Mitral Valve Disease is a health problem found in older dogs of all breeds although it has been found to have an earlier onset in the Cavalier. The disease causes a degeneration of the heart’s mitral valve often picked up as a heart murmur in younger dogs. Many dogs diagnosed with Mitral Valve Disease continue to live to a good age and enjoy a happy life, however, MVD can progress to heart failure.
There are heart testing protocols in place to help breeders. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club has been running an Auscultation testing scheme for many years, with the guidelines that clear dogs over 2.5 years with parents over 5 years can be used for breeding with a retest every year. The test can only be completed by specialist Veterinary Cardiovascular Society approved cardiologists. You can see an example of the test certificates below. Auscultation testing is particularly helpful for monitoring the older genrations of family lines.
The Kennel Club, in conjunction with the Veterinary Cardiovascular Society, officially launched a new scheme in 2019. The scheme combines auscultation with an echocardiogram that is done by a Doppler machine; both sets of results are then graded. The dogs are given a Green, Amber or Red light for breeding. Puppies bred from 'Green' parents have the lowest risk of developing MVD early in life. This scheme is in its infancy and uptake has been hampered by current government restrictions.
For more information on Mitral Valve Disease and other canine disorders see the below link the Kennel Clubs website
Sample Heart Form for
You should see a copy of at least one of these certificates for each parent before purchasing your puppy