Leading veterinary bodies have been urged to issue an ultimatum forcing The Kennel Club (KC) to impose tighter breed testing rules.

milne-change-petition-smlVet Emma Goodman Milne, who found fame on BBC’s Vets in Practice, wants to see organisations such as the BVA and the BSAVA issue an ultimatum to The KC to either make health tests for potentially fatal conditions compulsory prior to registration and showing – or sever their links completely.

Mrs Goodman Milne attacked The KC for its unwillingness to tackle health issues affecting cavalier King Charles spaniels via her blog.

She also added her name to an online petition calling for The KC to make health testing compulsory for mitral valve disease and syringomyelia.

‘Far behind’

“Leaving testing up to the breeders is certainly not working,” Mrs Goodman Milne said. “If show winners had to prove they were health tested [and had passed] or face elimination, I can tell you things would change pretty damned quickly.

“I qualified 20 years ago and have been asking The KC for ages why they don’t put themselves forward more and insist on health testing, because we are so far behind a lot of other countries.

“The KC will often say it’s not up to them and there’s other breeding going on of dogs that aren’t registered with it, but actually it drives so much of it because it is seen as the pinnacle of dog excellence. Crufts is a massive dog show and it’s got the power to make a huge change.

Emma Goodman Milne
“Crufts is a massive dog show and has the power to make a huge change,” Emma Goodman Milne wrote in her blog.

“We need to put professional pressure on [The KC] and it would probably have to come by some form of ultimatum from one of the big bodies – either the royal college, the BVA or the BSAVA.

‘Not overnight process’

The KC secretary Caroline Kisko said The KC cared deeply about the health of cavalier King Charles spaniels and aimed to be able to provide the same tools in the UK that were available in other countries to enable breeders to breed healthy dogs.

“This is not an overnight process and is something The KC is investing a lot of resources into, as we fully recognise the importance of protecting the future health of this lovely breed,” she said.

“The KC has been committed to developing a new heart scheme for cavaliers in the UK for many years, but, unfortunately, the veterinary profession has been unable to agree testing protocols.”

Progress

BSAVA vice-president John Chitty said those who saw the consequences of inherited diseases in veterinary practice and research shared serious concerns, but progress was being made.

BVA president Sean Wensley said it was vital everyone with a stake in the health and welfare of dogs worked together to tackle health problems. He said: “Only by working together in this way can we make progress.”

  • Further comment and reaction can be read in the 29 August issue of Veterinary Times.
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14 Comments on "Issue Kennel Club breed testing ultimatum, urges vet"

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Shirley Thornhill
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Shirley Thornhill
3 months 13 days ago
The Kennel Club along with breeders are a disgrace. How many times has the best of breed in German Shepherds had displaced hips, etc. Nothing is done to stop shows, breeders and judges from promoting disfigured and disabled breeds. It’s time all breeders were made to be responsible for the dogs they sell. To be responsible to make sure all their breeding dogs and bitches are free from health problems such as heart murmurs and congenital problems. I know of dog owners who have gone to great lengths to ensure the pup they buy is free from these problems, only… Read more »
Veronica ebbon
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Veronica ebbon
3 months 7 days ago

I totally agree, I bought 2 cavaliers 8 yrs ago, supposed to be brother and sister. My boy has syringomyelia with chiari malformation, diagnosed after an MRI scan, my vet at the time said I should have him euthanised, I couldn’t do it, in between his ‘turns’ he’s a lovely boy, but when he’s having a turn its awful. They are 8 now and he’s on medication every day. The girl has never shown any signs.

Rosemary Collett
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Rosemary Collett
3 months 13 days ago

Kennel club needs to make a stand, to save the lives of dogs who suffer because of breeding. Only healthy dogs should be bred from, we can see the results of the others in stray dog kennels all over the world

Philippa Marrow
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Philippa Marrow
3 months 13 days ago

Thank you Emma. Having a dog with syringimyelia and mvd the suffering they go through is heartbreaking. I really don’t understand how the flagship organisation for pedigree dogs is happy to allow this degree of pain and suffering to continue when they could so very easily bring in mandatory health testing to include mri scans for sm, before puppies can be registered. The show scene would instantly be transformed as only registered dogs can be shown at open and championship shows. Its such a no brainer that we must all apply pressure to the Kennel club to bring this in.

