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View Full Version : Am I expecting too much; or, why I may never have the pleasure of owning a Cavalier



lissa
6th November 2009, 04:35 PM
Hello everyone,



I have never posted on this forum, but have been a member for some time. I generally use forums to research and this particular forum has been a gem (thank you!). I have been interested in the breed for years and have truly loved all but one of the Cavaliers I have met. Their personality/temperament is exactly what Iím looking for and I feel would fit into our lives perfectly. I am lucky enough to have a job that doesnít require much time from home and when I do go in to work, I can bring my dog with me. Iíd also love to get back into dog sports (our current boy is too old for ďthose silly gamesĒ ;) and love the working attitude of the Cavaliers I have seen.

Unfortunately, I have to say that Iím terrified to get a Cavalier though. With all the health problems, I just donít know if I can in good conscious support/buy a breed that suffers from such painful issues. I have two friends that have dogs with SM and it breaks my heart to see them suffer. Previously I had believed, with careful research and screening of breeders, I could find a breeder/line that would be healthy. Thus far I have found that when I ask about health testing that follows the current protocols, I either do not receive a reply or am told in a variety of tones (from rude and condescending to fairly collegial) that all these tests are not necessary (for a variety of reasons), or that they do some tests, but not others. Iíve also been told all purebreds have problems (which I recognize) and that the breed has been unjustly represented. I truly feel, however, after reading all the health studies and reports, these breeders are not being realistic about their breed.

In my searches for my previous dogs, I would ask about health clearances, training methods (Iím a ďclicker trainerĒ), food choices, vaccines, etc. With the Cavalier, I canít seem to find a breeder that adheres to the suggested protocols, never mind getting into questions of training, etc.

It is upsetting to admit that I will probably have to go with a different breed that is less suited to our lifestyle because I cannot seem to find someone that lives up to my expectations. Am I expecting too much of a breeder? I donít think so as I have found other breeders in other breeds that exceeded my expectations.

I donít mean to sound rude or aggressive, but I just find it terribly frustrating to find a breed that I thought would be perfect for our lives and be disappointed. I thought I would post here hoping there are breeders out there that do follow health screening protocols that I just havenít found. I appreciate the honesty and candid information that Iíve found on this board. Even if we donít get a Cavalier, I will always try to support the health research in the breed (with the hope that some day these issues can be reduced, if not solved).

Again, I donít mean to offend or upset anyone. I do really love the breed and am just exasperated.

Humbly,
Lissa

Karlin
6th November 2009, 07:31 PM
Thanks for putting into words what so many of us see as the serious problems that are there for anyone considering a cavalier and the enormous difficulty in getting some breeders to acknowledge there is an issue or that they should bother with testing. Many of us who feel strongly about this get told that we make up stories like yours but yours echoes what I hear week in and week out from puppy buyers. :x It seems that APGAW is correct in their report in surmising that breeders may have to be compelled to focus on health or it simply won;t happen. The dilemma you face is one that will ring true for many.

Fortunately there are also some great breeders out there who are doing their best to use the existing breeding recommendations and would be VERY happy to talk to an informed buyer that places the same premium on good health and good breeding that you do. It is very sad that so many who claim to be concerned about health make the puppy buying environment one in which every breeder hides what it is that they do, good or bad. Believe it or not, but there's huge pressure not to advertise that you do basic health testing -- but surely if all those who firmly believe they don't need to test or follow health guidelines are so sure of their approach, they should not feel intimidated by others who want to let other breeders and buyers for whom this matters, know they do? Sadly there's pressure to slump down to the lowest common denominator which as intelligent people will realise, is clearly little better than the puppy farms and BYBs these breeders claim to despise.

Please send me a PM to let me know where you are based and I will see if we can start you on a far less gruelling and more intelligent experience in dealing with breeders as there are some excellent ones. :thmbsup:

The breed has many major issues but by supporting those health focused breeders, buyers of puppies greatly improve their odds and get a very direct and influential say in how important they feel a healthful future is for cavaliers. :)

WoodHaven
6th November 2009, 07:57 PM
There are ways to limit the risk for health problems in dogs. Find a breeder that fits with your views well before there are cute puppies to see. But nothing can guarantee that you pup will grow well into old age with few issues.
My first dog lived to be 17- the second almost 15. Then I got two dogs that didn't live to be 4. None of the above were cavaliers.
I now live with a pack of cavaliers and I hope to NEVER be without at least one by my side. Whatever 'life' hands my dogs-- I will give my dogs the best life possible.

harleyfarley
6th November 2009, 08:07 PM
Im sure you will get a lovely cavalier if you wait for the right one, im sure karlin and margaret can give you some names of breeders that do everything to ensure the breed is as healthy as possible. One day we get a post from you with a picture of a puppy. di

Margaret C
6th November 2009, 10:27 PM
There has been breeders health checking their dogs for quite some years now, but unfortunately they are on the whole the 'smaller' breeders who have found it wise to keep a low profile.

