Please take the time to research cavalier health. Mitral Valve Disease is the leading cause of death for cavaliers and the breed is 20 X more susceptible than any other breed. No cavalier line is free of MVD, if any breeder makes that claim to you, then they are not being completely honest with you. MVD is a polygenic gene and is prevalent in the cavalier breed. Cavaliers come from a very small gene pool. The modern day breed as we know it, is less than 100 years old. Every cavalier alive today can be directly traced back to one dog, Ann's Son, who was the first cavalier to meet the new Cavalier breed standard circa 1920. Be aware that 50% of all cavaliers will start to develop a heart murmur by age five and that percentage increases to 90% by age 10; if they live that long. Offspring are 10 - 20 X more likely to be free of MVD if the sire is heart clear at 9 - 11 years old; but at that age he is too old to breed. A heart murmur can develop at any time. Cavaliers can even be born with a mummer which they may or may not outgrow. Compared to other small breeds, the lifespan of a cavalier is a short 10 - 12 years with few reaching 13 - 14. Our goal as responsible breeders is to get that murmur to occur late in life as opposed to early, thus giving cavaliers the opportunity to live out their normal lifespan. Responsible breeders have made progress towards that goal over the past 20 years.
Regarding eyes, about 30 percent of all Cavaliers are diagnosed with eye disease. Eyes should be checked by a board certified ophthalmologist so that eye disease can be caught early; or ruled out, on a yearly basis. CERF (Canine Eye Registry Foundation) verifies that the pupils were fully dilated and the entire retinal surface was completely examined for inherited eye disease by a board certified canine ophthalmologist.
Cavaliers are susceptible to both hip dysplasia which affects large breeds, and slipping patella/stifle which affects small breeds; therefore, testing should be done on hips and patella.
Syringomyelia and Chiari Malformation (SM / CM) can also effect cavaliers. Currently AKC Cavalier Breed Clubs are working with veterinary neurologists to develop affordable MRI testing health clinics so breeders can test and grade their breeding stock. Following the recommended location of microchip implantation for cavaliers, is crucial to accurately read MRI test results.
Buying from a breeder who has performed health testing on their breeding stock increases your chances of receiving a healthy puppy that will remain healthy for as long as possible but is important to understand than even if the sire and dam have been screened and found clear of any health problems, no breeder can guarantee that your puppy will never develop any health problems during his or her lifetime.
There are things you can do to help prevent MVD and keep your cavalier healthy.
Keep your cavalier's teeth as clean as possible. Have them professionally cleaned 1 - 3 times a year. Supplement their diet with raw foods as much as possible. Give them fresh food yogurt, eggs, hamburger, cooked vegetables and raw carrots and fruit.
Do not spay or neuter early, the recommended ages for altering is after the first heat cycle for females and 12 - 14 months for males.
I highly recommend following products:
Nuvet Plus to support the cardiac system www.nuvet.com/66236
I also recommend Nujoint Plus to support growing joints of the hips and patellas. It also prevents arthritis.