View Full Version : Diary, a few thoughts and comments leading up to the scans

6th June 2007, 11:44 PM
Okay, I am not a diary keeper, heck I lose track of the days when the kids are off school but this whole episode (for wont of a better description) needs to be kept track of. So here goes!

December 2006

I see that the Midland Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club has a seminar in February on Syringomyelia, this is something I need to learn more about, I better book a ticket, the speaker is the neuoroliogist Geoff Skerritt of the Chestergates Referral Hospital and his team, could be enlightening!

February 17th 2007

I attend the seminar, I have only a very brief knowledge of SM but want/need to learn more, the talk is very informative, the scan pictures themselves show me far more than words or descriptions ever can, suddenly a picture of a Cavalier comes on the screen, in a room of a lot of long time breeders every-one still says "Awwwwwwwwwww!" :D
Martin Deutschland takes his turn and presents a case study, an actual post mortem of a Cavalier, he apologises for any discomfort we may feel, not one person in that room was repulsed, we were all wanting or needing to see what actually goes on with this condition. the seminar ends with a Q+A session where obviously the question is asked "Why can't the scans be cheaper?" it is explained about the cost of the MRI scanner itself and also the cost of having to have a team of 5-6 people there whenever a dog is scanned both to ensure the dog is properly sedated and OK during the scan , the personnel required to operate the scanner and finally the personnel required to interpret the scans. Mr.Skerritt says he would be prepared to negotiate a "special" price for Midland Club members as long as the club can guarantee numbers, we are all very interested!! It is left that it will be bought up in the next committee meeting in April to liase with Chestergates on the price, and that seminar attendee's will be given preferance.

Late February

Okay, I am getting increasingly concerned about this condition now, the researchers obviously need more help both with DNA/bloods and also with more dogs being MRI'D. After a lull in showing and breeding I am about to start thinking about breeding my girls again, to top quality dogs with the hope of creating some nice quality pups whom I can get back into the ring with, I have had a serious set back with 2 of my girls, this leaves the other side of my line, 3 sisters on whom my line now depends, they are line bred, a half brother to sister breeding, I know I need to breed away from my line right now, but what if? I think that once the Midland Club come up with a price and a date I need to get these girls MRI'd, I might have some trouble getting Mum and Dad to agree to allowing Tasha a scan, but I can try, after all she is still acctually mine! :confused:


Well both Tasha and Bella have been in heat, I have let them go over this time, waiting for dates for the MRI's.


Okay, Crystal is in heat, she has all her health certificates, I figure after all is said and done I will go ahead and mate her, if the scans show up anything untowards with her Sisters I will keep all the pups and monitor them throughout their lives, that is the most responsible thing to do.

Crystal is duly mated to the dog I have chosen almost 12 months to the day ago!


Midland Club have announced they have the dates for Chestergates MRI's!! I have recently gotten back online with a new computer and joined Cavalier Talk, this board is one where you CAN discuss health Issues without fear of retribution, I am still very much in 2 minds about the MRI scan, what if I find out something I don't want to? Quite frankly this scares the pants off me!! I have been breeding for over 10 years now, what if it has been for nothing? What if I have inadvertantly introduced something horrific to my line? The last thing I want is to bring puppies into this world with this condition, I need more time to think about this........

I spend a lot of May admiring all the pups on the boards, and enjoying reading about the puppyhoods they are enjoying, as a breeder I really enjoy this side of the boards, Yes I get photo's at Christmas from my puppy buyers but to see and read about pups as they grow and develop gives me great pleasure!

May 21st

U.S Breeder Bruce H has a started a thread on S.M, I think he is brave to do this and back him 110% in his comments, later that night I end up on the Parent Club site and looking at the slides from the seminar I have attended, the ad is there too for the MRI's, OK my mind is made up, I am going to scan Bella and Mum and Dad permitting, Tasha too, I NEED to know now, I resolve to ring the club secretary in the morning to book Bella's MRI. I can't do anything about Crystal, she is hopefully in whelp, we will see what her sisters MRI's throw up first.

I spend the next few days showing my parents the evidence on SM, the video's via Karlins Sm website, they are horrified! We speak to the vet who confirms there are no recorded cases in our area on his books at least, he admits he relies on myself for up to date information on the condition, WOW!! My vet needs me!! I feel Mum and Dad think I am expecting them to pay for Tasha's MRI, I tell them that NO, I will be paying and they agree to have her MRI'd too, I ring the Club Secretary to change my booking and find the MRI's have now stretched out to 3 days/dates!!

