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Love my Cavaliers
11th July 2008, 03:07 PM
My almost 6 year old black and tan, Riley, is exactly one month post decompression surgery with a titanium implant for severe and advanced SM. Her surgery was done by Michael Poddell, a neurosurgeon in the north suburbs of Chicago. She is still on limited activity - no walks, no jumping, no climbing stairs, no playing with my other 3 cavaliers. When I can't monitor her movements 100% she is in her crate - and sometimes chooses to go into it on her own if the other 3 are getting rowdy around her. She is on Gabapentin - 100 mg twice a day. My question relates to other's experiences of how long it takes for their dog to get back to where they were pre-operatievely. I've heard it really takes 3 months. Riley is definitely not back to her pre-op status. She's doing pretty well, but is still off-balance, has her head tilt, is very floppy, shakes a lot- whole body shakes like she's wet -and can knock herself over, and has had one vestibular event (seizure like activity, but her neurologist said it wasn't a true seizure - she had many of these before surgery). Her appetite is good, her spirits are good, she is so sweet and loving and doesn't mind being carried around. Another positive, she doesn't appear to be in pain. In fact, even before the surgery she never was in pain that I could tell. She never scratched, and only whimpered occasionally. Hated going for walks though - probably didn't like the lead and collar around her neck (I only found out she had SM 3 weeks before her surgery so I didn't use a harness on her). So what have your esxperiences been? Do most dogs get back to where they were before surgery? Have some had experiences of their dog being worse after surgery?:( Hopefully, many have had the wonderful experience of their dog being better:). I'd love to hear from you. Thanks,
Bev - along with Oliver:paw: (7 - bl); Riley:paw: (5 - b& t); Madison:paw: (4 - ruby), and Oz:paw: (1 - tri)

Cathy T
11th July 2008, 03:38 PM
I have no input but just wanted to wish Riley well. Previously I had read 12 weeks before results. But, I'm only going off what I remember reading from previous postings....someone who has been through this will surely pop in and let you know.

Big (gentle ;)) hug to Riley and may Riley continue to have many more wonderful years with you.:luv:

Karlin
11th July 2008, 04:07 PM
What is your neurologist saying about prognosis and why this is happening? For a second opinion, you might want to see if you can have a phone consult with Dr Marino at LIVS who pioneered this surgery along with Dr Dewey. I am not aware of any cases where the dogs were worse post surgery and I'd certainly be concerned. You are describing what sounds like a lot of neurological side effects and I have never heard of this happening as a normal or common thing.

Dogs usually are as they were post surgery, if a bit quieter due to the surgery, and then start to show clear improvement by 12 weeks according to Dr Marino. So a decline to me would indicate something may not be right.

I stress I am not a vet or neurologist but I have been in contact with lots of people who have had the surgery as well as with many of the neurologists and neurosurgeon in the past few years, including Dr Marino and Dr Rusbridge, and I haven't heard of a decline being acceptable. We have one dog on the board that did have problems and was immediately back under Dr Marino's care.

Bridam
11th July 2008, 08:18 PM
http://board.cavaliertalk.com/showthread.php?t=22528

posts 48, 66, 69 - describing body shaking afterward and post op video -- except for seizure related activity, everything sounds normal.

Karlin
11th July 2008, 08:27 PM
This is not a few days, but a month after the operation though -- and behaviours the dog didn't have before. That would concern me -- at least enough to want it thoroughly checked. :thmbsup:

PS I missed that video before! It is so useful to have this growing range of information for people. :)

Love my Cavaliers
11th July 2008, 11:55 PM
Thank you all for your posts. Actually, Riley did have all of these behaviors before surgery, just not as exaggerated. The head tilt is the same, ditto for the body shake except she gets off balance more with the shaking now, she also had the vestibular events frequently sometimes 3 in a row and several a day but only lasting 10 seconds (post-op she's only had one), and was a somewhat floppy dog. Again, everything is just slightly more right now. Her neurologist saw her a little more than a week ago and still thinks she will progress more. He thinks she will be better than she was pre-operatively, but I haven't seen that yet. He sees her again in 4 weeks, but I think I might put a call in to him. When he last saw her, she had not had any of the vestibular events/seizure like activity. Seems like something he should know - maybe she needs her gabapentin dose increased. I appreciate seeing the video of Madison and reading all of your updates. That was a big help. Thanks again.

Bridam
12th July 2008, 01:38 AM
Thank you all for your posts. Actually, Riley did have all of these behaviors before surgery, just not as exaggerated. The head tilt is the same, ditto for the body shake except she gets off balance more with the shaking now, she also had the vestibular events frequently sometimes 3 in a row and several a day but only lasting 10 seconds (post-op she's only had one), and was a somewhat floppy dog. Again, everything is just slightly more right now. Her neurologist saw her a little more than a week ago and still thinks she will progress more. He thinks she will be better than she was pre-operatively, but I haven't seen that yet. He sees her again in 4 weeks, but I think I might put a call in to him. When he last saw her, she had not had any of the vestibular events/seizure like activity. Seems like something he should know - maybe she needs her gabapentin dose increased. I appreciate seeing the video of Madison and reading all of your updates. That was a big help. Thanks again.


