Our Health Philosophy

a Pro-Active Approach

As a health-conscious puppy breeder, Kilbrides Pride uses a proactive approach to potential health concerns. We adhere to the recommended breeding practices and screening guidelines of the American Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club (ACKCSC), the Cavalier parent club of the American Kennel Club (AKC).

In spite of the abilities to test for potential health problems, Mother Nature is not entirely predictable. As Cavaliers age, they are subjected to health concerns similar to humans. Any sudden change in the behavior of your Cavalier should be noted and brought to the attention of your veterinarian.

Cavalier Heart Health

Abnormal heart conditions can and do afflict all dog breeds but Cavalier King Charles Spaniels (CKCS) are particularly prone to Mitral Valve Disease (MVD), a degeneration of the heart’s mitral valve. Nearly half of all Cavalier King Charles Spaniels have detectable MVD by and age of five, and nearly all by the age of ten. An earlier onset and more rapid progression of MVD is also seen is the CKCS breed. MVD eventually leads to congestive heart failure and is the leading cause of death among Cavaliers.

Annually, beginning at one year of age, our Cavaliers are screened for heart murmurs by a veterinary cardiac specialist.

Cavalier Eye Health

As a breed, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels (CKCS) can be prone to “Juvenile cataracts” and keratoconjunctivitis sicca a treatable condition known as “dry eye” as well as other diseases of the eye. Any “clouding” or whiteness in the pupil of the eye or any irritation of the eye may warrant medication and treatment. 

At Kilbrides Pride, our proactive approach to optimal eye health includes annual eye exams by a board-certified veterinary opthamologist and prompt attention and treatment for any noted eye symptoms.

Cavalier Hip and Patella (Knee) Health

Hip dysplasia (HD) is a genetic disease that can affect Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and other dog breeds. X-rays and veternary examinations are used to diagnose the condition. Hip dysplasia is not present at birth but may occur as the Cavalier ages.

Cavaliers can also be prone to a genetic defect of the femur and knee that causes a condition known as luxitating patella. This condition typically presents itself when a puppy is 4 to 6 months old. Physical therapy can resolve most problems but in more severe cases a surgical correction may be needed. Left untreated, luxitating patella may result in arthritis or lameness.

Our proactive approach to Hip and Knee Health at Kilbrides Pride includes regular hip and patella examinations by a veterinary specialist.

The Importance of a Screening MRI

As a breed, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels (CKCS) can be prone to syringomyelia, a malformation in the lower back of the skull. Syringomyelia reduces the space available to the brain resulting in compression and potential herniation into the spinal cord. Symptoms of syringomyelia include signs of sensitivity in the area of the head, neck, or shoulders. Symptoms typically present between the ages of 6 months and 4 years.

Our proactive approach at Kilbrides Pride includes a one-time screening MRI at the age of two to check for syringomyelia.