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Thread: Pedigree Dogs Exposed: Three Years On

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    Default Pedigree Dogs Exposed: Three Years On

    PDE was shown in August 2008 and had an extraordinary impact. The BBC dropped coverage of Crufts, the Kennel Club amended 78 breed standards and three in depth reports ( one jointly commissioned by the KC and Dogs Trust ) agreed that there were grave welfare issues in the way pedigree dogs are bred and a Dog Advisory Council was set up.

    Many Cavalier owners, some of them members of this forum, saw the film and realised for the first time that the quirky traits they saw in their pet were symptoms of a painful inherited neurological condition called Syringomyelia.

    I appeared in PDE1 and Jemima Harrison asked to film another interview with me last year. According to an article in 'Radio Times' Cavaliers will be featured again in PDE2.
    I do not know if any of my interview will make it to the film ( Jemima will have hours and hours of interviews to choose from ) but I do rather hope so.

    For those that have not seen PDE1, it is on YouTube in 6 parts. Cavaliers appear in two parts http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pm17MesMFRc and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M4vyn...eature=related

    PDE2 is being shown on Monday, on BBC4, at 9pm.
    Margaret C

    Cavaliers......Faith, The Ginger Tank and Woody.
    Japanese Chins.... Dandy, Benny, Bridgette and Hana.
    Remembered with love......... Tommy Tuppence and Fonzi

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    Well, of course, we all will just have to wait and see (and I'll have to wait a bit longer than those of you in the UK, as even the on-line version is not available outside of the UK).

    I focused primarily on the cavalier when watching PDE, and I found no fiction in those segments. PDE interviewed Simon Swift, the veterinary cardiologist for the UKs Cavalier Club, who spoke only the facts about mitral valve disease (MVD), as did Clare Rusbridge, the UKs leading veterinary neurologist on syringomyelia (CM/SM). The video of the little cavalier thrashing about, howling in agonizing pain from syringomyelia, was not fiction and no, her medications had not been withheld before that video was made. Maybe the interview with the CKCS breeder, holding the champion in her arms, was a gotcha moment, but that is what happens on a lot of television documentaries.

    A recently expressed criticism of Jemima Harrison has been that she should devote her attention to other dog issues, like exposing puppy farms. Some even claim that PDE has driven responsible CKCS breeders from the fancy, forcing the pet buyers into the arms of the puppy farmers. To me, if responsible breeders have packed it in, it is not because of PDE, but due to CM/SM and MVD. Yes, PDE highlighted the existence of CM/SM and MVD and the agonizing pain and/or agonizing deaths which some affected dogs suffer. But, if PDE had an impact due to its CM/SM and MVD segments, it should have been to drive pet buyers away from the breed entirely, not away from the responsible breeders and into the arms of the puppy farmers.

    While a lot has come to light about CM/SM since PDE debuted in 2008, most of what we have learned has had nothing to do with PDE; it as been due to neurological research. Over 50 neurological research articles about CM/SM in our breed have been published since PDE, and over 90 articles about MVD, and while they have served to educate us more and more about CM/SM and MVD, none of those studies have relied upon any information dug up by PDE. CM/SM and MVD research have been on a fast track for the past ten years, and PDE has had nothing to do about any of it (apart from possibly inducing charities to contribute funds to the research).

    The overriding problem for the CKCS is that it suffers from two very widespread and extremely devastating genetic disorders, MVD and CM/SM, and if a television show happens to shed light upon them, then we all should be grateful and not hostilely dismissive.

    Another criticism has beeen that Miss Harrison only focuses on the negative and not on the positive things the KC and the Cavalier Club have done. I suspect that PDE2 will discuss positive steps these clubs have taken since PDE1. But if CM/SM and early-onset MVD remain widespread, and very, very few CKCS breeders are doing anything about it -- like testing and following breeding recommendations -- then certainly not enough is being done.

    The Cavalier Club's chairman told us three years ago that "There are many members who are still not prepared to health check their breeding stock, and of those who do, it would appear that many would not hesitate to breed from affected animals." So, this is not just a puppy farmer problem. But, if PDE2 discusses this shortfall of following breeding protocols, then surely it would be informing its viewers that they should stay away from the puppy farmers who could care less about testing for anything at all. So, PDE2's criticism of CKCS breeders should weigh more heavily against the puppy farmers than against the responsible breeders who do test and follow those protocols.

    What really has driven responsible breeders from the CKCS has been the statistics showing that up to 95% of cavaliers may have CM and over half may have SM. And, as I noted above, that information came not from PDE, but from the extensive neurological research undertaken over the past ten or so years.
    Rod Russell

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    Jemima is having an Q&A time on PDE 2 facebook Group that week sometime.
    Sabby
    Rosie-06/06 - Ebony-01/07 Harley-08/08
    " My sunshine doesn't come from the skies, it comes from the love in my dogs eyes "

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    Rod wrote: The video of the little cavalier thrashing about, howling in agonizing pain from syringomyelia, was not fiction and no, her medications had not been withheld before that video was made.

