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Ladyglove
5th October 2011, 08:54 PM
Hi, I haven't gotten my pup yet but after reading all the horrible things about Syringomyelia I'm seriously considering not buying her after all.

My main problem is everyone says that that's it's responsible breeding that's important. The breeder I'm getting my dog from doesn't really know about the dog's petagree. See the woman he bought the mother and father from was seriously ill when he bought the 2 plus another female. He didn't realize at the the time that the female was already pregnant. So he can't tell me too much about the genetics. (he does offer a health guarantee of 4 months)

I know many of you will say don't bother buying the pup, but I've wanted a Cav for a very long time and the only other breeder that's remotely close is over 7 hours away, and I don't know for sure that breeder's reputable.

I did contact several breeder asking about Syringomyelia and one said in 6 years she's only had 1 pup that had no outward signs.
Another breeder said that it was mostly due to inbreeding in the UK, and that she had never had a diagnosed case.
Yet another breeder said that although it is a concern it's not as widespread as some people would claim. (she also cited the inbreeding)

So basically I have to ask, is it worth it? I'm not rich. I can afford the basic care of a dog, but anything too expensive (such as an MRI) I could never afford. Is it mostly a UK thing? Or if the dog does have it, is it usually not too severe?


Thanks to everyone who responds.


EDIT: Since it is a question that has been brought up (by a breeder) and even though it's been dismissed by all of you, I am curious just how many of you are in fact from the UK.

Karen and Ruby
5th October 2011, 11:02 PM
Hiya,

this is a really tough one but i'd thought i'd say something as I don't want you to get upset with anyones replies on here.

I've been on this forum since my first dog was Diagnosed with SM and to say its been a tough journey would be the understateement of the year, and I'm up at 5am to get to my neurologist to have my little man MRI'd with the asumtion that he has SM too.

Iwon't quote facts and figures to you as there are plenty of members on here that will do that with more experience.

The majority of members here have dogs that are living with SM, and if not SM then MVD and we raise money and awaareness though Rupert's Fund which was named after a mem bers dog Rupert at the start of last year.

We have new members joining daily asking for help after they have had the dreaded diagnosis of SM.

And it isn't cheap- I pay over £200 a month in medications for my little lady to keep her pain free, insureance is close to £100 a month and repeat MRIs if needed are close to £2000 these days.

What you will find from other members is that the advise is to only buy from a health focused breeder wo MRI's there breeding stock and heart/eye/DNA tests for Dry Eye and Curly Coat.

Cavaiers have so so many health issues and we have members on this forum who have been campaigning for years to stop people doing what you are about to do, which is to buy a puppy from completely unknown background - you may as well be buying from a pet shop.

I'm sorry if it upsets you, but unfortunately it is the horrid truth that is the state of this breed at the momment!

Ladyglove
5th October 2011, 11:48 PM
Hiya,

this is a really tough one but i'd thought i'd say something as I don't want you to get upset with anyones replies on here.

I've been on this forum since my first dog was Diagnosed with SM and to say its been a tough journey would be the understateement of the year, and I'm up at 5am to get to my neurologist to have my little man MRI'd with the asumtion that he has SM too.

Iwon't quote facts and figures to you as there are plenty of members on here that will do that with more experience.

The majority of members here have dogs that are living with SM, and if not SM then MVD and we raise money and awaareness though Rupert's Fund which was named after a mem bers dog Rupert at the start of last year.

We have new members joining daily asking for help after they have had the dreaded diagnosis of SM.

And it isn't cheap- I pay over £200 a month in medications for my little lady to keep her pain free, insureance is close to £100 a month and repeat MRIs if needed are close to £2000 these days.

What you will find from other members is that the advise is to only buy from a health focused breeder wo MRI's there breeding stock and heart/eye/DNA tests for Dry Eye and Curly Coat.

Cavaiers have so so many health issues and we have members on this forum who have been campaigning for years to stop people doing what you are about to do, which is to buy a puppy from completely unknown background - you may as well be buying from a pet shop.

I'm sorry if it upsets you, but unfortunately it is the horrid truth that is the state of this breed at the momment!

I'm not upset, I want honest answers.

I realize that it's not a good idea to buy with an unknown background.


But may I point out that you are from the UK, where all studies I've come across are held. Like I said before one breeder said it IS a problem for all Cav's but even more prevalent in UK lines due to inbreeding.

Karlin
6th October 2011, 04:48 AM
Hi and welcome to the board. :)

Cavaliers are a wonderful breed but sadly one which carries a heavy burden of potential health issues, some very serious. All pedigree dogs will have some risk of breed-related health issues but MVD and SM in cavaliers are both common and can be very painful and debilitating as well as costly to treat over many years.

You are right to give some consideration to health issues in the breed and to decide whether you feel the attractions of the breed match a commitment to dealing with the risk of some of these potentially serious problems.

Almost every cavalier will get MVD, with half having murmurs (the start of the disease) by age 5. If your breeder has not cardiologist screened both breeding dogs, isn't familiar with the heart health background on both sides, and doesn't know if all four grandparents were still heart clear at age 5, he shouldn't be breeding. Dogs bred outside the MVD protocol stand a considerably higher risk of early onset MVD in offspring (eg by age 5 or even earlier). SM is extremely prevalent in the breed as well with estimates now at about 70% eventually having a syrinx. Fortunately most will not be symptomatic or will be only mildly affected but many here can testify to how common this condition is, in the US as well as Australia, the UK, the Netherlands, Ireland...I have had five cavaliers and three have SM; two also have, or have had (died from) MVD.

It is absolutely untrue that the problem is mostly in the UK (see a recent thread on this, where someone else had a breeder give them this line too: http://www.cavaliertalk.com/forums/showthread.php?39638-Need-CM-SM-stats-please). All cavaliers are closely related and all are descended from the same dozen or so dogs in the UK after World War II so the genetics are very similar. Many of the studies on SM prevalance have been done in the US and (as expected) the rates at which dogs were affected were pretty much the same as in the UK and elsewhere.

It would be very sad for the breed, as well as bringing a much higher health risk for any puppy, to support a breeder who doesn't MRI scan parent dogs, doesn't cardiologist test, and is so ignorant or deliberately deceptive as to try to convince you that US dogs are less affected with these problems. :( There's lots of information here on what to look for in a good, responsible breeder and many people travel to work with a health focused breeder.

The breed desperately needs puppy buyers to be responsible in choosing a breeder as it is truly under threat for survival. :thmbsup:

Working with a responsible breeder is very rewarding in so many ways and gives the best chance of having a healthy cavalier. :)

www.cavalierhealth.org (http://www.cavalierhealth.org) lists all the various studies and includes US studies.

BrooklynMom
6th October 2011, 05:20 AM
Hello, and welcome to the board!

First and foremost, I want to applaud the fact that you have dug into your research and are asking these (really tough) questions. It is so hard when you want a dog, or a certain breed so badly, but like you said just opening up the conversation for some honest answers is the way to go because it is a confusing world out there with breeders and opinions of so many. So don't think you are alone in the confusion!

I itterate what everyone else has already state. I SO hate to say this, but I would really not purchase this pup. I know you want one right away, but waiting a bit longer and going to a little more trouble to secure a healthy dog will be so worth it in the long run...not only financially...but also, most of us can tell you, that seeing a dog suffer in pain because of inappropriate breeding standards rips your heart in two on an hourly basis. Now I know you said that he acquired the dog pregnant, so I will not get into his particular standards of breeding, but it is important for you and the pup that it comes from health certified parents. Trust me, you think "it won't happen to me" and when it does, you will wish you could turn back time.

Also, I will second that it is not a UK problem at all. I am in Australia, where breeders are just now starting to scan their dogs and I cannot tell you how many times I have heard the lines "it does not exist here", "none of my dogs have ever been returned sick", etc etc. But the truth of the matter is that it does happen even here to. I know many cav just in my area that have SM and Brookyn's neurologist said that 50% plus in Australia are affected, so what people are saying about it being a UK problem is just not true. Unfortunately, most people never return a dog and don't end up telling their breeder or even getting a correct diagnosis, so unless the breeder scans, there is no way on earth they can tell you that their dogs have never been affected.

I know how hard this is. I wanted a cavalier for a while, and since there are not many scanning breeders near me either, I ALMOST bought a pup that came available from a really nice lady (but no health scans). I decided last minute not to, but it was really hard! I remember crying that day because I had already met her and wanted her so much! I thought "I will give her a good home and life", but my knowledge got the better of me and won over my heart. 6 months later I was able to find a health conscious scanning breeder (though very far from me) and I was put on her waiting list. When a pup came up, my hubby and I went for a long road trip to meet our future dog when she was only 6 week. We got to meet the whole litter, the mother and father, ask the tough questions and the breeder even asked us some tough ones too. We left that day knowing we had made the right decision. It was worth the extra gas, the waiting, and the dog that we have now. There are still no guarantees in their lives, but she will have the best shot now.

I would look into breeders that might be willing to transport for you, meet you half way or even use a transport service (not the mail kinds, ha! but for pets...there are a lot of them). People even fly their dogs in sometimes (though this is expensive...a car transport animal service would be much cheaper).

