Toby this morning has been booked in for his MRI scan at the Downs Veterinary Practice in Bristol for the 11th February with Treacle. Treacle is a first cross Cavapoo with her mum being Dolly and her dad being Reggie, she will be two in June. This will be our second crossbreed. Belle who was our first crossbreed to be scanned on the British Veterinary Association (BVA)/Kennel Club (KC) Scheme will be scanned again, either this year or the beginning of next to see if the detection of Central Canal Dilation (CCD) in her scan was the prelude to Syringomyelia. Slight CCD is not necessary a worry on it's own, but if a history of Syringomyelia (SM) in the family or breed, then it often is the first sign before progressing towards prolapsing of the cerebellum, known as SM and it is advisable to re-scan again a year or more later, to see if any progression has taken place. Sometimes dogs that are scanned showing slight CCD, can be re-scanned at a later date to show no sign of CCD then.
The BVA/KC Chiari Malformation (CM)/Syringomyelia (CM) Scheme as now been going around three years and if you look at the amount of dogs scanned on it, you get a feeling that breeders are not really fully supporting the scheme. This is the breakdown of breeds submitted to the scheme, baring in mind that all dogs whether pure or cross can be scanned on this scheme. The figures are as follows :
Australian Terrier 2
Boston Terrier 1
Cavalier KCS 222
Griffon Bruxellois 36
Petite Brabancon 3
Looking at that list (Note only two crossbreeds have been done on the scheme, one of them is our Belle) and knowing over 5'000 Cavalier pups are registered every year with the KC, you might think that there are not many breeders out there really doing much to improve the health of this breed and you would be right. Admittedly a few breeders scan their dogs off this scheme at a lot higher expense and one would wonder why they do that, so I'm going to give why I think some breeders scan at a lot higher expense off the scheme ( On the scheme a dog can be MRI scanned from £360 per dog and off the scheme you won't get much change from £1200 per dog for the scan and often a fee on top of that for the vet to grade the scan) and why lots of breeders don't scan either on this scheme or off of it ?
Now to answer the question first of, "Why some breeders would prefer to pay a lot more to scan their Cavaliers off BVA/CM scheme, at a lot more expense ?"
To answer this we first have to look at Chiari Malformation and give it the full name that a neurological specialist will give it. The full name is Chiar-like malformation, now the "like" bit is important because this is the bit vets can disagree on. The malformation that is present in the back of most Cavaliers skulls by most vets is thought to be similar what we see in humans and thus the word like, but some vets disagree that it is Chiari Malformation as we see it presented in humans, they do though agree there is a malformation at the back of the skull involving the occipital bone, but whether it is Chiari malformation is not totally agreed on and some vets call the malformation, Occipital Hypoplasia (OH) or Caudal Occipital Mailformation Syndrome (COMS).
Some vets will when asked to grade for CM, grade it 0 even though there is malformation of the occipital bone, this does not mean the dog has no malformation at the back of the skull, it just means the vet does not think the malformation is CM. So if you are a breeder and so far all Cavaliers graded on the scheme with the BVA/KC have the grade 2, being the highest grade for CM, then I think it would be mighty tempting to go to a vet that is known to grade Cavaliers 0 for CM, than a scheme where so far as I type this, every Cavalier has been graded 2 for CM.
So we are seeing Cavaliers graded off the scheme apparently clear of CM, but I think this is a red herring. I'm pretty sure these Cavaliers have malformation of the occipital bone, the misleading bit is vets disagreeing on what is Chiari malformation or not, maybe we should drop the CM grade and just record abnormal formation of occipital bone and the degree by using a grading system until everyone can agree on what to call the abnormality, because what is happening at the moment is at best misleading to potential puppy buyers of Cavaliers and at worst leading to breeders thinking the condition is not a problem within the breed and we carry on as normal.
All Cavaliers that have been diagnosed with SM on the BVA/KC Scheme have an abnormality of the occipital bone and most vets now use the term CM for this abnormality. When we see SM without CM, it is if the head has recieved a trauma and the brain has been pushed to the back of the skull, or brain swelling has occurred from trauma or illness causing prolapse of the cerbellum.
So to conclude why some breeders at a lot more expense prefer to have their Cavaliers graded off the scheme ? The simple answer is, because on average the outcome is more favourable for grading for CM, than having Cavaliers graded on the BVA/KC scheme.
Now to the question, "Why lots of breeders don't scan either on the scheme or off of it ?
The first reason is simple, a lot just don't care and breed Cavaliers simply for business and to put cash in their pocket, why bother with more expense and time when they can just sell them a little cheaper and the public still roll up and buy them, no questions asked (I will go into the public's responsibility a bit later), but when we see the ones at the top of the Cavalier breeding tree, the show producers, not scanning their Cavaliers the reasoning becomes a little more interesting, they believe they own the breed and they are the breed, so they are beyond reproach and here we can often see a big similarity to religious ideology. Many pure breeders have strong religious convictions more often Christian and the ideology of pure has it's origins firmly from religion and the joker card of all religions is faith. If you can't explain it or it contradicts, use the joker card, "Faith"
Lets have a look at the traditional Christian view towards animals. God created animals for the use of human beings and human beings are therefore entitled to use them in any way they want. Animals are distinctively inferior to human beings and are worth little if any moral consideration, because humans have souls and animals don't and humans have reason and animals don't. Lastly Christian thought was and in some cases is still very heavily humano-centric and only considers animals in relation to human beings, and not on their own terms. If you think that these are not common ideologies still in Christianity, you might like to hear that recently at school my oldest son found himself defending animals against this very ideology in a Religious Education lesson, when another boy said that "Animals have no conscience and are here for human use only." The traditional Christian ideology gives an interesting look into the mindset of the show producer/breeder.
