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This is not only true for humans; it is true for all living things. Beauty is what we all strive for when breeding Cavaliers, but far greater than that is producing healthy, long-lived Cavaliers. To that end, for the welfare of all my Cavaliers, puppies and the families who bring these little lives in their homes and hearts, I am committed to fully health testing prior to breeding. Health, beauty and the proper Cavalier temperament are the three legs of the stool, for the ideal Cavalier. The proper balance of each, is what I strive for in my breeding program.

Cavaliers are recommended to have four health tests prior to breeding.
Three are to be done annually.


For OFA confirmation of health testing on any of my Cavaliers, please go to . In the “Search” window, either enter Kalidunn (search) for a listing of all my health tested Cavaliers or enter the name of a specific Cavalier, i.e. Kalidunn Glass On Fire (search).


Thank you and stay healthy!!

Mitral Valve Disease (MVD)

By age 4-5, approximately 40-50% of all Cavaliers have the beginning of this disease. Murmurs are diagnosed on a scale of 1 through 6. Medications are given when the murmur reaches a grade 4, in most cases. Enlargement of the heart plays an important role in determining a prognosis and quality of life for this disease.

Hearts are tested annually and found clear by a Board Certified Cardiologist


Patellae’s, Slipped

A problem with the kneecaps. Those that are inheritable may be discerned in very young pups upon examination. This can also occur, however, with severe trauma to the kneecap area brought on by jumping high or down hard, etc. Puppies should not be allowed to do any type of activity, which could strain the kneecap area and slip out the patella.


Knees manipulated annually and found to be tight and free of any patellae luxation.

Syringomyelia  (SM)

SM is rapidly emerging as a severe inherited condition in our Cavaliers. It is a progressive neurological disease that varies in severity. Cavaliers unfortunately are affected by SM in larger numbers to any other breed. It is found in all colors, in all lines, and affects both sexes. Signs are usually noticed in dogs between 6 months and 3 years but it has been diagnosed in Cavaliers up to 10 years old. At present the condition can only be identified by MRI scan or by clinical signs. SM occurs when a Cavalier is born with not enough room in the space in the skull that contains the back of the brain. Damage is caused when fluid (CSF) surrounding the brain is forced through a smaller than normal opening, into the spinal cord. The most common symptom is scratching on, or in the air near the shoulder when the dog is excited or walking on a lead. However this is not the only symptom and it is not always present. Some refer to SM as “neck scratcher’s disease” because scratching the neck is often a sign of the disease. It is similar to the human condition, Chiari type 1 malformation (or Arnold Chiari in some older texts).

Progressive Renal Atrophy and Retinal Dysplasia

Inheritable eye diseases, which can be diagnosed at a very early age.



Eyes tested annually and found free of any genetic problems by a Board Certified Ophthalmologist.

Hip Dysphasia

Approximately 14% of Cavaliers will suffer from this inheritable hip disease. Although Cavaliers are not a weight-bearing breed, such as large or giant breeds, HD can cause significant pain, especially in the senior years.


Hips x-rayed and the films sent onto OFA for evaluation – this is done only once.


This is an abnormally low white platelet count. Cavaliers have larger than normal platelets, which tend to clog the automatic counters; therefore, they will register a lower number. Platelets should be hand counted in a field. Normal varies by the individual; owners should get a baseline count by one year of age to know what normal is for their healthy Cavalier. Average count for a female is 200,000-250,000; male is lower at 150,000-200,00. Babies can be misdiagnosed for thrombocytopenia.


Thrombocytopenia is not a condition Cavalier owners should be alarmed about. It’s important your vet is made aware of the uniqueness of this condition in Cavaliers.

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