View Full Version : Does geographic location have anything to do with % of Cavaliers with SM

14th September 2010, 04:47 PM
I know this question is way over my head but the reason I wanted to post this is because of something my vet just told me.

Unfortunately Ella started to get sick last night and had been coughing, gagging, would not eat and was hiding. Another thing to worry about :sl*p: He said it probably has something to do with having an infection from the MRI and put a tube down her throat.

It gave me a change to talk to my vet because I seem to be always talking to her neurologist. I asked him has he seen many Cavaliers with Syringomyelia. He said that he has had 5 have surgery. He told me Ella was a first but it is so hard to diagnose etc.... (remember he is the vet that I demanded to get a referral to the neurologist b/c he wanted to wait and see if other things helped. I had been noticing for a bit). He is however real familiar with Syringomyelia and has been even before Ella. That is a plus but he said he has not seen it like this where he was before. He told me it probably is related to location. :-?

That is my first question and the second question Rod is going to love. (It was a topic that came up on another forum) I asked if her cauging has anything to do with being a Brachycephalic breed. He said that is more in England. Did I hear that right or did he mean the English Toy Spaniel?

This is such random questions but I do not that one of the Clubs in the US I talked to a while back said they did not know that SM reached the United States. This forum has many people from several different countries so that thinking is no longer. The only thing I could think of having a specific location with a higher % is if people were buying Cavaliers from the same line of breeders.

I can't think of anything else. I thought someone did a survey once but I would be interested to see if certain areas had higher occurance of SM.

Just a thought

14th September 2010, 05:07 PM
There has been no indication at all that SM is related to location. There have been sample groups from all over the world and the numbers afflicted in scans has been remarkably consistent. The North Carolina study sample pretty much echoed what has appeared in the UK, France, Netherlands and Australia. And those dogs were generally fairly young so the level of affectedness would be lower than would be expected in a broad sample.

The coughing is very likely due to the tracheal tube. It will probably go away fairly quickly. It is not uncommon after a GA.

I think the comment about England was garbled -- not sure what was meant there. Coughing and breathing problems can be related to the breed having a shorter face. There is debate as to whether the term 'brachycephalic' applies to cavaliers. It definitely applies to English Toys (known as King Charles Spaniels in the UK). Maybe that was what was said?

one of the Clubs in the US I talked to a while back said they did not know that SM reached the United States.

If a US club said this, I'd love to have seen it in writing and know who made the statement. Both main clubs have held seminars about SM in the past and would be well aware it is widespread in the US.

I see that the French CKCS club has posted a notice to their website after Pedigree Dogs Exposed was broadcast there recently, claiming there's little evidence of SM in French cavaliers. This made me laugh (cynically) because the club knows full well there is plenty of evidence of SM in French cavaliers, which are basically all UK imports or direct and recent UK descendents. But anyone remotely interested in health (as surely all breeders are?) must be aware of the FRENCH study on SM inwhich dogs put forward for scanning came from high profile French kennels and were hand chosen by breeders as being without symptoms and therefore (they assumed) free of SM.

You can read an English translation of this actual study with images, HERE (http://www.fckc.com/cavalier-king-charles-recherche-la_depeche_veterinaire-n_804_version_anglaise.html) or a French version (for those French breeders who apparently missed it!) is HERE (http://www.fckc.com/cavalier-king-charles-recherche-la_depeche_veterinaire-n_804_version_francaise.html).

Here are notes from the researcher's own presentation in 2006 at the SM event at the Royal Vet College in London:

“We had two years ago, what we called ‘the French exception’. There was ‘no SM in France’,” Cauzinille said. The French CKCS club referred to SM as ‘the British CKC disease.’ Then, a couple of cases appeared and now there are more than 25 known cases.
In November 2004 he gave the first lecture and produced an article on SM in cavaliers. In June 2006, the French club accepted his proposed study, which was small but with two key French breeders, conducted at the the Vet Imaging Centre in Paris.
* 16 dogs in the study
* all were clinically and neurologically ‘normal’ according to their breeders (who filled in a questionnaire) and verified by neurologist’s tests (but not MRI)
*all were LOF (French kennel club pedigree) and breeding dogs
* Dr Couterier performed the neurological clinical testing, which included checking for: cervicalgia, hyperesthesia, scratching, ataxia, paresia, abnormal head posture, scoliosis, strabismus, facial paralysis, cranial nerve deficit
A number of study tests were then done.

and the results:

As a result of these tests, the population was divided into groups:
1) normal; 2) syrinx; 3) hydrocephalus but no syrinx.

