Monday, March 28, 2011

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel breeding dogs, and MRI

Did you know?
Approximately every other month, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel breeding dogs are MRI'd in Southern Ontario, at Matheson Blvd. Veterinary Services?

Did you know?
A lot of breeders in the southern Ontario area, have not only had one dog MRI'd, but many now have completed MRI's on all of their breeding dogs?

Did you know?
Each MRI takes approximately one hour. 30 minutes for imaging, and 15 minutes to put the dog under, and wake them up.

Many like to talk negatively about breeders not doing their part. Around here, and I'd venture to guess in many other parts of the world, it is the opposite.

We are a small cavalier community doing the best we can, to ensure our breeds future. We're not perfect, and breeding decisions are far from always black and white. What we are is committed, and passionate.

MRI in Action
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General info about MRI;

* MRI is an invasive procedure for a dog, as it requires them to be put under general anesthesia. Anytime you elect to have your dog put under for any procedure, there is a serious associated risk. Dogs can, and occasionally do, react poorly to anesthesia. Breeders are a mess each time they elect to send a dog in for MRI.

* MRI is very expensive. We are very fortunate in Ontario to have a wonderful partnership with Matheson Blvd. Veterinary Services to scan breeding dogs. Their staff is wonderful, and our cavaliers are treated like royalty.

* MRI has enabled syringomyelia and chiari malformation research to progress and evolve. A lot has been learned, and we are still learning.

* How the dog is positioned during its MRI, can impact the imaging significantly. CM, and SM may be missed completely due to poor positioning.

* Microchips implanted in the traditional spot of between the shoulder blades, create a challenge when trying to produce an accurate, and clear image. If you are planning on MRIing your dog in the future, consider implantation lower on the shoulder.

My good friend Karen Kennedy wrote an excellent article on the basics of MRI. She is a member of the CKCSCC health and education committee, and my girls adore her boys. Her article is easy to read, and understand. If you are wanting to learn more, you can find it HERE.

Intubation equipment.
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Getting ready to be put under for MRI
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Out and ready to be imaged
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Recovery and waking up
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Want to do your part to help our breed? Here is what you can do.

* Purchase Cavaliers from reputable breeders who have completed board certified testing. Reputable breeders will be willing to show you those test results, and engage in open conversation about testing. Not all breeders have access to MRI, but at minimum should be completing board certified testing on heart, and eyes and following breeding protocols. Most do patella, and hips as well.

Without wonderful homes, and dedicated pet owners, committed breeders are unable to do what they love to do, improve upon and better the breed.

* Have a Cavalier who is over 6, registered, and has not shown any symptoms of syringomyelia? Consider having them MRI'd for research purposes. More info HERE, and HERE.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Grooming a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

95% of the time Molly lives at the farm with my parents. She flies through the fields collecting every bit of dirt, and dust she can. She rolls on the deck, jumps through the snow, and chases birds, and squirrels. She loves living on the farm and takes her duty of being a "farm" dog very seriously.

Being a black and tan who is maturing with age, she is starting to grow an incredible coat. My Mom keeps her tangle free, and as clean as she can, but more often than not she looks exactly what she is; a spoiled princess living on a farm.

When she comes to visit I always cringe looking at her coat. In truth though, it doesn't take long to have it laying flat and looking good when the right tools are used.

Looking like a farm girl
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Beautiful girl with a wild coat!
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  1. The first step is to throw her in the bath! You don't stand a chance of taming that coat without it being completely wet.
  2. Wash, and condition thoroughly. My two favourites are Vellus, and Chris Christensen Spectrum 10. Make sure you dilute the products if instructed. They really do work better that way! If things are really out of control, add a clarifying shampoo into the mix. Clarifying shampoo - shampoo - conditioner.
  3. Buy yourself a Chris Christensen Wooden Pin Brush, trust me. You'll never buy another brush again.
  4. Use a dryer with a cool setting. Use the pin brush, and cool dryer to smooth and get the coat to lay in the right direction.
  5. Get yourself a drying coat, dog pajamas, or a snug fitting dog t-shirt, I've even pinned a towel in a pinch. When the coat is laying flat, but not entirely dry, use Vellus Satin Cream to keep hair going in the direction you want. Quickly dress dog before they have time to shake, and send everything flying in the wrong direction again.
  6. Clip nails, clean ears, brush teeth - after the drying coat/shirt/pajamas are on.
  7. Dry ears completely. Ears at my house always look like somewhat of a mess. If you want them looking nice for longer than 2 minutes after dry, put on a snood!
Coat tamed for now..
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Under the coat and snood, you end up with this;
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Everyone adapts their own ways for keeping their Cavaliers coats in control. I had a few tips when I was learning, but I mostly used trial, and error on my own. If you do this after every bath the coat should learn to stay flat, and laying in the same direction.

Zo, and Mylee could go visit the farm for a month without a bath and their coat would still be laying flat when they came home. They'd be filthy, but their coat wouldn't be insane, and all over the place. Unless Mom bathed them without a coat.

If you let them dry naturally with no intervention, you are guaranteed wild woman fur every time.

Spay/neuter coats are different than intact males, and females. For cavaliers with thick, unruly coats, start with a Mars Coat King. Even a knock off one works well from what I've heard.

To a clean doggy weekend!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Gilded Icing Designs and a Black and Tan Princess

A few weekends ago Molly and I attended the Ontario Breeder's Association show held in Markham, Ontario. There were no wins that weekend, but we had a ton of fun and Molly showed beautifully for me.

The best part of the show was not the show itself but seeing friends and doing some doggy shopping. One of my good friends in attendance was Gwenne August. Gwenne owns Gilded Icing Designs, and makes the most amazing and unique pet apparel for dogs. Her coats are pure works of art and so incredibly cute.

