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Thread: Health testing for pet Cavaliers?

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    Default Health testing for pet Cavaliers?

    I'm wondering about health testing for Luke. There will be a health clinic at a few local upcoming shows, and I'm thinking of taking him and getting some tests. He is pet quality, and he is neutered. Luke is about 3.5 years old (DOB 2/7/09). He shows no signs of any problems, but I figured I should get him checked since he is active in flyball, and he does a little weight pulling (he's just pulling 2lbs or so right now, I think I want to get everything checked out before he gets into anything heavy). I'm just wondering though, what kinds of tests would you get for a pet cavalier, who will not be bred, but is active. At the show next month, I can get his heart and eyes done. At the show in November, I could do hips, eyes, heart, patellas, elbows and thyroid.
    I haven't seen any signs of any issues. Both parents were clear on hearts, hips, eyes, and patellas to at least age 5 if that makes a difference.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lukesmom View Post
    I'm wondering about health testing for Luke. There will be a health clinic at a few local upcoming shows, and I'm thinking of taking him and getting some tests. He is pet quality, and he is neutered. Luke is about 3.5 years old (DOB 2/7/09). He shows no signs of any problems, but I figured I should get him checked since he is active in flyball, and he does a little weight pulling (he's just pulling 2lbs or so right now, I think I want to get everything checked out before he gets into anything heavy). I'm just wondering though, what kinds of tests would you get for a pet cavalier, who will not be bred, but is active. At the show next month, I can get his heart and eyes done. At the show in November, I could do hips, eyes, heart, patellas, elbows and thyroid.
    I haven't seen any signs of any issues. Both parents were clear on hearts, hips, eyes, and patellas to at least age 5 if that makes a difference.
    Once a cavalier passes year one, we always take advantage of local health clinics. Usually they are limited to checking hearts and eyes, but some clinics include hip and elbow x-rays, patellas, and even hearing, all with veteriinary specialists.

    Any cavalier should be examined annually for eye problems and mitral valve murmurs. Just because a CKCS is a neutered pet does not prevent these common-in-the-breed genetic problems from cropping up. Health clinics give you two advantages to do so. First, they usually are much cheaper than regular appointments with veterinary specialists. Second, the clinics are local, while the specialists' offices may be hours away.

    If your dog is going to participate in strenuous physical activity (and flyball and weight pulling are the most stenuous), you FIRST should have his hips x-rayed for dysplasia and his patellas examined. We train some of our cavaliers in agility, which is less strenuous than flyball or weight-pulling, and we would not allow our dogs to even train for those sports without getting the hips and patellas signed off by vets. While you're at getting the hips and elbows x-rayed, I suggest that you send the x-rays in to OFA for review by a panel of OFA's three radiologists.

    If a BAER clinic is included, I'd take my cavaliers to it, too. Progressive hearing loss is common in cavaliers, and a BAER test will confirm your suspicions if you think one of your dogs has started to ignore your commands. Hearing loss in cavaliers is a sneaky disorder that creeps up very slowly, but by age 5 years, the dog could be almost completely deaf.

    For cavaliers in the USA and Canada, there is a frequently-updated list of upcoming health clinics at http://cavalierhealth.org/health_clinics.htm.
    Rod Russell

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    I would second what Rod says. I get my two heart checked annually at Cavalier Club sponsored health clinics, and Oliver was eye tested regularly when he was younger. Even if you aren't going to breed from them, with all the ailments that can afflict Cavaliers, it's useful to have an early warning of possible trouble. Our health clinics don't do any of the other tests, but Oliver has had two BAER tests privately (they're not expensive) that have picked up his increasing deafness.

    Kate, Oliver and Aled

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    I would get the heart and eye tests done annually at a minimum. The shows that hold clinics are lifesavers.

    My understanding is that almost all Cavs will get MVD--it's a question of when not whether. It's importance to know as soon as a murmur shows up and then to track its progress each year.

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    I had no clue such health clinics existed or where I would even get this testing done on him until a few days ago. The one really close to me only has hearts and eyes. There are others in November and December that are doing all the rest. I'll have to get him scheduled for one of those.

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    I get Lucky and Sparky's hearts checked annually. If there is a problem, I want to know as soon as I can so I can make sure they get any treatment that might be necessary.