I have a joker card I play with my husband David when we dispute something and is my joker, uterus card, I will say "I can produce little humans from my uterus", end of dispute, as anything a man does can not come close to that, not even in the same room, sorry men I know the truth hurts. Asexual reproduction was around before sexual reproduction, asexual reproduction is always female, so it would not be hard to imagine that maybe you males are an after thought, in evolutionary terms. Lol. Interesting piece to read is from a book called "13 Things That Don't Make Sense", by Michael Brooks, Chapter 10, "SEX, There are better ways to reproduce", maybe not so enjoyable though. Lol. If opened minded enough to investigate the question of "Why sexual reproduction ?" you will find it an interesting question to contemplate and to try and answer.
Show producers of dogs, breed and produce dogs with the goal to produce show winners and they tend to of lost what exactly a Cavalier is first and foremost a dog, a common factor in religion, first and foremost we are humans, everyone of us, when we lose that commonality to each other and attach another label, history shows us that this is often the precursor to genocide. Labels objectify and often can detach humans from the reality of what they are really doing.
For the show producer the dog only has to be sound for around three to five years of it's life and when looking at problems in breeds, you may notice that a lot of the hereditary problems at high levels in breeds start to rear their head around the three to five year old age, so until programs like "Pedigree Dogs Exposed" started to show the volume of the hereditary problems in pure breeds, the show producers were not that worried about dogs getting problems once past the show ring shelf life, but this attitude to health conditions has come around to the chickens coming home to roost and health problems have started to develop at an earlier age and earlier age and thus impacting on the show life of the dogs produced for showing. Years ago I remember being told by someone who shows Cavaliers why they don't eye test their Cavaliers, "I don't bother with testing for hereditary cataracts, because often they don't start until a Cavalier is around ten years old and most Cavaliers don't live that long, " she then laughed.
So show breeders breed exactly for that purpose to show and for showing the dog only has to be sound for around three to five years of its life. So if you have a show champion which comes with the added bonus of prestige amongst your peers, why would you wish to shatter the illusion of perfection, by vets who have no comprehension of the time money and prestige you face losing if your dog is proven to be anything but as close to perfection for its breed it can be. So when a BVA/KC Scheme starts which disproves the perfection you thought you have achieved in your chosen breed Cavaliers, do you graciously except your wrongs and strive to right the wrong, no, you stop using the scheme and call it into disrepute. The simple answer I feel to why many show breeders do not use the BVA/KC CM/SM Scheme is because it does not record what they want to here.
I'm going to end this bit with responsibility of the public buying puppies. Yes, you do have a responsibility in the grand scheme of things. You need to do your research and the most important thing is patience which I have mentioned before and can not stress hard enough, so I'm going to put it in higher case, because it is a common misconception that you understand a word better if it is in higher case, so here goes nothing, "Be PATIENT when getting a puppy."
I blogged a couple days with this link :
Please take a look at the petition and sign it if you agree with it. Thanks to all those who have already signed it and left a comment.
Sunday morning I had just returned from milking around 9 am and was washing my hands in the kitchen sink, watching the dogs up on the lawn and our neighbour came up the lane riding on his horsem and leading one. Toby ran up the garden and jumped the fence into the paddock like it was not there, to then disappear over the hedge to follow our neighbour up the road with his horses. On seeing him jump the fence I ran outside and said to our neighbour, "Did you see him jump that then ? " He replied, "Yes", and was equally as impressed as I was by Toby's skill at jumping a fence, just pitching the top of it. Toby is used to horses, so his intention was not to bark or chase them, but to join them on their jaunt. I retrieved him and passed the time off day with our neighbour who was impressed by Toby's show of agility.
So later we tried to recreate the moment. First of all Toby just looks at me (as I thought he might jump it by me just calling him from the other side) trying to work out what exactly is going on and yes, I do try and use our chicken as a lure, saying something along the lines of, "Look Toby, yummy chicken." When we got chicken again a couple years ago after a six month break, he was a little obsessed by them at first, watching their every move and the obsession was not I want to hug a chicken, more like I want to taste a chicken obsession. As you will notice our son Alfie who was filming cannot hold a camera still very well.
I then jumped back over the fence and he then follows on behind me, jumping the three and half foot fence from a stand still, which I still think is impressive for a dog around a foot tall. When he jumped it earlier he jumped it at speed, taking off a stride away, just pitching the top. You can see why we have problems with him going off hunting and that fence is being replaced with a higher, picket fence.
Toby we have had since eight weeks old along with his sister Jessica and was three years old just before Christmas. I really hope his MRI scan is good, as I think Toby could be a dark horse amongst the Poundlane pack.
Lastly photos of the pack over the last week or so. I'm still struggling a bit with my cold having no sense of taste or smell and tonight cooking dinner, had to ask my oldest son to taste the leek and cheese sauce I had made, because I tasted it and nothing, tasted it again and nothing registered on the smell or taste buds. Asked our son Bert to taste it and this was his critique of my sauce, "Nice Mum, maybe it could do with a bit more leek, but then it might be to leeky." Lol
“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 with Bumble and Blottie, waiting patiently to be unleashed, November 2018
Hello, I am Jane, you might of guessed, I love dogs. We are situated in the North Devon countryside, England, United Kingdom. Our home is occupied by my husband, David, our children, pack of dogs and me.