In Markham, Princess Molly modeled some coats on behalf of Gilded Icing Designs. Gwenne also happens to be a fantastic photographer. I opened my email the other day to find beautiful photos of my sassy princess, they truly made my day. The lighting in the arena was crappy and I couldn't take a picture in there even if I wanted to.

Show time!
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Beautiful girl
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I love the above pictures so much that I hope to ask Gwenne's permission to use them for my CKCSCC yearbook ad.

Gwenne took a bunch of pictures of Molly being a model in Gilded Icing Design wear. What a posh girl.
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The attention to detail on Gwenne's coats is what makes them. Teddy bear buttons, scarves, and the softest feeling fabric on the inside.
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My favourite colour is purple and Molly happens to look stunning in it!
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Her design is easy to put on and covers a lot of the belly. They are both very warm and unique! My poor drained wallet is itching to buy coats for Zo and Mylee. Yikes!
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Thank you Gwenne for the beautiful pictures. You are a wonderful friend and your coats are amazing. I know what my next major "doggy" purchase will be.

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Sunday, March 13, 2011

The 2011 Purina National

Every March, the red carpet's come out, and the stage is set for Canada's most prestigious dog show, the Purina National. A Canadian Kennel Club charity event hosted by Purina, the show attracts dogs from all over Canada, and the United States.

The main event is conformation, but there is much to see, and do!

In conformation events, dogs are judged on;

* Type
* Structure
* Movement
* Temperament

My blog post entitled; Evaluating show potential discusses those criteria more thoroughly.

Judges carefully evaluate their classes, and choose winners. The dog, and handler, that wins“Best of Breed," moves on to show in their "Group."

The winner from each "Group" moves onto the premier event of the night, "Best in Show."


CKC categorizes breeds into seven “Groups.”
Group One: Sporting
Group Two: Hounds
Group Three: Working
Group Four: Terriers
Group Five: Toys
Group Six: Non-sporting
Group Seven: Herding

Best in Show, Saturday March 12, 2011 was Am. GCH. / Can Ch. Alaman The Bees Knees; a beautiful white Standard Poodle handled by Chrystal Murray, and bred by Christine Nethery and Alan Waterman.

The CKCSCC and many other breed clubs, setup informational booths.

Those in attendance, had the chance to speak with breeders, and meet the dogs up close.

It was a wonderful opportunity to educate the public on how to find a responsible breeder, and stress the importance of finding a breed that fits your lifestyle.

Judging by the crowd around the obedience rings, I wasn't the only one in complete awe.

The discipline, focus, and bond, that obedience dogs have with their owners, is nothing short of incredible.


I’ve caught the obedience bug, and can’t wait to get started!

The CKC and Purina, once again put on an incredible, seemingly flawless event.


Maybe next year a little b&t princess, and her owner, will be ready to compete on the red carpet!

Have you ever attended a dog show? Do you have the show bug?

A big thank you to Debbie and David Souch for the photo's.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Bath Time

It's bad enough that we had to have a bath tonight. Then she went and got the camera out. Always pure doggy abuse around here. Will you come save us?

We even got our teeth brushed, ears cleaned and nails trimmed. Life is rough!

Molly looking cute and clean!




If this isn't looks can kill I don't know what is!



Are we done yet?


Zo got to miss out tonight much to her delight. Safe from the bath abuse for another night. Her turn is coming....


We're off to the Purina National this weekend.


The Purina National is Canada's biggest dog show and it is held right in my backyard at the Toronto International Centre. The red carpet's come out, and there is lots of shopping to be had! I had planned on showing Molly this weekend, but with school, and her needing some more experience, I decided to skip it. Maybe we can do it next year. So instead of taking Molly I am planning on taking just my camera and meeting a good friend there. I likely won't be able to get any decent pictures with the horrible indoor lighting but it will be fun to try regardless. I need to bring my camera with me more! Cavaliers are at 8am in the morning. YUCK. So not a morning person.

Enjoy your weekend!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Mice have friends, Mylee knows

My poor blog has been so neglected this week. I haven't managed to visit any, or comment on anything. I'm feeling very disconnected from the blogging world! School has consumed me this week. With several assignments due and almost due, and two midterms to finish out the week it was rough. Not much sleep, and entirely too much work and study. I don't think I've been so glad to see a weekend since I started the program!

My second blog post is coming up due so I will be continuing on in my mini blog series about showing a dog. It will be on some basic training things for the show ring. I don't know much but I do know basics! I have so much to improve upon in that area. I hope to take some pictures at handling class tomorrow night. It'll be good to get the camera out!

Like the title says we have mice. Gross. Mylee however thinks it is awesome. She is a wicked little killer. She caught one a week or so ago, and now she is on patrol in all areas of the house. You only have to walk by the area near the fireplace where she caught her victim and she gets all worked up... silly little red monster. Now it is gated off and all my stuff stored under there is pulled out. Previously all wildlife that she has caught has been outdoors. This is the first victim that was actually *in* the house. YUCK.

It is serious business hunting mice. She is the laziest dog ever, unless there is something to kill and then she is fast and to the point. Efficient quick kills only for this girl! When she is excited she makes this awful high pitched screaming/bark, it is horrible to listen to and very embarrassing when in public. It sounds like someone is trying to kill her! You'll see what I mean in the video.

As you can see Zo is clueless. She can't figure out how to hunt or what the ruckus is over. Mylee is sitting on my bin of future whelping and puppy supplies. It normally lives IN the cupboard where the murder occurred.

Here is to hoping there are no more mice incidents this week. I suppose I shouldn't worry, after all Mylee will make short work of them.