The FCI in the process of modernisation

The Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) is more than one hundred years old; it was actually formed in 1911 and this year celebrates its 103rd anniversary. It now has 89 member countries. Reconciling the different points of view and finding solutions that satisfy everyone (or at least the majority) is never easy.

Each member has its own structures, traditions or reality, whether economic, social or cynological.

There is, however, one area where the desire to move forward together and keep pace with the challenges of our time is undoubted; that area is the modernisation and simplification of working procedures.

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Y. De Clercq
FCI Executive Director
Effect of fatty acids on bitches and their offspring

A number of factors can impact maternal health status and litter size, including breed, age, parity number, biological status and nutrition.

Essential fatty acid (EFA) status

Recent research indicates that essential fatty acids (EFA) are important in the maintenance of reproductive health due to the decline of these fatty acids in bitches as age and parity numbers increase. Similar observations have been made in humans. The requirement of maternal EFA is estimated to increase approximately 1.5 fold during pregnancy and lactation to meet the demands of the growing foetus and neonate since all fetal EFA is derived from the maternal diet or maternal body supplies.

EFA and reproductive performance

Until recently the majority of published literature has focused on the effect of dietary fat level on reproductive outcome with little attention to the profile of the dietary fat. It was determined that bitches consuming 20 % fat consistently produced larger litters than bitches consuming diets with 16 % fat. But in addition it was documented that the dietary fatty acid profile also critically impacted litter size. Bitches consuming an omega-6/3 fatty acid ratio of 5:1 produced larger litters, fewer stillbirths, and fewer misconceptions compared to bitches, consuming an omega-6/3 fatty acid ratio of 20:1.

Effect of maternal and post-weaning dietary DHA

DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid) is an important omega-3 fatty acid in the brain, eyes and nervous system. DHA is transferred across the placenta during pregnancy and present in canine milk, and is accumulated in the brain and retina during foetal and perinatal development. Deficiency of DHA can impact vision and cognitive function. Therefore it is of utmost importance that nutrition during pregnancy and lactation contains optimal levels of essential fatty acids and DHA.

DHA improves learning abilities of puppies

In a trial carried out by Eukanuba, puppies nourished with a DHA-enhanced diet before (via the mother) and after weaning (via puppy food) showed improved cognitive function and better performance in training challenges than those fed lower levels of the nutrient. Puppies fed enhanced levels of DHA significantly outperformed puppies fed low levels by more than double. In a second DHA study - where puppies received only high DHA after weaning (so no transfer of maternal DHA) vs a non supplemented control group - all puppies were able to pass the test, but puppies in the high DHA group still demonstrated better learning abilities and trainability than the control.

Nutritional recommendation for fatty acids during reproduction and post weaning

Based on many research data it is recommended to feed the pregnant and lactating bitch with increased levels of essential fatty acids, the right ratio of omega-6/3 fatty acids of 5:1 to 10:1 to counterbalance the negative impact of increased age and parity number, but also to provide high levels of DHA during reproduction and post weaning.

Eukanuba Premium Performance, formulated for reproduction, and all Eukanuba Puppy diets contain elevated levels of DHA. Whether your puppies become beloved members of a new family or make a career as guide dog, rescue dog or police dog, all need to learn a lot and adapt fast and easy to their new environment. Eukanuba helps you to give them the best start in life.

Dr med. vet. Waltraud Off
Scientific Communications Europe at Eukanuba