View Full Version : Need CM/SM stats please

24th September 2011, 07:42 PM
I emailed a breeder to see if her health testing included MRI scanning and this was her response.

No, they havent. If you look into the MRI scanning it is very expensive and can be dangerous for a dog.
The dog will need to be placed under general anesthesia because it needs to remain perfectly still for up to two hours. It can be dangerous everytime you put a dog under. It is also very costly. The mother's parents are CKC registered dogs from an established breeding kennel in Alberta and the people who I purchased the father from have been breediing Cavlaiers for over 20 years with no health issues. My dogs have been checked at the vet for heart murmurs etc and in ten years of breediing I have never had a health issue with any puppy. If you are looking for a dog that has been tested this way, I suggest checking with the CKC for registered do. The priciing is generally up to 1500.00 for a puppy. I sell a good quality pet stock puppy in a price range that the average person can afford with a good health guarantee. I have attched a copy for you.
My pups are house raised and handled daily. I have an area in the laundry room for them that has an open crate/kennel to sleep in, toys, food, water and paper to potty on. They are used to being in there at night and when I am at work or out on the property. They have had their first two shots, been de-wormed and come with a small supply of food to help settle in. I also send them home with a blanket, small supply of food and a couple of toys. If you have any further questions please email or call me at @#$%^&.

I want to write her back with the stats for CM/SM I know that CM is in 90% of cavaliers but I'm sure about the SM


24th September 2011, 08:37 PM
Wow... You know, a lot of breeders out there are going to have the same response, and that is pretty saddening. How brave of you to want to reply back. Once others reply with the information you need, I would be interested to see what your response to this breeder looks like all put together! We could probably help you format it and add this here, that there, etc.

25th September 2011, 04:25 AM
Wow. Things like this make me fume. So close minded some breeders can be..."MRI can be dangerous to a dog", how about one of her puppies dying early because of sever pain that it experience for 9 years of it's life living with SM? :x Pretty sure that is more "dangerous". And that link she sent you says nothing about it being dangerous. So if her dog fell of the couch and hurt it's spine, would she never get it checked? Makes no sense. I understand that general anesthesia for dogs is not something you want to do all the time (or if your dogs has a heart issue...but GA is even used to clean dogs teeth), but the MRI itself is not at all dangerous. It is magnetic resonance, not like an x-ray or CT which emits radiation. MRI uses low-energy, non-ionizing radio waves (similar to how an ultra sound uses sound waves to gain a picture) and emits no radiation. So if she really wants to hang her hat on something, it should be anethestic that (has a very low risk of) being dangerous, so, that just goes to show how much she knows.

Good for you for wanting to write back and get all your facts before you do. I have had to do this with a few people myself, and it is hard to lay down the facts without getting emotional or mean about it. I have found that if you are confronting, they just close there ears, but if you are kind and armed with facts, you have a much better go. So keep the response calm, collected and filled with info you know is fact.

I don't know solid stats, but Brooklyn's neurologist (who specialized in SM and who I would trust on this disease more than a breeder) stated that 50% or more of cavs are affected by SM, and that there are probably many more that go undiagnosed, so she said she would assume it is even higher that 50%. Some Cavs can go undiagnosed their whole lives living with misdiagnosed things like "allergies" or "mystery disease". I know when I talk to people, I try to be as informed as I can, when they tell me "oh it doesn't exist, my dogs are healthy" I tell them about Brooklyn, I tell them about two cavs I know at the dog park who can hardly go out anymore because their SM is so sever, I tell them about the cav down the street from me that was recently diagnosed. I tell them about all of you on this board, I tell them I am part of a community of health oriented people who are brought together for change. I tell them about little Gracie and her recent surgery. I tell them about everyone. I do that because it is not a mystery disease, it is in front of us all the time and they need to know that we see it too. There are plenty of wonderful breeders that do MRI, and you know what? They produce wonderful offspring with a better chance at a full pain free life. I would send her some info from Claire Ruthebridge in case she wanted to read it and just tell her "thank you for getting back to me, but the future of this breed is so important to me that I will have to look elsewhere for a scanning breeder because that is one mark I just cannot bring myself to settle on".

Oh, and a "health guarantee" I love when breeders do that...like anyone would return their 5 year old dog just because it got affected with SM. They probably just don't tell the breeder at all. Think of how attached we are to puppies, let alone when our dogs are fully grown. No one would return a part of your family. You don't return a child with Down Syndrome do you? Nope.