So that is just my opinion but I want you to know that I really do understand how hard of a cross road this is for you. Most of us have been there. But knowing that you mentioned you could not afford the very expensive care of an SM dog, it is best then to get a dog from a scanning breeder where you will be confident in knowing that the pup has the best chance and you will have a long happy and healthy life together. So please keep looking, it will be worth it...for you, for the breed and for the health of your new puppy.

And again, thank you for asking what are some tough questions and being brave enough to even be honest about your thoughts as well. It is a hard thing to do. Good luck!

LJW
6th October 2011, 08:02 AM
I am a new pup owner, did the research beforehand for a reputable breeder through the kennel club, saw health certificates, pedigree, and parents etc. However, since joining this forum, I wish I'd done even more as I'd not realised that SM is almost inevitable for every Cavalier :(, that is the impression I am getting as I'm learning more and I'm constantly looking for symptoms and dreading seeing them when he's older!

BrooklynMom
6th October 2011, 09:28 AM
Yes, that can happen LJW...but try not to worry too much. I know we all do, but there is also (if your little one came from a good breeder) a likelihood that he won't have SM at all too. I think you hear more about it on here too since this is more of a health focused forum...so it can always make you (all of us!) hyper aware and a bit paranoid about every scratch, itch and movement! Been there done that! But there are also so many other things that can cause those symptoms and frankly it can also normal dog behavior too (which makes it even more confusing) Though, I know how hard it is to distinguish "normal" when "is this SM?!" is always in the back of your head.

But enjoy your dog for right now, try to learn your dog (I.e. What is "excessive" for some is normal for others) and try to stay positive!! Remember that there are cavs who don't have SM, and not everyone will go through that. I remember you other post where you are concerned about a few things, but so much has to be ruled out first, and you might be surprised! :) So enjoy and keep your head up...it is not always a bad verdict even though it is so easy for us to analyze every movement and time will tell as you move through puppyhood with your dog ;) Yes, SM is a reality, but it can also make us over paranoid too...it's all about balance.

Brian M
6th October 2011, 09:42 AM
Hi

I have four Cavaliers Poppy ,Daisy ,Rosie and Lily .Rosie has been diagnosed by MRI with CM last Oct and Daisy
was diagnosed by MRI with SM and CM this August .After diagnosis for me it just makes them that bit more special and
like all living things that you know are not well you seem to want to care for them even more if thats even
possible as they are already that special ,special breed of wonder dog we call Cavaliers.:)

sins
6th October 2011, 10:48 AM
Hello and welcome to the board.

the woman he bought the mother and father from was seriously ill when he bought the 2 plus another female. He didn't realize at the the time that the female was already pregnant.

If he didn't plan the mating the sad reality is the puppies may not even be purebred cavaliers.
As regards Syringomyelia,it's not uniquely a UK problem.Many USA cavaliers are bred from Irish puppy farm and exported as breeding stock.My oldest cavalier bitch has it and it's not something you'd wish on any living creature in it's symptomatic form.
It seems to be a condition that's been in the breed from probably the very early days of the breed and has only recently emerged into the public domain as a result of improved medical technology like MRI scanners being available to vets.
Nowadays we're all careful about where we spend our hard earned money.
If you have your heart set on a cavalier,then maybe consider a rescue cavalier,but make sure you take pet insurance.I would never hand over a cent to a breeder who did not have the best interest of the puppy buyer and the welfare of the breed as top priority.
Sins

Ladyglove
6th October 2011, 10:57 AM
Hi and welcome to the board. :) www.cavalierhealth.org (http://www.cavalierhealth.org) lists all the various studies and includes US studies. I must be blind but I didn't see any US studies about Syringomyelia, could you give me a direct link? I hear what everyone is saying, and like BrooklynMom I already saw her. She was a touch standoffish with my mom but she made a beeline straight for me and when I picked her up she cuddled under my chin and give me kisses. I think as dog lovers you know how that felt LOL. So this is so very hard. I hear what everyone is saying, I really do but according to some hardly anyone should have a dog. You should only buy from reputable breeders, but there are very few truly reputable breeders out there and they want astronomical prices for their pups. I'm not saying your not right, but what about the mutts out there? Anyway, I am listening. Even though I sound defensive (Maybe a touchhttp://www.cavaliertalk.com/forums/images/smilies/biggrin.gif but I also want to take a look at the other side. My main question hasn't really been answered. How common is it for SM to get bad enough for it to require medication or (goodness forbid) putting the dog to sleep?

LJW
6th October 2011, 04:48 PM
Thank you brooklynmom, I am not getting the impression that any cavaliers are SM free for life which is where the worry comes from. Your comments are very reassuring and I have relaxed a bit already since my last thread with worries thanks again.

anniemac
6th October 2011, 06:34 PM
[QUOTE=Ladyglove;404309]I must be blind but I didn't see any US studies about Syringomyelia, could you give me a direct link?QUOTE]

First let me say I am from the USA and had a dog with SM. Here is a direct link to the Canine Chiari Institute (IN THE USA) where there is a guide book with some studies. This is not a condition in one country. NC State Vet did a study in 2006 and LIVS has ongoing studies but I am not sure why that matters since I can tell you flat out that it is NOT specific to certain countries.

http://www.caninechiariinstitute.org/patient-center/what-is-chiari

I don't know how to say this without sounding harsh but I have to.

You said,

"How common is it for SM to get bad enough for it to require medication or (goodness forbid) putting the dog to sleep?"

SM is common and you can see statistics and I am not sure how many are symptomatic but I don't think this question should even be a factor. Think about early onset MVD, patella issues, hip displaysia, eye problems. Sins mentioned that you don't even know if it is a full breed Cavalier. You get what you pay for and unfortunately that doesn't sink in.

Sins mentioned rescue. If you are in the USA, I know there are several rescue organizations. I have a bundle of joy, Elton, that came from rescue.

Good luck but please don't pay a penny for a puppy that did not come from a breeder that knows nothing about history, breeding, health, standards, etc.

anniemac
6th October 2011, 06:37 PM
Just wanted to say Elton (my rescue) is not the one who had SM.

LJW,

Brooklyn's Mom gave good advice. It is good to know what to look for but you HAVE to enjoy your puppy. Don't let anything take that time away because that's so important.

anniemac
6th October 2011, 07:00 PM
I am sure Rod Russell will post some quotes from his site but here is the link again http://cavalierhealth.com/syringomyelia.htm

Names like Drs. Cerda-Gonzalez and Olby, Dr. Marino, Dr. Dewey, are some from the USA. The link I provided before also has a question of how common is it and heritability. Some of these studies have % that vary because of who was participating in study and if it included symptomatic cavaliers. Just know that having to go through the emotion of having a cavalier with SM that was very symptomatic, it is hard to see someone want to spend money for a puppy with no history. I know that the cavalier was already pregnant, but I don't know why they are still asking for money.

I have had a puppy from a good breeder who ended up having severe SM. (Ella had all other health testing except parents did not have MRI but very few breeders in the USA were doing that in 2005). I never blamed the breeder and was thankful she did do several other health tests at the time and the parents were older. She brought a lot of joy even with the SM and was worth every penny but it was an emotional roller coaster.

I now have a rescue that is about to turn 5 that I got in July. He has also brought me a lot of joy. I know nothing about his pedigree or history of parents, but I did get one almost 5 and he has vet records. That was important to me. If I ever get a puppy, believe me, I would drive or fly or go anywhere if I spent money for that so that it came from a breeder that I knew had the best interest of the breed.

RodRussell
6th October 2011, 07:04 PM
I must be blind but I didn't see any US studies about Syringomyelia, could you give me a direct link?

Yes. The webpages on http://cavalierhealth.org about SM are these:

http://www.cavalierhealth.org/syringomyelia.htm

http://www.cavalierhealth.org/smprotocol.htm

http://www.cavalierhealth.org/sm-mri-screeningprotocol.htm

Summaries of nearly every veterinary research report on SM, those from the USA and elsewhere, are listed here:

http://www.cavalierhealth.org/syringomyelia.htm#Veterinary_Resources

RodRussell
6th October 2011, 07:12 PM
... My main question hasn't really been answered. How common is it for SM to get bad enough for it to require medication or (goodness forbid) putting the dog to sleep?

I don't know how common it is, but CM/SM in the breed is very common -- like 50+% -- and CM/SM is progressive, which means that it can -- and likely will -- get worse as time goes by. So, you should proceed by assuming that your new cavalier will develop SM and that it will need medication and/or surgery.

One thing I don't understand is the focus on US versus the world. Maybe I missed something you wrote previously. Are you saying that some breeder told you that SM is only a problem in the UK? If so, that is an absurdity, a geographical excuse for a genetic problem. Believe me, if the problem exists in the UK, then it either already does exist everywhere else or soon will. The one thing that all of this breed has in common is its UK roots.

