Mitral Valve Disase or MVD is the leading cause of death in the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Almost all of our beloved dogs will eventually be afflicted with MVD. Over half will have MVD before they are five years old.
It is our duty as their guardians to become as educated as we can regarding MVD. Read and research all you can, have conversations with other cavalier owners and most importantly have a conversation with your breeder about the heart history and testing behind your cavalier.
Responsible breeders have been working diligently trying to delay the onset and severity of Mitral Valve Disease. The health conscious will know their lines inside and out. They will be able to show you heart clearances on their dogs. Cavaliers should not be bred from before they are 2.5 years of age or if their parents were diagnosed with MVD before five years of age.
Fortunately for our Cavaliers veterinary medicine has come a long way in regards to diagnosis and treatment. Many cavaliers with MVD can live comfortably for several years with careful treatment, management and monitoring.
Early detection and intervention are extremely important.
Make sure that you have your vet listen to your dogs heart at every appointment. When they reach their fourth or fifth birthday it is my personal recommendation to start taking them annually for an auscultation by a board certified cardiologist.
One of the best ways to do this is to attend a sponsored clinic through your local breed or regional clubs. Your breeder should be able to direct you to where you can go to get a proper auscultation.
This past weekend the Cavalier Fanciers of Southern Ontario hosted their annual heart and eye clinic. Three of my four had auscultations completed. Molly for breeding purposes, Zo(5) and Mylee(4) for peace of mind. Sadie missed out this time as she is still a puppy. Thankfully all were clear.
The one I really want to celebrate though is Zoey.
I am thrilled to share that at five years of age Zoey is in the 50% of Cavaliers that are still heart clear. Her mother has been heart clear up until this past year and her father has stayed clear as well, so I am hoping she takes after her parents.
There have been some other major over 5 milestones to celebrate in my cavaliers history.
Sadie’s father (8), grandfather (6) great grandfather (9), and great grandmother (9) are all still heart clear. Molly’s mother (6), father (6), and grandfather(9) are all are still heart clear as well. *That* is what heart health should look like.