View Full Version : Ian Mason's Eye Test Results

21st May 2007, 11:35 PM
I have just been over on www.thecavalierclub.co.uk and was very pleased to see that Ian Mason, the well known opthalmologist's, results from the parent club champ show back in March are posted on there, he found only 1 dog in all examined as having a mild case of retinal dysplacia. He finds these results "Very Pleasing" as only 10 years ago approx 10% of dogs were found to have this condition.

21st May 2007, 11:43 PM
That's a great result. When do you think most breeders would have started testing for this and shaping their breeding programmes around the results? Did it start well in advance of 10 years ago, or would that have been around the starting point? Kudos to the club for raising awareness about this and highlighting the issue.

Direct link:


21st May 2007, 11:59 PM
I seem to remember the eye testing beginning about 10-12 years ago when I first started out, one particular thing that springs to mind was a "test case" where they were planning to breed 2 affected dogs, the puppies were guaranteed homes with club members, although I cannot honestly recall any further mention of this?

Parent Club have always offered subsidised testing at the Annual Championship Show, along with others, but I personnally prefer to test at the Club Show, with Ian Mason, this way I have a "consistancy" of results, same thing can be said for the heart testing as they always book Simon Swift who was "in on the ground floor" so to speak with Prof. Darke.

I really started showing in 1993 and it was around then that awareness of both the heart and eye conditions within the breed were really being promoted, similar thing to the SM really, many people saying there was "no way" their dogs were affected. Many people now believe that we were so focused on the MVD and MRD/HC problems within the breed that we bacame "blinkered" to other problems I.E SM!!

(BTW MRD stands for Multi-Focal Retinal Dysplacia and HC for Heridatary Cataracts)

Happily the eye problems do seem to be reducing, but we still need to be vidgilant on this health problem even so!

22nd May 2007, 12:15 AM
Thanks for that interesting background; I hardly ever hear much talk about eye problems though I know they can be very difficult to manage. It would be great to have a consistency of testing by seeing the same person -- nice that the same folks have given their time over so many years.

I'd love to see the Irish club introduce low cost cardiac testing at events -- it is very costly to do this independently.

Gingers Mommy
22nd May 2007, 02:48 AM
I think its been mentioned before, do you have any information or guidance as to where I can look for these tests to be done in my area? (at shows or other events, or do I have to go see a specialist?) (Im in NYC, NY)
Also on another side note, are these tests you do annual? Ginger is 15months old and had her first "annual" check up, but the vet didnt pay much mind to checking her heart.....

22nd May 2007, 09:26 AM
thats great Cathryn .... I am lucky Ian is based in Southampton just down the road from me so i have easy access :)

Gingers Mommy
22nd May 2007, 08:48 PM
I found a link to see when there are offerings at clinics in different states/cities


22nd May 2007, 09:33 PM
Also on another side note, are these tests you do annual? Ginger is 15months old and had her first "annual" check up, but the vet didnt pay much mind to checking her heart.....

Hello Estee!!

First of all I am glad to see you have been hunting around and gotten some results!!

To answer your question above, and please remember I am in the UK so cannot speak for the U.S way of doing things, however here we go!

Eye Tests, I usually do these between 1 and 2 years of age, any earlier than a year old can throw up a "false" result as the eye is still actually growing, over here they look for MRD (Multi-Focal Retinal Dysplacia) this basically is where the retina of the eye has become detatched from the back of the eye, NOT good! The other thing they are checking for is HC or Heriditary Cataracts, BOTH of these conditions are usually there from a year of age onwards, if your dog is passed clear of these conditions at, let's say 18 months old, then they will never develop these conditions and therefore annual testing is not necessary, there are other conditions that can show up a few years on, so I generally test between 1-2 years of age, then again at 5-6 years of age in case anything else is showing up. Of course you can get "Old age" catatracts but these are not considered to be heriditary!

Now onto the far more serious topic of heart testing!
As a breeder I routinely test ALL of my breeding stock annually, FURTHERMORE, when one of my girls comes into heat she is taken to the vet on day 1 of heat where she is swab tested for any nasties that could affect her, the stud dog and most importantly of all the health of her hopeful future litter, then she will go see my cardiologist and ANOTHER certificate issued which will show that as recently as day 1 of heat she was heart clear! This is MY way of doing things, others will have their own ways I am sure. I do this whether she was seen 1 week ago or 11 months ago, should one of my girls show a potential problem then the mating quite simply does not go ahead, I am not prepared to take chances with her life and those of any pups she may have had!
These are of course my breeding dogs, once they reach the age of 5 we usually x-ray as well to see if there is any enlargement of the heart and they are checked every 6 months thereafter.

Basically you would be best having your dog checked annually by a board certified cardiologist, your vet will usually be able to refer you to one, this will give a good history to work from should any problems arise!

This is not as doom or gloom as it sounds, just simple preventative screening, sorry if it sounds otherwise!! :o :o

I hope you have many happy healthy years with your dogs, one and all!!
I also hope this is of help to you??

Gingers Mommy
22nd May 2007, 10:15 PM
Thank you very much for your response. It is very helpful and cleared up a lot of questions for me.
The clinic will be in my area in August, when Ginger will be just 18 months old, so it seems to be a perfect time for the eye testing, and of course I will do the heart testing there at the same time.
I will plan to go every year for heart testing, whether at a referral from my vet, or through these clinics. Do you think thats a good way to go from here? Or do you suggest going directly to a referral from my vet and not utilize the clinic?
I did get Ginger from a responsible breeder through the akc website. I had asked her about her dogs health, but at that time, I knew nothing in comparison to now. I could call and ask her, but I would like to get ginger tested anyway.
I want to make sure that anything that could possibly happen to her is found out very early so we can do our best to treat and after seeing your post thought this was a great way to do it.

22nd May 2007, 10:53 PM
Glad to have been of help!!

Personnally I would advise that you get Ginger's heart tested by a cardiologist rather than your vet, more costly I know however, your vet is the same basically as a GP Doctor, I have had ordinary vets tell me my dogs had a grade 2-3 heart murmur that when they were checked out by the cariologist weren't even murmurs!! No disrespect to the veterinary profession here, but as Cavaliers are known to have heart problems, I sometimes find that younger more newly qualified vets find murmurs when there are none to be found!!

So basically, by all means have Ginger tested by your GP vet but err on the side of caution and use a cardiologist too, they have a better idea of what they are checking for, furthermore try to use the same cardiologist as this will give you a consistency of results!

Finally, I like to support the various clubs efforts to promote good health, more people should support their clubs, after all we have the same end goal don't we? Happy, Healthy Cavaliers = Happy owners!!

22nd May 2007, 11:58 PM
Usually the clubs would all get a very good cardiologist for club events, at a subsidised cost, so it is well worth taking advantage of these events if you can! Check with the club about whether you need to get your name down for the clinic.