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View Full Version : A Cavalier film, health related, BBC1........



Alison_Leighfield
11th August 2008, 06:41 PM
For all of you interested in Cavalier Health and living in the U.K.

Thursday 19th August, 9pm, BBC1.

A film involving Cavalier King Charles Spanials and their health related problems, including SM, made by a company called "Passionate Productions"

A MUST WATCH FILM for all owners and potential owners of this breed.

Alison.

mumto4
11th August 2008, 07:21 PM
thanks .... but dont you mean tuesday the 19th?;)

Alison_Leighfield
11th August 2008, 07:38 PM
YES sorry! it is indeed TUESDAY the 19th August.

My son gets his GCSE results on that Thursday....so that day is on my mind for just about everything that week LOL.

Thanks for spotting the error! :)

Alison.

*Pauline*
11th August 2008, 07:41 PM
Thanks Alison, I'll be really interested in that. :thmbsup:

Nicki
11th August 2008, 10:58 PM
There are concerns about the way the health issues are being handled and presented - there is a statment on the Cavalier web site

http://www.cavaliers.co.uk/

also on the Kennel Club site
http://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/item/1976/23/5/3

*Pauline*
11th August 2008, 11:13 PM
Statement from the chairman of the Kennel Club:

For more than two years now the Kennel Club and others have been co-operating with a TV production company called Passionate Productions who have been making a film on the subject of canine health. We agreed to take part entirely on the basis of that company’s written assurance that the programme’s ultimate message was “intended to be a hopeful one, showing how science and breeders can combine to preserve our purebreds for the future.” That message fits precisely with the view of the Kennel Club, and so we set about giving information and interviews to the production company, and encouraging others to do so as well.
Sadly we soon discovered that the members of the production company seemed to have pre-conceived and extremely biased views on the subject. Alarm bells rang when we found out the biased nature of many of the questions being posed both to ourselves and to others. The vast majority covered negative issues – few if any were about the positive aspects of purebred dogs. We were even more alarmed when other interviewees, more experienced than we are, said that they too were very worried by the line of questioning - to the extent that some of them had eventually refused to go further with some of the interviews.
We now know that the BBC, which has bought the programme, will show it sometime soon. From the beginning the Kennel Club has worked consistently to explain our point of view on canine health both to the production company and latterly to the BBC, describing the vast amount of time, effort and money the majority of breeders put into breeding healthy dogs. We have also ensured that other interested parties have made the same point to the BBC. In so doing we have of course acknowledged that there are problems in some breeds, many of which originally stem back to the Victorian era, but we have stressed that we are today in the forefront of using science to address these issues.
We have also explained the work done to eliminate from breed standards any exaggerations which might cause problems. We have described the work going on to ensure that show judges pay particular attention to issues which could be detrimental to the health or welfare of dogs. We have outlined the many DNA and other health screening programmes which exist, and have given details of the Accredited Breeders Scheme and our latest “Fit for function: fit for life” campaign.
Finally, we have been at pains to remind the BBC of the requirements in its Charter to be rigorously impartial and balanced in its reporting.
Despite all of this we still fear that, when broadcast, this programme may omit much of the positive information supplied, with the result that it will be damaging to the reputation of pedigree dogs, dog breeders and the Kennel Club. We hope that, in the process, it will not end up damaging the very dogs which, throughout, the programme makers have claimed they are so anxious to help.
This is of course looking at the worst case outcome. It may be that our efforts have been understood and borne in mind as the programme has been put together and that we have done enough to balance the content and tone. Whatever the eventual result you can be assured that the Kennel Club will go on working for the benefit of pedigree dogs and that we will continue to communicate the many positive messages which are there to be told.
Ronnie Irving
Chairman

Alison_Leighfield
12th August 2008, 06:51 AM
This film is being broadcast by the BBC which is a worldwide highly respected organisation.

I'm sure the film contents will have been throughly and scrupulously checked and re-checked again before transmission for it's accuracy otherwise there could be legal repurcussions afterwards for those that are involved.

Ultimately the health and wellbeing of the Cavalier King Charles Spanial should come first.

Alison.

Sue.k
12th August 2008, 09:50 AM
I look forward to watching that!

Claire L
12th August 2008, 10:02 AM
That sounds VEEEERRY interesting- wonder why the kennel club are worried now icon_nwunsure

Thanks for the heads up Alison :flwr: I shall watch with interest.

Cathy Moon
12th August 2008, 12:36 PM
Please give the rest of us an update! I would love to see it.

Margaret C
12th August 2008, 02:05 PM
Sorry about the earlier garbled post. I'm not sure what happened.
So to try again.......
The film is about many pure bred breeds, not just cavaliers.

I am one of those who gave interviews to the documentary team despite coming under very considerable pressure not to do so.

Over six years ago I found my beloved champion stud dog, a cavalier who had sired hundreds of puppies, had produced SM affected offspring. A year later he started screaming with neck pain & he had to be put to sleep two months later.
I have working ever since to try & get breeders to recognise that SM is a threat to our breed.

There are wonderful breeders in the UK who have been scanning their cavaliers for many years now. They are mainly occasional breeders with two or three bitches & they are often on limited incomes. They are people who really love their dogs & they have tried so hard to breed healthier cavaliers, quite often being rewarded with disappointing results.
I admire & respect them enormously

Howver the majority of breeders have refused to listen to the scientific evidence and have continued to breed from unscanned dogs.

Things are changing but very slowly.
Two years ago I told the owner of two SM affected dogs, Carol Fowler, that neither the Kennel Club or the breed clubs could change things, they did not have the power.
Carol went to her MP & with his help attended meetings with DEFRA & the KC until finally a meeting including geneticists, researchers, breeders & KC representatives was organised by the Companion Animal Welfare Council.

There has been a marked change of attitude to the problem of SM since that meeting. Many of the regional club committees have now started to arrange subsidised MRIs for their members.
Why are the Kennel Club & the cavalier clubs so defensive about the documentary
Is it because so much of what breeders think & do is difficult to explain to the ordinary man in the street. How can they understand why some breeders will risk breeding litters of dogs that have painful lives, simply to produce one puppy that may win in the show ring?

I have come to the conclusion that the majority of breeders will only consider health issues when outside scrutiny, public opinion and/or mandatory rules force them to do so.

I believe that nothing will change unless the pet buying public is informed about hereditary problems in pure bred dogs. They need to know that they should ask breeders to show certificates that prove that health tests have been done & breeding protocols followed.

Margaret C

Karlin
12th August 2008, 02:31 PM
I have come to the conclusion that the majority of breeders will only consider health issues when outside scrutiny, public opinion and/or mandatory rules force them to do so.

That's why a cornerstone of this board has been open discussions of health issues, a library of health related material, advice on finding health-focused breeders. Good breeders always welcome an informed puppy buyer and someone who actually cares about the time and care they put into breeding healthy dogs -- and their ability to show their results.

Pet owners have a very powerful role to play in protecting breed health. If YOU ask for the certificates, the clearances, the information on lines; if YOU educate yourself to know when what is said is evasive, to check the online databases to verify what is said is true; then you put some breeders under an unwanted spotlight, and push more and more to doing the testing that produces the certs. Remember that pets come from the same litters as the show dogs so health should be important to all; breeders should also feel able to ask for this information, yet many say they are made to feel other breeders' words must be taken on trust. This makes it very hard for breeders to talk openly to other breeders.

Moves to create open pedigree databases with health information are very welcome but do not have wide support from cavalier breeders at this time. Let's hope we can say 'yet'.

Most industries and sectors are very poor at self-regulation. Indeed I cannot think of one that is good at it.

I think this documentary will probably indicate dog breeding needs more transparency and outside scrutiny to benefit the committed breeders, puppy buyers, and especially, the dogs. :thmbsup:

Bet
12th August 2008, 05:32 PM
Could I mention that the British Veterinary Association /Kennel Club are currently considering the introduction of a Heart Testing Schemefor 4 Breeds of Dogs ,including the Cavalier
A meeting will be held on 15-9-08
if the Scheme is adopted ,results will be Published in the Quarterly Breed Registration Supplement andwill appear on the Progeny's Registration Certificate

Additionally, the KC is looking at ways by which Breeders could access Health Results of Dogs /Bloodlines ,
This service will be available to Breeders and Pet Owners

I do hope the Makers of the Film to be being shown on BBC TV will make this Momentous Fact known to the Viewing Public

I really do have my doubts though ,I have Private E-Mails with the Producer of this Film ,and her comments are so Biased about the Cavalier Breed unfortunately.
She does'nt seem to be able to accept the fact of the Revolutionary Research taking place at the here in Britain Animal Health Trust by Dr S Blott into the SM and MVD Problems in the Cavalier Breed,with funding from the Kennel Club of £100,000

I hope all this will be being passed onto to Cavalier Pet Buying Public .

At the moment what more can be being done

The money is there for the Research ,Breeding Guidelines will soon be in place ,so as I said hopefully this Film will not be giving a Biased Picture of the Cavalier Breed

Bet

Ruth
12th August 2008, 06:47 PM
Well perhaps if the film makers are concerned for the breed they may donate some of the profits to the research.

If anyone has the ear of the Producers, I would love for them to do an expose of the Puppy Farming Industry.

Ruth

Karlin
12th August 2008, 08:27 PM
Could I mention that the British Veterinary Association /Kennel Club are currently considering the introduction of a Heart Testing Schemefor 4 Breeds of Dogs ,including the Cavalier
A meeting will be held on 15-9-08
if the Scheme is adopted ,results will be Published in the Quarterly Breed Registration Supplement andwill appear on the Progeny's Registration Certificate

That is fantastic news, Bet! Thanks so much for that update. :) I know many will welcome this move if it gets passed.

Ruth M
13th August 2008, 09:20 AM
I really welcome this documentary - even if it is biased and sensationalist! Surely being informed in any way is better than having no knowledge at all. When I was searching for a cavi a couple of years ago - I researched well before buying - Ken Town was my bedside reading for weeks! However of all the literature I read I NEVER came across SM - if I had would it have made a difference? Probably not - but at least I would have been aware and alert to possible symptoms.
Now, equipped with SM knowledge - I can care for Tilly (21 months - 'early onset' SM - fab clarification by the way - thx) and I feel in a much better position as I decide on another cavalier.
Thank you for keeping us so well informed.
Ruth. :thmbsup:

Karlin
13th August 2008, 10:40 AM
If it is felt this documentary offers a biased version of the dog breeding industry, I would place on the other 'biased' side, the breeders with whom many of us have argued over many years now, who never circulated information on SM even after it was identified over a decade ago as a serious and growing breed problem by several neurologists seeing more and more cavaliers with the problem (how many breeder websites note the problem?); who consistently said the research figures were knowingly inflated in order to enable a prominent researcher to get her PhD (yes really -- as laughable as this is, this was stated publicly by a prominent UK breeder very involved with the breed club); who have said that the research was all flawed, that the problem was only in a few lines, that there was no point in MRIing, that the condition might simply be normal in the breed (having your brain forced into your spinal canal is not generally considered an acceptable 'normal' condition), That those of us with dogs with SM have made it up, that those of us with multiple dogs with SM have made it up and have psychological problems (even though they were MRI-confirmed and the breeders knew this), that their lines were clear and they had no intention of MRIing, that threatened owners of young symptomatic dogs with lawsuits if they revealed their kennel name of the dog ever or who refused to help pay for the decompression surgery as a health issue (as per their own contract!) if the person ever revealed the kennel name, and most disgustingly, who knowingly *continue to breed dogs that they know have SM, which have been MRId and are symptomatic in the ring, simply because they are winning championships*. And on the MVD side, that recommend pet buyers take puppies from dogs they *know* were bred outside the MVD protocol, with no heart clearances on the parents, simply because their breeder friends are selling those pups. And then there are the well known breeders that buy puppies from such litters for their own breeding programmes, despite their unknown heart health. The UK breed club's own heart expert Simon Swift has told the breed club their MVD rates have not improved in a decade of having the MVD protocol because so few of them follow it and so few get meaningful cardiologist clearances rather than meaningless vet clearances on their dogs. If prominent club member breeders disregard the protocol because they believe they know better, even while advocating everyone else follow it, how many do you think actually use it? Might the end result not be obvious from the poor MVD rates that continue in the breed clubs tested dogs, according to Simon Swift?).

The problem is that many of these actions remain totally hidden and so such biases are never seen and understood. These biases have been directly affecting the breed, and puppy buyers who end up with ill dogs with costly, tragic conditions, now for quite some time. So I am quite ready for a different 'biased' view to be shown, if it is actually pro breed and dog health.

I so, so admire the breeders of all breeds who have continued to focus on health. Many of them are regularly, publicly attacked on discussion lists and elsewhere -- you see it in many breeds, not just cavaliers. But the atmosphere is already changing for cavaliers because of the meetings Margaret notes -- for the first time, I believe the breeders who have tried to downplay the problem have heard from their own 'neutral' experts that the breed is in serious trouble. And there is growing public pressure from better educated puppy buyers to do something.

I'll be interested to watch the documentary and see what the biases, if any, on both sides are.

Ashley
13th August 2008, 10:49 AM
Oh I'll need to set a wee reminder to watch this one.

Bet
13th August 2008, 11:04 AM
Since Margaret C has made public that she is taking part in this Film ,and she is a Member of the UK CKCS Club Committee ,are her views her own that she has just Posted on the List,or those of the UK CKCS Club Committee?

Bet

BobbyPuppy
13th August 2008, 11:17 AM
For those ordinary folk who simply want to find a healthy Cavalier puppy and so read around the subject, looking into heart problems and SM, my experience last year indicated that it is a real struggle to find breeders who are genuinely focused on what is best for the Cavalier: the longest healthiest life possible.

I had some lengthy private correspondence with Karlin last year when a leading person in the Cavalier world put me in touch with a breeder (also long-established and highly regarded in the Cavalier world) who could not even show me a heart certificate for either of the pups' parents: she suggested that I paid for the bitch to be heart tested at the vets. She laughed off the topic of SM. I went back to the Senior Cavalier lady who had put me in touch with the breeder - she knew exactly what was going on and offered no solution or apology.

Why can't there be a list of breeders who are willing to follow correct heart and SM testing? Why does the ordinary person have to investigate and probe into breeders' practices?

Yes there are some wonderful breeders:luv:. But my God there are people saying how much they love the cavalier but are 1) focused on the money each litter produces - considerable when many charge £850+ per pup
and/or 2) are simply too focused on how the puppy looks at the expense of its health.

I have been to many classes where breeders (again I know they do not represent all breeders) meet and also train Cavaliers and found them incredibly nasty and catty about other people's dogs. One woman told me that Sam, my Blenheim, was a very sorry example of a cavalier because of his freckles. I know all breeders are not like this but there is certainly a large amount of silly women with too much time on their hands, driving around the country with their poor cavaliers caged up in the back of the car panting and uncomfortable, then forced into the indignity of going to shows where all the dogs yelp and bark all day in an agitated state whilst they are brush and preened. Why oh why?????

Expose these people who breed and are focused mainly on showing and their own rather puerile enjoyment. Cavaliers deserve to be given the best chance of a long happy life, not driven to show after show - their parents chosen purely because they will be a good show dog and certainly not judged on the length of their nose!!

amanda L
13th August 2008, 12:20 PM
I have been to many classes where breeders (again I know they do not represent all breeders) meet and also train Cavaliers and found them incredibly nasty and catty about other people's dogs.

I know all breeders are not like this but there is certainly a large amount of silly women with too much time on their hands, driving around the country with their poor cavaliers caged up in the back of the car panting and uncomfortable, then forced into the indignity of going to shows where all the dogs yelp and bark all day in an agitated state whilst they are brush and preened. Why oh why?????

Expose these people who breed and are focused mainly on showing and their own rather puerile enjoyment. Cavaliers deserve to be given the best chance of a long happy life, not driven to show after show - their parents chosen purely because they will be a good show dog and certainly not judged on the length of their nose!!

Completely agree with you. I have seen this happen here in Ireland.



I think this documentary will probably indicate dog breeding needs more transparency and outside scrutiny to benefit the committed breeders, puppy buyers, and especially, the dogs.

I will be very interested in watching this programme, thanks for a heads-up on the board

Claire L
13th August 2008, 12:28 PM
[quote=BobbyPuppy;280018]For those ordinary folk who simply want to find a healthy Cavalier puppy and so read around the subject, looking into heart problems and SM, my experience last year indicated that it is a real struggle to find breeders who are genuinely focused on what is best for the Cavalier: the longest healthiest life possible.

I had some lengthy private correspondence with Karlin last year when a leading person in the Cavalier world put me in touch with a breeder (also long-established and highly regarded in the Cavalier world) who could not even show me a heart certificate for either of the pups' parents: she suggested that I paid for the bitch to be heart tested at the vets. She laughed off the topic of SM. I went back to the Senior Cavalier lady who had put me in touch with the breeder - she knew exactly what was going on and offered no solution or apology.


I had a similar experience when we lost our Rudee. My questions about SM MVD luxating patella etc were met with stoney silence :( and I was laughingly dismissed.

I thought this thread would be closed off long ago. Thank you Karlin from the bottom of my heart for keeping it open and for putting into words what many of us have felt and thought.:flwr:

Bet
13th August 2008, 01:55 PM
I will also say thanks for keeping this Thread open

I will repeat again ,the Post I asked previously

Because Margaret C is member of the UK Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Health Committee ,in her recent Post she made mention of her views and that she is appearing in the Film

I will ask again , are those her Personal Views or those of the UK CKCS Club Committee

Hopefully I will get a reply

Bet

Alison_Leighfield
13th August 2008, 02:12 PM
It will be very interesting to see the final production on air after all the hours and months it has had in it's making and with such dedication shown from its makers behind it.
I found Passionate Productions to be a very caring group of very hardworking people with integrity and commitment. The type of documentries that they make are just simply outstanding.

Simply all breeders that are club members have access to good health information. They then choose themselves, knowledge permitting, what to do with that information and we cannot force them otherwise. We cannot demand that they scan their dogs. Don't waste time trying. As pet buyers we can only support those that fully adhere to the breeding guidelines that are put into place, and accept health as a very high priority. We applaud them.

Realistly though and it's a sad thought but just how many of these pups actually get into pet homes? simply not enough. We desperately need more and more breeders to scan and to help us find healthy pups, and also to give us continued results of further generations that could and should be scanned. No half jobs, just good honest commitment. May the film encourage more to scan.

I personally hope that this film makes other well informed breeders that have downplayed this condition realise the severity of what is going on in this breed, may they seriously take time to reflect on what they will see. They then have to live with their own conscience at the end of the day as to what they continue to do. Be it on their own heads if they wish to bury them in the sand.

What gives me greater concern still is what happens to the huge area in breeding that doesn't get the much needed information and to those breeders that simply don't care and use breeding for financial gain only. To those like Puppy Farmers that register many, many sick dogs. Also the odd pet dog owners that have a few litters. How do we stop them? How do we get the KC to take more responsibility for these areas? it's a huge area of sales proberbly the largest combined area providing the KC with alot of registration fees, money no doubt they wouldn't want to lose. They need to tighten up on the registrations of dogs that don't follow any breeding protocols. The KC can and should have done alot more and along time ago with regards to Cavaiers, SM and the much needed breeding guidelines. They do alot of "thinking and looking" but a registration agency that makes alot of money is basically all that they are. The Accredited Breeders scheme is simply useless, what a waste of valuable resources. Even a PF can have that status.

I look at this film as an education into dog breeding and with it some of it's more serious breed problems being covered. Our precious Cavalier King Charles Spanial is sadly one of them.