    Yes, but what the programme didn't say was that the dog was put to sleep a few hours after the video was made, that the video was deliberately taken by the dog's owners to show the effects of SM and had been available on the internet for some time before PDE. The implication was that this was the norm for dogs with SM, whereas the evidence of the members of this forum is that this is not so - yes, some SM dogs do have pain that becomes uncontrollable, and even if this is a minority it is still too many, but most will lead fairly normal lives. I am NOT saying that this in any way excuses the level of SM in the breed - 'fairly normal lives' does not mean pain-free lives, and breeders that knowingly risk inflicting pain on the dogs they breed should be condemned - if they kicked their dog and seriously injured it, the RSPCA would take them to court, but SM is just as much a serious injury. I am simply saying that even if one agrees with much of PDE, it is also true that a fair amount of editorial manipulation was going on. Investigative documentary makers start out with a thesis they want to prove, and it must be a constant temptation to see (or look for) only what proves their thesis. This is why people in many breeds got so angry with PDE (apart from those with a guilty conscience or their heads in the sand!) - they felt that there was another side - breeders who work hard to breed healthy dogs - and this was not, in their view, given fair coverage.

    Kate, Oliver and Aled

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    Does anyone know if any other breed clubs besides BG and cavaliers are scanning? I know not all breeders are and I disagree with Rod about very few. I'm impressed with the number who are in Canada especially in their regional club. I think there are more and more in UK and more (slowly) in USA. There have been grants from the AKC and i am sure other regional clubs. many breeders have contributed to research.

    Without dog shows, i feel it would hurt advancements in research. THATS what i care about. We will not find an answer today (besides scanning and following recommended protocols). I thought I read that the BVA suggested Japanese chins also?

    We have learned a lot in 3 years thanks to people here with Rupert's fund, FTR, breed clubs around the world and to breeders submitting their scans. I don't know how changing breed standards (if that's the focus) could change any of that.

    I have heard a lot of things and if someone does not buy a cavalier because they think their skull is too small then fine. My parents will not because of Ella and not PDE. I try to say that there are breeders who are researching lines, scanning, but there are no guarantees. It's depressing but I hope people still realize that breed clubs do more than if we did not have them.
    Last edited by anniemac; 25th February 2012 at 10:15 PM.
    Anne Proud mother of Elton 5 and Angel Ella

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    I'm sorry that I'm in a mood today. Elton is yelping and shaking his head and I still can't figure out what's wrong. I just get frustrated sometimes.
    Anne Proud mother of Elton 5 and Angel Ella

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    We purchased two Cavaliers in 2007, we were very naive! Our dogs were heart and eye checked but I had never heard of sm.

    We looked forward to sharing our life with these two little charmers.

    When PDE was advertised we watched it because we knew Cavaliers were going to be featured not because there was any big problem. We were shocked at the health problems highlighted but so was our vet !

    We watched the poor little Cavalier screaming in pain but we were intelligent enough to realise this poor dog was suffering acute symptoms. (This was not the norm)

    Molly did not show any screaming/scratching symptoms but I knew watching PDE she had sm. I could feel myself going hot as I watched PDE with one eye and Molly with the other.

    If PDE had not been aired Molly would now be DEAD.

    A junior vet at our practice remarked "I remember syringomyelia vaguely from my Uni days" Most of the Cavaliers they see now are properly diagnosed thanks to PDE.

    A great number of Cavaliers are now on pain medication and have quality of life. These same dogs (including Dougall (cm)) would be suffering if PDE had not been shown.

    Thank you Jemima for saving the life of my Molly and saving Dougall from a life of pain.
    Tania and The Three Cavaliers!
    Dotty!- A Sweet Little Tri
    Molly - Pretty Tri Dougall - Gorgeous Blenheim

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    Tania,

    I feel the same way about the book "For the Love of Ollie". Actually Rod's website brought me to that book so thank you Rod and Ollie for saving Ella from more pain.
    Anne Proud mother of Elton 5 and Angel Ella

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    Totally agree with Tania. If it wasn’t for PDE things would still be the same then three years ago.

    I know that what they showed on PDE was extreme and a lot of dogs do live a decent life with pain medication but I wouldn’t call that a good life for the dog or owner I call it a flipping nightmare. Sorry nobody should have this kind of worry, trips to the cardiologist, vets (I see my vet more often than my husband) all the way to London to the neurologist because I want the best for my dogs. Trial and error with medication. It is a nightmare and then you see the advert for Crufts “ Happy Healthy fit for function dogs” Who is the KC kidding? I think they truly believe what they are saying themselves.
    There are still not enough breeders that follow the MVD protocol set 10 years ago so how many will follow the SM guidelines.
    Sabby
    Rosie-06/06 - Ebony-01/07 Harley-08/08
    " My sunshine doesn't come from the skies, it comes from the love in my dogs eyes "

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    Ruby was diagnosed only because of PDE. Who knows how much longer she may have suffered with out it! I watched in horror, like Tania said, because I had a cavalier and knew at that stage she had a murmor. I knew in a second that Ruby had SM and so did my family. My sister called and said, thats Ruby, thats her symptoms!
    So thank you Jemima for saving my babies life!!

    Karen

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


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