    I love that Cavalierhealth.org has such a complete list of Clinics. We go every year.
    Lani
    (a.k.a. Lucky's & Sparky's mom!)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lukesmom View Post
    I had no clue such health clinics existed or where I would even get this testing done on him until a few days ago. The one really close to me only has hearts and eyes. There are others in November and December that are doing all the rest. I'll have to get him scheduled for one of those.
    I recommend that if any cavalier shows are near to you and are offering clinics, you take your dog to those clinics rather than others, because you get the added dividend of socializing your dog and yourself with other cavaliers and their owners.

    If you have a choice between a close by clinic offering only heart and eye exams, I suggest taking your dog to that one, and then in November or December, take your dog to the other clinic for the hip and elbow x-rays, patellas, and thyroid.

    And one other thing, about flyball. I recommend that you periodically get your dog's shoulders x-rayed. Flyball can reek havoc on a dog's shoulders.
    Last edited by RodRussell; 22nd July 2012 at 02:54 AM.
    Rod Russell

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    Quote Originally Posted by RodRussell View Post
    I recommend that if any cavalier shows are near to you and are offering clinics, you take your dog to those clinics rather than others, because you get the added dividend of socializing your dog and yourself with other cavaliers and their owners.

    If you have a choice between a close by clinic offering only heart and eye exams, I suggest taking your dog to that one, and then in November or December, take your dog to the other clinic for other the hip and elbow x-rays, patellas, and thyroid.

    And one other thing, about flyball. I recommend that you periodically get your dog's shoulders x-rayed. Flyball can reek havoc on a dog's shoulders.
    I'm going to see about getting him an appointment at the show nearby. That one is about 15 minutes away. He actually has met lots of other cavaliers, and he doesn't care one way or the other about them.
    Of the other two, the one in November has hips, elbows, and patellas. That's a cavalier show. It doesn't say anything about OFA on the cavalier health site, but their listing on their website for the clinic last year says optional OFA signatures. What does that mean? The December clinic is a sheltie show, and only says hips and patellas. I'm thinking elbows for him are important, so I'll have to call them about getting him into the clinic at the Cavalier show in November.
    It looks like the only place near me for a hearing test would be at UPENN. It's an hour or more away depending on the time of the day, but I go there for the dentist, so I can take Luke there if they'd see him there.
    I actually just checked for NJ, since we are close. There may be a place there that does it. They'll be set up at an event we go to next month (Your Dog Is Worth It Too Day at the Loreal plant) so i'll just ask them if they do it without sedation. He doesn't show any signs of problems. so I don't think I want to sedate him just for that, right now.

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    The BAER hearing test simply involves the dog wearing earphones attached to a computer that sends a noise through the ears and then plots the results on a graph that looks like an ECG. So they have to be awake and alert for that. It doesn't take long, and Oliver looked like Snoopy as the Red Baron in the earphones!

    Kate, Oliver and Aled

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lukesmom View Post
    ... Of the other two, the one in November has hips, elbows, and patellas. That's a cavalier show. It doesn't say anything about OFA on the cavalier health site, but their listing on their website for the clinic last year says optional OFA signatures. What does that mean?
    That means that you may have to pay extra for OFA registration papers. But those x-rays should be acceptable for OFA. I gather you are referring to the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club of Delaware Valley clinic in Malvern, Penna. I don't think that is a show; it is just a health clinic.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lukesmom View Post
    ... The December clinic is a sheltie show, and only says hips and patellas. I'm thinking elbows for him are important, so I'll have to call them about getting him into the clinic at the Cavalier show in November.
    That health clinic -- in Lansdale, Penna. -- likewise is not at a show; it is being held at a veterinary hospital. I found the flyer on-line for more details and discovered that elbow x-rays are included. The flyer is here: http://assa.org/ISSC/Files/ISSC_ClinicFlyer.pdf

    Quote Originally Posted by Lukesmom View Post
    ... It looks like the only place near me for a hearing test would be at UPENN. It's an hour or more away depending on the time of the day, but I go there for the dentist, so I can take Luke there if they'd see him there.
    I actually just checked for NJ, since we are close. There may be a place there that does it. They'll be set up at an event we go to next month (Your Dog Is Worth It Too Day at the Loreal plant) so i'll just ask them if they do it without sedation. He doesn't show any signs of problems. so I don't think I want to sedate him just for that, right now.
    I don't think a BAER exam is essential for non-breeding dogs unless you are suspicious that your dog may be losing its hearing. I suggested it only because BAER tests are offered at some health clinics.
    Rod Russell

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