May it educate and draw much needed awareness everywhere.

Alison.

Margaret C
13th August 2008, 02:56 PM
I will also say thanks for keeping this Thread open

I will repeat again ,the Post I asked previously

Because Margaret C is member of the UK Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Health Committee ,in her recent Post she made mention of her views and that she is appearing in the Film

I will ask again , are those her Personal Views or those of the UK CKCS Club Committee

Hopefully I will get a reply

Bet


Hello Bet,

These are my own views.

Margaret C

Bet
13th August 2008, 03:29 PM
Thank you Margaret for explaining that the views you quoted are your own and not of the UK CKCS Club since the UK CKCS Club Committee are so aware of the Revolutionary Research being carried out by Dr S Blott

That the Cavalier Breed is the First Dog Breed in the World to be being involved in this type of Research

I do hope that you made the Film Producer aware of this exciting Research ,and how the Cavalier Breed now has hopes for the Future

Bet

Karlin
13th August 2008, 04:20 PM
Bet, the producers were at the Rugby conference and heard Sarah Blott discuss her research, which is as Sarah noted, based on the work by Penny Knowler and Clare Rusbridge and again, requires a lot more breeder MRIing and cooperation before it will be of much use, and also will depend on the successful completion of the Canadian genome scan project (or the EVBs will be only experimental, and not based on any solid genetic information).

Thus I hope you will be encouraging the breeder community to both MRI and contribute to the genome research as it is so essential for the success of Sarah Blott's research! Incidentally, as Veronica Hull, who is prominent on the Southern Club and their health committee member, also was interviewed a couple of times for the documentary, I wonder if you have confirmed whether the views she expresses are hers alone, or the breed club's? Or other members of the various breed clubs who were interviewed? This too might be of great interest when the film is viewed. Margaret has several times (here and elsewhere) made it clear that she spoke for herself, not for the club, in the film. I wonder if the views expressed by other club committee members will be theirs, or the club's? icon_nwunsure If you know, or have asked, please let us know!

Unfortunately though, as breeders have not widely embraced the MVD protocol one is left wondering what will encourage widespread and honest use of EVBs. Many of us will hope that a documentary exposing some of the health issues that arise with purebred breeding, and how good breeding practice minimises those risks, might be just the thing to galvanise the breeders who do not breed for health, or who say they do, but actually do not, to be more careful in their breeding practice and use tools like the MVD protocol and the EVBs.

Karlin
13th August 2008, 04:31 PM
I am told that in Scotland this is running at a different time so possibly this will be true for Ireland as well. Am told the Radio Times lists the programme as Friday 22nd - at 9 pm.

Karlin
13th August 2008, 04:37 PM
OK I checked the BBC site and this is showing on Tuesday, 19th August at 9pm in England and in Northern Ireland so that means we in the Republic should also get it Tuesday. But it is not listed for Tuesday for Scotland, so I would guess Friday the 22nd is correct (I cannot check as the calendar of programmes doesn't go that far ahead on the BBC1 site).

This is a one hour programme:


Pedigree Dogs Exposed
An in-depth investigation into the health of pedigree dogs, revealing the surprising historical reasons that have contributed to problems in some breeds. [S]

Ashley
13th August 2008, 10:07 PM
Oh, thanks Karlin.... hadnt even thought about it being shown at different times due to location :rolleyes::)

Cathy Moon
14th August 2008, 12:58 AM
I am so relieved our members have the convictions and the courage to speak up about this topic. Karlin, Margaret C, and Bobbypuppy - I thank you; I respect and applaud you.

Arlene
14th August 2008, 03:18 AM
"Karlin, Margaret C, and Bobbypuppy - I thank you; I respect and applaud you."

I would just like to second this.

I find myself in tears reading through some of these posts. These tears are a reflection of my extreme frustration in my interactions with breeders in my small part of the world who are STILL insisting that MRIs are pointless and that they can't arrange to get to clinics for cardiologist testing.

They can, however, trip accross North America to judge in shows or show their dogs and gather points toward their precious Champion titles.

If this film puts even a small amount of pressure on. or lends a small amount of awareness for those looking toward purchasing a puppy, that is all for the good.

Arlene and her three: JP - Alaskan Husky, Rocky - Cavalier Spaniel, Missie - Cavalier x Tibetan Spaniel mix.

Alison_Leighfield
14th August 2008, 07:15 AM
Is dog breeding a taxable income???

Alison.

angelmommy
14th August 2008, 07:42 AM
thanks i will deffo try watch it and so will angel no doubt lol

Bet
14th August 2008, 09:04 AM
Could I start off by saying that I am not a Cavalier Breeder ,been a Pet Owner for aroud 30 years I know the bitterness that some of you have expressed in your Posts

As the saying goes -been there -done that

But have realized it just does no good to Breeder bash

So over the years I have collected Cavalier pedigrees of Cavaliers suffering from Heart Trouble ,who about a month of having their Vaccination ,their heart Condition suddenly worsened ,and they 'd died shortly afterwards
I have also collected pedigrees of Cavaliers suffering from Epilepsy .

All those pedigrees have been sent to Researchers I felt it was better to be Positive about the health problems than go on and on about the Breeders ,who did'nt have the Scientific knowledge that is around to-day They could have been Breeding Carriers to carriers .

Out of the Frying pan into the Fire !

Now though with this New type of Research being carried out by Dr S Blott at the Animal Health Trust ,here in Britain ,what a Future the Cavalier Breed now has ,

It has never been tried before ,the Cavalier Breed is Pioneering the way ,the First Breed in the World to be being used for this type of Research ,

So please don't Knock the Cavalier Breeders ,the Cavalier Breed sure needs them!!!!

Why I was keen to find out if Margaret C was speaking on behalf of the Cavalier Club Committee is because Iam a Member of the UK CKCS CLUB ,and did'nt think that the CKCS Committee ,because of this new Research would be having the Views that Margaret C has just expressed.

I do hope she has made plain on the Flim that she gave her interview for about this New Type of Research ,and has not dwelled on the past with her depressing Views of has been

The past is gone ,let it go ,and now all in the Cavalier World move forward with the Hope that this New Research has now given to the Breed

Bet

BobbyPuppy
14th August 2008, 10:44 AM
Hello Bet
I am aware of all the good work you do for cavaliers but would like to ask are we 'bashing cavalier breeders' or just expressing real frustration?

Over a year on from the death of my ruby boy it still hurts. When I started to look for another pup to keep Sam my other cavalier company, I encountered extremely bad practice within the cavalier world in the South of England. I am not bashing the breeders - I am telling the truth; they were willing to breed litters and litters of cavaliers without heart or SM testing the parents.

People recognised as 'experts' within the Cavalier world are perpetuating a terrible heart-breaking pattern. How can we not have strong feelings for these animals who offer nothing but pure love to us???

If people choose not to follow health recommendations - choose to be focused on their own agendas and then put Cavalier owners through the most terrible anxiety and heartbreak there must surely be some retaliation?

Many people are like me - they get their first Cavalier knowing little about the breed and then fall in love. These are the people who are vulnerable.
Oliver was 5 years old when he dropped dead in front of me. Of all the difficult times in my life nothing compares to my cavaliers death and because of this I - and I believe many other cavalier owners - must have more responsible breeders.

Bet
14th August 2008, 12:01 PM
I was'nt going to add anymore to this discussion ,but the point Iwas trying to make does''nt seem to be being understood

Sweep ,our first Cavalier died at 4 ,others followed at an early age as well
It sure does hurt

But what good does it do dwelling in the past ,and Breeder Bashing as is happening to-day

The Breeders are as keen to find the answers to the Cavalier Health problems as we pet Owners

At the moment there are conflicting opinions being given by SM Researchers ,all that has been proved is that SM is not confined to The Cavalier Breed ,it is in other Small Breeds as well

Something else must be being involved in the Disease . WHY

Some Cavaliers are being severly affected others only have a Mild Form of the Problem WHY

This is why ,hopefully the Research by Dr S Blott will find the answer

This New Research will be involved in Breeding the MVD and SM problems out of the Breed ,what else can be being tried

Idont suppose the answer will ever be found asto what has caused it ,since it is those other Breeds as well

But at the moment till more is known about SM ,have a wee bit of Faith in this New type of Research .

Finally we had the Tears because of the Heart Trouble in our Cherished cavaliers ,but we sure have had Joy and Pleasure from our Golden Oldies

So do try and understand what I am trying to explain that there is now hope for the Breed ,
put the sad experiences behind us and realize that there is now Hope for the Future of the Breed

Bet

Ruth
14th August 2008, 02:27 PM
I agree Bet.
I too am a pet owner and fell in love with this breed with my first one 40 years ago. The cavaliers I have these days have all lived longer than the ones I had when first starting out. Like Bet says we really have to look to the future and save the 'bashing' for these Puppy Farmers who impose unspeakable cruelty and inhumane conditions on these wonderful trusting dogs.

Karlin
14th August 2008, 03:16 PM
The past, unfortunately, is not gone -- it lives on in generations and generations of dogs affected by poor breeding practice. Appalling, compassionless breeding practice that continues right now.

I can promise you that the problem does not reside solely in puppy farmed dogs.

There is absolutely NO difference between a puppy farmer who doesn't health test and follow good breeding practice and a show breeder who doesn't health test or follow good breeding practice -- they both play a revolting game of roulette with individual dog's lives and with the future of the breed.

If anything, the show breeder who knowingly breeds like this is far WORSE than the BYB and puppy farmer. I know I can speak for many owners of SM affected dogs who would argue a life of relative health in small cage might well be preferable to the pain of SM (http://s114.photobucket.com/albums/n272/cavaliertalk/?action=view&current=Chris4.flv) ignored for the sake of a bank account filled with stud fees. Poor breeding practice MUST be exposed.

I am well aware of several club breeders who have willfully and knowingly bred -- and who continue to breed litters from -- MRI-diagnosed, symptomatic SM dogs.

I know of breed club members who have bred dogs at well under the MVD protocol age, with no heart testing done. I know of breed club members who have recommended pet buyers take the dogs from breeders who do not follow the heart protocol because apparently it doesn't matter if they privately say it doesn't matter, regardless of what they say publicly. I am not even talking about vet tested parents -- I am talking about underage dogs with NO heart testing done on them at all.

I have been threatened by lawsuits by these people and know others who have been similarly threatened. As if WE are doing something wrong!

There is no way I will not continue to work to have these individuals exposed for the sake of every dog that dies early of MVD or shrieks in pain from SM. They have NO PLACE in the breed yet they retain their positions in the clubs and show ring. I may not be able to name them -- until this documentary I hope might expose some of them with obvious and unequivocal evidence! -- but I would like to know how these supposed guardians of the breed are not as despicable and ethically and morally barren as the worst puppy farmer.

Many of these people underestimated the power of puppy buyers that actually care about the breed, not rosettes -- people who have seen their behaviour and know what is going on. I know every caring breeder will also welcome their exposure.

If such a documentary encourages broader discussion about the whole breeding industry from top to bottom, including the lack of regulation of puppy farms that means those 'breeders' too cause the proliferation of genetic problems, then that will be a wonderful achievement.

But if it can expose some of the individuals that many of us know conspire to keep their and their friends' actual breeding practice hidden, then roll on Passionate Productions and let the evidence stand on its own.

Alison_Leighfield
14th August 2008, 03:25 PM
I couldn't agree more Ruth, wouldn't we all like to Bash a Puppy Farm Breeder.

So many badly bred poorly sick dogs coming through these places....and how on earth will they ever want to MRI and heart check any of their dogs and bitches???? never I guess is the answer, they could't give a damn about health and yet people still buy their pups with all the advice in the world not to. It's so frustrating.

It would be interesting to find out the percentage of Cavalier puppy sales that come from Puppy Farms/commercial and also our regular breeders. Is this information available at all?

Alison.

Bet
14th August 2008, 05:10 PM
Karlin ,
I have just read your Post ,and so disappointed that you just cant seem to take on -board what I am trying to explain

Could you just answer me this simple question?
/

What do you advise being done at this moment in time for the Cavalier Breed?

All Cavaliers to be put to sleep .?

Wipe the Slate clean ?
Start Again?

Surely not !!!!

What is your Suggestion ?

All that can be being done just now is being done through Dr S Blott's Research at the Animal health Trust

I have tried to explain how it is giving Hope for the Future of the Cavalier Breed

What more do you want?

I had'nt realized that Passionate Productions could maybe be exposing some of the individuals who are conspiring to their Breeding Practices Hidden .

You must be meaning in the Cavalier World

I hope if this is the case they have the evidence to back up their claims

How are you going to have individuals exposed for the sake of every Dog that dies early of MVD or SM

What about those that die from Cancer etc

Dont they matter ?

Bet

BobbyPuppy
14th August 2008, 05:12 PM
I'm sorry Bet, but I think it is you who has not understood the point I am trying to make. You write:

'The breeders are as keen to find the answers to the Cavalier Health as we pet owners'

It is this I am disputing - whilst some breeders certainly are complete stars, there are some leading breeders in the Cavalier world who are NOT following good practice, breeding using young dogs, not heart or SM tested.

I know this for a fact and it is naive to say 'let's forget the past'. That would be to forget what we lost and what we could still have if people weren't so greedy and short-sighted.

Karlin
14th August 2008, 06:15 PM
Bet:

My posts have nothing whatsoever to do with the existing research programmes as these are not the topic of discussion. My support for those has been long-standing, indeed, longer standing than most of the breeders on the committees of the breed clubs.

All you need to do is read four years of posts to the CKCS-SM discussion list and you will see exactly who has fallen on which side of the debate.

My support for learning more and helping the breed though research and campaigning on breed welfare has been unstinting for four solid years. This includes:


several rounds of fundraising on behalf of several international research projects
fundraising on behalf of individual dogs with SM that need immediate help
professional advice as an editor to various individuals and groups
creating websites and support groups, information which now forms the basis for several breeder and national club SM information sections and is widely recommended by vets and neurologists for owners of SM dogs -- and is used at several international vet schools as well and has formed the basis for presentations by breeders to breed clubs internationally
weekly contact with people who want advice on dealing with SM dogs, on dealing with breeders, on recommendations for neurologists, etc
MRIing my dogs for research at my own expense and donating blood afterwards, which required travel to the UK and close to £750/euro1000 out of my own pocket
travel to and coverage of two international SM conferences, again out of my own pocket
recording the entire Rugby conference and editing and creating the two- CD set which in turn has raised many hundreds of pounds for CKCS SM research
donating to the AKC health fund in the US on behalf of CKCS research
campaigning and lobbying for regulations on puppy farming in Ireland
covering this issue through prominent articles in Ireland
privately lobbying directly to top level politicians and similar contacts that I have through my day job as a journalist
running a rescue that takes in the cavaliers the Irish breed club does not and establishing a national reputation as the island's only CKCS breed rescue
compiling information on international CKCS puppy farmers and brokers that was submitted directly to government agencies here and went into work done on our proposed puppy farm legislation


I do not need to apologise to anyone for the time I have given to support research, researchers, the breed, and many pet owners and good breeders.

Many others refuse to do anything at all, while more recently, some others, especially in the breed clubs, came very late to thinking that any research at all should be done. I am glad some people have finally begun to see the value of the work many of us have supported for years. :) But I am surprised that people who opposed and continue to dispute Dr Rusbridge and Penny Knowler's groundbreaking work, cannot seem to understand what Sarah Blott has herself said several times -- that their work is the basis for the work on EVBs that she is now doing and without which her EVBs would be impossible to compile. If this had to be re-done we could not expect to hear about EVBs at all for another decade or so as that is how long it has taken for them to compile what they currently have and know. If the genome study is not supported, then her work will only offer minimal value to breeders, as Sarah herself clearly has stated.

I am baffled that some continue to think Sarah's work is somehow a uniquely different type of research to what has already been done and why some support what Sarah is doing yet continue to dispute the very grounds on which her work is based, here and on other lists. If people read her outline of research on the UK Club site (http://thecavalierclub.co.uk/health/ebv/genetic_study.html) you will see that she bases her ability to predict EVBs on the findings of Dr Rusbridge and Penny Knowler, and asks for for MRIs to be done and the Canadian genome project to be supported, and for breeders to submit existing MRI results and heart results. Sarah Blott's work also will NOT determine the possible causes of SM; Dr Rusbridge and Penny Knowler's and Guy Rouleau's genome work is what will, if this is possible.

But this is entirely separate from the point of this thread and the point of the documentary, which is general breeding practice and pedigree dogs, and certainly raises the question of whether breeders should have to answer for KNOWINGLY breeding affected dogs or dogs with no health clearances, which is little different from puppy farm breeding (and I would argue, WORSE from those who should know better). And it is a separate issue from whether it is not now long past the time when clubs should take a more active and positive role in promoting breed health and -- on evidence that voluntary cooperation with health protocols has achieved little -- require that verification of certain basic health standards be done if breeders are to be given club registration for their puppies.

But: Sarah Blott's work will also be worthless if it is not used by breeders. You yourself would be the first to agree that the breeders have NOT used the MVD protocol as if they had, we would not be seeing the very same poor breed heart health results as a full decade ago, as highlighted by cardiologist Simon Swift.

If breeders so far have not voluntarily chosen to follow this simple protocol, which breed clubs have supported internationally by providing many opportunities for low cost cardiologist screening, why should any of us dare to hope that breeders will use Sarah's EVBs?

If using these protocols was REQUIRED, on the other hand, I would have hope for the breed, at least as bred by club breeders, who should be required to follow health protocols to get KC registration for their dogs.

amanda L
14th August 2008, 06:31 PM
Alison Leighfield wote:
Simply all breeders that are club members have access to good health information. They then choose themselves, knowledge permitting, what to do with that information and we cannot force them otherwise. We cannot demand that they scan their dogs.

I disagree, I think it should be MANDATORY for all club breeders to follow both MVD and SM protocols.

Karlin
14th August 2008, 07:00 PM
Fully agree, why can't breeders be required to follow protocols for serious breed issues if they are to receive kennel club puppy registrations?

Sweden does this for MVD; why don't any other clubs?

If this were done just for MVD, the puppy farm/mill market would be decimated overnight as none of those people are willing to pay for proper testing and vet care, all they want is KC registered breeding dogs so they can produce KC registered pups for whatever kennel club registry is relevant in that country. Yes they'd still sell puppies, but far fewer as most people do still look for basic club registrations.

Such a requirement would shut down the import of Irish poorly bred dogs that are only mostly brought into the US and Canada to enable trash breeders and mills to get AKC registration from the dual-registered parent. I am well familiar with several IKC breeders who do a tidy business exporting to the US/Canada for this reason alone.

Alison_Leighfield
14th August 2008, 10:56 PM
Amanda,

There is nothing that I would like to see more than breeders having to adhere to all breeding guidelines, but how can we force them? how can you make these people really listen? havn't we tried for years? I hope this production shakes them all to their senses.

I have lost four Cavaliers with SM and I truly deeply despise the breeding practice that goes on and on and how breeders continue to turn their backs on these dogs.
Like I mentioned before the KC could do more, if the dogs havn't passed all health testing then perhaps the pups shouldn't be registered.
But the hard cruel truth is that people will still buy unregistered pups from the worst of breeders if that is the only way to obtain one.

