Sunday, 2 January 2011

Cavaliers - a leap too far?

www.mbishopphotography.co.uk

This flying cavalier is Minnie-May who will be five years old on 25th January and she is living proof that some dogs with syringomyelia (SM) can enjoy a reasonable quality of life.

"Her pedigree name is Miletree Minnie-May" says her devoted owner, Sandra Collins, who I met at Discover Dogs in November where she was helping to raise awareness of syringomyelia on the Cavalier Matters stand.  "Minnie was two years old she first visited the vet when she was unable to go up the stairs or jump up on furniture.  The vet said she had a muscle strain - probably from doing agility (which we do just for fun).   Over a 18 month period she had another two or three similar instances.  She also had several different quirky behaviours - rubbing her head, rolling, shaking her body, scooting, although none of these were being done with any significance.  I also noticed that she was becoming quite head-shy and a couple of times had yelped when being fussed by people.  I had seen Pedigree Dogs Exposed which brought the SM problem in Cavaliers to my attention.  At that time I was sure Minnie was not affected.  However, when she suffered a further instance of "muscle strain" in February last year, I mentioned SM to my vet. I was by now feeling uneasy as Minnie was starting to refuse to do a couple of obstacles on the agility course for no apparent reason.

"She had her MRI last April  and  you can imagine my feelings when Minnie was diagnosed with Chiari like Malformation (CM) and Syringomyelia (SM) with a 7mm wide syrinx at C2.  Although an MRI of her whole spine was not done it is envisaged that she probably does have more syrinxes.  A full MRI is due to be done soon.  


"Minnie is now on a cocktail of medication, which currently seems to be managing her pain quite well.   As well as the devastating emotional effect this diagnosis has on all of the family and the fact that it is progressive, there is the financial effect.  Thank goodness we have good insurance cover as her medication costs over £100 a month, of which we get back 85% from the insurance company.  There is also the main fact that we now have a dog that we are continually watchful of as she is going to spend the rest of her life with this condition and not being able to tell us when she is feeling pain or discomfort.   Then at some point we may have to make the decision of whether or not to undertake surgery. 

"I spoke to veterinary neurologist Clare Rusbridge about Minnie continuing agility.  Her advice was to treat her as normal and to let her do as much or as little as she wanted.  Minnie enjoys her agility - as you can see from the photograph taken at Chiswick House Dog Show in September last  year.  We were doing a display and a fun competition which Minnie went on to win."


Meanwhile, I hear that after months of effort by researchers, vets and the Kennel Club (the latter finally doing the right thing after years of stubbornly refusing to acknowledge the seriousness of the condition), several cavalier clubs are refusing to endorse the new KC/BVA SM screening programme. But perhaps that's not surprising given that some top breeders continue to breed from under-age dogs.

In an effort to combat early-onset mitral-valve disease as well as syrinomyelia in cavaliers, the breeding guidelines ask that no cavalier is bred before they are 2.5yrs old and only then if both parents are a minimum of five years old, free of a heart murmur and, ideally, SM-free too (or at least only low-grade).

How depressing, then, to hear that that one high-profile cavalier breeeder has recently used one stud dog at least nine times before they were a year old.

Anyone know any more about this, or exactly why some of the cavalier clubs are questioning the validity of the new SM screening scheme?

33 comments:

  1. Margaret Carter2 January 2011 16:43

    The whole matter is shrouded in secrecy, despite the fact that the seminar to present the new BVA/KC scheme was open to all interested parties.

    The main concern mentioned at the time was the increased cost and this can be a problem for the less commercial breeder.
    I do understand the concern, but not enough to believe that is a valid reason to reject the scheme.

    No breeder is forced to breed, nor do they have a God given right to do so.
    If there is a test for a known inherited condition and they cannot afford to do everything possible to safeguard the health of their puppies, then they should not breed.

    The official MRI scheme appeared to give Cavalier Breeders everything that they have demanded over the past few years. These are.....
    **Standardised MRIs, each scan receiving a grading agreed by more than one individual neurologist.
    **An appeals system.
    **Records automatically submitted to the EBV scheme
    **Publication of results.

    My informed guess is that it is the last two points that are proving the sticking point with the regional clubs.

