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View Full Version : Advice Needed - Cavaliers to be the "Feature Breed" for the Sydney Royal Easter Show



BrooklynMom
10th March 2012, 08:16 AM
Okay, so for those of you who are not in Australia, we have something called the Royal Easter Show. It is a huge 14 day show of everything from cattle to dogs. The dog show is one of Australia's biggest and the dogs and breeds have a HUGE arena for the Royal Easter Dog Show. Hundreds of thousands of spectators come through this event each year.

So my question and what I need help with is this...this year, the "Feature Breed" of the show is the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. This means: "The Feature Breed for the 2012 Show is the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, and will be on display in the Howie Pavilion the whole 14 days of the show."

Okay so my thing is this...I am so fearful to have our breed as the feature breed because along with it there are no plans for health tents or any information on our breed beyond the breeders who will be there to show off the breed and their dogs (I have emailed). I don't know what to do, I just feel a bit helpless...I am no expert on the health of our Cavaliers, but I do know that with things like this...come a mass "I want one!" from consumers. Which is fine, if there is also a health message going out, or at least awareness so that people can make their own decisions. I worry that pet stores will stock up for the post "Royal Easter Show Feature Breed". I just don't know what to do. If I write to them, what do I say? Does anyone have any advice? I want to make an effort...lets celebrate our breed, and also balance it with information.

Look, I would own another cavalier. I would. I know all the risks and our neuro has told us that just like everywhere else, SM is 50-70% of the breed and MVD and everything else is there too. And I would still get another one. BUT I am informed, and I just want to know that the thousands of general public who walk through this pavilion get that chance too. To fall in love with the breed like we all have, but then to make the right choices on how to move forward - things like, can I afford if they get sick? can I afford health insurance? can I deal with this? Am I ready?

I don't know, probably a hopeless cause here, but I saw the pics of the Cavalier Matters tent and Crufts and I just wish, with all my heart that there was something like that here, especially since they are the feature breed of the whole show. If you have any advice on what I should tell the show or how I should talk, words I should use to talk to them I would really appreciate it. It might not work, but at least I will have tried.

Thanks!

Henrietta
12th March 2012, 12:29 AM
You say - I know all the risks and our neuro has told us that just like everywhere else, SM is 50-70% of the breed and MVD and everything else is there too. And I would still get another one. BUT I am informed .....

I would appreciate your advising the statistical data used to come to the conclusion that 50-70% of the breed has SM


[Note from admin: although it is a bit hard to understand what she is saying here, the remainder of this post from the Australian CKCS breeder Judy Thomas was deleted as it was abusive. But I have replied below to her erroneous general contentions so that at least, Judy will leave the board a more informed breeder, and hopefully, will bring her new factual knowledge about cavalier health into her breeding practice. :)

Judy: be sure to go talk to the neurologist in Sydney who has, I believe, addressed your national club on SM in the past, starting a few years ago (maybe you have never attended an information seminar on SM? And that is why you are so poorly informed?). I am sure she would be happy to help you catch up on your knowledge of the breed and perhaps your club also has some helpful information].

Karlin
12th March 2012, 01:57 AM
Hi Judy, Australian show breeder (aka 'henrietta):

Maybe you don't follow research, or understand how statistical samples work -- but you do not need to MRI all the cavaliers in the world to be able to make such predictions. You need to have MRId a meaningful sample (though even quite small samples can give much insight and tend to be fairly accurate most of the time). Statistical samples are the basis of how polling is done; this is how research is done, and for well over a hundred years, it has been a long established and accurate method to make predictions about many things (like the effectiveness of cancer treatments, results of drug trials (not done on the entire world's population... :) ), genetic research, even market research for new products. You certainly accept such calculated estimates and the results of them every day in your life. :)

Though pretty accurate predictions on SM affectedness in CKCS were made over the past decade or so based on smaller samples, the current estimate (which has matched and generally exceeded older baseline 'minimal' predictions and results from many international research articles) is based on peer-reviewed, published research taken from a sample of 555 cavaliers, all of which their owners -- almost entirely, show breeders, mosty in the UK, some in Holland) -- claimed had never shown any symptoms for SM. Even half a decade ago, researchers were predicting that probably up to 70% of the breed was eventually affected with syrinxes and it looks like this is likely the *minimum*.

