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.
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.
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.