Thursday, 25 June 2015

Great fun at Dogs Fest

Loseley Park Surrey 
June 21st 2015

Tania Ledger with co workers Karen Barnard and Karen Pettet setting up the stall to raise money for Cavaliers

Thanks for all the support!!

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Clinical features of idiopathic inflammatory polymyopathy in the Hungarian Vizsla

Major contribution by an international collaboration 

 A Tauro1, D. Addicott2, R.D. Foale3, C. Bowman4, C. Hahn5, S. Long4, J. Massey6, A.C. Haley7, S.P. Knowler9, M.J., Day8, L.J. Kennedy6, C. Rusbridge1,9

1 Fitzpatrick Referrals, Halfway Lane, Eashing, Godalming, Surrey GU7 2QQ, UK 2Murrayfield, Lockerbie, UK 3Dick White Referrals, Six Mile Bottom, UK 4The University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia 5Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, Roslin, UK 6CIGMR, The University of Manchester, Manchester, UK 7The University of Georgia, College of Veterinary Medicine, USA 8University of Bristol, Langford, Bristol, UK 9The Univeristy of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey, UK.
This paper which can now be reviewed online  Here abstract below
This paper was presented at a very successful Vizsla Health Seminar on the 19th April 2015 held at Fitzpatrick Referrals where lead author Anna Tauro is a Neurology Resident working with Clare Rusbridge at the practice.  Photo shows Noel Fitzpatrick, Anna Tauro, Di Addicot and Trevor White the Chairman of the Friends of the Hungarian Vizsla Welfare Charity. 
 The paper would not have been possible if it wasn't for the years of dedication and commitment from breeder Di Addicott and the Vizsla Community. Huge Congratulations!! This is a major contribution to the continued health of the breed by providing greater understanding for this heartbreaking condition. For further details please contact

Above four of the authors left to right Anna, Di, Penny and Clare .


A retrospective study of the clinicopathological features of presumed and confirmed cases of idiopathic inflammatory polymyopathy in the Hungarian Vizsla dog and guidelines for breeding.


369 medical records were reviewed (1992-2013) and 77 Hungarian Vizsla were identified with a case history consistent with idiopathic inflammatory polymyopathy. Inclusion criteria were Group 1 (confirmed diagnosis) histopathology and clinical findings compatible with an inflammatory polymyopathy and Group 2 (probable diagnosis) clinical signs findings compatible with an polymyopathy including dysphagia, sialorrhea, temporal muscle atrophy, elevated serum creatine kinase (CK) activity, and sufficient clinical history to suggest that other neuromuscular disorders could be ruled out. Some group 2 dogs had a muscle biopsy which suggested muscle disease but did not reveal an inflammatory process. The mean age of onset was 2.4 years; male dogs were slightly overrepresented. Common presenting signs were dysphagia, sialorrhea, masticatory muscle atrophy, and regurgitation. Common muscle histopathological findings included degenerative and regenerative changes, with multifocal mononuclear cell infiltration with lymphoplasmacytic myositis of variable severity. A positive response to immunosuppressive treatment supported an immune-mediated aetiology. The mean age at death and survival time was 6.4 and 3.9 years, respectively. Recurrence of clinical signs and aspiration pneumonia were common reasons for euthanasia.


Diagnosis of Vizsla idiopathic inflammatory polymyopathy can be challenging due to lack of specific tests, however the presence of dysphagia, regurgitation and masticatory muscle atrophy in this breed with negative serological tests for masticatory muscle myositis and myasthenia gravis, along with muscle biopsies suggesting an inflammatory process support the diagnosis. However there is an urgent need for a more specific diagnostic test.  The average of inbreeding coefficient (CoI) of 16.3% suggests an increased expression of a Dog Leukocyte Antigen Class II haplotype, leading to an increased disease risk. The prognosis remains guarded, as treatment can only manage the disease. Recurrence of clinical signs and perceived poor quality of life are the most common reasons for humane euthanasia.

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Update on the CM SM conformation indicator (headshape) project in Cavaliers.

