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Upcoming Events

  • 24/05/2023
    General Meeting
    CCCQ Sportsgrounds
    247 King Avenue, Durack & Online

  • 28/06/2023
    General Meeting
    CCCQ Sportsgrounds
    247 King Avenue, Durack & Online

  • 8/07/2023 & 9/07/2023
    CKCSCQ Championship Show
    CCCQ Sportsgrounds
    247 King Avenue, Durack

  • 23/09/2023
    CKCSCQ Open Show
    CCCQ Sportsgrounds
    247 King Avenue, Durack


Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club of Qld

Health Subcommittee


The CKCS Club of Qld Health Subcommittee was established to work towards the following goals:


  • Educating breeders about health issues affecting the breed and how to minimise the risk of producing affected dogs.


  • Educating the public about health issues affecting the breed, how to select a puppy and breeder and where to go for support.


  • Working with specialist Veterinarians to make health testing more affordable and accessible for Queenslanders


  • Working with Dogs Queensland to hold seminars on health topics relevant to the breed.


  • Supporting research in these areas.


  • Fundraising to support the above.




Mitral Valve Disease (MVD or MMVD)


Mitral Valve Disease is a leading cause of death in the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel breed. It is a condition that affects about 30% of all dogs, all breeds, by age ten. It is typically slow to progress and is characterised by a thickening and leakage of the heart valve that sits between the atrium (small chamber) and ventricle (large chamber) on the left side of the heart.


 It is estimated that approximately half of the CKCS breed have a murmur by the age of five. The condition is caused by a combination of multiple genes being affected by the environment. Currently there is no DNA test available for this condition and screening is performed by a veterinary cardiologist.

Three things owners can do to minimise the chances of MVD developing is to ensure their dogs teeth are kept in good condition, that they aren’t allowed to get over weight, and that they are fed a commercially balanced diet. Periodontal disease, especially when severe, is known to ‘leak’ bacteria into the blood, which can cause damage to internal organs, and potentially result in sepsis. Excess weight puts extra strain on the heart, and may result in the heart needing to get bigger to support the body. This can potentially worsen MVD. A well-balanced diet has all the nutrients your dog needs to be healthy, including all the necessary proteins (amino acids) your dog cannot make itself, to have a strong healthy heart.


In Queensland we are lucky to have two Cardiologists available to screen dogs for murmurs and help with diagnosis and treatment plans. Both cardiologists work at Veterinary Specialist Services.

Inherited Eye Conditions

There are multiple inherited eye conditions that can affect the CKCS. None of them currently have a DNA test. Screening is performed by a Veterinary Ophthalmologist through the ACES eye scheme. Fortunately these conditions don’t appear to be common in Australia.

Animal Eye Services offer eye certificates.

Curly Coat Dry Eye Syndrome/ Congenital Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca and Ichtyosiform Dermatosis


Curley Coat Dry Eye (CCDE) syndrome is a recessive inherited disease unique to the Cavalier. Approximately 1 in 8 cavaliers are carriers of this gene. It is different to Dry Eye, which is usually an autoimmune response commonly due to injury, drug or environmental causes and affects all breeds.  Please note that Dry Eye can be hereditary and breeding affected dogs without a known cause isn’t recommended.


 Puppies with CCDE are born with a coarse, crinkly and dry/waxy coat which makes them immediately identifiable. They are often slow to gain weight and many died very young. Once their eyes open they need eye drops multiple times a day for their entire life as they are unable to produce tears on their own. As they grow they are often plagued with brittle nails, skin lesions and dental issues in addition to the dry eyes which causes them to be very vulnerable to eye ulcers. There is no cure and treatment is of limited success.

A DNA test for this condition was developed in 2011. All Cavaliers should be tested for this condition before being bred. There are multiple companies providing this test.  Two companies are Animal Health trust (UK) and Orivet (Australia)


Cross bred puppies that feature CKCS heritage behind both parents are also at risk of CCDE.


Episodic Falling Syndrome (EF/ EFS)


Episodic Falling Syndrome is a recessive genetic condition unique to the CKCS breed. Like with CCDE it is estimated about 1 in 8 cavaliers are carriers of this condition and there is a DNA test available. All cavaliers should be tested for this before being bred. There are multiple companies providing this test.  Two companies are Animal Health trust (UK) and Orivet (Australia)

Puppies appear normal at birth but at some point, usually within the first year, symptoms develop. The condition prevents the skeletal muscle fibres from relaxing properly after exercise. This causes the body to become rigid and the dog will often stumble (if mild) or fall and go completely rigid for a period of time (if more severe). Dogs do not lose consciousness. Many veterinarians will confuse this with epilepsy. If you think your Cavalier may have EFS then you can order a test through one of the companies above.

The severity and frequency of episodes varies greatly. Most dogs have good quality of life with medication but on occasion a dog may need to be euthanized if episodes become severe and too frequent.

Cross bred puppies that feature CKCS heritage behind both parents are also at risk of EFS.



Slipping Kneecaps/Luxating Patella


Luxating patella is a condition in which the knee cap pops out of the groove in the knee joint and becomes dislocated. It can be caused by injury and dogs under 12 months of age or girls in season/pregnant are at increased risk due to their softer ligaments. It can also be hereditary.


Most toy breeds are of increased risk of developing this condition as the groove in the knee is shallower in small dogs. Luxating patella can be assessed by any veterinarian.

The orthopaedic foundation for animals (USA) offers certification for this condition and has forms that breeders can take to their vet for official assessment.

If your dog develops a limp and your veterinarian diagnoses luxating patella then you may wish to contact a Canine Physiotherapist or Chiropractor to see if non-surgical treatment options are effective. The higher the grade the more likely it is that a surgical treatment is required. When not treated, luxating patella results in permanent damage to the joint and premature arthritis.