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Thread: Syringomyelia

  1. #1
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    Default Syringomyelia

    Hi, I haven't gotten my pup yet but after reading all the horrible things about Syringomyelia I'm seriously considering not buying her after all.

    My main problem is everyone says that that's it's responsible breeding that's important. The breeder I'm getting my dog from doesn't really know about the dog's petagree. See the woman he bought the mother and father from was seriously ill when he bought the 2 plus another female. He didn't realize at the the time that the female was already pregnant. So he can't tell me too much about the genetics. (he does offer a health guarantee of 4 months)

    I know many of you will say don't bother buying the pup, but I've wanted a Cav for a very long time and the only other breeder that's remotely close is over 7 hours away, and I don't know for sure that breeder's reputable.

    I did contact several breeder asking about Syringomyelia and one said in 6 years she's only had 1 pup that had no outward signs.
    Another breeder said that it was mostly due to inbreeding in the UK, and that she had never had a diagnosed case.
    Yet another breeder said that although it is a concern it's not as widespread as some people would claim. (she also cited the inbreeding)

    So basically I have to ask, is it worth it? I'm not rich. I can afford the basic care of a dog, but anything too expensive (such as an MRI) I could never afford. Is it mostly a UK thing? Or if the dog does have it, is it usually not too severe?


    Thanks to everyone who responds.


    EDIT: Since it is a question that has been brought up (by a breeder) and even though it's been dismissed by all of you, I am curious just how many of you are in fact from the UK.
    Last edited by Ladyglove; 6th October 2011 at 11:04 AM.

  2. #2
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    Hiya,

    this is a really tough one but i'd thought i'd say something as I don't want you to get upset with anyones replies on here.

    I've been on this forum since my first dog was Diagnosed with SM and to say its been a tough journey would be the understateement of the year, and I'm up at 5am to get to my neurologist to have my little man MRI'd with the asumtion that he has SM too.

    Iwon't quote facts and figures to you as there are plenty of members on here that will do that with more experience.

    The majority of members here have dogs that are living with SM, and if not SM then MVD and we raise money and awaareness though Rupert's Fund which was named after a mem bers dog Rupert at the start of last year.

    We have new members joining daily asking for help after they have had the dreaded diagnosis of SM.

    And it isn't cheap- I pay over 200 a month in medications for my little lady to keep her pain free, insureance is close to 100 a month and repeat MRIs if needed are close to 2000 these days.

    What you will find from other members is that the advise is to only buy from a health focused breeder wo MRI's there breeding stock and heart/eye/DNA tests for Dry Eye and Curly Coat.

    Cavaiers have so so many health issues and we have members on this forum who have been campaigning for years to stop people doing what you are about to do, which is to buy a puppy from completely unknown background - you may as well be buying from a pet shop.

    I'm sorry if it upsets you, but unfortunately it is the horrid truth that is the state of this breed at the momment!

    Karen

    Ruby - my stunning soul mate who defies the odds every day
    Charlie- my angel at heart and devil at play


  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Karen and Ruby View Post
    Hiya,

    this is a really tough one but i'd thought i'd say something as I don't want you to get upset with anyones replies on here.

    I've been on this forum since my first dog was Diagnosed with SM and to say its been a tough journey would be the understateement of the year, and I'm up at 5am to get to my neurologist to have my little man MRI'd with the asumtion that he has SM too.

    Iwon't quote facts and figures to you as there are plenty of members on here that will do that with more experience.

    The majority of members here have dogs that are living with SM, and if not SM then MVD and we raise money and awaareness though Rupert's Fund which was named after a mem bers dog Rupert at the start of last year.

    We have new members joining daily asking for help after they have had the dreaded diagnosis of SM.

    And it isn't cheap- I pay over 200 a month in medications for my little lady to keep her pain free, insureance is close to 100 a month and repeat MRIs if needed are close to 2000 these days.

    What you will find from other members is that the advise is to only buy from a health focused breeder wo MRI's there breeding stock and heart/eye/DNA tests for Dry Eye and Curly Coat.

    Cavaiers have so so many health issues and we have members on this forum who have been campaigning for years to stop people doing what you are about to do, which is to buy a puppy from completely unknown background - you may as well be buying from a pet shop.

    I'm sorry if it upsets you, but unfortunately it is the horrid truth that is the state of this breed at the momment!
    I'm not upset, I want honest answers.

    I realize that it's not a good idea to buy with an unknown background.


    But may I point out that you are from the UK, where all studies I've come across are held. Like I said before one breeder said it IS a problem for all Cav's but even more prevalent in UK lines due to inbreeding.

  4. #4
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    Default

    Hi and welcome to the board.

