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Is five too old too breed a female cavalier thats in good...

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Question by Rachel
Submitted on 7/2/2004
Related FAQ: rec.pets.dogs: Cavalier King Charles Spaniels Breed-FAQ
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Is five too old too breed a female cavalier thats in good condition. What is mitral valve disease?

Answer by Miss Cathy
Submitted on 12/22/2004
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Mitral Valve Disease (MVD) is a very serious heart problem that has a significant genetic component. While many breeds of small dogs have a propensity for this particular problem, there is a significant incidence in Cavaliers with the rates of incidence more than 20 times higher in Cavaliers than in other small breeds. This is thought to be due, in large part, to indiscriminant breeding practices.

In Mitral Valve Disease the valve between the upper and lower chamber of the left side of the heart deteriorates and doesn’t work properly. There are variations in the severity of the disease ranging from symptom free heart murmurs to life threatening heart failure.  The earlier it is diagnosed and the earlier the dog first exhibits symptoms, the more serious the condition is likely to be.

The fact that you are not familiar with this problem makes me a little bit concerned about your experience in breeding Cavaliers. Given that there are many other problems (eye and joint problems to mention but a couple), breeders have been following strict guidelines for breeding to help minimize the incidence of these kinds of problems. I would recommend joining your local CKCS Club and getting advice and guidance from the experts if you really are interested in breeding your pup. At the very least, it would be critical for you to mate her with a dog whose heart, eyes and joints are certified to be healthy. Good luck!


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