Of this very large sample of 555 cavaliers from a wide range of owners and lines, by the time they were MRIing the dogs aged 6+ in the group, 70 per cent were scanning with syrinxes. In that same study, by age ONE, 25% had syrinxes. :( Now even 25% is a truly shocking figure for any breed condition, much less one of the most painful conditions known to humans -- and would be considered a serious crisis if that was the estimate for the lifetime of a dog but sadly, the figure increased steadily for each age group, ending with 70%. About half had syrinxes by age 5, and about half the total sample had SM. The researchers concluded that the actual level of affectedness is almost certainly HIGHER than 70% because many dogs are outwardly affected by that age and this study more or less excluded obviously symptomatic dogs.

From the paper, by several of the leading experts in this condition worldwide:


Prevalence of asymptomatic syringomyelia in Cavalier King Charles spaniels
J. E. Parker, BSc, BVSc, MRCVS1, S. P. Knowler, BSc2, C. Rusbridge, BVMS, DECVN, MRCVS2, E. Noorman, DVM3 and N. D. Jeffery, BVSc, PhD, CertSAO, DECVS, DECVN, DSAS(ST), FRCVS1

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.

...The true prevalence of syringomyelia in the general CKCS population is expected to be higher than that found in this sample population because symptomatic dogs were specifically excluded.

Further, in a related study on inheritence when parents are known to have or not have SM, based on a sample of 550 cavaliers, only THREE cavaliers that were graded clear of SM came from parents where both were known to have SM.

By contrast, when both parents have scanned free of SM or with only a small central canal dilation (eg grade dogs on the SM breeding guidelines), some 70% of offspring were scanning as As (clear for SM at least at time of scan). This drops to 55% scanning as As when only one parent is an A. And when both parents scanned with SM, 92% of offspring scanned with SM.

See: http://www.veterinary-neurologist.co.uk/resources/b-g-paper.pdf

BrooklynMom
12th March 2012, 03:47 AM
Thank you Karlin. I had no idea my post would get met with such aggression when I was just asking (I thought kindly) on how I could help and any advice. I am not trying to start anything here at all, I was just trying to do my part. :( Sometimes it all just makes me so upset.

This was the response I got from the Royal Easter Show to the email I sent. I have no idea why it was so aggressive considering that I wrote a very general email to their website "general inquiry" address...not even to a person or a group. I just asked if they were going to have a health tent or anything to make sure consumers and people flocking to the show are also aware of the health and wellness so that people can learn the 360 of this breed and make informed decisions if they decide to bring a Cavalier into their home:

"Our feature breed is the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and as an international Conformation Dog Judge, I would have to disagree with your claims. I have judged many cavaliers that are sound and healthy- a lot more than 70% at each judging appointment. The stand will be organised and involve the Cavalier King Charles Club of NSW which is made up of dedicated breeders, judges and Cav owners who have sound, healthy and well conformed little dogs.They are well qualified to run the feature as they see fit and do not require any ‘3rd’ party to oversee them. If you feel that strongly that Cav’s are so unhealthy then I find it baffling that you would own one. I can only direct you to discuss this with the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club. I am sure they will be able to discuss the breed with you."