Theresa lee
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Theresa lee
3 months 13 days ago

Most breeders just want to make money ,it should be LAW

Babs Greaves
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Babs Greaves
3 months 13 days ago
I bred and trained GSD’s 20 years ago, my bitches were scored and tested. I am appalled at the lack of care shown from the KC it’s just a money making racket. Prospective buyers used to telephone me and say, I know you’re reputable because I got you from the Kennel Club puppy breeders list. I used to tell then that being on the puppy list of breeders meant nothing regarding reliability trustworthiness honesty or experience. As long as I paid my fee to be entered onto this list my details would be sent out along with anybody else’s that… Read more »
Kay Simpkins
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Kay Simpkins
3 months 7 days ago

IT comes to something, when you have to trawl the Internet, and Facebook Groups, to find out the problems with the breed, and not the KC.

Kim Austin
Guest
3 months 7 days ago
To: Baba Greaves, I ‘ve tried adopting rescue Cavaliers. With no success becuse we’re not a good fit. We live on six acres with no fenceing. We don’t want to put up fence we are a lot of wild life, deer rabbits ECT. We had a Nosh on for twelve years. She was two when we got her. We were aware of the dangers and took care not to let an owl get to her. So we were going to go to a breeder, one who sells them with papers. But not for show. Just pets. Not really the way… Read more »
Charlotte Mackaness
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3 months 6 days ago

Kim, you will find lots of very useful and easy-to-digest information about hereditary health issues in Cavaliers on the Cavalier Matters website http://www.cavaliermatters.org
Another useful website, which includes photographs of the health certificates so you know what to look for is http://www.cavalierpuppy.co.uk
As Kay Simpkins commented earlier, getting honest information about the issues and their prevalence can be hard to come across.

Nancy Zerbato
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Nancy Zerbato
3 months 7 days ago

Thank you so much for your dedication to this breed! I just euthanized my 11.5 year old female Cavalier. Kit was diagnosed with syringomyelia at about 5 yrs old, and mitral valve at 6. She was on 2 meds, twice daily for half of her life. I really believe more research of these debilitating diseases need to be a priority. I’ve got a 3 year old male now, and pray he’ll be healthy and happy! They’re such an amazing breed. Always so sweet. Your help is much appreciated.

Sandie
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Sandie
3 months 7 days ago
There are no guarantees. One lady here says she has two dogs, brother and sister. One has SM/CM, the other doesn’t. They are both from the same parents! The problem with compulsory testing is, two fully health tested parents can have litters of pups affected with SM/CM. A dog with SM/CM can also have a litter clear of this horrible affliction! Compulsory testing and scanning is only a TOOL to help breed healthier dogs, not produce ONLY healthy dogs. We need to identify a genetic marker to eliminate genes which carry these painful, life shortening diseases. By all means, breed… Read more »
Charlotte Mackaness
Guest
3 months 6 days ago
It is absolutely true that the health tests offer no guarantee (and puppy buyers need to be aware of this) but that does NOT mean that there is no point doing them or that they should not be made mandatory. Studies have shown that breeding from clear parents increases the chances of producing unaffected offspring. And the more generations of clear or late-onset parents behind puppies the better. The only way we are going to learn more about the complex inheritance and get closer to finding specific genetic markers is by breeders testing and publishing the tests openly so researchers… Read more »
Dr AS Bryden
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Dr AS Bryden
3 months 6 days ago
I am all for adequate, not excessive, health testing for all breeds where such tests exist. However I do find that many who are vociferous on the topic have a rather tunnel-visioned approach and sadly that includes members of the veterinary profession. Mrs Goodman Milne wants the KC to make testing mandatory but the big question is ‘what happens to those dogs that are not KC registered or any the back street breeders might decide not to register?’ The KC may do it for their own but they are not empowered by any official legislation – give the KC such… Read more »
Dr AS Bryden
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Dr AS Bryden
3 months 6 days ago
To add to my previous comment, the KC, without getting due credit, did I believe issue a booklet list the conditions that may affect various breeds. One of those is L-2-Hydroxyglutariac Aciduria which affects SBTs. Is it not a sad reflection on the veterinary profession that more than a few cases have been reported of owners having to explain to their vets what the condition is and that there is a DNA test for it, apart from the biochemical ones and MRI scans. In addition I have heard reports of the condition. which is not exactly very common to be… Read more »
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