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View Full Version : Cavaliers are a basket case!!



Karlin
14th February 2009, 07:13 PM
According to Terrierman, a well known blogger on dogs and dog issues:

http://terriermandotcom.blogspot.com/2009/02/cavalier-king-charles-spaniels-are-mess.html

It's a tough read for people who love this breed, but it should be. I will readily admit I must be insane for loving this breed, and will argue that while everyone who likes a breed will say it is for the "special personality", those special personalities are different, and I happen to really like the personality of cavaliers, which is not like other breeds or mixes I have owned or known.

But too many of us are so blind to anything but the pleasure of owning the breed that we now accept -- and do not even protest -- the APPALLING state of this breed's health.

I keep seeing posts (and even entire websites!) about how 'healthy' the breed is yet how can anyone say that of a breed where half of the entire population will be going into severe heart disease by age 5? Imagine if half the human population of, say, Chicago or London or Toronto or Dublin began to experience heart murmurs and valve failures at only age 35! There would be outrage and a rush to discover why -- yet still, this breed is regularly bred outside the MVD protocol. Still, the majority of people who breed cavaliers do not cardiologist test. Club breeders, at least in some countries, are far better than non-club breeders, but still nowhere near the level it should be. In Ireland I do not know of a SINGLE breeder who cardiologist tests their breeding cavaliers. :(

Meanwhile we -- the buyers of this breed who have the MOST POWER to demand change -- do not even ask and DEMAND that breeders cardiologist test, produce certificates, and breed in accordance with the MVD protocol. Because WE do not demand this, because WE are either too timid, or can't be bothered, or want a cheap puppy from some trash breeder just so we too can own a cavalier, this horrific affliction now takes a fourth to a third off the average lifespan for the breed. Yet we get excited and make up little happy lists of dog that are 'heart healthy' over age 5, as if this is some major achievement! We are thrilled to hear of cavaliers still alive at just about anything beyond age 10. How utterly pathetic is that? That should be the NORM!!

What is wrong with us? This breed for its size should routinely live til 14, 15, 16. Look at Tibetan Spaniels, about the same size... which often live til 18 or so.

And then there's syringomyelia. Yes, there are no guarantees for any puppy simply because a breeder MRIs for SM (or cardiologist tests for heart murmurs) -- yet the fact that a dog has an existing problem, regardless of whether we see -- or think we see -- or make sure we accidentally on purpose don't see -- symptoms is not an excuse to breed an ill animal.

MVD alone nearly put me off this breed and the number of dogs over 5 that come into my cavalier rescue with heart murmurs already there -- which is nearly all of them -- makes me ill.

So please: READ WHAT TERRIERMAN SAYS. And pay special attention to that last paragraph. And DO something about these problems, and for this breed, before there won't be a breed left to own. USE YOUR POWER AS A BUYER TO FORCE CHANGE!! Do NOT buy puppies from anyone that cannot produce appropriate health clearances (http://board.cavaliertalk.com/showthread.php?p=284655#post284655) for their dogs!

HollyDolly
14th February 2009, 07:40 PM
Yes does make for very sad reading, as did the film PDE. I thought for many a year that I must be insane for loving this breed but cannot imagine life without one.
Have noticed on the Dog World website that someone has copied an entire post written by one of our members and used it to offer up a reason for being turned down for membership of the CKCS Club. Seems they must have held on to this for a few months.:*gh:

Karlin
14th February 2009, 07:42 PM
Have a read of the comments to the Terrierman post -- seems turning down membership applications goes hand in hand with turning down those who care about and dare to raise the subject of about health problems... :rolleyes:

sins
14th February 2009, 09:05 PM
I love Terrierman, he's a superb writer!
I suspect he sleeps with a shovel beside him at night and a flashlight in case he wakes up needing to lamp any passing prey!
He doesn't like Toy dogs and refers to them as ****-Zoos, Pappy-yawns etc..
Unless a dog can slaughter a badger, mangle a rat or an otter in under twenty seconds it's not worth it's salt!
Have a look at his "Rosettes to ruin" blog.If there's any breeders of Norfolk terriers out there,maybe they'd heed his advice.

If the breeder doesn't own a deben collar, a $50 shovel, and a digging bar, I would suggest giving that kennel a pass.
This made me burst out laughing,but he has a point!

