Eyes and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels

Under the BVA/KC/ISDS Eye Scheme Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are certified Affected or Unaffected for two particular conditions: Hereditary Cataract, and Multi-focal Retinal Dysplasia (MRD)

Hereditary Cataracts may be seen in dogs as young as 6/9 months of age but may not be apparent until the dog is several years old. Progression of the cataract to involve the majority of the lens and cause vision impairment is the usual cause of events. As with MRD the abnormality is normally seen in both eyes. The mode of inheritance is unknown.
(This condition will be published in the KC Breed Record Supplement and is currently the only result available through the Kennel Club Health Test Search Tool.)

Multi-focal Retinal Dysplasia (MRD) is congenital in origin and can be diagnosed on ophthalmoscopic examination of puppies from around 5 weeks of age onwards. The development of pigment in the retinal tissues from 8/10 weeks of age can lead to alterations in the appearance of MRD, sometimes making the condition more or less easy to diagnose. The condition can vary greatly with a few folds or rosettes being the commonest finding but on occasion retinal detachments and even haemorrhage may be seen. Lesions are normally found in both eyes. The effects on vision are variable depending upon the extent of abnormality present. A few folds can be counted as a minor defect for a pet owner not wishing to breed, but severe MRD with retinal detachment should be of concern. The condition is believed to be inherited by recessive mode.
MRD failures are listed on a separate register and are now published by the KC on the MRD Open Register and the condition is listed on the individual dog’s Eye Examination Certificate and on Litter Screening Eye Certificates. (KC MRD Open Register)

Other conditions which are found in the eyes of this breed and may be inherited, are Kerato-conjunctivitis sicca (dry eye), distichia (a row of extra eyelashes and microphthalmia (smallness of the eye or eyes).
These conditions will be listed on the dogs Eye Examination Certificate, but not published in the KC Breeds Record Supplement.

Dry Eye may be seen occasionally as a congenital condition but more normally develops in adulthood (and can also be an immune mediated condition). There are DNA tests available for Curly Coat – Dry Eye and the results can be found at KC CC/DE DNA Test Results

Microphthalmia (smallness of the eye or eyes) may be seen in isolation or in conjunction with other abnormality such as cataract or persistent pupillary membranes. It is a congenital disorder but may be difficult to diagnose until 8 weeks or more of age, unless the smallness of eye is severe.

Distichia (a row of extra eyelashes) may be seen at a few months of age but may not develop fully until 18 to 24 months of age.

When we compare eye test results over the last 15 to 20 years there appears to have been a significant reduction in MRD in that time, and a reduction but less marked in the incidence of cataract.

Eye Examinations

To maintain progress in eradicating eye conditions from the breed, regular testing of breeding stock is required. The best regime is puppy eye testing (litter screening) in particular regard to MRD and microphthalmia, followed by testing prior to breeding to ensure both sire and dam have been tested in the 12 months prior to mating. In the case of stud dogs this will often mean annual testing but in the case of bitches the interval may be a little longer. Regular testing of animals in adulthood is needed to detect cataract development as well as dry eye and distichia.

Opthalmoloscopic Eye Testing is testing is simple, quick and painless. Eye Certification can only be performed by specialists veterinarians with extra qualifications. A link to a list of these specialists and the costs can found on the British Veterinary Association website.

The various regional Cavalier Clubs often run eye testing clinics. This will enable you to get your dogs eyes tested at a cheaper rate than attending an eye specialist individually.

Permanent Identification (Microchip or Tattoo) is required for the BVA/KC/ISDS scheme (not for litter screening). Eye Examination results for Cataract are published in the Kennel Club Breed Record Supplement (not MRD or other conditions, see above).

Puppy litter screening (up to 12 weeks of age)

It is not essential to have permanent identification in puppies at this time for litter screening. Permanent identification, tattoo or microchip can be recorded on litter forms if present. Puppy litter screening will identify the vast majority of MRD cases and other congenital disorders such as microphthalmia. Other eye conditions may not develop until the dog is much older.

Ian Mason MA VetMB CertVOpthal MRCVS


IMPORTANT NOTE for Breeders
When considering using a dog for breeding, ensure that you see the Dog’s current Eye Examination Certificate to check for all of these conditions.
If breeding under the KC Accredited Breeder Scheme you will be unable to register your puppies (under the KC ABS scheme) if the parents do not have Eye Examination Certificates issued within 18 months of you registering the puppies, so if one of the parents eyes certificates ‘expires’ this could be a problem to you. Accordingly, stud dogs should be tested annually and bitches tested before breeding.


Use the links below to read the latest information about eye problems and how the Cavalier Club is assisting with research into Eye problems in the Cavalier.
 
BVA/KC/ISDS Scheme Opthalmologists - For a compltet list, visit the British Veterinary Association website.

Kennel Club MRD Eye Results - The Open Registers for multifocal retinal dyslpasia (MRD) relate to all breeds that have MRD listed by the BVA as a Schedule A condition under the BVA/KC/ISDS Eye Scheme. See the KC Website

Results of Eye Testing at the 2017 Club Championship Show - Summary of results from the testing carried out at the Club’s 2017 Championship Show – More

Results of Eye Testing at the 2015 Club Championship Show - Summary of results from the testing carried out at the Club’s 2015 Championship Show – More

Results of Eye Testing at the 2014 Club August Open Show - Summary of results from the testing carried out at the Club’s 2014 August Open Show - More

Results of Eye Testing at the 2014 Club Championship Show - Summary of results from the testing carried out at the Club’s 2014 Championship Show - More

Eye Clinics being held by Cavalier Clubs - Dates of Clinics being held by Regional Cavalier Clubs can be found in the "Special Events List" which is regularly updated.

Results of Eye Testing at the 2013 Club Championship Show - Summary of results from the testing carried out at the Club’s 2013 Championship Show - More

Results of Eye Testing at the 2012 Club Championship Show - Summary of results from the testing carried out at the Club’s 2012 Championship Show - More

Results of Eye Testing at the September 2011 Club Health Clinic - Summary of results from the testing carried out at the Club Health Clinic on 24 September 2011 - More

Results of Eye Testing at the 2011 Club Championship Show - Summary of results from the testing carried out at the Club Championship Show March 2011 - More

Results of Eye Testing at the 2010 Club Championship Show - Summary of results from the testing carried out at the Club Championship Show March 2010 - More

Results of Eye Testing at the 2009 Club August Open Show - Summary of results from the testing carried out at the Club August Open show 2009 - More

Results of Eye Testing at the 2008 Club Championship Show - Summary of results from the testing carried out at the Club Champ show 2008 - More

Results of Eye Testing at the 2007 Club Championship Show - Summary of results from the testing carried out at the Club Champ show 2007 - More

 
 
 
 
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