View Full Version : I'm confused...what's the difference?

18th March 2007, 05:18 PM
h*lp I'm currently looking to find a reputable breeder. The one I'm most interested in right now told me she takes her dogs to a major University (in the US) for yearly heart and eye checkups. From reading on this site, I know that it is important to have them checked by a specialist.

I was just wondering what the difference is between being checked by a specialist and a vet at major university?

Should I cancel out all breeders who do not take the puppies and parents to specialists? Can "regular" veterinarians not find screen for the same problems as the specialist?


18th March 2007, 05:26 PM
I by no means am an expert, but often the universities have the best staff and equipment and facilities around. In our area, if you have a real problem and the local vet cannot diagnose it, you are sent to the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. They are well known to be the best in our area. Every major pet person I know in our area, goes to the university when they are getting no where with the local vets and specialists.

The breeder you spoke to probably has found that they are the most qualified to do the testing.

18th March 2007, 06:11 PM
I also am not an expert but I do know that generally eye testing (CERF) and heart testing for MVD need to be done by specialists. This would also apply to any breeder doing screening for SM. It does not really matter if the specialists are at a major university as long as they have the training to do the testing in accordance with the protocols. The principal thing is do not take a breeder's word for it. If they are in fact following the recommended MVD, SM and other protocols for breeding they will be willing to share certificates or medical reports with you. Go the the Preparing to Buy a Cavalier and to the Heath Information sections on this site and there will be information you should know. Make sure you understand what to ask for and about so that you are not at the total mercy of the breeder. Good luck to you!

18th March 2007, 06:13 PM
Regular vets cannot test for the single most important health test: heart murmurs (or perform and grade MRIs for syringomyelia, which I personally consider equally important; but breeders are only just starting to do this). Vets are statistically very poor at hearing any early grade murmurs and these are the ones that most often would occur in dogs of breeding age. Dogs need to be tested by a cardiac specialist and the breeder should have those clearance forms for you to view. Don;t go on what the breeder SAYS she does -- ask to see the clearances. All reputable breeders are happy to supply these.

Here's info on MVD and what you should expect a breeder to show you on a clearance form from OFA:


Also see these links for what a breeder should be able to SHOW you:






Vets can test for patellas and xray for hips but hip xrays need to be submitted to OFA for scoring. If you want the breeders' dogs to have been screened for syringomyelia and graded, this can only be done with an MRI.