View Full Version : Syringomyelia...and scanning

29th July 2006, 08:27 PM
I was talking to a breeder earlier this week, who does MRI scan her breeding dogs and bitches for Syringomyelia. She is trying to encourage as many breeders as possible to scan, as at present, this is the best way available to reduce the incidence of affected dogs.

A friend of hers who breeds wholecolours was reluctant to scan. She recently had a litter of puppies, and had quite a few enquiries for them. Several of the enquirers asked if the parents had been MRI scanned - sadly they hadn't, but due to these enquiries, this lady is keeping a couple of pups from the litter and running them on to 6 months, when they will be scanned...hopefully they will be clear and will then go into her breeding program.

I think the message here is very clear...we all need to be asking for the parents of our puppies to be MRI scanned...the breeders will then be encouraged to do this.

I know it's expensive and access to facilities is limited, but breeders can and are putting pressure on breed clubs to help fund lower cost MRI schemes. I think many puppy buyers will also be prepared to pay a higher price for puppies coming from scanned parents.

29th July 2006, 08:40 PM
Here, here Nicki,

I agree with you. Who wouldn't be prepared to pay a higher price knowing that they would be getting a completely healthy puppy? Probably just the sort of people who shouldn't be buying them in the first place!!!!

To be perfectly honest, if I was buying a pup I would want to see all health certificates as well as viewing the pups with their Mum!

Maybe I am just fussy, I don't know but it took me 18mths to find Maxx and apart from him having mild SM, he's been pretty perfect healthwise :D I honestly think this is down to good breeding and the fact that my breeder has heart, eye, hip and knee checks done on all of her dogs and bitches before breeding from them.

29th July 2006, 08:44 PM
Out of interest, how much is a MRI scan?

29th July 2006, 09:08 PM
Thanks Donna, yes I agree we should be looking for health tested pups as far as possible...we've been through many things now with our babies:

Luxating Patellas
Hip Dysplasia
Dry Eye
Epilepsy - fortunately "only" Focal Seizures

I've had to research each condition and learn how to give my babies the best possilbe quality of life...and when to give them their wings.

Fran, there are already low cost schemes in place in parts of the UK, prices are between £200 and £300, whereas the normal price is between £800 - £1000 {from experience and what I've heard from others}. I'm not sure of prices in the US now, I think it was around $2000 at one point, but there are some schemes coming up there, Karlin has posted details.

UK schemes are listed on http://www.thecavalierclub.co.uk/start.html Cavalier Health, Syringomyelia, Reduced Cost MRI Scanning Scheme

29th July 2006, 09:36 PM
Yes, Maxx's scan was £940 :yikes - thankfully the insurance paid for it :flwr:

I think Mr Skerritt was doing breeders scans much cheaper, see if you can get one with him if you want one :flwr:

29th July 2006, 10:09 PM
Well said Nikki, I agree totally. For Midwest residents, the University of Minnesota charges about $750 via Dr. McVey.

29th July 2006, 10:55 PM
The one I had done through Mr Skerritt was around £175 each for two, but that was 18 months ago. These are adequate for diagnosis and for breeder scans (eg grading your breeding stock according to Clare Rusbridge's breeding recommendations) but not for preparing for a surgery for example as they are only the head and top vertebrae.

I really would like to echo Nicki here -- and add that people should also be asking to see cardiac (not vet) heart clearances too, the norm for good breeders. But still, not enough cardiac test. Puppy buyers have the power of all consumers -- if they keep asking, it is very persuasive to a breeder that buyers are looking for this level of care. There's good 'buyer education' around cardiac certs now in many places and this is my all accounts increasingly happening with MRIs/SM. At the moment as Nicki notes it can be hard for breeders to find clinics offering lower cost scans but for stud dogs surely such a cost can be distributed across stud fees easily (and the males spread their genes far more widely that females as they can father literally thousands of puppies whil mothers only add their genes to maybe 15 puppies if she has three litters -- so it really is important to do the males).