I think you just have to give it time. As I stated in my thread, I was shocked to see Madison when she came home. My wife cried. It took a long time before she started acting like before. There was a loss of balance and weakness (perhaps from lack of activity over a month) and she had the chills. Then she slowly got better. We were also given anti seizure meds but stopped them because they made her really jittery.

Karlin
12th July 2008, 02:19 AM
I agree -- if you saw all these behaviours before, then you need to give her time. I had taken from your original post that she was worse than before the surgery and showing behaviour she hadn't shown before. But I would also talk to your neuro. If she is only on that low-ish dose of gabapentin, there are many other things that might help. But also keep in mind that damage already caused before the surgery does not always go away, so some things may improve and others may not. But, the pain should now be reduced.

Most likely she did have pain -- it is the single most common symptom in human patients, especially terrible headache, and if your dog was graded severe the pain was most likely considerable. I know from my own dog with SM that they can build up a very high pain threshold and just tolerate it.

I'd maybe not allow all the other dogs to be around her -- if she is feeling she has to retreat to a crate then the activity level is probably too high for her. Many people keep their recovering dog penned away from other s and use baby gates or xpens to manage them apart. This is important as she recovers and may decide to play rough and damage herself. Dr Marino is generally really strict on crate rest, no activity, no exposure to other dogs etc.

smrj
12th July 2008, 03:20 AM
Bev,

I really don't have much to offer, but I will be thinking about you and Riley! My Ruby came home this past Monday from having the same surgery, so I'm about a month behind you. Her surgeon said it really takes at least three months for recovery, and I am not the most patient person! Ruby is already wanting to walk more, etc. and since I don't crate her, it's been hard to keep her quiet, but I'm trying my best. Please keep updating us so we can hear about Riley's progress.

All the best,
Michelle & Ruby

Love my Cavaliers
12th July 2008, 03:54 AM
Sorry I didn't make it clear that Riley had these symptoms before and it's just that they are exaggerated now. I appreciate all your caring thoughts and suggestions. Good luck Michelle. I wish the best for Ruby. Those first few weeks were really hard. I didn't want to leave Riley alone at all. She was still pretty tired though so she liked to stay in her crate. By the way, she had not been in a crate for years, but I brought it back out so that I could monitor her movement (no jumping, playing,etc) and so I could keep my other dogs away from her. She took to the crate again just beautifully. I had her sleep in my room in her crate for the first few nights so I could make sure she was o.k. - not in too much pain, etc. Even now when I leave the house, she goes right into her crate when I tell her too. It must give her a sense of security. How do you keep Ruby from jumping on furniture when you're not there? Let us know how she's doing. :flwr:
Bev, along with Oliver :paw: Riley :paw: Madison :paw: and Oz:paw:

smrj
12th July 2008, 05:17 PM
Keeping Ruby quiet is a little easier for me because she is my only dog. If I had other dogs, I'm sure I would have to crate her. Ruby's has never been a jumper, she never jumps on furniture, and rarely jumps off the bed. She has always wanted to be picked up to go on/off furniture, which in hindsight might be attributed to the SM. But for now, when I have to go out, I am just gating her in the kitchen. Was Riley on prednisone following surgery? If so, was she panting a lot? Ruby has been panting an awful lot (especially at night) and her doctor thinks it's from the prednisone, which makes them thirsty. I feel so bad that I give her water and then she needs to go out all night. Just wondered if you had this with Riley.

All our best,
Michelle & Ruby

Love my Cavaliers
12th July 2008, 10:58 PM
Riley was on prednisone for at least two weeks following surgery. I seem to recall that she panted more than normal. She certainly drank more and peed a lot when she was out, but didn't seem to have to go out more. She would drink a lot right before bed, but then slept quietly through the night. Regarding Ruby wanting to be picked up to go on furniture: Riley is doing that now also. She was never the best jumper - I'm sure due to the SM, but she could usually make it onto the couch. Now, though because I have been putting her on the couch, my bed, etc since surgery, she just stops and waits for me to do it. It is so sweet. I hope Ruby's personality has come through the surgery. Riley has always been the sweetest of my four - always wanting to please and just being all round pleasant. After I took her fentanyl patch off, Riley came back to her old sweet, loving self. How old is Ruby, and what were her symptoms pre-operatively? Does she seem better yet? Good luck,
Bev

smrj
13th July 2008, 12:28 AM
Riley sounds adorable. It's funny she waits for you to put her on the furniture now--Ruby has always been that way! Unfortunately, Ruby is only 10 days post-op, so she is still out of it and very quiet. I pray her personality doesn't change because she is the sweetest girl (aren't they all?). It's so interesting you mentioned that because one of my biggest fears going into the surgery was that she would never be the same again personality-wise. Ruby will be 3 this Wednesday--not a very happy birthday for her :( and her main symptom was air scratching quite often. She would also occasionally yelp when being picked up and she would do a lot of smushing her face into the rug or grass. I keep telling myself that I have done the right thing for her, but it is so hard sometimes to stay positive with the long recovery process.

Please keep us updated on Riley's journey. We'll be thinking of you. Best of luck!! Michelle