How many times do people come on this list asking for advice on puppy buying and how many still take no notice and pop back up in a few weeks with a puppy and it's picture. I can't tell you how upset this makes me after I have PM'd and given the advice about SM and MVD etc. It falls on deaf ears most of the time. They think it will never happen to them.
I continue to help people with affected dogs and it hurts so bad that I end up in tears. I trawl the telephone directories informing vets in my area about SM, I target the pet shops to ask them not to put up Cavalier advertisments of any kind. I contact sellers on the KC Puppy List asking if they know about SM and send information to them. The list is endless but it never seems enough.

Some people will never listen, if they have a mind to buy a puppy then that is what they do. We seem to be our own worst enemy sometimes. If we didn't buy their pups then surely they wouldn't breed? if the demand died down then the breeding would slow down as well. Perhaps we should just deter people from buying.

So to anyone wanting and looking for a puppy and is reading this ...HAVE THE STRENGTH TO WALK AWAY IF THE BREEDER DOESN'T FOLLOW ALL BREEDING GUIDELINES ON SM, MVD AND OTHER HEALTH TESTS. Support only the good breeders.

Alison.

amanda L
15th August 2008, 12:03 AM
There is nothing that I would like to see more than breeders having to adhere to all breeding guidelines, but how can we force them? how can you make these people really listen? havn't we tried for years?

Alison,
I am not saying that you or I can legislate for club members to adhere to breeding protocols. The various breeding clubs should take responsibility for introducing adherence to breeding protocols, and enforce and require all members to follow MVD and SM breeding protocols



Some people will never listen, if they have a mind to buy a puppy then that is what they do. We seem to be our own worst enemy sometimes. If we didn't buy their pups then surely they wouldn't breed? if the demand died down then the breeding would slow down as well. Perhaps we should just deter people from buying.


This is an entirely separate issue to my point.

Cathy Moon
15th August 2008, 12:09 AM
I have come to the conclusion that the majority of breeders will only consider health issues when outside scrutiny, public opinion and/or mandatory rules force them to do so.

I believe that nothing will change unless the pet buying public is informed about hereditary problems in pure bred dogs. They need to know that they should ask breeders to show certificates that prove that health tests have been done & breeding protocols followed.
This is so true!

A veterinarian once told Colin and I that his children wanted a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel for their next puppy. He would not allow it, because he didn't want their hearts broken. He helped guide them to a different breed whose health problems were 'treatable'. How is that for a vote of no confidence?

Alison_Leighfield
15th August 2008, 07:02 AM
Cathy,

My vet said the same thing, she said when families come to the surgery asking about dogs and suitable temperments for a family they nearly always bring up the Cavalier as their first choice. Never once has she said the breed was a healthy one.
Then they are informed briefly about MVD and SM as major health concerns and worries, she always tells them to seriously re-think about another breed. A few listen.

Alison.

Karlin
15th August 2008, 06:58 PM
I have to say this is not an approach I would ever take, with all due respect. I would never advise people not to get a cavalier (or I wouldn't be doing rescue) -- there are many serious illness possible in many breeds as well as any mix. I would feel it is very unfortunate to dissuade people away from cavaliers on a health basis when there are many excellent health-focused breeders and when, at this time, most cavaliers will not be symptomatic for SM.

I think insurance claims indicate both breed popularity and health issues. In terms of claims on Petplan in the UK, more claims are made for boxers and westies, last I checked the list. But CKCS have two very serious problems, definitely, and they are also one of the top 10 claiming breeds.

As far as temperamant and behaviour problems, I know DTI see more labradors than any other breed.

I'd like to see responsible breeding, and a willingness by breeders of all breeds to do this. I'd like to see mandatory testing for CKCS puppy registrations, as Sweden does, and see this extended to SM. But then I'd also like to see breeders in all breeds doing the proper health testing to gauge where any individual breeding dogs stands, healthwise.

Margaret C
16th August 2008, 04:54 PM
I have to say this is not an approach I would ever take, with all due respect. I would never advise people not to get a cavalier (or I wouldn't be doing rescue) -- there are many serious illness possible in many breeds as well as any mix. I would feel it is very unfortunate to dissuade people away from cavaliers on a health basis when there are many excellent health-focused breeders and when, at this time, most cavaliers will not be symptomatic for SM.


I find myself in two minds about advice to puppy buyers.
I agree with Karlin that most cavaliers are not symptomatic for SM at the moment but I think that what we have now is only the tip of the iceberg.

Even if every breeder started to MRI & follow the breeding guidelines, or use the EBV programme, I dread to think how many more symptomatic cavaliers are going to show up in the coming years.

They are wonderful pets & companions.
I bought my first cavalier for my daughter's eighth birthday ( she will be forty in two weeks time ) & I still believe that as a breed they are unique in their temperament & their overall suitability as a family dog.

But, I do now tell prospective buyers to think carefully about taking on a cavalier. I warn them to take out insurance & I will only give them details of breeders that I know have MRI scanned at least some of their breeding stock.
I also tell them to make sure they see copies of eyes, hearts, & MRI certificates for both parents.
Even the top breeders have been known to lie.

I'm afraid I do have to say that anyone looking for a puppy in the UK, where the breeder has completely followed the MVD breeding protocol, will find it virtually impossible.

Many breeders will heart test ( & UK Cavalier Club recommendations do not rule out GP vet checks ) but breeders who will wait until the dog and bitch are over 2.5 years & the parents 5 years and clear of heart murmur could almost be counted on one hand.

For fifteen years or more this heart protocol has been available but virtually ignored, despite very great efforts from some Cavalier Club committee members ( especially the Chairman, Lesley Jupp ) in organising seminars & heart testing clinics.

The problem is that these recommendations have never been accepted as part of the prevailing dog breeding culture, & at best have been translated into 'you obtain current clear heart certificates for your breeding stock & keep your fingers crossed that they are still clear when subsequently tested at five'
This will have removed some early onset cases from breeding stock but has not been sufficient to make any real improvement.

I was part of that culture when my stud dog was being used.
He sired his first litter before he was one year old, as I was told that a dog may refuse to mate bitches if he was not trained to stud work while still young.
I was proud of the fact that I would only accept bitches that came with their heart & eye certificates and I gave all their owners copies of Monty's certificates.
If I thought of the heart protocol at all I dismissed it as being impractical.

I know very few breeders who have health as their main priority. Most breeders want to produce a good looking puppy for the show ring, or are breeding for profit.
In both cases health testing could cost money & indicate that they should not used the planned parents.

I own a young tricolour puppy called Faith, she lives with my daughter, her partner, & their children & they adore her. She is everything a cavalier pet puppy should be.
Faith was the best prospect I could buy last year. She comes from a extended family where many relatives have scanned well, the heart history is not so well documented.
I can only hope that she will tick all the health boxes when the time comes to breed from her.

Anyone looking for a cavalier puppy now will find it almost impossible to buy one with parents that pass all the health programmes, but it does not have to stay like that.
I am hoping the television programme will help to make things change.

Margaret C

Karlin
18th August 2008, 06:01 PM
A powerful post, Margaret.

And yes, your points on talking to people interested in cavaliers are well taken. I say basically the same as a caveat to anyone looking for a puppy, and always advise insurance and go through, in detail, both SM and MVD with the new homes of all my rescue dogs too. People need to know.

:flwr:

cecily
18th August 2008, 08:18 PM
I am very much looking forward to this documentary tomorrow night. I think in Ireland particularly the ignorance of these breed diseases is staggering. Forums such as this help enormously, but only to people who log in and more importantly, heed the advice.

On Tandie's last visit to the vet my father-in-law was chatting to the vet about his own dog that had passed away recently and mentioned he was thinking of getting a new one. The vet said he didn't recommend cavaliers, or westies for that matter.

Although I really don't think that's the answer, in Ireland it seems almost unsurmountably difficult to find breeders that health screen properly. The last time I looked for a pup here I was met with brick wall after brick wall, and I was so disappointed with the 2 people I spoke to from the CKCS breed club from the IKC. We ended up going to Scotland to get Dougal thanks to the support, advice and contacts from some of the board members here (particularly Alison :D). I'll be eternally grateful. He's bursting with health and is everyday such a joy to us. Tandie, on the other hand, was every bit as much a source of joy but always with the knowledge it was on borrowed time. I wouldn't change it for a second but it has made me absolutely adamant that I will NEVER buy a pup that is not from fully screened parents. I would feel like I was supporting abuse of the breed.

I do understand buyers who are so enchanted with the breed that they just want their new pup NOW. They do inadequate research (or ignore it) and buy from irreputable sources. I was guilty of this myself, and learned to my dismay the heartache it will eventually cause. What I don't understand is why this is allowed to happen, and why breeders and kennel clubs (in Ireland specifically) don't make it easier to find healthy pups from healthy parents.

I applaud Karlin and the many knowledgable members of this board who do everything in their power to inform buyers, and help cavalier owners care for their sick pets.

BTW as regards insurance, they paid out over €600 for Tandie in the past 3 months which meant we could have her see a cardiologist and be fully and properly diagnosed, so that the correct medication could be prescribed. In addition the very sick little pup we had 2 years ago (Rio) incurred over €2000 in expenses over a 2 week period. She eventually died at 12 weeks but not before the veterinary hospital in UCD had done everything in it's power to help her. The peace of mind of having insurance is worth it, even if you don't have to call on it.

Carolina
18th August 2008, 10:42 PM
I would be very intrested in seeing the program but I live in Sweden. Is there any chance of someone recording it or is there anyother way of getting it?

Davy
18th August 2008, 11:23 PM
I would be very intrested in seeing the program but I live in Sweden. Is there any chance of someone recording it or is there anyother way of getting it?

This is the link to the company who made the film passionate productions
(http://www.passionateproductions.co.uk/)Although its not listed there yet, it should be in future for you to buy or from the BBC shop.

Karlin
19th August 2008, 12:29 AM
Passionate Productions will eventually have the film available from their website as a DVD, but not in the immediate future, they told me today.

Please note it is illegal to copy and distribute a copyright programme such as this and I will have to delete any offers to do so. People may of course make private recordings for themselves. :thmbsup:

I have seen the press release for this programme today, and strongly suggest anyone with a cavalier within the broadcasting region of the programme will want to see it.

Karlin
19th August 2008, 11:53 AM
Massive press coverage in the UK (http://news.google.com/news?client=safari&rls=en&oe=UTF-8&tab=wn&ncl=1238048984&hl=en) in advance of this film tonight:

BBC News: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/7569064.stm
BBC News video with cavaliers: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7569521.stm
Press Association: http://ukpress.google.com/article/ALeqM5gcFVWgaDVDiIscmw8H-NW8fGzNRg
London Times: http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/tv_and_radio/article4561098.ece
Mirror: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/top-stories/2008/08/19/pedigree-chumps-115875-20703843/
The Sun: http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/showbiz/tv/article1575479.ece
Daily Mail:http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1046614/BBC-drop-Crufts-unhealthy-freak-breeds.html

*Pauline*
19th August 2008, 12:45 PM
Karlin this has really worried me because Dylan scratches a little like the dog in the film clip when I walk him but without the head tilt. He does it off and on for a few seconds each time at the beginning of a walk but stops after about a minute. I feel sick...

Karlin
19th August 2008, 12:56 PM
For anyone concerned, I have several videos here (http://sm.cavaliertalk.com/video/videos.html) which are worth watching. Keep in mind only about half of SM cavaliers scratch at all; it is important to be aware of all the possible symptoms. Scratching varies widely -- Leo almost never air scratches and only started a year or so ago. His scratching is the start and stop style on walks now but it took 4 years after his MRI to get like that. He would scratch all the way through a walk if not on gabapentin.

For anyone concerned about their own cavalier, chaeck out all possibilities with a vet aware of SM and only if no other cause can be found, get a referral to a neurologist.

Scratching IS a sign of discomfort, and can be a sign of pain, according to Dr Rusbridge, so if scratching is a consistent, unexplained occurrence, I would consider having it checked on one of the low cost scanning programmes in the UK. These are listed on www.smcavalier.com. There are medications that can ease the discomfort and pain of SM scratching.

For an indication of just how uncomfortable to painful scratching can be (or rather the underlying discomfort that causes the scratching), Leo has now removed the entire top black layer of hair on both ears, exposing greyer hair underneath. My vet recently noted how distinct that loss of hair is. His beautiful long dark full ears are gone. :(

Brian M
19th August 2008, 01:12 PM
Hi

Its on Radio 2 now in the Uk

*Pauline*
19th August 2008, 01:26 PM
I'm very sorry Karlin :( :hug: Dylan never scratches the back of his head as seen in your videos. Just a bit of air scratching. I was putting it down to his harness itching and he does stop after a minute and all the itching stops. Do I have to get a MRI or can I get meds on the evidence of air scratching?

Karlin
19th August 2008, 03:51 PM
Air scratching tends to only be associated with SM I am afraid -- so you might want to at least talk to your vet or else just keep an eye on things and be aware of other problems. I am sure there may be reasons he starts to scratch that could not be SM related so don't panic but if you are seeing that kind of air scratching I'd want to keep an eye out for anything else and then if other things arise or the scratching gets more frequent, talk to a vet or neurologist. You don't want to just go get an MRI. On the other hand a neurologist can do a clinical exam that can indicate whether there are problems -- a neuro will test for things that indicate signs of pain, weak limbs etc. There's a lot of info on all this in my SM site.

It helps to just get a video of the scratching you are seeing and show that to your vet.

Margaret C
19th August 2008, 04:51 PM
I watched the midday BBC1 news & was interested to hear Caroline Kisko say that only "2%" of cavaliers have SM.
She was quoting the 2004 Report from the Kennel Club/British Small Animal Veterinary Association Scientific Committee.

This was an exercise where forms for self reporting of health problems in dogs were sent to breed club members.

The survey was done four years ago when there was little acceptance that SM was a problem among cavalier owners, the first low cost MRI centres had not long started, and very few breeders had scanned their dogs.

For cavaliers 1150 forms were sent out through the breed club & only 306 returned, representing 1253 live dogs.

There are approximately 11,000 cavalier puppies registered each year.

Not a very representative sample and the warning at the start of the report seems to indicate that........

'Warning: The results of this survey and particularly the breed-specific analyses should be interpreted with caution. The overall response rate was only 24% with breed-specific response rates from 4.5 to 64 .7%'

Cavaliers had a 26.6 % response rate ( 306/1150 )

Despite their own admission that the results of the survey should be interpreted with caution, figures from it were used to downplay the problem of SM in a recent Kennel Club article & they have often been quoted by Jeff Sampson their Genetics Coordinator.

Margaret C

*Pauline*
19th August 2008, 04:53 PM
Thanks Karlin. I'll start research tomorrow, I can't face it today. :(

Cleo's Person
19th August 2008, 05:42 PM
Oh god Pauline, my heart stopped when I read your posts on this thread. :hug: :hug: to you today.

Karlin, I'm sorry to hear Leo has lost his lovely ears.

This really is such a horrid disease. I hope programme really opens peoples eyes and begins a change in the attitude of both buyers and breeders of dogs. I'll be glued to the tv while it is on.

Alison_Leighfield
19th August 2008, 07:18 PM
Did anyone watch Richard and Judy on Channel 4 at tea time? a friend informed me a discussion was on air concerning the film tonight and I missed it :(
This film is getting ALOT of attention and coverage.

Pauline, be strong tomorrow when you start your research (((hugs))) for you x

Alison.

Karlin
19th August 2008, 08:14 PM
Jemima the producer was on it. She will also be on Radio 5 live tonight right after the programme airs, 10pm. They are giving the whole show to it.

People anywhere can listen live: http://www.bbc.co.uk/fivelive/

10pm GMT +1

Karlin
19th August 2008, 10:16 PM
Try this link: http://64.233.169.104/search?q=cache:6DRN94Ifg7sJ:www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/console/fivelive+radio+5+uk&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=2&client=safari

srp999
19th August 2008, 10:36 PM
Anger !

That's what I now feel, having sat through tonights program it never fails to surprise me the ability of some breeders to totally dismiss that our breed has problems that simply can be ignored.

I was worried that program would not represent Cavs in a fair way , but watching that poor animal suffer because of SM put all it into perspective.

Its about the dogs themselves surely they deserve better than this ? We have lost two Cavs to MVD, the pain of trying to nurse them, worrying if we were making the right decisions and finally making that awful gut wrenchng decision that will haunt me for the rest of my life when you know that the time has come to put them down.

Maybe it is time to take a fresh look at what we are looking for in our beloved Cavs. If someone asked me what i look for in my dog its simple ,a happy ,healthy Cavalier not a show piece that is doomed to a short life in pain.

Karlin
19th August 2008, 10:40 PM
I've set up a discussion thread on the programme in the main section that people can use if they want too. If you keep the chat here, be sure to avoid making statements about individuals that are not based on published fact, please. :thmbsup:

Ashley
19th August 2008, 10:45 PM
Thanks Karlin. I'll start research tomorrow, I can't face it today. :(

Have the vet check for ear mites as well. I panic an awful lot with the dogs, and Holly was scratching her ears a bit when she was a pup. So there I was, in tears thinking the absolute worst... but it turned out to be ear mites... which were duly treated, and there has been no problems since.

I havent noticed either of mine 'air scratching' at all, mind you. The thing with that programme is that it will hopefully make people, who havent researched the breed, look out for these things, which they may otherwise have put down to being 'quirks', or the like! Fingers crossed anyway. Clips I have seen are just heartbreaking! :(

Big hugs Pauline, and let us know how you get on :flwr:

*Pauline*
19th August 2008, 10:50 PM
Thanks Ashley, it's more to do with wearing the harness so I think the ears are ok but I will have the ears looked at.

merlinsmum
19th August 2008, 10:52 PM
:hug: Pauline, please let us know how you get on.:paw:

Ashley
19th August 2008, 11:00 PM
Thanks Ashley, it's more to do with wearing the harness so I think the ears are ok but I will have the ears looked at.

Holly didnt like her harness AT ALL either... no matter how hard I tried. So you may be right. But definitely have the ears looked at too.

Please try and get a good nights sleep tonight... I hate the thought of you lying awake worrying all night! :(

Ciren
19th August 2008, 11:16 PM
i watched the program, woke poor Peaches up a couple of times swearing at the telly.

the one question i have is what can i do to help?

i am a bit over whelmed by it all and i want to do something but i am not sure what.

(if this is best asked elsewhere pls feel free to move it or direct me there)

Karlin
19th August 2008, 11:26 PM
There are many ways to help. The single most important is: be careful of where you buy your puppy! DEMAND to see cardiologist (not vet!) certs on the parents and grandparents. Personally, I will also demand that parents be MRId and that breeders be able to tell me the status of their breeding dogs. Make sure parent dogs are at least 2.5 years old and heart clear (and ideally, MRI'd). Make sure breeders are following the MVD protocol if they MRI. Do not buy from breeders who cannot explain what they are doing to help resolve these problems.

Second: you can donate directly to the international SM genome project, spearheaded by Dr Rusbridge and Penny Knowler.

Clicking here at the PayPal site (https://www.paypal.com/us/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_flow&SESSION=bYXYeClUwuc2QcMsmFDuEdkbqQrYklelk-H4ADMriKtBnaTdcE3U_vD3aJi&dispatch=5885d80a13c0db1f80512b0980fcab74f8f86a753 9c796f1ab7d42731da209a2) and entering (copy and paste) the following email address:

penny.knowler@ntlworld.com

will bring up the 'SM DNA Fund' account. Donations can be made in several currencies using a credit card or PayPal funds.

*Pauline*
19th August 2008, 11:31 PM
Please try and get a good nights sleep tonight... I hate the thought of you lying awake worrying all night! :(

I have pills for that :rolleyes: or I have anxiety attacks in my sleep. Don't worry about me just now, it hasn't sunk in yet! Thanks Ash.