I have a list of breeders, I don't actually recommend them as I cannot be sure that all the litters produced are bred to the health protocols, but it is a place to start and they do know buyers will be asking for certificates.

The problem at the moment is that there is just not enough names on the list to satisfy the demand for health checked puppies in the UK and abroad.

Hopefully that is going to change as more mature bitches are scanned and bred. I do believe that more breeders are biting the bullet, scanning their breeding cavaliers, and breeding with the protocols in mind.

It would be good to hear about any such litters planned or already whelped. There are a lot of people waiting for such puppies.

Mindysmom
7th November 2009, 12:21 AM
lissa I feel your frustration. When I was looking for Max most of my e-mails to breeders were not answered. When I started looking for Rylie (thinking it would take more time) I was lucky enough to hit the jackpot with the first breeder I contacted. She did not have puppies available but was able to point me in the direction of other health testing breeders. All the breeders I talked to and e-mailed with in my search for Rylie were very helpful and informative whether or not they had puppies.

I suppose it depends a lot on where you are.

heather r
7th November 2009, 09:09 PM
Lissa; I understand your fears. Three years ago after our 2nd golden retriever died, I was looking for a smaller dog . Having heard and seen cavaliers, I researched breed and decided not to get one because of the health concerns you mention.

We got a beautiful golden but the idea of a cavalier was still there. So after more research I was able to find a breeder who did careful breeding. Long story short our Abigail is now a 1 1/4 yr. wonderful addition to our home.

I realize problems may occur but they did also in our last golden. Best of luck and these are amazing companions.

Heather R

Bet
8th November 2009, 10:20 AM
Thank you Karlin and Margaret for your replies to Lissa.

Rome was'nt built in a Day , but maybe with Margaret's List at least Prospective Cavalier Buyers who want to give their Cavalier the Chance of having a Healthier ,Longer Life, will now have a contact with both Margaret and Karlin.

We know that there is no guarantee that Cavaliers won't develope a Health Problem in their Life-Time, but at least the Cavalier Buyer will know that they are dealing with a Cavalier Breeder who is Health Testing their Breeding Stock.

I have mentioned this before ,and here goes again, why can't the UK CKCS CLUB publish a List of Breeders who Health Test their Breeding Stock.

The same old excuse is always dragged out , it's for the Cavalier Breeders benefit..not any-body else's ,.

Well it's not ,it's for Cavalier Buyers.

An interesting mention caught my eye when reading the APGAW Report ,that a Breeder who Breeds 5 Litters a year is considered a Commercial Breeder.

According to the Dictionary definition ,Commercial means Business,I don't know how many Litters Cavalier Breeders will Breed in a year ,but if 5, those Cavalier Breeders according to the APGAW Committee are considered Commercial Breeders.Then does it not follow on those Cavalier Breeders are running a Business, so consideration has to be being given to the Cavaliers they are selling, and Cavalier buyers are not treated in way that Lissa and others interested in buying a Cavalier are at the moment by some Cavalier Breeders.

I used to be Cavalier Breed Advisor for DOGS TODAY ,and when asked if I knew of any Cavalier Puppies for sale, I would put them onto Cavalier Breeders in their area,I always mentioned to the Prospective Cavalier Buyer,ask if the Cavalier Breeder has a Health Certifiicate to show they have carried out Health Tests on their Cavalier Breeding Stock ,and quite a few have come back to me in tears at the abusive remarks they had received from the Cavalier Breeder.

I think maybe the answer to this could be ,if a Cavalier Buyer receives abuse like this when asking Questions about the Cavalier Breeder's Breeding Practices,then that Cavalier Breeder should be Reported both to the UK CKCS CLUB and the Kennel CLUB.

What are other Folk's views about this. ?

It's going to be difficult for us to tell Cavalier Buyers to ask about Health Tests, etc, if some Cavalier Breeders are going to treat the Cavalier Breeder with abuse.

sins
8th November 2009, 11:29 AM
I think we need to accept that there is an element of risk when buying a cavalier puppy,even when parents and grandparents have been screened.
There are no absolute guarantees when dealing with a living creature.
There's always a strong interest in breeders who test and who have been long established,so yes you must be prepared to wait.
Having said that, there's no harm in touching base with breeders you may want to buy from and it's important that you and the breeder are comfortable with each other.
I think you need to be firmly committed to any dog you buy,whether it's a cavalier or not.Sometimes things can go radically wrong at any stage of a dog's life and as long as we're prepared to deal with it calmly and in a practical manner then I would say go ahead and buy your cavalier.
Get insurance for your pet, it removes some of the worry.
Bet,I think I've spoken to about seven or eight breeders over the last six months.Two from Margaret's list and others through word of mouth or people who's dogs I particularly liked the look of.
Everyone was very pleasant and there was no abuse at all from either side.Generally if you're polite and pleasant,you'll get the same courtesy extended to you.
Sins

Murphy
8th November 2009, 12:00 PM
I have mentioned this before ,and here goes again, why can't the UK CKCS CLUB publish a List of Breeders who Health Test their Breeding Stock.

