View Full Version : Scary episodes

Mabel's Mom
8th March 2007, 02:54 PM
Hi everyone,
My name is Karin and I live in Maine. Mabel is my 4 year old, blenhiem cavalier. She's my baby. She's been a wonderful dog, but lately she's been having trouble. About a month ago she had her soft palette shortend by the vet. She stops breathing in her sleep. She snores very loudly, then gets quiet as her chest and stomach muscles flex, but no air gets in. Sometimes she'll snort or gag and start breathing. Lately, she goes longer and longer without breathing. She crawls or walks a few step with her nose in the air trying to breath. If that doesn't work, she gets limp and falls over and starts drooling..sometimes this will lead to a seizure. She's been on phenobarbitol (anti-seizure) for 3 days and she's just getting worse. Last night she had 16 episodes. My vet has sent videos of her episodes to a neurologist and we are waiting to hear back. He wants to make sure its her throat and not a neurological problem before he does more surgery.He said when he trimmed her soft pallette, he noticed her tonsils were huge and all the tissue in her throat was hyperplasia...which means overgrown. He plans to go back in and be more agressive with taking more tissue and tonsils. The risk is if he goes too far... she could aspirate her food and water into to her lungs when she eats. This is all soooo scary for us. I can't stand to see her struggle to breathe. It breaks my heart. She's just such an angel.
Has anyone ever heard of such a thing? I don't know how much longer she can go on like this. I can't imagine my life without her.
This is such a wonderful web site. It's nice to see others who feel the same way I do about their cavaliers.
Thank you for listening.

8th March 2007, 03:07 PM
I am so sorry ;( I applaud you for taking out the time and doing the research you are doing for your little Mabel. Hopefully things turn out for you guys.. *HUGZ* I can't imagine going through that - it must be so scary. Hopefully you will find some comfort for your little girl soon. :flwr: :flwr: I have no idea about any of the medical issues. :(

Denise G.
8th March 2007, 03:32 PM
Karin--I'm so sorry to hear Mabel is having such troubles. I've never heard of the problems she's having--but there are lots of experienced Cavalier owners on the board, so I'm sure someone will speak up. Karlin, the board Moderator, is very knowledgeable on Cavalier health issues. Have you gone over to the Library form on this board to look around? That might help...

My only thought is that it may also have something to do with her heart. Has she been diagnosed with a heart murmur/MVD? I've read other posts about the difficulty Cavaliers can have breathing with advanced MVD. Don't mean to scare you, but thought it might be a consideration.

Prayers and hugs to you and Mabel... :hug:

Cathy T
8th March 2007, 03:54 PM
Karin - this must just scare you to death! I don't have any words of wisdom but hope someone will pop up with some info for you. Hope you get some answers.

8th March 2007, 04:49 PM

I'm sorry, I don't have any answers for you but I really hope that you get some positive answers soon. It sounds like you are doing all you can at the minute.

My Maxx does have extremely enlarged tonsils and if he gets over excited then he starts to cough and splutter but that's all. Was Mabel having problems with falling over limply before she had her palate shortened?

Give her a :hug: from me and my boys :hug:

Cathy Moon
8th March 2007, 05:23 PM

So sorry you're going through this!

Here is a link for related information from the cavalier health site:

Do you know where the nearest Veterinary College is? I'd recommend taking Mabel to a Vet College to be seen by a specialist. (I've had to take one of my cavs to a vet college for an unrelated problem, and we had a very positive experience.)

Here is a link to find veterinary colleges:

8th March 2007, 08:23 PM

When my blenheim was 3 1/2 I too thought she just needed her soft palette shortened. She was always out of breath, panting very hard, etc. Well.... when my vet got in there to do just that - what do you know!>!> The reality was that both sides of Sasha's throat had collapsed!! He had never seen this in a non-working dog before and had to do emergency surgery. Her permanently sutured one side of her throat back and left the other side as was just so she wouldn't be as prone to aspirate.

She is just shy of 9 years now - finally having some throat difficulties again. Now her throat opening is quite small and the throat walls have thickened up. At X-mas I actually took her to the closest vet hospital (3 1/2 hrs away in Kansas) b/c she was really declining quickly (constantly vomiting, losing weight, overall just sick). They diagnosed Sasha with a very rare condition - MM (mascatory myositis) which in her case is complicated with the previous throat problems. She also had major throat sores/lesions as well and is on long term medications for both health issues.

I know my regular vet has another dog owner with a young dog who is displaying the same symptoms as Sasha (see above) but they are reluctant to do the laryngeal tie-back at this point. However, I truly believe it saved Sasha's life as she was sure to suffocate soon if we hadn't done the surgery.

I do crush and soak her food daily, but that is 6 years after the laryngeal prolapse surgery.

Hope this gives you a little bit more information on another source to look for.


8th March 2007, 10:12 PM
hi karin

i'm sorry i am absolutely no use when it comes to help but i just wanted to offer you hugs and support----poor mabel (she is adorable btw)!!! you must all be terrified having to go through this.

i hope you get some answers soon and please do keep us updated!

k :flwr: :flwr:

9th March 2007, 01:16 AM
Oh Karin, that must be really distressing for you to watch your little one struggling like that. I hope that the vets can get to the bottom of what is happening. We have one of our Boxers on Phenabarb for epileptic events, but thankfully at the moment these occur very rarely.

My heart goes out to you. :(

9th March 2007, 08:17 AM
...Do you know where the nearest Veterinary College is? I'd recommend taking Mabel to a Vet College to be seen by a specialist. (I've had to take one of my cavs to a vet college for an unrelated problem, and we had a very positive experience.)

Here is a link to find veterinary colleges:

Great suggestion Cathy. maybe by making some calls or writing some emails, Karin may be able to find someone who is familiar with this, and maybe there are some treatments being developed.

{{{karin}}} what a terrible ordeal, poor little angel. :hug: good luck!

Julie S
9th March 2007, 05:53 PM
Oh my, this is just so distressing. I am so sorry that you and your baby have to go through this.

11th March 2007, 05:09 AM
One other suggestion: have you looked into episodic falling syndrome? I just wonder if it may appear as if breathing problems are causing this when actually it might be something like EFS? There are videos and lots of info here:


12th March 2007, 07:54 PM
Hi Karin - Wow, I've been reading through this thread, and I am so sorry. I certainly hope that there will be some positive news for you soon, as far as diagnosing this problem further. You said that the medication she was on didn't seem to be helping--in fact may have been making it worse. Did you talk to the vet about that? (I apologize if you already said something about that and I just missed it.) Maybe if her problem is "mechanical" rather than neurological, it would make sense that it might make things worse.

Are you by any chance in southern Maine? I was wondering if there might be someone down here in MA at the Tufts Vet school in Grafton who might be able to help Mabel. (Perhaps your vet could contact them?) It would be a bit of a hike even from the Portland area, but still do-able in a day trip.

I saw your pictures in the other thread, and she's just an adorable little dog. :flwr: