Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are exploding in popularity. They rank among the most popular dogs in a number of countries and the demand seems to be increasing with each passing year. Their small size and easy going temperament make them the dog of choice for the rich and famous. But just because a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel will fit in your purse and gets along well with just about everyone and everything does not mean that it is a maintenance-free pet.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are prone to a number of health issues. The most severe is mitral valve disease, which we discussed in the breed profile last week. Another illness that commonly affects Cavalier King Charles Spaniels is syringomyelia. The vast majority of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels have at this syndrome to one degree or another. Syringomyelia results from the shape of the Spaniel’s head and can vary in severity from mildly uncomfortable to paralysis of the lower limbs. There is no cure for syringomyelia but most dogs that have it do not develop the more severe symptoms.
Eye problems are also fairly common in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. There is not one specific form that impacts the breed. Instead, they are simply prone to a number of different maladies that impact their eyes. They can also suffer significant eye problems. A syndrome known as “glue ear” as well as a congenital malformation are common in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. The latter issue may cause deafness. There is no cure.
The legs and hips of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel are also subject to their own set of maladies. Congenital defects due to their short legs cause problems that can sometimes be corrected by surgery. They are also prone to several types of blood disorders that generally do no cause significant problems to the dog unless it suffers some other form of trauma or injury but will exacerbate the problem if they do.
While the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a wonderful dog that is equally happy with a human that runs two miles a day or one that sits on the couch for hours upon end, it does come with a significant number of potential health issues. You may get lucky and have a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel that lives 12 years and never suffers a single illness. Or you may get one that is hit with a number of maladies within the first few years of life. If you are looking to adopt a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel you need to be aware of the special needs that may – or may not – be incumbent in taking one for a pet. “Prepare for the worst but hope for the best” should be the motto of any potential Cavalier King Charles Spaniel owner.