As low cost schemes come on line this should really help breeders if they wish to know the status of their dogs.

Within the next month or two there should be a comprehensive east coast, USA clinic offering scans at a similar price to the low cost UK clinics and pet owners or breeders will be welcome to that. I'll post details when I have them. Needless to say if the clubs or breeders themselves pushed for low cost facilities as a group, I have no doubt more would be forthcoming. To date it has just been a few breeders and even when low cost facilities are offered, the take-up hasn't been great. I think many breeders fear to discover what might be there -- but surely not knowing and breeding anyway is little different than breeding cavaliers with no awareness of heart status. I think the range of research coming out now and in the next 12-18 months will be very persuasive that more needs to be done (certainly the NCSU results are most worrying -- and I have yet to see the breed club that funded the study make any comment on it; I hope that is because they are busy formulating a thoughtful response. icon_nwunsure

Just remember you all have the ability to influence what happens with the breed by asking questions and making sure breeders know what matters to you. :thmbsup:

31st July 2006, 11:02 AM
Our scan with the appointment with Clare, profile and tablets was £1300.00 - but I did ask about the price I saw on the Cavalier website - it was 300.00 for breeders...... the only thing she did say was that 90% of cavaliers would probably have some small malformation....

31st July 2006, 12:18 PM
To clarify, the £300 means you get no consultation or treatment and is not as thorough an MRI. What that type of scan enables breeders to do is get a grading for their breeding stick according to Clare's breeding recommendations, which many are beginning to follow (she produced this in response to breeder requests for some kind of suggested guidelines as to which dogs would be better to breed).

Breeding guidelines: http://sm.cavaliertalk.com/protocols.html

The other low cost scanning programmes do give some treatment guidance but if the recommendation is surgery, the dog needs another full MRI and a more in depth work-up.

So if youhave a concernt aht your dog has SM and aren't sure what the treatment options are, then the full MRI is really the route to take, as your dog is then under the full care of the neurologist.

Think of it as the difference between going for cholesterol testing, and going to see someone for a cholesterol problem. The basic analysis is in this case much cheaper of course, but if the results indicate you need care and treatment, you need the oversight of a specialist. :thmbsup:

31st July 2006, 12:24 PM
Yes, she did say that it was just the scan and a written report by post - there are three other vets that do it for 200.00 for breeders also so will probably be the same for them.

31st July 2006, 12:48 PM
I had my scans done by Mr Skerritt in Chester, part of the low cost scheme -- hsi machine isn't as good as Clare's. He did outline the results and the options for treatment but did note that a proper consultation and/or decision to opt for surgery would be a separate consultation and MRI.

1st August 2006, 06:23 PM
I had all my scans done at different places.

A mobile scanner in Swindon where I live x 1 scan
A mobile scanner in Bristol x 3 scans
Chestergates x 1 scan.

In all mobile clinics results were then sent to my vet in about 5-7 days.

All different prices from £175-£1350

I must honestly say the best I had was at Chestergates under the cheaper breeders scan scheme even though it was for a pet dog. I received a quick pre consultation and a longer one after when we viewed the clear scan picture, I was also given the scan and certificate for this price. Well worth the very long drive.

I often phoned them at Chestergates when I had others affected living with me and always received a call back the same day from a neurologist with time to talk with me.

hope this helps.

Alison, Wilts, U.K.

3rd August 2006, 08:01 PM
I was very interested to read a US breeder make a post to one of the SM discussion lists this week to note -- rather unhappily -- that more puppy buyers were asking about SM and what they were doing about it, then asked about MVD and heart clearances.