Love my Cavaliers
6th October 2011, 07:22 PM
Unforunately Ladyglove it is very common for SM to get bad enough to require medication. I don't know many SM dogs who get along without any type of medication, and again, unfortunately, the drug cocktail usually increases the longer the dog has SM - although not always. My SM dog, Riley, was diagnosed with severe and advanced SM and had decompression surgery 3 and 1/2 years ago. She is doing really well now but she will never be a normal dog as the SM damaged her vestibular system and the damage cannot be repaired. She still takes daily medication (prednisone) and will for the rest of her life, but she is a happy dog and loves life. I am so thankful that I was able to afford her surgery as the typical SM meds as well as some not so typical medications given pre-operatively had no effect on her.

Some dogs do have to be put to sleep because of SM, but I think the vast majority of them cope really well with medication and/or surgery. I have no statistics though, that's just a gut feeling. No matter, it is heartbreaking to see your dog suffer from SM. Most of the time Riley seems to function fairly normally, but when the SM kicks in (and it still does, even after surgery), a piece of my heart is torn out. Especially because she always looks at me right after as if she's letting me know that she's okay. I just want to gather her in my arms and hold her forever, but she's still in too fragile a state at that point. No dog should have to suffer that.

I would still get another cavalier though. But I would walk into it with my eyes wide open. When I got my four I did not know about SM. I did know about MVD and met the MVD free parents and grandparents of all but Oliver who I bought ignorantly from a backyard breeder. When I'm ready to buy another I will only buy from a breeder who MRI scans the parents.

I know the position you're in though having already seen the puppy. You're in love already. That's what this breed does so well is work their way into your heart in about two seconds flat! I hate to say it, but the best thing to do is to walk away. Find another breeder, one who health tests the dogs. Depending on where you are, there are people on this board who could help you locate a responsible breeder. Despite all the advice about SM and MVD that's been given, if you can't find it in your heart to walk away, then get a good pet insurance right away that would cover both conditions. Good luck.

anniemac
6th October 2011, 07:23 PM
One thing I don't understand is the focus on US versus the world. Maybe I missed something you wrote previously. Are you saying that some breeder told you that SM is only a problem in the UK? If so, that is an absurdity, a geographical excuse for a genetic problem. Believe me, if the problem exists in the UK, then it either already does exist everywhere else or soon will. The one thing that all of this breed has in common is its UK roots.

Yes Rod, read the first part of the post. I don't think this puppy but other breeders she contacted said it's a problem in the UK due to inbreeding, etc. Must be the water :sl*p:

Reptigirl
6th October 2011, 07:52 PM
I'm in the USA (Texas) and have 3 Cavaliers badly affected by CM/SM.

The puppy I bought came to me at 12 weeks showing sever symptoms and at 6 months old his symptoms were extreme! A long story short many months later I ended up with his parents. They are extremely affected. (Although the "breeder" saw no symptoms). The father has over 90% of his spinal cord blocked by a syrinx at 4 years of age. Now the "breeder" who had the two parents was IMO no more then a puppy miller/backyard breeder who was breeding only for money.

As far is "inbreeding". Since I have all pedigrees I can tell you Mom & dad are VERY unrelated. (Well as unrelated as Cavaliers can be since most Cavaliers originated from a small breeding stock. ). Mom has a pedigree of more German dogs & Dad has a pedigree of Irish/English Dogs. I want back as far as I could on the pedigree (8-10 generations) and only found 2 or 3 similar dogs way back.

Statistics say 90% of Cavaliers have the malformation that can lead to SM. My neurologist said most Cavaliers he scans have SM. Even the ones he scans for other reasons.

I contacted the ORIGINAL breeders of the mom and dad. Both sell there puppies for $2000 - $3,000. Both live in different parts of Texas. Both claim to have never produced a dog suffering from SM OR MVD. I told both of them about there dogs. I sent there medical records from the Neurologist and Cardiologists. I also verified pedigrees to make sure they really were there dogs. BOTH breeders had "excuses" that the conditions must have been caused by something else. Now you ready for the REAL shocker? A few months later I sent an email "interested in a puppy" from another email with another name. Asked about heath conditions... BOTH breeders have claimed to have never had a dog affected.

Several months ago I was at PetSmart with one of my Cavaliers. I was stopped by an older couple who wanted to make over him. They went on to tell me a very heart breaking story of the Cavalier they once owned. "It had sever ear infections that the vet was never able to clear up". "It scratched sores all around it's ears." "It was such a terrible experience. The vets just didn't know what was wrong. Nothing cured it". The dog was put down and I could not possibly bare to tell them about SM. Before my puppy was diagnosed he was working on bald spots on his head/neck/ears from all the rubbing and scratching. I had gone to 3 different vet clinics trying to get him diagnosed. I was the one who learned of SM. I had to fight vets to get 2 of them MRI'ed. My vets misdiagnosed ear infections, allergies AND spinal issues. In the end MRI confirmed SM. Sadly many Cavaliers in the USA are misdiagnosed. Many vets have never heard about SM. It is the lucky few dogs that get sent to specialists who finally find the right diagnosis and get medical relief. Over the last year I have met so many people all around the USA who have Cavaliers suffering from SM. It is not just a UK problem. Personally I feel that is a breeders "excuses" to avoid proper testing.

As far as money goes. I spend about $40 a month PER cavalier on Insurance. Without it I could NOT afford even one. All 3 of mine have CM/SM. And the two adults have heart problems. One has moderate MVD and the other has a very strange heart condition that will soon need a pace maker. They just turned 5. We are out over $10,000 in vet bills in a little less then a year. (Thankfully insurance covers a large chunk of it). Now not all cavaliers cost this much and these came from a less then ideal situation but that does not change there inherited conditions. On top of cost there is all the vet visits & check ups. One has to have her heart checked every 3 months. This check costs around $300 every time. All vet fees have to come OUT OF POCKET and then in 7 - 10 buisness days our insurance pays there part.

I love Cavaliers and may one day consider another one from a heath focused breeder. I believe every dog created SHOULD have a home but when purchasing a Cavalier I believe one should know ALL the facts before buying. Every time someone buys from a breeder who does not health tests they are only supporting that breeder. As long as a breeder can sell there puppies they will keep creating them. When people buy a puppy from a breeder who does not health test it only shows that breeder there is no reason to health test. Now I know every situation is different and everyone has to make there own decision on what is best for them. If your set on getting a Cavalier and knowing the facts doesn't change your mind I do hope you consider insurance right away. It is not a reason to get a puppy from a less then ideal breeder but I really feel it is necessary with ANY Cavalier. Also remember with insurance ANYTHING your puppy has been to the vet for before insurance will be "pre-exisiting". They only pay a portion of the bill. Most insurance companies require you pay upfront. We have waited up to 60 days for the insurance to reimburse us while the norm is 10 days.

Sorry about the long post. I just feel very strongly about Cavaliers and there heath issues. I'm also so SICK of talking to breeders all over the USA who don't health test and who deny or make excuses for CM/SM.

Reptigirl
6th October 2011, 07:57 PM
She brought a lot of joy even with the SM and was worth every penny but it was an emotional roller coaster.

This is how I feel about my 3!


I also wanted to add Cavaliers are not as common in the USA as they are in the UK. So it would be expected for there to be more many more UK members then US members.


Also wanted to mention last week I had a lady over buying some baby chicks and we got in a long conversation about Cavaliers. Her best friend has 2. Both are young (2-3 years old) and both are suffering from heart conditions. I don't know all the details but thought it was worth mentioning. Also my new friend (only known about 4 months) has a family member with a Cavalier. It has many of the symptoms of SM (hind leg weakness, yelping and excessive scratching) and the vets not been able to help it. It has been treated for a possible back injury, pulled muscles, ear infections & allergies. It has spent several weeks on "crate rest" and has shown no improvement. His friend has researched SM, talked with there vet and they now have an appointment with a neurologist. It sounds very likely to be suffering from SM. From my knowledge neither of these people are on this forum. There are people all over the world who for whatever reasons don't posts on forums such as these. Just become people do not post on this forum does not mean the problem does not exist.

Karen and Ruby
6th October 2011, 08:24 PM
Going back to your questoin about whether or not many dogs end up needing medication..........

Amoungst many others on this forum I have a dog with just Chiari-like Malformation who requires medication so even if you do end up one of the lucky ones with out the SM diagnosis, you could still be faced with one of the many many symptomatic CM dogs that require just as much care as the SM diagnosed dogs.

CM is present in over 90% of all Cavaliers, not just in the UK but worldwide

anniemac
6th October 2011, 08:26 PM
[QUOTE=RodRussell;404337]I don't know how common it is, but CM/SM in the breed is very common -- like 50+% -- and CM/SM is progressive, which means that it can -- and likely will -- get worse as time goes by. So, you should proceed by assuming that your new cavalier will develop SM and that it will need medication and/or surgery. QUOTE]

Really Rod, I can agree with buying a puppy, you have to assume there are no guarantees but not to assume that every cavalier will develop SM AND that it will need medication and/or surgery. That simply is not true. Sure I think the statistics are accurate but that does not say how many are SYMPTOMATIC and to conclude that would mean they would be treated. To say that, just kills ever puppy or cavalier owner's joy even when they buy from MRI scanned parents.

When I got Elton did CM/SM be a consideration? YES. Did MVD? YES. What about your example of your childhood cavalier with the "golden leg" from a luxating patella? All of these things are why it's important to get a puppy from a reputable breeder or get a rescue.

