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Thread: Denmark Kennel Club proves a rigorous mandatory MVD breeding protocol works!

  1. #1

    Default Denmark Kennel Club proves a rigorous mandatory MVD breeding protocol works!

    Denmark Kennel Club proves a rigorous mandatory MVD breeding protocol works!
    Rod Russell

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    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Llandrindod Wells


    works at what ? pushing the age back before dogs have a murmur but question should be, do they actually live any longer ? What work has been done on the life expectancy once a murmur is detected ? Far too many assumptions being made. we are in danger of losing the early murmur but go for ever genes. Breeders need to look at longevity together with murmur status and not be blinkered into just concentrating on when a murmur is detected but how a dog deals with it.
    Bridgette Evans
    Svena CKCS

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    Good to look at dogs as individuals, but what about the history of stock behind these dogs? I can see that they will accrue some history as the scheme progresses, but, in my experience, many health issues have a habit of skipping a generation or two, then coming to light when least expected.

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    It sounds a little like the French scheme in that it does not exclude dogs that have a low degree of mitral valve degeneration, but I think the grading is very different. The French scheme just does not grade "murmurs" and there are four stades graded by ultrasound - or five if you count strictly normal! The cardiologists usually put on colour doppler for the benefit of the owners of the dogs, who aren't sure what they're looking at on the screen

    Stade 0 ou Grade 0 : Les feuillets mitraux sont intacts,
    Pas d'épaississement
    Pas de nodule
    Ils coaptent parfaitement de façon convexe vers le ventricule gauche tout au long de la phase de la contraction cardiaque.

    Stade 1 ou Grade 1: On remarque un discret épaississement ou la présence de nodule ainsi et surtout qu'un discret aplatissement des deux feuillets mitraux (en référence au plan de l'anneau mitral).
    Cet aplatissement n'intéresse que le corps des feuillets et ne dépasse pas le plan de l'anneau mitral.

    Stade 2 ou Grade 2: Les déformations et l'infiltration des deux feuillets mitraux sont évidentes tout au long du cycle cardiaque.
    Les feuillets apparaissent allongés, ils sont nettement aplatis, atteignent et voire dépassent le plan anatomique de l'anneau mitral.

    Stade 3 ou Grade 3 : La déformation ainsi que le prolapsus mitral sont encore plus évidents mais surtout ce stade se caractérise par une dilatation très visible de l'atrium (anciennement appelé oreillette) gauche. Ces anomalies provoquent un défaut de fermeture et d'étanchéité de la valve, provoquant une fuite elle-même génératrice du souffle mitral. Ce souffle est constamment détectable au stade 3, de façon inconstante au stade 2, dépendant de la qualité du stéthoscope, de la fréquence cardiaque du chien, du statut pondéral du chien, des bruits respiratoires et d'une foule d'évènements extérieurs rendant la méthode par écoute trop aléatoire.

    Stade 4 ou Grade 4 : Rupture de cordage qui affecte dans l'immense majorité le feuillet septal mitral.
    Dilatation de l'atrium gauche.

    Under the French scheme, at Stade 1 about 70% of dogs affected do not have audible murmurs, and about 30% at Stade 2 do not have audible murmurs by by Stade 3 most (but NOT all) do.

    I found the following link to the Danish study

    and downloded the .pdf document. I was rather surprised to see that over the ten years of the study only a total of 1,380 Cavaliers were examined by the eight clinical observers.

    The French scheme, up to the end of September 2015, has recorded over 13,500 ultrasounds; but that does include dogs which will have been examined three or four times - possibly five. Ultrasounds start at 18 months of age then every 18 months. Not many veterans are scanned: it's expensive!


    PS Elspeth, I have here two bitches who were born on 3 September 2000. They have been on heart medication for the last three or four years, but aren't doing badly: they both still trot even if they no longer gallop. I don't know about their mother, but their father died of MVD at 7 so they have doubled his age. He was clear at age 5 Go figure........

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    Hi Jane,
    That was the point I tried to make. Not every succeeding generation will demonstrate a problem, and I know what you mean about progeny outliving the age parents died at .Has happened here as well. However, my own bitch line lives to a more or less constant age. Fingers crossed!

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    Hi Elspeth,

    Just to say that the French scheme, instigated in 2001, does appear to be working. Clearly many dogs have been tested and the local "club" cardiologist (there are five who work to the club scheme in France) keeps his own records – of all breeds and also of cats! He has noticed not only a later incidence of MVD but says that ten years ago he wouldn't have been surprised to find a Cavalier aged 3 in congestive heart failure, but now such an advanced stage at an early age is very rare. This is only over a few generations, but most serious breeders are mindful of the ancestors of their dogs.

    As the local cardiologist also sees referrals from other vets, he does see puppy farm Cavaliers too – and although most puppy farmers certainly don’t bother with the heart scheme; it’s not a requirement to register a puppy; their general heart health is also better although one of the cardiologists has noticed that dogs in “pet” households do seem to develop MVD younger than in breeders’ households – and he can find no reason for this. True, some “pet” Cavaliers are overweight, but many have good diet and exercise regimes. Some breeders keep their dogs in the house and some in kennels, but that doesn’t seem to make a difference, and there seems to be no difference concerning diet: some feed whole foods, some raw and some feed commercial diets but that doesn’t seem to have any influence on hearts either. There is one company that makes food specifically for Cavaliers and says it has ingredients to help the heart, but it doesn’t seem to have been proved.

    I will stress that dogs who develop a low grade of MVD MAY be bred from – the cardiologists have all remarked that many dogs who develop it early still continue to live to a ripe old age so they are not excluded from the breeding pool.

