Health issues are very complex and cannot be covered in detail in a report to the AGM. This will therefore be a general summary and a more comprehensive review will be placed on the website and included in a post-out to members.

2009 saw a large increase in the number of cavaliers tested and certificated for the main inherited diseases. Last year we held a health clinic in the Midlands in October, and as usual, offered free heart testing to members at our three shows. Eye testing took place at the Championship and summer Open shows, and facilities for micro-chipping at all these events. We also held two subsidized MRI sessions, one in the north and one in the south of the country.

The Club website is regularly updated on all main health issues. We appreciate, of course, that not all members are able to access the Internet or attend seminars. The club therefore will do its best to keep everyone informed by other means. However, printing and postage are becoming increasingly more expensive.

The Club Puppy Register now requires both parents to have heart and eye certificates before a litter can be listed. Further requirements may be added as appropriate for compliance with recommended breeding guidelines.

The Club has organised a major health conference at the RVC on 20th November 2010. This will bring many experts together for an update on their research into MVD, CM/SM, and the EBV scheme. A round table discussion will take place between the principal participating researchers.

The AHT Estimated Breeding Value Programme needs all MRI scan and heart examination results, whatever the status. All KC registered cavaliers now have an EBV, based on submitted test results for SM and MVD, and from submitted results of related dogs.

Approximately 3000 dogs have now been MRI scanned, but it is disappointing that the AHT has been given very few results. Only The Stone Lion practice automatically forwards scan results to the AHT, but other organisations do not. So, please ensure that you send a copy of scan results and heart certificates, with a five generation pedigree tothe AHT yourself. Forms explaining the procedure are available here today. The KC has contributed considerable sums of money to the EBV scheme and the programme MATE SELECT, as the way forward for combating complex hereditary disease, while keeping genetic diversity. It has also funded research into Episodic Falling and Dry Eye/Curly Coat syndrome.

The Club recently donated £2000 to the AHT EBV programme, to enable specific older dogs to be scanned. These dogs have been identified as possibly having good EBVs and could help the programme to confirm its integrity.

BVA/KC Eye Scheme
We have recently been given a thorough explanation of the current Eye Scheme as it applies to CKCS, by Ian Mason (currently the Chief Eye Panellist). This is on the Club website and copies are available here today. This explains the reasons for the KC ABS scheme requiring regular certification.

BVA/KC Heart Scheme and Club Over-Five Heart List
Unfortunately, a current list has not yet been published for 2010. The management of the club database was taken over by Simon Swift, but has proved to be more complex and time consuming than he anticipated. It is hoped that an up-to-date list will be available soon. The formal BVA/KC Hearts Scheme will be introduced later this year, and this will supersede the club ‘yellow form’ scheme. Details of the BVA/KC scheme will be available in due course.

Recent research conducted at the AHT has determined that early onset of MVD has a high heritability, but because of this it may be easy to eliminate by breeding only from older unaffected stock.

BVA/KC MRI Screening for CM/SM
The formal BVA/KC MRI Scanning Scheme will be introduced later this year. We have arranged a seminar for 7th October 2010, when the speakers will be Professor Mike Herrtage (Chief Panellist), Dr.Ruth Dennis (radiologist) and Dr Clare Rusbridge. Dr Jeff Sampson will also attend. The seminar will introduce the new BVA/KC scheme and its implications for breeders.

SM DNA Research
The Club has recently donated £2000 to Stone Lion practice for the MRI scanning of dogs over 6 years of age, needed for SM DNA research in Canada. Remember all those hundreds of DNA swabs sent to the AHT - they are in storage awaiting identification of the genes by the team of researchers in Canada. It is very important that older ‘SM clear’ dogs are identified to assist all research and to help the breed. Information is available, either from myself or the club website.

Foetal Tissue Research at the RVC
The Foetal Tissue Research project is looking into the foetal development of the skull of CKCS and other breeds affected with CM/SM. Research so far has indicated that there is something unusual about the development of the back of the skull and the cerebellum in some of the CKCS whelps that have so far been examined. The Club has donated £5000 to assist in this research. Breeders can assist by donating any stillborn puppies, or puppies that die. If you can help with this valuable research project, or require further information and details of this research, please contact Sheena Stevens.

And Finally.....
We all need to help the research and data collection. Current research seems to raise more questions than answers. MVD and SM are both very complex diseases, and there will be no quick and easy solutions. No line is unaffected by MVD and CM/SM to a degree, so please for the sake of the future of the breed, submit any data, supply any tissue or use any tests that researchers call for. Various breed Clubs have paid for, or subsidised, many health testing schemes. This is not just for the benefit of their members. It is imperative that results are used for the benefit of the whole breed.
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