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Kate H
21st November 2010, 07:12 PM
The Cavalier Health Day at the Royal Veterinary College yesterday was very interesting. Well-attended - about 80 people there, I would guess. Margaret and Tania took a lot of notes and will no doubt be sharing them with you when they have recovered - we all worked hard to take in a lot of information!

The piece of information that struck me most came in the last talk of the day, from Imelda McGonnell who heads the Foetal Tissue Project at the RVC. They are examining stillborn Cavalier puppies to see how their skulls develop in the womb, and have found that all the 20 puppies they have examined have similar deficiencies in the quality of their bone at the back of the skull, which both protects and supports the brain. They think this is because the molecule that organises the development of the foetus in the womb is not giving the correct instructions to the proteins that do the actual work. One protein in particular, which is responsible for bone production (as well as muscle development and other things), is not behaving normally and also seems unable to communicate with the brain to tell it when to stop growing. What I found fascinating was that this protein also has a role in the development of the heart, and Dr McGonnell made the very cautious and tentative suggestion that the same lack of molecule instruction and resulting protein failure could be responsible for both Chiari Malformation in the skull (and so SM) and the changes in the heart which lead to MVD - in other words, we could be dealing with one source for the two major health problems in Cavaliers, not two totally separate sources. Which is pretty mind-boggling... (If I've got anything wrong here, I'm sure Margaret or Tania will correct me! My brain was having to work hard at the end of a long day.)

Kate

Karlin
21st November 2010, 07:27 PM
Thanks for the information on the health day! The foetal work has been really interesting and results seem to fit in well with some of the suppositions that had been circulating amongst researchers, and is very exciting. The detail on a possible heart connection is fascinating.

I hate to mention this as it will no doubt make so many realise what has now slipped from our grasp for many many years into the future -- but there wasn't enough heart information handed in by some of the scanning breeders for MVD to have been included -- as had been intended!! -- in the Canadian genome research. If the heart info had been there for the research, and breeders had responded to the many entreaties made for their information, this tantalising possible link would likely have been made clear.

This was one of the most frustrating elements of the early work on the genome project, and some of the saddest politicking by some breeders who had both heart and MRI info and could have done so much for the breed. It will take years to repeat the genome work for hearts and it ALL could have been done and any possible connection recognised within the existing research effort. :(

Tania
21st November 2010, 08:29 PM
Crikey Kate, I didn't see you take any notes. I am still absorbing the information and I will try and translate it in the next couple of days of how I understood it. A couple of things alarmed me.

Discussed was the concern of the lack of improvement in the number of dogs diagnosed with MVD, the graph shown was getting steeper and murmurs are being detected earlier. After all these years there is not any improvement.

The other point made by a couple of breeders, "is CM a problem" this was in response to numbers of dogs affected eg 93%. There seemed to be a lack of understanding and denial regarding whether dogs have pain with the cm condition.

Sorry this is very unscientific, I have a load of notes and will try and put something worth reading together.

Kate H
21st November 2010, 09:36 PM
I agree with Tania that there were downs and ups to the day. Margaret and Tania both commented that the researchers are getting tougher and no longer pulling their punches in saying that Cavalier health lies in the hands of the breeders. Simon Swift (on crutches after his motor cycle accident, poor man) in effect just said bluntly 'You have GOT to follow the protocol.' The same with the SM talks in the afternoon: Scan before breeding at 2.5 years and scan parents of breeding stock again at 5 - no excuses, no argument.

One of the interesting 'ups', which got the MVD researchers quite excited, was a question about Cavaliers who have early murmurs which never get much worse or progress to heart failure, and who live to a good age. When Dr Corcoran asked how many people had experience of this, almost everyone in the room raised their hand, and he said he simply didn't know this - the researchers tend to see dogs in the last stages of heart failure, deal with tissue from dead dogs, or check dogs once a year and never hear their later history as they get old (Oliver at 8 was the oldest dog checked by Simon Swift at the last Club Ch show). Collecting information was discussed - but of course will take money (as always!).

Kate, Oliver and Aled

Margaret C
22nd November 2010, 09:23 PM
I have blogged on the heart presentations. More to come in due course.

http://www.cavaliertalk.com/forums/entry.php?144-The-Cavalier-Club-Health-Day.-Part-1-Hearts

Bet
23rd November 2010, 11:21 AM
I have blogged on the heart presentations. More to come in due course.

http://www.cavaliertalk.com/forums/entry.php?144-The-Cavalier-Club-Health-Day.-Part-1-Hearts

Cavalier Health Day.

Thank's for the Heart Information,Margaret,and it's great to see how important and useful your Collection Scheme is in Helping with their Research.

Is it not imperative now ,that the CKCS CLUB Committee gets to grips with the Advice from the Researchers ,that the Heart Breeding Guideline Recommendations should be properly followed, especially if Members of the CKCS CLUB who are Cavalier Breeders are Breeding and Mating from Stud Dogs from Cavaliers who are under 2.5 years of age, do those Particular Cavalier Breeders have a Death Wish for our Cavalier Breed.

Are those Cavalier Breeders any better than Puppy Farmers?

