PDA

View Full Version : Health testing for pet Cavaliers?



Lukesmom
21st July 2012, 04:53 AM
I'm wondering about health testing for Luke. There will be a health clinic at a few local upcoming shows, and I'm thinking of taking him and getting some tests. He is pet quality, and he is neutered. Luke is about 3.5 years old (DOB 2/7/09). He shows no signs of any problems, but I figured I should get him checked since he is active in flyball, and he does a little weight pulling (he's just pulling 2lbs or so right now, I think I want to get everything checked out before he gets into anything heavy). I'm just wondering though, what kinds of tests would you get for a pet cavalier, who will not be bred, but is active. At the show next month, I can get his heart and eyes done. At the show in November, I could do hips, eyes, heart, patellas, elbows and thyroid.
I haven't seen any signs of any issues. Both parents were clear on hearts, hips, eyes, and patellas to at least age 5 if that makes a difference.

RodRussell
21st July 2012, 01:45 PM
I'm wondering about health testing for Luke. There will be a health clinic at a few local upcoming shows, and I'm thinking of taking him and getting some tests. He is pet quality, and he is neutered. Luke is about 3.5 years old (DOB 2/7/09). He shows no signs of any problems, but I figured I should get him checked since he is active in flyball, and he does a little weight pulling (he's just pulling 2lbs or so right now, I think I want to get everything checked out before he gets into anything heavy). I'm just wondering though, what kinds of tests would you get for a pet cavalier, who will not be bred, but is active. At the show next month, I can get his heart and eyes done. At the show in November, I could do hips, eyes, heart, patellas, elbows and thyroid.
I haven't seen any signs of any issues. Both parents were clear on hearts, hips, eyes, and patellas to at least age 5 if that makes a difference.

Once a cavalier passes year one, we always take advantage of local health clinics. Usually they are limited to checking hearts and eyes, but some clinics include hip and elbow x-rays, patellas, and even hearing, all with veteriinary specialists.

Any cavalier should be examined annually for eye problems and mitral valve murmurs. Just because a CKCS is a neutered pet does not prevent these common-in-the-breed genetic problems from cropping up. Health clinics give you two advantages to do so. First, they usually are much cheaper than regular appointments with veterinary specialists. Second, the clinics are local, while the specialists' offices may be hours away.

If your dog is going to participate in strenuous physical activity (and flyball and weight pulling are the most stenuous), you FIRST should have his hips x-rayed for dysplasia and his patellas examined. We train some of our cavaliers in agility, which is less strenuous than flyball or weight-pulling, and we would not allow our dogs to even train for those sports without getting the hips and patellas signed off by vets. While you're at getting the hips and elbows x-rayed, I suggest that you send the x-rays in to OFA for review by a panel of OFA's three radiologists.

If a BAER clinic is included, I'd take my cavaliers to it, too. Progressive hearing loss is common in cavaliers, and a BAER test will confirm your suspicions if you think one of your dogs has started to ignore your commands. Hearing loss in cavaliers is a sneaky disorder that creeps up very slowly, but by age 5 years, the dog could be almost completely deaf.

For cavaliers in the USA and Canada, there is a frequently-updated list of upcoming health clinics at http://cavalierhealth.org/health_clinics.htm.

Kate H
21st July 2012, 10:11 PM
I would second what Rod says. I get my two heart checked annually at Cavalier Club sponsored health clinics, and Oliver was eye tested regularly when he was younger. Even if you aren't going to breed from them, with all the ailments that can afflict Cavaliers, it's useful to have an early warning of possible trouble. Our health clinics don't do any of the other tests, but Oliver has had two BAER tests privately (they're not expensive) that have picked up his increasing deafness.

Kate, Oliver and Aled

Emkaybee
21st July 2012, 11:30 PM
I would get the heart and eye tests done annually at a minimum. The shows that hold clinics are lifesavers.

My understanding is that almost all Cavs will get MVD--it's a question of when not whether. It's importance to know as soon as a murmur shows up and then to track its progress each year.

Lukesmom
21st July 2012, 11:37 PM
I had no clue such health clinics existed or where I would even get this testing done on him until a few days ago. The one really close to me only has hearts and eyes. There are others in November and December that are doing all the rest. I'll have to get him scheduled for one of those.

Lani
22nd July 2012, 12:37 AM
I get Lucky and Sparky's hearts checked annually. If there is a problem, I want to know as soon as I can so I can make sure they get any treatment that might be necessary.

I love that Cavalierhealth.org has such a complete list of Clinics. We go every year.

