Blog Comments

  1. Margaret C's Avatar
    A little more information (Blog was too long to include this )

    DNA test

    There is now a DNA test that will show whether a Cavalier carries the genes for two less common but serious inherited conditions called Dry Eye/Curly Coat and Episodic Falling Syndrome.
    These simple and inexpensive tests only needs to be done once and Cavaliers that are carriers can safely be bred as long as their mate is completely clear of the condition.


    Inbreeding can contribute to poor health in an individual dog and in the breed as a whole.

    While the most important thing you can do when buying a puppy is to check that the parent dogs have been properly health screened, it is now possible to check how inbred your pet will be.

    Cavaliers are an inbred breed. They were created in 1925, when a prize was awarded at Crufts to the dog that most resembled the little spaniels in old paintings.

    All Cavaliers descend from a very few flat faced King Charles Spaniels, so they all share a great many of the same genes.
    Because of this 'small gene pool' cavalier puppies are at increased risk of inheriting the same bad genes from both parents. Responsible breeders will consider this risk when planning to breed.

    The Kennel Club now have a Mate Select programme that will give you some indication how ‘inbred’ a puppy will be. This figure is known as the inbreeding coefficient ( COI ) and if a breeder is unable or unwilling to tell you the COI of their litter you can work out the figure yourself following the instructions here……..

    If you know the puppy’s registered name, you can use the link for an individual dog.
    If the litter is not yet registered ask for the parents' registered names and use the link for a hypothetical mating ( this also works for existing matings)

    The average COI for a cavalier is shown as 5.2%, so any figure very much above this should be regarded with great caution.
  2. Margaret C's Avatar
    I sometimes think that being registered with the Collection Scheme seems to give frail cavaliers a new lease of life.

    It is not unusual to find that seriously ill cavaliers registered with us respond to a last minute change of medication and go on for months longer, leaving us to rejoice for the owner but scrambling to cancel the tentative arrangements we have put in place for collection.

    One of the most difficult things to co-ordinate within the Collection is timing.
    The very nature of the scheme means that although we may be aware that a cavalier is failing, the actual day and time of death usually cannot be known for sure.

    When a cavalier dies and the little body is being brought in by owner or volunteer for the pathologist to do a post-mortem then arrangements need to be put into place quickly, but there is usually a little leeway as far as timing is concerned.

    It is much more difficult when we get one of the exceptional owners who feels able to bring the dog to be PTS at a very busy specialist centre.
    In these very special cases we need to co-ordinate the owners ability to make the journey at a given time, with the availability of a sympathetic small animal vet to perform the euthanasia, and the availability of a pathologist to perform the post-mortem and take the all important RNA samples as quickly as possible.

    Sometimes we just do not manage to fit all the pieces together and the collection just cannot go ahead. It is especially problematic on Friday afternoons and at Weekends

    The co-operation and goodwill that requests for help receive from busy specialists is a measure of how highly the researchers are regarded by their peers.
  3. Nicki's Avatar
    Thank you for updating us Margaret, it's really wonderful to know that the Cavaliers who went through the scheme were so helpful to the reserach. Although it was very hard at the time, it's so comforting to know that my boys' passing was not in vain and indeed has already contributed greatly to the research.

    I have great admiration for all those who kindly contributed their dogs, especially those who were able to take them to the specialist centres, which must have been very difficult.

    This is truly a fantastic scheme, unique amongst all the dog breeds to have such highly esteemed researchers involved and on many different projects. The laboratory here was so impressed with the scheme that they did not charge for the post mortem for either of my dogs.

    We owe a huge debt of gratitude to Margaret for organising and co-ordinating the scheme, and now to Tania for helping with it - it cannot be an easy task constantly dealing with guardians who are going through a traumatic time, and with the wee Cavaliers at the end of their lives.

    You can help raise funds for this scheme in so many ways, by visiting the Cavalier Matters Gift Shop Tania has sourced some really wonderful goodies

    Also by purchasing the calendars which will be available very shortly.
  4. Nicki's Avatar
    Thank you for posting this Margaret - I'm pleased that the scheme is continuing and indeed being extended - I know how valuable this is for research and the future health of our beloved breed.

    Although a very difficult and sad thing to do at the time, it is very comforting afterwards to know that the loss of your treasured companion was not in vain, and that they are contributing in such an important way.

    Margaret's careful management of the scheme and sensitive and caring approach made it easier to bear - and her support was invaluable

    Ideally it helps if you can register your dog in advance, this is something we all need to think carefully about, sadly sometimes things happen and although we all like to think that our little ones will go on forever, sadly this is not the case and as I can personally testify, illness can take them suddenly at any age.

    PLEASE help by registering your dog for the scheme - it is still possible to change your mind if you do feel that you really cannot go ahead at the time.
  5. Margaret C's Avatar
    The Cavalier Club are to be congratulated on putting up some excellent detailed notes on the CMSM Seminar.
    Go to.........

