View Full Version : CKCS health-UK vs. USA

24th July 2010, 04:10 PM
Hi all,
I am wondering if there is much of a difference in the CKCS health (inherited conditions such as MVD abd SM) .....is the rate of effected dogs higher in the UK than in the USA?
Or is it a pretty even rate across the board (or pond :) )
I am trying to learn all I can about these conditions-just in case- my new girl developes such a condition...(praying she never does!) but wanting to be prepared for it if she does... Thank you, Veesha Murray

24th July 2010, 06:43 PM
I am sorry if I posted this thread in the wrong place, I am still trying to find my way around :rolleyes:

24th July 2010, 10:56 PM
Hi -- this is a good place to post this question. :thmbsup:

Rates of affectedness for both SM and MVD seem consistent across geographies, going by rsearch studies. All CKCS in the US are very closely related to all UK dogs so you'd not expect to see too much difference. Many US breeders import their breeding dogs from the UK.

Sadly there's little chance that you will avoid MVD -- half the breed have murmurs by age 5 and almost 100% will have them by age 10. Thus finding health focused breeders who follow the MVD protocol and can show you proper heart cert results (by a cardiologist, not a vet) is important. At this time all research indicates at least 35% of cavaliers and more likely over 50% will develop SM. Fortunately many have no or very mild symptoms but as those of us with affected dogs can confirm, having a symptomatic dog is very distressing. So finding a breeder who MRI scans is important.

25th July 2010, 12:45 PM
Thank you for your reply Karlin. I will prepare myself for the MV even though both parents and 5 generations back are clear, but I don't know how I could ever prepare myself for living with a beloved pet in such pain as the SM sometimes causes. If SM does become a problem, what is the age it developes? I have read between 6 months and 18 months of age, is that most common? And is surgery the best option? I won't hesitate to take that measure if it means a better quality of life for my little girl. She won't be old enough to come home with me for another 4 weeks...so I am in the nesting phase :lotsaluv: I can hardly wait to meet my new little girl! (She is over 1200 miles away) I am going to go pick her up, as my last experience with shipping was a nightmare.

25th July 2010, 11:49 PM
... I will prepare myself for the MV even though both parents and 5 generations back are clear ...

Excuse me, but I've never heard of five generations of both parents being "clear" of MVD. How do you know? Have all of these dogs been examined and cleared by cardiologists? By "clear", do you mean that they were clear at the time they were bred? Or that none of them ever had MVD?

29th July 2010, 02:24 PM
What I meant by 'clear' was no audible heart murmur at 10 years of age, and none were bred before the age of 5 years. Thanks for wanting me to explain my comment better.

29th July 2010, 03:05 PM
Hi Veesha:

I think if your breeder is telling you this you have cause to be deeply worried (and angry!): simply because it would be a world first for any breeder to have 5 generations with no audible heart murmurs at age 10 -- just impossible. I'd want to see the cardiologist reports to confirm this (not a vet report -- vets are not adequate and some who sign off on karge numbers of dogs for questionable breeders, at a good income, could not be trusted to clear any dog or pupy for anything).

Almost 100% of cavaliers will have a heart murmur by age 10. HALF will have murmurs by age 5. The exceptions at age 10 are extremely rare. That is why Rod is a bit taken aback that someone might be claiming not just, say, clear grandparents at this age (in itself that would be pretty amazing) but there's virtually no way 5 gens clear could possibly be true.

Sadly a lot of trash breeders make such claims, hoping to dupe puppy buyers looking for honest guidance. They are generally the people doing no adequate testing on breeding stock at all. :eek: I would run from any breeder making such a claim as it absolutely has to be not just an out and out lie, but is a quite outrageous, deliberately deceptive claim. Any reputable breeder would laugh at such a claim.

I am really sorry to state this and no doubt deeply disappoint, but I can assure you that you would be far more likely to have serious problems with a puppy from such a person over the dog's lifetime. :(

29th July 2010, 03:18 PM
There's a lot of information on SM at Rod's site, www.cavalierheath.org, and I also have info at www.smcavalier.com; also see www.cavaliermatters.org and www.cavaliercampaign.com. Rates of SM appear to run to at least 60% of the breed (I have seen a formal clinical group of asymptomatc dogs that shows it is actually higher -- but the data has not yet been published). That would mean the rate of affectedness is considerably higher as this very large sample were only asymptomatic dogs who on a neurologist's professional exam, showed no symptoms, and ranged in age from puppies to age 10+. So I think estimates will be revised upwards by quite a bit and may well be closer (actually probably higher) to the estimate of 70% or more eventually affected with SM, not just CM, made many years ago by Dr Clare Rusbridge (and much criticised at the time by some).