He's unfortunately correct about cavaliers. They're a mess. I can't argue otherwise.
But for me my cavalier does a very important job! She makes me happy and brightens my day in a way no other breed of dog has done in over 40 years. Hopefully the fact that the MRI scanned list of cavaliers increases almost daily gives such great hope for the future.It's very encouraging.
Sins

AT
14th February 2009, 09:30 PM
He doesn't like Toy dogs and refers to them as ****-Zoos, Pappy-yawns etc..
Unless a dog can slaughter a badger, mangle a rat or an otter in under twenty seconds it's not worth it's salt!

Sins

I spent the last 11 years making sure my kcs didnt kill herself while in pursuit of " prey" .
Climbing down cliffs to rescue said dog, dragging her out of ponds ditches ,etc & prising dead animals out of her mouth........

So I think I'll give terriers a miss thanks if thats all they're good for ,lol

sins
14th February 2009, 09:45 PM
[QUOTEI spent the last 11 years making sure my kcs didnt kill herself while in pursuit of " prey" .
[/quote]
Our Girl has a toy "Dangermouse" which she shakes to break it's back and she tosses it perfectly into the air. It probably doesn't meet terrierman's exacting specification for usefulness though:p:p.
I see by quoting terrierman's version of shitzu I've inadvertently fallen foul of the "profanity filter"....:rotfl::rotfl::rotfl::rotfl:
Honestly Karlin, it wasn't me who said **** zoo
Is Sins forgiven??:flwr:

AT
14th February 2009, 10:24 PM
[
Our Girl has a toy "Dangermouse" which she shakes to break it's back and she tosses it perfectly into the air. It probably doesn't meet terrierman's exacting specification for usefulness though:p:p.
:


Hmm I see your point , killing the rat in our garden would probably have been more useful than trying to bring that dead seal home.....

But give me a useless dog any day , much easier on the nerves ,lol

Back to the health though. Apart from our first ( who was around 14 when she died but had always had serious health problems ) none of our cavaliers have got past 10 years & none could walk very far. My current cav is just 6 years old today & is already lame.

I have come to expect cavs to have murmers by 5 & be dead by ten, thats just the way it is . But actually its a disgrace......

Brian M
14th February 2009, 10:42 PM
Hi

I had a J R which bit my eldest boy just under the eye while his Grandmum had him ,later on I had a Kerry Blue but returned him to his breeder after 2 yrs he wanted to fight anything and I could never let him off his lead we tried training clubs/ behavioral specialist /dog psychiatrists absolutely nothing worked his aggressiveness and odd fixed stupidness just seemed to be in him ,a bit like some Cav breeders really who hang on our every word and spy on us then rush off and email all rest of that self opinionated mob who all know so much that these good people with their incestuous breeding programmes have greatly ensured as Karlin says that the majority of our Cavaliers will have major heart problems by the age of five ,and after those well thought out answers that recently spiiled out of the K Club nothing more is surprising .It is an absolute tragedy or more like a death wish why cant these so called cavalier people/breeders who profess to love all their dogs understand the only way forward is by scanning and the MVD protocol I am sure being nothing more than a poor pet owner that I would willingly pay extra for a puppy if I knew that everything that needed to be done had been for that pup to have a long and healthy life ,but it seems to them that is not the way to go ,this i don't understand can anybody explain ,thank heavens I am just an animal lover and will do anything I can to assist any living creature if it needs help to live its life in full unlike the other lot who seem so hell bent on destruction .Copy that lot and stick it up your axxxxx Oh and copy also to Sue as I might bump into her on holidy in Devon ,I do hope so:):):):) as I as sure I will be made most wellcome ,see you soon . That would be fun guaranteed:):):):)

sins
14th February 2009, 11:12 PM
I had a Kerry Blue but returned him to his breeder after 2 yrs he wanted to fight anything and I could never let him off his lead
A good friend of mine had to do the same Brian.The KB had bitten his kids/neighbour's kids and the last straw was when the wife got bitten.
A cavalier can make a huge contribution to a family.My little boy has aspergers and our cavalier got him over his fear of dogs and has really helped him to interact and develop an empathy with a living creature which is wonderful for us.She brings such joy to us and makes him laugh.
You just couldn't put a price on what she's done for him.
(Killing rats is optional)*:razz:
It's such a injustice that the breed has so many problems.
Sins