    There is a link on the home page which will take you to the Syringomyelia section of their health pages.
  6. Margaret C's Avatar
    Many thanks to Tania for sending me her notes ( and to Elspeth Glen for emailing me to say there was no mention of grading by letters in the earlier talks )

    TANIA'S NOTES...........
    Minimum age of scanning is one year.....commented size of syrinx increases within first few years and scanning would be best done at 6 yrs. but appreciates breeders would not be able to do this. If you do the scanning at a young age, some may slip through the net.
    When you arrive at scanning centre dog must have permanent identification. Please be careful the chip is not placed in the neck has to be behind the shoulder blades.

    Documents have to be available at time of scan.....Kennel Club Certificate. Any related transfer of change of name....owner has to complete an owners certificate (Section A)...confirming they own the dog and all the details are correct etc. Gives permission the scan can be used at a future date for research and the details can be published.
    Will be scanned on a Diacom Image makes sure patients image goes with the right information, Diacom you cannot change patient details. Microchip number will be put on the Diacom and KC Reg. No. If the information is not correct the animal will have to be scanned again.
    Talk about making sure the dog is still when MRI is performed and GA is preferred and safer for the dog as he will be monitored.
    Three different scans will be needed T1 image around the pituitary and C4/C5 area, most of the sm is normally in the neck/higher area. T2 image also needed in the same area. The transverse image also needed. 4mm is maximum thickness allowed.
    Vet completes forms with accurate information.
    Cm will be graded 0 – No Malformation
    1 Cerebellum does not have a nice rounded shape
    has an indentation by the occipital bone
    2 Cerebella is impacted/herniated

    SM Graded according to it maximum diameter in the transverse image at the widest diameter:-

    0 No present of sm
    1. Central Canal dilation has an internal dimension of 2mm
    in a dog aged 6 or more (unlikely to progress further)
    2. Same as Grade 1 but a dog under 6
    3. With a syrinx greater thn 2mm or separate or distinct
  7. Nicki's Avatar
    Thanks for posting this Margaret, it's a huge help for those of us unable to attend the meeting.

    Sorry to hear that you were poorly

    I was told by someone else that you only recieve a grading for your dog if you agree to the scan results going to the EBV scheme - which I think is an excellent way of making sure that the EBVs are fair and accurate.
  8. Margaret C's Avatar
    Below is a comment from one of the attendees at the seminar. I did have to make a hurried exit from the room a couple of times and these must be among the details I missed..........
    "I noticed that you had stated on your blog that under the new scheme people could opt out if the scans were bad. I don't think that is correct either. It was clearly stated that we were to sign and tick four boxes, including permission to publish. Unless all boxes were ticked we would not be allowed to proceed with scan".
  9. Karlin's Avatar
    And that, of course, is why some breeders, having demanded a standardised official MRI scheme, one that has a panel and an appeal system, are now going to try and derail it on Thursday.

    It will not be the extra cost, although that will be their excuse ( after all you just have to look and see what they are willing to pay for stud fees, even for unscanned dogs, and how much they charge for their puppies ). The real objection is that they will no longer be able to pretend they are routinely scanning when it can be demonstrated that it is not true
    I agree -- I have watched the various clubs and many specific club members do this over and over -- they are happy to champion a researcher, a research project, or a health scheme as long as its effects, results or implementation are way off in the vague future or the research will not be into any aspect of a health issue which 1) will need information from their own dogs, especially show adults or 2) potentially reveal the suitability of their dogs to a breeding scheme; or 3) have results with any immediate consequences.

    Just look at the Estimated Breeding Values scheme -- everyone wanted such a scheme before what it actually meant sank in. Lots of lip service but breeders themselves in reality have given it minimal support by withholding their scan information (under all sorts of ludicrous excuses and conspiracy theories) and then picking holes in it when there was any suggestion that those who use it might actually need to be told if a given dog was a suitable genetic mate. So while other EBV schemes will go forward, the cavalier breeders' scheme is still on ice due solely to lack of data (not all the fanciful reasons some have invented and circulated, as per usual).

    The MRI scheme is just the same -- breeders -- gasp, BREEDERS themselves! -- and from the club! -- were actually involved with this scheme's creation. Now they have all sorts of reasons they can't possibly, possibly support it. They think Someone Else should pay for it (just who? They are the ones who are supposed to be the caretakers of the breed, who breed for trophies and puppy sales -- who else is supposed to pay for a programme that needs the services of experts and gives THEM valuable information?). They debate how it will work. The usual cabal insist no one will go.

    Oh, I am sure that is the case. Some never intended to anyway but pretended to get involved to prove that 'breeders care about health'. Shame the club never seems to find the people who are committed to health to get involved with these things -- and instead are determined to vote those people off the committee.

    What a badge of honour that SGM has turned out to be, Margaret. :fler:

    Happy anniversary on all fronts!
  10. Cathy Moon's Avatar
    Thank you for keeping us posted on the latest developments, and for all that you've done to help improve CKCS health.