Margaret C

The BVA/KC Chiari- like Malformation Syringomyelia Scheme

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That title is a heck of a mouthful, but this blog is mainly for the breeders that visit this Pet Owners' Forum to read the information that their regional breed club health representatives do not pass on.

As I said in my last blog, there was a presentation about this new scheme last Thursday.
I have been waiting to see if any of the leading posters from the Breeders' Forum were going to comment on the presentations, but that has not happened.

The talks started with an excellent and clear explanation by Radiologist Ruth Dennis who gave the reasons why three different type of scans were needed for the scheme.

I missed a little of Professor Mike Herrtage's talk, a sudden stomach upset meant I had to hurry out for a while, but he explained the procedures, and why they were necessary, and dealt politely but firmly with those that were complaining that their old scans would not fit the criteria for the new scheme.

The way I understood the scheme it works like the existing Hip Dysplasia Scheme........

Owners would pay to have their dogs scanned at the low cost centre of their choice and then pay a fee, probably about 80, to submit the scan for grading.

Like the HD Scheme it will give those that know the results are bad the opportunity to opt out of submitting their scans, although all MRI results will go automatically to the EBV researchers.

It appears that the scan would be graded for CM by alphabet grades and numbers would be used for SM grades.

The scans would be sent electronically to two panellists for grading. If they do not agree then Mike Herrtage, as Chief Scrutineer will look at the scans and make the final decision.
The results should be back within two weeks of submitting the scans.

There will be an appeal procedure but there will be a fee for that.

Results will be published in the Breed Record Supplement and put on the KC web site.

There was concern, and I did feel it was justified, that the parents' grades would be shown on the puppies' registration papers.

The grade for a SM clear cavalier that is scanned under 6 years, and is clear of syrinx ,would be Grade 2...... & I do agree that it has a second best sound about it.
Pet buyers are not likely to understand that a Grade 2 is as good as it gets for a dog of that age.

The Kennel Club's Jeff Sampson said they would go back & talk about the concerns expressed & then consult the breed that is another 18 months foot dragging we can look forward to.

As expected there were the usual protestations that the Scheme would be too expensive for all the Pensioners that were sitting in the audience.

Others were angry that their really cheap cut price scans, would not fit the criteria for this new scheme and so breeders in the KC Accredited Breeders Scheme would have to pay for fresh scans when the scans become compulsory.

As there are so few ABS Cavalier breeders, and considering the time it will take to get the ABS to add this official scheme as a requirement, I think those dogs will be well past breeding age before there is any need to worry on that score.

Clare Rusbridge's update on SM research had some good news and some bad.......

There has been a well regulated study that shows that the breeding guidelines do work, and we can breed away from early onset SM........

A x A matings produce 75.9% of offspring that have no SM.

A x D,E or F ( affected Cavaliers ) only 41.9% of the offspring have no SM

A x unscanned dogs 50.0%

D x D, E or F...There were no offspring that are free of SM.

The bad news......55% of asymptomatic breeding cavaliers being scanned through the low cost centres have SM.

The number of scanned SM free males over five years of age can be counted on one hand.

Once again there was an appeal for owners to come forward and volunteer their over five year old stud dogs.

I'm sure there is a lot I have forgotten. Hopefully some of the other breeders that went to the talk will post any important information I have missed on their own forum.

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  1. 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".
  2. 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.
  3. 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
  4. 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.