Bruce H launches his appeal for donations for a scan Clare Rusbridge needs to do, I really want to donate but have just sent off the money for my scans so am very short, time allowing I will make a donation!

I approach Karlin as I need to document this journey, it is so important to me, Karlin is more than happy to allow me to do this, I just hope that people will come to realise that when you make the decision to breed a litter of puppies you are taking on a huge responsibilty, you are "playing God" in a way!
I have had people approach me for puppies, "I have the money here ready and waiting" they say, "Yeah, So? WHY do you want one of my babies?" I could fill a whole forum with some of the puppy enquiries I have turned down for various reasons, the reasons given for wanting a girl instead of a boy, I actually had one "person" ask if I could "loan" them a puppy for the school holidays and take it back again when the kids started back into school in September!! Again I digress!!


This Saturday (2nd) I receive my copy of "Chat", a publication from the Eastern Counties CKCS Club of which I am also a member, one article grabs my attention, it is titled "When Dreams stop coming true" and is the story of a VERY well know dog who was a Champion, a Top Stud and in his time considered an ambassador of the breed, sadly he also threw SM. I strongly remember this dog, I was showing Merlin and Chad at the same time as he was being campaigned by his owner, a truly lovely boy, it took me a long time to read that story, for some reason the pages kept getting blurred! His courageous owner refers to keeping quiet about his "problem" and how she had no wish for him to be her "Dirty little secret", maybe you know whom I am referring to? I won't name him in an open public forum however.
If ever I needed spurring on, this has certainly done it!!

June 6th

Okay, it's going to happen now, the sub forum is up and running, I have done an Intro, and a decision thread, I have posted pics of Tasha, Bella as ever is being stubborn about posing despite a talking to from her maternal AND human Mum's!! Moreover I have received a form from the midland Club asking me to send the girls registration details to Mrs Skerritt so they can be input to their database before the MRI's are done, I simply filled them in and was posting them within the hour! I think you can say I am committed now! Have just checked out the lists on the parent club site, they are getting to be lists of who hasn't rather than who has in this persons humble opinion, in a way I am glad to be joining the "who has" side of things, I want this breed to be around for my grandchildren's grandchildren and if this helps then so be it!

Have to admit though that I am scared silly, what if this throws up something I don't want it too? Where will I go, what will I do? I feel positively sick just thinking about this! What if both Tasha and Bella have syrinxes? What about Crystal and her unborn pups?? What, what, what?? I guess I will have to cross that bridge when, or if I get to it, I truly bellieve things happen for a reason, that our lives are pre-ordained, if I have to start again with a different line then that is what I will do.

I have spent the last few days ringing my puppy buyers asking how their dogs are, no-one has mentioned SM, or anything remotely like it, they are all very proud of their dogs, glad of the enquiry, all bar one that was, who rather sheepishly admitted they no longer had their dog! (I actually already knew this, I had to hear this from a fellow breeder though!) their dog had slipped through their legs when they answered the front door and was run over outside the house, so very sad indeed, Iasked why they hadn't rung me when it happened, they said they were worried I would shout at them! They had just lost their dog, there is no way I would have shouted, accidents happen and I was and still am genuinely saddened by their loss, they have another Cavalier, I know for a fact this dog came from a "High Class" puppy farmer! What can I say?

Ok enough rambling, you are up to date now, you have met the girls, their expectant sister and their matriach Momma!!

We are 5 days away now, the scans are on the 12th June, late afternoon, half my nails are gone already, I can only keep you updated now on my thoughts and feelings throughout the next few days, the scans are paid for, the details sent off, I am getting snappier by the minute (according to my OH!)
Watch this space!!

7th June 2007, 07:27 PM
Cathryn ,
Thank you so much for sharing this with us .

it goes without saying we'll all be thinking of you 4 legged and 2 legged on Tuesday .


8th June 2007, 11:23 PM
Friday 8th June

Firstly I would like to thank those of you who have wished me luck over the last few days, your support is greatly appreciated.

We are at a bit of a "treading water" stage really now, I have told my story, given my reasons for doing these MRI's and introduced you to the girls!
I have so much spinning around in my head, one of the questions has to be what if they both show up something I don't want to see, what if I am told I shouldn't breed from them, what will I do? Will I give up (That doesn't even warrant a reply!) will I buy in from a SM clear scan kennel and try to rebuild? What, what, what??!!!