Karlin
6th October 2011, 08:28 PM
There is no clear percentage of what number end up with symptoms but there's lots of anecdotal evidence that the number is growing, proportionally, and that symptoms are becoming more severe at a younger age across the breed.

If 70% of *asymptomatic* cavaliers have SM by age 6-7+, according to a study of 555 dogs across four age groups (none of those seen to be showing symptoms by owners, but neurologists say many dogs owners think are symptomless actually show clear symptoms on clinical exam) you can extrapolate out that a significant number will eventually show symptoms. Breeders themselves who scan their dogs typically report about half have syrinxes already by breeding age or older. The number with symptoms will be high enough to make this disease a significant concern for any owner of a cavalier.

As I said, I have had five, three with *symptomatic* SM. If you have one dog with a lot of symptoms it becomes pretty easy to spot symptoms in other cavaliers, often dogs that owners think have no sympotms. My vets confirm the same thing -- once they knew what to be looking for, they have sent many cavaliers for MRIs that have come back positive.

Sadly I must disagree that the majority of dogs with Sm do really well after surgery or with medications. Studies show most do not, though many get by and a small number do really well. A fifth of dogs tend to worsen very quickly after surgery. Most dogs I know that have had surgery require ongoing medications to control symptoms, and most dogs on medications require endless adjustments to cope with increasing levels of discomfort/pain. I know several dogs with surgery that have declined significantly over time, including several that had the mesh surgery. In the one small comparison study done, about half of dogs on medications eventually are euthenised for pain that can no longer be adequately controlled.

Living with a more significantly symptomatic dog is an emotional rollercoaster, as others have noted. I feel very fortunate to have my most affected dog somehow cope with a wide and short syrinx with only moderate symptoms but his cocktail of meds have had to be increased and changed many times and even as he reaches 8 (diagnosed at 1) I still constantly wonder if I should have opted for surgery and watch him for deterioration. Deciding whether to do surgery is a whole separate, very emotional decision with many factors to consider.

I think most neurologists (and experienced owners of CM/SM dogs too) feel the number of dogs wit clinical symptoms is far, far higher than acknowledged because so many simply do not recognise or acknowledge visible symptoms and so many vets are uneducated about the condition, and themselves misdiagnose on average for two YEARS before the correct SM diagnosis is made, generally by a neurologist. There's growing evidence that CM, which affects nearly every single cavalier (researchers have found only about 6 cavaliers without CM) can cause significant pain inits own right. There's also plenty of evidence that the dogs simply learn to live with chronic pain. This means owners may feel a dog that has serious pain has none and is therefore without symptoms. The most common and debilitating form of pain the human CM/SM sufferers report is severe headaches -- something very hard to diagnose in dogs (though many of us with affected dogs do learn to see when they seem to have this type of pain and can add additional levels of pain relief).

It is a miserable disease -- considered the single most painful malady humans can have. The only way to even begin to address it, and hopefully save this breed, is to support health focused, testing breeders. If the poor breeders cannot make money off this breed they will either move to improve breeding practice or get out of a breed they do not deserve to be in.

I cannot stress enough that MVD is equally horrific and affects far MORE cavaliers at a significantly symptomatic level that truly impacts quality of life of both dog and owner. It was much more difficult and distressing for me to manage my older dog, who died recently from MVD years before she should have, and who was very symptomatic for many months, limiting my day to day activity and ability to go away -- than it has been to manage my SM dogs to date. :( I consider MVD and SM to be equally devastating.

RodRussell
6th October 2011, 08:39 PM
Yes Rod, read the first part of the post. I don't think this puppy but other breeders she contacted said it's a problem in the UK due to inbreeding, etc. Must be the water :sl*p:

When you hear a breeder give that excuse, back away smartly and then run.

RodRussell
6th October 2011, 08:49 PM
I don't know how common it is, but CM/SM in the breed is very common -- like 50+% -- and CM/SM is progressive, which means that it can -- and likely will -- get worse as time goes by. So, you should proceed by assuming that your new cavalier will develop SM and that it will need medication and/or surgery.

Really Rod, I can agree with buying a puppy, you have to assume there are no guarantees but not to assume that every cavalier will develop SM AND that it will need medication and/or surgery. That simply is not true. Sure I think the statistics are accurate but that does not say how many are SYMPTOMATIC and to conclude that would mean they would be treated. To say that, just kills ever puppy or cavalier owner's joy even when they buy from MRI scanned parents. ...

Since roughly 90% of cavaliers have CM and roughly 70% have SM, AND since SM is progressive -- meaning it keeps getting worse -- then it is not unreasonable to proceed by assuming that one's new cavalier will have CM and will have SM and that at some point it will need medication for SM and even may need surgery. If a pet buyer goes into the breed with those assumptions, then she will be less disillusioned if and when these things happen.

anniemac
6th October 2011, 08:52 PM
I must agree with Karlin and that a lot are not treated correctly or do not know what symptoms to look for and are misdiagnosed or treated. Shannon (Reptigirl) told about the person in Petsmart. Also as Karen noted, CM can be painful on its own.

I got another cavalier and love the breed but I just think that it's very important that if money is an issue, don't sacrifice a dog's health or pain from any condition that can come from a bad breeding to save money. There are rescues if dead set on a cavalier and even though I have an older one, I think it's pretty awesome. You would be surprised and its worth the wait.

anniemac
6th October 2011, 09:05 PM
Since roughly 90% of cavaliers have CM and roughly 70% have SM, AND since SM is progressive -- meaning it keeps getting worse -- then it is not unreasonable to proceed by assuming that one's new cavalier will have CM and will have SM and that at some point it will need medication for SM and even may need surgery. If a pet buyer goes into the breed with those assumptions, then she will be less disillusioned if and when these things happen.

Well I couldn't agree more that people should not be disillusioned. I guess if you consider the study (I'm sure you remember) that a high % (can't remember) of cavaliers that were said to be asymptomatic actually showed clinical signs upon further examination, that could be more accurate. What I am trying to say is, I think those statistics are accurate but I would imagine that a majority sadly are not diagnosed (meaning thought to be asymptomatic) or have mild symptoms that are not noticed.

I am being touchy today because Elton has been scratching and face rubbing recently. There I said it! He is almost 5 and I really think it is related to allergies because of a change in food (not scratching on lead, runny eyes), this statement crosses my mind. He has already had neurological consultation and I have had a cavalier with SM so I am pretty apt to pick up symptoms which I don't think any of these things are CM or SM. I am not going to run and have an MRI because he is scratching. Even though I could assume that given % he probably has CM and or SM. I think this is not related.

LJW
6th October 2011, 09:16 PM
Very interesting reading and some differing opinions. For me I guess I need to enjoy my pup, stop worrying about potential illnesses whilst being aware that there is a very high chance he may develop symptoms in the future. Thanks all.

RodRussell
6th October 2011, 10:01 PM
Very interesting reading and some differing opinions. For me I guess I need to enjoy my pup, stop worrying about potential illnesses whilst being aware that there is a very high chance he may develop symptoms in the future. Thanks all.

Yeah, that's about it. Live for today with them; enjoy them; let them enjoy you; don't emote a downer attitude.

Ladyglove
6th October 2011, 11:19 PM
I want to post what the breeders wrote back so you can see. I'll need to do this in a few posts, so please bare with it.

I absolutely love my Cavaliers. Yes, you are right, I have been told that it is a devastating condition. I have not experienced it personally. I have been raising Cavaliers for 6 years and have had one puppy with this condition. She is now just about four years old and her condition is controlled by medication. She is doing well. I pinpointed the carrier dog and she was immediately spayed and placed in a pet home. She is now almost nine and has shown no signs of SM at all. I do have a genetic health guarantee that I provide with all of our fur kids. I would like to invite you to visit my website if you have not already done so. You are also welcome to come to the farm and meet the fur kids and I can also provide contact information to you of others that have our kids. Please let me know Talk to you soon And another Thank you for your inquiry.

Syringomyelia has been found in cavalier king Charles spaniels, but if you do the research on the disease it originates from inbreeding done in England. Show professionals will sometimes breed mothers to sons and fathers to daughters to keep certain traits in their lines which is what causes the disease. None if our dogs are from England and we would never breed any dogs in close relation because we focus on health and personality,not on looks. Please let me know if you gave any other questions. We currently have 2 puppies available, 1 black and tan female and 1 tricolour.

Ladyglove
6th October 2011, 11:21 PM
Another:


Well youíre right to be concerned about SM. It IS an issue in the Cavalier breed. The only definitive way to diagnose it is by MRI. While the Cavalier is not for everyone, those who have them love them beyond reason and wouldnít want any other breed. All purebred dogs have health issues, some worse than others and you have to know what youíre facing before you commit to any breed. We also are faced with mitral valve disease (MVD) and that is a greater issue than SM.

Many breeders in Ontario, and Canada are screening for both but you have to ask. If you find a breeder who MRIís their breeding stock youíll know they are doing all in their power to produce healthy puppies. This only clears the sire & dam though, and there isnít any way to be sure your puppy wonít get syringomyelia down the road. Or that either parent wonít either one day. Itís a progressive disease with various symptoms. The most noticeable being scratching at the neck area. All dogs scratch, but with SM they tend to do it more often and it isnít caused by fleas or parasites. And itís a frantic scratch, sometimes they make contact with their body, other times they donít. With more severe symptoms they may cry out as they do it.

