When I was 15 years old my family brought home Bramble, a Black/Tan Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. I adored her she was gentle and gave the best cuddles. I have suffered with Anxiety since I was a teenager and she was my saviour. When she was 4 we found out she had a heart murmur. We were not aware like many Cavalier owners of the crippling and painful diseases plaguing the breed. 20th of July 2015 was the day we had to finally say goodbye to our beautiful girl the day our hearts will never forgot the pain we felt as we gave her our last kisses and cuddles, our whole world came crashing down. she was only 9 years old and within the last 2 years of her life we had to watch the poor girls health suffer, watch her choke every time she got up, watch her rib cage expand as she tried to breath, watch how uncomfortable she was just trying to sleep. We pumped her full of medication just to keep her alive. The feeling of guilt and helplessness as our beloved friend deteriorates, often rapidly, before your eyes.
There are several common diseases facing Cavaliers, including:
- Mitral Valve Disease (MVD)
Normally diagnosed following the detection of a heart murmur, severe cases can eventually lead to heart failure, most Cavaliers have this disease by the time they reach 10 years old (if they survive that long)
- Chiari-like malformation (CM)
The way the cavalier is bred to look, with a small head and pushed back snout often means that the dogs skull is too small to accommodate the size of their brain, this condition can often lead to…
- Syringomyelia (SM)
A painful disease most commonly caused by CM where fluid-filled sacks develop on the spinal cord near the brain. It is also known as “neck scratcher’s disease”, because one of its common signs is scratching in the air near the neck.
Dog lovers – unite for change!
Everyone loves dogs, but what many people are not aware of is that some of our favourite and most popular pedigree breeds like the Cavalier are routinely living with chronic discomfort and pain as a consequence of how they've been bred and many have been misled to believe that these problems are simply ‘normal’ for the breed, and that there’s nothing that can be done about it. Luckily, it doesn’t have to be this way…
Myself, my partner Damien and our beautiful tri Cavalier Tilli will be climbing Mount Snowdonia in Wales on Sunday 17th of July 2016. We will be climbing the mountain in memory of bramble and will be taking a part of her with us as she loved to climb and be outdoors. We will also be climbing the mountain for all the other Cavaliers around the world that have lots their battle to one of these horrendous diseases and have sadly passed over Rainbow Bridge. We will be raising as much money as we can to try and stop Cavaliers being Bred without being health tested first. Cavaliers can be born free of these diseases if breeders stopped breeding them for all the wrong reason. Imagine a world where cavaliers commonly reached their teens without suffering MVD or SM. Where Labradors and German Shepherds did not suffer from crippling hip dysplasia and where Pugs and Bulldogs were not increasingly having to undergo surgery to widen their airways due to poor breeding.