The British Veterinary Association’s Kennel Club Canine Health Schemes management committee will roll out a new scheme to screen dogs for chari-like malformation (CM) and syringomyelia (SM) in January 2012, the BVA reported today.
The program will focus on dogs for potential breeding stock, especially the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel – the most common breed to be born with the congenital defect that leads to SM. The BVA said the aim of the screen is “to reduce, and hopefully eliminate, the incidence of inherited CM and SM in dogs.”
Chari-like malformation, also known as caudal occipital malformation syndrome, is characterized by a congenital malformation of the occipital bone, resulting in a crowded caudal fossa and cerebellar herniation at the foramen magnum. The subsequent disruption of cerebral spinal fluid flow results in the formation of SM, according to the Merck Veterinary Manual.
The condition is also suspected to be inherited in a number of other toy breeds including Griffon Bruxellois, King Charles Spaniels, Chihuahuas, Pomeranians, Affenpinschers and Maltese, according to the BVA.
An owner wishing to take part in the scheme will first need to have an MRI scan performed on his or her dog at a veterinary practice. Two scrutineers from a BVA-appointed panel of expert neurologists and radiologists will then review and grade the scan for severity of both CM and SM. The results will be sent back to owner via the veterinary practice that performed the MRI.
Results of Kennel Club-registered dogs will be sent to the KC for publication on the KC Health Test Results Finder online and to the Animal Health Trust for inclusion in the Estimated Breeding Value calculations. The first results are expected to be published by the end of the first quarter of 2012.