Having said all this, I know of many Cavaliers who have been diagnosed, by MRI, with SM and have no symptoms. Many live long and normal lives with minor scratching. Others have symptoms controlled by drugs. Few need the suggested surgery. Studies are underway to find a DNA marker and weíre told this is closer to fruition now. It may still be a year or two, but research is making progress. The disease is the same as Arnold Chiari syndrome in humans and research is being done to help both dog & person.

MVD is a greater challenge in the breed and more Cavaliers die from heart disease than SM. MVD is found in all breeds, but itís an old-age disease. In Cavaliers it affects them younger. Some think there is a relationship between SM & MVD. Time will tell.

Youíre right to do your research but donít stop there. If you think you like the breed, go and visit a couple of breeders and meet the dogs in person. See how they react to strangers and talk to the breeder. Ask about what health testing they do on their dogs. Ask if theyíve ever produced a dog with SM or MVD. I have. Iíve also had dogs die at relatively young ages with MVD Ė the most recent was not 8 years old. Iíve had them live to the ripe old age of 14 though too. None have died because of SM, although several have had it. Most die because of MVD.

Cavaliers are a wonderful breed and I wouldnít want to live without them. I truly hope an answer is found soon to these two health issues. I, myself have lost 4 Cavaliers over the years to MVD Ė the first two were just short of their 13th birthday and the other two were 9 & 10. I miss them still, all 4 of them, but they all brought so much love and enjoyment to us that not to have had them would have made the last 20 years of our lives so much less fulfilling.

If there is anything else I can help you with, or any other questions you have, please donít hesitate to ask. Where are you located by the way? If you would like to visit and meet our girls, we could arrange something.


One more to go.

Margaret C
6th October 2011, 11:21 PM
Since roughly 90% of cavaliers have CM and roughly 70% have SM, AND since SM is progressive -- meaning it keeps getting worse -- then it is not unreasonable to proceed by assuming that one's new cavalier will have CM and will have SM and that at some point it will need medication for SM and even may need surgery. If a pet buyer goes into the breed with those assumptions, then she will be less disillusioned if and when these things happen.

I feel it is criminal to let someone buy a cavalier as a family pet without letting them know what they may be taking on.

I get a great many puppy enquiries, some of them because I am on the Kennel Club Assured Breeder list. I always refer these people to my puppy buying advice website www.cavalierpuppy.co.uk (http://www.cavalierpuppy.co.uk), where there is a video from the PDE film that shows a severely affected cavalier.

If they still make the decision to buy I try to help them find a responsible, health testing breeder. I also warn them to take out a good level of pet insurance.

Nobody who has not experienced the distress of watching a much loved pet suffer can really understand what they may be taking on, but at least if they are aware that these conditions are common in the breed they may recognise pain symptoms and their dogs will not suffer because of the owner's ignorance.

Ladyglove
6th October 2011, 11:21 PM
Last one:

Syringomyelia is a frightening disease, however, in my experience it is not common. I have seen it once in over 20 years of breeding. Unfortunately, there is no definitive way to prevent it. It remains a concern to breeders, however, it also must be put into prespective, as it is not common.

I unfortunately deleted the one with the details about the specific UK Vs US one. I'm not computer savvy enough to find the darn thing.


I'm supposed to hear back from the man with the pups shortly (see she had a bit of a cough and he insisted on keeping her until it was gone) I'm still not sure what I'm going to do. I want her, but I'm not sure about it. Both parents are there so I want to check them more thoroughly.

The reason I'm still considering it is: Really, according to everyone here even if I find a reputable breeder there still is a chance of the pup getting SM.

anniemac
6th October 2011, 11:30 PM
Ladyglove or moderators please remove breeder name and information.

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Ladyglove
6th October 2011, 11:37 PM
Ladyglove or moderators please remove breeder name and information.

Sent from my Droid using Tapatalk

Done, I thought I had deleted it already but apparently not, sorry.

anniemac
6th October 2011, 11:52 PM
The reason I'm still considering it is: Really, according to everyone here even if I find a reputable breeder there still is a chance of the pup getting SM.

One of the responses from a breeder was very true. There are some great breeders who have mri both parents and even grandparents, heart tested among other health tests and they will all tell you there are no guarantees. Mvd, the chance of early onset mvd from a breeder been following mvd protocol and knows pedigrees etc is greatly reduced. Getting a puppy from a breeder who mri has significant reduction on developing SM.

Problem is you would be contributing to something a lot on this forum have been trying to help the health of the breed.

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Margaret C
7th October 2011, 12:05 AM
I'm still not sure what I'm going to do. I want her, but I'm not sure about it. Both parents are there so I want to check them more thoroughly..

Check them for what? SM and MVD and any other health problem are unlikely to be apparent, especially to someone on a brief visit.


The reason I'm still considering it is: Really, according to everyone here even if I find a reputable breeder there still is a chance of the pup getting SM.

Buying a puppy from a responsible health testing breeder gives you a better chance of a healthy puppy, and you are rewarding them for the care they have taken.

Buying from someone who does not test rewards them for not caring if the puppies they produce are screaming with pain before they are a year old.

Love my Cavaliers
7th October 2011, 01:01 AM
Check them for what? SM and MVD and any other health problem are unlikely to be apparent, especially to someone on a brief visit.



Buying a puppy from a responsible health testing breeder gives you a better chance of a healthy puppy, and you are rewarding them for the care they have taken.

Buying from someone who does not test rewards them for not caring if the puppies they produce are screaming with pain before they are a year old.

And even if they tell you that they have a health guarantee, by the time that you have had the dog for a year, the dog has a place in your heart and there is no way you are going to return the dog to the breeder even if the dog is screaming in pain and your heart is breaking. Something to think about. And the breeder probably will not just give you your money back either.

Reptigirl
7th October 2011, 03:39 AM
Both parents are there so I want to check them more thoroughly.


It never hurts to check and watch them closely but be aware that symptoms of SM do not show themselves all the time. Even then they can be very easily overlooked. I saw my boy Blitz 2X before bringing him home. Both time I was able to observe him for 5+ hours and I did not see any symptoms. Not one single scratch. My vet gave him a full examination and did her version of a "neuro exam" on him. She REALLY didn't think he had anything wrong with him but gave me the referral to the neurologist anyways. On JUST a physical exam the neurologist found several signs right away. Even things I didn't see. His MRI showed a MASSIVE syrinx. The female I watched for many months before becoming convinced it was SM.

You definitely want to be on the look out for obvious signs such as excessive licking, scratching, face rubbing, sensitivity around the neck, leg weakness, etc. I also watch for red, sad eyes. Even when mine show no other symptoms I can tell they are having a pain episode when there eyes turn red and they seem sad. Keep in mind that SM is not always visible. There are good days and bad days.

I'm a very visual person and seeing things helps me a lot. Here are some videos I have found very useful in my SM research. Although I'm sure no one likes to watch the videos the more symptoms you can visually see the better chance you have of recognizing them. This is how I figured out what was wrong with my puppy when 3 different vets said he was fine.

This one has more good information and there is also a little informative video on the bottom that shows what some of the symptoms can look like. http://www.dogheirs.com/dogheirs/posts/58-chiari-malformation-and-syringomyelia-symptoms

This is part of a TV special that talks about Cavaliers & SM. It is about several different dog breeds but I have included the portions about Cavaliers:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pm17MesMFRc
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RTjQuQo8Xds&feature=related

I would also highly recommend going to youtube and searching for "cavalier king charles syringomyelia". You will see a wide variety of dogs affected. Then you will get an idea on just how much the symptoms of SM can vary!


Also see how the parents handled exercise and play. If they seem short on breath or cough that could indicate heart problems. Its not a guarantee but both of mine with the onset of heart problems get short on breath after about 5 minutes of play.

Watch hindlegs very closely. Stiff knees or an awkward walk could indicate luxating patellas or even SM. Advanced stages may be noticeable.

anniemac
7th October 2011, 04:23 AM
Shannon,

The dogheirs link said something I don't think I ever saw or picked up on Rusbridge et all state average lapse time between first sign and diagnosis is 1.6 years. I hope as more vets are aware and people, that will decrease. I notice the video has pauline and dylan also.

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Karlin
7th October 2011, 06:35 AM
Almost all the breeder responses bar one (from Canada, which is very sensible) are either being deliberately evasive or these people are incredibly ignorant about the breed and these critical health issues.

One has only seen ONE case in 20 years? Then they simply have no idea what they are looking at or for.

Please do not support a breeder who is doing nothing to help this breed. If you are concerned about cost up front, then beware the costs that will come later with a breed prone to costly health issues. A single MRI, or a couple of visits to a cardiologist, will likely exceed the total cost of a puppy, and that's before tests or medications. There is a statistically very significant increase in the chance of an SM-free or at least late onset, symptom free dog if using a breeder who MRIs and follows the SM protocol for breeding -- on average at least 3 times better chance of a healthier puppy. The same goes for those properly heart testing and following the MVD protocol.