I just feel so sad :( I guess I never expected to get such a harsh, head in the sand email back considering what I wrote them was a general inquiry and suggestion, but then to be spoken to so harshly by this person that the email was obviously passed to broke my heart. I don't know how you guys (like with Cavalier Matters etc) keep your heads up all the time and keep fighting. I am in tears over just one email and one person getting so angry with me and saying my neurologist is wrong. I pride all of you who are activists for this breed...it is not easy, it is so personally affecting and I applaud what you do. I wish we had less pretending and looking the other way. The last time I checked a judge does not carry an MRI machine in the ring, so I don't know how they decide a breed is "healthy", but a neurologist who specialises in SM is flat wrong :(

Feeling so disheartened today. At least I know I tried, but it just makes me feel sad that someone can a) talk to you this way when they don't even know you and you simply sent them a general inquiry and b) just not realise that this is real. SM is real and it is happening.

I was lucky to have a breeder for Brooky who told me first thing, off the bat about SM and talked to me about the breed and everything to do with it. By her mentioning it, that is how I started learning. She wanted me to know that this was a possibility with this breed (though she MRI's so she is doing her part), and I am always grateful to her for that. I just want every pet owner to have that opportunity...someone to just say "hey, this is what is happening out there...go check it out and then make a decision". Just information and knowledge, thats all I want. Sigh.

I am also sorry if my initial post has offended anyone like it did "Henrietta". It was never my intention to offend anyone, no did I ever think I was setting myself up for attack. Thank you Karlin for deleting that part.

BrooklynMom
12th March 2012, 03:52 AM
Also, I am sorry Henrietta, but I will not be responding to your post. I do not believe this board is a place for such negativity.

Karlin
12th March 2012, 04:40 AM
Ah, I suspect they steered Judy here perhaps. :lol:

What an extraordinary statement:


I have judged many cavaliers that are sound and healthy- a lot more than 70% at each judging appointment.

So around 30% are NOT 'sound and healthy'? Well that is a scandal right there.

I guess then that they won't tell anyone anything related to breed health at the stand. How sad for the future of the breed. I hope they at least encourage new owners to insure their dog.

BrooklynMom
12th March 2012, 06:03 AM
Yes, I suppose you would be right and that is just so sad.
I am just an average pet owner here, nothing special about me...just wishing for the general information to be there, for people to be informed if they feel like it and to make their own decision based off of that. But apparently that is far too much to ask of some people which is sad because it could make for a wonderful well rounded event.

At least I tried, which is all I wanted to do. Thank you for keeping this board a supportive place for everyone Karlin as well as a wonderful source for information on the health of this breed.

Kate H
12th March 2012, 10:25 AM
What a shame you got such a response to your effort to help - and what a shame for all the possible Cavaliers who will be bought in ignorance and possibly left undiagnosed and in pain, as a result of the display at the show. As Margaret and others on this board can testify, if you try to pull an ostrich's head out of the sand, it's likely to object loudly (can ostriches be loud? Think I've got a mixed metaphor there! :) It would probably kick you over with its strong leg...). Like you, I'm grateful to everyone - on and off this board - who plod on trying to educate, spread the word, and breed healthy Cavaliers. It took the UK clubs long enough to get on board about SM, so it's hardly surprising that clubs in other places are equally slow, forgetting that all their dogs share the same genes.

You did your best - and top marks for trying!:thmbsup:

Kate, Oliver and Aled

ashleighelizabeth
12th March 2012, 01:44 PM
Good job advocating Kelsey! Sometimes that is all we can do. You should feel good about your efforts to want to spread awareness! I personally never knew anything about SM. I was very aware of MVD, but when I was searching for breeders I didn't have any knowledge of SM. I always wish that I would have had found this board earlier or had received information from somewhere about ALL of the cavalier's health concerns. (I would not give up my little guy for anything, but I still wish I would have researched or understood more at the time).

Kate H
12th March 2012, 03:29 PM
Just to make Kelsey smile (or roll her eyes in despair!), do you remember that Australian woman (I think it was you who met her) who said that Australian Cavaliers couldn't possibly have SM because all the imports have to go through quarantine!!

The Clubs are missing such an opportunity to educate people at the show - some people in the UK would give their eye teeth for 14 days of this sort of publicity opportunity for SM and MVD (I expect there are some in Australia who would as well, and are as upset as Kelsey about the wasted opportunity).