Have they no Interest in Over-Coming the Health Problems that are Afflicting our Cavaliers.

They Should be being Named and Shamed by the CKCS CLUB.

All that would be needed to be done would be a List put on the Club Web Site with this Information of those Cavalier Breeders whose names will be appearing in the Kennel Club's Cavalier Breed Supplement.

Will the CKCS CLUB Committee do this?

IF Not ,Why Not.

Bet

Kate H
23rd November 2010, 09:27 PM
The abstracts (summaries) of all the talks are now available on the Cavalier Club site (www.thecavalierclub.co.uk (http://www.thecavalierclub.co.uk/)).

Kate, Oliver and Aled

Karlin
23rd November 2010, 11:09 PM
Thanks! :)

On the 'early murmur' dogs that never progress -- before I would believe such a large response from an audience with financial and reputational reasons to say this, I'd want to see a study in which breeder dogs are tracked and/or same people might produce annual cardiologist certs and treatment recommendations.

Many breeders in the club will say quietly that there are many people who don't report their heart results once they are poor and don't treat affected dogs for fear of word getting out that their dogs eventually get MVD. I stress that such comments have come from a number of dedicated show breeders in more than one country... so it isn't 'just me' or 'just someone saying this with an axe to grind'.

Funny how someone actually doing auscultations and research would not have come across all these dogs whose murmurs never worsen and for whom cardiologists never prescribe medications though. What cardiologists including Simon Swift more routinely say is that the level of MVD in the breed remains unacceptable high and is endemic now, that too few breeders follow MVD breeding protocols (as can be seen by many many puppy litter registrations to underage sires in particular, on the club's own puppy gazette) or properly heart test (eg going to vets, not cardiologists), or don't heart test after age 5, and that too many cavaliers live compromised lives with a heart murmur. I hardly think if breeders were instead dealing with say, their own mother or father or child with a heart murmur, they would believe that simply not being on medication would indicate any great achievement but instead might view it as signaling a lifelong worry/burden. That is what too many cavalier owners live with for the entire life of their dog diagnosed with an early onset murmur.

Margaret C
24th November 2010, 12:28 AM
Thanks! :)

On the 'early murmur' dogs that never progress -- before I would believe such a large response from an audience with financial and reputational reasons to say this, I'd want to see a study in which breeder dogs are tracked and/or same people might produce annual cardiologist certs and treatment recommendations.

Many breeders in the club will say quietly that there are many people who don't report their heart results once they are poor and don't treat affected dogs for fear of word getting out that their dogs eventually get MVD.

Undoubtedly there are 'early murmur' cavaliers that go on for years without the murmur getting worse, but probably not as many as this breeders' myth would suggest.

The truth is that long time breeders remember with pride such golden oldies, and in thirty years or so of owning multiple dogs there is bound to be the odd one, but the same breeders seem self-programmed to forget about the many other cavaliers that die before they reach double figures.

One of the cardiologists did question whether all these early onset murmurs would actually prove to be MVD murmurs, and I think that may be a very valid point.
As the cardiologists were genuinely unaware of these many 'early murmur but long lived' cavaliers, I would guess that they are usually diagnosed by GP vets and thorough cardiology tests are not carried out.

Bet
24th November 2010, 10:47 AM
Thanks! :)

On the 'early murmur' dogs that never progress -- before I would believe such a large response from an audience with financial and reputational reasons to say this, I'd want to see a study in which breeder dogs are tracked and/or same people might produce annual cardiologist certs and treatment recommendations.

Many breeders in the club will say quietly that there are many people who don't report their heart results once they are poor and don't treat affected dogs for fear of word getting out that their dogs eventually get MVD. I stress that such comments have come from a number of dedicated show breeders in more than one country... so it isn't 'just me' or 'just someone saying this with an axe to grind'.

Funny how someone actually doing auscultations and research would not have come across all these dogs whose murmurs never worsen and for whom cardiologists never prescribe medications though. What cardiologists including Simon Swift more routinely say is that the level of MVD in the breed remains unacceptable high and is endemic now, that too few breeders follow MVD breeding protocols (as can be seen by many many puppy litter registrations to underage sires in particular, on the club's own puppy gazette) or properly heart test (eg going to vets, not cardiologists), or don't heart test after age 5, and that too many cavaliers live compromised lives with a heart murmur. I hardly think if breeders were instead dealing with say, their own mother or father or child with a heart murmur, they would believe that simply not being on medication would indicate any great achievement but instead might view it as signaling a lifelong worry/burden. That is what too many cavalier owners live with for the entire life of their dog diagnosed with an early onset murmur.

CAVALIER HEALTH DAY

Could I just mention,we had Cherry Pie who developed a Heart Murmur at around 3 years of age.

I had believed that because she lived to 13 and her Grand-Mother to 15 with no sign of Heart Trouble ,this was because there were so many Long Lived Cavaliers in their Pedigree Back-Ground.

I do think that is probably a False Belief because so many of those Long Lived Cavaliers have every chance now of being Carriers of MVD Genes.