Check out: thecavalierclub.co.uk click on MRI List. This will give info on breeders who MRI for SM.
next, click on health: then on hearts, and on the word 'more'. This will take you to a list of dogs and owners who have over 5's tested heart clear.
If you really want to know, it is not difficult.
Elspeth

Elspeth

Bet
8th November 2009, 12:26 PM
Could I just answer the Post about Cavalier Breeders who MRI Scan their Cavaliers on the UK CKCS Web Site.

My concern is why is not stated which Cavaliers ,after being MRI Scanned and the results are Published good or bad,then Prospective Cavalier Buyers won't have to suffer the Humilation of abusive comments from some Cavalier Breeders.

Clairelou
8th November 2009, 12:36 PM
I agree results of MRI's should be published.

Bet
8th November 2009, 12:58 PM
Just read the Cavaliers ' over 5 with Clear hearts'List

Is there no a more up to date List of Cavaliers with Clera Hearts, some of the Cavaliers on the List mentioned ages go back to 1991.

There were approx 65 Cavaliers on this List. .if I was looking at the right List.

There are approx 11,000 Cavaliers Registered every year by the Kennel Club, all those Cavaliers won't belong to Puppy Farmers or BYB's.

So at 5 years of age, there would be approx 55,000 Cavaliers registered by The Kennel Club 2004-2009,and there are 65 on the CKCS Club List, ......

Karlin
8th November 2009, 02:04 PM
So at 5 years of age, there would be approx 55,000 Cavaliers registered by The Kennel Club 2004-2009,and there are 65 on the CKCS Club List

Yes, this is what is so depressing. And though the breed club breeders argue that the vast majority of cavalier breeders who get KC registration are not breed club members and not as health-aware, surely in 5 years there are also thousands of breed club member puppies also listed? Going by the heart clear list only a tiny fraction of one percent of dogs seem to be heart clear! The heart clear list could be a great advertisement for the club's health commitments, if breeders actually used it and showed they want a better public face for the 'hobby' and the breed.

If they keep arguing that hearts are improving, where is the evidence when either there aren't enough to include on the club list or they see such an important public effort by the club to be valueless to them and the breed, and therefore don't submit results when they do have heart clear dogs?

Incidentally a recommendation was made to the KC to put inserts on MVD, SM, hips, eyes etc into every registration letter returned to cavalier breeders generally when they register puppies -- a very simple, inexpensive and positive approach to getting basic information out to ALL cavalier breeders, especially those the breed clubs worry are 'outside their net' to inform on such issues. The KC has been saying for months that it will do this. Nothing has happened a full year + after PDE aired on this front, even though the KC spokespeople were stating the KC was partivularly concerned about such breeders and keeping them 'informed'. To date it seems the only thing they get 'informed' about is that the KC has cashed their cheques and their puppies are now officially registered. :sl*p:

This is such a simple easy way to reach breeders in one of the most-registered breeds in the UK and one of the ones with the most concerning health issues, in between MVD and SM. I would have so much more confidence in the things the KC says it plans to do if would actually act on such low cost, simple and encouraging suggestions. The breed clubs after all have no way to contact those thousands of breeders who are not club members and must look to the KC to take the lead. The KC has direct contact with ALL of them.

lissa
8th November 2009, 02:15 PM
Hello everyone,

I wanted to thank you all for the support and replies. I have wanted to write that post for months, but kept putting it off. I am in tears knowing that Iím not alone. Karlin and Margaret C, I will be writing you privately when I am done this post :). Thank you for your offer of help.

There are just a few things I would like to add to my earlier thoughts that have come out of reading the replies.


There are ways to limit the risk for health problems in dogs. Find a breeder that fits with your views well before there are cute puppies to see. But nothing can guarantee that you pup will grow well into old age with few issues.

I definitely take time before selecting a puppy (see my far too long explanation below). I do not expect any guarantee for old age; nonetheless, I do expect breeders to follow current protocols to try to give the best possibility for a pain-free, long life (this includes health testing, questions of early stimulation and experiences, etc.). I take my job as a pet owner very seriously and want the best possible start for my family members.



Everyone was very pleasant and there was no abuse at all from either side.Generally if you're polite and pleasant,you'll get the same courtesy extended to you.