Kate, Oliver and Aled

BrooklynMom
12th March 2012, 09:35 PM
Thanks for the support guys :) I was pretty upset yesterday, so I appreciate the kind words! I don't think I have ever been lashed out at quite so hard simply writing a few inquiries...but alas, it is what it is.

And, ha, yes Kate...I remember that! That was a breeder I spoke with at the dog park who said that we don't have SM in Australia because of quarantine here. Now THAT was a doozy! Quarantine...sheesh! I am smiling and eye rolling on multiple levels here!

It is a missed opportunity for sure. It could have been a wonderful, well rounded celebration of our breed, and it is not that often that you would get 14 days of the spot light either. No doubt I will go check it all out and ask some questions, but you can bet I won't be wearing a name tag! :cool:

Kate H
12th March 2012, 10:38 PM
Yes, do go and ask some awkward questions - the answers could be interesting!

I should have added to my previous post that, though 14 days of show might be a good opportunity, if it happened in the UK it just might kill off the Cavalier Matters Team!!

Kate, Oliver and Aled

Karlin
13th March 2012, 02:24 AM
I have an idea as well that I will PM you about when I get the chance. :)

Karen and Ruby
13th March 2012, 12:52 PM
I should have added to my previous post that, though 14 days of show might be a good opportunity, if it happened in the UK it just might kill off the Cavalier Matters team
Kate, Oliver and Aled


Yes I think it most definitely would!!

Margaret C
13th March 2012, 02:00 PM
Yes I think it most definitely would!!

Four days was enough thank you.
I think Tania would second that as she did not get home till 2am Monday morning because of a flat tire.

I did, however, enjoy the experience and working with such a wonderful team of dedicated women was a delight.

Margaret C
13th March 2012, 02:27 PM
Yes, do go and ask some awkward questions - the answers could be interesting!



Asking questions that people do not want to hear is a wonderful way of showing that cavalier heath issues are known and that denial and the breeders' Code of Silence http://www.ashgi.org/articles/breeding_omerta.htm are no longer working.

You do need to be aware that you will inevitably get some more very hostile answers to your questions.
You do need to be sure in your own mind you are able to cope with that without getting too distressed.

RodRussell
13th March 2012, 03:08 PM
Asking questions that people do not want to hear is a wonderful way of showing that cavalier heath issues are known and that denial and the breeders' Code of Silence http://www.ashgi.org/articles/breeding_omerta.htm are no longer working.

You do need to be aware that you will inevitably get some more very hostile answers to your questions.
You do need to be sure in your own mind you are able to cope with that without getting too distressed.

What I think I have learned of the attitude of most USA cavalier breeders about genetic health issues is that they do not want to hear about those issues themselves and they do not want the information to be available to others.

In particular about themselves, complying with such remedies as the MVD breeding protocol and the SM breeding protocol would severely interfere with their own breeding programs, likely to the extent of shutting them down and having to start over again, if at all. This, they defintely do not want to deal with, and they get angry when these breeding guidelines are brought up. The show conformation success of their breeding programs, into which they have invested a lot of time and money, appears to be more important to them than the genetic health of future generations of their bloodlines.

About making the information available to others, they are hotly opposed to it. They want to control the information flowing to newbie breeders and pet owners and pet buyers. And most importantly to them, they do not want these two breeding protocols to become public knowledge.

The two USA national CKCS clubs have gone to such lengths as to concoct phony MVD breeding protocols, which are watered-down, worthless versions of the real thing. Here, for example is the ACKCSC's phony MVD protocol:

"Currently, the recommended practice is to wait until a Cavalier is two years old or older before the first breeding and to know the parents and ancestral cardiac status. Cavaliers with early onset presentations of MVD (before four years of age) should not be bred and breeders need to work with the guidance of their cardiologists."

