Rufus's Have a Heart Page

"The price of wisdom is above rubies"
Job 28:18

Little Red Rufus: a Ruby Cavalier

20th April 1986 - 5th May 1998

This page tells the story in words and pictures of Rufus, a Ruby Cavalier who suffered from MVD. It includes links to sites that have information on MVD (mitral heart disease) and has a comprehensive bibliography on this subject.

After a long and often very distressing battle against heart disease, this valiant little Cavalier has finally passed away. Although he was a timid and nervous dog, he endured his illness with great dignity and fortitude, thus earning our undying admiration and respect.

Rufus' Ramblings
Little Red Rufus: Slide Show
Rufus' Have A Heart Reading List

Rufus' Ramblings

Hello! My name is Rufus and I am a Ruby Cavalier with a heart problem. I was born in Wales in 1985, and came to my home by way of Barkham in Berkshire. Good name for a puppy's place isn't it?

My lady found the Ruby quote for me and said it is just right as I am as thick as THREE short planks. But I am not that stupid, and to prove it I have made this web page so you can find some links to other pages with information about Cavalier heart problems.

My name means Red - I know that, and my lady sometimes calls me "Little Red Rufe" - but the children that used to play with me - they thought my name was "Rooftops!" So, who's stupid, then?

I came to my home to be a companion for Barnaby, and he became my hero and mentor. But he got a problem with his heart before I did, and was very ill. My people said they would take him to the vets to make him better, and I went too to help him. But they made him dead instead - and then we went home and left him there.

I was very afraid, and didn't want to go for walks any more in case he might come home and miss me, or even worse, I might get taken away and made dead too. I wasn't very ill then, but I am now. There are lots of pills I have to take, some for my heartbeat, and some to get rid of the fluid on my lungs. These fluid ones sometimes make my mouth so dry I can't eat very well, and sometimes all the fluids build up inside my tummy - then I have to go to the vet and have a needle put in me to drain it all away. But the vets must like me as because they haven't made me dead yet...

I still enjoy life, thank you, but can't do too much most days. I love to ride in the car with my man, and sometimes I decide I would like a little walk, as long as he carries me home if I get tired. And sometimes I still chase my biscuits down the hallway and catch and eat them. I think food always tastes better if you have to chase it first, even if it isn't alive. My lady says I should have been a cat - but I hate them! I used to chase them too, and one day I actually nearly caught the next door cat but we both fell over and then we didn't know what to do next! My lady shouted and took me back in the house. Good thing too, I might have had to eat him, and then I wouldn't have been able to chase him any more...

Barnaby used to help with needlework, but I don't like that sissy stuff, I like the computer instead and sit next to it and help do web pages and things. That's how I learned how to do my own page so I can tell you all about my life with a heart problem.

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Little Red Rufus: Slide Show
Rufus' Slide Show is a collection of photographs taken throughout his life, showing some of the things he most enjoyed doing...

To view Rufus's Slide Show, you need a Java/Javascript capable browser, with Java and Javascript enabled!

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Rufus' Have A Heart Reading List

We've gathered together all the information we could find on heart problems in Cavaliers; this is divided into two sections, a list of links to web pages and a bibliography...