    The problem for the 'gatekeeping' regional club committee members is that it has been easy to demand these things, and loudly criticise earlier schemes for shortcomings, when the well regulated project was in the far distant future.

    Now it will no longer be possible to pretend compliance with breeding guidelines that in reality are being ignored.
    In future the published results will show whose dogs have been scanned, at what age they were scanned, and just how good or bad the results are.

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  2. I agree with Margaret--if you "can't afford" to breed healthy dogs (which means doing health testing), get out of dog breeding.

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  3. Yes Kate, that is exactly what is happening! That will leave Cavaliers to the mercy of Puppy Farmers and commercial breeders. An extra £100 added to the £200 that we are currently paying for scans will be the straw that breaks the camels back for the small non-commercial and dedicated breeders, especially in these tough economic times.

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  4. These breeders manage to find the money to show!!! Look at the cost of fuel!!! Those who really care will put testing before a show!
    That argument anon holds no water!

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  5. Margaret Carter3 January 2011 15:33

    Anonymous 12:31,

    Ah, but it is not about you or any other breeders, it is about the dogs.

    Do you believe that breeders should not be asked to pay an extra £100 for a standardised health test that they have been demanding for years?

    Who then do you think should pay for the cost of the scheme?

    Cavaliers have at least two serious inherited health conditions that can lead to euthanasia at a young age. I would be genuinely interested to know what you consider to be an acceptable alternative to this official test?

    No testing, and let the problems worsen obviously cannot be one of them?

    How much do cavalier puppies from 'non-commercial breeders sell for? A good few hundred pounds each? Certainly enough to pay for the scanning of the parents.

    Anyone breeding from properly tested grade 'A' parents have no problems selling their puppies. The demand is great and well informed buyers, especially those that have already owned a sick cavalier, are prepared to pay a premium to make sure they do have the best chance of a healthy pet.

    When the 'dedicated' breeders are doing all they can to produce healthy cavaliers, then we can demand the Kennel Club and Government take action on the puppy farmers.

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  6. It costs nothing to follow the MVD protocol but some top breeders are not prepared to do that !

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  7. In April 2008 the Companion Animal Welfare Council (CAWC) held a meeting in the House of Lords to discuss tackling genetic welfare problems. The example they used was Syringomyelia in CKCS because 1) It was very widespread in the breed, 2) It affected large numbers of dogs (11,000 Cavaliers per year registered with the KC), 3) The effect on the animals is to cause pain - in some cases so severe that euthanasia was the only option. Humans with SM describe the neuropathic pain as the worst pain imaginable.

    It was agreed at the CAWC meeting that an important step forward would be to have an official, standardised BVA/KC screening scheme to enable breeders to breed away from the more severe form of Syringomyelia. To help the Cavalier breed further, it was also decided to develop an official scheme for Mitral Valve Disease as well. These initiatives were supported by the Kennel Club and Cavalier clubs.

    Two and a half years later, after a huge amount of work and professional commitment from experts in the fields of veterinary neurology and radiology, the official scheme was presented to Cavalier breeders at a one day seminar in October. The presentations given were very detailed, clear and professional, explaining that CM/SM is an extremely complex syndrome, involving two distinct (but linked) diseases and requiring grades for both Chiari malformation and Syringomyelia. Nevertheless the scheme was ready to be launched.

    This was a milestone, a landmark for the Cavalier breed. It was a light at the end of a tunnel, a turning point in the efforts to breed healthy Cavaliers.

    But did the breeders and breed club representatives welcome the scheme with open arms, or show wholehearted appreciation of the work and dedication of the professionals, or a determination to go back to their clubs and urge their members to support the scheme. No, they did not. There were complaints and objections, about the cost, about the grading system, about the complexity, about the unfairness regarding some of the MRI scans done earlier. Apparently the majority of Cavalier clubs in the UK do not accept the scheme in its present form and it must be looked at again.

    Isn't this yet another delaying tactic on the part of the Cavalier clubs? And isn't it a clear case of putting self interest above the health and welfare of dogs? I despair.

    Carol Fowler
    www.cavaliercampaign.com

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  8. what a shame these comments are so heavily censored and biased in the favour of Jemima Harrison's viewpoint. Sad.