Ciren
19th August 2008, 11:48 PM
There are many ways to help. The single most important is: be careful of where you buy your puppy! DEMAND to see cardiologist (not vet!) certs on the parents and grandparents. Personally, I will also demand that parents be MRId and that breeders be able to tell me the status of their breeding dogs. Make sure parent dogs are at least 2.5 years old and heart clear (and ideally, MRI'd). Make sure breeders are following the MVD protocol if they MRI. Do not buy from breeders who cannot explain what they are doing to help resolve these problems.

Second: you can donate directly to the international SM genome project, spearheaded by Dr Rusbridge and Penny Knowler.

Clicking here at the PayPal site (https://www.paypal.com/us/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_flow&SESSION=bYXYeClUwuc2QcMsmFDuEdkbqQrYklelk-H4ADMriKtBnaTdcE3U_vD3aJi&dispatch=5885d80a13c0db1f80512b0980fcab74f8f86a753 9c796f1ab7d42731da209a2) and entering (copy and paste) the following email address:

penny.knowler@ntlworld.com

will bring up the 'SM DNA Fund' account. Donations can be made in several currencies using a credit card or PayPal funds.

surely there is more i can do than just handing over money. i am not likely to ever buy a pup as i would prefer to rescue one. i have alot of time on my hands there must be something i can do?

Bet
19th August 2008, 11:49 PM
Yes I watched the Film but was a bit disappointed that no mention was made of the £100,000 that has just been given to Dr Blott for her SM and MVD Research work at the Animal Health Trust here in Britain by the Kennel Club

That is a Lotta Lotta Money

Thankfully Mr Lambert mentioned that information on the Radio 5 Program following the TV Film

As Ive always said , if the Cavalier Breeders are vilified,then there is every chance that they just wont co-operate with Dr Blott and her important Research which is about the only chance that the Cavalier Breed have now .

This type of Research has never been tried before ,so think about the Future of the Cavalier Breed ,or has anybody got a better suggestion

Bet

Arlene
20th August 2008, 12:25 AM
Bet, I am not a breeder but come from a breeding family. I very much identify with breeders (working dog breeders mind you) and am currently studying genetics in order to feel more comfortable with my decision to breed in the future.

The breeders doing right should be welcoming this information out to the public. The only breeders that SHOULD feel vilified are those doing wrong. If they do not then want to cooperate I don't feel that is a big problem. The public, being informed, will hopefully not purchase pups from them.

Of course I may not be seeing the whole picture. I think this is worth discussing as we do NEED breeders if we want the breed to go on. Most I know who are interested in breeding won't touch the Cavalier, and I have been warned over and over that it is not the wisest move and that it would be best to pick another breed . . . still, I love the Cavalier.

Arlene and her three: J P - Alaskan Husky, Missie - Cavalier x Tibetan Spaniel, Rocky - All Sporty Cavalier.:)

Claire L
20th August 2008, 12:35 AM
Well, I'll tell you what should happen for starters Bet; Ronnie Irving and his sidekick (didn't get his name) should be SACKED from the Kennel Club for starters and bring in people who are actually passionate about maintaining the overall health and wellbeing, not to mention,the longevity of EVERY breed instead of worrying about losing members and dare I say it: REVENUE :-X:-X

I'd like to congratulate Carol Fowler and Margaret C for having the courage to speak out publicly and a big thank you to Alison Leighfield for allerting us all to tonight's programme and to Karlin Lillington for providing us with a POWERFUL TOOL i.e this forum.

To all those breeders who carry out ALL the neccessary health checks - well done:flwr: you play a huge part in helping to save our beloved Cavaliers. To those who don't -SHAME ON YOU!!

Cleo's Person
20th August 2008, 10:48 AM
I'd like to congratulate Carol Fowler and Margaret C for having the courage to speak out publicly and a big thank you to Alison Leighfield for allerting us all to tonight's programme and to Karlin Lillington for providing us with a POWERFUL TOOL i.e this forum.

To all those breeders who carry out ALL the neccessary health checks - well done:flwr: you play a huge part in helping to save our beloved Cavaliers. To those who don't -SHAME ON YOU!!

I couldn't put this any better.

Bet
20th August 2008, 02:12 PM
Could I mention that because of the Confidential Information passed on by Margaret C on last night's TV Film about MRI Scans ,that the Cavalier Breeders will want to now MRI Scan their Breeding Stock.

I do hope that they will realize that the MRI Scans will now be confidential that are going to be sent to Dr S Blott at the Animal Health Trust ,that she and she alone will have the information and that it Wont be being broadcast on a TV Program!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What a great disservice this has been done to the Breed,just when the Cavalier Breeders had such great hopes for the Future of the Cavalier because of Dr Blott's New Type of Research .

I do hope that through time the Cavalier Breeders will know that they can trust Dr Blott and will co-operate by doing MRI Scans so that her Research Work can move forward .or all that money given to Dr Blott will have been in vain

Bet

Alison_Leighfield
20th August 2008, 02:30 PM
Whats with keeping them all confidential in the first place? why all the secrecy?

Surely it's more important to be open and honest, to admit openly without shame that you have an affected Cavalier to another breeder if asked, and to guarantee that you WILL NOT be breeding from the affected ones.

As more and more pet buyers learn about SM don't they have a right to see the scans and neurologist report of a dog that is possibly producing their puppy when they start their puppy search? along with all other health certificates?
... if indeed there are enough breeders with all clear stock to keep the breed alive in the first place.

Well done Margaret for what you said on the film, well done indeed :)


Alison.

amanda L
20th August 2008, 02:52 PM
I too would like to congratulate Margaret C and Carol Fowler for speaking out publicly on the programme last night.

merlinsmum
20th August 2008, 03:00 PM
I too would like to congratulate Margaret C and Carol Fowler for speaking out publicly on the programme last night.

Me too!

Surely if the scans can be accessed then more people who do wish to breed can be more reliably informed as to the health of the breeding stock they are about to use and thus puppy buyers can be more confident in the health of their puppy and its longevity.

This would help "remove" breeders like that BIS woman from spreading painful diseases through our breed.grrrrrrrrrr If I knew where she lived I'd be protesting with banners outside informing people of her bad practices..... She could'nt care less in my opinion.

Karlin
20th August 2008, 03:28 PM
Bet, the information was not confidential -- many people were told that her dog had scanned with SM and it was widely known amongst breeders. Margaret merely confirmed what was known but I know there was also a signed afadavit from another source that the dog had SM.

Many of those breeders who chose to breed litters with that stud did so in FULL KNOWLEDGE that the father had SM.

On this board you will find that two people with that dog's puppies now own dogs also diagnosed with symptomatic SM.

I am aware of several other situations where dogs with SM have been knowingly bred -- or sold on to US breeders from the UK.

The problem is that too many people have hidden away problems, including MVD, behind a code of silence. That silence means fogs continue to suffer as do the people who acquire these dogs.

the owners of one dog that just got his championship -- and it also known to symptomatic SM -- have said they just wanted the championship for the dog and will now retire him to a 'pet home'. I hope they will pay the lifetime medical care of that dog as the owners will never be able to get insurance.

Alison_Leighfield
20th August 2008, 04:31 PM
I knew that dog to be affected a while ago and I'm not even a breeder, just a pet owner with her ears to the ground.
He sired my friends young affected Tri.

Alison.

Claire L
20th August 2008, 05:59 PM
[quote=Bet;281272]Could I mention that because of the Confidential Information passed on by Margaret C on last night's TV Film about MRI Scans ,that the Cavalier Breeders will want to now MRI Scan their Breeding Stock.


This can only be a good move but according to one breeder last night, she said on camera that she quite flatly refuses to MRI scan her dogs. Lets hope she now changes her mind.




I do hope that they will realize that the MRI Scans will now be confidential that are going to be sent to Dr S Blott at the Animal Health Trust ,that she and she alone will have the information and that it Wont be being broadcast on a TV Program!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Why oh why would they want to keep them confidential????????????
What's the point ????????




What a great disservice this has been done to the Breed,just when the Cavalier Breeders had such great hopes for the Future of the Cavalier because of Dr Blott's New Type of Research .


The only disservice being done to the breed is by the kartel of breeders who maintain a code of silence about the ill healh of their so called champions.



I do hope that through time the Cavalier Breeders will know that they can trust Dr Blott and will co-operate by doing MRI Scans so that her Research Work can move forward .or all that money given to Dr Blott will have been in vain


Unless the breeders work with Dr Blott and remove affected dogs/bitches from their breeding programmes, then YES!! all that money will have been wasted :(

merlinsmum
20th August 2008, 06:11 PM
Totally agree with you Claire

Kate H
20th August 2008, 10:17 PM
Hi, I'm a new member, this is my first post. Oliver, my 7-year-old ruby, was scanned last year and has mild SM with a small syrinx and so far no symptoms. I want his scan results to be made public - why keep them confidential? When I go to shows, and when we did Discover Dogs at Crufts this year, I deliberately tell people Oliver has SM - they are amazed that he is so fit and happy, they didn't realise that many Cavaliers have no sign of their SM and therefore the fact that your dogs have no symptoms doesn't mean that they don't have the disease - and at the moment scanning is the only way of finding out. And if his breeder doesn't like me going public - tough! Oliver's father has produced other puppies with SM - he's a champion but fortunately has never been a really popular stud dog; his owner has stopped using him at stud and he still has no symptoms at 10, but she refuses to have him scanned.

I really admire Margaret Carter for her openness about her dog's SM - and Sylvia Lymer is another top breeder who is completely open about having SM in her line and has scanned all her breeding stock - all 13 or so of them! I sat at the health table at the club ch. show this year with Margaret and Sylvia and learnt so much as they talked to breeders and visitors about SM. We have got to talk about it and know what we're doing with our breeding and puppy buying.

Kate and Oliver

Maxxs_Mummy
20th August 2008, 11:01 PM
Well, I have just sat and read right through this thread and now I'd like to add my tuppence worth.

Ronnie Irving is just as bad as the bad breeders of cavaliers out there - he openly admitted on screen that he had bred Grandfather to Granddaughter in his Border Terriers - if that's not asking for trouble in future generations then I'd like to know what is! As far as I am concerned then if he is the face of the KC , it just shows them up for what they are!

Bet, whilst I have always had the utmost respect for you, I feel that in your posts all you are concerned about is that money was donated and that scans are kept private! It also angers me that you say that the past should be kept in the past. In other words it is another way of saying 'You had an affected dog - get over it!'. I'm afraid that life just ain't like that and when you see your friends losing one dog after another with this filthy disease it's bloody hard to leave it in the past.

Karlin, I'm sorry to hear that Leo is losing his fur behind his ear. Poor little love. Maxx is also losing a bit from his ear too. I certainly find mats there every single day and I know he's being brushed and groomed thoroughly and properly!

That programme was so interesting and informative (nothing new for most of us with SM dogs but good for prospective & also, uninformed owners). I sat and watched it with tears freely flowing.

In case any of you don't know, I have one dog with SM whose syrinx is about 2" from his tail and another with hydrocephalus so bad that his brain is a mere outline - we're his 5th or 6th home as no one could cope with him and his weird ways - he will learn something but forget it five minutes later. He'll go outside to do a wee but then forget and come in and do it in front of you - it's not bad training on my behalf it's just the fact that he has a brain that is barely there - the neurologist was astounded when he saw his scan!

Luckily I am home 99% of the time with the pair of them and if not me then there is almost always someone here. We have a wonderful routine that I'm sure keeps my neighbours amused. When we go out for wee, if I don't see Charlie in the act (we have a large garden) I pick him up and physically check with a tissue !!!! I've trained everyone else to do the same - great fun! :(

I do however, consider myself extremely lucky in that when I was looking for a Cavalier my Vet advised me of what to look for and also knew of a few breeders to stay away from. Maxx actually came from a friend of a friend of a friend..... I was only allowed to go and see the pups as I had been recommended to her and she to me. We were vetted for about 3 hours & she refuses to breed to show any longer. She also no longer belongs to the Cavalier club as she was so disgusted with its practises and the amount of people breeding from unhealthy dogs.

Yes, I know I'm praising her and also saying that that Maxx has SM but when I got him, scans weren't available and she was only breeding from symptomless dogs. All her dogs are heart and eye checked and Maxx's Mum and Dad were still extremely healthy when I last spoke to her a couple of months back. He is 9 tomorrow (yayyyyyy partyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy) and they were 5 and 6 when he was born. When he was diagnosed she also informed me that she would still take him back at any time - I wonder how many breeders would do that? He of course isn't going anywhere!

It really angered me on that programme that the BIS woman is still breeding from that affected dog (he should be neutered and she should be ashamed & also banned from keeping dogs) and then Veronica Hull said on camera how disgusted she was that they had confronted the woman - ermmmm hello Veronica, as chairperson of Southern CKCS you should surely distance yourself from her...... Then again, if you are reading this, we openly fell out on a forum about scanning dogs didn't we????

Sorry Karlin if this upsets anyone but it just makes me so very, very angry that these breeders are obviously just doing it for the money and not the love of the breed.

I know I don't breed Cavaliers but I grew up in a breeding household and any dog that didn't come up to health standards was promptly neutered - we had miniature poodles coming out of our ears! I had a discusssion with my Vet about breeding a while back (after going to an SM talk with him). I said that I would always have liked to breed but the whole thing scared me with all the problems in the breed. He replied that it was people like me who needed to become breeders as we would be so neurotic that we'd have all the health tests done. Sorry, to the responsible breeders, but to me, a rosette means nothing - usually just that you know the judge or your face fits ;) but health and good temperament mean everything.

Slightly o/t but same programme - that breeder of Rhodesian Ridgebacks being disgusted at the mere thought of a ridgeless Rhodesian being kept alive when they are actually usually healthier than the ridged backed Rhodesians! Unbelievable! Then again, nothing that a lot of breeders get up to is unbelievable these days!

Cathy Moon
21st August 2008, 02:05 AM
It really angered me on that programme that the BIS woman is still breeding from that affected dog (he should be neutered and she should be ashamed & also banned from keeping dogs) and then Veronica Hull said on camera how disgusted she was that they had confronted the woman - ermmmm hello Veronica, as chairperson of Southern CKCS you should surely distance yourself from her...... Then again, if you are reading this, we openly fell out on a forum about scanning dogs didn't we????

Sorry Karlin if this upsets anyone but it just makes me so very, very angry that these breeders are obviously just doing it for the money and not the love of the breed.
I am totally with you! As chairperson of a CKCS club she has a responsibility to promote ethical breeding. I can't even describe how angry I felt when I viewed the show on youtube.

I adopted, cared for, and had to euthanize my rescue cavalier Charlie who suffered terribly from SM. Now Geordie has both SM and grade 4 MVD at only 5 years of age.

SHAME ON ANY BREEDER who takes these health issues lightly. If you cannot afford to properly test and scan your breeding cavaliers and follow the protocol, GET OUT OF THE BREED!

WoodHaven
21st August 2008, 02:24 AM
I am going to stick my neck out and play devils advocate.
You do realize by this known breeding protocol, that not only can you breed dogs with the malformation, the breeding protocol suggests you can breed certain dogs with a minimal SM diagnosis !!!!

http://cavalierhealth.org/smprotocol.htm

Arlene
21st August 2008, 04:31 AM
I thought of that as well, but the commentator also mentions that this breeder was advised not to breed from this dog. They don't say why but I would assume by Claire's reaction on film when told (after all she is one who believes "d" grades must be bred in order to retain diversity) that this was not a "minimal" SM diagnosis.

I might be wrong on this, but that was my take on what I saw.

Arlene and her three: J P - Alaskan Husky, Missie - Cavalier x Tibetan Spaniel, Rocky - All Sporty Cavalier:)

Karlin
21st August 2008, 10:19 AM
The breeding protocol that allows for the malformation is absolutely necessary -- there are less than 1 in 10 cavaliers without the malformation going by Geoff Skerritt's 700 MRIs (many of them from breeder's dogs they believed to be clear) and every existing research project.

As with MVD the goal cannot be total elimination of SM -- the genes are too widely dispersed and the population is now too heavily affected. That is why there is now a concerted effort to stop Brussels griffons from going the same way. While many have the malformation and SM, a huge number are clear of the malformation. Cavaliers are so badly affected that the genome researchers had to use griffons to get their clear of malformation, clear of SM dogs. *They could not find enough truly clear CKCS for their baseline 'normal' genetic reading.*

The protocol would have failed the Malvern dog -- it would have had an F grade based on its original scan.

The protocol allows for the malformation and only for the tiniest syrinx at 2.5. But yes, people should understand this. Most good breeders following the SM guidelines for breeding aim for a dog with no syrinx for breeding programmes. People can read the breeding protocol here: http://sm.cavaliertalk.com/breeding/breeding/breeding.html I urge people to read and understand the background thinking on the SM recommendations for breeding and understand what many of the researchers feel is a realistic approach for breeders.

Geoff Skerritt feels this is still too liberal -- but the SM protocol was worked out with breeders to try and protect other good genes and give realistic tools to breed away from early onset SM.

Ideally as with the MVD protocol it would be better to wait til dogs are 5 to breed and still clear as that would push out even further the possibility of onset but as with MVD breeders are reluctant to wait that long for a first litter.

It is also important that MRIs be confidential for Sarah Blott's research, as it was for Clare and Penny's. I was glad my own MRIs were not public property after my dogs were MRId. I did not want my breeder under attack simply because he had produced a dog with SM, when I knew most breeders if not all probably have bred SM dogs, whether symptomatic or not. It is just that most breeders and pet owners do not MRI to know this. MY MRIs were MY business. If I was using any of my dogs for breeding, then yes, I would happily make those MRIs public. But just as human health tests are private, so should vet health tests be, especially when used for research.

Margaret C
21st August 2008, 01:06 PM
Thank you Karlin for what you have just Posted

This is what could put Dr Blott's Research into jeopardy with Margaret C disclosing confidential information on the TV Film

The Cavalier Breeders could now be having doubts about co-operating with DR Blott ,this is now where the future of the Cavalier Breed lies.

Bet


The owner of the BIS cavalier showed the scans to me, and other exhibitors, at a show.
This was soon after he was MRId by Geoff Skerritt, a neurologist who has not, as yet, released any of his considerable MRI information to any one.

The owner did not seem to understand the scan & wanted my comments.

There was a syrinx and he was under two years of age.
I told her I would never consider using him at stud & that she should tell people that asked about him that he had syringomyelia.

For years I have kept quiet about what I saw, only advising anyone who said they were considering using this dog to make sure they saw his scan or certificate.
I knew that breeders that were opposed to my" ruining the breed " by speaking out about SM, would allege I had given away information that I had been given in confidence if I was not careful about what I said.

The result..... at least 26 litters born since that MRI, the youngest that I know of being only six weeks old.
I am ashamed I did not do something before & I am ashamed of the many, many, breeders who knew of this open secret & colluded with her.

Yesterday I was phoned by someone who was with the breeder in question when the dog was scanned. She could not believe what she saw on the film because she was there when Mr Skerritt told the owner that the dog was the worst he had seen at that age, & that he should never be used for breeding.

The dog's owner has allegedly said various things since the documentary... he only has the malformation, she did not get a scan or certificate, she did not ever show me the scans, so the neurologist must have given me the information.

It is untrue. She quite openly showed me the scans at a dog show, there were other people there when she did so.

This breeder has not abided by the Cavalier Club Code of Ethics and there will be a complaint, signed by me & the lady who accompanied her to the scanning Centre, sent to the UK Cavalier Club.