Went over to my parents house and asked Tasha how she felt to be doggy "guinea pig" she merely gave me a snort and a sideways look before rolling on her back to have her tummy rubbed :rolleyes: Threatened Jake with being brushed, oh that face (See my "Oh Jake!!" thread to see what I mean!) he is priceless!!

Not much to report really other than a sick feeling whenever I think about Tuesday :confused:

Barbara Nixon
9th June 2007, 01:08 AM
I know how you feel. Annual vaccination/checkup time is bad enough, especialy as they get older.

9th June 2007, 02:33 AM
Wow, reading this really put knots in my stomach. I can so clearly feel the emotion coming through. This treading water stage must be really tough. :hug:

Cleo's Person
9th June 2007, 11:38 AM
Cathryn, the waiting is always tough, for anything. It is especially though for you now. :hug: :hug: :hug: to you and your girls as you waith through these last few days.

9th June 2007, 10:40 PM
Cathryn you know you are in our thoughts - I think we are all in anguish with you...

Hugs for you and for the girlies...let us know as soon as you have any news...

matties mum
10th June 2007, 02:34 PM
I wil be thinking of you and the girls---Aileen and the gang(Jazzie---Barney---Sam)

10th June 2007, 04:14 PM
Sunday 10th June

Been awake since 5:30 a.m no real reason really, decided to get up after 20 mins of tossing and turning, went downstairs and got stuck into my ironing "hill", by the time OH and the kids were up I had put 6 loads of washing through (I have 2 Washing Machines as we are a family of 6!) and was ironing stuff I had just washed and put through the dryer!!

Took Logan, Mr.Chips, Nico and Darcy for a walk down the towpath, we live by the Coventry Canal and there are miles of fantastic walks in both directions! We got about 2 miles down the towpath, managed to duck the swans with their 4 signets (NASTY!!) and were just coming to the big field I let them run loose on when I spot a Collie type dog cringing in the hedge. Poor thing looks very shaken and thin, I manage to get the dog to come closer, it is wearing a collar and tag thankfully, poor thing has a cut above it's eye, dried up and a bit swollen, the tag tells me her name is "Meg", I manage to get her home and call the number on her tag.
I couldn't believe it! Some of you may have read my thread on how safe are your dogs in your car? There was the most awful car crash Tuesday gone, one of the cars had dogs in it, unrestrained and they were not all accounted for?? Well this one now is!! Meg was in that crash!! No wonder she was shaken! Sadly her Mum is still in a coma, but her hubby and daughters were so rellieved to be re-united with their girl!! They told me 2 stayed with the car, and 3 ran off, the other 2 most sadly are still missing, I can only hope they find them too.

This whole thing makes me feel really good right now, that and a slap up Sunday roast beef dinner!!

Will be bathing Bella tomorrow, want her to look her best for the scanner and the neurologist, must remember to double check the route the satnav gives me as the directions Chestergates have sent me tell me to disregard a particular exit when I get into chester, don't want to be driving round in circles when I am so near to the end of my journey, nothing more frustrating!!

OK, going to put my feet up for a while, think I have earnt it, I even did the washing up!!

10th June 2007, 07:05 PM
Cathryn; that is just fantastic that you came across this poor collie and also took the time to check her collar and tag and call the owners. I can only imagine having the dog back will be some badly needed consolation and encouragement for them at such a difficult time. We all know what a comfort our dogs are to us and I know that dog will also be so relieved to be back where it is loved. What a kind twist of fate put you there and let's take it as a good omen too. :)

I'll be thinking of you on the 12th. Whatever the outcome, it will be a relief to have done the scan afterwards.

A syrinx isn't necessarily a problem; many dogs seem to have them and live with them. The fact that you've had no symptomatic dogs in your lines is a good sign, as that is the most important thing.

I will be out in Las Vegas on Tuesday and will keep an eye out for news from you though the time zones will be very different.

