The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is quite a robust little dog, but of course, the breed is still susceptible to certain health problems. It’s important to be aware of these before proceeding with an adoption. Find out more about the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel’s life expectancy and most common diseases below.

The Average Lifespan of a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

The average life expectancy of a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is between 10 and 14 years. Some Cavs even live until the age of 15. This information is only indicative; bear in mind that the average life expectancy of any dog breed is affected by several factors including the dog’s living conditions, environment, and diet. Of course, no pooch is immune to accidents or diseases like cancer, but you can help prevent the onset of common diseases by taking a few simple precautions.

How Can I Increase My Cavalier King Charles Spaniel's Life Expectancy?

There are a few precautions you can take that will help improve your dog’s quality of life and thus extend their life expectancy.

Get Serious about Vet Check-Ups

Regular veterinary check-ups are essential to the good health of your pooch. Visit the vet with your Cavalier at least once a year, especially when they start to get older. Adhere to your dog's vaccination schedule and keep their antiparasitic treatments up to date to protect them from fleas and ticks. Finally, make sure to brush your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel daily, and clean their teeth, ears, and eyes every week.

Choose a High-Quality Diet

Your dog's food plays a vital role in their health. Low-quality dog food will have a direct impact on your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel's health, and vice versa. Try to avoid buying supermarket dog food, as this tends to be very poor in quality and thus incapable of meeting your dog's nutritional needs. It is better to buy dog food that’s a little more expensive and that contains at least 25 to 28% animal protein.

If you prefer, you can even opt for tailor-made dog food for your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, specially designed to meet all their needs. Otherwise, why not try homemade dog food or the BARF diet? Always seek advice from your vet before changing your dog’s food. And remember that your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel's diet will change over time: a puppy’s food requirements will be different than an older dog, for example. The good health of your dog should be your main priority when it comes to their food.

Prioritise Dog Training

It may seem like training your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel has very little to do with their health. But think again! Proper dog training and socialisation play an integral part in protecting your dog from accidents. Coming to you when they’re called and walking calmly to heel, in particular, allow you to control your Cavalier and prevent accidents or stop them from running away. Thanks to these essential learnings, you’ll be much more capable of keeping your dog safe.


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What are the Most Common Diseases for Cavalier King Charles Spaniels?

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is predisposed to certain health problems:

  • Syringomyelia: This is a very common disease in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. It affects between 50 to 95% of the breed. Syringomyelia is a disorder in which a cyst or cavity forms within the spinal cord. This has a direct impact on the brain and the spine, due to the pressure of the skull on the spinal cord in the neck. Symptoms range from mild to severe, including partial paralysis. The first signs appear between the ages of 6 months and 4 years and worsen over time. If you have any concerns about your Cavalier’s health, be sure to make an appointment with your vet as soon as possible to rule out this diagnosis. Treatment is primarily focused on pain relief.

  • Secretory Otitis Media: This is a type of ear infection that affects nearly 30% of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. It is characterised by the appearance of a mucous plug in the inner ear, behind the eardrum. The dog will then yawn, moan in pain, tilt its head, or stagger. It may also display facial paralysis, hearing loss, or seizures. Treatment involves an operation to open the eardrum. In the worst cases, the vet may advise removing the whole ear canal.

  • Primary Epilepsy: Also known as Idiopathic Epilepsy (IE), this type of epilepsy is defined as recurrent seizures with no identifiable cause. Seizures manifest as a loss of consciousness and convulsions that can last for several minutes. There is no cure for epilepsy, but treatment can be prescribed to help limit seizures and improve the animal's quality of life.

  • Hip Dysplasia: This joint problem more commonly affects large dogs, but is known to affect certain small breeds of dogs as well. Such is the case with the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. This fairly common disease is caused by a deformation of the joints during growth. It involves the abnormal formation of the hip socket, wherein the ball and socket do not fit or develop properly, and they rub and grind against each other, causing lameness and, in more severe cases, paralysis. Sometimes surgery is needed to correct this health problem.

  • Mitral Valve Endocarditis (MVE): Also known as mitral valve disease, this type of endocarditis affects the mitral valve. It is very common in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. Characterised by an infection of the mitral valve between the left atrium and the left ventricle, it causes degeneration of the valve, which stops it from working properly. This causes blood to leak backwards to the left atrium (regurgitation). Eventually, the affected animal will develop congestive heart failure. Unfortunately, this condition often ends up being fatal within one to three years of diagnosis.

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