Grrr. Sorry, I ranted a bit. It just gets me steaming. But the world won't change in a day and maybe if you email her back with some constructive facts, maybe one day it will sink in for her. Good for you. It is a hard thing to say your peace, but if you do so factually and calm...you just might make a difference. Someday!!

25th September 2011, 04:31 AM
From Clare Ruthebridges site:

How common is CM/SM in Cavaliers?
CM is very common in Cavaliers, Cerda-Gonzalez et al (2009) found that 92% had at least one craniocervical morphologic abnormality detected in MR images.
All scientific papers looking at groups of 16 or more asymptomatic Cavaliers have found a high incidence of syringomyelia ranging from 26.5% (Cerda-Gonzalez et al 2009 49 dogs) to 65.4% (Rusbridge et al 2007 55 dogs). These figures increased to 42% and 74.5% respectively when symptomatic dogs were added to the population.

And another quote from her site:
"The real significance of asymptomatic dogs is that their offspring appear to have a higher chance of being affected and more chance of being symptomatic. For this reason breeders are advised to MRI screen (http://www.veterinary-neurologist.co.uk/trck/pepper/orderedlist/downloads/download.php?file=http%3A//www.veterinary-neurologist.co.uk/syringomyelia/docs/sm%2520mri%2520screening.pdf) their breeding animals."

25th September 2011, 06:49 AM
Thanks guys! I hadn't planned on being mean, I just wanted to give her the facts since she seems to be in the dark :)

Margaret C
25th September 2011, 10:28 AM
Prevalence of asymptomatic syringomyelia in Cavalier King Charles spaniels


The prevalence of syringomyelia was investigated in a sample population of 555 Cavalier King Charles spaniels. All dogs, which were declared by their owners to be showing no clinical signs of syringomyelia, underwent MRI to determine the presence or absence of the condition. Data were analysed by logistic regression to determine the effects of sex and age on the prevalence of syringomyelia. Only increased age was found to have a significant effect. The prevalence of syringomyelia was 25 per cent in dogs aged 12 months, increasing to a peak of 70 per cent in dogs aged 72 months or more.

This is a recent study of 555 cavaliers without symptoms, many of them being screened before breeding.

One in four had a syrinx at one year of age.

Nearly three out of four had SM by the time they were six years of age.

Thank you for doing this. Breeders need to be aware of the true facts.

25th September 2011, 12:22 PM
Thanks for that Margaret, that is good info for us all to store away!!

25th September 2011, 12:34 PM
A 2011 UK study of 555 (reportedly) asymptomatic CKCSs found 25% of 12 month olds with syringomyelia, increasing to 70% in cavaliers 6 years and older. See details at http://cavalierhealth.org/syringomyelia.htm#UK_study_of_555_cavaliers

Kate H
25th September 2011, 03:49 PM
One of the most important sentences in Margaret's post was 'All dogs, which were declared by their owners to be showing no clinical signs of syringomyelia' Those of us with SM dogs know how easy it is to miss symptoms, or have them diagnosed as something else (especially if your dog doesn't air scratch) - I think a lot of Cavalier owners would be amazed if a list was published of all the signs and symptoms which could point to the presence of SM. I would guess that actually very few dogs 'declared by their owners to be showing no clinical signs' are completely free of symptoms - their clinical signs are simply not being recognised.

Kate, Oliver and Aled

26th September 2011, 03:46 AM
This was her reply:

Thank you for the info. I am well aware of it. If you do lots of digging you will find that most of the dogs affected are in the UK because of their inbreeding for registration. It is also way more prevelant in registered dogs once again due to inbreeding or breeding within a small circle. I am sorry that you dog has symptoms of any dread disease as it is devestating to love an animal and lose it in that manner.
So far I have 4 generations of Cavaliers here, always buy a new male that is completely unrelated and to date I have not had any cases of any disease in my dogs. I am in touch on a regular basis with quite a few buyers of my puppies.
I wish you and your dogs well.

26th September 2011, 04:38 AM
This was her reply:

Thank you for the info. I am well aware of it. If you do lots of digging you will find that most of the dogs affected are in the UK because of their inbreeding for registration. It is also way more prevelant in registered dogs once again due to inbreeding or breeding within a small circle. I am sorry that you dog has symptoms of any dread disease as it is devestating to love an animal and lose it in that manner.
So far I have 4 generations of Cavaliers here, always buy a new male that is completely unrelated and to date I have not had any cases of any disease in my dogs. I am in touch on a regular basis with quite a few buyers of my puppies.
I wish you and your dogs well.

