On the 5th October I wrote the blog Heads and heartache and a couple days after posting that blog I received the email below from Linda who recently lost her Cavalier from one of the conditions I mentioned that when getting a brachycephalic breed, you could be signing yourself up for, laryngeal collapse.
Hi Jane, I have been reading your lovely blog about your Cavaliers.
I thought you may be interested to hear our experience as not many Cavalier owners seem aware of it but you have actually written about it!
Our wonderful and totally adorable Blenheim has just had to be PTS after an awful episode of ill health. He had a laryngeal collapse and was given a permanent tracheostomy at a specialist centre. I believe he had many problems because he was brachycephalic (is that the term?) No one ever warned us of potential health risks due to this and until it happened I was unaware of the issues. I am sure we could have spared him, or at least help prevent, his grade 3 laryngeal collapse if we had been better informed and been made more aware of the effects of this condition by vets dealing with him.
He began to suffer with loud snoring, gagging, panting in the heat and after exercise. I now know it is because he could not get enough breath He also suffered from dry eye diagnosed in his first year. The sad thing was that he was an intrepid little dog who loved exercise. After an anaesthetic for a routine procedure he became hoarse and shortly after that his larynx collapsed. He was just 7. His heart, for which his parents had been tested, was very good So testing can work.
I am not sure that they treat little Cavaliers holistically Ours was always at the vets with issues and we had little advice or any attempts to look at the bigger picture. I would advise Cavalier owners to check out any potential health issue and ask the vet to watch for signs of ill health. I should have made myself much more aware of potential issues and got him referred to a specialist much earlier but I did not know they existed!
I am so pleased to read that you are trying to improve the breed. We feel that there could not be a more delightful pet than a Cavalier. Ours brought such joy to so many people and we miss him dreadfully, I could never get another one unless the breed health was greatly improved, so thank you for what you do.
Best wishes with your lovely dogs, (ours also used to steal sandwiches, given a chance).
Unfortunately this is one of the conditions brachycephalic dogs are more prone to and is also a condition that dogs bred very small such as the Toy Poodle are more prone to as well and is one of the reasons why we decided against crossing the Cavalier with the toy Poodle and only cross with the middle sized Poodle, the Miniature Poodle.
Thanks Linda for sharing this, as I know corresponding with you that it has not been easy to go over the events leading up to the loss of your Cavalier boy.
“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!