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Thread: I've fallen in love with the Cavalier...but worry about the health problems.

  1. #1
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    Default I've fallen in love with the Cavalier...but worry about the health problems.

    I've been spending the last few months researching dogs, and I've narrowed my potential dogs down to either a Cavalier, a Sheltie, a Pembroke Welsh Corgi, or a Norfolk Terrier...and honestly, the Cavalier is THE perfect dog for me. Temperament, size, temperament, exercise needs, looks, temperament... But of course there had to be a catch, right? Nothing's perfect. It would be my first dog - my family had a dalmatian when I was younger, but I never helped take care of him and we had to put him to sleep when I was 10 and he was 13 because he had cancer and arthritis. And I'm no stranger to taking care of ill pets. One of my cats has been diabetic for the last six years, and needs feedings every four hours, insulin shots every twelve hours, and regular blood sugar testing. My other cat suffers from severe arthritis and an allergy to practically everything. But a breed with so many severe genetic problems sends up little red flags for me, especially since the ones the Cav is affected by seem so hard to avoid. I'm very willing to look for a reputable breeder and minimize my dog's chances of being affected by SM/MVD. I guess what I'm looking for here is testimonials from you guys: what are the symptoms of these? How can they be treated? How expensive on average is it to treat for one dog? Do symptoms normally show up by a certain age? And what's it like to live with a dog who has SM/MVD?

    I'm not looking for a young puppy, I want it to be at least six months old. I don't think it would be wise to jump right into having a dog for the first time and have to deal with the housebreaking, basic training, etc. So I want an older puppy, maybe even a young adult, I'm not picky about that. Do you guys have any breeder recommendations in California? I found this woman,

    [ admin note: hi I removed the link -- if you check the 'Getting Started section, I don't allow direct links to breeders for this kind of discussion or naming them -- but I am always concerned if breeder isn;t openly diiscussing the testing they do and at this time they really must be MRIing. If people want they can PM you to get the link and offer an opinion] ,

    and she seems reputable - I mean, if anyone is, she's got to be, right? She doesn't say anything about MRIing her dogs for SM, though, and according to cavalierhealth.org, OFA and CHIC aren't really reliable or trustworthy, so I'm a little concerned. Also, what about the breeders listed on ckcsc.org? Would they be good people to contact?

    Sorry about the long post, I have a lot of questions. My first priority is having a healthy dog, and there's so much to consider with this breed that it's a little intimidating.

  2. #2
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    Yeah, I was in (am still in I guess) that boat too. I was so worried about ending up with a sick cavalier. There are breeders out there testing and using protocols but they are few and far to between. I might PM you a name (if I can remember the kennel name...) I decided to go with one of those breeders HOWEVER her waiting list is long so I looked into rescue. You don't seem to mind an animal with known managable health issue so maybe a rescue would be a good place to start. I was extremely lucky and adopted a rescue puppy. I've only had him a few weeks and I do still want to keep my deposit down with the breeder too since I already want another. Keep up your research and hang around here. That's what I did, cavalier talk is great for getting the latest info on protocols and health issues. Plus make friends you never know who will PM you with a lead...thats what they all are you need to check it out yourself. If you post general questions like hey my breeder said____________ is this right? You will get plenty of advice.
    Good luck
    Melissa

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by MomObvious View Post
    Yeah, I was in (am still in I guess) that boat too. I was so worried about ending up with a sick cavalier. There are breeders out there testing and using protocols but they are few and far to between. I might PM you a name (if I can remember the kennel name...) I decided to go with one of those breeders HOWEVER her waiting list is long so I looked into rescue. You don't seem to mind an animal with known managable health issue so maybe a rescue would be a good place to start. I was extremely lucky and adopted a rescue puppy. I've only had him a few weeks and I do still want to keep my deposit down with the breeder too since I already want another. Keep up your research and hang around here. That's what I did, cavalier talk is great for getting the latest info on protocols and health issues. Plus make friends you never know who will PM you with a lead...thats what they all are you need to check it out yourself. If you post general questions like hey my breeder said____________ is this right? You will get plenty of advice.
    Good luck
    Melissa
    thank you for the reply! I would greatly appreciate a PM with the breeder if you can remember it, as long as it's in California. I won't be in the market for one for at least five years, so a long waiting list is no problem.

