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Some simple steps to raise a healthy Cavalier King Charles dog

Also check out our expanded version about  Cavalier King Charles Spaniels on our blog.

Cavalier King Charles are great companion dogs, very cute and adorable, but, unfortunately, they also have some serious health problems and they are prone to several diseases. So, if you want to own a Cavalier, you must do a lot of research before, in order to fully understand this breed.

Mitral Valve Disease – the main health problem

Cavalier King Charles has serious problems with Mitral Valve Disease (MVD) – a common heart disease. It is known that half of all Cavaliers will develop this disease in the first five years, and, according to different statistics, 99% of all Cavaliers suffer from MVD at the age of 10.
The Mitral Valve Disease is a progressive disease and the rate of progression can vary from dog to dog. If you have a Cavalier King Charles dog, you must go from time to time, at least one time a year, to a veterinary surgeon – this procedure can prolong life considerably.

Syringomyelia – a disease that cannot be cured

Lately, the Cavaliers have to face another severe disease – syringomyelia. This disease appears when a Cavalier puppy doesn’t have enough room in his skull for his brain. The symptoms of this disease are very odd: most of dogs tend to scratch their shoulder when excited. Unfortunately, there is no cure for this disease. However, if you have a Cavalier puppy with syringomyelia you can try to reduce his pain with acupuncture or anti-inflammatory drugs.

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Luxating patella – a common orthopedic disease

Luxating patella, or loose knees, are the most common orthopedic health problem in Cavalier King Charles. According to the Orthopedic Foundation of America, more than 10% of all Cavalier dogs suffer from loose knees or dysplasia. This is a very high percent for a small dog breed.

Other diseases

Cavaliers are also prone to different eye diseases like corneal ulcers, cataracts and progressive retinal dysplasia. Ear infections are also very common, due to Cavalier’s long coat. When you’re choosing a puppy, try to avoid those who have a lot of white on their head – they are prone to deafness. Diabetes, hernias and hypothyroidism are other diseases that can appear to a Cavalier, but this diseases are not so frequent as Mitral Valve Disease or Syringomyelia.

How to choose a healthy puppy

Firstly, if you want to buy a Cavalier King Charles puppy, you must choose very carefully your breeder. Try to approach only responsible breeder and stay away from puppy mills. Remember that a responsible breeder with not breed a Cavalier who got sick from MVD under the age of five. So, pay attention to pedigree and health certificate. Finding a good breeder is not an easy task and there is no need to rush when you’re choosing a puppy, especially a Cavalier King Charles puppy.  And don’t forget that, before choosing a Cavalier puppy, you must realize that Cavalier is not a cheap breed and you will have to pay a lot of money to periodic medical examinations.  It’s wise to insure your pet.  Take a look at our article on: “Should you get pet insurance?

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