Common health issues
- 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.
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.
- 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.
Color Dilution Alopecia
- Color Dilution Alopecia is seen in dogs with a fawn or blue coat color. Affected dogs may start to show signs of hair loss and itchy skin within six months of age. The condition results in a poor, patchy hair coat and can progress to widespread hair loss. Affected dogs can lead a normal life with periodic symptomatic treatment.
von Willebrand Disease
- von Willebrand's Disease is a blood clotting defect. There are three subcategories of the disease that vary in severity, and a blood test is available to measure the amount of von Willebrand factor (which aids with clotting) in the blood. This is recommended in all susceptible breeds prior to surgery to prevent possibly fatal consequences.