I would like to think I am very polite and pleasant. Sins, I donít imagine you were implying that I was somehow rude, but I just wanted to say I was definitely pleasant and verbose (as you are about to witness :)). I started contacting breeders early in 2007 after being interested in the breed for some time. I research breeds years before I intend to add them to my family. When contacting a breeder, I always introduce myself first with a substantial email explaining my lifestyle and why I want a puppy/dog. I give information on my past dogs as well as current pets (ie. we presently have a dog and three cats). I give details of my training methods, views on food, a typical week in our lives, what types of activities I enjoy doing with my dogs (both informal and competitive sports), and some of my background as it relates to animals (ie. training seminars, competitive achievements in dog sports, my work with therapy programs, my work with vets, etc). I explain I am not in a hurry to get a puppy as I believe in doing extensive research (I am an academic, so it is what I do), and that Iím looking to find a breeder at this point rather than a dog. I close by inviting the breeder to write me back to initiate ďgetting to know each otherĒ and to feel free to ask me any questions they would like. I also add that if they would prefer to discuss things over the phone, they can send me their phone number and I will call them so that they do not incur any long distance charges. As I said, it is generally verbose. I will say that 9.9 out of 10 breeders respond to this email. They are generally positive and interested in me as a puppy owner (I donít mean to sound egotistical or pompous here). It is always after I write the second email asking about health testing that I get the responses I mentioned above (ie. either they never respond again or give reasons for not testing). I then respond to them very politely and kindly thank them for their time as I do appreciate responses, but explain that Iím truly only interested in finding a breeder that is doing health testing according to the protocols. I always close that email by thanking them again.

I donít think anything I do in writing and responding to breeders is impolite or unpleasant. I have owned a variety of breeds. Some have been very healthy (my 12 year old Boston Terrier has been relatively well his entire life) while others have not (our first dog, a Boxer, had us at the vet as often as at home and died before she was three). Iíve worked at vet clinics, in the dog training industry, and in the pet food industry. I know what is out there and do believe Iím realistic when I take on a new family member, knowing full well things can go wrong (I myself am a cancer survivor while the rest of my family is healthy). What my issue with the Cavalier breeders Iíve contacted is the fact that they seem to ignore what current research shows is the case. As I said in my first post, when talking to breeders of other breeds I am usually able to get past the health question stage to questions of methods of training and raising puppies fairly quickly. Yet with the Cavalier breeders Iíve dealt with (many of whom were very polite) I found that they arenít testing according to the protocols that seem to me to be clearly established and called for.

What is the future of a breed that has such severe health issues that are ignored by so many breeders? Iím certain that Karlin and Margaret C. will be able to help me. I just wrote my first post out of pure frustration. I truly love the Cavaliers Iíve met and think we would be perfect for each other. I just cannot in good conscience buy a breed in which the breeders arenít working to improve on such serious and painful problems. All breeds have issues (so do all mixed-heritage dogs) - they donít all have problems of such severity as the Cavalier.

Again, please read this post, as the earlier one, in a friendly-yet-frustrated tone. I am not intending to attack any single person or the breed. It is just the view of an outsider to the community that is trying to do their best in selecting their pets. I am an extremely soft and kind person, and would hate to think Iíve hurt someone because my tone seems hostile or aggressive. It is not meant to be anything but concerned.

Sincerely,
Lissa
PS - I hope this response isn't too long. I promise to be much more brief in the future.

WoodHaven
8th November 2009, 03:51 PM
Hello everyone,

I wanted to thank you all for the support and replies. I have wanted to write that post for months, but kept putting it off. I am in tears knowing that Iím not alone. Karlin and Margaret C, I will be writing you privately when I am done this post :). Thank you for your offer of help.

There are just a few things I would like to add to my earlier thoughts that have come out of reading the replies.



I definitely take time before selecting a puppy (see my far too long explanation below). I do not expect any guarantee for old age; nonetheless, I do expect breeders to follow current protocols to try to give the best possibility for a pain-free, long life (this includes health testing, questions of early stimulation and experiences, etc.). I take my job as a pet owner very seriously and want the best possible start for my family members.


What is the future of a breed that has such severe health issues that are ignored by so many breeders? Iím certain that Karlin and Margaret C. will be able to help me. I just wrote my first post out of pure frustration. I truly love the Cavaliers Iíve met and think we would be perfect for each other. I just cannot in good conscience buy a breed in which the breeders arenít working to improve on such serious and painful problems. All breeds have issues (so do all mixed-heritage dogs) - they donít all have problems of such severity as the Cavalier.


Sincerely,
Lissa
PS - I hope this response isn't too long. I promise to be much more brief in the future.

Painting breeders with a huge brush of " breeders ignore health issues'' is drastically unfair. Breeders have been submitting MRI's and bloods for years-- even here in the USA-- I took the time to send the information to England. We now see breeders donating neonatal bodies to be examined to help research. (not an easy thing to do)

Clairelou
8th November 2009, 04:08 PM
Sandy, Lissa said "What is the future of a breed that has such severe health issues that are ignored by so many breeders?" she is not tarring all breeders with the same brush and I believe her quote to be correct - the VAST majority do not test.

lissa
8th November 2009, 05:50 PM
Painting breeders with a huge brush of " breeders ignore health issues'' is drastically unfair. Breeders have been submitting MRI's and bloods for years-- even here in the USA-- I took the time to send the information to England. We now see breeders donating neonatal bodies to be examined to help research. (not an easy thing to do)

