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View Full Version : I've fallen in love with the Cavalier...but worry about the health problems.



Tiffany103
22nd May 2012, 03:33 PM
I've been spending the last few months researching dogs, and I've narrowed my potential dogs down to either a Cavalier, a Sheltie, a Pembroke Welsh Corgi, or a Norfolk Terrier...and honestly, the Cavalier is THE perfect dog for me. Temperament, size, temperament, exercise needs, looks, temperament...;) But of course there had to be a catch, right? Nothing's perfect. It would be my first dog - my family had a dalmatian when I was younger, but I never helped take care of him and we had to put him to sleep when I was 10 and he was 13 because he had cancer and arthritis. :( And I'm no stranger to taking care of ill pets. One of my cats has been diabetic for the last six years, and needs feedings every four hours, insulin shots every twelve hours, and regular blood sugar testing. My other cat suffers from severe arthritis and an allergy to practically everything. But a breed with so many severe genetic problems sends up little red flags for me, especially since the ones the Cav is affected by seem so hard to avoid. I'm very willing to look for a reputable breeder and minimize my dog's chances of being affected by SM/MVD. I guess what I'm looking for here is testimonials from you guys: what are the symptoms of these? How can they be treated? How expensive on average is it to treat for one dog? Do symptoms normally show up by a certain age? And what's it like to live with a dog who has SM/MVD?

I'm not looking for a young puppy, I want it to be at least six months old. I don't think it would be wise to jump right into having a dog for the first time and have to deal with the housebreaking, basic training, etc. So I want an older puppy, maybe even a young adult, I'm not picky about that. Do you guys have any breeder recommendations in California? I found this woman,

[ admin note: hi :) I removed the link -- if you check the 'Getting Started section, I don't allow direct links to breeders for this kind of discussion or naming them -- but I am always concerned if breeder isn;t openly diiscussing the testing they do and at this time they really must be MRIing. If people want they can PM you to get the link :thmbsup: and offer an opinion] ,

and she seems reputable - I mean, if anyone is, she's got to be, right? She doesn't say anything about MRIing her dogs for SM, though, and according to cavalierhealth.org, OFA and CHIC aren't really reliable or trustworthy, so I'm a little concerned. Also, what about the breeders listed on ckcsc.org (http://www.ckcsc.org/ckcsc/newbreeders.nsf/breeders%20by%20city?OpenForm&Seq=2#_RefreshKW_state_filter)? Would they be good people to contact?

Sorry about the long post, I have a lot of questions. My first priority is having a healthy dog, and there's so much to consider with this breed that it's a little intimidating.

MomObvious
22nd May 2012, 05:07 PM
Yeah, I was in (am still in I guess) that boat too. I was so worried about ending up with a sick cavalier. There are breeders out there testing and using protocols but they are few and far to between. I might PM you a name (if I can remember the kennel name...) I decided to go with one of those breeders HOWEVER her waiting list is long so I looked into rescue. You don't seem to mind an animal with known managable health issue so maybe a rescue would be a good place to start. I was extremely lucky and adopted a rescue puppy. I've only had him a few weeks and I do still want to keep my deposit down with the breeder too since I already want another. Keep up your research and hang around here. That's what I did, cavalier talk is great for getting the latest info on protocols and health issues. Plus make friends you never know who will PM you with a lead...thats what they all are you need to check it out yourself. If you post general questions like hey my breeder said____________ is this right? You will get plenty of advice.
Good luck
Melissa

Tiffany103
22nd May 2012, 05:18 PM
Yeah, I was in (am still in I guess) that boat too. I was so worried about ending up with a sick cavalier. There are breeders out there testing and using protocols but they are few and far to between. I might PM you a name (if I can remember the kennel name...) I decided to go with one of those breeders HOWEVER her waiting list is long so I looked into rescue. You don't seem to mind an animal with known managable health issue so maybe a rescue would be a good place to start. I was extremely lucky and adopted a rescue puppy. I've only had him a few weeks and I do still want to keep my deposit down with the breeder too since I already want another. Keep up your research and hang around here. That's what I did, cavalier talk is great for getting the latest info on protocols and health issues. Plus make friends you never know who will PM you with a lead...thats what they all are you need to check it out yourself. If you post general questions like hey my breeder said____________ is this right? You will get plenty of advice.
Good luck
Melissa
thank you for the reply! I would greatly appreciate a PM with the breeder if you can remember it, as long as it's in California. I won't be in the market for one for at least five years, so a long waiting list is no problem. :)