Cavalier Heart Links

For everyone who is interested in helping our Cavaliers have healthy hearts, please visit our Helping Hearts pages where we are raising money for the UK Cavalier Club Health Fund.
An excellent MVD FAQ
The Canadian Cavalier Club has many excellent artivles on hearts:
  • Coenzyme Q10: A Readily Available Means to Help Manage Heart Disease in Cavaliers?
  • Heart diagnotics
  • Understanding congestive heart failure
  • The management of congestive heart failure
  • Link between vaccinations and heart disease in Cavaliers?
  • Important findings at CKCS, USA's Heart Symposium
  • Heart Disease in Cavaliers CAN be dramatically reduced!! from International Symposium on Chronic Cardiac Valve Disease (CVD)
The Cavalier Connection web site has an important article by Jens Haggstrom on Chronic valvular disease in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels: Epidemilogy, inheritance and pathophysiology has information both on Medical Conditions of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel by Malcolm Dupre, and on
Mitral Valve Disease (Mitral Valve Regurgitation) by Jennie Bullock
The Cavalier List page has a health section which includes information on Mitral Valve Disease
Kantu Cavaliers have a clear heart list which you can add your dogs to.
USA Heritage program: : John Beckett's Heritage Program is about helping future Cavalier litters live longer.
Hobnobcav's site has two articles by Hilarie H. Gibbs
A Pet Owners Guide To Heart Disease In Cavalier King Charles Spaniels
Getting To The Heart Of The Matter! This latter is also reproduced on the Cavalier Planet website.
Yuki Sakai's Cavalier Net has a health questionnaire
A copy of the form used for heart information in the UK is displayed here. has special medical FAQs with information on Cavalier King Charles Spaniels: Special Medical Problems (MVD)
The Canadian Cavalier Club has a number of articles on MVD in their Health section, written by a member of their Health Committee, Myra Ehrman. They are extremely well written and include information about drug treatments, what these drugs do, what stage they are given, symptoms of heart disease and heart failure, and many many etceteras.
Cardiology Northwest Oregon's Heart Disease Updates page contains information on heart disease in animals; (currently 25 June 1999, the results of the Scandinavian Veterinary Enalapril Prevention (SVEP) Trial Findings: Enacard does not delay or prevent the onset of congestive heart failure in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels (CKCS) with naturally occurring mitral valve disease; and an article Ruptured Chordae Tendineae and Mitral Valve Disease They also have an Exam room where you can listen to a heart murmur, and see some of the techniques used in assessing heart problems.
Western College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Saskatchewan presents a case study on Haggis, a 10 year old Blenheim with a heart murmur.
The heart and lungs: nice laymens discussion of dogs cardiovascular system with diagrams; mentions MVD in Cavaliers.
Article on MVD by Suzanne Brown of Thatchcote Cavaliers
Living With MVD - Health & Care by Suzanne Brown
Canine cardiac topics discussed by Rachel Peeples, a student at the University of Georgia's College of Veterinary Medicine in Athens, Georgia, USA
Short notes on the age and onset of heart disease in Cavaliers in USA, UK, and Australia; from Dr Tibor F Dipold.
Vetinary Cardiology On-line (University of Guelph) has a page discussing Chronic Valvular Disease (CVD).
Henrik Duelund Pedersen, KVL, Denmark has a list of vetinary articles inclding some on MVD. (I have also some of these listed in the bibliography below...)
What is mitral valve disease? from the Canine Inherited Disorders Database
List of Cavalier Health Problems including MVD
Illustrations of dog's hearts
Heart Valve Malfunction in the Dog (Mitral Insufficiency)
Nos CKC sont en danger !!! MVD discussion and links on French Cavalier site.
Ask the Vet: Re: recently discovered heart murmur-mitral valve
The coughing dog
Premiere Cavaliers page on MVD
Information about Valvular Heart Disease in humans
Bet Hargreaves tells the story of how her Ruby bitch Ailsa, who had MVD, died after a bad reaction to her booster vaccination; Bet speculates on the causes of such reactions and has collected pedigrees of other Cavaliers who died in this way. She is interested in MVD research, and has also collected pedigrees of long lived and MVD Cavaliers.
And finally, visit Ophit von der Zauberhecke (aka Jimmy): a brave little Cavalier who had major heart surgery!
Jimmy the heart surgery pioneer!
Cavalier Heart Bibliography
Beardow AW, Buchanan
Chronic mitral valve disease in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels: 95 cases (1987-1991). Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 1993; 203: 1023-1029
Brown S, Simpson K, Baker S, Spagnioletti M, Elwood C.
Macrothrombocytosis in cavalier King Charles spaniels. Vet Rec 1994; 135:281-283.
Buchanan J.
Causes and prevalence of cardiovascular disease. In: Kirk R, Bonagura J, eds.Kirk's current veterinary therapy XI. Philadelphia: WB Saunders, 1992; 647-655.
Buchanan J.
Spontaneous left atrial rupture in dogs. Adv Exp Med Biol 1972; 22:315-334.
Buchanan, Dr James W.
Vertebral Scale System to Measure Canine Heart Size in Radiographs. JAVMA, 15 Jan. 1995; 206(2).
Darke PGG.
Valvular incompetence in Cavalier King Charles spaniels. Vet Rec 1987; 120:365-366.
Das KM, Tashjihan RJ.
Chronic mitral valve disease in the dog. Vet Med /Small Anim Clin 1965; 60:1209-1215.
Detweiler DK, Pattersson DF.
The prevalence and types of cardiovascular disease in dogs. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1965; 127:481-516.
Eksell P, Häggström J, Kvart C, Karlsson Å.
Thrombocytopenia in the Cavalier King Charles spaniel. J Small Anim Pract 1994; 35:153-155.
Häggström J, Hansson K, Kvart C, Swenson L,
Chronic mitral valve disease in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels in Sweden. Veterinary Record 1992; 131:549-553
Häggström J, Hansson K, Kvart C.
