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Cavalier Health

Curly Coat and Dry Eye Syndrome

This is an extremely rare condition, so rare that most breeders have never seen this.  


Dry eye and curly coat, known scientifically as congenital keratoconjunctivitis sicca and ichthyosiform dermatosis, affects a dog’s eyes and skin.   


In the rare instances of dogs surviving beyond birth, affected dogs produce no tears making their eyes incredibly sore. Their skin becomes very flaky and dry, particularly around the foot, and this can make standing and walking difficult and painful.


By identifying the genetic mutations responsible for causing this condition, the Animal HealthTrust UK   has been able to develop a DNA test to identify carriers.. Two “clear” dogs mated together, or a “clear” and a “carrier” mated together cannot produce an affected dog.  So theoretically a breeder would be able to eliminate this syndrome from their bloodlines within one or two generations.


DNA tests for these  conditions are available for Cavalier breeders in Australia  from the Animal Health Trust UK DNA testing page.


Testing kits can be ordered and sent to Australia, the dog’s swabs kits are then posted back to the UK and the results sent to the dog’s owner. Time taken is usually between 2-3 weeks.

Eye Testing

The CKCSC of NSW conducts Eye Clinics each year, at which Cavaliers owners can get their dogs eyes examined by veterinary ophthalmic specialists.


Keep up to day with our Latest News for the next clinic dates.


Multi-focal Retinal Dysplasia (MRD) is congenital in origin and can be diagnosed on opthalmoscopic examination in puppies from around 5 weeks of age onwards. The condition can vary greatly with a few folds or rosettes on the retina being the commonest finding but on occasion retinal detachments and even haemorrhage may be seen. Lesions are normally found in both eyes. The effects on vision are variable depending on the extent of the abnormality present. A few folds can be counted as a minor defect for a pet owner not wishing to breed. Severe MRD with retinal detachment should be of concern. The condition is believed to be inherited by recessive mode.


Hereditary CATARACTS may be seen in dogs as young as 6/9 months but may not be apparent until the dog is several years old. Progression of the cataract over time to involve the majority of the lens can cause vision impairment. The mode of inheritance is unknown.


DRY EYE caused by lack of tear production may be seen occasionally as a congenital (present at birth) condition but more normally develops in adulthood and can also be an auto immune condition.

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