The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a popular breed due to its lively, affectionate nature and small size, making it a good house dog. Because all Cavaliers are descendents from six original dogs, however, they are very susceptible to certain serious genetic conditions. One such condition, mitral valve disease, affects most dogs of this breed and is the leading cause of mortality among them. Nonetheless, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel can be long lived, with a lifespan of 9 to 14 years.
Primary Health Conditions of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Mitral valve disease is the leading health problem among the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. In this condition, a weakening heart valve leads to heart murmurs and eventual cardiac arrest. Most of these dogs will develop the condition by age 10, and many by age 5. Those looking for a dog of this kind should locate a breeder who tests their dogs for early onset of the disease and declines to breed them. Also common in the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is syringomyelia, in which a skull malformation leads to leakage of spinal fluid. Careful breeding is, again, the best prevention. Hip and knee disorders are also common among this breed.
Secondary Health Conditions of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is sometimes prone to episodic falling, in which, after exercise, the dog’s hindquarters stiffen and induce collapse. The condition is often misdiagnosed as epilepsy, and since different drugs are used to treat the two conditions, proper diagnosis is necessary. Joint and skeletal issues also affect the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, including luxating patella, movement of the knee cap; and hip dysplasia, unstable hip joint/s. Surgery is a possible treatment for both disorders although weight control will help with disease progression.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Exercise and Walking Needs
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is an adaptable breed and will be as happy playing in the house or in the yard with its owner as taking a long walk in the park. This flexibility is one of the key reasons for the dog’s popularity. The Cavalier owner should note that the dog is not street wise and will chase cars or other animals into busy streets or dangerous situations, necessitating a leash. Likewise, a fenced yard is needed to keep the Cavalier from wandering.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Nutritional Needs
The adaptability of this breed as mentioned above means that the owner will also have to be adaptable when it comes to feeding the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. The Cavalier that stays mostly at home will need less food than the dog who takes morning jogs with its owner. Given Cavalier’s predisposition to heart and other problems, weight control with this breed is of special concern.
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