Heart sounds and murmurs: Changes related to severity of mitral regurgitation in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. J Vet Intern Med 1995; 9:75-85.
Häggström J.
Chronic valvular disease in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels - Epidemiology, Inheritance and pathophysiology. Thesis: Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences; 1996. Abstract
Jens Häggström, DVM, PhD and Clarence Kvart, DVM, PhD
Update on mitral valve disease From the Proceeding of the 15th Annual Academy of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM) Forum, Orlando, FLA, USA, page 202-204
Koch J, Pedersen HD, Flagstad A.
Dilated cardiomyopathy in dogs. The European Journal of Companion Animal Practice 1995; V: 77-88.
Koch J, Pedersen HD, Jensen AL, Flagstad A, Poulsen K.
Activation of the renin-angiotensin system in dogs with asymptomatic and symptomatic dilated cardiomyopathy. Research in Veterinary Science 1995; 59: 172-175.
Koch J, Pedersen HD, Jensen AL, Flagstad A.
M-mode echocardiographic diagnosis of dilated cardiomyopathy in giant breed dogs. Journal of Veterinary Medicine, Series A 1996; 43: 297-304.
Malik R, Hunt GB and Allen GS.
Prevalence of mitral valve insufficiency in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. Veterinary Record 1992; 130: 302
Mow T, Pedersen HD
Endothelin receptors in mitral valves from dogs with chronic valvular disease. Proceedings of the 7th annual congress, European Society of Veterinary Internal Medicine, Wien, Østrig, 1998; p75.
O'Grady and Minors
Paper presented at the Canadian Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club National Specialty, 1996
Olsen LH, Fredholm M, Pedersen HD
Epidemiology and inheritance of mitral valve prolapse in Dachshunds. Proceedings of the 7th annual congress, European Society of Veterinary Internal Medicine, Wien, Østrig, 1998; p74.
Pedersen HD, Kristensen BO, Lorentzen KA, et al.
Mitral valve prolapse in 3-year old healthy Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. An echocardiographic study. Can J Vet Res 1995; 59:294-298 Abstract.
Pedersen HD, Koch J, Poulsen K, Jensen AL, Flagstad A.
Activation of the renin-angiotensin system in dogs with asymptomatic and mildly symptomatic mitral valvular insufficiency. Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine 1995; 9: 328-331.
Pedersen HD, Kristensen BØ, Nørby B, Lorentzen KA.
Echocardiographic study of mitral valve prolapse in Dachshunds. Journal of Veterinary Medicine, Series A 1996; 43: 103-110.
Pedersen HD, Kristensen BØ, Lorentzen KA, Koch J, Jensen AL, Flagstad A.
Mitral valve prolapse in 3-year-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniels: An echocardiographic study. Veterinary Abstracts 1996; (2): 27-29.
Pedersen HD.
Effects of mild mitral valve insufficiency, sodium intake, and place of blood sampling on the renin-angiotensin system in dogs. Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica 1996; 37: 109-118.
Pedersen HD, Lorentzen KA, Kristensen BØ.
Observer variation in the two-dimensional echocardiographic evaluation of mitral valve prolapse in dogs. Veterinary Radiology & Ultrasound 1996; 37: 367-372.
Pedersen HD
Endocardiose hos hund. Proceeding, Abildgaard Symposium VII, Mindre Husdyrs Sygdomme, København, 1997; p 13-16.
Pedersen HD, Häggström J, Falk T, Mow T, Olsen LH, Iversen L, Jensen AL.
Auscultation in mild mitral regurgitation in dogs: observer variation, effects of physical maneuvers, and agreement with color Doppler echocardiography and phonocardio- graphy. Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine 1998; in press.
Pedersen HD, Olsen LH, Mow T, Christensen NJ.
Neuroendocrine changes in Dachshunds with mitral valve prolapse examined in different study conditions. Research in Veterinary Science 1998; in press.
Pedersen HD, Lorentzen KA, Kristensen BØ.
Echocardiographic mitral valve prolapse in cavalier King Charles spaniels: Epidemiology and prognostic significance for regurgitation. Veterinary Record 1998; in press.
Pedersen HD, Mow T.
Hypomagnesemia and mitral valve prolapse in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. Journal of Veterinary Medicine, Series A 1998; in press.
Pedersen HD, Mow T
Hypomagnesemia in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. Proceedings of the 7th annual congress, European Society of Veterinary Internal Medicine, Wien, Østrig, 1998; p78.
Swenson L, Häggström J, Kvart J, Juneja K.
Relationship between parental cardiac status in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and prevalence and severity of chronic valvular disease in offspring. J Am Vet Med Assoc 1996; 208:2009-2012.
Tamura K, Fukuda Y, Ishizaki M, Masuda Y, Yamanaka N, Ferrans VJ.
Abnormalities in elastic fibers and other connective-tissue components of floppy mitral valve. Am Heart J 1995; 129:1149-58.
Taylor DH, Sittnikow L.
The diagnosis of canine cardiac disease. J Small Anim Pract 1968; 9:589-595.
MITRAL VALVE DISEASE note from Animal Pharm July 18,1997 6

The U.K.’s Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club has launched breeding guide lines to reduce the incidence of inherited chronic heart valve disease in the breed.Tests have shown that the risk of mitral valve disease (MVD) is 21 times greater than in dogs of other breeds and occurs prematurely in Cavaliers,with more than 50% of animals affected by the age of five.The guidelines follow a recent seminar organized by the club and Intervet UK to explore incidence reduction through breeding policies.For details contact Simon Swift MRCVS,Langdale Veterinary Hospital,2-4 Queen’s Road,Cheadle Hulme,Cheshire SKB 5LU,U.K. Tel:0161-485 8444 Fax:0161-486-6156

Thrusfield MV, Aitken CGG, Darke PGG.
Observations on breed and sex in relation to canine heart valve incompetence. J Small Anim Pract 1985; 26:709-717.
Westmoreland H.
Congenital heart disease at the Uppsala and the Strömsholm Animal Hospitals. Svensk Veterinärtidning. 1996; 48:559-563.
Whitney JC.
Cardiovascular Pathology. J. small. Anim. Pract 1967; 8:459-465.

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