Of those a good portion will not have symptoms at least until later in life, as the large clinical sample shows. But every study points to MOST of us having a dog with SM, asymptomatic or not. The more serious cases tend to show symptoms between 6 months and four years, with the most severe tending to show symptoms before age 1.

There's a lot more info on the links above. Yes it can be manageable through either surgery or medications but it does tend to be progressive with a considerable number needing to be euthenised for pain eventually. I have two and probably three of my five with some degree of SM -- one is serious, one is mild, (those both scanned and verified cases) and a third dog is also fairly mild but her scratching would suggest she has SM as well (if you own SM dogs you can pretty well iscern the difference between normal scratching and SM scratching). Two of mine scanned clear, one at almost 10, one at 1 and again at nearly 6. If clear at 5 or 6 the dog is considered unlikely to ever have a syrinx or probably only a very tiny one.

Despite the seriousness of these health problems many of us love this breed, will always wish to own at least one cavalier, and wish to see the breed survive -- and for these problems to be minimised. That is why it is really important to only use a breeder who definitely breeds for health -- all will say they do but far fewer actually do the proper heart testing via a cardiologist, follow the MVD protocol (as opposed to saying they do) and also make public results after age 5 unless they are good... and very few in N America are MRI scanning for SM. Cost is a factor but in essence they are breeding blind for a serious health issue and I would not use a breeder who isn't scanning as well. Pet buyers will be the single greatest influence on whether this breed survives and these health problems begin to come under control and dogs lead less painful lives -- because we hold the purse strings. If puppy buyers only work with truly health-focused, scanning and testing breeders, that will become the norm in breeding practice. So use your power to select a breeder carefully. :thmbsup:

29th July 2010, 08:40 PM

I was going to ask the same question, but then Rod beat me to it.

I strongly suspect that you might have misunderstood the breeder and you were told that all ancestors five generations back were heart clear at age 5 (not 10) and were not bred before the age of 2.5 (not 5). That would be breeding to the MVD protocol for five generations. I daresay that I could name a few (very few) US breeders that could truthfully make that statement (see my comments with Rod in the thread on "going to see a puppy").

No breeder would do a first breeding of a bitch over the age of 5 as that would be quite dangerous, and no breeder would mate a stud dog for the first time over the age of 5.

Check again with your breeder and I think you'll confirm that the ages you quoted were doubled for some reason. If indeed the breeder said 5 and 10 years, then run away as fast as you can!

Hey, Karlin - by the way - I recently lost a girl (to cancer) who was a few weeks short of reaching her 15th birthday, and she was heart clear. She was Kilspindie Quotation, one of the last of the Kilspindies. I adopted her when she was 12 years old, and she was very special and dear to me. I'd give anything I own to have another Kilspindie. I was supremely lucky that five of my twelve Cavaliers were Kilspindies. Another of my Kilspindie girls was heart clear at age 9, and she also died of cancer at age 16.


29th July 2010, 11:14 PM
Check again with your breeder and I think you'll confirm that the ages you quoted were doubled for some reason. If indeed the breeder said 5 and 10 years, then run away as fast as you can!

Pat that makes more sense and Veesha that would be a lot more likely! :) Hope that you will be able to clarify the situation and have a breeder you can work with.

Pat what a fabulous age. Truly wonderful to have been heart clear too -- an age we all hope our dogs will see. My Lucy turned 11 this week and though she has a murmur now she remains very active and lively and has no CHF. I hope she stays part of my gang for quite a while yet -- I know many from her breeder have reached 14 or so.

It's a shame so many of these lines are lost or so badly diluted now. Too many popular sires, too much duplication of the same genes. It creates dangerous bottlenecks with fewer and fewer options.

30th July 2010, 12:38 AM

I strongly suspect that you might have misunderstood the breeder and you were told that all ancestors five generations back were heart clear at age 5 (not 10) and were not bred before the age of 2.5 (not 5).

Check again with your breeder and I think you'll confirm that the ages you quoted were doubled for some reason.


Whoops, I guess my supposition was incorrect as I see you posted in another forum that your breeder only breeds Cavaliers who are over the age of 4 and are heart clear so that's a different number than 5 or my guess of 2.5. So I'm not sure what the story is at this point. You said mom of pups is 7 and heart clear, and that is a good thing. But I'm more confused than ever about your breeder's age criteria.


30th July 2010, 03:27 PM
Thank you all for your words of wisdom. I have learned a lot from them. Since I have already paid in full for the pup, I will bring her home, and pray for the best....but prepare for the worst. I will invest the $350 per year for health insurance on her to be sure she has the best care possible. If she DOES develope SM and is suffering, I won't let her for long. Even worst case scenario...her life will be filled with love and affection no matter how long or short it is.
Again, thank each one of you for your input, Veesha