To that, I say, 'hooray!'. MVD remains a major breed issue too, and buyers should always ask, but I think it is right to talk to every breeder about SM as well. Many feel the time isn't yet right for them to be scanning, for many different reasons, but a breeder should never have an issue with explaining their stance for a buyer to consider and weigh. The fact that so many buyers are now asking, confirms the power of the internet to make information available to many (thanks to Google and other search engines of course too!) and many people who have spread awareness to their vets etc. I would say it took *years* for puppy buyers to learn about, and start asking about MVD, which really would have arisen as a known issue thru the MVD breeding protocol just as the net was beginning to go mainstream.

When I think of how hard it was to find anything at all on SM in the beginning -- my motivation for creating a centralised source of info on my sM site (and there are several other places now too with info) -- I am really in awe of how rapidly the net can get information out there to people.

I always have believed that it would be the financial pressure brought by puppy buyers that would gradually push breeders towards MRIing or at least, learning as much as they can about SM so that they can say what they are doing in their breeding programmes and why (or why not). The very same happened with MVD. There are always those really committed to the breed who will of course try to do what is best and make informed choices (and I do believe that informed choice will eventually be be to scan). But for the rest, a financial carrrot (or stick) helps.

YOU are that carrot. Keep asking. :thmbsup:

3rd August 2006, 08:54 PM
I always have believed that it would be the financial pressure brought by puppy buyers that would gradually push breeders towards MRIing or at least, learning as much as they can about SM so that they can say what they are doing in their breeding programmes and why (or why not). The very same happened with MVD. There are always those really committed to the breed who will of course try to do what is best and make informed choices (and I do believe that informed choice will eventually be be to scan). But for the rest, a financial carrrot (or stick) helps.

YOU are that carrot. Keep asking. :thmbsup:


On that note, when I got Maxx I paid a lot more for him than a lot of the other breeders were offering their pups for. this was because both his Mum and Dad were heart and eye clear and his breeder had also had patellar and hips scores done too - all by specialists. I was able to see all the certification and she didn't hide anything from me.

Maxx is 7 in a few weeks and SM wasn't really known about then like it is now (and I'd never heard of it) so I didn't know to make any checks on it.

However, now that I do know about it, I would be prepared to pay extra again if the breeders were scanning Mum and Dad and possibly pups too.

I think most people who want a healthy dog who will be part of their lives for as long as possible would be prepared to do the same.

I know that I also have Charlie who came to me needing a home and plenty of TLC and medical care but that is a different issue. I could never refuse a rescue Cavalier a warm lap and the love and care they deserve. I doubt that many Cavalier lovers could - I mean, look at you and Lady Lily and all her predecessors :lol: :lol: :lol:

3rd August 2006, 09:46 PM

I know what you mean...

I took my rescues because I simply refused to pay a large sum of money for a Cavalier that had not had scanned parents....after the loss of two I wanted to find parents that had been scanned...to give me the best possible chance of avoiding this condition again. I
t's not 100% fool proof, we still don't have enough data about pups from clear/clear parents, but you have to do your best. You have to follow the information and what is advised. A short while ago it seemed impossible to find breeders with clear dogs/bitches with litters on the way... now it is up and coming.

SM wasn't an issue for me with the rescues...giving them a home was the most important thing...yes so sadly one was affected but I couldn't ask for anything more than that from where she came from...lets face it a puppy farm wouldn't have the first idea about nutrition let alone SM, hearts, eye testing etc etc.
I would certainly expect more from an educated caring breeder who was fully aware of the SM facts, I would expect scanning to be second nature and paramount.

I myself would like to see all breeding stock scanned, especially with the problem as huge as it is, surely we shouldn't be breeding from sick animals...surely we would want to give this breed a chance...how can that happen if breeders don't follow the guidelines....that is all we have at the moment are the guide lines...placed there for a reason...it's the starting point to which breeders really should follow.

I could rant on and on about the subject which is so close to home, I feel so very passionate about the work in progress regarding SM. How I got so involved I can't really remember...it just happened over time...I care deeply about the Cavalier generation of today but much, much more for the future generations to come...

If the general public ask for clear breeding stock then they will eventually get it.... please just ask.

Alison, Wilts, U.K.