Thuin, Canine Capital of the World!

In 1954 the General Secretariat of the FCI settled in Thuin. It is curious to note that dog lovers throughout the world know the name of the town in which the FCI operates and offers the services that its 13 employees provide on a daily basis. Thuin now figures on the world map in the hearts of all dog enthusiasts on all continents! This is a reality that, although not on a grand scale, has not escaped the town’s elected representatives, who have on several occasions expressed their delight in counting an international organisation celebrating its centenary amongst their population of 14,650 inhabitants!

Conscious of the role that the FCI plays as an ambassador for Thuin, Philippe Blanchart – Acting Mayor – and the Town Council have named the city “Canine Capital of the World”. In this centenary year, this designation crowns the good relations between the FCI and the town that welcomes the Federation by focusing attention on Thuin, which would become a Mecca for dog fanciers, providing a positive window to the world by displaying knowledge, projects, initiatives and other breakthroughs concerning an animal that in this day and age has an important place in our society.

What could therefore be more natural than this designation knowing that Saint Roch, the Patron Saint of Thuin, is also the protector of animals and frequently portrayed with his dog?

Marie Luna Durán
FCI Marketing and Public Relations Manager
Gastric dilatation / volvulus (GDV) - What should you know?

Great Dane, German Shepherd, Irish Setter, Gordon Setter, Rottweiler, Standard poodle, Weimaraner, American Akita, Bloodhound, Rough Collie, Irish Wolfhound, Newfoundlander, Saint Bernard – they are all dog breeds that have a genetic predisposition for GDV. The mortality is estimated at an average 30% in dogs. The recurrence rate for dogs with this problem is on average 11% over a period of 3 years.

Up to now two risk factors have been found that are linked to feeding: giving one meal a day and eating too fast. However, the nature of the food apparently is not a real factor. In addition, feeding one single type of food increased the chances of GDV, but this was true for all types of food equally. New is that when feeding dry food, the size of the kibble plays a role with a higher risk with kibbles smaller than 30 mm. So, is feeding with kibbles really more dangerous? Not really. The gastric dilatation is not caused by the kibbles fermenting in the stomach but by swallowing large amounts of air (aerophagia).

What is the advice for dog owners?

  • Give smaller portions and feed 3 to 4 meals a day.
  • Decrease the water intake: no water until 1 hour after eating.
  • No movement or exercise until 1 hour after eating (this is the first cause of GDV) – so decrease stress after the meal.
  • Feed more energy-rich food (after all, smaller amounts but with a higher fat ratio, lead to the stomach emptying out more slowly).
  • Never use lifted feeding or drinking bowls.
  • Regularly clean the eating and drinking bowls.

An often-performed operation, gastropexy, does have a use in prevention. Gastropexy can extend the recurrence period to 547 days, compared to 188 days and with mortality for the Rottweiler decreased by a factor of 2.2 and by a factor of 29.6 for the German Shepherd.

However, do note that patients with GDV undergoing this type of operation can still suffer a gastric dilatation occasionally.

Dr. Wim Van Kerkhoven – Viyo International
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