    The only thing that I think is incongruous is that a dog who was only stade 2 at age seven and who goes to stade 3 at age nine may no longer be used at stud. It doesn’t make sense: he was OK earlier so I think it would be better if there were a cut off age, like any who are at stade 2 or lower on their seventh birthday could still be used even if they went to Stade 3.


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    Interesting Jane. Is this information freely available in France or did you have to research it? Reason I ask is that, with only results from the Breed Club Shows being published here, on a yearly basis, and no dog I D to accompany them, to construct data as you have would be a big task in UK.
    Also, is Auscultation the testing method, or Echo?

  8. #8


    Hi Elspeth,

    the information about the scheme is freely available on the French Cavalier Club web site

    but it IS in French! The "up to date" is what one of the cardiologists said at the last local reunion in October, which was when I had two of mine tested and they were numbered 13,491 and 13,492. There were others after them and here will have been more subsequently. It is strictly and only by ultrasound, echograph, with colour doppler - auscultation is regarded as nowhere near accurate enough. In his talk, with a sideways glance and me and a ducking of his head, the cardiologist did say the the British don't really seem to have taken notice of the work that's been happening in France. There are five cardiologists who are able to give grades for the scheme, but one can use a vet not on the scheme and submit a copy of the ultrasound print out to be examined by Dr. Haroutunian. I did that once: of three dogs one was fine and given a Stade 0, one was not easily readable but he said it wasn't over Stade 2 so she was "apte" for breeding (she's now 15....) and the third was not readable. It was half the price of the cardiologist, but now most local reunions have one of the cardiologists present and they'll then do it half price - 65€ as opposed to 130€. Fortunatey it's only required every 18 months!

    The individual results are not published On the other, hand people are asked to follow the breeding guidelines and those of us signed to the Charte de Qualité are absolutely obliged to, plus the dog must have correct heart test results for most levels of the quality grading scheme which is based on both health and temperament tests as well as show results. Cotations ARE published, but the quarterly magazine from the club is more up to date than the website, and on the website the information is only available to members of the club; we have a password to access it. The magazine came yesterday and there were 23 bitches who had reached Cotation 4, and 8 dogs. Last year I used a stud dog owned by a "particulier"; a non breeder; but he had all the health tests done on his dog, including a "social aptitude" which isn't required as the club has its own test of character - the dog had done that too as it is required in the quality grading scheme; this dog had done well at shows and had reached Cotation 4.

    It is absolutely normal that when a mating takes place the owners of dog and bitch give each other copies of the health tests results of both so each has a copy, including DNA identiication, EF, DE/CC, as well as of the contract of the mating.

    It does help that in France all dogs must be permanently identified and for Cotation 4 or higher of the quality grade must have DNA identification. All mine have that anyway, for my own peace of mind, with proof of parentage for most. Many people double check at a mating by reading the microchip: most of us own a microchip reader although mine has been used more by my neighbour than by me!

    Last edited by Janelise; 11-23-2015 at 01:22 PM.

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    Wow! The U.K. really must get a wriggle on! I spoke to Simon Swift a few years back and he agreed that Echo was the only reliable test, but assured me that it would never happen here because of the cost ( which our BVA refuses to negotiate on).
    Anne French who tests my dogs can use only auscultation, unless, of course, she were to bring the portable echo bought recently by the UK club!!??
    I never have been able to work out why it was bought, except that Anne has used it in her research into the old CKCS who are still murmur free. My olds were done last January as were some others. They were 11 then.
    , and both clear by auscultation, but each showed a slight leak on the colour Doppler.
    Holland works the same system as France. We really are the poor relations over here, sadly.
    I have a 7 year old here who was diagnosed with a murmur at age 3, by auscultation, and every year since, until this year, when she had no murmur by auscultation. So it is not reliable,and she, along with who knows how many others has never been mated due to suspected Early MVD.
    Thanks for all the info which must have taken you a while to write!

  10. #10


    I had no idea the club had bought a portable echograph machine!

    I have seen that there is a huge difference in ultrasound devices. My local vet has one that is nowhere near refined enough to look at the heart of a Cavalier: they use it mostly for farm livestock! The major cardiologists have small but very powerful machines, portable, but with screens that are very high resolution indeed. I once commented to Dr Le B that I thought he had a new machine since the last time I'd seen him and he said yes, he'd tossed a coin whether to buy that or change his car..... of course, he could have been joking; he works in a multivet practice; but I think a good one costs several thousand euros.

    Many years ago; probably in the early 1990s; I went to one of the UK club shows with Madam (in veteran) and Serena. I remember that the actor Peter Bowles was there; I think he was looking for a puppy. There was a cardiologist testing hearts and he told me that both mine were in a poor state and should have treatment. I was very upset, and took them to my own vet who wasn't pleased that I said "They need medication!" He listened for a long time and said he was not going to treat something he couldn't detect, and asked a colleague, a much younger woman, to listen too "If I'm going deaf, maybe she isn't!" She could hear nothing on Serena and a faint murmur on Madam and they decided to refer me to yet another vet in the area. He declared both dogs to be fine! Madam had a slight murmur, but he certainly wouldn't advise any treatment. Madam lived to 15 1/2 and never required any heart meds, but Serena's kidneys began to fail and after a year or so on a special diet she had to be euthanised: she was only just over ten.

    I heard that quite a few people at that show had a similar experience and it was rumoured that the cardiologist had a cold which gave him slight tinnitus, so he heard things that weren't there!


    PS how much is an ultrasound in the UK????? I know quite a few people in France have the DNA tests for EF and CC/E done by the AHT as they're often cheaper than Antagene, the French company - except when Antagene has a promo going......
    Last edited by Janelise; 11-23-2015 at 01:23 PM.

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