January 2011

Thank you so much, all you cavalier carers that are so passionate about your dogs.

The energy and enthusiasm for Rupert’s Fund has been quite frankly amazing. The variety and quality of the fundraising activities to hit the total £11,122 ($17,364) target in 1/1/11 in under one year is simply fantastic.  It has not only provided an incredible boost to the research but also for the breed.  

Rupert’s Fund Report for 2010

So far the funds have paid for 29 dogs (all over 6 years except for one over 5 year years old male). The average age was 7.7 years and the oldest dog scanned was 12 years. All but one was from the UK.  


18  A grades: 11 females and 7 males

11  D grades: 6 female and 5 males

All had CM, two with mild CM.

Genome research

Rupert’s Fund was set up primarily to support the genome research aimed at finding the gene or genes responsible for Syringomyelia, which needed additional DNA from dogs clear of SM over 6 years. This is essential to secure funding for the fine mapping of the haplotype (set of linked genes) so that the variation can be isolated and ultimately sequenced. The fact that there is so much support for this genetic research, demonstrated through the financial support around the world for Rupert’s Fund, will strengthen the funding proposal.

Helping the breed

Older dogs scanned with RF have highlighted the fact SM can be late onset and/or progressive. Several dogs were selected because they already had previously scanned clear but had subsequently developed SM even after the age of 4 years. Such valuable additional information allows the researchers to investigate factors which might influence why some syrinxes progress rapidly and others don’t.

Helping breeders

Analysis of litters produced using the interim breeding guidelines revealed that higher numbers of dogs SM clear over five years were produced if a parent was also clear of SM over 5 years.  RF enables breeders to identify suitable mates for their breeding programmes, since all results are sent to the Animal Health Trust in the UK for use in the EBVs  (Estimated Breeding Values)- computerised mate selection.  

Donations from RF continue to fund MRIs (in various centres with the BVA/KC CMSM protocol).

Priority is given to male dogs over 6 years  particularly if they have already had a SM clear scan but we are also interested in stud dogs of 5 years of age and bitches that have had a scan over 4 years of age or unknown MRI status over 8 years of age and asymptomatic.   However all requests made for RF are considered on an individual basis and no one should be deterred in applying if they can justify how it helps the breed.

Dr Clare Rusbridge and Penny Knowler


Research update from Dr Clare Rusbridge & Penny Knowler: