View Full Version : Surgery?

4th February 2009, 09:35 PM
Has anyone on the board opted for SM surgery, if not, would you consider it? Our neurologist has suggested surgery and I've said no, but i'm wondering about others' experiences?

4th February 2009, 10:36 PM
Still haven't decided, it's such a difficult decision and the recovery sounds terrible. I'm sorry you have to go through this, I know how stressful it is.

Jen and Ilsa

Love my Cavaliers
5th February 2009, 01:36 AM
Riley had decompression surgery in June, 2008 for what I was told was severe and advanced SM. when she was diagnosed, I had not found this forum yet and knew absolutely nothing about SM. I talked to her breeder who was devastated. I took Riley to two different neurology practices. Independently, both neurologists told me the exact same thing- that her best chances of a longer and better quality of life was surgery and neither of them thought she was a candidate for just medical (pharmacological) management. When you have two doctors telling you the same thing, you go for it. At least I did. I did agonize over my decision during the LONG recovery, but now feel that I made the best decision I could with the information I had at the time. Have I prolonged her life? I don't know - and never will know. Have I given her a better quality of life? Again, I don't know. She still has most of the same symptoms she had pre-operatively. Would they be worse if she hadn't had surgery? Again - who knows. She seems happy and relatively unbothered by her health. Her symptoms though are not the typical symptoms of obvious pain. She is bothered by vestibular or balance problems and seizure-like activity - which is still occurring. I don't know if this has been helpful. It's not a decision to rush into or to make lightly. Would I make the same decision again? With almost 8 months behind me, I probably would say yes. I want her around for a long, long time and if that's what the experts are telling me, then I would do it again.

5th February 2009, 07:26 PM
Tilly is 20 months and has moderate to severe SM but at present only scratches. We are not even medicating at the moment (under nuerologist advice of course) as she seems to be coping well and being young we all decided it could do more damage being on meds long term.

Obviously we have discussed the surgery option when/if the time comes and my personal opinion is that, at present, the odds for a succesful surgery with an improvement that will last, seem very small for the amount of pain and recovery she would have to go through.

Right now we are giving her a normal, happy, fun life. At some point we may need to make a decision to medicate and at some point after that, surgery may be the next logical step, but I pray I am strong enough to let her go without attempting to put her through all that. This is such an emotional subject but I would hate to put her through the surgery with no guarantees, just because I dont want to lose her.

I think it has to be one of those things, that only you can decide what you feel is right for your dog and for your family.

My heart goes out to you.

team bella
5th February 2009, 08:27 PM
Ste, so sorry you're in that positition, it must be terrible for you. I've not had to face that choice but I do think about what if...
All I know is that I love my baby so much and would want to keep her forever. However having said that, as her mummy I have to decide what is best for her. If surgery was going to be painful and slow recovery with little improvement I would say no. I would feel I was putting her through more suffering. It is difficult and only with a balance of heart and head will you find the answer. Whatever you decide will be right for you.
:hug: Take care

5th February 2009, 10:50 PM
Molly is 20 months, surgery is not an option but if it was I feel the same as Devilica.
I have a friend (human) who is about to have surgery for sm. She has been warned the recover is extremely painful and initially she might regret
having it. I wouldn't want to put Molly through this, you can't explain to
them why they are in such pain and possibly for what?

Cathy Moon
6th February 2009, 12:58 AM
If Geordie had a better heart, I would definitely consider surgery since SM is a progressive condition. But he has early onset MVD; his heart is a grade 4-5/6, and he is only 5 years of age.

Our rescue boy Charlie (at the bridge) had decompression surgery, but his medical case was very different from regular SM (if there is such a thing). His neurosurgeon said that Charlie was "in a class of his own" because in addition to SM his skull was malformed, almost tubular in shape. So I wouldn't base any future decisions regarding decompression surgery on our experience with little Charlie. I have to say that the surgery wasn't as bad as the disease, and he did have an interval when he actually felt good and his symptoms improved.

I really would love to know how Rory is doing, as he had decompression surgery quite some time ago. A year ago he was still doing very well - that's the last I've heard.

15th February 2009, 01:53 AM
Give me a ring if you want to discuss this. :thmbsup: I can give you some suggestions to consider and also talk about the reasons I am taking the route I am with my two with SM.

Love my Cavaliers
15th February 2009, 02:34 PM
Just a note about recovery from SM surgery - Yes, it's a long recovery, but I think it's harder on the owner than the dog. Riley was definitely uncomfortable for about the first week, but then after that, it was hard to keep her down. Because I have a multiple dog household with one of them being a rambunctious pup, I had to reintroduce her to the crate. She took to it beautifully and considered it her sanctuary. It's also important no to let them jump for quite a while, so the crate was invaluable. She was allowed 3 leash walks for 5 minutes at a time- basically just to let her out to pee and poo. Her surgery was in June and I took her out on the leash throughout the summer because she was still on restricted activity and I couldn't let her run and play with my other three. Of course, once she started feeling better, she wanted to be more active but didn't seem to mind being held back. She is such a sweetheart and never complained. I was the one who felt badly. Every time I loked at her, my heart would well up with sympathy, but she was quite content and still is. I do think her recovery was harder on me because my mind got involved and I constantly questioned whether I made the right decision. Even now, 8 months post-op, my mind still creates problems. Every time she has an SM related symptom, I look at her with pity and say "My poor Riley". Luckily, she has no clue what I'm saying. Like I said in my post above, she is happy and content and unbothered by any of her lingering SM symptoms and her surgery is only a memory for me, not her.

18th February 2009, 03:47 PM
It's definitely not an easy decision. After speaking to the neurologist and discussing it with my husband, we've opted for the surgery. It's definitely been an emotional rollercoaster.

Good luck to you!