I would kindly ask where she got this information from?

26th September 2011, 05:45 AM
I would like to know where she got this from too.


You did your best, and it was good of you to do so. Thank you from all of us.

26th September 2011, 05:59 AM
I would like to know where she got the info from but I don't want to get into a debate with her. I just wanted to make sure she had the info. Unfortunately I have not talked to one breeder around my area that does do MRI scanning. That is one of the reasons that I won't be getting another cavalier :(

26th September 2011, 06:10 AM
Yes, best not to get in a back and forth debate. You did what you could to make sure she was informed (good for you) and like everything in life...the rest is beyond us.

I am sorry to hear about you not being able to find and MRI scanning breeders in your area. Here in Sydney, it took me AGES to find one. It is really uncommon in Australia to scan (though Brooklyn's neurologist said that is slowly changing as they are trying to provide cheaper breeder MRI days, but it is just uncommon here and there is not a lot of equipment in the country, so not only is it expensive, but breeders have to travel very very far to get it done). Sigh.
I am not sure how serious you are about getting another cavalier, but would you ever travel to get one? Either a long road trip or a plane flight? I know some others on here have done that, and a girl friend of mine flew to get her dog as well...so it is not uncommon. Just matters how much you want another one you know? Where are you located?

And thank you....for sticking to your guns about not buying a cavalier from a non MRI scanning breeder, even if that means you never get another one. That is a big ask, and most people would say "well, there are no scanning breeders in my area, so I just have to get one from a non-scanning breeder", but you are willing to risk your "wants" for the need of the breed. That is very big of you.

26th September 2011, 06:14 AM
I just realised you were from British Columbia in Canada :) Again, I am not sure how interested or not you are in getting another cavalier (now or later), but I am sending you a PM right now on an amazing breeder in Canada and advocate for this breed. She is in Toronto, but again, you could work out transport or...she is very willing to help people find scanning breeders near them and has wonderful connections all over. I used to live in Oregon in the US, so that is why I am a little familiar with Canada stuff ;) BTW, every Australian here thinks I am Canadian all the time! Something about the Oregon in me I guess ;)

Kate H
26th September 2011, 03:49 PM
Just catching up with this thread and grinned at the breeder's remark: 'most of the dogs affected are in the UK' Where does she think the Cavaliers in Canada came from originally? Every Cavalier in the world can be traced back to a small number of dogs in the UK, and they all carry the same genes. If the SM problem seems smaller (or according to this breeder non-existent) in Canada, this is probably due to (a) smaller numbers of Cavaliers and (b) lack of facilities for diagnosing SM. We had no idea how widespread it was in the UK until MRI scanning became possible comparatively recently. I'd bet there are a lot of Canadian Cavaliers being treated for allergies, spinal problems, epilepsy etc. etc. who actually have CM or SM. It's difficult enough to get the message across in a small country like the UK, even more difficult in countries the size of Canada and the US - so best of luck, Piper!

Kate, Oliver and Aled

26th September 2011, 03:58 PM
In studies that have been done on scanning Canadian dogs, there's the same ratio of affected cavaliers as in the UK and US and Australia and Holland...

These people live in lala land. She sounds a small scale backyard breeder anyway.

Pat Barrington or Karen Kennedy of the Canadian CKCS Club can help you find a scanning breeder but often you do need to be able to travel. Not enough breeders test/follow protocols and those that do are worth travelling for

Pat Barrington is listed here: http://www.cavalierfanciers.ca/brdr_list.html
Finding 'a male that is unrelated' -- on what planet? It is a challenge to find dogs that are not fairly closely related, genetically. Breeders tend to try to find dogs that are more distantly related. It would be near to impossible to find one that isn't at some point in its lineage, related. And doing so would not necessarily lower any risk of offspring having SM and could even increase them -- if the dog is not MRI scanned. Shows how much that breeder knows about cavaliers and breeding, though. :sl*p:

30th September 2011, 03:52 PM
She's had cavaliers 10 years and has never had a health problems ? seriously ? either she is the luckiest person on earth to be buying dogs from different lines all the time and not get a single problem or she is a liar.

If you've never nursed a cavalier through the end stages of MVD you probably havent owned the breed long enough to have enough experience to start breeding them