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  9. Anon, I have not censored any comments on the cavaliers. I really do welcome different views as I believe that debate is healthy. The only posts I ever censor are of the "Jemima Harrison smells of poo" variety (yep, that is a real example..). So feel free to say whatever you want.

    Jemima

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  10. so where did all the others end up???

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  11. I have published every single submitted comment on this particular blogpost. If there's one that hasn't appeared, please try again. The only ones I don't allow through are the occasional ones that are abusive or, as happens sometimes, are a duplicate of something someone else has said.

    Jemima

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  12. "Do you believe that breeders should not be asked to pay an extra £100 for a standardised health test that they have been demanding for years? Who then do you think should pay for the cost of the scheme? Cavaliers have at least two serious inherited health conditions that can lead to euthanasia at a young age. I would be genuinely interested to know what you consider to be an acceptable alternative to this official test? No testing, and let the problems worsen obviously cannot be one of them?"

    Many hundreds of cavaliers have been scanned as well you know but would rather not admit. I hope this will not change. At the moment I can have two dogs scanned for around four hundred pounds. Because we live a long way from the nearest scanning centre petrol costs are high. Well over fifty pounds, so it makes sense to take more than one dog. With the extra cost I will only be able to afford to take one dog at a time.

    "How much do cavalier puppies from 'non-commercial breeders sell for? A good few hundred pounds each? Certainly enough to pay for the scanning of the parents. Anyone breeding from properly tested grade 'A' parents have no problems selling their puppies. The demand is great and well informed buyers, especially those that have already owned a sick cavalier, are prepared to pay a premium to make sure they do have the best chance of a healthy pet."

    That is most certainly not my experience or that of most of the breeders I know!

    "When the 'dedicated' breeders are doing all they can to produce healthy cavaliers, then we can demand the Kennel Club and Government take action on the puppy farmers."

    I doubt that very much! Almost 80% of cavalier puppies come from non club members! These people will NEVER test and will just move over to the Dog Lovers Register.....and sadly pet owners will take the chance and keep on buying them.

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  13. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh this makes me so so angry!!!

    Certain breeders are making this too too hard on EVERYONE involved.

    Why must they be so selfish and irresponsible.
    Just listen to what is being said- really listen, and act upon it!

    They have been given a scheme- one that has been asked for but still won't use it!
    The end result of this is that Cavaliers will become extinct. And then these breeders will move on and ruin another perfectly lovely breed.

    I love my Cavaliers with all my heart and soul, but never again will I have another. One has SM and bad knees and a murmor. The other had and still has a grade 6 murmor at 9 months old and CM pain.

    Even if the government DID step up and make Puppy Farming and Sales in Pet shops illegal- breeders would still find something else to blaim.

    The bottom line is that breeders have the Cavaliers that they breed from- probably seeing them as sucessful in their eyes and don't want anyone to know that they to are sick and shouldn't be bred from as they are winning or doing well in the show ring.

    And the likelyhood is that they are sick because the statistics are against you.

    What this breed needs is for every one to know how sick they are so that maybe, just maybe they will stop buying them as they need a break.
    Some rest bite from the show ring and being bred and for every one to get on the same page.

    The KC need to put a temporary ban on showing them until this is sorted out!

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  14. Margaret Carter3 January 2011 23:11

    Anonymous 20:49

    I am not disputing that breeders are saying that they have scanned their dogs, although that claim is not borne out by the number of certificates submitted to the Estimated Breed Value Scheme.
    Those have been so few that the researchers have been forced to delay the work on cavaliers.
    It would suggest that either the numbers scanned are exaggerated or breeders are refusing to submit disappointing results.

    I certainly believe that the KC/BVA scheme is being rejected because certain breeders in key breed committee positions do not want results published.
    It will stop them from making false claims about the number of their dogs scanned and their results.

    I am sorry you have not have found your puppies are in demand.
    As I said, well-informed buyers have been advised to walk away from breeders that could not demonstrate that they have fully complied with all the health guidelines.
    In fact many prospective pet owners have remarked how impossible it has been to find anyone who was truly breeding to the protocols.

