or screening at present.
"This enables potential dog owners to quickly evaluate various breeds, to see if a breed would suit their lifestyle, to find a breed – or crossbreed – with fewer serious health problems and to understand what information they should get from a breeder before buying a puppy,” she said at the time.
The website also offers general advice on responsible dog ownership, such as whether having a dog is the right move; whether a puppy or an adult is the best option; whether a particular breed fits in with your lifestyle; and the importance of temperament.
Mrs Fowler’s other campaign focuses solely on Cavaliers and aims to raise awareness of syringomyelia and other genetic health problems suffered by the breed. It also provides information for owners and helps those looking for a Cavalier puppy.
Mrs Fowler is a member of APGAW and is on the DAC’s expert panel.
"I hope that my website will be helpful to prospective dog owners and will lead to greater openness about breed genetic health problems and greater efforts to tackle them by breed clubs and research institutions,” she said.
In other categories, Richard Edwards of AlphaPet Veterinary Clinic in Bognor Regis was named vet of the year; Rachel Wright of The Tree of Life for Animals in India was named welfare nurse of the year; and vet Marc Abraham was presented with a special recognition award for his project ‘Where’s Mum’ which aims to combat puppy farming.
The extra mile
"Our award winners are all outstanding individuals who have really gone that extra mile to improve companion animal welfare,” said Ceva’s Ginette Bryant.
"These unsung heroes are truly inspirational and deserve to be honoured for their achievements and dedication.”
Mrs Fowler’s websites and campaigns can be found at www.dogbreedhealth.com and www.cavaliercampaign.com/