No one was arguing against mutts :) -- indeed they have a better health record as insurance stats show.

I'd agree that considering a rescue cavalier is a much better and positive option rather than supporting an ignorant breeder who doesn't bother to properly health test, thus condemning puppies to a far higher risk of illness. :( I'd give a needy rescue a loving home -- and insure it.

BrooklynMom
7th October 2011, 07:12 AM
The reason I'm still considering it is: Really, according to everyone here even if I find a reputable breeder there still is a chance of the pup getting SM.

Still a chance is just that, a chance, and if you do get a pup from a scanning breeder that chance decreases significantly! If you are already saying that money might be a problem is your pup gets SM, then I would think you would do everything in your power to decrease that chance, and that is going with a scanning breeder. I know it is hard. I know how it feels after you have already met the pup, your heart is involved...so I don't discount that feeling for you or how hard this decision is. But please, follow your head and not your heart. It will hurt, but if you receive a pup from a scanning breeder you will be doing a greater good for everyone, including yourself. Like has been mentioned 50%+ (more in other regions, that was what I was quoted in Australia) cavaliers will get affected with SM, but keep in mind that is 50% of all Cav's, not 50% of MRI scanned and health screened cavaliers. There is a big difference. So yes, while we are all talking about these high statistics, that is for overall cavs and I cannot reiterate enough that the significance is greatly reducedif you pup comes from scanned parents.

Chance? Yes, there is one, but that chance is closer to a guarantee from a non-scanning breeder.

sins
7th October 2011, 10:09 AM
Syringomyelia is a very complex condition.
It really is very difficult to interpret what exactly "symptomatic" means.
For many symptomatic cavaliers,it's very obvious that they bunny hop and air scratch when walking and pause every few steps to scratch.
However,there are others who have never displayed these symptoms and yet are very badly affected.
Daisy was asymptomatic when I had her scanned in 2009.Yes,she scratched her ear and wasn't the best at jumping onto the sofa,but I just figured that she had no traction on the wooden floors and that she perhaps had an ear infection(which she in fact did).
I showed her pedigree to a few breeders who told me that I'd have no problem with her.There were no current top UK sires in there,just very old Irish and UK lines,many of the dogs being behind todays generation of cavaliers.
So I scanned her for research and to prove to myself that SM wasn't such a major problem as was being suggested.She was 2.8 years at the time of scanning and technically, had she been sold elsewhere she would have been sold as a breeding bitch and would have had maybe two litters by then.She has two syrinxs between C2 and C4.
She didn't become symptomatic really until close to 3.5 years,by which time she was intermittently lame and becoming very quiet and withdrawn.She has had two episodes where from nowhere,she threw herself down on the floor and rolled around screaming.It's not something I'll ever forget.
Thankfully medication has eliminated those episodes and she's no longer lame.But she shuffles around like a geriatric cavalier instead of a normal almost 5 year old.
So what I'm saying is that just by looking at a young cavalier and trying to guess if she or he is affected is pointless.What may look fine at age 2 from the outside,may be a ticking time bomb waiting to happen,which is why many Uk breeders now screen their cavaliers.
Mri scanning is not perfect,but it's a useful tool for responsible breeders who know how to use it to the best effect.
I bet too that these breeders who claim that it's "inbreeding in England" that's caused the trouble "over there" are also quite happy to point out to pet buyers,the number of "English champions" in their dog's pedigree.:mad:
Sins

Karen and Ruby
7th October 2011, 10:31 AM
There won't be a single person on this forum that will tell you it's a good idea to buy this puppy.

Like Brooklyns mum- she saw a puppy fell in love and backed away- because the parents weren't fully health tested and she is applauded for doing so. And although yes, it's not guarenteed that Brooklyn will be spared this disease, she has a much better chance.

And we have to look at the bigger picture here, for a breed that is in such a detrimental state of affairs at the momment I think we all owe some sort of sacrifice to secure their future,

These dogs didn't ask for this, they are such placid and beautiful little creatures that would do anything to make people happy, so don't we owe them the same in return??

So if, by making this choice now to walk away and look for a health focused breeder; helps this breed secure a much better journey to a healthy and sustainable future ...then we should all be doing it.

Having lived and witnessed the extreme pain that this disease inflicts on these dogs, I would urge you to look elsewhere.

I have to pick Ruby up a certain way or she screams in pain, she can't play simple tug of war with a toy (its too painful), something that all dogs should enjoy, she can't get up on the sofa/bed with out the steps on her bad days, sometimes she can't even get up in the morning, she suffers through out the summer months when the weather gets too warm (im talking 20 degrees +, not particularly hot), she will not go up to strange dogs in the park and curls up in a ball if anything approaches her for fear that they will hurt her, my family wonder where they can stroke her for fear of causing her pain.

This is not what a dog should live like but she does it with such grace and dignity,

And then there is Charlie- I rescued him as I didn't want to put my money in to any breeders pockets at that point (having Ruby diagnosed for only a few months when I bought him home) and also with the consideration that a puppy jumping round her was the last thing she needed!

He has pain associated with CM, requires medication too, claws at his head, doesn't like anyone approaching his head or face, tears fall constantly where there is so much pressure built up behind his eyes and they are red also.

This isn't something that anyone should have to live with and if you have the chance of not living with it then I should take that chance.

Its expensive, heart breaking and soul destroying for us watching it so I can only imagine how my dogs could feel!!

paula12
7th October 2011, 11:18 AM
I agree with what people are saying on this thread. SM is a devestating disease, I bought my first two cavs from a backyard breeder and Bonnie was diagnosed at 8 months, it breaks your heart to see these beautiful little dogs having to live with this terrible disease, even though the meds controlled the symptoms to a certain degree she was never completely pain free, there were good days and bad days and she was unable to enjoy life to the extent of how a dog should, whilst her sister who is SM symptom free would run and play she would just watch and have her cuddles. I didn't have pet insurance on her so the costs were rather large, meds alone were about $100 a month. I recently had her put to sleep for a completely unrelated reason but I was always waiting for the day that the meds wouldn't control her pain.

I have since bought another pup, but this time being very aware of the health problems of this little breed. I made sure the breeder was regisitered, did current health testing and was able to provide the certificates and also researched the pedigrees and longevity of grandparents, he comes from a very sporty line involved in agility, flyball etc.

But the first thing I did was take out pet insurance on him as well as making sure my other cav was insured, so hopefully if anything comes up at least I will not have to worry about the costs of treatment. One MRI scan (if required) would more than cover the cost of yearly insurance.

It is easy to fall in love with a Cav pup, but please do your research.

Love my Cavaliers
7th October 2011, 02:25 PM
Riley has never displayed any of the typical SM symptoms, but I think she is just really good at hiding her pain levels. Even after her decompression surgery, when my other dogs are running around the house, she will hide under a table or a chair so that they will not accidently bump into her. Outside, if she sees Oz (my youngest who is still full of beans) racing toward her, she will drop down immediately to minimize the chance that he will knock her over or hurt her. She can not withstand a body block, her balance is too bad and she has weakness in her rear legs. There are days that the single step coming into the house is almost too much for her.

But she is the light of my life. Like Karen said, she didn't ask for this and like Ruby, she withstands her SM with grace and dignity. I can't imagine my life without her, but I often imagine what her life would have been like without this horrible disease. She is a happy dog and lives to please and love me, but I would love her to be able to enjoy life more.

anniemac
7th October 2011, 02:59 PM
Riley has never displayed any of the typical SM symptoms, but I think she is just really good at hiding her pain levels. Even after her decompression surgery, when my other dogs are running around the house, she will hide under a table or a chair so that they will not accidently bump into her. Outside, if she sees Oz (my youngest who is still full of beans) racing toward her, she will drop down immediately to minimize the chance that he will knock her over or hurt her. She can not withstand a body block, her balance is too bad and she has weakness in her rear legs. There are days that the single step coming into the house is almost too much for her.

But she is the light of my life. Like Karen said, she didn't ask for this and like Ruby, she withstands her SM with grace and dignity. I can't imagine my life without her, but I often imagine what her life would have been like without this horrible disease. She is a happy dog and lives to please and love me, but I would love her to be able to enjoy life more.

Aww Bev :hug: when you talk about Riley it brings back memories. That look of pain in the eyes if someone was going to touch. I always describe when I would put my hand over Ella's head like I was going to pat it, she would flench like she was about to get a shot. I remember those looks.

Ladyglove,

This is a wonderful breed and even going through what I did with Ella, she brought a lot of joy to me and I wouldn't change that. What I would change, is getting a puppy from a breeder that scans to minimize that happening to another. I would accept any puppy no matter what happens but I think it's important to really do research because even if not SM, there will be a higher chance of something whether temperment, health, etc. and this puppy will be with you for a long time.