    If club members were doing everything they can to produce healthy puppies then they could be promoted as the gold standard but, as shown in every Kennel Club Breed Record Supplement, that is not the case.
    When leading club members continue to mate linebred underage bitches to linebred underage dogs, knowing that it is too early for any tests done to show SM or MVD, and they then pretend that their breeding stock conform to club health protocols, then I think one can question whether their puppies are likely to be any more healthy than one bought from a puppy farmer?

    I am still waiting for the answer to my earlier question.......
    "I would be genuinely interested to know what you consider to be an acceptable alternative to this official test?"

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  15. It's always the same old knee-jerk excuse: if we club member breeders are forced out of the breed because we are required to follow too many health testing rules and protocols, all that will be left are the puppy farmers' cavaliers. Well, I say, if you club members refuse to test and follow the protocols, then there really isn't much difference, is there?

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  16. If all club members were to follow the health protocols, it would make the pet owners life a lot easier knowing they can buy their Cavalier with confidence. If you read the pet forums, there are many posts from people not knowing where to go to buy a healthy Cavalier. Someone has to set the Standard and lead by example. Club members have the platform, why not use it? I am sure between the new Dog Advisory Council, APGAW and The Dogs Trust plus the pet forums etc., these will help to educate people where to buy their Cavalier. At the moment it is like looking for a needle in a haystack. Who can you trust and where do you go ?
    The awareness amongst pet owners is gathering momentum daily and the word is spreading rapidly. I suggest club breeders stop making excuses, if money is the issue you should stop breeding. Breeding dogs into a life of crippling headaches and unimaginable pain is just unbelievable Cruelty.

    As far as Puppy Farmers and Back yard Breeders are concerned, they totally disgust me but you are just using them as an excuse.

    The rejection of the new KC/BVA scheme is a shocking disappointment to Cavalier Pet Owners.

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  17. I had recently a seemingly very intelligent puppy buyer, a lady who i spent hours with talking through heatlh issues as she had searched for the "right" puppy. She was very happy with the steps taken. I was happy that she had done so much research.
    She later rang to say it must be a certain colour !!!!!!
    I give up

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  18. I strongly urge the person with a 9 month old Cavalier with a grade VI murmur to immediately seek a consult with a cardiologist. (Murmurs are graded from I to VI, with VI being the worst.)

    It is impossible for a 9 month old Cavalier to have a grade VI murmur as a result of MVD (endocardiosis/acquired valvular disease) because MVD is a degenerative disease. A murmur that serious in a puppy of that age would only be caused by a very severe congenital heart defect (a defect present at birth). This should be evaluated by a specialist in order to get an accurate diagnosis and a treatment plan.

    Pat Beman, USA

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  19. Anonymous 00.06

    If you were a true lover of Cavaliers, then you would be following ALL health testing rules and protocols.

    Why should these wonderful dogs suffer because it is an inconvenience for breeders to carry out health testing. The excuse that it is too expensive is pathetic and is getting old.

    If you truly love the breed then you would be doing all that is possible to ensure that they live a long and healthy life with little or no health problems.

    Other breeds of dogs have health problems, but their breeders pull together in an attempt to eliminate the health problems. But when it comes to Cavaliers, most (not all) breeders will do everything possible to jeopardise the health of the breed for their own selfish means. And the ones that do test etc, are ostracised by the many who bury their heads in the sand.

    Cavaliers are a wonderful breed and deserve to be saved.

    I am a Cavalier owner, not a breeder, of a dog with early onset MVD and SM. If I was a breeder, I would do everything in my power to help the breed, not send them to an early, painful death.

    Sarah, Northern Ireland

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  20. Why oh why is there no mention here that no matter how many generations of scanning there is behind a puppy it doesnt mean it will be any healthier than a puppy with no anscestors scanned. I have been breeding for many years and I'm neither totally for or totally against scanning, however the more dogs I have scanned and the more results I see the less I can understand where it's all going.
    I don't have that many dogs but I have been scanning them over 2 1/2 (as are many show breeders now) but when I take a dog that has parents, grandparents and great grandparents all grade A, two of the dogs having no herniation and 3 of them over the age of 4, and find out that he himself has been graded D I just wonder how scanning is helping? Equally I have a friend who, upon scanning a bitch who's parents both had very bad scans (they were bred quite a few years ago before scanning was taking place)found to her joy that her bitch had wonderful Grade A and the bitch was even free of the herniation.
    So when I have people insisting they only want a puppy from 2 grade A parents it really makes me angry, there is NO definite proof that the puppy will have any more or less chance of getting SM. Me personally, I'd rather have a puppy from 2 dogs scanned D but with 3 generations A behind them than from 2 A's who have failed parents but of course D to D is not recommended by the guidelines regardless of the health testing in the pedigree!

