A news article in Veterinary Times has been welcomed for highlighting the hereditary health crisis affecting cavalier King Charles spaniels and other breeds, as well as the need for more stringent health testing.

King Charles spaniel.
King Charles spaniels suffer from conditions including mitral valve disease, chiari-like malformation and syringomyelia.

The Dog Breeding Reform Group (DBRG) said campaigners have worked hard over many years to draw attention to the issues affecting cavalier King Charles spaniels.

Although much research has been carried out, the incidence of mitral valve disease (MVD), chiari-like malformation and syringomyelia (CM/SM) – plus other conditions including pancreatitis – remains unacceptably high, all of which cause major welfare concerns, it added.

‘Little hope’

DBRG founder Carol Fowler said: “As the majority of cavalier King Charles spaniel breeders boycott the official CM/SM health scheme, and a heart scheme promised in 2008 has yet to materialise, there is little hope of estimated breeding values (EBVs) for cavalier King Charles spaniels getting off the ground.

“Many people believe the breed is now so genetically compromised, outcrossing to a related breed may be the only way of tackling these problems.

“The Kennel Club [KC] is a prestigious and wealthy organisation with the power to do what is right for the welfare of dogs. If it sets an example, breeders, including non-KC breeders, will follow.

“The KC does not lack the knowhow or influence to introduce an official heart scheme. We understand discussions are underway with cardiologists, but there have been several stops and starts in recent years.”

More action required

VT46.34 front page.
Vet Emma Milne Goodman called on veterinary associations to take a stance in Veterinary Times.

The DBRG believes estimated breeding values are an important tool and could have a positive impact on canine health. However, it believes a great deal more effort and action is required to make this a reality.

The DBRG said it was pleased to read vet Emma Milne Goodman’s strong stance in Veterinary Times (right) and agreed with her that voluntary testing is not working.

It said it understands the KC’s tradition of leaving the choice to breed clubs and individual breeders. However, the welfare implications are so great in some breeds, such as cavalier King Charles spaniels, that a much stronger approach is needed.

“The official CM/SM scheme presented many challenges,” said Ms Fowler. “It might never have got off the ground, had it not been for the determination and passion of key individuals motivated to truly make a difference to canine health and to improve our understanding of this distressing and complex condition.”

Welcome pressure

Like Emma Milne, the DBRG would welcome pressure from the BVA and other professional veterinary bodies regarding health testing, including finalising and implementing an official heart scheme.

The DBRG said it would support the rapid introduction of breed-specific schemes, rather than a “one size fits all” approach, and it would include a compulsory scheme.

To read the article in full, see the 29 August issue of Veterinary Times (VT46.34) or read it online.

View your activity >

Leave a Reply

1 Comment on "Dog group welcomes awareness-raising article"

Notify of
avatar

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Chris
Guest
Chris
8 months 18 days ago

“The official CM/SM scheme presented many challenges,” said Ms Fowler. “It might never have got off the ground, had it not been for the determination and passion of key individuals motivated to truly make a difference to canine health and to improve our understanding of this distressing and complex condition.”

Ms. Fowler, it doesn’t seem that CM/SM testing has got “off the ground” at all! Maybe there’s a scheme, but it’s being almost completely ignored!

wpDiscuz

related content

A study of dog DNA has revealed a genetic mutation linked to flat face shapes, such as those seen in pugs and bulldogs.

2 mins

Veterinary experts, doctors and scientists have come together in a one health coalition to drive the acquisition of knowledge into one of the UK’s most baffling and lethal canine diseases.

4 mins

Heart rate variability is an established risk factor for mortality in both healthy dogs and animals with heart failure, according to a study.

2 mins

Animal health and welfare issues have been placed on a prime political platform, with the issues featuring heavily in the main political party manifestos.

4 mins

Marge Chandler looks at the factors impacting on canine and feline weight gain to help equip VNs with the information they need in battling the pet bulge.

26 mins

Britain’s largest pet insurance firm is reviewing the registration process for its breeder scheme following allegations in a Sunday newspaper.

5 mins