Please just do me a favor and ask these questions to yourself http://www.ckcsc.org/ckcsc/ckcsc_inc.nsf/Founded-1954/questionyourself.html

and this http://www.ckcsc.org/ckcsc/ckcsc_inc.nsf/Founded-1954/investment.html

"The high number of serious inherited defects seen in ALL dogs today makes this a pre-requisite before you purchase your puppy. You are paying a hefty sum of money for your puppy Ė at least get your moneyís worth and buy the best puppy you can find from the most reputable breeder. NOW IS NOT THE TIME TO BARGAIN HUNT!c "

And to LJW and those with puppies or cavaliers already I am going to quote Rod! We can do what we can before hand to make sure to reduce the chances of a health problem but once you have them don't worry about what may or may not come and enjoy the days with themhttp://www.cavaliertalk.com/forums/images/icons/icon1.png



http://www.cavaliertalk.com/forums/images/misc/quote_icon.png Originally Posted by LJW http://www.cavaliertalk.com/forums/images/buttons/viewpost-right.png (http://www.cavaliertalk.com/forums/showthread.php?p=404357#post404357)
Very interesting reading and some differing opinions. For me I guess I need to enjoy my pup, stop worrying about potential illnesses whilst being aware that there is a very high chance he may develop symptoms in the future. Thanks all.





Yeah, that's about it. Live for today with them; enjoy them; let them enjoy you; don't emote a downer attitude.


Rod Russell

Sydneys Mom
7th October 2011, 04:39 PM
Almost all the breeder responses bar one (from Canada, which is very sensible) are either being deliberately evasive or these people are incredibly ignorant about the breed and these critical health issues.

One has only seen ONE case in 20 years? Then they simply have no idea what they are looking at or for.

Please do not support a breeder who is doing nothing to help this breed. If you are concerned about cost up front, then beware the costs that will come later with a breed prone to costly health issues. A single MRI, or a couple of visits to a cardiologist, will likely exceed the total cost of a puppy, and that's before tests or medications. There is a statistically very significant increase in the chance of an SM-free or at least late onset, symptom free dog if using a breeder who MRIs and follows the SM protocol for breeding -- on average at least 3 times better chance of a healthier puppy. The same goes for those properly heart testing and following the MVD protocol.

No one was arguing against mutts :) -- indeed they have a better health record as insurance stats show.

I'd agree that considering a rescue cavalier is a much better and positive option rather than supporting an ignorant breeder who doesn't bother to properly health test, thus condemning puppies to a far higher risk of illness. :( I'd give a needy rescue a loving home -- and insure it.

Even though your orignial inquiry was about SM, Karlin and others have also made reference to the high incidence of MVD in this breed. My dog has severe MVD. Since you have made mention that the cost of caring for an ill dog is also a consideration for you, here's what you should also know.

The cost of a cardiologist's visit ranges about $300. She sees him every 6 weeks, or sooner if health concerns warrent it. If any testing is done, echocardiogram, xrays, blood work, ascites, etc. that cost could range $1500+ per visit. The cost of Sydney's medicine (he takes 8 prescriptions) runs about $500 per month. This is all out of pocket for me as I do not have pet insurance.

The emotional toll is, in my opinion, a lot harder. Watching your dog gasping for breath, having him faint and rushing to the emergency room where he needs to be put on oxygen, watching as his abdomen swells with fluids and the doctors have to insert a needle into him to remove 48 ounces of fluid. Some days it is an effort for him to just walk around the yard. Other days he's active and so playful that I cry with joy. Just like with the dogs with SM or CM, there are good days and bad days. Just different symptoms, different medications, but always the same heartache.

You have taken the best first step in getting a cavalier......asking questions. When you look into the eyes of a cavalier, in a pet store, or at a BYB, it's so hard not to scoop them up and bring them home. But what is right for this breed? Take the second best step......go to a breeder that does ALL the health tests. Like you said, it doesn't guarantee a long and healthy life, but it certainly reduces the odds of your dog being ill. Check into pet insurance before you pet is ill.

Getting a cavalier is the best thing I did. Even with all the health issues, I have received so much love and joy from Sydney that I wouldn't trade for all the money in the world. I think you will find that most here will say the same.

Karlin
7th October 2011, 05:45 PM
Joyce, thanks for that; it's a great post and gives the reasons why so many of us, even those of us who have nursed a loved cavalier through one or more of these diseases, do not regret having chosen this breed. :) And would do so again, knowing we have more experience to recognise and manage these conditions.

And why so many of us feel so strongly about fighting for the future of this breed, supporting truly health-focused breeders, and helping fund critical research that gives the only chance of a future for the breed. :thmbsup:

It is really what I hope people will understand when they consider this breed and come here and read about health issues and why we all feel understanding them, and being aware, is so important: there are so many positives about the breed but any prospective owner also simply must consider IF they are ready to also manage the relatively high risk, compared to many other breeds or crosses, of emotional and financial costs down the line to deal with the diseases endemic in cavaliers. And to take the responsible role of understanding the conditions and their symptoms so that they know what to look for IF their cavalier starts to suffer from one of them.

Nearly every one of us will eventually deal with MVD and the costs of at least some medications. Half of us will start to deal with this before or by the time our cavalier is age 5. Most of us will also eventually face SM in every cavalier we own. With luck the dog will never be symptomatic but prospective buyers need t consider IF they can deal with the uncertainty for maybe 12 years (with luck) of a cavalier's life that at any time, this painful disease could surface. Fortunately MOST will not deal with serious, symptomatic SM. But all evidence is that many go undiagnosed despite symptoms. (Again, that is why we want to raise awareness here so that more cavaliers are correctly diagnosed and treated if they have this condition, which most vets are unfamiliar with!).

I truly found the final months of MVD in Lucy -- the on and off listlessness, the increasing number of collapsing episodes and small seizures, the coughing, the liquid on the lungs, the worry about leaving her for any length of time -- to be much harder, and more emotionally draining, than managing Leo's SM over the past 7 years ( am fortunate that he mostly has had scratching and moderate discomfort to manage and not yelping pain episodes, however The only bad episode he had now seems to have been related to a fall where he hurt his back and probably set off greater pain around his syrinx for a couple of days).

My costs for medications for Leo alone right now surpasses the amount I paid for Leo about every 5 months. So really: the lifetime cost issue of owning a dog, especially a breed with potential health issues, must be considered -- and is why it makes so much sense to support a good breeder from the start and increase the chance of a healthy dog.

Ladyglove
9th October 2011, 11:42 AM
Sorry it's been so long since I posted. I've read all your posts. I actually discussed all this with my mom and she says that you can never know who's a responsible breeder. She worked for a women in Florida who bred Pom's (forum rules say no breeder names so I won't include it) who looked perfect to the outside dog breeding world.

She had a high rate of show winners (some even going to Westminster) she took care of her dogs, they had their shots, if they needed surgery they got it. They had a clean, warm, dry places to sleep, and they were exercised, socialized and fairly well adjusted. They were healthy, happy pups and adults. Potential owners could drop by on a whim and she'd be happy to show them the pups. She had health guarantees, you could call her whenever. She had a clause that if you ever needed to give the dog up you were to contact her first. Now this was before genetic screening, but my mom assured me that she would have done so.

However, say her prized bitch game birth to a litter of 2 pups, to the AKC she would say the bitch had 4 or five pups. Or she might say she bred a lower quality bitch to her prized stud, but it wouldn't be, it would be her other stud. Likewise if she chose a stud from another breeder she'd say that the bitch had a larger litter, or if she had lost the pups she would take another bitch's pups and give them, so she would say those were the pups bred. And the times when the fee for the stud was the pick of the litter she would hide the prized put (the one she thought would show well) and put it out of sight. She charged (pet puppy price) $1500 for a male. And like I said on paper she looked great.

Now my mom regrets she didn't do anything, but she was very young at the time and really didn't know any better, but even then she was alone for the first time. But now she regrets it.


EDIT: Nothing relate to me or my situation but has anyone here heard anything more about normast? It sound like it could do a lot of good for a lot of dogs. I was just wondering if anyone here has tried it or heard about it.

Karen and Ruby
9th October 2011, 11:54 AM
Yes, but you are talking about someone who bred for show, to breed a champion and make lots of money. And a Pom at that

When you are discussing a breed like the Cavalier we are talking about breeders that are breeding for health. It is expensive to fully health test with all the problems this breed has so money isnt a factor! They most probably won't make any!

All you need to know is that they have fully health tested their breeding dogs, and preferably a generation or two back.

Wtih out meaning to sound rude, it seems like you are trying to talk yourself in to beleiving this is a good idea, and when I have to talk myself in to beleiving im doing the right thing- its because it is 100% the wrong thing to do!

BrooklynMom
9th October 2011, 12:07 PM
I think what Karen said is how a lot of us feel, so with all due respect, I can't comment on this tread anymore. We have all put forward our very valid and factual opinions. I just hope those facts weigh over your heart harder than a cute face at this point. But as we are humans, we have free will, and emotions (which I know is what makes this hard for you) and individuality. You will make your own decision, but I just hope one day you look back and know it was the right one. Will you love any pup no matter what? Of course you will, I dont doubt that, but I want you to look back with not only love of your pup, but love and pride in this breed.

I do have to say in your defense though that we are no trying to attack you by any means and I hope not one post comes off that way. We are all just very passionate because most of us have been through a lot health wise with this breed as well as a lot of time and money trying to promote and save the health of this breed. So it can get emotional. Also, it is hard to really take this all in and really understand the whole situation and issues until you are on the other side of the fence so I know it must be a little overwhelming and confusing for you too. I can understand that, and I hope the information we put forward helps you in any way possible.

