BVA/KC Chiari Malformation/Syringomyelia Scheme

British Veterinary Association & The Kennel Club

The current BVA/KC scoring scheme for Chiari Malformation/Syringomyelia (CM/SM) was launched in 2012. CM stands for Chiari-like malformation, which is characterised by a defect in the development of the skull, causing the hind-part of the brain to protrude from the opening at the rear of the skull.

Syringomyelia (SM) refers to the presence of one or more fluid-filled cavities that may develop in the spinal cord, called syrinx. The aim of the scheme is to reduce or eliminate the prevalence of inherited CM and SM in dogs, and to gather further information on the extent of the disease and methods to control it.

Which breeds are screened under the Scheme?

Any breed or cross-breed may be screened under the scheme, but there are a number of breeds where the conditions are known to occur in the breed. These breeds include: Affenpinschers, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Chihuahua, Griffon Bruxellois, Havanese, King Charles Spaniel, Maltese, Papillons, Pomeranians, Toy breed crosses, Yorkshire Terrier, and rarely in Boston Terriers and Staffordshire Bull Terriers. Participation in the scheme is voluntary.

For information on the health testing recommendations for these, and all other breeds, please visit the kennel clubs Breed Information Centre.

How do I get my dog graded under the Scheme?

There are a number of veterinary centres which offer MRI scanning facilities and which follow the protocol recommended by the Scheme to ensure an adequate quality of the images. The veterinary centre then sends the MRI images  to the British Veterinary Association where they are examined and "graded" by a panel of neurologists and radiologists. Once the MRI images have been graded, the result is returned to the vet, who relates it to the owner, and a copy is sent to the Kennel Club for recording on the registration database and publication in the KC Breed Records Supplement. There is a set procedure for appealing against results under the Scheme.

What are the costs involved?

In addition to the charges levied by the veterinary centre associated with MRI imaging, the cost of having one dog graded under the scheme is currently £100.00 (inc VAT).

Number of Dogs

Charge per dog

(inc. VAT)




Re-scoring / re-grading under appeal



Duplicate copy of certification

£25 per copy

£30 per copy

Where can I get more information?

Free, detailed leaflets can be download here, or are available from either: Health & Breeder Services Department, The Kennel Club, 1-5 Clarges St, Piccadilly, London W1J 8AB or the Canine Health Schemes Department, BVA, 7 Mansfield Street, London W1G 9NQ.

For further information on the schemes please visit the  BVA website.

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Related Topics

Breed Health InformationDNA ScreeningHealth Schemes

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