The Cavalier Collection Scheme......how volunteered pets are helping the breed.
by, 7th September 2011 at 01:07 AM (11948 Views)
The publication of a new study to describe microscopic changes in the spinal cord of cavaliers with syringomyelia, and in particular to compare symptomatic (in pain) and asymptomatic (non painful) dogs, has great significance for the Cavalier Collection Scheme.
This paper is a consequence of the tissue collection studies
The first Collection Scheme was started in 2007 when Professor Nick Jeffery, who was then at Cambridge, spoke about the problem researchers had in obtaining cavalier cell tissue.
As Health Representative of the Cavalier Club I raised money and organised a scheme that paid an animal taxi service to collect locally volunteered cavalier bodies.
When the ten dogs originally requested had been collected, I was asked if I could find SM confirmed cavaliers for Nick's spinal cord studies.
Few cavaliers had actually been MRI'd at that time and SM was still a taboo subject, so I knew this would be a long term project. The area for collection was widened to take in the whole of the UK and the little bodies were collected by me, delivered by volunteers, or transported by their brave owners.
It is those cavaliers that have contributed towards this latest study, and I would like to thank with all my heart those owners who contributed by volunteering their dogs for tissue collection.
Over the years more specialists were included and we now supply a team of wonderful researchers who can use their contacts in various centres to help get the various samples taken.
Dr Clare Rusbridge has tissue samples for the genome studies, Professor Brendan Corcoran is supplied with heart valves, Dr Penny Watson at Cambridge has pancreatic tissue.
Although SM confirmed cavaliers are still especially valuable, all cavaliers of all ages are suitable for the Scheme.
I became concerned that the scheme was growing too fast to be operated as a one man band. Tania Ledger very foolishly accepted my invitation to join me in co-ordinating the Scheme and her help is invaluable.
The majority of the donated dogs die at home or are euthanised at the local veterinary practice and their bodies are collected & taken to the nearest centre that can perform a post-mortem. Occasionally the local vet has taken heart & pancreas samples for us.
As time has gone on the importance of collecting RNA as soon as possible after death has become evident. Some owners have been willing to bring their pets to be euthanised at Bristol, Edinburgh, Cambridge and Stonelion so that post-mortem and sample collection can take place swiftly after death.
These samples are invaluable and these owners are owed a great debt of gratitude by all of us that love this breed.
The Scheme pays for the post-mortems, individual cremation and return of the ashes to the owners and transport costs. If the cavalier is PTS at one of the main centres to enable samples to be taken immediately after death, then we pay euthanasia costs too.
This can all add up to a substantial amount. Up to £300 per dog. We have no official funding so we are always grateful for donations from supporters and for the help we receive through the CavalierMatters Charity.