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Health and Testing

Mitral Valve Disease, known as MVD, is the degeneration of the heart's mitral valve.  It is a serious health issue affecting Cavaliers.  A large percentage of Cavaliers will develop MVD to a degree at some point in their life.  Despite this, many Cavaliers live long, full lives and may never require any medication for this health issue.  Some will need medication at some point, usually in their later years.  I do annual heart testing with a Cardiologist with all of my dogs and follow up with an echocardiogram.


Another serious health issue for Cavaliers is Syringomyelia (SM).  SM is a disorder in which a cyst or herniation called Syrinx forms within the spinal cord.  SM causes a wide variety of neuropathic symptoms due to damage and degeneration of the spinal cord.  Early on, I learned the importance of MRI scanning in order to identify SM.  All of my Cavaliers are given an MRI scan before breeding.  My girls are SM-0, and some are even three generations SM clear!


In addition, all of my Cavaliers have their eyes tested by an Ophthalmologist.  OFA Hip and patella testing is also done.  I also do DNA genetic testing for Dry Eye, Curly Coat, and Episodic Falling syndromes.  When you purchase a puppy from Whiteriver Cavaliers, you will receive a pedigree and all health testing certificates, including pictures of the parents' MRI scans.

I encourage you to do your own research to fully understand the health issues that may affect Cavaliers.  With testing and selective breeding, ethical breeders have made improvements, though it is important to know that a puppy's health can never be completely guaranteed.  I cannot guarantee my puppies will be free from heritable diseases, but testing their parents does reduce the risk.  Even with all of the testing and preventative care I provide for my puppies, aspects of a dog's health can be unpredictable and unforeseeable.  Good health can also depend on the right food, care, and staying away from chemicals and over vaccinating.  It is important to purchase your Cavalier from a committed, responsible breeder.  I am always happy to recommend breeders that do health testing.

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