We breed Cavaliers for temperament, good health and for the betterment of the breed. We have carefully chosen dogs for the foundation of Blacklash with healthy bloodlines.
In addition to health checks and routine work at our regular vet, our Cavaliers are also examined and cleared for common hereditary diseases prior to breeding by a team of specialist vets.
All our breeding dogs hold clearances by Veterinary Specialists for hereditary heart and eye diseases and we also have certificates for the DNA testing of Episodic Falling (EF) and Curly Coat/Dry Eye (CC/DE) and Episodic Falling (EF) Syndrome.
TESTING AND BREEDING FOR HEART HEALTH
Mitral valve disease (MVD) is the most common heart disorder in older dogs of all breeds. However, in the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (CKCS), the prevalence of MVD is about 20 times that of other breeds. Also in the Cavalier, the onset of the disease typically is much earlier in the life of the dog.
All our breeding dogs after the age of one year are examined and cleared annually for MVD by a specialist Veterinary Cardiologist.
Due to the prevalence of MVD in the breed worldwide, it is recommended by specialist Veterinary Cardiologists that Cavaliers under the age of five years not be bred from unless the MVD breeding programme has been followed. At Blacklash Cavaliers, we place heart health as a priority in particular the following:
- Every breeding dog at Blacklash is examined annually from the age of one year, by a specialist veterinary cardiologist
- No Cavalier at Blacklash is bred from who has been diagnosed with MVD
- Cavaliers at Blacklash under the age of 5 years are only bred from if their parents' hearts were free of MVD murmurs by age 5 years.
EYE TESTING FOR HEREDITARY DISEASES
Our breeding dogs are all checked and cleared for hereditary eye diseases by visiting specialist Veterinary Opthamologist Dr Andrew Turner from All Animal Eye Services. This testing is usually done once our breeding dogs reach 12 months of age. Dr Turner performs examinations for the Australian Canine Eye Scheme (ACES), which provides certification of a dog’s eye health. ACES is administered by the Australian Veterinary Association and endorsed by the Australian National Kennel Council as a reliable screening service that is valuable to breeders and new dog owners. Only registered Veterinary Eye Specialists can perform eye certification.
DNA TESTING FOR HEREDITARY DISEASES
As breeders, DNA tests allow us to check a dog's genetic status for known simple inherited disorders. Making informed decisions from health test results enables us to adapt our breeding programme and to reduce the risk of the diseases appearing in future generations.
Curly Coat/Dry Eye
- Dry eye and curly coat syndrome appears to be a problem unique to Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and most dogs diagnosed with the condition are put to sleep. Known scientifically as congenital keratoconjunctivitis sicca and ichtyosiform dermatosis, dry eye and curly coat syndrome affects a dog’s eyes and skin. Affected dogs produce no tears making their eyes incredibly sore. Their skin becomes very flaky and dry, particularly around the foot, and this can make standing and walking difficult and painful.
Epidodic Falling Syndrome
- Episodic falling is a neurological condition, induced by exercise, excitement or frustration, in which muscle tone increases. This means the dog is unable to relax its muscles, becomes rigid and falls over. Affected dogs usually start to demonstrate clinical signs before one year of age, with most cases having their first episode aged four to seven months.