Good luck with everything.

Ladyglove
9th October 2011, 02:02 PM
Yes, but you are talking about someone who bred for show, to breed a champion and make lots of money. And a Pom at that When you are discussing a breed like the Cavalier we are talking about breeders that are breeding for health. It is expensive to fully health test with all the problems this breed has so money isnt a factor! They most probably won't make any! All you need to know is that they have fully health tested their breeding dogs, and preferably a generation or two back. Wtih out meaning to sound rude, it seems like you are trying to talk yourself in to beleiving this is a good idea, and when I have to talk myself in to beleiving im doing the right thing- its because it is 100% the wrong thing to do!

No, I'm not trying to talk myself into anything. I know both points and I've made my decision. I'm staying away from Cavalier's. From the sound of it they're a dying breed. If over 90% of them have SM there is not enough healthy breeding stock even if every breeder around the world got together. and from the sound of it even if you get a good breeder there's less than a 10% chance of having a healthy pup (completely discounting the heart problems) I'm not a glutton for punishment and I don't want to watch my dog scream in pain.


And I don't think you get my point about the breeder, she looked like a perfect breeder from the outside. Everyone said it, from the outside she bred for health as well as looks, but really she didn't. That's the point. Anyway I do thank everyone for their help.

RodRussell
9th October 2011, 03:47 PM
...However, say her prized bitch game birth to a litter of 2 pups, to the AKC she would say the bitch had 4 or five pups. Or she might say she bred a lower quality bitch to her prized stud, but it wouldn't be, it would be her other stud. Likewise if she chose a stud from another breeder she'd say that the bitch had a larger litter, or if she had lost the pups she would take another bitch's pups and give them, so she would say those were the pups bred. And the times when the fee for the stud was the pick of the litter she would hide the prized put (the one she thought would show well) and put it out of sight. She charged (pet puppy price) $1500 for a male. And like I said on paper she looked great. ...

I've heard a lot of stories about deceitful breeders, but some of this makes no sense at all to me. For instance, AKC does not care how many puppies are in a litter, except that the more puppies in a litter, the higher the registration fee. I have heard of CKCSC,USA cavalier breeders who understate the number of puppies in a litter, to avoid having to pay higher registration fees, but then those breeders will tell AKC the actual number of puppies in that same litter.

With the advent of DNA testing, AKC will not condone breeders misrepresenting the name of the sire of litters. AKC perodically compares DNA of sires and littermates, and if AKC catches a breeder knowingly falsifying the litter registrations by misrepresenting the name of the actual sire, those breeders will be punished.

The solution to this dilemma? One option is what I always recommend to puppy buyers: Insist upon seeing the paperwork -- the registration papers, the heart examination reports, the MRI scan reports, the eye CERF reports, and so on. See, e.g., http://cavalierhealth.org/questions_for_breeder.htm

Often, the corrupt breeders will start their hedging dance.

"Oh, those papers got lost in our last move."

"Oh, they were stored in our basement, and the last hurricane flooded it and the box of papers had to be thrown out."

"WELL! I've never in my whole life been questioned about such things!"

"I'll send you those records with the puppy after you buy it."

Get the picture? When you start hearing these types of excuses, back away smartly and run in the opposite direction.

Ladyglove
9th October 2011, 04:04 PM
I've heard a lot of stories about deceitful breeders, but some of this makes no sense at all to me. For instance, AKC does not care how many puppies are in a litter, except that the more puppies in a litter, the higher the registration fee. I have heard of CKCSC,USA cavalier breeders who understate the number of puppies in a litter, to avoid having to pay higher registration fees, but then those breeders will tell AKC the actual number of puppies in that same litter. With the advent of DNA testing, AKC will not condone breeders misrepresenting the name of the sire of litters. AKC perodically compares DNA of sires and littermates, and if AKC catches a breeder knowingly falsifying the litter registrations by misrepresenting the name of the actual sire, those breeders will be punished. The solution to this dilemma? One option is what I always recommend to puppy buyers: Insist upon seeing the paperwork -- the registration papers, the heart examination reports, the MRI scan reports, the eye CERF reports, and so on. See, e.g., http://cavalierhealth.org/questions_for_breeder.htm The reason she would do it was she would have a few Pom's that weren't AKC registered and she would breed the unregistered bitch and say the pups from the unregistered Pom was in fact the registered bitch. EDIT: I forgot to add that she did this becasue she could demand a higher price for a pup if one of the parents was said to be one of her many champions. Like I said she would charge for a pet pup upwards of $1500 but for the pup of her one specific champion stud she could charge triple that, easy.

Love my Cavaliers
9th October 2011, 05:13 PM
"I'll send you those records with the puppy after you buy it."

Get the picture? When you start hearing these types of excuses, back away smartly and run in the opposite direction.

That is exactly what the breeder said to my ignorant self when I got Oliver, my first cavalier. I now know she was a backyard breeder and I should have run in the opposite direction instead of blithely handing over my hard earned cash. I never heard from her again and never received any papers for him. Luckily, he has made it to age 10 and 1/2 with no SM and no murmur (cardiologist certified this year) but he did have cervical disc decompression surgery at age 9. However, he's healthy now and stills runs in the backyard and is the only one of my dogs to actually play with Oz, my 4 year old (although on a very limited basis). He is on no meds and is a delight to me every day. So although I kick myself for supporting a BYB, I got my first cavalier love, my big boy (he is trim at 25 pounds) who triggered my lifelong love of cavaliers.

RodRussell
9th October 2011, 05:16 PM
The reason she would do it was she would have a few Pom's that weren't AKC registered and she would breed the unregistered bitch and say the pups from the unregistered Pom was in fact the registered bitch. EDIT: I forgot to add that she did this becasue she could demand a higher price for a pup if one of the parents was said to be one of her many champions. Like I said she would charge for a pet pup upwards of $1500 but for the pup of her one specific champion stud she could charge triple that, easy.

That makes a little more sense. But, these days, with DNA testing, a lot of this "who's your daddy?" game has come to an end. AKC spends a lot of time and money trying to defeat deceitful breeders.

Ladyglove
9th October 2011, 06:16 PM
That makes a little more sense. But, these days, with DNA testing, a lot of this "who's your daddy?" game has come to an end. AKC spends a lot of time and money trying to defeat deceitful breeders. I'm sure they try, however there are hundreds, if not thousands of breeders registered with the AKC out there; there's little to no chance that very many are caught. Only if the buyer made a fuss would the investigate. And like I said (before DNA testing was available to a breeder) she was a very well respected breeder. 17 years ago when we were shopping for a pup we were at the local CKC show and we talked to a Pom breeder and he was very proud to have dogs from the breeders line.

Karlin
9th October 2011, 06:37 PM
Lots of us are aware that cavaliers are approaching the edge of where they will be a dying breed if nothing or little is done or if breeders continue to make excuses about testing and following protocols. I do know from talking to others breeders in other breeds that there is real exasperation with the general approach of most cavalier breeders and most international cavalier clubs in honestly and openly tackling health issues that threaten the survival of the breed.

That's one reason why it is absolutely critical to support health testing breeders and to ask for documentation. This would be true for all breeds though! As would a propensity for many to say one thing but do another -- which is why a buyer cannot simply chat to someone or go on their verbal claims or what they say on a website. It takes time and research to find a good breeder.

It is true that over 90% of cavaliers will end up with MVD -- way too high a percentage and in too many cases, onset is early, with dogs from 3-8 showing first signs of a murmur :(. I was shocked to see a breeder elsewhere defending 7-8 as a perfectly fine age for cavaliers to get murmurs as they don't always progress to heart failure til older!! That's the equivalent of saying it is OK -- even 'normal' -- for 50% of humans to have a murmur at age 30-50 because after all, lots won't go into heart failure for years and there are lots of good drugs we can take to postpone those final stages. Other breeds get murmurs as very elderly dogs and typically die of something else, not the distressing prolonged death of CHF. There's something seriously wrong with breeder/club mindset that thinks it is OK for dogs to have these early onset problems that cause the average lifespan to be about a fourth less than it should be for a small breed.

All that said -- nothing like 90% of dogs, even with MVD, are struggling with serious symptoms and many will go years with no murmur or a minor murmur. Most with SM will not have serious symptoms. Again -- that's why it is so critical to support the honest breeders who are working hard, and at expense, to lower incidence and push off age of onset to gradually breed away from these problems. Lots of us have a strong commitment to the breed and want to see these figures change.

No cavalier buyer should be unaware of these health issues and the probabilities tough and a commitment to caring for a dog with at least one of these issues *eventually* needs to be art of the decision making process.

Research will reveal plenty of genetic issues and endemic inbreeding in most breeds though and all buyers need to carefully research breeds and breeders. :thmbsup:

RodRussell
9th October 2011, 06:47 PM
I'm sure they try, however there are hundreds, if not thousands of breeders registered with the AKC out there; there's little to no chance that very many are caught. ...

You would be surprised at how effective AKC's DNA testing has been.