Every breed of dog has health difficulties
in certain areas. Some are annoying, yet others can be life threatening.
In an effort to better educate Cavalier owners, the following information
may be helpful. The information below is certainly not meant
to imply all Cavaliers will suffer from ANY or ALL of these problems.
It is useful to the degree that it may help Cavalier owners and their vets
pinpoint areas to evaluate as the dog grows and matures. If additional
information is desired, please feel free to have a vet, or yourself, contact
Areas of special health interest for Cavalier
owners are among the following:
Anaesthetic--Isoflourine is the safest for Cavaliers.
They tend to go under deeply and can have problems coming out of it.
Anal glands--Glands can become impacted.
Feed a diet high in fiber and have the vet check these at every visit.
Dogs will scoot. Check for tonsillitis as well if an anal gland problem
occurs or the infection may not be cleared up.
Cataracts (adult)--Usually occurs during old age.
Juvenile cataracts occur in very young pups as inheritable eye disease.
Can be diagnosed in a very young puppy.
Cushings Disease--Glandular disorder; occasionally,
it appears in old age.
Flea products--No flea collars without the vet's
authorization. Use a product such as Program alone or in combination
with a heartworm preventative.
Heart worm medications--Treatment of choice is
Interceptor. This is the safest for Cavaliers, according to Dr. Jean
Hernia, Inguinal--Inheritable hernia in the groin
area. Does not usually on its own.
Hernia, Umbilical--Occurs VERY frequently in Cavalier
puppies, usually from trauma at birth because of short umbilical cords.
Some will become fat plugs and harmless. Others should be fixed when
the dog is neutered or spayed.
Hip Dysplasia--approximately 14% of Cavaliers
will suffer from this inheritable hip disease.
Liver shunt--Rare, but occasionally present.
Can be diagnosed at a very young age, usually during the weaning process.
Mitral Valve Disease (MVD)--By age 4-5, approximately
40-50% Cavaliers have the beginning of this disease. Murmers are
diagnosed on a scale of 1 through 6. Medications are given when the
murmur reaches a grade 4, in most cases. Enlargement of the heart
plays an important role in determining a prognosis and quality of life
for this disease.
Patellas, Slipped--A problem with the kneecaps.
Those that are inheritable may be discerned in very young pups upon examination.
This can also occur, however, with severe trauma to the kneecap area brought
on by jumping high or down hard, etc. Puppies should not be allowed
to do any type of activity which could strain the kneecap area and slip
out the patella.
Progressive Renal Atrophy and Retinal Dysplasia--Inheritable
eye diseases which can be diagnosed at a very early age in pups.
Thrombocytepenia This is an abnormally low white
platelet count. Cavaliers have larger than normal platelets which
tend to clog the automatic counters; therefore, they will register a lower
number. Platelets should be hand counted in a field. normal
varies by the individual; owners should get a baseline count by one
year of age to know what normal is for their healthy Cavalier. Average
count for a female is 200,000-250,000; male is lower at 150,000-200,00.
Babesia can be misdiagnosed for thrombocytepenia.
Thyroid--Cavaliers occasionally need thyroid medicine
as a supplementation. A low normal is NOT normal for Cavaliers, according
to Dr. Jean Dodds, Hemopet.
Teeth--Brushing is a necessity to maintain good
gum and tooth health and thus avoid decay. With Cavaliers being prone
to heart disease, bacteria from poor teeth and gums will drain into the
heart, and this will cause further complications.
Tonsillitis--Occurs most often when the dog is
having an anal gland problem as the dog will lick. Treatment consists
of eliminating impacted gland(s) and administration of antibiotics.
Vaccinations--The rabies can be especially problematic.
Do NOT give at the same time as other "annual" innoculations. Watch
carefully after all innoculations for a reaction.