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View Full Version : What the CKCS Club and Kennel Club now say



Karlin
15th September 2008, 03:56 PM
Guess they decided that totally ignoring cavaliers in their statements about efforts made towards dealing with breed health issues, which mentioned how breeders of ALL the other breeds in Pedigree Dogs Exposed had better get serious about health, had a glaring hole -- the main breed discussed on the programme! Now they have issued this joint statement:


15-Sep-08

Following concerns raised recently regarding the health of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, the Kennel Club would like to address the real facts surrounding this charming and popular breed and the work which is ongoing on its behalf.

First and foremost, the incidence of the disease Syringomyelia is very much in dispute. However, this is ultimately of no great consequence and it is not delaying the many positive actions being taken to address the problems by the Cavalier breed clubs, the Kennel Club Charitable Trust and the Kennel Club itself.

Large amounts of time, effort and money continue to be invested to establish the precise modes of inheritance of both Syringomyelia and the heart condition Mitral Valve Disease that also affects some Cavaliers.

The objective is to design sensible, practical and successful breeding strategies which will enable Cavalier breeders to ensure the future prosperity of the breed. One of the approaches being investigated would use a technique called ‘Estimated Breeding Values’, which is a tool that has been developed by scientists and has proved successful in the breeding of livestock.

Another way of speeding up such work is for more Cavaliers to be MRI scanned for Syringomyelia, and the Kennel Club, the Animal Health Trust and the Cavalier clubs are looking into whether effective screening programmes can be developed to enable this. Similar work is being done to develop effective screening for Mitral Valve Disease.

Caroline Kisko, speaking on behalf of the Kennel Club, said, “The science surrounding these problems is not simple, but the work is in hand which hopefully will enable breeders to solve the problems which the vast majority of them recognised and took in hand some years ago. Only through the careful use of the available science can the problems of Cavaliers be ultimately resolved.”

Lesley Jupp, Chairman of The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club, said, “The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club has conducted extensive work for the past 20 years, in the endeavour to combat health issues within the breed. Cavalier breeders now have the golden opportunity to be the first to take advantage of the EBV scheme being developed at the Animal Heath Trust. The scheme has the support of all Cavalier breed clubs and I am sure that, with a united front, substantial progress can be achieved in dealing with our health problems.”

For a full list of the health initiatives undertaken by The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club, please visit the Kennel Club’s website on pedigree dog health, www.doggenetichealth.org.

As a journalist who also writes the odd press release from time to time, let me pick part the media strategy and spin here:


First and foremost, the incidence of the disease Syringomyelia is very much in dispute. However, this is ultimately of no great consequence

It is only in dispute amongst some breeders and the KC. It is not and never has been in dispute amongst any of the researchers directly working with this breed. Who has the strongest vested interest here? Especially given the paucity of serious funding to look at SM. The initial genome research and almost all the work by Rusbridge and Knowler was funded and supported by inidividual breeders and pet owners, using tiny amounts of cash, not bigger university and research grants. Geoff Skerritt's vast record of over 1000 CKCS scans has not been funded by anyone except clubs giving their own breeders some small subsidy and pet owners paying themselves. Board members here and on Cavalier Connection raised the funds for a key MRI needed in the US for the genome research, for example! Not the clubs, NOT university funding. On the other side are breeders whose incomes for showing dogs depends on selling puppies. So, follow the money... in whose interest is it to refuse to believe several international research studies including one funded directly by the US club, the ACKCSC?


Large amounts of time, effort and money continue to be invested to establish the precise modes of inheritance of both Syringomyelia and the heart condition Mitral Valve Disease that also affects some Cavaliers.

Only one project has received really significant funding in ordinary research terms and that is the EBV research. The EBV research is heavily dependent on the genome research or will never be highly accurate. The genome research only finally has the support of grants from the US; one is assured, not sure about the second as no announcement has been made yet, months after the application. This continues to leave teams of researchers in the dark about critical research for the breed.

In addition, though tons of research now exists on MVD, the breed clubs in the US and UK still do not require any heart testing before giving registration and it is quite easy to show that a good number of prominent UK breeders totally ignore the MVD protocol. What the hell good is research f no one uses it? The Malvern dog, Beauella Radzinksi, was bred at NINE MONTHS OLD, and more than half a dozen times before he even reached ONE when the MVD protocol states it should be 2.5. The research and recommendations are all there -- yet champion dogs are obviously used at stud or litters bred from, without any regard whatsoever for the MVD protocol and themselves come from dogs also bred with no regard for the mvd protocol. What use the research, time and money if no one uses it to benefit the dogs?

I welcome the statement that the clubs are promoting -- at LAST!!! -- MRIing of breeding stock and effective cardiac screening. But only 'promoting' has done zilch to benefit the breed on the cardiac side as Simon Swift, the UK club's own cardiologist, has said several times now.


Caroline Kisko, speaking on behalf of the Kennel Club, said, “The science surrounding these problems is not simple, but the work is in hand which hopefully will enable breeders to solve the problems which the vast majority of them recognised and took in hand some years ago.

