A new scheme to screen dogs for chiari-like malformation and syringomyelia has been given the go-ahead by the BVA/Kennel Club Canine Health Schemes management committee.
A new scheme to screen dogs for chiari-like malformation and syringomyelia has been given the go-ahead by the BVA/Kennel Club Canine Health Schemes (CHS) management committee, to start in January 2012.
The aim of the scheme is to reduce, and hopefully eliminate, the incidence of inherited Chiari-like malformation (CM) and Syringomyelia (SM) in dogs.
Chiari-like malformation is characterised by a mismatch in size between the brain (too big) and the skull (too small). This constricts the opening from the skull into the vertebral canal and alters the flow of cerebrospinal fluid. As a result a fluid-filled cavity develops within the spinal cord called a syrinx, with the condition being called syringomyelia. Both conditions can cause a significant amount of pain.
These debilitating inherited conditions affect certain breeds, most prominently the cavalier King Charles spaniel, but also the Griffon Bruxellois. CM/SM is also suspected to be inherited in a number of other small (toy) breeds including King Charles spaniels, chihuahuas, Pomeranians, affenpinschers and Maltese.
To take part in the scheme owners will need to have their dog MRI scanned at a veterinary practice. The scans will then be reviewed by two scrutineers from a BVA-appointed panel of expert neurologists and radiologists and graded for severity for both conditions.
Results will be sent back to owners via the veterinary practice that performed the MRI scan. Results of Kennel Club registered dogs will be sent to the KC for publication on the KC Health Test Results Finder and to the Animal Health Trust for inclusion in the Estimated Breeding Value (EBV) calculations.
BVA president Harvey Locke said: “It has taken over two years to develop the scheme and we are confident that it will have a positive impact on the health and welfare of the afflicted breeds. The heritability of syringomyelia is sufficiently high that genetic selection against the disease should be very successful.”
- Full details of how the scheme will work will be finalised between now and the end of the year and procedure notes will be circulated to ensure that scans taken from now on will fully comply with the scheme.