Thursday, December 16, 2010

The importance of a yearly Cardiologist visit for a CKCS

So often this topic is posted about and discussed. What breeders are doing, what are they not doing, who are they using for breeding, who is doing their MVD testing, who isn't, who is following protocol, who isn't... etc etc.

The sad reality of it all is that regardless of who is doing what and who isn't almost all Cavaliers at some point or another will develop Mitral Valve Disease. It can also be said that many dogs regardless of breed will develop MVD as it is the most common form of heart disease found in dogs. The issue in our breed is how soon they can develop it and how fast it may progress even if it is developed late.

Like other problems in our breed there are more unanswered questions than there are absolute certainties regarding MVD. Making good breeding decisions, buying from a reputable responsible breeder, and completing yearly breed screening are really our only plans of action.

One thing remains constant and it is the single best thing you can do for your Cavalier in regards to MVD is to book them a yearly appointment with a *Cardiologist* for at minimum an auscultation. Yes a Cardiologist. Not your normal Veterinarian.

Your Vet may be the best Vet ever, extremely knowledgeable. and treat you and your Cavalier wonderfully, however the bottom line is that they are not skilled in regards to picking up early and lower grade murmurs. They may be able to detect a murmur if it becomes quite serious, however with our Cavaliers early detection and careful monitoring gives them the best defense for MVD. The extra cost and or trip is worth it for peace of mind.

Monday was that day for us. Miss Zo and a good friends visiting Cavalier made the journey down to see Dr. Minors at Mississauga/Oakville Veterinary Emergency Centre. Dr. Minors is very familiar with Cavaliers after working with our CKCSCC Heart Study for soooo many years. She is excellent with our Cavaliers and has listened to thousands of CKCS hearts.

I put Zo up on the table where she happily wiggled her hellos and then I started the agonizing wait as Dr. Minors carefully listened to her heart. After what seemed hours I finally heard what every cavalier owner and breeder wants to hear, Zoey's heart sounds good, no murmur detected. Relief and peace of mind... until next year that is, when we get to do it all over again.

Taken with my Iphone earlier today.. Not the best quality but great for snapping those shots when you don't have your camera in reach.

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