    "But when it comes to Cavaliers, most (not all) breeders will do everything possible to jeopardise the health of the breed for their own selfish means. And the ones that do test etc, are ostracised by the many who bury their heads in the sand."

    This is just not true, I don't know any breeders who "will do everything possible to jeopardise the health..." For a start as far as I'm aware Everyone tests hearts now, whether breeding or not, same goes for eyes, it is a tiny percentage who doesn't. Plenty are scanning and in my experience most people feel it is the breeders' choice to scan or not and they certainly wouldn't ostracise anyone for it.

    None of the clubs are against a scheme BUT it has to be right for the breeders and the dogs. If we end up with a scheme that isn't going to help us improve health then it is useless and possibly will do the opposite and result in less MRI scanning and even less progress towards answers for the disease. I'm sure no one wants that?

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  21. Margaret Carter5 January 2011 01:11

    Anonymous 22:58

    You say "I'd rather have a puppy from 2 dogs scanned D but with 3 generations A"

    It may prove to be a rather foolish choice. Recent studies show you would end up with a D dog.
    No mating with D parents has been shown to produce a grade A cavalier

    The same study has shown that mating grade A parents together will give a 75% chance of having grade A offspring.
    This is a figure arrived at averaging out results from many litters, so some breeders will be unlucky and get worse odds, whereas others will be lucky and hit the 100% jackpot.

    No experienced breeder is suprised when genetic problems show up after a few clear generations. Cavalier breeders know that eye and heart problems can show unexpectedly in clear stock, so why the unrealistic demands that SM testing guarantees a certain result every time?

    While there is a way of gradually breeding away from SM then is it unreasonable to expect 'dedicated' cavalier owners to MRI their breeding dogs after they are 2.5 years, and then only breed from their unaffected cavaliers?

    You are right, nobody wants less MRI scanning but why should that happen? This is the official standardised scheme breeders have been saying they want for years.

    Please tell me what is it about this scheme that the objectors feel is not right for breeders and the dogs?
    Why do you believe it will not improve health when neurologists & the KC obviously believe it will?

    And the million dollar question that no breeder seems willing to answer........What alternative to this scheme do you suggest?

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  22. It is very different in Australia. The prominent breed over here that has been pushing the CM/SM issue is the Griffon Bruxellois.

    A grading system was established by 'suitable parties' without discussion from most breeders here. It was a system that was basically dictated to us, and the MRI procedure is far more costly, and difficult to obtain here, than in the UK, US or Europe. Here, we pay up to $2,000 AUD for an MRI. After now having three of my dogs tested, I have to ask, what was the point?

    I now have a F graded dog - a dog that has CM/SM and displays symptoms of the condition. These 'symptoms' are visible to anyone that knows the breed, and I did not require an MRI to know something wasn't right. The sire and dam of the dog in question were BOTH graded A - that is both were totally clear of all CM/SM, and BOTH were at least 4 years of age when tested. So i ask you, when I breed two totally clear dogs and end up with the worst grading possible in there offspring, what is the benefit or the MRI procedure, or all the testing in the world????

    I truly believe, that the issue comes back very heavily to line breeding, as suggested by the publication 'Inbred Thinking'. It was reassuring to see this publication, as it confirm belief's I had personally held for sometime. However, when i raised questions in Australia, and challenged the powers that be within the breed, I was pushed aside and treated like a fool, simply because i didn't conform to the belief's and opinions of a few.

    They are now trying to find a 'genetic marker' to assist in the prevention of CM/SM. Again, I ask, what is the point? The issue is not like cancer, or aids or even heart disease. I believe this is a genetic disorder that has come about through YEARS of line breeding, and all the testing in the world will not change it, nor correct it.