ashleighelizabeth
22nd May 2012, 06:36 PM
Hello. :)
I have an 11 month old puppy named Sonny. When I first got a cavalier I thought I had done my research, but I now realize that I did NOT know very much at all. I actually had not read much about SM at all. I really only knew about MVD. However I do NOT regret getting Sonny at all. He is the sweetest, most playful, loyal, adorable, lovey puppy EVER. He has completely changed my life and I love him to pieces. However I too often worry about the many health issues that are so prevalent in this breed. I don't really have any advice as to symptoms to look for or what age many health issues occur, but there are many others on here that would have much better advice on those things or you could look through the threads on SM and MVD. But I would say DEFINITELY get your puppy insured if possible.

Where are you in California? I am in the Monterey Bay area. If you do get a cavalier. There are lots of fun meet ups in the area.

Tiffany103
22nd May 2012, 06:48 PM
Hello. :)
I have an 11 month old puppy named Sonny. When I first got a cavalier I thought I had done my research, but I now realize that I did NOT know very much at all. I actually had not read much about SM at all. I really only knew about MVD. However I do NOT regret getting Sonny at all. He is the sweetest, most playful, loyal, adorable, lovey puppy EVER. He has completely changed my life and I love him to pieces. However I too often worry about the many health issues that are so prevalent in this breed. I don't really have any advice as to symptoms to look for or what age many health issues occur, but there are many others on here that would have much better advice on those things or you could look through the threads on SM and MVD. But I would say DEFINITELY get your puppy insured if possible.

Where are you in California? I am in the Monterey Bay area. If you do get a cavalier. There are lots of fun meet ups in the area.
I'm definitely going to try and get insurance if I can. I live in Sacramento.

Emkaybee
22nd May 2012, 10:44 PM
Hi, I'm in No Cal too. There are breeders around here but I don't have any recommendations to send you. I just don't know them. I think the CKCS is the best source for breeders to investigate but just being a member isn't a recommendation. Still need to be checked out. Since you're hoping for a health-checked older puppy, you may have to widen your range outside the area. There is a CKCS sponsored health event coming up this summer. I'll be taking my dog therento have her heart and eyes checked by specialists. many breederrs take their dogs to these events and it might be a good place for you to talk to people. If you are interested, I'll PM you the information.

I think you are on the right track, however. I would never trade my Tess for any of The other breeds you have considered! :)

ashleighelizabeth
22nd May 2012, 11:56 PM
Hi, I'm in No Cal too. There are breeders around here but I don't have any recommendations to send you. I just don't know them. I think the CKCS is the best source for breeders to investigate but just being a member isn't a recommendation. Still need to be checked out. Since you're hoping for a health-checked older puppy, you may have to widen your range outside the area. There is a CKCS sponsored health event coming up this summer. I'll be taking my dog therento have her heart and eyes checked by specialists. many breederrs take their dogs to these events and it might be a good place for you to talk to people. If you are interested, I'll PM you the information.

I think you are on the right track, however. I would never trade my Tess for any of The other breeds you have considered! :)

Hi,

I am interested in the CKCS sponsored health event. Is it in Sacramento? Could you pm me the info?

3kids1cav
23rd May 2012, 02:04 PM
I think you are very smart to look into all of this, I find the breeds I am most attracted to tend to have health problems (aside from american eskimo dogs) I looked really hard for a breeder that did all the right tests and breed her dogs for health and to better the breed ect.. but there is a chance she wasn't all she said she was. BUT that said, I wouldn't trade Bentley for any dog in the world. I adore him. I got really deep into sm research for a school project recently and started noticing every scratch and shake, I was driving myself crazy. I finally decided to ignore things like that, and only worry if he starts having constant sm symptoms with pain. other wise Assume he is fine. Other wise you won't be able to enjoy this wonderful gift of the best breed ever!