1) normal dogs: 8: 7 males and 1 female -- but had Chiari-like malformation
2) syrinx: 7 had SM, 3 males and 4 females, “a big shock to the breeders”
3) hydrocephalus but no syrinx: 1 male
With this group, 43% of clinically normal champion breeding dogs (genitors) have SM “so there’s no more ‘French exception’.” But this is only 16 dogs so researcher cannot give a percentage affected for France, but these were were all pedigree dogs representing 6 key breed lines all with common ancestors.

14th September 2010, 05:55 PM

I got it mixed up. They said they did not know it had reached the US until about 6 years ago. They diffenately knew it was here and the had Cavaliers with SM. I think they did not know it was a problem or an issue until I want to say 2005? Anyway I am sorry I did not say that right because I do know Dr. Marino talked at the National Show. I think where I was going was (and I could have misunderstood) was that at one time was not as known to be as big here. Her vet said the coughing when she drinks could be her palette.

I think my vet was talking about the English Toy Spaniels but I am curious about why he said the comment about it being more spread in certain areas. Part of me wonders if maybe someone was listening in Charlotte when I sent all those e-mails about SM and the symptoms :p

I need to learn how to read over what I say. Oh well, thank you for the information about it might be due to her MRI. I was real worried last night. Thank goodness he is not going to take an xray because her bloodwork was normal. That would have been costly too.

Hope all is well and thank you for answering such a strange questions.

14th September 2010, 07:08 PM
... They said they did not know it had reached the US until about 6 years ago. ...

I don't know who this "they" are, but I have seen American-bred Cavaliers display SM-like scratching symptoms as early as the mid-1990s, and I know of another American-bred Cavalier which was operated on for SM at, I think, the University of Florida around 1999.

... but I am curious about why he said the comment about it being more spread in certain areas.

I think that when a general practice vet makes an otherwise unheard of statement like that -- geographical differences -- regarding a disorder as so well-researched as SM has been, that the vet is blowing it through his hat, so to speak. Maybe he heard this from a Cavalier breeder who seemed knowledgeable but was actually in deep denial. The more general the knowledge and experience of the vet, the more dangerous he can be unless he recognizes his limitations and is willing to consult with a specialist.

14th September 2010, 07:14 PM
Oh the issue is not at all with what you posted or how you phrased them :) but the actual issues raised -- no need to apologise!

It is just that you are really being handed a line by the clubs, if this is what they were saying (and as one club recently was stating on their website, as their official line, that fewer than 0.002% of cavaliers had SM -- this in 2009 or -10 when numerous international studies and their own members' scanning experiences make this the most utterly ludicrous of claims -- you can see that some are not very honest or straightforward or else are so incredibly ill informed that they should not be allowed near a breeding dog or the club website).

I personally know US breeders who already were quite worried about incidence of SM in the US and who had MRId dogs well before 2005. So the US clubs would have been aware there were issues with SM in the US long before 2005 -- unless they had their heads in the sand. I was aware that it was an increasing problem in the breed from doing basic online research back in 2002!

At any rate, all the US dogs are very closely connected to the UK dogs -- and all cavaliers come from the small founder group of UK dogs less than 100 years ago. So in breeding terms, not many generations distant as far as inheritence of problems go. For any club outside the UK to believe that the problems were all in the UK only or even predominantly means they were not talking to neurologists or paying much attention to research papers... the initial paper came out as long ago as 1997 and there were several published in the early part of 2000.

14th September 2010, 07:28 PM
... and the second question Rod is going to love. (It was a topic that came up on another forum) I asked if her cauging has anything to do with being a Brachycephalic breed. He said that is more in England. Did I hear that right or did he mean the English Toy Spaniel? ...

Could have been English toy spaniel. It is obviously more brachycephalic than the Cavalier. And as for those who insist that the Cavalier is not brachycephalic, I have come to terms with that position. If that is what they want to believe, that is fine with me. But they cannot reasonably deny that many the CKSCs suffer from some form or forms of brachycephalic airway obstruction syndrome, especially elongated soft palates.