She cannot be serious. :rolleyes: Which 'vast majority' is that? And what, exactly, are they doing? I'd like some concrete examples and some evidence to prove the 'vast majority' of club breeders are doing anything at all. On the contrary, a brief examination of reverse pedigrees for dogs from the VAST majority of UK breeders attending shows and breeding will easily show they regularly breed outside the MVD protocol. Most Uk breeders only vet, not cardiologist, test their dogs, even though their own research has shown that this means any dog has a 50/50 chance of being diagnosed without a murmur as with. So half of all 'heart cleared' breeding dogs from vets may actually likely to have a murmur. :mad: I also have direct evidence in emails that leading members of one breed club are saying one thing -- that puppy buyers must only buy from breeders using the MVD protocol -- then doing the opposite -- encouraging them to buy puppies from people who do not follow the protocol at all.


Cavalier breeders now have the golden opportunity to be the first to take advantage of the EBV scheme being developed at the Animal Heath Trust. The scheme has the support of all Cavalier breed clubs and I am sure that, with a united front, substantial progress can be achieved in dealing with our health problems

Hooray! I totally agree with Lesley Jupp :thmbsup: and hope other breeders will not just support the research but also actually use the EBVs as they become available -- and I hope the club and breeders will also strongly support the genome research in Canada which remains a central part of the gEBVs.

sins
15th September 2008, 04:38 PM
I couldn't figure out why breeders didn't want to scan and were holding out in great anticipation of the EBV scheme.
Could it possibly be that it doesn't involve having the stigma of a diagnosis of Sm for a dog?
Sins

Karlin
15th September 2008, 04:48 PM
It shouldn't be a stigma. Having a dog diagnosed is for most people, the norm if you are scanning several dogs anyway. It is what you do with that dog -- whether you breed -- given the grade of the scan that matters. :thmbsup:

The problem is that EBVs are only somewhat helpful unless they are linked to the genetic research, as Sarah Blott herself explains when she goes into gEBVs. And regular EBVs are only valuable if people continue to scan and report back so they can be adjusted, and will take many years to be truly helpful (based on whether people keep scanning and reporting results to Sarah) unless the Canadian genome work is completed:


All dogs will have an EBV at birth but the EBV may be modified by the dog’s subsequent clinical record or MRI scan and by information coming from other relatives. The EBV becomes more accurate as information on offspring becomes available, because we start to gain insight into which half of the sire and dam genes were actually inherited when we see transmission of the genes to offspring. 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.

From Sarah Blott's explanation: http://www.thecavalierclub.co.uk/health/ebv/genetic_study.html

... where she also notes:


We are also working towards the longer term aims of:
* Modelling different breeding strategies and identifying the most appropriate strategy.
* Carrying out molecular genetic analysis of SM and CM to identify the underlying genes, in collaboration with the University of Montreal, Clare Rusbridge and Penny Knowler.
* Developing genomic breeding values (geBVs) for SM.

Evelyn
15th September 2008, 07:16 PM
Karlin
Am I over simplifying here? The accuracy of EBV's is dependant on people MRI scanning their dogs?
Some ,who refuse / don't see the need to scan seem quite happy to reap the benefits of the efforts those who scan put in. If everyone took the same view wouldn't progress be very much slower. If this is correct surely those who scan should be applauded not made to feel stupid.

Bet
15th September 2008, 07:42 PM
Could I mention that ,yes the Cavalier Breeders will MRI Scan their Cavaliers ,as long as they are sure the information goes directly to Dr Blott ,and not to any member of the CKCS Club Committee

Also why Dr Blott's Research is so important for the Future of the Cavalier Breed ,is because some Pedigrees of Cavaliers with SM have been found to be Flawed ,this is nobody's fault

For her New Type of Research ,the Pedigrees must be accurate ,that is why Cheek Swabs will be being taken.

Bet

Bet
15th September 2008, 07:53 PM
I should have explained my thoughts a bit clearer

If the Cavalier Breeders have no confidence that it will be Dr Blott and she alone who will only see their confidential information ,after the Debacle of the TV Film ,then could her Research be being hindered

This is such important Research for the Future of the Breed ,that the Cavaliers must feel able that they can trust Dr Blott and nobody else .

Bet

Cathy Moon
16th September 2008, 12:52 AM
I'm very interested in your post, Karlin, and still have to read the links.

I wish there could be an incentive for breeders who have helped and who continue to help the EBV project move forward.

I also believe that the KC or the CKCS club needs to make puppy registration based on mandatory health testing and protocols. As we've seen, many breeders don't follow even the MVD guidelines, and continue to give lip service to all the studies (and all the money they don't actually contribute:eek:)!! Yet very little is actually being done!

Hopefully if the club cannot set up their own scheme for it within a reasonable amount of time, the government will!

Karlin
16th September 2008, 01:09 AM
It is also worth noting that the good initiatives being cited by the CKCS and Kennel Clubs now in defense of their cavalier health projects were in large part either started by, campaigned for, or fundraised by Margaret Carter.

That is how I originally met Margaret -- several years ago I responded to a club website item on donating blood and pedigree information for the research database and genome project. I was interested in doing this, and Margaret replied by email giving me background and attaching the forms.

Jan Bell
16th September 2008, 04:45 AM
I e-mailed Beverley Cuddy last week to ask if she could do a bit on Margaret and her years of health campagning in her magazine - Carol Fowler is being featured next month. Anybody know any other journalists out there who could take this up?