RodRussell
22nd July 2012, 01:34 AM
I had no clue such health clinics existed or where I would even get this testing done on him until a few days ago. The one really close to me only has hearts and eyes. There are others in November and December that are doing all the rest. I'll have to get him scheduled for one of those.

I recommend that if any cavalier shows are near to you and are offering clinics, you take your dog to those clinics rather than others, because you get the added dividend of socializing your dog and yourself with other cavaliers and their owners.

If you have a choice between a close by clinic offering only heart and eye exams, I suggest taking your dog to that one, and then in November or December, take your dog to the other clinic for the hip and elbow x-rays, patellas, and thyroid.

And one other thing, about flyball. I recommend that you periodically get your dog's shoulders x-rayed. Flyball can reek havoc on a dog's shoulders.

Lukesmom
22nd July 2012, 03:13 AM
I recommend that if any cavalier shows are near to you and are offering clinics, you take your dog to those clinics rather than others, because you get the added dividend of socializing your dog and yourself with other cavaliers and their owners.

If you have a choice between a close by clinic offering only heart and eye exams, I suggest taking your dog to that one, and then in November or December, take your dog to the other clinic for other the hip and elbow x-rays, patellas, and thyroid.

And one other thing, about flyball. I recommend that you periodically get your dog's shoulders x-rayed. Flyball can reek havoc on a dog's shoulders.

I'm going to see about getting him an appointment at the show nearby. That one is about 15 minutes away. He actually has met lots of other cavaliers, and he doesn't care one way or the other about them.
Of the other two, the one in November has hips, elbows, and patellas. That's a cavalier show. It doesn't say anything about OFA on the cavalier health site, but their listing on their website for the clinic last year says optional OFA signatures. What does that mean? The December clinic is a sheltie show, and only says hips and patellas. I'm thinking elbows for him are important, so I'll have to call them about getting him into the clinic at the Cavalier show in November.
It looks like the only place near me for a hearing test would be at UPENN. It's an hour or more away depending on the time of the day, but I go there for the dentist, so I can take Luke there if they'd see him there.
I actually just checked for NJ, since we are close. There may be a place there that does it. They'll be set up at an event we go to next month (Your Dog Is Worth It Too Day at the Loreal plant) so i'll just ask them if they do it without sedation. He doesn't show any signs of problems. so I don't think I want to sedate him just for that, right now.

Kate H
22nd July 2012, 04:08 PM
The BAER hearing test simply involves the dog wearing earphones attached to a computer that sends a noise through the ears and then plots the results on a graph that looks like an ECG. So they have to be awake and alert for that. It doesn't take long, and Oliver looked like Snoopy as the Red Baron in the earphones!

Kate, Oliver and Aled

RodRussell
22nd July 2012, 07:36 PM
... Of the other two, the one in November has hips, elbows, and patellas. That's a cavalier show. It doesn't say anything about OFA on the cavalier health site, but their listing on their website for the clinic last year says optional OFA signatures. What does that mean?

That means that you may have to pay extra for OFA registration papers. But those x-rays should be acceptable for OFA. I gather you are referring to the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club of Delaware Valley clinic in Malvern, Penna. I don't think that is a show; it is just a health clinic.


... The December clinic is a sheltie show, and only says hips and patellas. I'm thinking elbows for him are important, so I'll have to call them about getting him into the clinic at the Cavalier show in November.

That health clinic -- in Lansdale, Penna. -- likewise is not at a show; it is being held at a veterinary hospital. I found the flyer on-line for more details and discovered that elbow x-rays are included. The flyer is here: http://assa.org/ISSC/Files/ISSC_ClinicFlyer.pdf


... It looks like the only place near me for a hearing test would be at UPENN. It's an hour or more away depending on the time of the day, but I go there for the dentist, so I can take Luke there if they'd see him there.
I actually just checked for NJ, since we are close. There may be a place there that does it. They'll be set up at an event we go to next month (Your Dog Is Worth It Too Day at the Loreal plant) so i'll just ask them if they do it without sedation. He doesn't show any signs of problems. so I don't think I want to sedate him just for that, right now.

I don't think a BAER exam is essential for non-breeding dogs unless you are suspicious that your dog may be losing its hearing. I suggested it only because BAER tests are offered at some health clinics.

Kate H
22nd July 2012, 08:29 PM
I would agree with Rod that a hearing test isn't essential unless you think your dog is going deaf. Oliver had his first BAER 2 years ago, when he was clearly having problems in one ear. His second test last May was to see how things were going, and his deafness in both ears has increased. This is useful information, as I now know that he won't hear me calling his name when he is off-lead, but he can still hear clapping to get his attention and then I am using more hand signals to call him in. But if your dog isn't showing any signs of deafness (Oliver's first sign was if he was lying on his good ear in bed, he wouldn't hear me coming into the room), there isn't much point in having a BAER (especially if you have to pay for it!).

