The British Veterinary Association (BVA) and The Kennel Club (KC) Charitable Trust have pledged up to £30,000 to support breeds affected by the brain disease Chiari malformation/syringomyelia (CM/SM).

Up to 95% of cavalier King Charles spaniels are thought to be affected by Chiari malformation/syringomyelia.

The funding will enable owners of KC-registered dogs that had MRI scans before the inception of the BVA/KC CM/SM scheme in 2012, to have their scans and results published for free, a process to the value of £100.

CM/SM is a problem of the brain in which there is reduction in caudal fossa volume with descent or herniation of the cerebellum, and often the brain stem, into or through the foramen magnum.

It is believed to be seen in 95% of cavalier King Charles spaniels and also affects the griffon bruxellois, Chihuahua, Pomeranian, affenpinscher and Maltese dog.

Assessing older MRI scans will aid in the understanding of the disease and provide invaluable data to help in the development of estimated breeding values (EBVs) and other valuable resources for responsible dog breeders working to reduce the risk of this disease in future puppies.

EBVs are a resource that can be used to help select dogs at lower risk of passing on complex inherited diseases such as hip and elbow dysplasia, or CM/SM, for breeding.

KC secretary Caroline Kisko said: “Conditions like CM/SM are scientifically complex and by gathering the data necessary for developing tools such as EBVs, we will achieve a far better understanding of them and develop a more reliable means of protecting breeds that may be affected in the future.

“Both the Kennel Club and BVA are committed to eradicating this condition and are pleased to be able to help owners with older MRI scan results by funding their assessment through the BVA/KC CM/SM scheme.”

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