Margaret C

pcfarrar
21st August 2008, 01:11 PM
The breeding protocol that allows for the malformation is absolutely necessary -- there are less than 1 in 10 cavaliers without the malformation going by Geoff Skerritt's 700 MRIs (many of them from breeder's dogs they believed to be clear) and every existing research project.

Is there a list anywhere of the pedigree of dogs tested completely clear of malformations?
I know our Jasper was one of the few and if anyones interested I'll post his pedigree. I will also try and dig out his scan as I'm sure we still have it somewhere.

Alison_Leighfield
21st August 2008, 01:16 PM
So now that breeder should be kicked out of the club if she hasn't left already with her head hanging very low with shame ... and a ban put on her from breeding.
I just hope she is looking after that affected dog with it's meds etc.

Margaret you have nothing to be ashamed about, what you did on that film was amazing. :)

Alison.

Sue.k
21st August 2008, 01:28 PM
So now that breeder should be kicked out of the club if she hasn't left already with her head hanging very low with shame ... and a ban put on her from breeding.


I agree, that woman was an embarrassment to the human race!!!

Maxxs_Mummy
21st August 2008, 01:34 PM
I am ashamed I did not do something before & I am ashamed of the many, many, breeders who knew of this open secret & colluded with her.



Please Margaret, DO NOT be ashamed. YOU have nothing to be ashamed of and in fact you are to be applauded for speaking out openly. If your comments stop just one person from trusting so called 'good breeders' just because they win at shows then in my mind it will have done a lot to help our beloved breed. :hug:

Maxxs_Mummy
21st August 2008, 01:39 PM
So now that breeder should be kicked out of the club if she hasn't left already with her head hanging very low with shame ... and a ban put on her from breeding.
I just hope she is looking after that affected dog with it's meds etc.

Margaret you have nothing to be ashamed about, what you did on that film was amazing. :)

Alison.

Actually Alison, I think it amounts to animal cruelty and she should be banned from keeping animals let alone being kicked out of the club.

We can only live in hope that the dog is actually receiving medical care....

I agree with your comment about Margaret too - I have emailed her to say so as well x

Margaret C
21st August 2008, 03:10 PM
Just thought I would say that I give permission for my post No.99 to be crossposted onto any other list.

Margaret C

Kate H
21st August 2008, 03:43 PM
I think the ideal to be aimed at is an openness that doesn't condemn anyone for having SM in their line - being so widespread, even the most careful breeder finds it hard to avoid - but total condemnation for breeders who knowingly breed from seriously affected dogs or bury their heads in the sand and refuse to scan. And great as the potential of Sarah Blott's research is, other research is also important: SM isn't going to go away overnight even when we do get a DNA test, so the Royal Vet College's controlled trial of an improved painkiller is also vital, as is the research in the US into better surgical techniques, and the ongoing work that all the neurologists do in developing better drug regimes.

Even with a DNA test, we're going to have to work hard to convince people to use it - I found it a bit depressing that only about 25% of the dogs at the Malvern Ch show were heart tested at the show - and that was free!

Kate and Oliver

Claire L
21st August 2008, 03:49 PM
Even with a DNA test, we're going to have to work hard to convince people to use it - I found it a bit depressing that only about 25% of the dogs at the Malvern Ch show were heart tested at the show - and that was free!

Kate and Oliver

:eek::eek::eek: Un-Believable!!

Cathy T
21st August 2008, 04:39 PM
I thought I had garned respect for Margaret after watching the show....but after reading her post my respect for her has gone through the roof. What an brave and strong woman. Glad to have the facts out there and known.



I am ashamed I did not do something before & I am ashamed of the many, many, breeders who knew of this open secret & colluded with her.



I understand your shame but appreciate you coming out and being open. As to the many breeders who knew of the results and yet continued to breed....shame on them.



he only has the malformation


That was the information relayed to me when I questioned why she would have bred 26 litters with him AFTER being told the results of his scan. I just couldn't understand that. I was told, not by a reliable source mind you, that he had the malformation only.



I think the ideal to be aimed at is an openness that doesn't condemn anyone for having SM in their line - being so widespread, even the most careful breeder finds it hard to avoid - but total condemnation for breeders who knowingly breed from seriously affected dogs or bury their heads in the sand and refuse to scan.


Couldn't have said it better!!! There is no reason to be ashamed of having SM in a line, it's not something a person knowingly did.....but to continue to breed that dog is a travesty sending misery to so many of owners of the offspring.

Karlin
21st August 2008, 04:44 PM
I have deleted some posts that were better taken privately between the parties and will moderate comments as needed. Also as some of the same points have been made repeatedly I will limit those points being restated. :thmbsup:

If people have problems with that, there are other places of discussion to share those points.

Karlin
21st August 2008, 04:53 PM
I think the ideal to be aimed at is an openness that doesn't condemn anyone for having SM in their line - being so widespread, even the most careful breeder finds it hard to avoid - but total condemnation for breeders who knowingly breed from seriously affected dogs or bury their heads in the sand and refuse to scan.

Yes -- agree entirely. Likewise, if a breeder says they do not have SM in their lines or do not believe they do but they have not scanned -- this is an utterly meaningless statement.

No line has yet been found without SM. If one had, believe me the world would know. The best line so far is one in Australia from a small breeder who has had several dogs scan clear of the malformation, clear of SM, which is extremely rare. It is believed that perhaps some isolated lines that didn't get crossed with the popular UK sires of the past 25 years or so are perhaps the best hopes for clearer lines.

For a clear scan to be meaningful, one must really know about the status of related dogs as well. Is that dog without a syrinx an exception in a line with a lot of SM? The Dutch scanning project has so far indicated that A grade dogs tend to have a lot of other A grade relatives around them. This is hopeful but underlines the importance of knowing more about families.

Consider Jaspar -- a clear/clear at the time (too young to qualify as an A dog though) yet his half brother Leo has SM. That may mean Jaspar is from an isolated fairly clean line or it may mean he is a rare anomoly.

I can say there are some interesting things about Jaspar. He has a wider, roomer shaped head compared to all my others and he does not have the sinus issues that all the others have -- he never snores, he almost never has snorted, he makes no noise when breathing and when asleep.

pcfarrar
21st August 2008, 05:17 PM
I can say there are some interesting things about Jaspar. He has a wider, roomer shaped head compared to all my others and he does not have the sinus issues that all the others have -- he never snores, he almost never has snorted, he makes no noise when breathing and when asleep.

Interesting, our Jasper who was completely clear had a wider flat topped head. He had no sinus issues either but did snore! Here is a photo of him for comparison purposes. He had his MRI when he was 9. His brother who is in his teens now is also SM free.

http://www.c.farrar.btinternet.co.uk/Jasper.jpg

chloe92us
21st August 2008, 05:21 PM
I found the "before and after" pics of the Cavaliers interesting. Thanks, Arlene! I love your interest in genetics, and I too think it's fascinating. It appears that earlier Cavalier dogs had a larger head and a longer snout. So, for those that have that look now, consider it "retro"! That look may very well be coming back! ;)

So, I'll ask the question...is it this shorter snout coupled with a smaller skull that is possibly causing some of the problem, or at least starting the problem? I know the genetic component is there, but if dogs were bred and selected based on the earlier examples, would the malformation at least be bred out?

Karlin
21st August 2008, 05:32 PM
The skull and head shape issue has been intensively discussed with proponents on both sides. A small study was funded and Penny and Clare came back saying they could find no correlation, but the issue remains open.

Dr Dewey et all did a study of sinus size and correlation to SM.

This is the relevant info, from cavalierhealth.org:


4June 2007: Association between frontal-sinus size and SM: Dr. Dewey and others (Drs. Peter V. Scrivani, Margret S. Thompson, Kevin R. Winegardner, and Janet M. Scarlett) report in a June 2007 article of a study of 62 dogs (four of them were CKCSs) that there may be an association between frontal-sinus size and SM in Cavaliers and other small-breed dogs. They state: "Our data do suggest, however, that the pathogenesis of syringohydromyelia in small-breed dogs may involve the supratentorial portion of the cranial cavity. We postulate that syringohydromyelia develops in many small-breed dogs and certain breeds in particular as a result of global malformation of the entire cranial cavity or supratentorial portion of the cavity and is not limited to the infratentorial portion of the cranial cavity. If this is true and results can be generalized to the target population, our understanding of the pathogenesis of syringohydromyelia in small-breed dogs and several aspects of clinical management (e.g., screening and diagnostic testing, breeding recommendations for dogs with dome-shaped heads, and treatments) will require further investigation."

4May 2007: Study of possible correlation between head shape and CM/SM in Cavaliers and other toy breeds. Dr. Rusbridge and Ms. Knowler report in their April/May 2007 Research Newsletter the the preliminary results of pilot study looking at the possible correlation between head shape and CM/SM in different toy breeds. They report: "In response to some observations made by breeders on head shape, a simple pilot study was devised. Dogs were selected on the basis of head length/breadth ratio, degree of doming, and presence or absence of a ski-slope shape to the back of the head. CM/SM status was confirmed by MRI. Early results of this pilot study found no correlation, however the investigation is still ongoing. This study has been a tremendously valuable exercise in other ways. On the basis of head shape, some dogs had been presumed to be affected, and owners had originally elected against MRI screening. However some of these dogs were actually found to be free of the condition. This suggests that it is not yet possible to predict CM/SM by a visual assessment of head shape. It also provided the opportunity to obtain blood DNA samples for the Genome study in Montreal. In particular, we would like to thank Lee Pieterse for co-ordinating the project in Australia. She and her husband Frank also contributed $4000 towards the research. Sandy Smith in Canada, generously donated $8000 from the ‘For the Love of Ollie’ Fund. An additional sum of $4000 came from the ‘Syringomyelia DNA Research’ Fund. Total $16,000."

From http://cavalierhealth.org/syringomyelia.htm#Current%20Research

Margaret C
21st August 2008, 06:50 PM
I think it is important that we make our views known outside this forum.

I had heard the Kennel Club were thinking of opening a comments page on their website, but that has not yet appeared.

Please would you consider logging on to http://www.thekennelclub.org.uk (http://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/) , going into their 'contact us' section, & leaving a message to say just what you think the Kennel Club should be doing?

Thank you so much for your support


Margaret C

Jason Morgan
21st August 2008, 06:51 PM
Hi all,

This is my first post, so please be nice :)

We have a cav who is 3.5 years old. He started scratching after about 1 year. At first we thought nothing of it (being our first dog) but when he kept scratching and scratching we started to get worried. When he went to the vets for his usual checkups we used to tell them about the scratching but they just told us not to worry. 2 years later and we have now changed vets. We mentioned the scratching to the new vet who told us Alfie may have SM. After several tests and an MRI scan later, it was confirmed that Alfie has quite severe SM. Luckly for us, Alfies symptoms are that he scratches and he very rearely cries. Seeing the Cav crying on the TV plus the other breed (forget which one sorry) having a full grand mal epileptic fit had me in tears.

To say that we were a little angry was an understatement. The fact that we had mentioned it to the vet 2 years before and on subsequent vists and was told that it was nothing and not to worry. We dread to think the pain that he went through in those two years. Luckly the new vet has diagnoised the problem and we are now trying the medication which will hopefully ease the pain for the dog. We know that there is no cure for this and also that if nothing works, we can go for surgery, but that is not without its own risks and there it is not certain that this will fix the problem.

Has anyone else had problems with vets either ignoring symptoms or not knowing about SM.

Karlin
21st August 2008, 06:58 PM
Yes, this is quite common. Despite many breeders -- including several of those shown on the BBC film -- insisting that the reason so many cavaliers 'seem' to have SM is because vets are overfamiliar with the condition, think every scratch is SM and are swamping neurologists with unaffected dogs, the reality (as I know from many, many emails over the years like yours) is just the opposite.

To give some perspective though -- this is really a specialist condition. It is normally very rare in dogs. Most vets and even some neurologists are not aware of the prevalence in cavaliers. They will treat for other things and not explore SM as a possibility when all other approaches to the mystery condition have failed to work.

I think that will change after the documentary, which means many more dogs will get pain relief and help, earlier.

On my SM site, www.smcavalier.com, I have documents that can be downloaded and given to vets. I always suggest doing this for all vets in an area, to raise awareness, when possible.

Jason Morgan
21st August 2008, 06:59 PM
I have read on a couple of posts of some owners being scared that their dog may have SM because they have noticed (due to the program) that their dog is scratching, possibly more than normal.

I am no vet and I am not a specialist in this area so can only repeat what my vet told me..

"There could be a number of reasons as to why your cav scratches which can be easily treated"

If you are worried about your cav scratching (or showing any other symptom) then please seek advice from a professional. They will be able to look at your cav and assess them properly.

Before Alfie was diagnosed with SM he underwent several other tests to make sure that the scratching was not caused by something simple. It was not until these tests were completed that he went for his MRI scan and was diagnosed with SM.

In our case, our cav did have SM, but please, please, please, do not think that if your cav scratches, then they must have SM. Again, if you are worried then seek advice.

estalea
21st August 2008, 07:24 PM
first off hello to everyone im new to the forum, but have had cavie,s from the age of 5yrs. i watched with great shame and must say deep sadness pedigree dogs exsposed. i cant get my head round what these so called breeders are doing to this breed. margaret carter i take my hat off to you and if in anyway i can help you i will, i live just down the road from you so again if i can do anything just ask.

i do seriously hope that these breeders are going to be removed from all breed clubs and inturn never have their contact details passed on to anyone looking to buy a c.k.c.s puppy. i also hope they are happy with themself's and the pain they have KNOWINGLY caused to so many puppies and owners.

as for the k.c and the money they have given seems to me a case of give them that and shut them up.

estalea
21st August 2008, 07:34 PM
sorry if my first post sound's bad of me. but i want to own the c.k.c.s for yrs to come and not have it taken away from me by people who just dont care. again sorry if it sounds harsh.

team bella
21st August 2008, 08:22 PM
Well done for taking a stand. I thought you were very brave to say what you did on camera.

Karlin
21st August 2008, 08:48 PM
but i want to own the c.k.c.s for yrs to come and not have it taken away from me by people who just dont care.

No it doesn't sound harsh -- I think we all feel this way. It is why supporting research is important -- and exposing the people who so ruthlessly exploit the breed.

There are far more stories that could be told and many are as bad or worse. All exhibit a disregard for the individual dog at risk of inheriting compromising, painful diseases, the breed as whole, and the people who bought a much loved dog in good faith. What Margaret did was take a brave and knowingly controversial public stand in a situation where it is almost impossible to expose these people and the suffering had just kept going on and on and on. There are more dogs about, some pictured glowingly on the breed club sites, that are SM affected and symptomatic, and many, many breeders know exactly who these dogs and breeders are. Yet the system folds in to protect itself. Under KC ethics, such dogs should not even be shown. So many breeders knew the situation with the Malvern dog and said nothing; and as others have noted, the judges let them compete and awarded the prizes. The others might murmur amongst themselves but no one takes a stand. Someone, somewhere, needed to draw a line over a known and appalling situation. That was done by Margaret. The situation was NOT a secret -- others knew and had been told publicly. No one was asked to keep the SM status a secret and many in the breeding world knew (again raising the issue -- how COULD they then go ahead and use that dog at stud? :sl*p: It is just beyond belief -- way beyond belief especially for those of us with symptomatic SM dogs that deal with this terrible disease every day).

The Kennel Club, if it wishes to prove its seriousness about breed health, needs to talk to all the breeders of those 26 litters and find out if they were told the sire had SM. If so -- then the breeders of all those litters are in clear violation of the KC code of ethics, both because they put the breed at risk by breeding litters with such a high risk of SM, and because they presumably sold the puppies without informing the owners of the status of the sire, which is misrepresenting the puppy.

If they are looking into the situation of the peke, I would like to know if they will review the situation with those 26 litters. It is easy to find the breeders -- all the litters will be listed in the puppy gazette.

estalea
21st August 2008, 08:57 PM
100% agree with karlin :xfngr: the people will all be made known 26 litters is alot of litter {i feel} from one stud dog anyway. would seem the money always means more to people than the well being of the breed.

we have alot of people in rottweilers who should not even own them let alone breed them.

what are the breed clubs doing re this stud dog owner?

pcfarrar
21st August 2008, 09:26 PM
Would this breeding not be illegal under the Animal Welfare Act 2006. In effect "unnecessary suffering" has been caused.

Arlene
21st August 2008, 09:56 PM
Cloe asked,

"So, I'll ask the question...is it this shorter snout coupled with a smaller skull that is possibly causing some of the problem, or at least starting the problem? I know the genetic component is there, but if dogs were bred and selected based on the earlier examples, would the malformation at least be bred out?"

Cloe I have had long conversations with the Canine Genetics Yahoo group about this, trying hard to understand. Karlin has pointed to the study, but this is also what I have gathered.

There are breeds, some even that we know that contributed to ours in the beginning (Japanese Spaniel) that have high round heads and short snouts with 90 degree stops and don't have the prevalence of SM of course. SM does not therefore always come with this head shape. Unfortunately in the beginning of our breed, the dogs that had this head shape happened to have the detrimental genes as well. As genes exist linked to other genes and cannot be selected for individually, as this head shape was refined more and selected for, we got the SM along with it. If our founding dogs with this head shape did not have the SM genes we could have got the head shape without the SM. Luck of the draw there.

So, as Sarah Blott points out in her May report, the correlation between SM and Chiari Malformation is NOT 1 to 1, which means the genes are not the same. They are however close in our breed and may well be linked. We just don't know yet.

This is what she says.

"Heritabilities for Chiari Malformation, Cerebellar Herniation and Medullary Kinking are also very high. Genetic correlations between these traits and SM are positive and, interestingly, less than one. This suggests that different genes may be controlling SM and CM and that it will be possible to select against SM even if dogs have the malformation (CM)."

http://www.cavalierhealth.org/sm_blott_EBV_May_2008.htm

Keep in mind that even though other breeds have Chiari Malformation without SM, I understand that Chiari Malformation in itself can be painful.

My take on all of this is that at one point in our breed, probably long ago, the head shape of a dog might have been a predictor. Now though, with the genes all so spread about and all our dogs so closely related and much the same genetically, it would be too difficult and not reliable enough to just try to breed away from the head shape. The deleterious genes may well now have been shared and exist in all the shapes. We truly need to be able to test for these genes.

Arlene and her three: J P - Alaskan Husky, Missie - Cavalier x Tibetan Spaniel, Rocky - All Sporty Cavalier:)

Karlin
21st August 2008, 10:11 PM
My take on all of this is that at one point in our breed, probably long ago, the head shape of a dog might have been a predictor. Now though, with the genes all so spread about and all our dogs so closely related and much the same genetically, it would be too difficult and not reliable enough to just try to breed away from the head shape. The deleterious genes may well now have been shared and exist in all the shapes. We truly need to be able to test for these genes.

That's a good way of putting it.

Perhaps some dogs with a roomier skull to begin with are also at an advantage.

There are strong indications that CSF and flow dynamics have something to do with this too. The North Carolina research looked into this and it has been shown in humans. Thus a dog with a severe malformation does not necessarily ever get syrinxes (SM) while some dogs with a mild malformation do. In humans, I think more have Chiari than SM, but those with SM always have Chiari as well. Chiari alone causes serious problems, the same symptoms as SM, inhumans, but for some reasons the dogs rarely seem to have the malformation and symtpoms. Maybe it has to do with the fact they carry their head differently and neck as they walk on 4 legs and we are upright.

