Modelling the UK Dog Population – #OR56 conference presentation

Alessandro Arbib (DECC) made this presentation (see Slideshare below) to the Operational Research Society’s 2014 conference OR56.  Abstract:

2014-09-09 14.46.17-1 (Custom)The breeding, ownership and welfare of dogs in the UK is a complex social area. Although there has been research into the size of the dog population, nobody has pulled all this together into a single model that everyone can use to help focus priority issues. A consensus understanding of the population and how it is stratified is crucial to allow proposing meaningful welfare improvement policies. From November 2013 to May 2014 a group of 3 OR analysts and an engineer from DECC worked with the RSPCA (the UK’s leading animal welfare charity) and Dog-ED (a Social Enterprise applying Systems Thinking to canine welfare) to provide analytical evidences about the number of dogs currently present in UK and how they move through the system. The project involved a significant literature review to collect the data necessary to produce a snapshot of the UK dog population; designing and building a “stocks and flows” model to investigate the flows of dogs from the different categories; and developing recommendations for possible uses and future development of the model. Lack of consensus amongst the data sources, and considerable variation in data quality and definitions used made it difficult to provide accurate answers to the customer’s problem. We will describe our main outputs including estimated upper and lower bounds for the dog population, a “stocks and flows” model developed in Excel, and a list of the main data gaps and issues we met in our work. Last but not least, we will focus on the valuable experience of working for the Third Sector, summarising the main lessons learnt and the value that OR was able to add in this area.

.

.

..

.

.

.

.

.

.

 

Advertisement

Dachshunds and Data: Developing a tool to help dog breeders predict genetic risks

Sophie Carr of Bays Consulting Ltd. and Ian Seath presented this at the Operational Research Society’s OR56 conference yesterday.  It shows why and how they developed an Excel tool to look at the risks of breeding dogs affected by a form of epilepsy.

There are a growing number of DNA tests to help dog breeders identify potential breeding pairs that could be affected by inherited diseases.  In particular, Miniature Wirehaired Dachshunds are known to suffer from a form of Epilepsy called Lafora Disease.  Whilst there are two different tests available to determine if a Dachshund carries the autosomal recessive mutation, not every dog is tested.  Consequently this creates 4 populations: tested; untested; clinically affected (i.e. showing symptoms) and clinically not affected.

What was required was a simple, robust approach to support informed decisions about which pairs of dogs could breed whilst minimising the number of puppies with Lafora disease.  As part of an OR Pro bono project an Excel tool was developed to evaluate the risk factors associated with the mutation status of DNA tested and untested dogs.  The results of the project will be used as part of an education programme to help breeders understand why DNA testing for Lafora Disease is so important.  This presentation explains the maths and probability theory that lies behind this problem and shows how the tool was developed.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

 

What would an effective Breed Health Improvement Strategy look like?

This presentation is based on work we have done to help develop Breed Health Improvement Strategies. It provides a framework for strategy development and gives examples of the elements required within a comprehensive strategy. The framework can be used to help pull together existing approaches and to ensure they are aligned.

.

.

.

.

.

..

.

.