The King Charles Spaniels are known to be a generally a happy and healthy dog but can come with many genetic health problems. These may be MVD ( Mitral Valve Disease ) Heart Murmurs, inherited eye defects, syringomyelia and slipping patellas.
MVD or Heart Murmurs can develop in King Charles Spaniels by the time they are 6 years old. In severe cases medication may need to be given and still live long and healthy lives. This heart condition is generally monitored and breeders have been diligently screening their stock or at least encouraged to do so as it is an inherited disease.
Some countries arrange frequent heart clinics in order for breeders to have their stock screened Vet Caridio Specialists. These specialists are able to detect the smallest of heart murmurs in these dogs. Certificates for each dog is then issued with their complete results and notes. Certificates with favorable news are ideal and indicate the possibilities for breeding. It is sometimes encouraged to breed mature dogs clear of MVD in their breeding programs.
King Charles Spaniels are also prone to inherited eye defects, the most serious being cataracts and retinal dysplasia.
With cataracts they lens of the eye loses the normal transparency and can look a bit cloudy. While the inherited forms of cataracts that are recognized from birth generally don’t lead to blindness, the other form will gradually get bigger and can cause blindness. They can be operated once they have fully developed but can be quite an expensive procedure.
Retinal dysplasia has 3 different forms, from retinal folds which is an abnormality or malformation of the retina. Puppies are quite prone to this as often they have folds that resemble tiny squiggles on the retinas or sometimes the folds disappear as they grow and completely go away after the age of 12 months.
Geographic dysplasia is another form of malformation of the retina, closely resembling the folds but is a lot larger in size. Due to the severity of this form of retinal dysplasia, those affected cannot be put into breeding programs and will not be certified eye clear.
The most severe of all is retinal detachment which can lead to blindness in a lot of breeds and are not to be bred from and clear eye certification will not be given. But again there have been clinics for breeders to attend to identify King Charles Spaniels with these conditions in order to clear their stock to enter into breeding programs.
While these health problems do arise in this breed, the impression should not be given that it all will have one or more of these conditions as they don’t. Be sure to check out a reputable breeder and request health check papers to view before purchasing any puppies. Talk to them about your concerns and discuss any advice they may have. While it is not guaranteed that the one you choose will be free of problems but at least the breeder is doing their utmost to produce a healthy line.
Lea Mullins a long time dog owner, provides information on health problems in King Charles Spaniels. Visit TrainPetDog.com to learn about taking care of puppies
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