I asked the BVA for an update on the official CMSM screening scheme (a meeting was held between Cavalier breeders the BVA and KC on 12 July)

The BVA have sent the following reply:

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) and Kennel Club (KC) have been in discussions regarding a Canine Health Scheme to screen for Chiari-like malfomation and Syringomyelia (CM/SM) for a couple of years. Both organisations agree there is a need for such a scheme and it has a significant amount of public support. Considerable work has already been undertaken to develop the scheme in consultation with expert neurologists and radiologists.

There has been much discussion within both organisations regarding the publication of the results of the proposed scheme. The BVA firmly believes that the results of the CM/SM scheme must be available in the public domain to assist breeders in making breeding decisions and to assist puppy buyers in choosing a healthy dog. The existing Canine Health Schemes operate in this way.

The KC has concerns regarding the attitude of breeders and owners towards publication of the results and does not yet have a mandate to support results being put in the public domain.

As a result of this the Scheme is currently on hold, bu the KC is actively endeavouring to resulve the issues with breeders and breed clubs.

Apparently there is another meeting between the KC breeders on 31 August 'by invitation only'.

Meanwhile the Heart Scheme has been put 'on hold'. And Cavaliers will continue to develop heart murmurs at a young age, suffering from (and many dying prematurely) from heart failure.

What are we to think? It has taken two years and 3 months and still the CM?SM scheme is not up and running due to objections being raised by Cavalier breeders. Why would they not want the full publication of the results of the scheme? There is only one answer to that.

The Kennel Club's slogans, 'Fit for Function, Fit for Life' and 'Happy Healthy Dogs' both have a very hollow ring. Who, at those meetings was prepared to put the health and welfare of the dogs first? At least it is good news that at last the BVA has stood up to the KC and this is to be very much welcomed.

Meanwhile Cavaliers continue to suffer. I heard within the last week of two 3 year old Cavaliers who were pts because they were screaming in pain from SM. My Rosie, coming up to 9 years old, has SM, MVD (grade 3/4 heart murmur), seasonal Atopy, is becoming deaf, developed a mammary tumor at the age of 4, and has a benign growth on her eyelid. Nine years isn't such an old age for a dog, but for a Cavalier it is. This isn't right. I don't need any more evidence that self regulation will not improve the genetic health of dogs. Only tough welfare laws will do that.

I'm angry today.

Carol