One of the renowned experts on human SM said at the first CKCS SM conference that SM remains an enigma and little more is understood about it now than when he first started working in that area decades before. However now we have the possibility of genome work and that gives a real opportunity to finally begin to understand the genetic background for CM/SM. It is an exciting time for geneticists.

Bet
22nd August 2008, 09:29 AM
Could I be allowed to mention that I just don't care who has said what about this Cavalier Dog under discussion

What I do care about though is ,has Margaret C allinated Cavalier Breeders from now MRI Scanning their Breeding Stock through her mention on the TV Film of seeing many,many MRI Scans.

That for me is where the danger is.

Hopefully the List Members here will read the UK CKCS Chairman's Response on the Club Web-Site to the Film

www.thecavalierclub.co.uk

Bet

estalea
22nd August 2008, 10:56 AM
hello bet you seem to have a problem with margaret carter stonding up and being counted? none of the results should be secret infact they should be come part of every single breeders health test before the dog/bitch is mated if these test are not carried out then the breeder should not be allowed to reg with the k.c.

if the kennel club along with the breeders who really do care were to stand up and say lets all really start doing what is best for these, they would all gain alot more respect from others.

Karlin
22nd August 2008, 11:21 AM
As Margaret herself has posted, there was NO breach of confidentiality -- the breeder involved brought her scans to a show and showed them to Margaret and several other people at the time, with no request for confidentiality. It had nothing to do with a research programme and therefore has no connection at all to whether breeder cooperate in sending scans directly to Sarah Blott. Many breeders knew the status of the dog -- even many pet buyers by the time he was made up as a champion! -- and he had produced at least one symptomatic SM puppy as well.

It would be a somewhat different matter if the scans were submitted only to the club, confidentially, and then were leaked.

But even in such a case, one must weigh up the fact that *26 litters* were born to a dog that, according to the woman who was at Geoff Skerritts with the breeder in question at the time of the scan, was told he had one of the the WORST scans for his age that Skerritt, one of the eminent neurologists in the UK, had ever seen -- and he has scanned over 600 cavaliers alone!! To me, to not bring this terrible situation out into the open, even if it did mean violating confidentiality, would make a mockery of the whole point of scanning in the first place, and allow untold suffering to go forward to new generations in full violation of the KC Code of Ethics. At that point, the right moral decision would have been to speak out. But such a situation never arose in the case of this breeder and this dog. The scans were NOT confidential.

The breeder who accompanied the woman to Mr Skerritt is so outraged at what she saw on Pedigree Dogs Exposed -- an outright denial that the dog had SM as well as the revelation of all the litters born SINCE that scan -- that she has signed a formal letter of complaint to the breed club.

Consider this: 26 litters of puppies from a dog with one of the worst scans seen at Geoff Skerritt's hospital, knowingly bred undoubtedly to many other breeder's dogs who were quite aware of this dog's status as it had not been a secret for years.

That is 26 litters of puppies who may suffer hideous pain; 26 litters of puppies that will will spread those genes on making it ever more difficult to address SM in the breed. Not to mention the families that bought pets from those breeders in good faith. All the breeders who knowingly bred and sold puppies involving this sire are in total violation of the Kennel Club code of ethics.

Yet despite so many, many people knowing this dog's status, not one complained to the KC or the breed clubs.

Margaret finally chose to do this. It was one of the most powerful indictments in the film -- mentioned over and over on discussion lists and radio programmes everywhere -- and I think it was absolutely right to name and shame this duplicity.

Owning a dog myself that requires a daily cocktail of drugs to manage his pain from SM, I am nauseated that any breeder -- no, that such a large group of breeders -- would knowingly buy in to such a perverted, disgusting approach to breeding, the breed, and to the relationship of breeder with a trusting public that buys puppies from such people.

Sad to say I am aware that this is not an isolated story either. For lack of time in the documentary, there are other stories that could have gone in, involving club breeders and some prominent ones at that, which did not. But the stories and the people involved in them are all available to the show producers and if more need to be named and shamed I am sure they will be. In many of these cases I have seen the direct evidence of what these people do and continue to do. :x Maybe the time will shortly come when a formal list with evidence should be drawn up and presented to the chair of the CKCS Club and other clubs and CC'd to the KC so that some of these people are removed from the club and required to explain their actions.

And there are many, many non club breeders, puppy farmers and people down your own streets (maybe even readers of this post who breed casually :( ) that are busy committing similarly hideous acts because they do not have a clue about proper breeding and do not health test at all. This is not just about club breeders -- it is about ALL poor breeding -- but I firmly feel the knowing, deliberate breeding of affected dogs is the most heinous, disturbing act any breeder can commit. Especially a club show breeder well aware of this problem in the breed.

How these people can look at their dogs every morning, I do not know. How can anyone look at the wonderful face of a cavalier, and willfully inflict a life of pain on this breed.

estalea
22nd August 2008, 11:29 AM
How these people can look their dogs every morning, I do not know. How can anyone look at the wonderful face of a cavalier, and willfully inflict a life of pain on this breed


this is what i dont understand karlin and how anyone could ever defend these people is beyond me.

cecily
22nd August 2008, 11:38 AM
What I do care about though is ,has Margaret C allinated Cavalier Breeders from now MRI Scanning their Breeding Stock through her mention on the TV Film of seeing many,many MRI Scans.


If Margaret C alone has managed to alienate Cavalier breeders from MRI scanning then they don't deserve to be cavalier breeders, IMHO. I find it astounding that breeders would value secretiveness and privacy over the health of such a wonderful breed. Unaccountable damage has been done by breeding sick dogs... to the breed as a whole, to indiviudual dogs, to the devastated pet owners. If they refuse to have their dogs scanned, then that is a grevious sin in my opinion, and firmly on their conscience. It is not for Margaret, Carol, Karlin or anyone else to be held accountable. The only accountable ones are the irresponsible breeders that would avoid medical care for fear of what? Losing money because they can't breed off a sick dog? That just turns my stomach.

Devilica
22nd August 2008, 11:50 AM
Unfortunately it does seem as if the best way to change the NEED for all breeding dogs to be scanned/tested is for the KC to refuse to register any puppies from non tested parents.

The KC seem more worried about losing the revenue from the thousands of puppies registered each year than they are from the illnesses spreading through cavaliers (and other breeds).

I seem to remember Ronnie Irving (chairman KC) stating that enforcing these tests wouldnt stop the breeding but would stop them being with the KC. In my mind that just means that when you buy a KC registered puppy you would be getting one where the HEALTH of the animal was more important than the profits the KC make.

To the average pet buyer, getting a KC registered puppy makes you think you are being responsible. The truth is it gives you no more guarantees of animal health than buying from puppy farmers and brokers. This is wrong.

Karlin
22nd August 2008, 11:57 AM
In my mind that just means that when you buy a KC registered puppy you would be getting one where the HEALTH of the animal was more important

Yes just so. I want club registration to actually mean something -- not just that the breeders belong to a club and might or might not ever care one iota about health! Puppy buyers do think of club reg as a quality mark. We need to work to make sure it is. Under Irving's logic, no health requirements should be imposed as then the breeders wouldn't belong to the club. Well, if he has such abysmally low expectations of breeders and what a KC can and should stand for and achieve, then what meaning does KC registration have anyway? I know the club has funded research and encourages health -- but that simply is not enough given the state of many breeds and the approach of many breeders.

As Margaret noted elsewhere -- people should write their KCs to demand that registration mean more than a sign of club membership.

I will put up some bullet points as a model for what people might want to argue. I just do not have time to do this til the weekend. But there are plenty of arguments in this thread alone to form the basis for a good letter. CC it to all the CKCS clubs too.

Karlin
22nd August 2008, 02:48 PM
I have been given permission to crosspost this from another list -- the person is known to me but I have removed her name for her own privacy. She feels it is important for this to be known to help the breed and stop the deliberate breeding of affected dogs, in Lucky's name.


Subject: Re: Controversy over BBC documentary on cavaliers

Here's my 2 cents worth.
I had a beautiful dog named Lucky. He was an owner handled AKC champion
at age 18 months but even months before that he had some SM symptoms.
Lucky required SM surgery once at age 2 and PSOM surgery 3 times. Lucky
died from complicatons of his 3rd PSOM surgery but I strongly suspect
the symptoms that led to his repeat PSOM surgery were probably due to
recurrent SM. Lucky repeatedly attacked one of my other dogs so
severely and so repeatedly and without warning that I eventually had to
place him with a vet cardiology resident. He died about 6 months after
he went to live with her.

Why am I rehashing this....because Lucky's sire was the pictured BIS
winner on the documentary. That made this pretty personal to me. I
tried to contact his sire's breeder/owner by mail (I have never found an
email address for her) to let her know of Lucky's problems but NEVER
heard anything back from her. Since we live on different sides of the
Atlantic, I did not go by for a visit. I did get very gracious feedback
from his dam's owner but nothing from the sire's side. It took 2 dogs
to create Lucky. The fact that his sire has been bred so extensively is
really sad to me. I hate to think that there are other dogs out there
with Lucky's difficulties. I hope there aren't but I'll never know
because that information is not easily obtainable.

I wish first and foremost that Lucky had not had to go through all the
difficulties he went through. I wish that I could have not gone through
the heartbreak of loving him, putting him through surgery, dealing with
dog aggression in a breed that should not be aggressive, having to make
a choice of which dog to keep, having to give him away, and then having
him die. I wish that I felt I could contact a breeder and not feel
anxious about asking about health testing, including MRI's for SM. I
wish I could have another cavalier like Lucky but without SM. I don't
know if any of these wishes will ever come true.

Margaret C
22nd August 2008, 03:46 PM
Could I be allowed to mention that I just don't care who has said what about this Cavalier Dog under discussion

What I do care about though is ,has Margaret C allinated Cavalier Breeders from now MRI Scanning their Breeding Stock through her mention on the TV Film of seeing many,many MRI Scans.

That for me is where the danger is.

Hopefully the List Members here will read the UK CKCS Chairman's Response on the Club Web-Site to the Film

www.thecavalierclub.co.uk (http://www.thecavalierclub.co.uk)

Bet


Yes, I have seen many many MRI scans.
That is because there has been a band of wonderful breeders who have been scanning for years & sharing their results both good & bad.
They have held scan parties in the West Midlands. "I'll show you mine if you show me yours"

Jeanne, my colleague, & I bought a small light box & it has been used a great deal at health clinics & at the Malvern show to show scans that this great bunch of people have lent me.

I have had a lot of supportive messages since the film was shown ( thank you & I will get back to you, but it will take weeks to clear the backlog )
I have also read some very aggressive comments on international internet lists. The Northern Cavalier Club Chairman wants to punch me, & the editor of the Cavalier Club pet page wants to be next...... and this was before the documentary was even shown.
What happened to the right of free speech?

I have worked for five years with SM researchers. I do not intend to stop.
Even with all the nastiness that has been going on I have still been helping to take the research forward.

I wonder just what my critics have been doing to actively help in these last few weeks?

In June I went to the AHT and gave Sarah Blott over 100 MRI certificates that owners had submitted when putting their scanned dogs on the voluntary list.
Bet, please note:- I had written to everyone and received their permission to pass on this information.
I still have a great many yet to photocopy (all at my own cost ) and pass on.

I had this year's fundraising Christmas card ( design by the talented Eleanor Mancey ) printed.
Poor Jeanne is the lucky person that packs 2000 cards into packs of 5.

A few weeks ago my daughter's SM affected cavalier had to be put to sleep & she then took him to Cambridge for Nick Jeffrey's to post mortem. My family are paying travel, postmortem & individual cremation costs. Murphy' ashes are now in a special spot in her garden.

Murphy is the first cavalier to provide cell tissue in a new project to compare the spinal cords of SM affected dogs with a control set of unaffected dogs.
This is research being carried out by Clare Rusbridge & Nick Jeffrey at Cambridge.
I have already raised money & run a similar scheme that gave practical & financial help to ten owners that were willing to provide tissue from their cavaliers.
The heart tissue goes for MVD research at Edinburgh, so it is such a worthwhile thing to do.

When we have the funding etc. in place & the scheme starts officially I will post the details here.



Margaret C

Alison_Leighfield
22nd August 2008, 04:24 PM
Marvelous work Margeret, just marvelous. :)

It has been a pleasure to be able to help you when I can even if it's only providing you with a few MRI's of my own affected girls (4) when you have done the health stall at Malvern in the past.
I have always been happy to help regarding SM, with information to others and vets etc and have done this for the past few years, along with rescue.

So very sorry to read about your daughters Cavalier.

Bet have you done anything to help Cavaliers and their owners with SM regarding actual research, information to pet owners/vets, fund raising etc? apart from on the lists? I'm not intending to be be rude by asking, I'm just interested.

Alison.

Bet
22nd August 2008, 05:14 PM
I hope I may be able to answer you Alison.

Yes I sure have helped in the Research of SM in the Cavalier Breed,at the beginning when it first reared it's head I helped Dr Rusbridge and Penny Knowler with their Cavalier Pedigree work

This lasted for over 1 and a half years

Often I was working for around 8 hours a day

I spent ,I would say about £ 500 maybe more on photo-copying and postage sending the information to Penny Knowler

Fleek my poor husband did most of the house-work and cooking ,I dont know why there was,nt a DIVORCE !!!!

So really I dont need to take any lectures from anybody about helping the Cavalier Breed with their SM Problem

But seeing what is happening now ,I really wonder was it worth my while!

Bet

Carolina
22nd August 2008, 06:00 PM
I am just a Cavalier lover suffering very much from my eldest 7 year old ruby being diagnosed with SM and my new 13 week old puppy showing such severe symptoms that he will be MRI'd on monday. I want to say that it is fantastic to read your discussions in this forum and on this thread. In a few days I have learnt so much from all of you wonderful people that engage yourselves heart and soul to this cause.

Margaret C already has a place in heaven. Her work, commitment and strength. There might be some people angry at her. But I wouldn't mind about them, because their being against Margaret's exposure of unserious breeders is a sign of not having any moral ethics themselves and /or having something to hide as well. Of course there might be some that are just plain stupid and do not understand the advantages of having this problem exposed.

SM is painfull for all involved and the only thing to do about it is to spread the knowledge and stop the bad breeding. Thank you all for helping this breed.

Karlin
22nd August 2008, 07:39 PM
Bet, I hope you will find it was worth your while -- after all, Penny and Clare's pedigree work is the research enabling Sarah Blott's work. If they had not compiled the pedigrees, MRI scans, and blood samples, Sarah would be starting from scratch trying to get owners to MRI, donate blood, and offer pedigrees to go with the MRId dogs! That process took the best part of a decade! I really think you need to talk to Sarah to better understand how pivotal Penny and Clare's work is and how important, therefore, your time in mailing pedigrees and contributing your knowledge was to the work being done now.

From a different perspective: do you regret all the time you put into helping with MVD? Because going from the results coming back from the CKCS Club itself, all that work has made NO difference at all, as Simon Swift has reported. There has been no change at all in MVD rates in the Club statistics because, he says, so few breeders follow the MVD protocol. He wrote about this in an open letter to the club last year and expressed his disappointment that yet again, the club had chosen not to make cardiac testing a mandatory part of the registration process. To me that is truly sad -- that people like you put so much effort into helping raise awareness about MVD, and for a decade the protocol has been advocated by the club, but in reality so few breeders follow it still that it has meant nothing to the results the Club records on hearts. In the documentary, Simon Swift, who sees all the results and knows the statistics for the club, acknowledges there has been *no change*. :( It must be very disappointing to you to have so little change, but I know that that hasn't changed your commitment to pressing for better heart health, just as many of us work hard for better neurological health with SM.

The dog that was mentioned in the documentary as having SM also was bred at 15 months -- more than a year below the MVD protocol age -- and produced the SM dog that I have crossposted about above. The owner has stated this on another list. So some breeder willingly bred her bitch to this dog knowing he was outside the heart protocol.

Margaret C
22nd August 2008, 08:38 PM
Bet, I hope you will find it was worth your while -- after all, Penny and Clare's pedigree work is the research enabling Sarah Blott's work. If they had not compiled the pedigrees, MRI scans, and blood samples, Sarah would be starting from scratch trying to get owners to MRI, donate blood, and offer pedigrees to go with the MRId dogs! That process took the best part of a decade! I really think you need to talk to Sarah to better understand how pivotal Penny and Clare's work is and how important, therefore, your time in mailing pedigrees and contributing your knowledge was to the work being done now.

Bet, your hard work is remembered & appreciated.

Penny, who is Clare Rusbridge's Mother, is still working hard as her unpaid research assistant
These are two amazing women & I feel they do not get the recognition and thanks for the work they have done from breeders or the cavalier clubs.

It was Clare that realised years ago that we would need to identify the gene/s that cause this condition and came up with the idea of collecting blood & sending it to the geneticists in Canada.
She & Penny spent months setting up the scheme & devising the many forms needed.

The gene work is now so advanced that they are concentrating on certain families of dogs. Yesterday she asked my colleague Jeanne to donate blood from Chase, the cavalier, we co-own.

Margaret C

Alison_Leighfield
23rd August 2008, 08:42 AM
Thats awful about the MVD results, with there being no change after all that time and work.

Seems dogs can be affected from early on right into late age then. Not good.

My friend Jill has a 2yr Tri boy "Billy" (Whitney's very handsome nephew!) at 22 months it was found he has a murmer, he is seeing a heart specialist now ASAP.

Poor girl lost Toby at 5.5 yrs with SM but with a clear heart and after finding Billy to then find he has the opposite health worry is just devastating to her and the family. It is a shame this has happened so young as he was to be MRI'd in March when 2.5 yrs and if clear offered as a stud dog if needed, she left him whole until the MRI for that reason alone. A shame to lose him with all the SM clear family so closely around him on both sides.

Thank you Bet for answering my questions, somehow may we find the way to help these dogs with both SM and MVD soon.

Alison.

Karlin
23rd August 2008, 12:10 PM
Unfortunately both these conditions are progressive, which is why people need to try and get the cardiologist certificates for *grandparents* and not just parents. A cavalier should not be bred at all until age FIVE if both parents are not known to be heart clear up til age 5 themselves. If people are following the MVD protocol, by the time a dog is breeding age of 2.5 its parents will be 5 and this can be verified. Good breeders continue to cardiologist check so that they know the status of their dogs throughout their lives. :)

The ongoing research partnership between the genome research led by Clare Rusbridge, Penny Knowler and renowned geneticist Guy Rouleau, and the estimated breeding value research by Sarah Blott, will hopefully enable the genetic knowledge of both SM and MVD that will make Sarah Blott's EVBs far more precise than they can possibly be based on MRI scans and pedigrees alone. But again the production of accurate EVBs right now relies on breeders giving Sarah all results, not just their good results. And the reality is that if breeders do not work together to get this information and move this research forward, they will have minimal tools for managing the growing crisis of Sm and the existing crisis of MVD -- tools which still would rely on breeders scanning and talking to Sarah.

Bet
24th August 2008, 08:45 AM
Karlin,

Yes I do believe it was a waste of time since some of the pedigrees have been found to be flawed, that is why Dr Blott is now needing to have accurate pedigree information by having Cheek Swabs or Micro chipping tahen.

This is what I do wonder if those same Pedigrees are being used in Canada ,and some are flawed ,then does this not skew the information for the Gene Research

Bet

Karlin
24th August 2008, 04:41 PM
Bet, I am sorry you feel that way. But the element of uncertainty due to the occasional incorrect dog on a pedigree, especially from many, many years ago before better records were kept, would be statistically far too miniscule to make any real difference to the EBVs or the work that resulted in the MVD protocol or the role of inheritance in CM and SM. It is fairly easy these days to correct many inaccuracies too because so many people are aware of littermates and relations on pedigrees, especially for the key dogs that are most relevant to the genome work now.

