Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Beating the odds - Mitral Valve Disease

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.


LinkResponsible 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.

Sadie's grandfather having his heart listened to

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.

Mylee helping perform an echocardiogram

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.

My beautiful heart clear girl

All that frisbee helps keep Zo muscular and fit

Zo ALWAYS has to have her tongue out for the camera

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.


  1. Very happy for all of you. Next year I should take Max.

  2. Thanks for that info. I love cavaliers and this disease does scare me

  3. Congratulations Zo! Your Mommy is very proud! Using selective breeding based on health testing is the only way we can hope to improve upon heart health in our Cavaliers. It is important that pet owners do so too - so they know the heart health of their Cavalier and they can pass this important information onto their breeder. Together, we can all make a difference!

  4. Well done Zo! :) Thank you for all this info. My Izzie had a small grade 1 murmur when she was only 10 weeks old, but it closed as she grew, and thankfully both are clear so far.

    p.s. I added pictures of my pups in your lovely snood onto my blog if you want to check them out!

    Amanda | http://notsocountry.blogspot.com/

  5. Wow! What great news Marybeth! I can only hope for such good results with my two. Maizey saw the regular vet two days and ago and he said her heart sounded good and clear. She's two months from being three and I was glad to hear she's clear so far. I have to plan ahead for the cardiologist next year since the closest one is over 500 miles away.:( So glad your girls are all clear!

    OT, but I laughed so hard when I saw the pic of Zoe standing up. She has very similar markings to Maizey and her black hair is very long too. We call this Maizey's butterfly wings since both sides are so long and almost touch the ground now.LOL I love it.

    BTW I have snood pics of Magnus for you, just waiting till Maizey gets feeling a bit better to take hers and then I'll put them into a post and email you. Thanks for them we LOVE them!!!

  6. What a great post.. well done my friend. Keep it up :-)
    Lots of love from you know who too :-) X X X

  7. Another successful CFSO event - thank you to all who volunteered! I was pretty happy Kodee at 5 was also murmur free. The clinic was barely announced and filled; maybe 2 should be run next year?