brotymo
15th February 2009, 02:12 AM
Well, it is true that cavalier health is a mess, but I can tell that the terrierman hasn't had the benefit of experiencing the cavalier personality for himself, or he wouldn't dismiss it as a stupid reason to select a dog. I got Pixie, our first cav based on the research I'd done in searching for a small dog. The breed's personality/trainability/intelligence/friendliness fit perfectly the description of what I wanted for a small family dog. I knew nothing about them beforehand, and wasn't aware of the severity of their health issues at the time we got Pixie. The reason I have two more now is how enamored with this breed I became as a result of owning Pixie. She was so wonderful in every way. Her devotion, intelligence, playfulness, gentleness yet spirited energy, etc, etc all won my heart over completely...and all my childrens' as well. In spite of owning other dogs, I'd been unable to love a dog that deeply since my wolf, Shadow had died back in 2001. Pixie completely caught me off-guard and brought that four-legged, special love back into my life...and broke my heart so fully when she died that I thought it would never heal. Truthfully, losing her hurt worse than the day my (now ex) husband left after 13 years of marriage. It takes a special kind of animal to bring out feelings that strong.
But, it was so special that I now have Bandit and Lizzie, even though I know one day I will be hurt again. Terrierman must be unaquanited with that aspect of cavaliers. Poor him. He is missing out.

linderbelle
15th February 2009, 02:32 AM
I haven't been able to post for awhile except in regards to sm forum. All I can say to this post is that it is horrible going through this sm deal. I haven't felt this much pain since my mom passed away 7 years ago. Its plain h e l l. I love this breed too obviously and I cheerish every day I got with Abbey. I'm almost hyperventilating when I write this and I know the people on here that have gone through this know what I'm feeling. I don't know what I will do down the road when my cav's are gone. I know I can never ever go through something like this every again. Its unheard of here for people to mri their dogs. I will never ever get another CKCS without the mri paperwork. Wonder how many in the states are actually doing that. Maybe count them with one hand?

tara
15th February 2009, 02:41 AM
It was hard to read this, but unfortunately what he's saying (about the health issues at least) is just so true. I agree with Karlin that cavalier puppy buyers are going to have to take a stance in order for anything to change.

Linderbelle -- again, I'm just so very sorry for what you're going through right now. It is one of my worst nightmares. And yes, I believe you can count on one hand the number of breeders here who consistently MRI their breeding dogs. It makes finding (and waiting for) a cavalier an extremely difficult endeavor.

HollyDolly
15th February 2009, 02:56 AM
He's unfortunately correct about cavaliers. They're a mess. I can't argue otherwise.
But for me my cavalier does a very important job! She makes me happy and brightens my day in a way no other breed of dog has done in over 40 years. Hopefully the fact that the MRI scanned list of cavaliers increases almost daily gives such great hope for the future.It's very encouraging.
Sins

Could not agree more sins, but for me the fact that the MRI scanned list increases daily gives me no hope at all. The only hope is for this list to be completely transparent, give full details of the health status of dogs listed and be honest about the health problems of this breed.

RodRussell
15th February 2009, 04:25 AM
I keep seeing posts (and even entire websites!) about how 'healthy' the breed is ...

... To which I add the breeders who brag that they never have MVD in any of their breeding stock, and that all of their dogs live past 12 years and die only of "old age". These are breeders who either are not testing their dogs hearts or, they are lying, or both.

Karlin
15th February 2009, 12:45 PM
And don't forget the CKCS Club allowed vet, not cardiologist tests for its "Healthy Hearts" list until just recently, even though research has clearly shown for years that cardiologists miss about half of low grade murmurs and their own heart specialist advised the club move to mandatory cardiologist certification for hearts for years and years. :rolleyes: I would bet half those dogs on the healthy hearts list had nothing of the sort. If these breeders won't even take these simple, low cost steps for hearts (after all they get extremely cheap cardio testing done at many shows!) what hope anyone will scan, or pay the least bit of attention to the Estimated Breeding Values when they come out.

However, we can hope -- and certainly, word will get out on EBVs for particular dogs and lines. Once again if you have a dog with a pedigree and if that dog has been MRI scanned OR cardio tested OR formally eye tested, please please submit these results to Sarah Blott as they will contribute to accurate gradings on EBVs. If you have had good results this information is really crucial, and if you have had poor results, ditto (and anything in between) -- and for those who may have felt frustrated by the response they got when they went back to tell the breeder of a poor diagnosis, well, this is the best way to ensure that information becomes part of a larger record that WILL affect the grading those lines get with EBVs... (the dedicated breeders I know really welcome all information, good or bad, on health results as it is essential for shaping strong breeding programmes so ALWAYS inform the breeder of results! I recommend doing this by registered letter unless you know this information, good or bad, will be welcomed as a registered letter is useful in a number of ways that might prove helpful, for verifying someone was told something at a given time).