Even knowing we will have to deal with SM or MVD at some point, we are fine with that. He has brought us so much joy, even knowing he will get sick someday, it doesn't matter, we will cross that bridge when we come to it and for now we will love him and enjoy him. I probably won't have another cavalier unless it is a rescue. I am not sure my husband would agree to pay $3,500 for a cav from the breeder who does MRI, and I am not sure I would want a cav from a breeder who doesn't MRI. I think that is just something that HAS to be done for breeding cavs since they are SO prone to SM. I am planing to get an icelandic sheepdog for my next dog (my neighbor has 4 buff colored ones and I LOVE LOVE LOVE her dogs) But Cavs are always my first loves. I would like to try to have a few over my life time.

Emkaybee
23rd May 2012, 09:03 PM
Just sent you a PM with the meeting information...if you don't receive, let me know.

Tiffany103
24th May 2012, 03:37 AM
Just sent you a PM with the meeting information...if you don't receive, let me know.

I didn't get it.

CSutherland
24th May 2012, 04:10 AM
We didn't have any clue about SM when we acquired our Bentley, although I had read enough online to be aware of heart issues. He's about 18 months old now and the joy of our lives. Our daughter who brought him to us passed away in Dec and he has been such a comfort. I don't know if I'd ever want any other breed. He's adorable, well-behaved, and just beautiful. Sleeping at my feet as I type...

Tiffany103
24th May 2012, 05:12 AM
Is there anything breeders can/should do to reduce the chances of glue ear, episodic falling, and luxating patellas? Or is it just hips, SM, CM and MVD?

anniemac
24th May 2012, 06:57 AM
Is there anything breeders can/should do to reduce the chances of glue ear, episodic falling, and luxating patellas? Or is it just hips, SM, CM and MVD?

I'm not sure about glue ear but for episodic falling, there now is a DNA test. You would want parents to either be one carrier to a clear or both clear of the gene.

They could have their patellas checked prior to breeding to help limit chance of luxating patellas. http://cavalierhealth.com/patellas.htm tells about breeder responsibilities and what is recommended by both clubs in the USA.

Tiffany103
27th May 2012, 03:05 AM
I'm not sure about glue ear but for episodic falling, there now is a DNA test. You would want parents to either be one carrier to a clear or both clear of the gene.

They could have their patellas checked prior to breeding to help limit chance of luxating patellas. http://cavalierhealth.com/patellas.htm tells about breeder responsibilities and what is recommended by both clubs in the USA.
Awesome, thanks! I didn't know there was a DNA test for episodic falling, that's good to know.
I think I have the breeder all lined up, she MRIs and everything.

For anyone who wants to answer...

I'm looking at supplies...is there a specific collar length/width that would be good [inches]? Like, do puppies need a skinnier collar since their necks are smaller? How long should the leash be? I heard that you should have a training lead that should be longer: does that mean like 6 feet? I'm petite, only 5 feet tall, so I don't think I'd need a very long leash to give the dog room. How about the leash for walking? Does the thickness of the leash matter at all?

For dishes, I think I'll be ordering spaniel water/food bowls off of Etsy, so that's covered.

And harnesses...I've seen a lot of cavs with this style of harness: http://www.petco.com/product/118854/Petco-Adjustable-Mesh-Harness-for-Dogs-in-Black-And-Gray-Argyle-Print.aspx

Is there a reason that style is better than this style? http://www.petco.com/product/112124/Petco-Easy-Step-In-Pink-And-White-Dotted-Dog-Harness.aspx

Also, is it okay to have a collar on in the house and then switch to the harness when the dog is on a leash, or would just having the collar on at all harm the dog? I assume that when the harness gets put on, the collar comes off: would it then be a good idea to buy a harness with D-rings to attach duplicates of the ID tags to?

For dog beds, does it matter whether the bed has sides? I've read that sides make the dog feel more secure, is that true? Would it be okay to just buy a bed that would fit an adult Cav and let the puppy grow into it, or should I buy one that fits the puppy and upgrade when needed?

MomObvious
27th May 2012, 03:24 AM
I started Fletcher out on a Coastal step in harness 5/8" I think, so far its great because its adjusts soooooo much. AND it was pretty cheap. Step in is the way to go with a puppy, even then sometimes Fletcher gives me a hard time. Since puppies grow so fast your going to end up buying a few. I do want a nice one like your first one you have a link for but I'm going to wait until he's grown. Also, I don't see a point to having a dog/puppy wear a collar in the house and a harness outside since you don't want to crate a dog with either.
As for dog beds I bought a few cheap ones (washable type) in off-white thinking they may need a little bleach in the washer too. Some bedsy out there have removable covers, what a pain. I ended up using old bath mats then one of the beds/crate liner type beds....luck for me Fletcher really likes to dunk him soft toys in his water bowl why??? But the bath mats make sure the bottom of the crate don't get wet.