Sandy, I am sorry my meaning wasn't more clear. I was worried this is what would come across, and I definitely did not mean every breeder (which must be the case as I have not spoken with every breeder). I had hoped it would be clear that from the conversations I have had with the breeders I have contacted, I have had poor experiences. I use only "I statements" here. I do not doubt that there are committed breeders out there and that is why I came to this board in the hopes of finding them. I do, however, think the Cavalier as a breed is suffering from a large amount of serious health problems. I also think the breed is such a fabulous one that they will still be popular in spite of this fact. I have been involved with other breeds with severe problems, have good friends that have bred these animals, and understand the pain involved with trying to be a "good breeder." I have worked in clinics and labs that have dealt with treatments and have become very attached to all of these animals and many of their people. So please do not think I'm making particular to general fallacious statements or that I am being flippant. I do not mean to come across that way.

What I meant to say was from my experience in talking with a fairly large group of breeders, I have had poor experiences (both in my expectations and compared to experiences with other breeds and other species). If you follow stringent protocols as a breeder, then I am not only happy to talk to you, I am also certainly not speaking of you.

I am very sorry if I offended you - that is exactly what I was trying to avoid while still being honest.

Apologies,
Lissa

Yorkysue
8th November 2009, 06:10 PM
Lissa, I do hope you will find a puppy that is just right for you. I'm sure Margaret will help all she can. From what I have gleened over time, is that the people who test their dogs, are not the most prolific breeders, in fact they may only have an occasional litter. ie they're not doing it for a living. So this makes it even more difficult to hear about them and track them down.

Breeders who produce a number of litters, are probably easier to find, but might not be the ones who health test (as you have found) Some of these people can be woefully ignorant:eek: because they are just breeding to produce puppies to sell, full stop, and nothing else.

I have had cavaliers for many years, and 'touch wood' been very lucky so far. I hope I will continue to be, because some of the stories I have read here are so heartbreaking. Once you have got a cavalier, you will know it has all been worth it!:)

WoodHaven
8th November 2009, 08:46 PM
Sandy, Lissa said "What is the future of a breed that has such severe health issues that are ignored by so many breeders?" she is not tarring all breeders with the same brush and I believe her quote to be correct - the VAST majority do not test.

Which tests? There are heart clinics at some UK shows that are FREE. Free--

Many of the breeders near me in the USA organize health clinics annually. Some even have open clinics for people to bring cavaliers/dogs to their homes.

Yorkysue
8th November 2009, 09:15 PM
Which tests? There are heart clinics at some UK shows that are FREE. Free--

Many of the breeders near me in the USA organize health clinics annually. Some even have open clinics for people to bring cavaliers/dogs to their homes.

People who show their dogs will take full advantage of the heart/eye tests at the shows; but there are a lot of Breeders who don't show, and probably don't actually know a lot about cavaliers - apart from the fact that they have litters when mated!! - and that means an income!

Clairelou
8th November 2009, 09:47 PM
I'm not saying that ALL breeders don't test - MRI scanning, eye screening, heart screening etc I'm saying the VAST majority don't do all the health checks available.

WoodHaven
8th November 2009, 10:01 PM
I'm not saying that ALL breeders don't test - MRI scanning, eye screening, heart screening etc I'm saying the VAST majority don't do all the health checks available.

Where does it say that all cavaliers must be MRI'd??? It doesn't. Not even the protocol says that. But if you hear people repeat it often enough, it takes on a life of its own.

Clairelou
8th November 2009, 10:19 PM
Where does it say that all cavaliers must be MRI'd??? It doesn't. Not even the protocol says that. But if you hear people repeat it often enough, it takes on a life of its own.

Can you please read my posts more carefully, I said health checks AVAILABLE where do you get this must from?????

WoodHaven
8th November 2009, 10:29 PM
I don't know,,,, maybe it is this verbatim

"MRI scanning, eye screening, heart screening etc I'm saying the VAST majority don't do all the health checks available."

I would NEVER breed a dog that didn't have a CERF eye screening or a cavalier without a current health heart cert.... so adding the MRI right on top of that list makes it sound mandatory. A MUST

diddy
8th November 2009, 11:16 PM
Sandy in the UK under the Accredited Breeder Scheme all litters registered should have Eye Certificates for both sire and dam. The KC also strongly recommends they follow the breed club advice re SM and MVD.

In practice many experienced breeders consider the ABS to be a waste of time. Consequently when trying to locate a particular dog on the KC Health Test site we draw a blank.

WoodHaven
9th November 2009, 01:13 AM
Sandy in the UK under the Accredited Breeder Scheme all litters registered should have Eye Certificates for both sire and dam. The KC also strongly recommends they follow the breed club advice re SM and MVD.

In practice many experienced breeders consider the ABS to be a waste of time. Consequently when trying to locate a particular dog on the KC Health Test site we draw a blank.

