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22nd November 2008, 06:46 PM
I have two beautiful cavaliers, Molly and Dougall. Molly was diagnosed on
Thursday with severe syringomaelia. She is only 18 months old. My husband and I are devastated. I wanted to let people know her symtoms as they were not classic as the information we have been given.

Molly has Hip Dysplasia in both hips, she has osteo arthritis in both elbows, to the point her bones are crumbling. I have taken her to the vet several times and even though the x rays showed her hip problem at a very early age, he thought she had ligament problems in her front left shoulder asshe could barely put any pressure on this leg. I had been taking her to hyrotherapy and a chiropractor. Molly wasn't really improving so I took her to Fitzpatrick Referrals in Guildford.

Upon examining her, he said he didn't think she had ligament problems and he said and MRI would confirm which it did. She has had a lot of nerve pain in her neck and front legs.

Molly has never scratched the back of her head. She has never like walking very far but we assumed her joints ached and used to carry her. One of her last visits to the vet she screamed when he tried to clip her claws, obviously I stopped it but at the time thought it was strange but of course it was to do with the nerve pain.

My poor little Molly has been suffering terribly and we didn't know!

She is now more comfortable but the outlook is bleak. I just wanted to tell people just because they don't scratch the back of her head this does not mean they havn't got it.

Noel Fitzpatrick claims nearly every Cavalier he sees has this terrible disease.

There is a list on the Cavalier Website where you can enter the breeders details together with the dog that is affected.

I hope this helps someone.


22nd November 2008, 10:24 PM
Welcome to the board Tania and I'm so sorry you are dealing with this with your girl. It sounds like she is having a rough time :(

I'm not sure where she came from, but please do contact her breeder, preferably by letter sent recorded delivery. Sadly some breeders will not want to know, but responsible breeders do care and should be supportive.

Unfortunately most Cavaliers do have the malformation at the back of the skull, around 90%. Not all of them will go on to develop Syringomyelia, but it's sad that Molly has such severe symptoms at this age.

I'm not sure if you know about this website


it's very helpful, there is information to print out to take to your own vet which may help them.

There is also information about treatment options. Did Mr Fitzpatrick talk to you about the possibility of surgery? I don't know if Molly would be suitable for this, or if it's even something you would consider. It doesn't cure the condition but can halt progression, and is really most appropriate for young dogs who have fast progression or dogs who are not successfully managed medically.

Anyway I wanted to say that I am thinking of you all, please keep us posted as to how Molly is doing, and have a look around the site, there is lots of useful information.

Take care :flwr::flwr:

23rd November 2008, 12:55 AM
icon_welcome Tania. I'm so sorry to hear that your Molly has SM. You will find helpful reading and referrals to sites here on this forum. :hug: to you and Molly. Other members have dogs with SM and will be glad to share their thoughts and tips with you.

23rd November 2008, 02:29 AM
Hi Tania -- Welcome to the board but I am so sorry that you arrive with such worries already. I'd echo the others; and perhaps it is worth looking at the possibility of surgery if you haven't.

Also you are right in pointing out that some cavaliers do not scratch. One neurologist has estimated that less than half show scratching as a symptoms even when they do show others so it is important for people to keep investigating odd symptoms that do not go away and might possibly be SM, even if they see no scratching and so SM doesn't instantly come to mind.

It is good that you have a diagnosis now as at least that enables you to try some helpful medications to make Molly more comfortable. :flwr:

23rd November 2008, 08:37 AM
Thank you for your words of support. I will read this site and look at the
information you have suggested.

Surgery is not an option. Mr Fitzpatric has given her pain killers to help
with the nerve pain and she is on previcox for her joints. He has said
he cannot help her except make her more comfortable as she is so severe.

I informed the breeder several months ago about her joint problems and last week I told her about the SM. She has not bothered to reply. I would like to try and help to make people aware of this nasty disease and how do we stop these greedy breeders!

We are having Dougall tested on the 18th December.

Rj Mac
23rd November 2008, 09:36 AM
Hi there, just wanted to welcome you to the site,and say there are many wonderful people on here who can provide support, and a little guidance if needed, and to let you know we are thinking of you and yours :hug:

23rd November 2008, 12:12 PM
Oh goodness we will be thinking of you on the 18th for Dougal - do you have suspicions with him or just want to know what is happening?

I'm so sorry your breeder wasn't supportive - sadly many are not :mad:

I'm sure you already know about the basics for Molly - raising her food and water bowls, trying a harness rather than a collar etc. Often they like to sleep with their head raised, so a bed with a soft high edge might be comfortable, or roll up a blanket for her to rest on.

Softer food can help - if she's on kibble, then maybe try soaking it.

I've had some success with Sasha's Blend, you have to get it from Australia but it really helped Teddy:


Info about it:

It's hard as people will give you all sorts of different suggestions for things to try - you get on an emotional rollercoaster as each time your hopes are raised and if it doesn't help, that brings you right down again. This though I know does work from personal experience!

23rd November 2008, 01:55 PM
Welcome, Tania, and so sorry you are dealing with this dismal outlook.
You will find much support here. Share some photos when you have the time.