Oh and I prefer a 6 ft leash, its a personal choice I think.


Melissa

ashleighelizabeth
29th May 2012, 03:33 AM
In the beginning I struggled with what to do about switching the tags from collar to harness and vice versa, but now I leave Sonny's collar on even when he wears his harness. He doesn't seem to mind wearing both of them at all. He always runs over and helps me put his harness on when I bring it out.

I also have heard that the beds with sides are good for them to feel secure and to have a place to rest their head. I think that they like beds their size so that they are all cozy, but I don't know for sure. Sonny has a bed/crate liner in his crate and then I put a snuggly blanket on top of that which makes it easy to wash. Sonny really only has ever slept in his crate, he barely ever used the beds that I put in the living room. We bought little beds for Sonny when he was a baby which he used sometimes and then when he got older we spent a lot of money and got him a really nice bed for adults which he has ended up NEVER using, so it now is basically a glorified toy box:sl*p: .




Awesome, thanks! I didn't know there was a DNA test for episodic falling, that's good to know.
I think I have the breeder all lined up, she MRIs and everything.

For anyone who wants to answer...

I'm looking at supplies...is there a specific collar length/width that would be good [inches]? Like, do puppies need a skinnier collar since their necks are smaller? How long should the leash be? I heard that you should have a training lead that should be longer: does that mean like 6 feet? I'm petite, only 5 feet tall, so I don't think I'd need a very long leash to give the dog room. How about the leash for walking? Does the thickness of the leash matter at all?

For dishes, I think I'll be ordering spaniel water/food bowls off of Etsy, so that's covered.

And harnesses...I've seen a lot of cavs with this style of harness: http://www.petco.com/product/118854/Petco-Adjustable-Mesh-Harness-for-Dogs-in-Black-And-Gray-Argyle-Print.aspx

Is there a reason that style is better than this style? http://www.petco.com/product/112124/Petco-Easy-Step-In-Pink-And-White-Dotted-Dog-Harness.aspx

Also, is it okay to have a collar on in the house and then switch to the harness when the dog is on a leash, or would just having the collar on at all harm the dog? I assume that when the harness gets put on, the collar comes off: would it then be a good idea to buy a harness with D-rings to attach duplicates of the ID tags to?

For dog beds, does it matter whether the bed has sides? I've read that sides make the dog feel more secure, is that true? Would it be okay to just buy a bed that would fit an adult Cav and let the puppy grow into it, or should I buy one that fits the puppy and upgrade when needed?

Kate H
29th May 2012, 01:00 PM
My two have light webbing collars that they wear all the time - a bit stretchy and loose enough, as I don't usually use a lead on them, to be pulled out of easily if they get snagged on anything, but this has never been a problem. This enables them to wear their identity discs at all times, and they have a note on the back of the disc saying they are microchipped, which can deter thieves and also make them easier to find if they do get stolen or lost. You never know when a visitor is going to leave a gate open, or you forget to shut the dogs in when you answer the front door, or a wind knocks down part of your garden fence! For going out they have a harness with a ring at the front, on their chest, which is very good for stopping pulling.

Sounds as if you need the canine version of a Baby Shower!

Kate, Oliver and Aled

MomObvious
29th May 2012, 05:56 PM
My family gave me a Puppy Shower!!!! It was fun we did it after I got him, so it ended up being a meet the new puppy event too. My family knew I was picky about buying things like harnesses and bowls so mostly I got gift cards from pet stores. And a few friends gave him toys. It was fun especially since I never had a Baby Shower years ago. I think its perfectly fine for a Puppy Shower! After all I did send out Adoption Notices like you would if you adopted a baby. My husband thought I was nutty but I don't care.

Melissa

Tiffany103
31st May 2012, 07:30 PM
If I get a cav and have a full time job, would it be okay to hire a petsitter for while I'm at work? Obviously I'd train it myself, housebreak it myself, but would a petsitter be good to keep it company? I'd be living alone, so there wouldn't be anyone there during the say without one.