I've talked to enough ophthalmologist to know that THEY have seen very noticeable improvements in the canine eyes because breeders have been utilizing CERF.
I've talked to two cardios that have stated that they have seen improvements in cavalier hearts, because of the testing and tracking that has been done.
I have yet to talk to a neuro that can tell me whether or not to breed a dog unless it is showing symptoms.
I bred two cavaliers that had been MRI'd. I followed the SM protocol and got 2 pups WITH symptomatic SM.
1. I was told not to breed the symptomatic SM pups-- well, that was a no brainer.
2. I asked what to do about my bitch-- he said, "never breed those two cavaliers together again". I spay the female-- didn't want to go through that again.
There aren't enough answers for me to fully jump on the MRI bandwagon. I am afraid that it is going to give people a false sense of security.

Ironically, I know of a woman who had a bitch get an MVD murmur-- dx by echo at age 2. She just turned 11 1/2 and her murmur just got upgraded to a grade III. I just wanted to mention this because I would panic if I had a young dog get a murmur.

Clairelou
9th November 2009, 12:22 PM
Sorry to hear you followed the protocol and bred 2 puppies with symptomatic SM.



There aren't enough answers for me to fully jump on the MRI bandwagon. I am afraid that it is going to give people a false sense of security.



I don't think MRI's do give people a false sense of security, prospective puppy buyers who seek pup's from SM scanned parents have obviously done their research so will have the breeders who MRI scan and understand that breeding/buying a puppy from 2 parents scanned 'clear' of SM doesn not mean puppies guaranteed free of SM, and that in purchasing/breeding Cavaliers with 'clear' SM scans they are still playing Russian roulette.

I really am sorry to hear about your pup's with SM, for me myself I'm not ready to jump off the MRI bandwagon.

May I ask what SM breeding protocol you now follow and suggest?

Margaret C
9th November 2009, 01:46 PM
I have yet to talk to a neuro that can tell me whether or not to breed a dog unless it is showing symptoms..
I cannot quite understand what you mean here, can you clarify?



I bred two cavaliers that had been MRI'd. I followed the SM protocol and got 2 pups WITH symptomatic SM. .
There sometimes appears to be the SM guidelines as approved by the neurologists at the International Conference in 2006, and a watered down version that is used by breeders.

The breeders version will involve using cavaliers that were MRI scanned before they are 2.5 years ( Grade C, if no SM ) and mating them to unscanned dogs ( Grade D, but only if really not showing symptoms )THIS IS NOT TO THE SM PROTOCOL.

Then there is the two underage dogs ( Grade C mated to Grade C )THIS IS NOT TO THE SM PROTOCOL

I'm not suggesting that this is the case with your breeding, you may be one of those that did a Grade A x Grade A mating and was just very unlucky.
It would certainly help this discussion if you would tell us if the MRI'd cavaliers that produced your 2 pups with symptomatic SM were both scanned, and bred, after the age of 2.5 years?



There aren't enough answers for me to fully jump on the MRI bandwagon. I am afraid that it is going to give people a false sense of security. .
You underestimate people.




Ironically, I know of a woman who had a bitch get an MVD murmur-- dx by echo at age 2. She just turned 11 1/2 and her murmur just got upgraded to a grade III. I just wanted to mention this because I would panic if I had a young dog get a murmur.

There are always exceptions and we could all quote them in a way that will suggest that testing is useless.
Any health testing scheme is a blunt instrument but until we have the magic gene tests they are all we have to protect the breed.

I have read that the average time from first sign of heart murmur to CHF is four years and that has roughly been my experience.

I am sure that many people will tell me about long lived, early onset MVD, dogs such as you have mentioned above. It is less likely that breeders will talk about the other end of the spectrum, the young dogs that died within a few weeks of murmur being detected.

WoodHaven
9th November 2009, 01:50 PM
Sorry to hear you followed the protocol and bred 2 puppies with symptomatic SM.



I don't think MRI's do give people a false sense of security, prospective puppy buyers who seek pup's from SM scanned parents have obviously done their research so will have the breeders who MRI scan and understand that breeding/buying a puppy from 2 parents scanned 'clear' of SM doesn not mean puppies guaranteed free of SM, and that in purchasing/breeding Cavaliers with 'clear' SM scans they are still playing Russian roulette.

I really am sorry to hear about your pup's with SM, for me myself I'm not ready to jump off the MRI bandwagon.

May I ask what SM breeding protocol you now follow and suggest?

As someone who has done the testing and gotten bitten in the bum-- Yes, it was a false sense of security going into that total outcross breeding. The COI for that litter was very low-- I thought, I won't be able to double up on nasty genes and BAM.
The only dogs I've technically bred in the last two years were fully tested MRI'd co owns. One of which will be bred again next week. And yes, I am the one telling them to tell everyone that great health tests guarantee "nothing''.

WoodHaven
9th November 2009, 03:04 PM
I cannot quite understand what you mean here, can you clarify?



There sometimes appears to be the SM guidelines as approved by the neurologists at the International Conference in 2006, and a watered down version that is used by breeders.

