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How much research into genetic disease did you do before purchasing your pet?



"It will take a quiet afternoon and a huge box of Kleenex to read it all."

Lynn W. 

A Word From Sandy Smith

It is essential for all of us involved in the life of a Cavalier to recognize and treat this painful, debilitating condition as early as possible in order to minimize spinal cord damage and to increase the chances of a reasonable quality of life. This is not a rare condition in this breed anymore and it is extremely important at this critical time to promote awareness and support gene research endeavours.

Breeders are encouraged to follow the breeding guidelines for SM and safeguard future generations of Cavaliers by continuing to acknowledge the prevalence of the disease and by providing MRIs for all breeding dogs until such time as research provides more definitive answers with regard to the mode of inheritance. They should breed with the utmost compassion and knowledge.

Pet owners of Cavaliers should gather as much information as possible and understand that when they acquire one of these precious pets, they must be prepared to care for and absorb the expense that the treatment for this disease is likely to incur, should it be necessary. Hopefully, breed clubs will consider the importance of educating members and set up programs for cost-effective diagnostic imaging and raise funds for research. A combined and cooperative effort from all concerned will minimize the numbers of affected dogs and help to keep this beautiful breed healthy for generations to come. Hopefully, this will not be construed as an alarmist point of view, but a realistic one.

All of our dedicated and caring veterinarians should be aware of and able to diagnose this disease correctly and quickly in order to reduce unnecessary suffering and expense. For the researchers, neurologists and surgeons, it is through your commitment and untiring efforts that we can go on with hope and optimism.

The facts are disappointing and heartbreaking, but cannot be ignored. For the love of Ollie and for the love of the breed, I hope that the choice will be to breed cautiously, to purchase informatively, to treat aggressively and to love unconditionally. Good luck, my sweet Cavaliers. We understand now that you are not so “wimpy” after all. You are, in fact, one of the most courageous, stoic and loyal little companions we have ever had.

Best Wishes,


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