A new RVC VetCompass research initiative has revealed 1 in 60 cavalier King Charles spaniels are affected by the inherited condition syringomyelia.

spaniels
Syringomyelia is believed to affect cavalier King Charles spaniels most commonly. Image: RVC.

Until now, little reliable evidence has existed on the frequency and severity of syringomyelia in the overall dog population and this has limited vets’ ability to diagnose and manage this condition.

However, according to the RVC, VetCompass’ work has “revolutionised the ability of scientists to investigate the health of companion animals”.

The knowledge hub collects anonymised clinical data from first opinion veterinary clinics across the UK, which can be analysed to answer a variety of previously unanswerable health questions.

Higher frequency

A VetCompass study published in Veterinary Record highlighted, for the first time, the frequency and severity of syringomyelia seen in general practice in the UK.

At an overall dog population level, syringomyelia is not that common, affecting 1 in 2,000 dogs. But among cavalier King Charles spaniels, the frequency of syringomyelia is much higher, affecting 1 in every 60 of the breed.

VetCompass data revealed almost 2,000 of the breed suffered from clinical syringomyelia in the UK at any one time.

VetCompass logoAir guitar

Many affected dogs show “phantom scratching”, where they try to scratch at their necks with their hind legs, but without making contact with the skin. Some people refer to this action as “playing an air guitar”.

Holger Volk, professor of veterinary neurology and neurosurgery at the RVC, said: “These VetCompass data are an eye-opener; we very frequently see Cavaliers with clinical signs of syringomyelia at RVC’s referral hospital but now we know how common it is in the real world, outside of the referral world.”

View your activity >

Leave a Reply

Be the First to Comment!

Notify of
avatar

wpDiscuz

related content

Byre Vets in Werrington, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire is the latest to be added to a network of practices located in the nearby towns of Oundle, Thrapston, Corby and Stamford.

4 mins

Leeds-based Beechwood Veterinary Group is inviting pets to free nail clipping clinics to raise money for a local rescue fund that helps pay for the treatment and care of strays.

5 mins

Coco – who suffered entropion since birth – has had her sight fully restored following eye surgery at The Mayhew Animal Home in London.

3 mins

To support National Microchipping Month in June, Virbac is providing a free support pack for practices to use in the waiting room and online – plus a chance for staff to win prizes.

2 mins

Talking about money with clients is not always a part of the job veterinary professionals enjoy. Here, Stewart Halperin gives his top tips for helping your team take the pain out of asking for payment.

23 mins

Research has demonstrated infants exposed to cats and dogs in early life may have reduced risk of developing allergies and obesity.

3 mins