Sorry for not blogging for a while but with half term and six active children about the place, dogs to walk and my Mum not yet home from hospital, blogging has not been on top of the agenda.
Yesterday was a big day for Ysobel and Dolly, also I took Millie. Dolly had no sign of the onset of Mitral Valve degenration (MVD) but Ysobel has the very early onset of MVD. Millie also has the first signs of MVD. These bitches are all 5 years old and over. I had made the choice not to breed from Millie again but will still be keeping an eye on her heart with regular heart checks but Ysobel we were hoping for one more litter and the Cardiologist Vet Mr Patterson said "if Ysobel is clear of Syringomyelia, would not rule out breeding her again." I queried him on this, as a couple years ago some will remember Charlie my Cavalier stud dog being diagnosed over 5 with the early onset of MVD and being told by Mr Patterson "that I should remove him from breeding again." Which I did and nuetered him and rehomed him and I am going to have a visit from him soon, as Vincent and his Mum have kept me informed of Charlie's on going health. Mr Patterson's reply was that he would advise that a dog be removed as they can prolificate their genes much more than through a breed but a bitch does not so much and if every Cavalier bitch at 5 like Ysobel was removed from the gene pool with just the early onset of MVD, it could mean concentrating the pool so much more that other genetic problems occur. Now we had an interesting conversation, as it was the first time that I was brave enough to mention to Mr Patterson that I crossbreed, as so often you can mention this and the reaction can go one way or the other but I must admit all vets I have discussed the merits of crossbreeding believe if done with care is the way forward especially with the health problems in Cavaliers, which I am coming very much to the conclusion can not be cured from within the breeds population. Syringomyelia and MVD are so prevalent in the breed, you get a Cavalier with a good heart and you will find its got Syringomyelia and vice versa. There are not many Cavalier's that make it over 5 without either or both conditions. This is sad but unfortunately very much the picture with this breed.
So after that you might think I'm in the back garden with a noose hanging from our Willow tree, just about to kick the chair away but surprisingly I have been revigorated, especailly from my chat at the vets yesterday with the vet and staff there. My next step is booking Dolly and Ysobel in for a MRI scan. I'm waiting on my vet to contact me to discuss breeding from Ysobel again, as she has only a very subtle murmur and want to ascertain with the strain of birth again if this will aggravate her heart condition and maybe progress it quicker. I believe talking to another vet that it will not but will wait on talking to my vet as well before deciding if breeding from Ysobel and also that she scans clear of Syringomyelia. Ysobel was scanned at 1 year and 4 months old and was clear then but under British Veterinary Association (BVA) recommendation they should be done at around 1-3 years old, then again at 3-5 years old and over 6 years old.
Now as I have said before I am breeding for better health and believe me in Cavaliers to only have a very subtle murmur being only 4 months away from 6 year old is not bad for a Cavalier and with crossing to a breed were MVD is seen in its proper place old age then the statistics should mean offspring making over 5 without MVD and a majority making double figures before MVD onset and a few not getting MVD. Any one telling you crossing is a total cure, does not know much about MVD, the same can be said if they make this claim for Syringomyelia and they know little about breeding or just want to get you to buy the puppy. The chance of these two conditions is lessened with crossbreeding (as long as the breed you cross with is not a breed also beset by either of these two conditions ) not totally eradicted as some would have you believe. The most interesting thing this year will be seeing Ysobel scanned and then her crossbreed daughter Belle. The interest will be to see how much change occurs in the skull shape with this first cross. Most, if not all Cavaliers have evidence of Chairi-like malformation and in Belle I will hope to see this improved and if from what I can just feel from the shape of her skull, not present at.
This leaves us still in limbo land knowing if I am breeding from Dolly and Ysobel. I have decided that after talking to Mr Patterson and him saying that Syringomyelia is now a bigger problem than MVD in Cavaliers that MRI scanning has got to be done especially as my crossbreeding hopes to eventually bring me back to a dog that the 1st Duke of Marlborough would recognise as the Blenheim Cavaliers he enjoyed hunting with and were known also as the Marlborough Spaniel (Blenhiems where seen to be bigger than other King Charles Spaniels at the time of the 1st Duke of Marlborough, up until Victorian times and it was showing of the Blenheims that saw their size reduced and nose length also reduced to look like the modern King Charles Spaniel breed we have today).
I will be getting intouch with all on my waiting list over the coming week and will understand those that wish not to wait on the MRI scanning and any one on my waiting list reading this, if you wish to drop me a line before I contact you about whether you are still interested or not, I would be much obliged.
I have some ideas for the future in the pipeline and will proffer them forward soon, when I have more time. I have come to understand that my breeding has to be moulded to an ideal I have in breeding a type of dog for the future and not at times the pressure of my waiting list, so one thing which will be for the future, is no waiting list until annual health tests have been done. I hate disappointing people and waiting list way ahead of health tests let alone conception of a litter can set me up for disappointing a lot of people and I feel a lot of pressure which is probably self inflicted. Yesterday holding each dog as they where examined trying to read the vets face, as he examined them is hard going and then coming back making sense of it all and the direction to go, especially with Ysobel and now I face chasing everyone up on my waiting list, so I think waiting lists after health tests have been done might be better for all concerned in the future.
Making supper beckons me !
“The greatest pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him, and not only will he not scold you,but he will make a fool of himself, too.”
― Samuel Butler
Me (Jane) with Puddin' and Teagol, waiting patiently to flush a patch of kale, December 2019
Hello, I am Jane!