14th September 2010, 08:46 PM

My vet said it probably is the elongated soft pallette (not that he is an expert) but who cares right now. I just hope she gets through these other things. As for who told me that, I have some e-mails that were sent but I am not going to get into that whole politics. I spoke to both Clubs and they had different responses that I think because I was simply a pet owner scared and curious, they told me some things. I am not going to say names because that does not do any good. I talked for a long time to this one woman and I could feel her concern and her love for this breed. You get one person who says one thing, and another with a whole different outlook. I think that is why overall, you can not simply base a judgement on something unless you fully understand. That is going to take some time for me. :-D I just said I was not going to get into the politics but now I am going to say something that might seem that way. I just want to understand where this is coming from. Not that in any way believe it. I just did not know why or the basis of these statements.

I would like to point something I read out http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/see-spot-blog/2010/04/form-over-function-the-future-of-cavalier-king-charles-spaniels.html

I am mentioning this because I was told that the US is doing more than any other country (in an e-mail) and on the phone that people are discrediting the one person I feel has done so much, Dr. Clare Rusbridge. I don't understand why and the basis of that, but you can see some similar sentiments from a comment on this post.

"I have just returned home from the 2010 American Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club National show. Not only are our breeding programs showcased, but we run health clinics, health studies and seminars. We had a wonderful SM seminar which was presented to a packed room. We breeders do care about the future of Cavaliers and we have NOT thrown in the towel although it appears that Clare Russbridge has."

I know there have been several research studies and grants from the ACKCSC Charitable Trust and there even is Darcy's Fund for MVD, however to state that the person doing so much has "thown in the towel" well is clearly not how I feel.

I wrote a comment, which I may have not thought about, but what is the whole point of saying who is doing more. Yes education and the seminar was great, and there are breeders who are doing health testing etc. But saying what has been done, instead of what could be done is simply not the way to look forward.

I know that this is out of context and this was a comment to the BBC Pedigree dogs exposed and how it did not show all things, which I could agree with. I am not a breeder but I am sure it is tough to be doing everything you can and simply be judged as the same as anyone else. I might have wanted to defend myself too and be upset, but I just am thinking of the future. It seems I am always thinking about things.

Wouldn't it be nice for the breeders that are practicing breeding protocal and doing the most to focus on health are seperated from the ones who are not. I am not sure how things work in the Clubs but not only there. Many people should recognize the efforts of others, breeders, researchers, pet owners, etc. that are doing something to help these animals.

I talked to someone who is in Canada and participated and had her Cavalier screened for SM. She was actually an A but they found another problem. She said they have been doing good things but we have some great neurologists etc. Each country, state, city, has something to offier. I just think it is time to recognize it as international issue instead of who is doing (country, club, breeder, pet owner) the best (country, club, breeder, pet owner) and discrediting others.

If for anything the love for this breed should unite everyone. I never would have thought I would talk to people in Ireland, UK, Australia, and I even get some messages on Facebook in languages I don't recognize. (I think they are Greek). Yet we all love our Cavaliers.

14th September 2010, 11:35 PM
I remember that post. The comment about Clare Rusbridge is of course, laughable and ignorant as well as deliberately misleading, but typical of a certain type... and the comment doesn't even make sense given that SM in cavaliers remains a major part of her research (another abstract and publication will be out soon). Given that the genome project, which is probably the most significant right now for SM research, is also spearheaded by Clare Rusbridge and Penny Knowler, and has been supported by clubs around the world including the AKC and most recently the UK club's 2,000 fund to cover some more scans, it would seem international clubs do not share that rather childish poster's perspective...:rolleyes:

But saying what has been done, instead of what could be done is simply not the way to look forward.

Yes agree. :)

As well, what the person who made the statement does not admit is that people can attend all the health seminars they want but if they do not bother to test, use the information told to them, and follow the protocols recommended by the vet experts, than they might as well just go see a movie rather than attend the seminars and would be better staying away from breeding dogs. It is they who 'throw in the towel' -- dropping the MVD protocol, breeding studs at way, way below the recommended breeding age when they are only puppies themselves (some bred at an age when they still can compete in puppy class!) and trying to discredit the breeders and researchers and pet owners who remain committed to finding a healthier future for this breed.