    The alternative I suggest is simple - setup a programme whereby a sample number of breeders test there dogs initially. Then over the course of a number of years, ensure all breedings are conducted to dogs and lineage that are as distant from one another as possible. After the period of time is up, test the progengy and grand progeny, and determine whether there is an improvement in the condition. This is the only way I see to test the 'inbreed' theory, and determine whether this is the way forward for breeders, which may subgegate all of the standardised schemes currently proposed and such evasive and costly procedures as MRI's.

    This is something that will not fix itself over night, and needs much more research. Working together and openly is the only chance we have.

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    Replies
    1. I have to ask then Shane.why has Penny Knowler got no record of this, and has no recorded Incidents of this ever happening in Griffons where an A X A mating has produced an F grade?
      who did the MRI? and where the scans sent to claire rushbridge for verification?

      Delete
  23. i think this thread proves the saying that a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing.

    too many people are using their own misunderstanding of genetics and personal experiences to back up their arguments.

    Line breeding will not cause problems and oucrossing will not make issues dissapear. if the dogs carry the same genes for sm it wont matter if they are related or even different breeds.

    & I dont understand the foot stamping when people get bad results from clear parents.

    If you get a mismarked puppy after years of wholecolour breeding you dont say oh well I might aswell start mixing my colours now because this one puppy proves i'm wasting my time.
    Never mind that the generations before where good and its brothers and sisters where ok

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  24. Margaret Carter5 January 2011 13:31

    Shane wrote...

    "I now have a F graded dog - a dog that has CM/SM and displays symptoms of the condition. These 'symptoms' are visible to anyone that knows the breed, and I did not require an MRI to know something wasn't right"

    Some SM dogs do not show obvious symptoms or a novice owner could miss them.


    "So i ask you, when I breed two totally clear dogs and end up with the worst grading possible in there offspring, what is the benefit or the MRI procedure, or all the testing in the world????"

    Well it does tell you that particular dog is not a good breeding prospect.

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  25. I agree with you Shane, the more results I hear about the more I'm of the opinion that MRI scanning is not the way forward in solving the problem. I'm no expert on genetics but I would suggest that the best way to find answers would be to scan every puppy from a litter every year for the duration of their lives to see how many puppies end up with SM etc. The same would be done to numerous other litters and between these litters suitable candidates would be bred together and the same scanning procedure would then carry on to future generations. Surely this would give a much better picture of what is actually happening rather than the route we've taken now where random dogs are being scanned with no knowledge as to whether its siblings have all ended up with SM. It's similar to eye testing, the litter screening procedure gives a much better picture of what the mating has produced rather than the result of the one dog that is kept and tested as an adult.

    Margaret Carter said...

    You say "I'd rather have a puppy from 2 dogs scanned D but with 3 generations A"

    It may prove to be a rather foolish choice. Recent studies show you would end up with a D dog.
    No mating with D parents has been shown to produce a grade A cavalier

    I would guess no D X D matings have been shown to produce an A Grade because there are very few people who would be doing D x D matings. I would be interested to know how many dogs were in the study you have mentioned as the study I have read about only used data from around 460 dogs, surely you don't think that is a big enough sample to draw any conclusions from? I would guess many thousands of results would be needed before the researchers could even begin to hope for real answers?

    As for the KC/BVA scheme Margaret, you mention that the KC believe their scheme will work, personally I think the KC couldn't care less if it works they just want to look like they're doing 'something' positive and they want it sorted for Crufts so they can tell everyone how much they're doing for Cav health. What a load of rubbish, if they wanted to help cavs they could start by investigating the people registering hundreds of pups with them every year (quite obviously puppy farmers)from dogs that are neither heart nor eye tested. But how much money would they lose if they did that?!

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  26. Margaret Carter5 January 2011 23:33

    If we are going to indulge in wishful thinking, shall we just go for a magic wand?

    Anonymous 20:40 You said.....

    "I would suggest that the best way to find answers would be to scan every puppy from a litter every year for the duration of their lives to see how many puppies end up with SM etc."

    Are you, as a breeder, going to volunteer to do this?
    At you own cost or do you expect someone else to pay for it? It is not easy getting grants, and this would be a very long term project taking at least 10 years and a lot of money.