Contact me by PM if anyone wants more information on submitting information to Dr Blott.

Margaret C
15th February 2009, 02:38 PM
I haven't been able to post for awhile except in regards to sm forum. All I can say to this post is that it is horrible going through this sm deal. I haven't felt this much pain since my mom passed away 7 years ago. Its plain h e l l. I love this breed too obviously and I cheerish every day I got with Abbey. I'm almost hyperventilating when I write this and I know the people on here that have gone through this know what I'm feeling. I don't know what I will do down the road when my cav's are gone. I know I can never ever go through something like this every again. Its unheard of here for people to mri their dogs. I will never ever get another CKCS without the mri paperwork. Wonder how many in the states are actually doing that. Maybe count them with one hand?


I am so sorry for what you are going through at the moment.
Finding out you have a cavalier with SM, or any serious condition, does take away the unthinking pleasure you have in your pet. You dread what is to come.

I eventually realised that in worrying about the future I may be missing out on the joy of owning my boys in the 'here and now'.
I decided it was best not to look too far ahead. You may be giving yourself distress & grief before it is needed.

I hate SM, I do still worry that my dogs have more pain than I realise but
my three are still with me, they are kept reasonably comfortable & I handle them gently and try & gauge what they want in the way of cuddles, rather than what I want from them.
They are still happy loving dogs, & knowing the diagnosis has made them extra precious to me, and I appreciate every day I have with them.

Cavaliers are a mess. I'm sure that many other breeds are as well, and it is down to many things, including breeding practices that nobody ever questioned.
Cavaliers are worth fighting for, their temperament is, I think, unique. What has to be kept in mind however is that it is not the breeder or even the owner that suffers if something is not done. It is the dogs.

It is so important that the breeders that MRI and do all the other health tests are supported.
Every time someone buys a puppy from someone who does not display, or better still give copies, of all health certificates to buyers, it makes it worth their while not to test.

It is early days and parts of the MVD protocol were universally ignored by nearly all breeders ( I include myself in that ). Some breeders may not have heart clearances on grandparents to see if they were still murmur free at five years old, but they do still need to be asked. It is the pressure from the public that will make things change.

I have always been surprised how much pet puppies cost in the States. If prices are still high it may be worth checking out how much it would cost to buy a puppy from scanning breeders in the UK and pay for shipping fees?
It is only a thought, but it may make breeders in your Country put more effort into scanning?

Margaret C

harleyfarley
15th February 2009, 03:05 PM
I thought it was brilliant, sad but true, if it makes any people stop and think before buying a cav puppy and put off those that really cant be bothered, and those that are serious to seek out more information and hopefully get a pup from screened breeders then im all for it.

As you may know (or not) my 3 yr od cav has hip dyplacia now just think if id used him to breed from, his dad is a champion show winner, his parent have fine hips no sm, no heart probs, now who on here had their cavs hips xrayed before breeding them. Not many i bet.di

wotton12000
15th February 2009, 03:45 PM
Terrierman's description of the breed we love is hard to accept in places, but we need to take on board the words of someone who is not emotionally involved in Cavaliers. Someone whose knowledge of dogs in general takes some beating and who is writing about Cavaliers objectively.

Let us all stop and think about how emotionally tied up we are about the dogs we own and that is natural. It's also natural to get 'hooked' on one breed. If we love this breed and want it to survive and thrive we have to be part of the solution. Breeders are the natural guardians of their breed but some fail in this responsibilty because they do not follow current breeding guidelines for MVD or SM, not to mention addressing some of the other health problems that are waiting in the wings.

I think that as pet owners we should accept some responsibilty for the future of the Cavalier breed. We have an enormous potential to help and we do this by being very clued up and savvy puppy buyers. We need to have an understanding of the breeding protocols and the DNA and EBV research, so that we can ask a breeder the right questions and understand the answers. We need to know what the various certificates look like and be strong enough to walk away if the evidence is not shown. If we have a dog who develops one of the Cavalier breed related problems we should write to the breeder and expect that s/he does something about it. We should also write to the breed club and Kennel Club. If we as consumers and dog lovers insist that a breeder has done all in their power to produce healthy puppies, we will be helping to ensure the future health of the breed. I think for the EBVs to work, it will need our efforts to understand them as well as the breeders. In the UK at least, it will be possible in future to know the EBV score for any puppy whose parents are KC registered and also how accurate the score is at any particular time.

Carol