Sarah Blott also does not need further MRIs to prepare her EBVs -- as the newsletter noted earlier this year, she has actually completed EBVs for every single pedigreed cavalier alive right now in the UK. The job of making those ever more accurate will depend on adding more information via MRi, but primarily by adding the results of the Canadian genome project, which will link true genetic inheritance values to the breeding values for a given dog or line. Again, the occasional incorrect dog on past pedigrees is not going to alter those EBVs.

Using cheek swabs, blood donations or whatever to link a dog and pedigree to a DNA profile is a standard that will likely come in for all dogs (I already own a dog that is DNA profiled by the breeder :)). Already many good breeders do this s best practice, to guarantee that a given dog does have the parentage claimed on the pedigree. The IKC is talking about making this mandatory for all registered dogs. But this works both ways -- A DNA test can also verify that dogs could NOT be the ones noted on the pedigree. This is why it is also unlikely that a given dog and pedigree would be totally or significantly incorrect for research as the profile would be wrong for the dog.

So there really is no issue of damaging Sarah's current funded work project even if no one submits another MRI right now, you can stop worrying about that. Also occasional inaccuracies on pedigrees will neiher have affected the accuracy of research work on MVD that led to the MVD protocol, nor to the initial genetic and DNA work that has already indicated -- as Sarah herself has noted -- that probably 70-80% of the likelihood a dog will develop SM is linked to inheritance. She will tell you this herself I am sure. However, the long term value of her EBVs once she has completed this work would depend on some people continuing to scan so that real scientific data from the scans can be added to the predictions of inheritance. There are good indications that many people will scan as many breeders have indicated an intention to obtain this data on their breeding dogs. Given the close relatedness between all cavaliers, much useful data will come from even small MRI samples.

So your work before was not in vain in terms of the results. Sadly though it may well be seen to have been in vain if breeders do not actually use the MVD protocol that resulted! As the UK CKCS Club's own cardiologist Simon Swift has said several times -- including in Pedigree Dogs Exposed -- heart statistics within the UK club have not improved AT ALL in the years the club has recommended -- rather than required -- using the MVD protocol, and that this is due solely to breeders not following the protocol (stated in his open letter to the club that was posted the the UK CKCS club site for several weeks last year. in which he asked whether the club was truly serious about improving heart statistics in the breed and if so, was it not now time to REQUIRE cardiologist heart testing only, and the use of the protocol?).

PS It is worth noting that all the pedigree information is what is in the records of the UK club, so if it were to be significantly incorrect, that would be a problem they would need to work to resolve. Nonetheless the inheritance values would not have been significantly affected over such a huge sample of pedigrees (15,000), tied to some 1500 MRIs I believe at this point, and many blood/cheek DNA samples that were donated as well. :thmbsup:

Bet
24th August 2008, 06:34 PM
Thats good that Cheek Swabs were taken for the Pedigrees for the Canadian Gene Research ,its so important that they are accurate .This makes the Scientific Information valuable

Bet

Evelyn
24th August 2008, 07:23 PM
Karlin
Do you have any idea how long it will be before breeders can get help from Sarah?
If they are trying to find the best match for their scanned girl?

Evelyn

Karlin
24th August 2008, 07:48 PM
No idea -- this is what was said at the meeting (http://thecavalierclub.co.uk/health/ebv/aht_meeting_270708.html):


Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs)

It was agreed that all scan results should be sent direct to Sarah Blott for her continuing research. It was noted that a consent form will be needed to allow results to be used for research, and this can be based on current forms used for hips and elbow examination. The format of the form will be agreed by the panel of neurologists and radiologists.

It was noted that first estimates of breeding values are now available for every cavalier in the UK.

There was discussion on when EBVs should be made available to breeders. It was suggested that should EBVs become available too soon, when the programme is still at a very early stage, results could be disappointing and may alienate breeders. It was agreed that more information (ie. further MVD and MRI results) should be obtained before the system is introduced, so that it is more reliable and thus more beneficial.

It was noted that dogs do not have to be scanned to be given a breeding value. There are various ways in which EBVs could be presented to breeders. The AHT will work with the Breed Clubs over the coming months to determine the best way of doing this. The breeding value of each dog will change over the years, as information is obtained on its progeny.

It was noted that Sarah Blott particularly requires information on clear dogs.

This will be a web-based scheme but available in print from AHT, to any breeder on request.

Sarah Blott agreed to produce a special leaflet for distribution to club members, explaining the scheme in layman’s terms.

The AHT data collection will be used to provide breeders with EBVs for safer breeding programmes to reduce the incidence of both MVD and SM, and could include any other condition as appropriate in the future. The EBV system will become even more reliable when permanent identification (PI) is introduced throughout all members’ breeding stock.

The full explanation from Sarah of her programme is here (http://thecavalierclub.co.uk/health/ebv/genetic_study.html).

This is exciting work:


In addition to selecting away from individual known diseases, such as syringomyelia, it is important to consider the long-term health of the breed. Population diversity and maintenance of diversity is important in order to minimize the risk of future new diseases arising. We want to apply state-of-the-art genetic selection techniques that use optimal contribution theory to help avoid unequal representation of individuals in future generations or ‘genetic bottlenecks’ occurring. This ensures that increases in inbreeding and loss of diversity are minimized. Our aim is to develop internet-based tools that allow breeders to have direct access to these state-of-the-art techniques to help them make optimal selection decisions. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel will be the first dog breed in the world for which these techniques will be available.


One might guess that using the EBVs to promote diversity will also highlight the need to stop close linebreeding.

Further background:


Data collected by Penny Knowler and Clare Rusbridge is currently being used as the basis for the population-based analysis of heritability. Their database contains clinical observations for SM and CM on around 1,400 dogs and MRI scan results for around 700 of these dogs. We have also been given access to the full UK Kennel Club pedigree records for CKCS. This enables us to estimate the heritability of SM and the genetic correlations between SM and measurements made from the MRI scans. The information obtained from this analysis then allows us to derive estimated breeding values (EBVs) for all measured dogs as well as all dogs in the pedigree. Once the results of the gene mapping studies become available it is hoped to bring this information together with the population analysis to facilitate the calculation of genomic breeding values (geBVs). Early estimates of the heritability of SM suggest it is around 0.7-0.8* or that 70-80% of the variation between individuals is genetic in origin and about 20-30% is environmental. In the case of SM not much is known about the environmental influences and these may include in-utero or developmental effects. The heritability is sufficiently high, however, that genetic selection against the disease should be very successful. Heritabilities for Chiari Malformation, Cerebellar Herniation and Medullary Kinking are also very high. Genetic correlations between these traits and SM are positive and, interestingly, less than one. This suggests that different genes may be controlling SM and CM and that it will be possible to select against SM even if dogs have the malformation (CM).


This is why supporting the Canadian genome study is crucial -- that is where the genomic info will come from:


The accuracy of the EBV increases with numbers of offspring and this may take some time to achieve. In contrast, genomic breeding values (geBVs) provide a high accuracy from birth. By looking directly at the DNA genotypes we can see which genes were inherited from the sire and from the dam, without having to wait for offspring. Genomic breeding values can be used for accurate evaluation at an early stage, before the disease phenotype may be apparent and before a dog is used for breeding.

Karlin
24th August 2008, 09:12 PM
I'll post this to this thread as well:

This article is on the UK Cavaliers website, and is very insightful on linebreeding and the problems it can cause in later generations as it quotes the woman widely credited with founding the modern CKCS, the woman who bred the dog on which the breed standard is based, Ann's Son, Mrs Pitt:


as Mrs. A. Pitt the founder of the Cavalier Breed said in a Cavalier magazine here in Britain in 1957 no thought had been given as to the future health of the Cavaliers, because the breeders at that time were in-breeding over and over again to the same stud dogs. 1 do know that there were Cavaliers dying of heart trouble in the 1950's whether from M.V.D that will never be known, but quite a number of those Cavaliers were the result of in-bred pedigree backgrounds. Is this the reason why around 50% of the Cavaliers in Britain have heart murmurs by the age of 5 years of age? It's even worse in Canada where 50% have heart murmurs by 4 years age.


Since those faulty genes could have come down through the generations because of close/line breeding I suppose those figures will be much the same in America because in breeding would have taken place to get the Cavalier breed established


What this means is that for Britain 41 % of Cavaliers will be carriers of heart murmur genes and around 9% of Cavaliers will be clear of those faulty genes.

[snip]

Is this now the time for Cavalier breeders, for the future of the breed, to bite the bullet in order to widen the genetic pool of Cavaliers and start using Cavaliers for breeding that are not winning in the Show Ring?


I have been collecting quite a few hundred pedigrees of Cavaliers who have died at a young age, 5-7 years from heart trouble, mainly from Cavalier Pet Owners, like ourselves over the years and very few Cavalier Breeders in Britain can say they've had no heart trouble in their lines

One of many, many key articles written by Bet Hargreaves, who has campaigned for years for better heart health in the breed. She wrote this in 2000. :)

http://www.cavaliers.co.uk/articles/articlelonglived.htm

Karlin
25th August 2008, 11:21 PM
I am very concerned about a private email that is being widely crossposted by a health rep to a large CKCS club in the UK -- which publicly raises doubts about the professional capabilities of one of the most eminent neurologists in the UK, Mr Geoff Skerritt, and his abilities to produce and interpret an MRI. The email is written by a human rheumatologist in Australia (without veterinary background). It was Mr Skerritt who did the MRI on the Malvern stud dog. He has also done more MRIs for club breeders than any other single neurologist in the UK, at discount and often at club request, very deep discounts for special regional club screening days.

I am sure some of you have seen this email. The doctor who wrote the email also claimed that people should not be overly concerned at high rates of the malformation in cavaliers because the Chairi 1 malformation in humans is actually 'common' anyway.

Such a claim is extraordinary. So I tried to find out this doctor's background to be able to make such claims. He turns out to be an elderly, human rheumatologist in Australia, without any vet background, who hasn't published in his area in 30 years (going from what comes up on the publication indexes, a few papers in the late 60s and 70s).

In contrast, Mr Skerritt is well recognised in the UK as a pioneer of veterinary imaging. He is author of the textbook 'Handbook of Veterinary MRI' and RCVS Fellow and Recognised Specialist in Veterinary Neurology, Diplomate of the European College of Veterinary Neurology; he is a former President of the ECVN and current Chairman of the RCVS Small Animal Surgery and Fellowship Boards.

On the 'commoness' of Chiari 1 in humans: current research estimates likely human occurrence at 1:1200 (this figure is widely available from current published articles) -- or 0.08% of the human population, which is in medical circles definitely considered 'rare'. If only 1% of cavaliers have the malformation, then the cavalier rate is 12 times that of the human population. If it is, say, the 85% Geoff Skerritt has predicted, it is 1200 times the rate of human affectedness.

Or put it another way -- the ACKCSC's own breed health survey in 2005 came back with an MRI-diagnosed level of SM of 4% at that time, which would of course be very low compared to all the study populations so far. Nonetheless, 4% is a level that Prof Larry Glickman, head of Purdue vet school, at that time termed worryingly high compared to the the normal dog population and caused him to mark the condition as an increasing breed concern.

So, even if all the ongoing research is radically wrong and the level is actually down near the breed survey, the level would still be approaching 1 in 20 cavaliers, which to most people is not rare. That is an SM rate of 1:22, compared to the 'common' 1:1200 incidence of Chiari 1 malformation in humans. Which surely means the SM ratio, by comparison, is extremely common in cavaliers?

I have suggested that it is a very serious matter indeed for all club breeders who have had dogs MRId if the health representative of a major UK CKCS club is allowing Mr Skerritt's professional bona fides to be openly challenged and that this surely requires some sort of adjudication, perhaps by a neutral panel of radiologists and neurologists which the club and KC themselves proposed be established recently to view MRIs. Alternatively Mr Skerritt should be allowed to offer and defend his reading of that MRI publicly?

frecklesmom
26th August 2008, 03:18 AM
Can't conceive of a rheumatologist commenting on a neurological field. Most specialists have a hard time keeping up within their own specialty let alone invading another which leads me to believe this might be a hoax but an ugly one if it does come under that category.Saw this specific email quoted on another site and did see some belief there-some people will believe anything they see written :(

Karlin
26th August 2008, 12:41 PM
Note the email does not dispute Geoff Skerritt's findings. It only disputes Geoff Skerritt's professionalism by alleging a poor quality MRI that he could not read himself. So the email actually proves nothing about the content of the MRI or dog in question.

It is worth noting that vet MRIs are read differently, from different angles, than human MRIs.

Karlin
26th August 2008, 01:11 PM
I also see that the doctor's wife is a breeder of cavaliers in Australia. :cool:

frecklesmom
26th August 2008, 02:07 PM
For crying outloud, the plot thickens. Good hunting, Karlin !

Karlin
26th August 2008, 02:11 PM
She's also the puppy referral contact for Victoria.

misty
26th August 2008, 08:29 PM
The more I've read the past few days, the sadder I become :(

Arlene
26th August 2008, 08:53 PM
As do I, Misty.

There was a wonderful post, by a breeder, this morning on the CKCS-SM yahoo list that helped my heart.

She is one obviously recognizing and facing the problem.

I have yet to recieve permission to crosspost, but it points out the studies which show the prevalence of SM in the breed, and a belief in the accuracy of the studies and in the scientists trying to help this breed.

I am thankful for breeders like her.

For those unfamiliar with the studies, they were of dogs voluntarily MRId but which were not showing outward signs of SM.

The results:

In the Netherlands - 56%, in France - 42%, and in North Carolina - 37% had SM.

Googling can find the studies, but as I have just been reading the French Abstract, here it is: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/120750176/abstract?CRETRY=1&SRETRY=0

For Bet, this is a published and peer reviewed paper I believe (feel free to correct me). To note from the study, "The incidence of Chiari-like malformation and syringomyelia may be high in an asymptomatic population of cavalier King Charles spaniel."

Arlene and her three: J P - Alaskan Husky, Missie - Cavalier x Tibetan Spaniel, Rocky - All Sporty Cavalier:)

Karlin
26th August 2008, 09:12 PM
Yes, there have been several studies, one of which, in Canada, has not yet released figures formally I believe.


Couturier and others 2008 -- study of 16 dogs, none with symptoms, 43.7% affected SM

Guelph (Canadian) study -- as yet unpublished

South African study -- 52 dogs, 5% had signs of the disease and 52% were affected with SM

USA study (US club funded) -- Cerda-Gonzalez and other 2006 (abstract) and 2008 (pending publication). 64 dogs of which 49 were fee of clinical signs of disease. 26.5% of these 49 asymptomatic dogs were affected SM - if you included the symptomatic dogs then this figure rises to 42%

UK and Netherlands -- Rusbridge and others 2007. 75 dogs of which 55 were fee of clinical signs of disease. 65.4% of these 55 asymptomatic dogs were affected SM -- if you included the symptomatic dogs then this figure rises to 74.5%


None were random samples but all as noted had a high degree of asymptomatic dogs presumed to be clear, many of them breeder-owned dogs. Most of these studies have dogs aged 5 or under -- eg breeding age -- so the assumption would be that levels of affectedness are higher because SM is progressive and would be likely to be seen more in older dogs than younger.

Ideally now would be the time to fund a fully random study to MRI a larger population of cavaliers.

Arlene
26th August 2008, 09:54 PM
A big thank you Karlin for listing those studies.

This is the post from the breeder Laura Lang that I wrote about earlier. I now have permission to crosspost.

I post it not for the information, but because it reflects the great intentions of a breeder.

As I said, after reading through lists and posts over the last few days I'm getting a bit negative. From a breeder this is a welcomed post that warms my heart.

"Dr. Rusbridge has stated several times that about 30-50% of Cavaliers have SM. She also stated this on the documentary. I have yet to read a published percentage by Dr. Skerritt. All other studies have shown percentages in the same range. These can easily be found on the internet by doing searches.

Netherlands
Overall 56% had SM.

France
With this group, 43% of clinically normal champion breeding dogs (genitors) had SM

North Carolina
MRI Findings: 37% had SM

Of the MRIs sent to me and put up on the Cavalier InfoCenter site, the results are also in the same range. 42% had SM.

These were breeding dogs voluntarily MRId by their owners--not clinical cases. I have heard of no studies showing a lower incidence. Possibly a higher incidence however. I believe Dr. Rusbridge uses those statistics because not only is that what she has found, it has also been backed up by every other study done worldwide.

For those who don't know what SM is--it means there is a significant pocket of fluid inside the spinal cord called a syrinx. Significant means the syrinx has to have a diameter wider than 2mm. This is not a normal finding in any human or animal. 80% of humans who have SM have symptoms. The primary symptom of SM is pain--headaches and a burning sensation being some of the most common forms of pain. Lots of it mild, some much more severe. Maybe some expect that dogs are not in any pain unless they are rolling around screaming but quite honestly unless the pain is really severe--few of us would roll around and/or scream while in pain! Humans will tell others they are in pain and will take pain meds when needed, both of which dogs are not capable of. Therefore, there is no way I could state with any certainty at all that my dogs are free of all pain and therefore have no symptoms of SM. I cringe when I hear breeders flat-out stating none of their dogs have symptoms for this reason.

I also cringe when I hear someone say CM may be a normal finding in the breed. No way can I believe it is 'normal' to have one's cerebellum squashed to half it's normal size! And crammed up against the foramen magnum all the time. The fluid that the brain and spinal cord floats in needs to move back and forth with every heartbeat and if it can't--no way can this be a good thing. No one will ever convince me it is.

Common sense--this should be common sense.

I believe in my heart that these stats are somewhat accurate. Maybe, hopefully a bit on the high side, but still close enough. As accurate as the stat that 50% of all Cavaliers have a murmur by age 5 or 6 and most by age 10 or 11. No one would be happier if many more people would MRI their dogs and it would show that the 30-50% stat is not correct and that the percentage of affected is actually much lower than that. I hope that happens but my heart tells me research is way beyond the point of questioning stats and now moving towards getting answers.

I do not believe it is all gloom and doom however. If I did I wouldn't still be here. I think something can and should be done. I know I'm doing all I can--using every clue. I have no idea if I'm doing the right thing, but I am doing something. Something that makes good common sense to me. I'm hoping to reduce the amount of CM in my line and breeding towards that end. I do not believe CM is normal so I don't want my dogs to have it. I feel that if the fluid is moving freely between the brain and spinal cavities, it will be better for my dogs. MRIing is part of that picture. By the end of the year I hope to have most of the dogs in my house that are still in my breeding program that are 3 years old and older MRId. I also hope that by 2010 their MRIs will show that I have been somewhat successful towards achieving little to no CM. SM or not, I do not want my dogs' cerebellums squashed or free-flow of fluid blocked much of the time! I wouldn't want it in my own head or my childrens' heads. So I also don't want it in my dogs' heads!

I have to follow my own conscience and what I believe is common sense.

Laura Lang"

Arlene and her three :)

Karlin
27th August 2008, 12:07 PM
UK Neurologist Geoff Skerritt has said he feels he has the right of reply to the email from Dr Ingpen criticising the quality of his MRIs on the Malvern dog (and thus by implication questioning a diagnosis of syringomyelia referred to on Pedigree Dogs Exposed).

