Today was another big day for my dogs & myself. It was are annual vet check of all are breeding dogs & vaccinations. After finding out a week ago today that at over 5 Charlie has a heart murmer I was expecting the worst but all were clear of any sound of a heart murmer today. We have two other Cavalier boys Oscar who is two & Bobby who is nearly one they were both okay & all are girls Bonnie, Lucy, Lucinda, Millie, Ysabel & Dolly were given the heart all clear. All will have heart certificates filled in with me keeping a copy & the other copy going with a copy of the dogs 5 generation pedigree to the Cavalier heart research vet team & this information is used in research & data for this breed hopefully helping towards improving this health problem in the Cavalier. Also Pupster are nearly 7 year old neutered boy was vaccinated & heart checked & at nearly 7 his heart is clear of a murmer.
We also had are new boy Reginald microchipped & first vaccination with the vet just checking him over with no problems to report.
Rocco are Toy Poodle was heart checked to & is just over 1 years old. Although heart murmers are rarely seen in young Poodles, a dog which is going to be used for stud & especially being crossed with a breed which this is a big problem should be annually vet checked for this problem as well.
Health checking your dogs is quite an intense time especially when it comes to checking their hearts. My vet has a very good poker face when listening to my dogs hearts & there is the silence as they listen & in a moment you have either a dog with or without a heart murmer. Its tense stuff but when she nodds & says he or she is fine I breath again.
The statistics for Cavaliers & Mitral Valve Regurgitation (heart murmer) is sad reading. Since 1990 in the UK we have been keeping records of this problem & from records being done now from all over the world the statistics go like this at 1 years old 10% of Cavaliers have a Mitral Valve Regurgitation ( heart murmer) this increases by 10% each year so by 5 years old 50% of Cavaliers have this heart condition & nearly all Cavaliers have this heart condition by 10 years old if they live that long. This problem in this breed is a big one & unless breeders take great care it is a up hill struggle. All breeds can get this problem but it is seen mostly in old age were it should be as an old age problem but the problem we have in Cavaliers is how young they are getting it & the younger they get it the quicker they succumb to it. Mitral Valve Regurgitation should not be confused with puppy murmers that can go when heard in a pup at 6 to 8 weeks old, if your dog is diagnosed with Mitral Valve Regurgitation it will not get better but in some cases rapidly get worse but in many cases if 5 or over will slowly get worse until medication is needed to help them. My old boy Smidge was diagnosed with a heart murmer at 9 years old & at nearly 14 years old was only on medication for his athritis when he died from a tragic accident & I had another girl Jemima many years ago who had a heart murmer at 4 years old & lived to 13 years old & only needed medication in her last 6 months. One of the biggest helps to a dog diagnosed with a heart murmer is to keep their weight right down, regular exercise & good diet. I feed Royal Canin. They do a diet for Cavaliers which is meant to help with heart function so I asked my vet about this thinking wild claim & she has said that it will help in the long run as omega oils & L-carnitine which are in this food have been proved to help heart function so she feels it will help a Cavalier. Please try not to wrap them in cotton wool because of this condition as its about quality of life for your dog.
Do not let any Cavalier breeder pull the wool over your eyes unless they have certificates & records of parents & Gran parents of a puppy they can not even estimate when or if your pup will get this problem & they must make you aware of this problem in this breed. You may think after reading about this heart problem in this breed why do you breed these dogs but that answer would only be apparent once you have owned a Cavalier as they are one of the most loving & friendly breeds of dog you can get. They get under your skin. Thirty odd years ago when my Mum got Kerry are first Cavalier, we had always had working dogs on the farm with collies & spaniels but along came Kerry who could give any of are working spaniels a run for their money in the field & then she would come in the house muddy & wet with her beguiling look of innocents & plop herself on the nearest lap giving a look of total love & admiration to the person whos lap was now very muddy because Cavaliers are never selfish with their love.
Crossbreeding to me now every day seems ever more the right thing to do. As out breeding in breeds that have big health issues is a way forward to improve breeds & is excepted in other species like cows & horses, also other dogs breeds that are not recognised by the Kennel Club like the Patterdale Terrier & Huntaway who have breed clubs & keep ancestral records for their breeds use out breeding (crossbreeding) to improve the breed or rectify a problem in the breed. The Kennel Club needs to recognise the merits of crossbreeding with a crossbreed register recording ancestry of these dogs & that it can & will benefit purebreeds. In some purebreeds it maybe the only way they will survive. Crossbreeding though must proceed with care & done for the right reasons with the right crossing of breeds. Health & temperment must always be paramount when breeding pure or crossbreed.
“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!