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Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are a wonderful breed of dog, but unfortunately they have a number of hereditary diseases. Two of the worst are Mitral Valve Disease (MVD), which leads to heart failure and death at an average age of 7 years, and Chiari Malformation/Syringomyelia (CM/SM), a progressive neurological disease that can be acutely painful. These two diseases afflict thousands of Cavaliers, and bring heartache to their owners. There are many research projects trying to find the cause of these diseases, how they can be prevented, and better medication and care. Cavalier Matters raises money to fund many of these research projects and through their website (www.cavaliermatters.org) provide information and support to Cavalier owners.
This year I am doing the Walkathon in memory of both my own Cavaliers, Oliver and Aled, who were put to sleep within five days of each other last February. Both of them had CM/SM and MVD. Aled died of heart failure at the age of 7; Oliver was 13 and had progressive paralysis in his hind legs. I miss them both very much.
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