Update on the Swedish Kennel Club, Cavalier Matters & Rupert’s Fund project proposed by Lena Gillstedt, Penny Knowler, Tom Mitchell and Clare Rusbridge. Everyone is welcome to share this post.

This project is important to find out if naked eye or perhaps training in the measuring techniques and photos analysis will help identify any features that may be associated with risk of syringomyelia or painful Chiari Malformation. If this is the case then it may allow breeders to breed away from these conditions.

Nobody is more expert in appreciating conformation and variety than breeders, and a small group of representative breeders have already been created in this initial phase of the investigation.  They are Lena Gillstedt, Anja Szyszkiewicz also a Swedish breeder, Margaret Carter, Sheena Maclaine and Ellie Mordecai from the UK. Henny van den Berg (Netherlands) has recently joined this group with has expertise of conformation in other breeds. Also Laura Lang (USA) who first investigated MRIs and radiographs with and without syringomyelia over a decade ago.Together they have over 200 years of breeding experience between them and will select the dogs from the photographs that will go forward and ensure that they are representative. 

Every effort has been made by this committed team to ensure that the selection process for this project is as fair and unbiased as possible. Participants of the study will be known by a code only and be offered a free MRI scan. All individual results will be kept anonymous, although the owner will have the option to send a CD to the BVA/KC health scheme. If selected, two or more independent judges will examine the dogs using a conformation checklist compiled by Dr Clare Rusbridge, Thomas Mitchell, Henny van den Berg and Penny Knowler. All the researchers who are involved in interpreting and analyzing the results are blinded to the dogs identity.

Monday, 2 March 2015

Griffon Breeders shed light on head conformation and syringomyelia

There is a wealth of information in this delightful booklet that provides observations on 60 dogs that have been MRId. It provides breeders, pet owners and researchers with valuable insights.  Congratulations Henny van der Berg (Netherlands) and Lee Pieterse (Australia) on your hard work and dedication to the health of the Griffon Bruxellois breed.

Click on HERE for the link

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Calling all over 5 years old Cavalier owners in UK and Sweden!

It is hoped this project may help to shed further light on the painful condition called syringomyelia. Recent research has found two significant risk factors in head shape for syringomyelia. This study will focus on whether such risk factors in head shape can be identified visually. 

Do you have a Kennel Club registered Cavalier that is over the age of five that you would be prepared to have MRI scanned at no cost to you?

If you can help we need photos from different angles in order to select dogs for the project. It would very much help us to assess the head shapes of the Cavaliers if we could be sent clear photos with uncluttered backgrounds and the head photographed in the right position. You can see below examples of the pictures required.
Please send in photos of as many dogs as you can (one dog per E-mail) to
A selection of dogs will be offered free MRI scans. The identity of participating dogs will not be published. 

Photo instructions: We need photos 1) from the side 2) from above 3) from the front.

Camera held at the height from the dog’s head from ground. The photos should be taken from straight angles, straight from the side etc. If possible only head should be in the frame, ear pulled down on the side view to not obscure head shape.
Upper line are examples of good photos, a neutral background and taken from the correct angles:

More details at

 Many thanks to all of those who are able to help

 This initiative is funded by the Swedish Kennel Club and Cavalier Matters Charity (Rupert's Fund) and supported by the Cavalier Club UK and the Companion Cavalier Club. 

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Northern and Eastern Counties Papillon Club Health Seminar

Finningley Village Hall, 


Doncaster, DN9 3DA

February 1, 2015
9.30am -4pm

Stewarding Seminar

Christina Chapman 
(KC Accredited trainer)

*   Lunch    *              

Syringomyelia and Chari-like Malformation

Penny Knowler 
(Clare Rusbridge's research assistant 
Co-ordinator of the Canine Chiari Malformation and
 Syringomyelia DNA Research project )

£15-00 includes lunch. The club also will be holding a raffle and donating part of the entry fee to the research programe. 

Contact Eileen Roberts at 0116 2570277 for reservations or additional information.