No panel of cardiologists has ever recommended this fraudulent protocol. And in a 2010 study by Dr. Clarence Kvart (http://cavalierhealth.org/mvdprotocol.htm#Evaluation_of_the_Swedish_breeding _program), a similar one has been proven not to work. The CKCSC,USA's phony version is similarly worthless:

"A clear rating at two years of age from an auscultation by a board certified veterinary cardiologist."

If the leadership of these two clubs seriously believes that either of these two sets of MVD breeding guidelines will work, then they are ignoramuses, and I don't think they are. I attribute an even baser motive.

Neither USA national club has acknowldeged the existence of any of the SM breeding protocols (the 2005, the 2006, or the 2012 version) on their websites, and don't expect that they will.

So, it is very important that the rest of us inform ourselves and others about the MVD and SM breeding guidelines and what documentation the breeders should peoduce to prove that they have been following those protocols.

lucidity
13th March 2012, 04:10 PM
Kelsey, so sorry that you got such a response to your questions. :( I hope you feel better now!

I have thought about starting to breed Cavaliers in the future (after Lyra is titled and health checked), but since I've heard SO many stories like yours... I've pretty much decided that Lyra will probably be my first and last Cavalier ever. I love Cavaliers and I think they are the sweetest dogs, but the health problems and the reluctance of breeders to acknowledge the problem and health test has totally put me off the breed.

I've seen breeding dogs labelled as MVD clear when they only had their hearts checked at 1 year old! How ridiculous is that?! And misleading, too!

I truly hope that Cavaliers will continue to exist in the future and I hope that the health problems will be minimized in decades to come, but I think I will be going into Papillons after Lyra is titled.

Kate H
13th March 2012, 05:22 PM
Wise Margaret wrote (very much from her own experience): You do need to be aware that you will inevitably get some more very hostile answers to your questions. You do need to be sure in your own mind you are able to cope with that without getting too distressed.

Perhaps you need to treat the rubbish they may talk as a stand-up comedy routine - like the lady in the park, which one will tell you the biggest fantasy? Which one has the best line of patter? Which one wins the Ostrich Prize? Don't argue - just let them put their own big feet in their mouths, then go home and tell us all about it! :lol:

Kate, Oliver and Aled

BrooklynMom
14th March 2012, 12:11 AM
Thank you for your thoughts Margaret.
Yes, I do need to think about those things...probably won't stop my husband from asking though, he loves to pose questions that he already knows the answers to ;) and he is such a cool as a cucumber kinda guy that him being the one to ask some awekward questions might be the best way to go. Either way I think, like you said, it is important to ask these questions because I want them to know that word is getting out. That the general public is starting to ask these questions and you can no longer hide from them. I certainly don't plan on any confrontation (not in my nature anyway), but just asking a few questions...regardless of their answers...might be at least something I can do to say "hey, I know about this as an average pet owner". At least it is something to make them think for a minute.

BrooklynMom
14th March 2012, 12:16 AM
Perhaps you need to treat the rubbish they may talk as a stand-up comedy routine - like the lady in the park, which one will tell you the biggest fantasy? Which one has the best line of patter? Which one wins the Ostrich Prize? Don't argue - just let them put their own big feet in their mouths, then go home and tell us all about it! :lol:

Kate, Oliver and Aled

WONDERFUL advice!! I will do just that! I like the way you think...will take the emotion out of it for me, and just let me "ask and observe". I think the asking part will shake them up more than any sort of argument on who is right or wrong (because you will never win it), so great advice. My husband just read this too, and thinks it's a perfect way to get involved, with out "getting involved" if that makes sense. :)

anniemac
14th March 2012, 02:30 AM
Kelsey,

Please don't forget hips and patellas. I'm not sure what breeders do in Australia but actually in the USA and canada they test for these heriditary conditions. I don't think they do in the UK or I rarely read about it here.

