It's sad because the only other breeds that I've ever heard of which suffer from SM are Griffons and from this thread, Affenpinschers. I've never seen any stories, statistics or anything like that on the other breeds. On the Papillon Club website, they have an article on SM but that's it. No stories from people who have had dogs suffer from it, stats, or anything. I wonder how many pet owners out there have a dog suffering from SM but don't even know that it's SM?
Yes you have pinpointed exactly the concern about individual dogs, which may continue to suffer because, as with happened so long with cavaliers, they get treated for ear infections or allergies, etc. :(
Crossbreeds also get it if they have one or more of the potentially affected breeds in their background -- quite a few cavalier crosses now.
There is such a need for some MRi sample groups in other known-to-be affected breeds -- or breeders in those breeds may find they too face an increasingly devastating situation.
Yes, I agree with the MRI thing. However, it is still so expensive to do MRI scans around the world (outside of the UK and certain places in America) that breeders/pet owners are finding it hard to find the money to do it. For example, where I live, it's something like 1000USD to MRI scan a dog, and there is only ONE vet practice in the entire country who even has an MRI machine. In a country where the average wage is something like 500USD, that is very, very expensive.
I do wish that we could have more reduced-rate MRIs around or partial scan prices etc. That would really help a lot of people out.
Breed clubs should and can have a very big say and influence here. They can drive research as well as MRI programme -- and they can also work with researchers in their country to push for low cost scanning programmes. The cost for pet owners' or breeders' affected dogs isn't going to be altered however -- the machines cost millions, and the investment has to be recuperated; and in the case of MRI for treatment, they need a more involved MRi than the grading programme MRIs. It would be so much easier if another way of assessment were possible, but unfortunately the choice is pretty much an MRI.
It's also unfortunately why owners need to think whether this is the right breed for them, as diagnosing and treating the key health issues can be terribly costly. :( I wouldn;t advise anyone to get a cavalier without insuring it, and making sure the insurer covers genetic health issues such as MVD and SM.