Dog Owner Launches Charity Raising Awareness of Pedigree Dog Health Concerns

Dog owner Tania Ledger has set up a charity, Cavalier Matters, to raise awareness and campaign to improve the genetic health of pedigree dogs, in particular Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.
 
Although the charity is currently focusing on the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel breed, in the long term it hopes to extend its scope to other breeds that are affected by genetic health problems.
 
Tania set up the charity with her husband Graham after two of their three Cavalier King Charles Spaniel dogs Molly and Dougall were diagnosed with Syringomyelia, an incurable neurological condition.


 
"When Molly and Dougall were diagnosed in December 2008 with Syringomyelia, I was devastated," said Tania. "When I tried to read up on the condition, I was mystified by all the scientific jargon and couldn't find any information online about how to look after a dog with Syringomyelia."
 
"I decided to set up a charity to help other Cavalier owners deal with Syringomyelia and other genetic health issues. I hope the charity will enable people to improve the quality of their dogs' lives by giving them the appropriate care and the best veterinary treatment available," said Tania.
 
The charity has five main aims:
1) To support other Cavalier owners by providing easy to understand information about Cavalier health problems and advice on how to look after a dog affected by these problems.
2) Raising awareness of Cavalier health problems among the general public and encouraging them to only buy a puppy from a breeder who has carried out all the necessary health checks on the bitch and stud dog.
3) Campaigning to improve the health of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and animal welfare in general, for example, campaigning against irresponsible breeding and puppy farms.
4) Funding research into Cavalier illnesses, for example, the Rupert's Fund project (http://www.rupertsfund.com) and the Collection Scheme (http://www.veterinary-neurologist.co.uk/collection.htm).
5) Funding the rescue and rehoming of Cavaliers.
 
Encouraging responsible breeding is a vital aspect of the charity's work, according to Tania.
 
"I was shocked when I learnt that many irresponsible breeders continue to breed from dogs that have been diagnosed with Syringomyelia or do not follow the breeding guidelines for Syringomyelia. These breeders are condemning puppies to a life of pain and potentially contributing to the extinction of the breed," said Tania.
 
Dog health campaigner Carol Fowler is also a trustee of the charity. Carol said: "Tania invited me to be a founding trustee of Cavalier Matters Charity and I was delighted to accept. Initially Cavalier Matters is all about the breed we are both passionate to help to save – the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. We have started small but hope to build Cavalier Matters into something much bigger, extending its scope to helping other dog breeds which are in trouble, and campaigning for the reform of dog breeding in the UK through our political contacts and by working with other welfare organisations."
 
None of the three Cavalier Matters trustees will be drawing any income or expenses from the charity, so all proceeds will be put towards the charity's goals. So far the charity has raised £5,750 through the sale of items on its charitable shop (shop.cavaliermatters.org) and at pet shows (including the London Pet Show in May 2011).
 
For more information on Cavalier Matters, visit http://cavaliermatters.org/ or contact tania@cavaliermatters.org

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