The ACKCSC health survey is finally out -- it can be downloaded here:
The SM reports --at 4% positively diagnosed and 8.5% suspected of having SM, out of the 566 cavaliers assessed -- will be considered very low in comparison to the various research projects in the UK and US/Canada, currently reporting at least 30% affected, and higher than 70% in some samples.
However, the report states on page 186:
If anything even remotely close to 50% is the case in the breed, then the incidence is really shocking and I think, must become a major issue for the breed clubs themselves to address directly."Nearly 4% of CKCSs were diagnosed with syringomyelia which is considered extremely high compared with other dog breeds."
The table information is interesting. Apparently 8.5% of the 566 cavaliers in the survey are "believed" to have SM (including the 4% with a definite diagnosis), but a very large 26% of the dogs weren't able to be assessed on that question ie the owners did not respond to the question. That's a lot of dogs in the sample for which there's no reply.
39.1% of those believed to have SM were showing signs by age 2, and another 26.1% between age 3 and 4. However, 43.5% weren't diagnosed until between the ages of 4-6, indicating in retrospect, people had seen signs of SM early on, without knowing what it was.
Note that dogs needed to be at least 3 years old to be included in the survey. Given that so many dogs in the sample were showing symptoms at under 3, one might guess that many owners with symptomatic or diagnosed cavaliers are out there, but not part of this survey, and that in future those percentages will rise much higher.
The survey is a very interesting read across all health isssues and should be of interest to all cavalier owners.