    Cavaliers are a wonderful breed but sadly one which carries a heavy burden of potential health issues, some very serious. All pedigree dogs will have some risk of breed-related health issues but MVD and SM in cavaliers are both common and can be very painful and debilitating as well as costly to treat over many years.

    You are right to give some consideration to health issues in the breed and to decide whether you feel the attractions of the breed match a commitment to dealing with the risk of some of these potentially serious problems.

    Almost every cavalier will get MVD, with half having murmurs (the start of the disease) by age 5. If your breeder has not cardiologist screened both breeding dogs, isn't familiar with the heart health background on both sides, and doesn't know if all four grandparents were still heart clear at age 5, he shouldn't be breeding. Dogs bred outside the MVD protocol stand a considerably higher risk of early onset MVD in offspring (eg by age 5 or even earlier). SM is extremely prevalent in the breed as well with estimates now at about 70% eventually having a syrinx. Fortunately most will not be symptomatic or will be only mildly affected but many here can testify to how common this condition is, in the US as well as Australia, the UK, the Netherlands, Ireland...I have had five cavaliers and three have SM; two also have, or have had (died from) MVD.

    It is absolutely untrue that the problem is mostly in the UK (see a recent thread on this, where someone else had a breeder give them this line too: http://www.cavaliertalk.com/forums/s...M-stats-please). All cavaliers are closely related and all are descended from the same dozen or so dogs in the UK after World War II so the genetics are very similar. Many of the studies on SM prevalance have been done in the US and (as expected) the rates at which dogs were affected were pretty much the same as in the UK and elsewhere.

    It would be very sad for the breed, as well as bringing a much higher health risk for any puppy, to support a breeder who doesn't MRI scan parent dogs, doesn't cardiologist test, and is so ignorant or deliberately deceptive as to try to convince you that US dogs are less affected with these problems. There's lots of information here on what to look for in a good, responsible breeder and many people travel to work with a health focused breeder.

    The breed desperately needs puppy buyers to be responsible in choosing a breeder as it is truly under threat for survival.

    Working with a responsible breeder is very rewarding in so many ways and gives the best chance of having a healthy cavalier.

    www.cavalierhealth.org lists all the various studies and includes US studies.
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Jaspar Lily Tansy Libby Mindy
    In memory: Lucy Leo
    Cavalier SM Information site:www.smcavaliers.com

  5. #5
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    Hello, and welcome to the board!

    First and foremost, I want to applaud the fact that you have dug into your research and are asking these (really tough) questions. It is so hard when you want a dog, or a certain breed so badly, but like you said just opening up the conversation for some honest answers is the way to go because it is a confusing world out there with breeders and opinions of so many. So don't think you are alone in the confusion!

    I itterate what everyone else has already state. I SO hate to say this, but I would really not purchase this pup. I know you want one right away, but waiting a bit longer and going to a little more trouble to secure a healthy dog will be so worth it in the long run...not only financially...but also, most of us can tell you, that seeing a dog suffer in pain because of inappropriate breeding standards rips your heart in two on an hourly basis. Now I know you said that he acquired the dog pregnant, so I will not get into his particular standards of breeding, but it is important for you and the pup that it comes from health certified parents. Trust me, you think "it won't happen to me" and when it does, you will wish you could turn back time.

    Also, I will second that it is not a UK problem at all. I am in Australia, where breeders are just now starting to scan their dogs and I cannot tell you how many times I have heard the lines "it does not exist here", "none of my dogs have ever been returned sick", etc etc. But the truth of the matter is that it does happen even here to. I know many cav just in my area that have SM and Brookyn's neurologist said that 50% plus in Australia are affected, so what people are saying about it being a UK problem is just not true. Unfortunately, most people never return a dog and don't end up telling their breeder or even getting a correct diagnosis, so unless the breeder scans, there is no way on earth they can tell you that their dogs have never been affected.

    I know how hard this is. I wanted a cavalier for a while, and since there are not many scanning breeders near me either, I ALMOST bought a pup that came available from a really nice lady (but no health scans). I decided last minute not to, but it was really hard! I remember crying that day because I had already met her and wanted her so much! I thought "I will give her a good home and life", but my knowledge got the better of me and won over my heart. 6 months later I was able to find a health conscious scanning breeder (though very far from me) and I was put on her waiting list. When a pup came up, my hubby and I went for a long road trip to meet our future dog when she was only 6 week. We got to meet the whole litter, the mother and father, ask the tough questions and the breeder even asked us some tough ones too. We left that day knowing we had made the right decision. It was worth the extra gas, the waiting, and the dog that we have now. There are still no guarantees in their lives, but she will have the best shot now.

