The cavalier can cough, struggle for breath, develop a fluid filled stomach. They may have fainting episodes, and be unable to exercise. There are drugs that can help but they can be very expensive.
MVD is a problem that can affect young cavaliers, but often there are no symptoms to warn of the problem until the dogs are mature and have already been used for breeding.
Good Breeders are expected to try and raise the age of onset of MVD by selecting breeding cavaliers with a good heart record.
The current guidelines issued by the UK Cavalier Club are shown below. They recommend that the mother of the puppies should be at least two and a half years old with a clear heart. The father should be at least two and a half years old with a clear heart.
To use an older stud dog with a clear certificate issued as late in life as possible is highly desirable.
The guidance given to breeders wishing to reduce the incidence of MVD in Cavaliers, remains the same, and is as follows:
THE BROOD BITCH
Should be a minimum of 2½ (two and a half) years old with a clear heart, and parents with clear heart certificates, issued at 5 (five) years or older.
THE STUD DOG.
Should preferably be at least 2½ (two and a half) years old with a clear heart, and with parents with clear heart certificates issued at 5 (five) years of age or older.
THESE ARE MINIMUM RECOMMENDATIONS.
To use an older stud dog with a clear certificate issued as late in life as possible is highly desirable
IT IS STRONGLY ADVISED THAT BREEDING STOCK UNDER 5 (FIVE) YEARS OF AGE IS LIMITED TO THOSE WITH CLEAR HEART CERTIFICATES. HOWEVER, AN OLDER DOG WITH A SLIGHT HEART MURMUR SHOULD NOT BE IGNORED.
Please remember, dogs do not have to have a clear heart to be used at stud. It is the dogs with EARLY ONSET murmurs (under five years of age) that we are so strongly advised to avoid using for breeding.
Breeders should aim at raising the age of onset of MVD by selecting breeding stock with a good heart record.
Guide-lines are based on current recommendations of Geneticists and Cardiologists, and may be updated and reissued as further research information becomes available.