View Full Version : Could this save the Cavalier?

Margaret C
29th June 2009, 12:40 PM

Scroll down to Saturday 27th June

An explanation of Estimated Breed Values written by Carol Fowler, cavalier health campaigner, Dr Sarah Blott and Tom Lewis of the Animal Health Trust.

Kate H
29th June 2009, 12:46 PM
It will certainly help enormously - if we can persuade breeders to use it! But some of those who refuse to scan, or keep poor scan results a secret are going to have a rude awakening - their dogs will be on the EBV database whether they like it or not, and if he/she has produced a puppy with SM whose scan results and pedigree form part of the data, that will become public knowledge. Interesting times ahead, I think!

Kate, Oliver and Aled

29th June 2009, 01:37 PM
That is very well written and does provide a clear explanation - I think it is the main hope for the breed now...

I know all breeders won't use it, but hopefully enough responsible ones will.

The more results submitted, the better - so perhaps we should be encouraging everyone to have their dogs tested and submit the results - the majority of Cavaliers are in pet homes, and this will then give a clearer picture of the health of the breed.

29th June 2009, 06:35 PM
It will certainly help enormously - if we can persuade breeders to use it! But some of those who refuse to scan, or keep poor scan results a secret are going to have a rude awakening - their dogs will be on the EBV database whether they like it or not, and if he/she has produced a puppy with SM whose scan results and pedigree form part of the data, that will become public knowledge. Interesting times ahead, I think!

Kate, Oliver and Aled

Was this what they showed us when we went to the talk in Coventry?
And didnít they mention that there were legal problems in regards to the EVB?
Has this been resolved?

Kate H
29th June 2009, 08:05 PM
Yes, Sarah Blott and her colleague have been talking to a lot of the regional Cavalier clubs, and from reading the breed notes in Our Dogs I think one or two other breeds with health problems are interested in developing a similar database. I don't know about the legal position - I suppose breeders could say 'I don't want my dog on this database' - but then everyone is going to ask 'Why not?' And those with scanned dogs who have sent in their scan results and 5-generation pedigrees are going to know which dogs have been removed and the Cavalier jungle drums will go into action! Though I suppose refusal to cooperate could potentially invalidate the whole project, which needs as many dogs as possible for maximum usefulness.

Kate, Oliver and Aled

29th June 2009, 08:11 PM
I think the key to effectiveness will be public education re: value of the database in choosing a puppy. Conscientious breeders will embrace this without pressure but those sitting on the fence may get a nudge from puppy buyers.

Kate H
29th June 2009, 08:21 PM
As far as I can gather, its main purpose is to help breeders choose the right mating, based on the health rating of the potential sire/dam and their existing offspring. At a probable £80 a search, it would be a rather expensive way of finding a puppy, unless you have already decided on the breeding you want and are just checking it out! It's not going to be an open access database on the internet - you will have to apply to the Animal Health Trust for info on specific dogs. Cheaper than scanning anyway!

Kate, Oliver and Aled

29th June 2009, 08:24 PM
Well,heck, "regular" puppy buyers aren't going to be in that picture at that price :(.

29th June 2009, 08:35 PM
That's interesting Kate - at one time we were told that it was going to be free for breeders to use...

Cheaper and less stressful for the dogs than scanning, but I think we are going to have to be scanning for some time yet.

29th June 2009, 08:37 PM
Bet asked me if I would post the following - she has been very impressed by Clare Rusbridge's website and has revised her views...she was somewhat disappointed that some breeders weren't going to use this opportunity to help the breed.

BODY { font-family:Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;font-size:12px; }I was really taken aback when I heard from a Cavalier Breeder that they would not be taking part in this Scheme, and that some other Cavalier Breeders were also saying the same thing.

The ones who will be suffering because of this attitude are the Cavaliers.

Bet Hargreaves

Kate H
29th June 2009, 08:49 PM
It would be great if the EBV database was free, but as always, anything the Animal Health Trust does depends on getting funding. They've put a lot of research money into developing the EBV project and presumably need to go on funding the time of the people who continue to put in data and do the searches - it's an ongoing project, the more data the better, but they think they've got enough now to get the project at least up and running. £80 was the figure Sarah Blott estimated when she spoke to the Midland Club in February; there may have been developments since then.

