Research that could help reduce the incidence of Syringomyelia
(SM) in the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and other toy breeds, and
inform responsible breeding practices, has been published in the
Kennel Club and BioMed Central's Canine Genetics and Epidemiology
The research, funded by the Kennel Club Charitable Trust, looks at
the incidence of SM in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and its link
to head shape in certain dog breeds, and identified two significant
risk factors associated with this link, the extent of brachycephaly
and the distribution of doming of the cranium.
The study found that brachycephaly is associated with a
malformation of the skull, known as Chiari-like Malformation (CM),
and concluded that the findings, combined with the British
Veterinary Association/Kennel Club CM/SM scoring scheme, may lead
to a reduction in incidence of CM/SM through selection against risk
aspects of conformation, meaning that breeders will be able to make
more informed choices regarding which dogs they breed from to
ensure healthy puppies.
Thomas Mitchell, lead author of the study, said: "The project
represents a combined effort between researchers, breeders and the
Kennel Club Charitable Trust, which funded the study. The
research was successful in finding indicators in the head shape of
Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, which will help to safeguard a
healthy future for dogs by allowing breeders to make more informed
breeding decisions with this new tool."
Aimée Llewellyn, Health Information Manager at the Kennel Club,
said: "The findings of this research are very interesting and will
likely prove invaluable for breeders who wish to make sensible and
informed choices when it comes to breeding healthy puppies.
"The open-access publication of research in Canine Genetics and
Epidemiology means that any interested parties, including dog
breeders, owners, veterinarians and scientists, are able to benefit
from it without cost, and we would recommend that anyone interested
in canine genetics and advancements in canine health keeps an eye
on the journal as more and more research studies are being
published. The extended lay summaries, designed to make the
research more accessible to non-scientists help make Canine
Genetics and Epidemiology a great source for clear and informative
research on dog health, for everyone."
To view the complete research paper, 'Syringomyelia: determining
risk and protective factors in the conformation of the Cavalier
King Charles Spaniel dog', visit www.cgejournal.org/content/1/1/9/abstract.
More information on the British Veterinary Association/Kennel Club
CM/SM scheme, and other Kennel Club dog health initiatives, can be
found at www.thekennelclub.org.uk/health.