  4. #4
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    Hello.
    I have an 11 month old puppy named Sonny. When I first got a cavalier I thought I had done my research, but I now realize that I did NOT know very much at all. I actually had not read much about SM at all. I really only knew about MVD. However I do NOT regret getting Sonny at all. He is the sweetest, most playful, loyal, adorable, lovey puppy EVER. He has completely changed my life and I love him to pieces. However I too often worry about the many health issues that are so prevalent in this breed. I don't really have any advice as to symptoms to look for or what age many health issues occur, but there are many others on here that would have much better advice on those things or you could look through the threads on SM and MVD. But I would say DEFINITELY get your puppy insured if possible.

    Where are you in California? I am in the Monterey Bay area. If you do get a cavalier. There are lots of fun meet ups in the area.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by ashleighelizabeth View Post
    Hello.
    I have an 11 month old puppy named Sonny. When I first got a cavalier I thought I had done my research, but I now realize that I did NOT know very much at all. I actually had not read much about SM at all. I really only knew about MVD. However I do NOT regret getting Sonny at all. He is the sweetest, most playful, loyal, adorable, lovey puppy EVER. He has completely changed my life and I love him to pieces. However I too often worry about the many health issues that are so prevalent in this breed. I don't really have any advice as to symptoms to look for or what age many health issues occur, but there are many others on here that would have much better advice on those things or you could look through the threads on SM and MVD. But I would say DEFINITELY get your puppy insured if possible.

    Where are you in California? I am in the Monterey Bay area. If you do get a cavalier. There are lots of fun meet ups in the area.
    I'm definitely going to try and get insurance if I can. I live in Sacramento.

  6. #6
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    Hi, I'm in No Cal too. There are breeders around here but I don't have any recommendations to send you. I just don't know them. I think the CKCS is the best source for breeders to investigate but just being a member isn't a recommendation. Still need to be checked out. Since you're hoping for a health-checked older puppy, you may have to widen your range outside the area. There is a CKCS sponsored health event coming up this summer. I'll be taking my dog therento have her heart and eyes checked by specialists. many breederrs take their dogs to these events and it might be a good place for you to talk to people. If you are interested, I'll PM you the information.

    I think you are on the right track, however. I would never trade my Tess for any of The other breeds you have considered!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Emkaybee View Post
    Hi, I'm in No Cal too. There are breeders around here but I don't have any recommendations to send you. I just don't know them. I think the CKCS is the best source for breeders to investigate but just being a member isn't a recommendation. Still need to be checked out. Since you're hoping for a health-checked older puppy, you may have to widen your range outside the area. There is a CKCS sponsored health event coming up this summer. I'll be taking my dog therento have her heart and eyes checked by specialists. many breederrs take their dogs to these events and it might be a good place for you to talk to people. If you are interested, I'll PM you the information.

    I think you are on the right track, however. I would never trade my Tess for any of The other breeds you have considered!
    Hi,

    I am interested in the CKCS sponsored health event. Is it in Sacramento? Could you pm me the info?

  8. #8
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    I think you are very smart to look into all of this, I find the breeds I am most attracted to tend to have health problems (aside from american eskimo dogs) I looked really hard for a breeder that did all the right tests and breed her dogs for health and to better the breed ect.. but there is a chance she wasn't all she said she was. BUT that said, I wouldn't trade Bentley for any dog in the world. I adore him. I got really deep into sm research for a school project recently and started noticing every scratch and shake, I was driving myself crazy. I finally decided to ignore things like that, and only worry if he starts having constant sm symptoms with pain. other wise Assume he is fine. Other wise you won't be able to enjoy this wonderful gift of the best breed ever!

    Even knowing we will have to deal with SM or MVD at some point, we are fine with that. He has brought us so much joy, even knowing he will get sick someday, it doesn't matter, we will cross that bridge when we come to it and for now we will love him and enjoy him. I probably won't have another cavalier unless it is a rescue. I am not sure my husband would agree to pay $3,500 for a cav from the breeder who does MRI, and I am not sure I would want a cav from a breeder who doesn't MRI. I think that is just something that HAS to be done for breeding cavs since they are SO prone to SM. I am planing to get an icelandic sheepdog for my next dog (my neighbor has 4 buff colored ones and I LOVE LOVE LOVE her dogs) But Cavs are always my first loves. I would like to try to have a few over my life time.

  9. #9
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    Just sent you a PM with the meeting information...if you don't receive, let me know.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Emkaybee View Post
    Just sent you a PM with the meeting information...if you don't receive, let me know.
    I didn't get it.

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