The email was posted widely by the health representative to the Southern CKCS Club, Veronica Hull, who referred to the email as "fascinating and balanced" Dr Ingpen as an 'unbiased' source ("a true perspective from an unbiased source who has expertise in this subject"). Dr Ingpen, it turns out, is married to a cavalier breeder in Australia who is also listed as their puppy referral contact. Dr Ingpen is also a human rheumatologist without veterinary background. Veronica Hull is the breeder who is questioned amongst the group of women at the very end of the BBC film.

This is the portion of his email that Geoff Skerritt is responding to:


6. Whilst in the UK in 2007 I was invited to examine a number of MRI images
relating to this problem. There was one which was clearly diagnostic and it
is my understanding that the breeder took responsible action. I also had the
opportunity to view the MRI referred to in the BBC programme. I think the
images were poor, inadequate and certainly not diagnostic anatomically.

There is no doubt that the problem has to be looked at seriously but in my
view at least the evidence available does not support the propaganda. I
sometimes wonder which 'bitch is on the end of the lead'.

Geoff Skerritt's response:


Dear All,

Thank-you for your support. I am surprised by the impertinence of this man! Considering that I lectured in veterinary anatomy for 20 years, pioneered veterinary MRI, was a founder of the European College of Veterinary Neurology and currently have one of the largest caseloads of veterinary MRI in the world, it is surprising that a man with no applicable qualifications should think that he knows more than I about a study that has occupied me for 10 years. The many students that I have examined would find Dr Ingpen's questioning of my ability most amusing. Much of my early work, including publications and presentations, were with Charlie Davies, Consultant Neurosurgeon at the Preston Hospital (human!) allowing parallel study of Chiari in human patients.

Dr Ingpen should know that the best MRI material for interpretation is on the VDU of the scanner -- my reports are so-based. Original hardcopy film is OK but any other reproduction is for illustrative purposes only. I don't know which films he thought he saw but it sounds as if he needs some lessons in basic interpretation.
I have viewed about 1000 scans of Cavaliers ---- I think I know what I am looking at! On both T1 and T2 weighted images there can be little doubt about the presence of syringomyelia; enlarged lateral ventricles are often obvious but I have always conceded that they can be present as a completely separate entity. The most difficult feature to assess is herniation of the cerebellum into/through the foramen magnum; however, if you compare likely abnormals with definite normals ( the same and other breeds ) caudal protrusion of the vermis ( not the tonsils of the human patient ) is clear but you must be able to identify the bone of the occiput ( not easy since it is black not white as on a radiograph ).

I would appreciate an apology, Dr Ingpen.

Regards

Geoff Skerritt

frecklesmom
27th August 2008, 06:57 PM
Well done, Mr.Skerritt. I doubt he expected that type of fallout from the BBC program. The Southern Club seems a little to the left, or is it to the right, of distinguished leadership. You'd need tough skin to approach some of them about a puppy-I didn't say all--just some. :-p

Cathy Moon
27th August 2008, 10:32 PM
The more I've read the past few days, the sadder I become :(
So do I. This isn't a chess game; we're talking about the health and well-being of cavaliers AND the families these dogs are members of. Sadly it's like watching a Greek tragedy sometimes lately. :(

Arlene, thank you for your observations and inspiring us with cross-posts from breeders like Laura Lang. Her approach to cavalier health is awesome. I'm sure there are more breeders like her who are doing their best to eradicate SM using a common sense approach. :thmbsup: What would we do without people like her?!

Arlene
28th August 2008, 12:20 AM
Cathy, it is very self serving of me. I hate Greek tragedies. I am much more of a comedy fan! If I didn't find that post I'd still be crying into my cereal about this situation. It feels good to pass it along.

I have a question. As I have been bumping around on these threads the last few days I once came across a post about someone being close to a genetic marker. I lost it and haven't been able to find it.

If someone else here has read it can they point me in the right direction please?

Arlene and her three: J P - Alaskan Husky, Missie - Cavalier x Tibetan Spaniel mix, Rocky - All Sporty Cavalier:)

Karlin
28th August 2008, 12:27 AM
This is probably Zoha Kubar/Guy Rouleau's info on the genome project.

There is info summarised from Guy's presentation here and some from Sarah Blott:

http://www.cavaliercanada.com/documents/VETERINARY_SATELLITE_MEETING_-_Website[1].pdf

Also check the Q&A as Guy was asked further ant this. He is an eminent geneticist who has done this type of groundbreaking work for several diseases.

Paper 2 here from Clare Rusbridge summarised the genetic findings so far:

http://sm.cavaliertalk.com/research/london/london06.html

In one of the Rusbridge newsletters there's a summary from Zoha but Clare Riusbridge's paper above gives that info in more detail and at a later point in the research.

Sarah Blott is dependent on the Rouleau work (which is the genome project initiated by Rusbridge/Knowler) to be able to offer the most accurate estimated breeding values, so much rides on that particular project.

Dur

KR
28th August 2008, 01:15 AM
Hello,
it is two years ago that I was last on this message board - which I had left at the time due to health reasons. Please excuse my long absence. I came here actually looking for something else, and found this thread.
I am "allegedly" a cavalier breeder in Germany (1 litter - therefore the allegedly). I have watched the program in question on "you tube" and have red this thread.
I would like to crrect one point I have read here which ist stating that only the swedish kennel clubs has rules of mvd. This is not correct. In Germany we have 3 breed clubs for ckcs. Different to the UK our clubs are able to make rules and if we do not abide by them we are thrown out (do not worry I am not at risk of this). We are not allowed to breed with heart ill dogs - period - and this has been the rule for a long time. I have been involved in the breed in Germany for 5 years, I have been showing cavaliers and participate in German Forums since their inception. In all this time I have only encountered one private owner with a dog that was bred in accordance with the breed clubs rules with MVD aged under 2 years. This dog was line bred to a dog who died of an untreated heart condition aged 8 years. Therefore I have reason to believe we are making good progress here.

I agree with the criticisms made of the kennel club in the film, but I am also concerned. A german company has bought it and will be planning to show it in Germany. I exepct that viewers will believe that the details in the film reflect standards in Germany. I am p***** off with the concept of having to repair that perception. It has taken long enough to persuade vets not to think that every cavaliers is a walking time bomb for heart failure.

kind regards,

Katherine

Karlin
28th August 2008, 10:53 AM
Thanks for the information that the German club has some rules around MVD too. It can be very hard to know what clubs other countries are doing without someone there who can translate and explain -- I think we have one other German breeder on the board as well. Does the club have a website where the club guidelines are written up? I would like to have details on various club policies. :)

I have strongly argued here and in other threads that the only place anyone should consider getting a cavalier puppy is from a club affiliated breeder (or affiliated to a reputable dog activity -- eg working dogs, agility, obedience -- organisation), actively involved with dogs, who does the proper screening and can prove it with certs, so I totally agree with you there Certainly getting a puppy from casual or commercial breeders remains the worst possible source as whatever about some club breeders doing little, the casual breeders not only do nothing about health, they also know little about either health or genetics or the lines of the dogs they are breeding.

I wouldn't describe all cavaliers as walking time bombs for MVD, but the statistical reality is that almost every cavalier will have this affliction by age 10 and half will by age 5-6, a horrific number for an old dog's disease. Given their size cavaliers should be routinely living to age 15-16-17, like Tibetan spaniels for example. Instead we are so used to losing our dogs at young ages and accepting anything above age 10 as an ancient cavalier that we don't notice that our dogs have a shorter lifespan than much larger breeds that are supposed to die younger. Most cavaliers will still die from heart failure at a younger age than is normal for a breed of its size.

KR
28th August 2008, 01:32 PM
Hello,
the rules in Germany are not as strict as those in Sweden - but they are a starting point.

For my club the following applies all females must prior to being mated have a heart investigation for which a certificate is issued - the certificate may not be older than 4 weeks prior to the mating. All females must be heart clear or they can not be bred.
All dogs must have a heart certificate produced once per year. As of the age of 3 years grade 1 is tolerated ( I do not agree with this), as of age 6 grade 2 is tolerated.

Prior to all of this the dog must have passed a breeding licence examination. For this a patella examination must have be made either by one of a group of vets who are certified by the German kennel club or two club own judges who are educated in examining patellas. A dog must be free of luxating patellas passed an evaluation of its confirmation, movement and temperament in order to gain the licence.

The German kennel Clubs offers Patella examinations and eye examinations at many international shows. the cost of these is very low for what they are - on the whole stud dogs owners will have these tests. I have had these tests done.
It is also very common to have hip scoring done - this is though becoming less and less - as the breed at least in Germany does not seem prone to it.
MRI scanning is not mandatory in Germany. A great number though of breeders have had dogs scanned in a study at the University of Giessen. A few years ago the University of Giessen had contacted the breed clubs to request help in getting people to have their dogs scanned. There is dissapointment with the work at the University - no information has been provided by them to the breed clubs about scan results or anything to do with the study. they also seem to have their own way of interpreting scans which is not in line with CR's work.
Despite this two of the three clubs are working together to combat SM - working in the general way one works to combat polygenetic hereditary diseases, but all three clubs are in agreement that no dog suffering from SM may be bred.

There are a lot more other rules too regarding breeding for example a female may only have one litter per calender year, incest breeding is forbidden etc..

Yuggie
28th August 2008, 03:10 PM
Dog world article on the Pedigree dogs exposed. Beverley Costello’s response is particularly interesting.


What the documentary makers decided not to include in their programme


This article has 0 Comments (http://www.dogworld.co.uk/News/35-not-in-the-programme#comments)
28 Aug 2008 08:10
SEVERAL people who appeared on the programme wanted an opportunity to clarify points and expand on some issues.
Lesley Jupp, chairman of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club, said: “By the nature of its advance publicity I was expecting the documentary to be editorially biased, and this proved to be the case. But when I watched the programme, more than anything else I was struck by the almost complete lack of credit given to the extensive work carried out by our club, and many other regional clubs, to address health issues and support research.
“For the past 20 years or more we have conducted numerous health clinics and health programmes across the country, all involving ophthalmologists and cardiologists. Ian Mason, an ophthalmologist, recently said that eye problems in the breed have been greatly reduced, due in large measure to this initiative. Ian was interviewed by the film crew during our last championship show but this achievement was apparently considered insufficiently newsworthy to warrant mention on the programme.
“Other breed societies have also organised health-screening schemes, some of which have been very successful. Again none of these were mentioned. Syringomyelia (SM) first came to light approximately five years ago. Since then, the club has consistently endeavoured to educate and inform its members on the condition. Numerous research schemes have been established and assisted funding provided for MRI scans. Many seminars have been held, including the first International conference on SM, held at the Royal Veterinary College in 2006. None of this was mentioned on the programme.
“The Kennel Club Charitable Trust has supported many club research projects; £24,000 was raised jointly by Cavalier clubs to fund mitral valve disease (MVD) research at Edinburgh University. The Kennel Club matched this funding and the research is now in its fourth year. Again, this initiative was not mentioned during the programme. I genuinely believe that no club could reasonably have done more than the work carried out by ours. Our efforts were not inspired by the Companion Animal Welfare Council (CAWC) meeting earlier this year, but have been in progress for at least 25 years. Sadly, health research is a slow process. There can be no quick miracle cures for historic conditions in the breed. It should also be noted that only a minority of Cavaliers registered are bred by members of Cavalier breed clubs.
“The club has no mandatory powers to impose breeding regulations on its members, only the capacity to influence, educate and persuade. This we have done to the best of our ability. This was not reflected in the programme, even though its producers were aware of our efforts. As I watched the programme, it became very apparent that this did not coincide with the image they wished to promote.
“Finally, some reasons to be positive. Most Cavaliers lead happy, normal lives and some vets say they do not encounter SM. Eye problems are being eradicated. Brendan Corcoran, at Edinburgh University, is conducting the first investigation of the mitral valve ‘structure’ and why it fails. Simon Swift, at Liverpool University, has conducted cardiology clinics at our club events for 18 years, following Peter Darke’s retirement. Simon is involved with the exciting LUPA project, which is funded by the EU (580,000 euros) to unravel the genetic background of specific canine diseases, one of which is MVD in the Cavalier. The project has access to the top scientists in the field. Sarah Bott at Animal Health Trust is conducting groundbreaking research to produce an internet-based breeding programme of estimated breeding values. This is a science that has been used successfully for cattle and pigs. In the near future Cavalier breeders will be first to be given the opportunity to use this programme to breed healthier dogs. Sarah has received substantial sponsorship from the Kennel Club Charitable Trust. Perhaps just as importantly, she also has the enthusiastic support of all Cavalier breed clubs. This bodes well.
“Additionally, breed clubs are currently in discussion with the Animal Health Trust on the appointment of a panel of neurologists and radiologists, for standardising the certification of MRI scans. Currently, scans are assessed by individual neurologists and this inevitably results in differing opinions. The new panel should resolve this problem and will provide for an ‘appeal’ system to be established. Initially, this will be a Cavalier Club scheme for which we have received financial and practical assistance from the KC. Furthermore, we will continue to hold health clinics and promote heart testing, eye testing and blood sampling. We intend, in unison with other Cavalier clubs, to promote the permanent identification of dogs and cheek swabs.

Cavalier breeder and exhibitor Beverley Costello, who was interviewed by the film crew after her champion dog won BIS at a breed club championship show, said the programme had upset her greatly and that her remarks had been ‘severely edited.’
“I am very upset the way the programme was edited and the things said about my dog,” she said. “I have the support of the majority of club members. It was said that it was that it was known that my dog had SM because the MRI scan had been seen. But that’s not true because the scan has never left the house. I’m very angry because pet people will now believe that.
“I have been in the breed 15 years and have made up a champion. But life has got complicated. It is upsetting. The dog in question is five this year, and is healthy. His mother lives with me – she is fine and my friend has his grandmother and she is well, too. None of them is showing any symptoms. The line is good and an MRI scan is not the answer to everything anyway. I don’t think SM is the epidemic they are trying to make out it is. I have never had phone calls from anyone saying any of my dog’s puppies have had problems. I would be angry if they did not let me know if they had. I’m sure if any of the puppies did have a problem the programme would have found them and wheeled them out.”
Miss Costello said she would not breed any more litters: “I work full time and dogs don’t finance anything. I have nine Cavaliers – some retired – no litters and no intention of mating anything. My dogs live with me in the house and they do a lot of walking. They are like my children, and mean the world to me

Arlene
28th August 2008, 03:44 PM
It is interesting Miss Costello has made this decision now and not after the on camera confrontation in March, or better yet, before then. The Champion dog from the show currently has a July born litter from a young dam. Looking at the age of the dam this is disregarding both MVD and SM protocol.

Isn't it wonderful to know she feels she has "the support of the majority of the club members."

Arlene and her three: J P - Alaskan Husky, Missie - Cavalier x Tibetan Spaniel, Rocky - All Sporty Cavalier :)

Yuggie
28th August 2008, 04:01 PM
I am horrified that she has support but clearly she does.

Also I have seen posts on champdogs etc from people who have bought pups from her line. They claim not only do their dogs suffer SM but that they have notified their breeders and or the Costellos.

No remorse at all in her quotes.

Margaret C
28th August 2008, 05:28 PM
I am horrified that she has support but clearly she does.

Also I have seen posts on champdogs etc from people who have bought pups from her line. They claim not only do their dogs suffer SM but that they have notified their breeders and or the Costellos. Making a mockery of her claim that “I have never had phone calls from anyone saying any of my dog’s puppies have had problems.”

No remorse at all in her quotes.

Hello Yuggie,

I am the person who was shown the scan by Miss Costello.

It was at a dog show & I have witnesses that saw her showing me, and others , the scan.

I also have the names of people that have informed her their puppies are SM affected.

The two latest litters that I know about are 9 weeks & 6 weeks old. The matings would have taken place after she gave the film interview.

What would have ever stopped this woman?

I would be pleased to have any more information.

Many thanks,

Margaret C

Yuggie
28th August 2008, 07:08 PM
HI Margaret,

I just went into champdogs to cut and past all the information. I will pm it to you as I feel I can't crosspost it. Actually I misremembered the details, it was the breeders of sire of the dog in the BBC programme who were informed. You may find the details interesting anyway.

However in the same vein I'm sure you saw this post. Karlin knows how to contact this owner. I wish you all the best, I think you are doing an amazing job in the face of appears to be a campaign of ignorance and malice.
Best
Yuggie


Subject: Re: Controversy over BBC documentary on cavaliers

Here's my 2 cents worth.
I had a beautiful dog named Lucky. He was an owner handled AKC champion
at age 18 months but even months before that he had some SM symptoms.
Lucky required SM surgery once at age 2 and PSOM surgery 3 times. Lucky
died from complications of his 3rd PSOM surgery but I strongly suspect
the symptoms that led to his repeat PSOM surgery were probably due to
recurrent SM. Lucky repeatedly attacked one of my other dogs so
severely and so repeatedly and without warning that I eventually had to
place him with a vet cardiology resident. He died about 6 months after
he went to live with her.

Why am I rehashing this....because Lucky's sire was the pictured BIS
winner on the documentary. That made this pretty personal to me. I
tried to contact his sire's breeder/owner by mail (I have never found an
email address for her) to let her know of Lucky's problems but NEVER
heard anything back from her. Since we live on different sides of the
Atlantic, I did not go by for a visit. I did get very gracious feedback
from his dam's owner but nothing from the sire's side. It took 2 dogs
to create Lucky. The fact that his sire has been bred so extensively is
really sad to me. I hate to think that there are other dogs out there
with Lucky's difficulties. I hope there aren't but I'll never know
because that information is not easily obtainable.

I wish first and foremost that Lucky had not had to go through all the
difficulties he went through. I wish that I could have not gone through
the heartbreak of loving him, putting him through surgery, dealing with
dog aggression in a breed that should not be aggressive, having to make
a choice of which dog to keep, having to give him away, and then having
him die. I wish that I felt I could contact a breeder and not feel
anxious about asking about health testing, including MRI's for SM. I
wish I could have another cavalier like Lucky but without SM. I don't
know if any of these wishes will ever come true.

Margaret C
28th August 2008, 07:15 PM
Thank you Yuggie

I really appreciate your words & your help.

Margaret C

Karlin
28th August 2008, 07:39 PM
“I have been in the breed 15 years and have made up a champion. But life has got complicated. It is upsetting. The dog in question is five this year, and is healthy. His mother lives with me – she is fine and my friend has his grandmother and she is well, too. None of them is showing any symptoms. The line is good and an MRI scan is not the answer to everything anyway. I don’t think SM is the epidemic they are trying to make out it is. I have never had phone calls from anyone saying any of my dog’s puppies have had problems. I would be angry if they did not let me know if they had. I’m sure if any of the puppies did have a problem the programme would have found them and wheeled them out.”Surely then there is no issue with the MRI in question going before an independent panel?

The issue has never been whether the breeder believes the dog to be asymptomatic and healthy. The issue is whether the dog was diagnosed with SM on an MRI and what was said at that point about breeding the dog, and whether owners of dams brought to the stud were told, and then puppy buyers.

Perhaps no phonecalls were received. We have at least one owner stating very clearly that they emailed and posted letters.

Again, the obvious solution is to have a panel examine the MRI and for the neurologist who did the scan to report what he said to the breeder. There was a witness however as well who has submitted a letter to the club stating what she heard.

It was a club committee member who put this whole discussion about what was seen on the MRI out into the public domain so surely the MRI should notw be produced and examined by somebody in the club and the issue resolved with Geoff Skerritt.

I do notice nothing was said in this article by the breeder regarding the nature of the MRI or the advice given to her by one of the prominent specialists in this condition, Mr Skerritt, who is used by the clubs themselves to do scans and advise breeders.