The breeders version will involve using cavaliers that were MRI scanned before they are 2.5 years ( Grade C, if no SM ) and mating them to unscanned dogs ( Grade D, but only if really not showing symptoms )THIS IS NOT TO THE SM PROTOCOL.

Then there is the two underage dogs ( Grade C mated to Grade C )THIS IS NOT TO THE SM PROTOCOL

I'm not suggesting that this is the case with your breeding, you may be one of those that did a Grade A x Grade A mating and was just very unlucky.
It would certainly help this discussion if you would tell us if the MRI'd cavaliers that produced your 2 pups with symptomatic SM were both scanned, and bred, after the age of 2.5 years?



You underestimate people.





There are always exceptions and we could all quote them in a way that will suggest that testing is useless.
Any health testing scheme is a blunt instrument but until we have the magic gene tests they are all we have to protect the breed.

I have read that the average time from first sign of heart murmur to CHF is four years and that has roughly been my experience.

I am sure that many people will tell me about long lived, early onset MVD, dogs such as you have mentioned above. It is less likely that breeders will talk about the other end of the spectrum, the young dogs that died within a few weeks of murmur being detected.

When a dog is asymptomatic for SM yet has syrinxes-- do you breed them?? Once, Never... As apposed to if a dog has early onset MVD-- WE DON'T breed it. Crowding of the brain at the occipital open -- do you breed it... how much is too much. There seems like there is a lot more 'grey area' when it comes to this.

My bitch was 31 months when MRI'd-- the sire was over 5 years old when MRI'd-- THIS breeding was following the protocol.

No, I don't underestimate people. "some'' People overestimate the value of testing thinking that it will lead somewhere it may not. My vet had two OFA excellent hipped dogs give birth to 3 puppies that were all dysplastic. I don't want people to overbreed a stud dog thinking 'he's clear, its all good' - because rarely does that happen.

I have seen dogs that got murmurs early that died mid teens of something else. I've also heard of dogs that get a murmur at 5 1/2 and are dead before 7.

Margaret C
9th November 2009, 04:43 PM
have yet to talk to a neuro that can tell me whether or not to breed a dog unless it is showing symptoms...

When a dog is asymptomatic for SM yet has syrinxes-- do you breed them?? Once, Never... As apposed to if a dog has early onset MVD-- WE DON'T breed it. Crowding of the brain at the occipital open -- do you breed it... how much is too much. There seems like there is a lot more 'grey area' when it comes to this..

Yes, syringomyelia is an enormously complex condition with a great many grey areas. Unfortunately there are no easy answers & that is something nobody can change, so we just have to get on with it.
It is unrealistic to expect answers from researchers before there has been enough time or information to be able to get to any conclusions.

It is only since PDE was aired last year that breeders have been MRI'ing in any significant numbers in the UK. It will take a few generations of cavaliers bred with strict adherence to the SM protocol before we know how well it is working ( although the experience of the Dutch breeders suggests that it should make a considerable difference)

The SM guidelines allow for affected older cavaliers without symptoms to be used for breeding because of the threat to genetic diversity if all affected dogs were removed from the gene pool.
Nobody has to use such a dog, it is the breeders decision, and I think common sense would say that a grade D dog is probably not such a good breeding prospect as Grade A




My bitch was 31 months when MRI'd-- the sire was over 5 years old when MRI'd-- THIS breeding was following the protocol. .

Then you were very unlucky, but it does not mean that the guidelines are wrong, they make it clear that the protocol is not something that will guarantee SM free litters of puppies.



No, I don't underestimate people. "some'' People overestimate the value of testing thinking that it will lead somewhere it may not. My vet had two OFA excellent hipped dogs give birth to 3 puppies that were all dysplastic. I don't want people to overbreed a stud dog thinking 'he's clear, its all good' - because rarely does that happen..

In my experience dogs are being overbred here but it is not because breeders think they are clear. They just like the puppies that are produced.

The APGAW Report recommends limiting the use of stud dogs. That would be a solution to both concerns

WoodHaven
9th November 2009, 04:59 PM
I never expected the specialists to pin point exactly the right way to go.. But I don't think we should all go blindly down one alley because some experts "think' it might be the way. THERE is wayy to much grey.

I did my first group of SM MRI's 4.5 YEARS ago... That program did NOTHING to change my view. NOTHING

ALL you have to do is have some people PROVE that it works and people will follow, but unlucky or not-- I didn't have symptomatic SM before and following the protocol-100% in one litter. Nature is a cruel taskmaster.

You don't know the genes carried for the A-- the A can have MORE negative genes, more detrimental genes than the D. It is a guess at this point.

HSUS wants to do away with ALL breeding. I don't think the American public will put up with it. IF you make this loved HOBBY too much for breeders, they will walk away. My accountant thinks I am NUTS now--- I could have gone on a Mediterranean cruise on what I spent on my dogs last year or two. I am seriously thinking of quiting the breeding part. IF all I had to do was BUY a dog and show it... THAT would be much less stressful.