Kate, Oliver and Aled

30th June 2009, 01:17 PM
I wonder if it could be taken one step further and be available of people looking for puppies, ie the following dog, or those marked accordingly have a little of puppies expected on " and the date". It would then pay breeders to use the database, esp those home pet kind of breeders, they might sell their puppies more easily and people looking for carefully bred cavs would be able to see who in their area would puppies available shortly. di

Kate H
30th June 2009, 05:48 PM
The Animal Health Trust will be administering the EBV database, and they wouldn't be able to in effect advertise litters or even flag up particular dogs. What breeders can do is use it to plan their litters, by using parents with good health scores, and could then advertise that the parents of the litter have been health scored X and X, so that potential puppy buyers can be guided to litters with a good chance of being healthy. And we can help to educate the public to ask to see the parents' EBV results, as they should ask to see MVD and SM certificates. We might even persuade the Kennel Club to put the EBV scores on registration certificates, though this might be tricky as the scores could change during a dog's lifetime - for example, a dog scanned A might be revealed a few years later as a carrier producing affected puppies, which would drastically change his/her EBV rating.

I think EBV will be a very useful supplement to scanning - but we do still need a DNA marker.

Kate, Oliver and Aled

5th July 2009, 12:33 PM
I think many will publicly say they won;t use them; and many actually will not use them. And some of the group of breeders now publicly and privately saying they won't use or support them now, will be using them to find out more about the dogs they are considering at stud even though they will (as with so many other research projects) contribute nothing to the effort themselves. Sadly this has been a constant theme with certain people -- they want answers but want everyone else to submit the information that will help produce them. That's why it is so important for anyone who has scanned a dog that has a pedigree to submit this to the EBV project. Some will only want to submit good scans for their own dogs. The project will need the truth of the big picture coming from all available scans.

As one prominent breeder has asked elsewhere -- all that most breeders talk about when they do scans is 'all' (?!) their 'clear', 'A' dogs, yet as neurologists on these projects have regularly said, about half of dogs MRI with a syrinx. So where are all those not-clear dogs and who has them? Why are they being hidden away? icon_nwunsure

And then there's ths issue of all the dangerous assumptions made by breeders on both sides of the Atlantic about what grade their dog is even though they have not been to a neurologist who produces grades, and even though many neurologists do not follow recommended guidelines on positioning heads. Breeders in some cases are surely being given MRI views which can misrepresent the degree of herniation, malformation etc (I have a post coming on this and have had this experience myself). Not to misinform but because they only get limited views and may not be given a very representative view but one a few degrees away or with the head turned to a position that fails to show herniation/malformation.

Strangely, it seems to have become a national pasttime for many breeders to make assumptions about scans and assume they have the expertise now to assign grades and evaluate degree of affectedness although it has long been clear that skill in reading SM MRIs varies greatly amongst neurologists themselves, that some machines produce poorer quality scans that reveal less; that sometimes neurologists miss the malformation or place lower relevance on it, and some also do not familiarise themselves with the subtle degrees of herniation/malformation and thus missread; and that such different standards are followed for positioning dogs and scanning that the malformation and even small syrinxes are being missed entirely.

Most UK breeders scan with the very kind and generous low cost offers from Geoff Skerritt -- but then fail to recognise that he approaches scans very differently. He doesn't give 'clears' as he doesn't evaluate for CM (his 'clears' mean no syrinx and CM is not indicated on his certs), and they also ignore the important fact that he gives no grades at all. To then self-assign them is a very risky approach for the non-specialist regardless of how familiar people think they are with scans. Some features like syrinxes may seem obvious but in my experience now most neurologists outside the grading scheme will miss subtle and even obvious levels of CM and also miss hind brain compression and herniation in many scans that have had dual interpretations -- this I know for a fact as many people report back to me on the difference in reading coming from the neurologists most involved in research and who were also involved on the panel agreement on reading scans).

In addition, it is truly alarming that so many of these scans have been done on young dogs which are not being redone round the time of breeding, and which, as has been seen many times already, can acquire both syrinxes and symptomatic SM in the interim. Breeding dogs MUST be scanned at the point of breeding age again, not only at 9 months or 15 months :sl*p:. Their 'grade' at time of scanning except for an F is NOT relevant if not redone at 2.5 years old.

However: I do think that regardless of what some breeders say on discussions, there is a quiet acceptance of the severe level of affectedness across the breed. Too many breeders are now scanning to not know this either from what they are seeing in their lines, or their friends' lines.

