Common health issues
- Demodex canis mites live on all healthy dogs. In the vast majority of cases they never cause a problem. However, some breeds can pass on an immune defect to their offspring that can result in a generalized proliferation of Demodex mites. The most common signs of demodectic mange are hair loss, scaling and irritation of the affected skin.
- Cataracts describes the transparency of the lens in the eye.While cataracts are a common finding in older dogs, many breeds, including Cavaliers, have a genetic predisposition to juvenile cataracts, i.e., occurring in young animals. Hereditary cataracts can occur as early as six months of age and progress to complete loss of vision by two years old. The good news is that most affected lenses can be treated surgically. Cost of treatment: $1,500 to $3,000 per lens.
- Corneal dystrophy is weakness in the layers of the cornea. Severely affected dogs are prone to painful corneal erosions and ulcers. Some types of corneal dystrophy result in lipid or cholesterol deposits on the cornea, which are generally painless and do not interfere with vision. Treatment varies depending on the severity of the lesions.
Cervical Vertebral Instability
- Cervical vertebral instability results from instability of the vertebrae in the neck. Chronic compression of the spinal cord leads to weakness in the hind limbs, and if severe, can progress to weakness in the front limbs, as well. Cervical vertebral instability can be managed medically if it is mild, but often requires extensive surgery and physical therapy to correct.
- Pulmonic stenosis is an obstruction to blood flow from the right ventricle of the heart to the pulmonary artery, causing the heart to work harder to pump blood to the lungs. Severe valve thickening can cause thickening of the heart muscle and lead to congestive heart failure. Both medical management and surgical treatment options exist.
- Inherited deafness in one or both ears occurs due to the degeneration of the structures of the inner ear. It usually occurs within the first few weeks of birth. Deafness is tied to coat color, especially in merle pups, and has an association with blue eyes. Hearing tests can be conducted at referral centers or veterinary schools, but inherited deafness is permanent and cannot be cured.