I know Ella's breeder had these health certificates with her paperwork (of course no MRIs ) but they were done. Just want to make sure that all is mentioned.

Karlin
14th March 2012, 06:28 AM
but actually in the USA and canada they test for these heriditary conditions

Actually, again: a small number test for these. Patellas are easy; most vets do this as a matter of course anyway. Very few breeders grade hips. VERY few.

Karen and Ruby
14th March 2012, 09:50 AM
If you wanted to cause a stir, you could print off some true stories of Cavaliers you know of with SM if any? Take them along? Some facts from the Neurologist you saw? Leave it with them- they may not want to seem like they care in public but maybe they will go home and take it on board!

Karen and Ruby
14th March 2012, 09:58 AM
Sorry that sounded stupid- I know there are hundreds of dogs with SM on this forum alone but I meant specifically in Australia. So they can't give you the whole " it isn't a problem in Australia" routine!

anniemac
14th March 2012, 01:51 PM
Karen,

Australia is immune! Just kidding. I think we have some cavaliers in australia diagnosed in our Facebook group. Very sad.

Karlin,

We at least have OFA here so I don't think the tests for hips and patellas is as expensive here. Thinking back I'm not sure if Ella's parents had hip certificates but I know patellas.

BrooklynMom
15th March 2012, 07:32 AM
Karen,

Australia is immune! Just kidding.

Ha. The funny thing is...I have a strange feeling I might get this answer when I ask at the show :wggle:

BrooklynMom
15th March 2012, 07:32 AM
If you wanted to cause a stir, you could print off some true stories of Cavaliers you know of with SM if any? Take them along? Some facts from the Neurologist you saw? Leave it with them- they may not want to seem like they care in public but maybe they will go home and take it on board!

Not a bad thought at all Karen.

Margaret C
15th March 2012, 01:57 PM
Australia is immune! Just kidding.

A few years ago USA breeders were saying that there was no SM in their cavaliers & I remarked how amazing it was that the change of country got rid of all the problem genes in the many UK cavaliers imported there.

The Australian climate must have the same beneficial effect, all that nasty DNA in the top winning stud dogs just evaporate into thin air.

Karlin
15th March 2012, 02:55 PM
Yes I see US sites that claim it is mostly a problem of UK dogs. Th French said that too til a French neurologist scanned their dogs they thought were disease free and if I recall around a third of younger dogs had syrinxes.

On hips: the reason for not scanning isn't that it is expensive (it is just an xray). It is that cavalier breeders do not believe it is a breed issue even though, on a document just produced by the Kennel Club, the average score for cavaliers on hips is only slightly below that of German Shepherds and about the same for Pyreneans, two breeds that recognise HD as a major problem and where it is advised ALL breeding dogs be scanned. Few cavaliers are tested for HD by their breeders. Maybe it should be a lot more as some breeders, like Laura Lang in the US, have argued for years.

Kate H
15th March 2012, 09:59 PM
From experience with HD in a German Shepherd and a Dobermann, dogs with serious HD have an unmistakable bunny hop when running - they just can't articulate their hip joints in order to trot. When I first got Aled, he ran like this and I did wonder, but finally decided that he was like this because he was simply unused to running free after spending most of his life in a kennel. Three years on, he trots and runs normally, thank goodness. I've never heard it mentioned as a serious problem in Cavaliers, and we have relatively few dogs on this forum who have been diagnosed with it - it would be interesting to see some reliable statistics - if they exist!

Kate, Oliver and Aled

RodRussell
15th March 2012, 11:31 PM
Hip dysplasia testing for cavaliers in the US is a bigger deal than following the MVD or SM protocols. Both national CKCS clubs urge hip x-ray exams. AKC's CHIC certificate for cavaliers requires hip x-rays. Neither national CKCS club urges that anybody pay any attention to either the MVD or SM protocol.

Kate H
16th March 2012, 10:37 AM
Fiddling while Rome burns, Rod?:)

Kate, Oliver and Aled