    I would look into breeders that might be willing to transport for you, meet you half way or even use a transport service (not the mail kinds, ha! but for pets...there are a lot of them). People even fly their dogs in sometimes (though this is expensive...a car transport animal service would be much cheaper).

    So that is just my opinion but I want you to know that I really do understand how hard of a cross road this is for you. Most of us have been there. But knowing that you mentioned you could not afford the very expensive care of an SM dog, it is best then to get a dog from a scanning breeder where you will be confident in knowing that the pup has the best chance and you will have a long happy and healthy life together. So please keep looking, it will be worth it...for you, for the breed and for the health of your new puppy.

    And again, thank you for asking what are some tough questions and being brave enough to even be honest about your thoughts as well. It is a hard thing to do. Good luck!

  6. #6
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    I am a new pup owner, did the research beforehand for a reputable breeder through the kennel club, saw health certificates, pedigree, and parents etc. However, since joining this forum, I wish I'd done even more as I'd not realised that SM is almost inevitable for every Cavalier , that is the impression I am getting as I'm learning more and I'm constantly looking for symptoms and dreading seeing them when he's older!

  7. #7
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    Yes, that can happen LJW...but try not to worry too much. I know we all do, but there is also (if your little one came from a good breeder) a likelihood that he won't have SM at all too. I think you hear more about it on here too since this is more of a health focused forum...so it can always make you (all of us!) hyper aware and a bit paranoid about every scratch, itch and movement! Been there done that! But there are also so many other things that can cause those symptoms and frankly it can also normal dog behavior too (which makes it even more confusing) Though, I know how hard it is to distinguish "normal" when "is this SM?!" is always in the back of your head.

    But enjoy your dog for right now, try to learn your dog (I.e. What is "excessive" for some is normal for others) and try to stay positive!! Remember that there are cavs who don't have SM, and not everyone will go through that. I remember you other post where you are concerned about a few things, but so much has to be ruled out first, and you might be surprised! So enjoy and keep your head up...it is not always a bad verdict even though it is so easy for us to analyze every movement and time will tell as you move through puppyhood with your dog Yes, SM is a reality, but it can also make us over paranoid too...it's all about balance.

  8. #8
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    Hi

    I have four Cavaliers Poppy ,Daisy ,Rosie and Lily .Rosie has been diagnosed by MRI with CM last Oct and Daisy
    was diagnosed by MRI with SM and CM this August .After diagnosis for me it just makes them that bit more special and
    like all living things that you know are not well you seem to want to care for them even more if thats even
    possible as they are already that special ,special breed of wonder dog we call Cavaliers.
    Brian M

    Poppy the Tri, Daisy the Blen, Rosie the Ruby and Lily the B & T

  9. #9
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    Hello and welcome to the board.
    the woman he bought the mother and father from was seriously ill when he bought the 2 plus another female. He didn't realize at the the time that the female was already pregnant.
    If he didn't plan the mating the sad reality is the puppies may not even be purebred cavaliers.
    As regards Syringomyelia,it's not uniquely a UK problem.Many USA cavaliers are bred from Irish puppy farm and exported as breeding stock.My oldest cavalier bitch has it and it's not something you'd wish on any living creature in it's symptomatic form.
    It seems to be a condition that's been in the breed from probably the very early days of the breed and has only recently emerged into the public domain as a result of improved medical technology like MRI scanners being available to vets.
    Nowadays we're all careful about where we spend our hard earned money.
    If you have your heart set on a cavalier,then maybe consider a rescue cavalier,but make sure you take pet insurance.I would never hand over a cent to a breeder who did not have the best interest of the puppy buyer and the welfare of the breed as top priority.
    Sins

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Karlin View Post
    Hi and welcome to the board. www.cavalierhealth.org lists all the various studies and includes US studies.
    I must be blind but I didn't see any US studies about Syringomyelia, could you give me a direct link? I hear what everyone is saying, and like BrooklynMom I already saw her. She was a touch standoffish with my mom but she made a beeline straight for me and when I picked her up she cuddled under my chin and give me kisses. I think as dog lovers you know how that felt LOL. So this is so very hard. I hear what everyone is saying, I really do but according to some hardly anyone should have a dog. You should only buy from reputable breeders, but there are very few truly reputable breeders out there and they want astronomical prices for their pups. I'm not saying your not right, but what about the mutts out there? Anyway, I am listening. Even though I sound defensive (Maybe a touchhttp://www.cavaliertalk.com/forums/images/smilies/biggrin.gif but I also want to take a look at the other side. My main question hasn't really been answered. How common is it for SM to get bad enough for it to require medication or (goodness forbid) putting the dog to sleep?

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