Those that continue to publicly question whether SM is a serious, widespread problem, from the evidence I have seen (and I do mean, that I have SEEN) - in several cases do so because they know full well that their own lines have continuously produced SM and that they will end up with poor EBVs and the truth will be fully exposed. In many cases (and many prominent cases!) they have hidden this and ignored or dismissed owners who have returned to them with affected dogs and/or exported many of their problem dogs to the US and continue to state publicly that they are unaware of SM in their lines, have never seen it, blah blah blah. Other breeders and show people simply must know this is far from the truth but never call them out -- sad proof of the disgusting code of silence to protect the breeders, not the breed.

From what I have seen, I think North American breeders have been seriously duped (assuming they themselves have not deliberately introduced known SM producers simply to get some UK lines they like) and should be very, VERY scared about what dogs they have been buying and using -- it is common knowledges (again, the disgusting code of silence that is destoying this and so many other breeds!) that many of these were sold on to Canada/the US because everyone in the UK show scene knew these dogs were producing SM/scratching/limping in the show ring even if given their championships by judges who also support the whole revolting code of silence.

So: many of the 'doth protest too much' breeders are largely protecting their own investment in breeding and hoping that if they cover their ears this nightmare will go away and 'normal' show life can resume. Or is this perhaps normal show life for these people, to ignore the breed welfare issues for the sake of selling puppies and winning ribbons and championship designations?

That some breeders now speak of not supporting RBVs was entirely predictable. Each researcher eventually sees a withdrawal of mass breeder support as soon as it is clear that they will produce results they do not want made public and which will affect them. As long as the results are way off in the future, or these breeders haven't thought through that because there is a major problem, they are not going get results from researchers that change this, support is pulled.

EBVs and the genome research will mean breeders cannot breed as they have and that they will know how affected their own lines are. Only some truly want to know this information. Hence now they will find reasons they cannot support EBVs. And many will ignore them.

As the UK CKCS club chairwoman said herself to the club membership, the time is close when legislation is going to be needed to ensure dogs are bred humanely and with breed welfare and health foremost, not for human egos.

5th July 2009, 04:18 PM
As the UK CKCS club chairwoman said herself to the club membership, the time is close when legislation is going to be needed to ensure dogs are bred humanely and with breed welfare and health foremost, not for human egos.

That time has already arrived where I am in Australia in regards to some Heritable Defects, and in time more Heritable Defects could be added to the already existing Legislation, but as to what applies right now have a read of the following and it's from this link in DOC format.

Dogs Victoria

19 June 2009

Re: Code of Practice for the Responsible Breeding of Animals with Heritable Defects

The Code of Practice for the Responsible Breeding of Animals with Heritable Defects that cause Disease was gazetted on 18 June 2009 and is now in effect. This code has made under Section 7 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.

The code outlines breeding practices that will assist in reducing the prevalence of heritable defects in animal populations especially those diseases regulated by the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.

The code was developed in consultation with a working group of stakeholders with expertise in animal welfare, animal genetics, veterinary science, commercial breeding and genetic testing. It aims to educate animal breeders on how to minimise or avoid breeding heritable defects in animals.

The Code is available by visiting www.dpi.vic.gov.au/animalwelfare (Under Victorian Codes of Practice > Heritable Defects)
http://www.dpi.vic.gov.au/dpi/nrenfa.nsf/LinkView/D6995A0C78FF4AD3CA2575D8002239F918CDE14E012AB3A0CA 2573FA000E0AC8/$file/Code%20of%20Practice%20for%20the%20Responsible%20B reeding%20of%20Animals%20with%20Heritable%20Defect s%20that%20cause%20Disease.pdf

Request a Copy of the Code from the office
Copies of the Code are also available from the office on request. Ring 9788 2500, or email office@dogsvictoria.org.au.

In addition, DOGS Victoria will hold several seminars later in the year to help members to understand the requirements of the Code, and to assist breed clubs to develop clear guidelines for recommended breeding programs. Details will be in the Gazette and on the website; if you wish to receive a personal email notification of the date and an application form to enrol, please email the office at the above email address

Frequently Asked Questions
In preparation for these seminars, we are developing a list of Frequently Asked Questions (and the appropriate answers) for the benefit of all members, to clarify any uncertainties you may have. Please email any queries to the office and we will provide an answer, and develop a list of these frequent questions for circulation to all members.

Kind Regards
Elizabeth White
Chief Executive