If you are thinking about acquiring a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel or already own one, there are some breed specific health issues that they can face in their lifetime.  It is important to become well educated and understand each problem so that you are able to advocate for your dog if you ever have to face one or more of these problems.  The goal of responsible breeding is to limit the likelihood that your cavalier will face breed specific health problems, however most are poly-genetic in nature and although we try our best to control risk factors through annual specialist clearances, DNA testing, pedigree analysis and calculating inbreeding coefficients, even the most responsible breeder cannot guarantee or promise all puppies will lead perfectly healthy lives.  Nature has a great way of keeping you humble.

Mitral Valve Disease (MVD)

Mitral Valve Disease (MVD) is the most common and life threatening health issue facing the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.  Breed research has shown that MVD is a disease that is polygenetic in inheritance and although a common finding in many breeds is especially prone to developing in Cavaliers.  Approximately 50% of the breed has a MVD heart murmur by age 5 and nearly all by age 10.  MVD typically presents itself when your Vet hears a murmur on auscultation.  Any breeding dogs must be clear of heart disease within one year of breeding.  The North American heart protocol states that breeding dogs must have a clear heart over 2.5 years and have parents that were heart clear over 5 by auscultation.  Some breeders are now using a modified Danish heart protocol that makes use of auscultation and echocardiograph at the age of 18 months.

I recommend that all Cavalier owners start having their dogs tested by Cardiologist after the age of 5.  Most Cavalier Clubs hold annual health clinics that have heart testing available at them. Make sure you ask your breeder about upcoming clinics near you.   More specific information regarding MVD can be found on the links below.

  1.     Mitral Valve Disaese and the Cavalier – A very informative Facebook group full of cavalier owners.  Invitation by request only.
  2.     Mitral Valve Disease and the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel – Cavalier Health, an extensive database of research information
  3.     Mitral Valve Disease – A look at MVD from the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club of Canada

Chiari Malformation and Syringomyelia (CM/SM)



Info coming soon

Hips and Patellar Luxation

Info coming soon

Episodic Falling, Dry Eye/Curly Coat Syndrome

Info coming soon

Large Blood Platelets

Info coming soon