    What happens in the meantime to prevent the condition spreading even more throughout the breed?

    Anonymous said.......

    "The same would be done to numerous other litters and between these litters suitable candidates would be bred together and the same scanning procedure would then carry on to future generations."

    Again have you thought who would keep this large number of dogs? They will not be bred for show but for health.
    Dispersing them among pet owners would only work if considerable financial incentives were offered to make sure they were made available for the annual MRIs & released for their breeding duties.
    Who would manage such a scheme, organise the mating and whelping of these generations of dogs over so many years?

    This idea of yours is not similar to litter screening for eye problems. That is done once while the whole litter is still with the breeder.

    Anonymous said
    "I would guess many thousands of results would be needed before the researchers could even begin to hope for real answers?"

    Yes, but until the cavalier breeders, and the passage of time, supply those thousands of results, I will go with the peer reviewed data that is available.

    I would not completely disagree with your last paragraph, The KC is probably just going through the motions.
    The veterinary profession are backing the scheme, the studies suggest that properly used with the guidelines it will give us a chance to breed away from SM.
    I cannot see what valid objections there can be?

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  27. I wrote a long comment but something happened and no I don't think its because of bias because I have an cavalier with severe sm and I would not wish anyone else to have to go through this especially if there are ways to help resuce the chance.

    I looked for support and up to the clubs to provide knowledge but it is from others that I get that support. I may not be an expert but if the clubs could be the ones we can go to, then it would help. Unfortunately with comments, denial, byb comments and not taking action or support, it does damage by itself to the image of clubs.

    I know people can't control what people post but it would help to have a statement. As tania said as a pet owner it is way too difficult to find people who scan, etc. And that should be something that needs to be shared because we would gladly support those.

    Not everyone has owned cavaliers for 30 years but I fell in love with ella and the breed. So please those who we should look up to and actually say they promote health, education, etc. Reach out and help us because who do we turn to?

    Also I agree why is it that other breeds will support and are not ashamed to say what the health problems are? Pedigree dogs have the ability to know the history, there is research that says how to help, please let's use these things.

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  28. Shane wrote: "So i ask you, when I breed two totally clear dogs and end up with the worst grading possible in there offspring, what is the benefit or the MRI procedure, or all the testing in the world????" -- Shane, the most recent CKCS statistics show that 75.9% of offspring of A to A matings have been clear of SM. Hardly any genetic protocol guarantees 100% clear offspring. -- Shane wrote: "The issue is not like cancer, or aids or even heart disease. I believe this is a genetic disorder that has come about through YEARS of line breeding, and all the testing in the world will not change it, nor correct it." -- Shane, you can believe what you want, but that particular belief is not consistent with genetic researchers findings. If it was just line breeding, then only certain lines would have it. -- Rod Russell

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  29. Of course line-breeding has not "caused" the problem but over time it does make what could have been a rare problem into a common one
    The same applies to any genetic disorder, it begins quietly with a few affected dogs but as its ignored or considered rare by breeders and so a condition not to worry about , in closely linebred dogs it spreads and becomes "noticable"
    By then the whole breed is in trouble.
    So to all those insisting that a disease is rare,instead of ignoring ...take action to publisise and be open...that way many more dogs will have the condition reported if it increases in numbers.

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  30. "Margaret Carter wrote:

    "So i ask you, when I breed two totally clear dogs and end up with the worst grading possible in there offspring, what is the benefit or the MRI procedure, or all the testing in the world????"

    Well it does tell you that particular dog is not a good breeding prospect."

    Does it? All it tells you is that you have an A grade dog no herniation. I don't see many people achknowledging the A grade dogs with no herniation suffering Chiari-Like Malformation severe pain? Like the one I have at home on 100mg gabepentin, 3x a day with 2.5 prednisone every other.

    But don't be to quick to assume I am breeder bashing. Because I am also not seeing it address the numerous D grade asymptomatic dogs living pain free lives.

    Eyes Wide Open Thought: Keep researching and keep scanning. That grey is still GREY on both sides of the fence.

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  31. Unfortunatly you can't ask the dogs how they feel so how can you know they are not feeling any pain ?

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  32. Time to start adopting instead of breeding.
    There are lots of healthy dogs in the rescue centres.

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