Kate, Oliver and Aled

sunshinekisses
22nd July 2012, 09:34 PM
Because you want to compete with your dog, I recommend hip, elbows, patella. And you will want to get the heart checked annually because of the breed. Personally I wouldn't do any other testing beyond those four. And if your dog was only to be a house dog I would only recommend heart and patella.

MomObvious
22nd July 2012, 10:38 PM
I had no clue such health clinics existed or where I would even get this testing done on him until a few days ago. The one really close to me only has hearts and eyes. There are others in November and December that are doing all the rest. I'll have to get him scheduled for one of those.

Me either, well I knew they had health clinics but I guess I didn't realize I could take advantage of them too. Fletcher is only 5 months old, I use a great vet but qualified specialists at these clinics would be much better over-all care for him. That sounds like an excellent choice for me. Should I wait until he is over a year old? I know heart for MDV is a must but what else, eyes, patellas???? Any specialists info would only be beneficial so I guess do what I can when I can?

Melissa

RodRussell
22nd July 2012, 11:38 PM
... Should I wait until he is over a year old? I know heart for MDV is a must but what else, eyes, patellas???? Any specialists info would only be beneficial so I guess do what I can when I can?

I recommend the heart and eye exams, which are the most common at health clinics. Waiting until the dog is a year old makes sense, because heart issues rarely show up prior to the first birthday. Eye exams could be performed earlier, because if the dog has a vision problem, the earlier that it is diagnosed, the better.

If you plan on training your dog for athletic events, like agility, I would have him checked out structurally, and certainly hip, elbow, and shoulder x-rays would provide a lot of that type of information.

MomObvious
23rd July 2012, 12:04 AM
I recommend the heart and eye exams, which are the most common at health clinics. Waiting until the dog is a year old makes sense, because heart issues rarely show up prior to the first birthday. Eye exams could be performed earlier, because if the dog has a vision problem, the earlier that it is diagnosed, the better.

If you plan on training your dog for athletic events, like agility, I would have him checked out structurally, and certainly hip, elbow, and shoulder x-rays would provide a lot of that type of information.

Thanks for the tip, its a good one. There is a cavalier show in my area every March, so I need to look out for that one. Fletcher will be 13 months old then, sounds perfect and getting to met other cavalier's too extra fun.

Melissa

Lukesmom
23rd July 2012, 12:20 AM
The BAER hearing test simply involves the dog wearing earphones attached to a computer that sends a noise through the ears and then plots the results on a graph that looks like an ECG. So they have to be awake and alert for that. It doesn't take long, and Oliver looked like Snoopy as the Red Baron in the earphones!

Kate, Oliver and Aled
I think they actually can do it sedated, but I don't think it's full sedation. I actually know a bit more about the process in humans, as I work with a boy with disabilities who will be having this type of testing (he can't do a hearing test that requires him to respond). They tried it once, and he wouldn't leave the ear phones in place. We're teaching him to wear ear phones, and hopefully he will keep them in next time so he can be tested without sedation (which is what they will do if he won't leave them alone).
Based on what this says, sedation must be a possibility.
http://www.lsu.edu/deafness/baersite.htm

I was thinking show because the one next month is a show. You're right, those other two are clinics. He'll probably go to the cavalier one anyway though since I think it's a bit closer, and that other one I think there's a flyball tournament he might be ready to race in that weekend.

RodRussell
23rd July 2012, 01:31 AM
Here is a photo of a cavalier undergoing a BAER exam. http://cavalierhealth.org/images/cavalier_ruby_headphones.jpg

Lukesmom
23rd July 2012, 01:54 PM
He's scheduled for his heart and eyes next month. She said they'll take him and do eye drops first, then he'll go have his heart done, and after that he'll go get his eyes checked.

Kate H
23rd July 2012, 03:58 PM
Rod, I think that photo originated at Chestergates and it's Oliver with me behind him! When he had his first BAER they took some photos for use in publicity.

I think sedation probably depends on how placid the dog is. If its going to frantically try to claw off the headphones, the test wouldn't be possible without mild sedation. You can do anything with Oliver, so he just sat there looking bored...

Kate, Oliver and Aled

RodRussell
23rd July 2012, 04:12 PM
Rod, I think that photo originated at Chestergates and it's Oliver with me behind him! When he had his first BAER they took some photos for use in publicity. ...

Chestergates is where I found it. Oliver is a handsome boy.

Lukesmom
25th July 2012, 02:14 AM
Chestergates is where I found it. Oliver is a handsome boy.

yes he is