11th June 2007, 08:47 PM
Monday 11th June

OK it's the day before now! Spoke to the Midland Club secretary this afternoon who informed me they have 75 dogs being MRI'd in total! :yikes: That is incredible! They must be feeling very pleased right now :D
Chestergates call me to confirm how many dogs I am taking and what time slot I have been alloted, mid-afternoon, so will be very testy in the morning, my family have been warned!! icon_blshing Have got the girls papers ready to take with me, checked the route out on the satnav and written it down too as the satnav can suddenly decide to not work if the weather is too warm, something to do with having heat deflective windows in the car and they block the signal?? :huh:
Visit my parents and tell them no titbits in the morning for Tasha, Dad thinks this is a bit mean as "She's only being sedated" but instructions are given and I hope he sticks to them!! I make final arrangements for Mum to bring Tasha over and help look after my kids whilst I am gone, so that parts sorted now!

Have a chat with Nikki on the phone, helps to take my mind of things, Thanks Nikki!!

So I now have a pile of DVD's by the bedroom TV (in case I can't sleep!) one very clean dog in the kitchen, a full tank of diesel and the directions, guess it's T minus 1 and counting now!!

Owing to the time of my MRI's and the fact that I have a long drive there and back I won't be online until late evening, I am supposed to be at a committee meeeting (Youngest daughters Pre-School) tomorrow eveing, guess it all depends on traffic! But will most likely post on here before I go out again, so watch this space OK??

Wish us luck!!

Barbara Nixon
11th June 2007, 08:57 PM
I'm on pins with you, Cathryn, as I've booked Monty's annual, tomorrow. I know he has mvd, but he is nearly 12 and will need some teeth out, but he also has a problem with an anal gland (it's errupted outwards, but I only found out by chance, as he isn't licking, biting or rubbing his rear)..

Margaret C
12th June 2007, 01:43 AM
Hello Cathryn,
You will not read this before you leave for Chestergates but I wanted you to know that I am thinking of you & hoping the news is all good when you return.
I also want to say how much I admire what you are doing. I really do hope you get the results you deserve.

The Midland Club are certainly to be congratulated for the way they have responded to their members concerns about SM.

Thank you for the kind words about Monty & my article in the Eastern Counties Club magazine. He was a wonderful dog &, as you said, I found I could not stay quiet when he developed SM symptoms.
Unfortunately too many owners and breeders are still treating syringomyelia as a dirty little secret & so it continues to spread throughout the breed.
Best wishes,
Margaret Carter

12th June 2007, 09:07 AM
Will be thinking of you today Catherine and wishing you the best of luck, I know how your feeling it's not an easy decision, but of course the best one

Have a safe journey :)

12th June 2007, 12:40 PM
Cathryn, thinking of you and hope it all goes OK & that the journey is not too horrendous. Good luck:xfngr:

Cleo's Person
12th June 2007, 02:35 PM

I know you won't get this until you get home tonight, but I want to wish you well today. You and your girls are in my thoughts. :flwr:

13th June 2007, 01:19 AM
Firstly Thank You all for your kind messages both public and private, they have been lovley to read and have helped a great deal!!

I have posted the results in their own thread, check them out!!

Today has been, how can I put it? Hellish? OK here goes!!

Yesterday Chestergates rang and asked if I could possibly get there any earlier? I told them what time I was leaving and I was there for 2:30 (My appt was 4pm) they were running very late by then, I had had a long chata that morning on the phone (Thanks for your advice! You were right!!) and knew they often ran late. I was informed that they were indeed running very late so I went and hunkered down in the back of the car with the girls, I had found a lovely shaded area so it was nice and cool in there.

Time went by very slowly, they have their usual caseload to deal with too I know but it really was getting ridiculous, I have written about the times the girls went in and their results in another thread so check that out! But I did not get away until 8:25pm!! I got home at 9:45pm!! Too late really to drop a still very drowsy Tasha back at Mum and Dad's, she has ended up spending the night here, Bless her!!

I have finally had something to eat and done the new thread on here, please excuse if a bit all over the place, I am chronically tired and need some sleep!!

Will come back to this fresh tomorrow!!

Best Wishes

13th June 2007, 12:59 PM
The day after!!

Wednesday 13th June

Dad has picked Tasha back up and was both horrified and fascinated equally by her scan pics, obviously he is worried about her now, but as she is asymptomatic and obviously under no duress there is no real need for him to worry, I have told him what symptoms to look out for, should they arise we will have her referred back to Chestergates and she can start on an appropiate course of treatment.