MomObvious
31st May 2012, 09:01 PM
If I get a cav and have a full time job, would it be okay to hire a petsitter for while I'm at work? Obviously I'd train it myself, housebreak it myself, but would a petsitter be good to keep it company? I'd be living alone, so there wouldn't be anyone there during the say without one.


Cavaliers are people dogs. I have heard over and over how you do need to be able to devote time to spending with cavaliers. But with puppies in general they can't be left alone very much at all. An hour 2 maybe for a puppy under 6 or so months?!?!! I have a friend that got a puppy 8 weeks old (not a cavalier) and was working full-time, her plan was to come home everyday on her lunch break the potty/fed/play with the puppy. Well, I didn't think that was a good idea puppies, small breed ones anyway can hold their "potty" that long and a bored puppy is a distructive one. Well, after 3 months of my friend constantly having the clean puppy "potty" from her kitchen floor where she pinned the pup up when she wasn't home and the puppy actually ate one of the kitchen cabinet doors off, my friend was looking to re-home the puppy. This puppy was no more housebroken than a new baby and if she had someone to play with the dog also would have used his energy on good play instead of the kitchen cabinets.

I ended up offering the keep the puppy with me at work (since I have option) Plus what I do offers the puppy lots of socialization. Lucky for her I was able to do that for her and her puppy. The arrangement worked out great, my friend would drop puppy off with me at work and then pick her up after (sometimes I wasn't here but my staff- loved having the dog here so they would help) My friend also enrolled in a good puppy class where she (my friend the owner) learned how to train a puppy.

My friend took in an older rescue of the same breed, right after the puppy turned 1. They share a giant crate during the day now.

Just something to think about.

I have had Fletcher 3 weeks now and have not left him alone yet at all. We are a package deal now he goes where I go.


Melissa

Tiffany103
31st May 2012, 09:25 PM
So the petsitter would definitely be a good idea?

MomObvious
31st May 2012, 10:22 PM
So the petsitter would definitely be a good idea?


Yeah I think.

Personally, I wouldn't get a young puppy if I wasn't able to bring it to work with me or be home with it. Not giving a puppy proper socialization, can really effect a dog for life. I used to work with rescue beagles its was the REAL problem behind most of the ones I fostered. Yes, I brought foster dogs to work with me too, sometimes 3 of them. I'm sure a lot of people on CT can and have worked fulltime and raised a great cavalier puppy too. But you have to work out it really hard.

You may want to consider getting an older cavalier or even 2 older rescue cavaliers. I see them all the time and placing them is sometimes hard because they come as a pair. You could take a week off work to spend with the dogs at first then you could have a dog walker come in half way thur the day and that should work.

Melissa

Karlin
1st June 2012, 12:03 AM
Not sure of your age or home situation from your posts and maybe much of this doesn't apply. :) But generally to take a responsible approach: I think that you need to think through, very honestly, whether now is a good time to get a dog, both for you, and for the dog. You are in a very challenging ownership situation if you live alone, rent (?), work all day and are too far away to come home midday, every day. There are ways to approach this but they are generally costly and mean you really would need to give a major commitment out of all the rest of your free time to your dog -- which can quickly grow tiresome and frustrating for active people with lots of friends who like to get out and socialise.

Personally I wouldn't advise rescue dogs -- they tend to need more time than the average adult rehomed by a good breeder and many will have housetraining issues, and also need a person there because of the situations they come from. Most rescue would not home a dog to the working and home situation you are currently in as it would be hard on the dog and would take a lot of trust that that home could make the necessary sacrifices to provide an adequate home life. Most responsible breeders would not place a puppy to such a situation either and that is likely to be a challenge as well. A six month old would still need housetraining and can be quite destructive.

I'd be asking myself: is it a good quality of life for a dog to spend every day with someone else? Do you want someone in your home, alone, every single day? Have you considered the cost (which would I think, be prohibitive unless you are paid more than I earn! :) )? How would you vet the person (how experienced with dogs? Training qualifications? Training approach?)? The reality is that there's no way you could housetrain a dog yourself if out every day for an 8 hour job (plus commute). The petsitter would have to be both a trainer and a housetrainer as you won't be there for all the bonding time and training and socialising that is essential for a young dog or for an adult. (what is the petsitter going to do all day? They'd need to be doing dog activities. If you just mean someone to stop in to walk the dog -- that's still a pretty long, lonely day for a dog and you are likely to have house accidents and where will the dog be all day that is safe and humane (eg not a crate all day)? Will you dogproof the house? What f the dog barks, as often happens, out of boredom and frustration? And neighbours complain?). Even if you don't opt for a puppy, you will need to spend time housetraining a young dog or an adult. A rescue dog may not be reliable for months, if ever (I have one that will never be fully housetrained because of her previous life as a kenneled breeding dog).

Then the other consideration is: how will you portion out your time after work and weekends? As is, your dog would only get a few hours in the evenings with you -- so maybe 4-5 hours a day max. How active is your social life with friends/family/partner? Are you going to be able to make a commitment to your dog every night after work and then full weekends or will it be left alone or with a petsitter frequently then as well? Are you willing to give up spontaneous activities with friends that might take more than a couple of hours? Rearrange what you do to be dog-inclusive? What happens if your dog is ill and a petsitter doesn't really want to manage that illness?

Will you be renting or do you have your own home? Finding rentals that will take dogs is a serious challenge over the decade+ a dog will live. If renting, what happens if you have to move out of one place and can't find a suitable new place within your moving timeframe?

For a lot of people, these are questions never thought about in advance of getting a dog. One of the main reasons dogs end up in pounds and rescue is owners who work all day find they end up with a destructive, barking problem dog as they are social and need interaction and activity during the day; or their landlord decides they cannot keep a dog or they can't find a place that will take a dog. "The dog deserves someone who can give her more time," was probably the number one reason people handed over their cavaliers to me when I did rescue. But it would have been easy for folks to realise this if people took the time to honestly assess their life situation before going and getting a dog (often with the idea that the dog is a lot more passive, clean, quiet and undemanding than any living dog actually is! :) ). A dog is extremely interactive, and really is not the right choice unless people can give that time. It is very demanding and does mean significant changes to one's lifestyle. I had two cats for years before I decided to change my work schedule, reduce work travel and work primarily from home -- and get a dog as I could give a dog (now, dogs!) my time. :)

I would not get a petsitter -- you will end up with a bored, poorly socialised dog. I'd ony get a dog in your situation 1) if you have a great doggie daycare with qualified trained staff where the dog could go each or most days and 2) if you can make that major commitment for the rest of your time to focus on giving your dog the time and interaction you are unable to give it during the majority of its waking hours.

I do think many people don't realise how much time and effort a dog takes; nor the compromises -- hair everywhere; occasional poop/pee/vomit on things we like; occasional damage to items that we once had loved and valued; having to say 'no, I can't' to something you used to do with friends, because of the dog; cutting activities short because you have to get home to the dog, etc. For those reasons I think it is a real challenge to have a dog as a singleton for anyone under 30-35, even before other considerations come in.

Don't get me wrong -- for some, none of this matters (or people are willing to make the tradeoff), and they adjust their life around the needs of a dog. And they get back incredible rewards. :D But often realistically, even for those who would really love to have a dog and could do some or all of this, it makes more sense to wait to a time in life where fitting a dog in becomes a lot easier and the dog and the person get a better quality of life. Lots of factors to weigh up and see what fits where for you at the moment!

Tiffany103
1st June 2012, 12:43 AM
I'm actually not planning to get a Cav - or a pet of any kind, for that matter - for several years. This is all purely hypothetical, I'm trying to cover all my bases for if/when I do eventually get one. Right now I'm just graduating from high school. Not a good time to get a dog. ;) I don't know what kind of hours I'll have when I get a permanent job sometime down the line, but I'm trying to see what I could do if, for example, I end up with a 9-5 or something. You know, you've got the money to support a dog, but not necessarily the opportunity to be home all day? Obviously if I was unemployed, I'd have all kinds of time to spend keeping an eye on the puppy, but I wouldn't have the money, so it wouldn't matter.

As far as social life, I would have zero problem with dedicating weekends/days off/mornings/evenings to the puppy. Pets are always my first priority, and I deal with plenty of mess and work with my two cats, so that's a nonissue. The only part that would be new to me is the training, walking and socialization for the puppy.

Thanks for the post, Karlin!