View Full Version : EBVs.... Could this save the Cavalier?

Margaret C
29th June 2009, 02:03 PM
I posted this in General Discussion, but it also belongs in this section.....

http://www.coldwetnose.blogspot.com/ (http://www.coldwetnose.blogspot.com/)

Scroll down to Saturday 27th June

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

5th July 2009, 10:49 AM
Im abit concerned about this programme, with all the hard work and money involved in trying to reduce cases in cavaliers and the development of this programme ive read on "another forum" that some breeders are refusing to use it, di

5th July 2009, 12:30 PM
I think some of these same group of breeders 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.

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 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.

heather r
5th July 2009, 08:43 PM
Karlin; I don't know if there is a web site (like k9data.com which offers background info on health, longevity and such for golden retrievers for cavaliers) in England for cavaliers but I wish that there was one in the US.

I found it very difficult tracking breeders of healthy cavaliers in US as in contrast to finding breeders of healthy goldens.

Heather R