I have made an appointment for tomorrow morning with my senior vet so that I can show him the scans and the results, we shall see what he makes of those, I have asked my parents to attend this appt too as one of the dogs concerned is theirs, it will look a bit odd 3 people waiting to see the vet with a big brown envelope and NO dog!! :lol:

Lastly I have decided that I shall be sending the scan sheets of to be graded properly so shall be contacting Clare Rusbridge at Stonelion with regards to having that done, so I guess more waiting on that!

Oddly I am not feeling very upset, still in a state of "limbo" I guess, I wanted to know and I was apparantly right that these line bred girls would have problems if I was going to have any, the real shame is that I cannot MRI the dog that I "doubled" up on as she went to the bridge some 18 months ago :(

Long term plans right now are to MRI any and all potential breeding stock, I have checked the list on the parent club site of centres offering the "reduced cost scheme" and see there is a centre only about 25 miles away from me, I shall get in touch with them soon as I shall certainly be MRI'ing Crystal once her litter is weaned from her, Darcy too will be MRI'd prior to being used at stud.

Thank You all for your wonderful messages of support once again, I don't view this as the end of my line, merely the beginning of a hopefully stronger line for the future!!

13th June 2007, 04:54 PM
Cathryn i think that u are so brave and strong for going through with the MRI's and i really think that "I don't view this as the end of my line, merely the beginning of a hopefully stronger line for the future!!" is the right way to think!

13th June 2007, 07:40 PM
I don't view this as the end of my line, merely the beginning of a hopefully stronger line for the future!!

That is so beautifully put and is such a good attitude. :flwr: As more and more dogs are scanned, more choices will emerge of possible studs and breeding bitches and directions to shape lines. Keep in mind that one does not need to ONLY breed two A dogs; Clare and Penny have stated this clearly in the proposed breeding guidelines and this was reaffirmed by all the neurologists in London in 2006: if a dog isn't symptomatic and has syrinxes and has good genes that you wish to conserve, then the dog should be bred to an A, but doesn't need to be an A itself. At the moment there are not enough A dogs to keep important genetic diversity, either, so it is crucial to breed some affected dogs back in and work towards hopefully decreasing the probability of affectedness.

I also felt strangely in limbo following my scans. I thought I would be more upset but the results weren't what I had expected at all -- I had thought Jaspar would come back with SM diagnosed and Leo was the obvious clear. It was the other way around. Maybe I was just too taken aback at the time to process the news. But on the other hand, I felt a huge sense of relief once they were done, even though the news on Leo was not good. But now I knew what I was dealing with and was able to start some early treatment. I of course hoped he would not become symptomatic, but he did by age 2.5 or so. He remains mildly symptomatic and easily managed at this time on a mix of gabapentin and cimetidine.

The thing to remember is that there are options and that you are now able to move forward with knowledge, even if there are no clear answers.

14th June 2007, 12:38 PM
Thursday 14th June 2007

Thank You all again for your lovely comments and words of encouragement!!

I took the girls scans to show to my own vet this morning, he was fascinated by them! I must say now that this is the senior partner in the practice and has many years experience so I was eager to show him the scans. My parents came along too and it was decided on that Yes we should make the decision to spay Tasha.
Roger also agreed that I need to send the scans off to be graded, he copied the results down and I shall get back to him once we have the grades back.
I also gave Roger a direct link to Karlins SM site which he had a quick look at with me so he could bookmark it, Karlin, Roger says you are to be congratulated for the site and he will most certainly be going back later when he isn't in surgery so he can "gen" up!!

I am going to try and scan the scan sheet and see if we can get some pics from it so that you can see the results for yourselves, I most likely use my fathers scanner as it is quite high end unlike my own 3 in 1, will get working on that!

So my next step now is to find out where to send the scans for them to be graded, obvious choice is Clare Rusbridge so shall be contacting Stonelion later on about that.

Well that's about all for now, Thanks for sticking with me through all this!! Will update as and when I have anything further to add (other than a birth announcement that is!!)

14th June 2007, 08:53 PM
A scanner should work on those MRI sheets. I even just used a digital camera taking a pic of the film taped to a window, though that's not as good as a scanner.

Thanks for the kind words from your vet! :) I still have another video to add from a board member, and the puppy referral page to complete; there is always more to add to it and I am always behind! :o

15th June 2007, 07:41 AM
You are an inspiration Cathryn. I can clearly see that you are a "half full cup" person and not a "half empty cup" person. Kudos to you! :flwr: