Common health issues
- 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.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy
- The retina is responsible for transmitting light to the brain where it is interpreted as an image. PRA causes deterioration of retinal cells and causes blindness. It can affect puppies as young as a few weeks old, or may appear later in life. There is no treatment or cure, but blind dogs usually can lead quite happy lives.
- Entropion describes the inward rolling of the eyelid, often causing the eyelashes to come into contact with the eyeball and cause irritation and often ulceration. Many affected dogs will require surgical correction and severe cases may require multiple surgeries.
- 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.
Mitral Valve Disease
- In Mitral Valve Disease, a defect in the mitral valve causes an insufficient seal in the heart. The leaky valve allows the blood to back flow into the heart rather than flow out to the body, in turn causing the heart to work harder. Over time, mitral valve disease can lead to congestive heart failure.