Clairelou
9th November 2009, 05:12 PM
It will take a few generations of cavaliers bred with strict adherence to the SM protocol before we know how well it is working ( although the experience of the Dutch breeders suggests that it should make a considerable difference)



Yes let the protocol be given the time it needs, let it be put into action over generations before it is dissed as not working.

WoodHaven
9th November 2009, 05:24 PM
Yes let the protocol be given the time it needs, let it be put into action over generations before it is dissed as not working.

And if it works over the course of a few generations-- then people will jump on. Right now- there are mixed results.

My boy was MRI'd -- his parents were MRI'd, the parents sires were MRI'd, one of the sires of one of these were MRI'd.
The boy was just bred to a female that was MRI'd-- these pups have 7 direct individual ancestors that have passed MRI's(not including siblings and uncles that were also-- trying to think non linear).
CAN you see that:
I understand the waiting and testing

Margaret C
9th November 2009, 05:58 PM
And if it works over the course of a few generations-- then people will jump on. Right now- there are mixed results.

My boy was MRI'd -- his parents were MRI'd, the parents sires were MRI'd, one of the sires of one of these were MRI'd.
The boy was just bred to a female that was MRI'd-- these pups have 7 direct individual ancestors that have passed MRI's(not including siblings and uncles that were also-- trying to think non linear).
CAN you see that:
I understand the waiting and testing

Are some of these retrospective scans?. I am asking because all of those scans could not have been done after dogs were 2.5 years, and still get so many generations into a 4.5 year time scan.

Nobody would be surprised if an individual breeder had this result if testing for MVD or MRD, it is accepted that the problems can show up after generations of 'clear' results.
Would you stop testing heart and eyes in those circumstances?



But I don't think we should all go blindly down one alley because some experts "think' it might be the way. THERE is wayy to much grey.




What would you think we should be doing instead? That is a question I would really like some of the anti-scanning breeders to answer.


IF you make this loved HOBBY too much for breeders, they will walk away.

There are hobbies where you have a good day out, you come back and you put your golf club in the cupboard or your stamp albums back on the shelf........ Sorted until next time.

Hobbies that involve living breathing animals means the hobbyist is responsible for their welfare every day, in everything they do with, or for, them.

If MRI scanning to give cavaliers a healthy future is too much for some breeders, then it is best that they do walk away.

WoodHaven
9th November 2009, 06:21 PM
I have been working with progeny of dogs that HAD scans done on their sires etc. previously-- "I" didn't do them all-- Can I guarantee that they were all done after 2 1/2-- NO-- because 4 1/2 years ago -- THAT hadn't been established. I believe one or two of the dogs were 2 when scanned.
This line of breeding has been more consistant for clears (some with mild crowding).

Would I rather breed a bitch to a older dog that has NEVER thrown a known case of SM or breed a dog that has SM in his roots but is clear???
I wanted to use a dog that was 11-- MVD clear, never having thrown a symptomatic or known asymptomatic case of SM--- This breeder refused my MRI'd clear bitch because: THERE WAS A KNOWN NOTORIOUS dog way back in her pedigree that HAD SM.

My point was-- IF a hobby becames too arduous-- it ceases to be -- there will only be professional breeders, illegal breeders etc... to fill the demand.

IF I believed that MRIing was the end all, be all-- I'd jump on that bandwagon--- A DNA test-- YES -- a picture that could change in the matter of months -- URGHHH..

AND this isn't like MVD-- we hope to AVOID SM completely. YOU can't avoid ageing of the heart (it will likely always be here).

I OFA hips-- IT is done once and it is a pretty conclusive picture. There is no, try it again after 2 1/2 and maybe even again after 5.

Margaret C
9th November 2009, 07:22 PM
My point was-- IF a hobby becames too arduous-- it ceases to be -- there will only be professional breeders, illegal breeders etc... to fill the demand..

I understand your point.
My point is that those hobby breeders have a responsibility to the dogs they own and the future of that breed.
There is, and has been for quite some years, hobby breeders that have shown they are up to that challenge. Those that cannot face that challenge are best walking away.


IF I believed that MRIing was the end all, be all-- I'd jump on that bandwagon--- A DNA test-- YES -- a picture that could change in the matter of months -- URGHHH..
I do not believe there can be any health test that is the Be All, End All.

The DNA test is dependent on MRI information. Not enough MRIs, we will continue to wait for the gene test.

And while we wait? You still have not said what you think we should do instead?


AND this isn't like MVD-- we hope to AVOID SM completely. YOU can't avoid ageing of the heart (it will likely always be here)

I OFA hips-- IT is done once and it is a pretty conclusive picture. There is no, try it again after 2 1/2 and maybe even again after 5.

That is probably a completely unrealistic hope. This condition is like MVD in that a dog scanned clear at 2.5 may have a syrinx at 5. A dog clear at 7 may have SM at 11 years.
Pushing back the age of onset is what we need to do, and if it is necessary to scan more than once, then there is no magic wand that will make that fact go away.