I contacted Professor B.Corcoran with this thought since it has been known that the Cavalier Breed has had Heart Trouble inthe 1940's and Cavaliers were being used at Stud in the 1950's suffering from Heart Trouble and were dying at 6-8 years of age.,was it possible that because of what had happened in those early days of using Cavaliers with Heart Trouble, that those Genes could have down through the Cavalier Generations and have caused many Cavaliers to be MVD Carriers in the Breed -day.

He replied back saying that this could be what has Happened to our Cavaliers.

Just within the Past Month I have been asked to send the Pedigrees of those Early Cavaliers Cavaliers who had died at a young age from Heart Trouble , and had been used at Stud ,to the Researchers involved in the Cavaliers MVD Research.

I know I keep going on saying that ,at the moment what other way is there of trying to save the Cavalier Breed,than that the Cavalier Breeders Health Test and follow the Breeding Guideline Recommendations on their Cavalier Breeding Stock,if as Margaret has mentioned ,that some Cavalier Breeders who were at the Health Day, who are still
persisting in not following those Breeding Guideline Recommendations ,.Shame on Them, and also on the other Cavalier Breeders who are condoning this, in other words ,allowing their Breeding Stock to be being used in this Selfish Practice.

Surely the time has now come as I said in my Post yesterday, , for the CKCS CLUB COMMITTEE , to PUT THEIR MONEY WHERE THEIR MOUTH IS (as the saying goes) and issue a List of the Cavalier Breeders who are CLUB MEMBERS who are not following the CKCS CLUB Breeding Guideline Recommendations, after all it is the CKCS CLUB who has issued those Breeding Guideline Recommendations.

Bet

Margaret C
24th November 2010, 02:55 PM
There are two threads for the Cavalier Health Day. Because I feel very strongly that it is time for things to change I have copied what I wrote on the General Discussion thread.................

There are now breeders that are health testing eyes, hearts, and for SM, and using the breeding guidelines.

There are however a core of breeders, often very successful in the show ring, that just continue to breed as they have always done, with very young cavaliers, with back to back matings, in a way that would bring accusations of puppy farming if they were not at the top of the show world.

Some of them were sitting in the lecture room at the Cavalier Club Health Day. Some of them are regional club health representatives and others are committee members.

These are the breeders that did everything to deny the problem and sabotage the attempts to investigate the extent and cause of the health issues in the breed.
They still attempt to rubbish and deny the research and researchers.

Cavaliers are a very sick breed, the Foetal Tissue Research has shown that they are born already health compromised, and breeders have to take responsibility and start breeding away from the problems.

I will be quite honest, I can accept that some people are just too mercenary to care about the dogs they breed and the people they sell their puppies to................but what I find it hard to get my head around is the nice caring breeders that allow such tawdry people to dominate the breed.

The ordinary decent club members know that these people say one thing and do something else, they know they are hypocrites, and yet they hand them this power and play along with the charade.

It would be good if a few more club members found the guts to speak openly what they only dare say in private.

There is a publication called the Kennel Club Breed Record Supplement. It is a quarterly publication that record the litters registered in that four month period.
I have just started writing to complain to the cavalier clubs when I see that club members, and more particularly, committee members have broken the guidelines.

It really is time to change the climate of opinion that allows these arrogant people to openly continue using unscanned top sires, underage champions and fourteen month old bitches and still remain on club committees unchallenged.

Margaret C
24th November 2010, 08:34 PM
http://www.cavaliertalk.com/forums/entry.php?149-The-Cavalier-Club-Health-Day.-Part-4-Foetal-Tissue-Research

The last of the talks.

Kate H
25th November 2010, 01:06 PM
Undoubtedly there are 'early murmur' cavaliers that go on for years without the murmur getting worse, but probably not as many as this breeders' myth would suggest.

It would be an interesting exercise to ask members of this forum about their experience of owning/meeting such Cavaliers, or hearing from reliable sources about Cavaliers who (a) developed a well-attested murmur before the age of 5; (b) lived to be older than the Cavalier average of 10.5 years without going into heart failure. This exercise would extend the evidence (or lack of it) to a lot of pet Cavaliers, not just those remembered by breeders/show people.

Kate, Oliver and Aled

Bet
26th November 2010, 10:17 AM
It would be an interesting exercise to ask members of this forum about their experience of owning/meeting such Cavaliers, or hearing from reliable sources about Cavaliers who (a) developed a well-attested murmur before the age of 5; (b) lived to be older than the Cavalier average of 10.5 years without going into heart failure. This exercise would extend the evidence (or lack of it) to a lot of pet Cavaliers, not just those remembered by breeders/show people.

Kate, Oliver and Aled


CAVALIER HEALTH DAY

Could I mention , that even if a Cavalier has an Early Heart Murmur and lives onto a Normal Old Age, the Problem could be just the same as with Long Lived Cavaliers, because the Cavalier Breed is in such a Mess to-day with their MVD Problem, that those Cavaliers could be Carriers of the MVD Genes.

This could be why there seems to be no Improvement in the MVD Problem in our Cavaliers,I was told this recently by Dr B Corcoran.

Bet