View Full Version : Adopting a Sick Cavalier

7th March 2009, 10:49 AM
It's a long story, but we are trying to adopt a Cavalier who has been working as a "staff dog" visiting nursing homes on behalf of the Shelter outreach program in Tokyo.

About a month ago, when the Shelter granted our request (we had been volunteering her each year we visit from California for several years), they discovered health problems. I've brought her home (Tokyo) for a few days now, and have taken these short videos: http://s677.photobucket.com/albums/vv133/chibimie/ .

As you can see, she flops down, sometimes falling asleep for many seconds, especially while eating and sometimes on walks. Another video shows what seems to be kennel cough, and accordingly, she throws up from time to time. We are still awaiting results of her spinal fluid test (they had to send for a kit in the U.S.). At this point the vet hospital in Tokyo thinks she has narcolepsy/cataplexy.

My wife and I are wondering if Carol (the 5-8 year-old pup) has health problems that we can manage (we have no children, and both of us work). There is another issue of whether or not animal control in Tokyo will let her fly with me to California, but if we can take care of her kennel cough, the other ailments don't seem like infectious diseases.

Your thoughts would be very much appreciated. She's a lovely lovely dog who really deserves a home, as good as the shelter has been. :xfngr:


7th March 2009, 11:24 AM
the cough looks like "reverse sneezing".
putting your hand / finger over her nose until she stops " coughing " should stop the attack.
if that is what it is it is quite common & nothing to be worried about

There is a condition called episodic falling syndrome in cavaliers though what carol is doing doesnt look quite like the dog we had who suffered from it. ( someone else here should know more)

Excitement ( walks , food , meeting new people , strange places etc) caused our rescue dog's attacks so we rehomed him to a person who had a very large garden where he didnt need walks & didnt get too stimulated , he could just potter about at his own pace

Love my Cavaliers
7th March 2009, 01:30 PM
I agree with AT that the coughing sounds and looks like reverse sneezing. You can find lots of posts about it on the forum. Also, my best guess about the other would also be episodic falling syndrome. She lloks similar to what my dog Oz did when he was 4 months old. It was never diagnosed though - episodic falling syndrome was just everybody's best guess. He is one year and 9 months now and has seemed to outgrow it. Karlin has a link to it on the board. Might be worth a look. By the way, she's beautiful.

7th March 2009, 07:17 PM
Yes I think the sneezing probably is nothing to worry about -- you just gently cover the dog's nostrils and gently tilt the head down and it usually stops in 2--30 seconds.

The falling -- does sound like episodic falling. Lots of info here:


This includes treatment -- you might find the use of one of the drugs for it will halt the falling episodes. It isn't contagious. There's also a link there to the episodic falling website which has lots and lots of information. If the episodes are only occasional and very mild there's no reason your dog won't live a full life. The epilepsy drug often gets rid of the falling sessions completely.

There's also info on EFS at www.cavalierhealth.org

The direct link is http://www.cavalierhealth.org/episodic_falling.htm

7th March 2009, 09:40 PM
I know youtube has videos of cavaliers having episodic falling "episodes". Those might be good for comparison purposes.
Hope you get some answers. Good luck!

lady and amber
7th March 2009, 10:08 PM
That looks like Episodic Falling, Amber is like that before collapsing.
this board has videos of different dogs during eppisodes

8th March 2009, 07:15 AM
Thanks so much for the replies. Since I was alerted to episodic falling on this site, I've been able to check into this further. It does sound very much like this, especially as it also involves a sleep or trance-like state too.

The other problem I am having with Carol now is that she very easily regurgitates food and bile. It seems more like a burp, without any heaving that we associate with vomiting, but there can be quite a bit to what she brings up. This happens regardless of whether she is excited or not--during a walk, while she is quietly curled up, just standing in the kitchen, while I am holding her in my arms or she is on my lap--all of which happened yesterday. Today I left her in her crate for two hours while I ran errands, and when I returned she had brought up some food (though she managed to do this so it mostly fell outside the crate), and then again when I let her out. :(

8th March 2009, 12:13 PM
Some others who have had dogs with tummy problems might have some ideas. Maybe colitis/IBD? Sometimes will cause vomiting... worms can cause vomiting too.


This is from the Health/Diet section here:

1. Protracted vomiting and diarrhea

There are at least 63 causes of vomiting in dogs, but the most common cause is simply known as dietary indiscretion. Dogs who get into the trash, eat animal carcasses or drink pond water all can end up with very dicey gastrointestinal tracts.

Other more serious causes of vomiting and diarrhea include diseases of the pancreas, liver or kidney, or other primary intestinal diseases such as a blockage, parasites, cancer, ulcers or inflammation. Your veterinarian may need laboratory tests and X-rays to sort these out.

The first important criteria is to confirm that your dog is drinking water and able to hold it down without vomiting. Then, evaluate your dog’s attitude: Is she lethargic, lacking appetite and not interested in her usual activities? This can be a sign of serious underlying disease. Finally, note whether the vomiting and diarrhea appear to be worsening or fail to improve in 24 hours. Without improvement in 24 to 36 hours, it is time for a visit with your veterinarian to rule out serious disease.

Has she always had the falling episodes or did they just notice this had started?

Japan I believe is rabies free so you should have no problem taking her from Japan to Calif but you would not be able to easily bring her back and forth because from a brief look online it seems dogs always need a period of rabies quarantine in Japan.

8th March 2009, 02:45 PM
As I read the links to colitis/IBS, it does not seem to apply that closely to Carol. To use the distinction used by some authorities, Carol's does not seem at all like vomiting--no heaving, no muscle contractions, no 'effort' we associate with vomiting. It's like a burp, very quiet, and it just sneaks up on her, and it surprises both Carol and me. Not even a burping sound, really. Being a GERD sufferer myself, I know sometimes when I get the taste of digestive juices in my mouth. It's more like that, only she brings up bits of dog food as well as digestive liquids.

The shelter says Carol has had this problem intermittently and infrequently over some time, but I suspect she's had it like this, but it has eluded their radar--so few overworked staff and volunteers working with many dogs. Or, it could be that having brought her home (now four days ago), somehow I've made things worse--even as I try to make her slow down when she eats, raise the bowl and hold it while she eats, keep her calm, whatever I can think of that might help.

She seems fairly normal, wagging her tail when I say 'walk', etc., but I do feel she also seems a bit under the weather. Maybe she is homesick for the shelter and all the animals and people?

I keep sending email reports on Carol to the shelter head and her staff. I'm feeling quite helpless and sad for poor Carol. But your references have given me some urgency for them to help have the vets check for this ailment (they've focused on the falling up to now). Many thanks.

9th March 2009, 08:11 PM
You could check into megaesophagus. It's a condition in which the esophagus loses tone and food gets regurgitated - not vomited. It's also possible she is slightly under the weather and is spitting up - especially if she has a cough. Kennel cough can make this happen.

If it is megaesophagus, you can look into a baily chair. It's like a high chair for dogs so they remain upright after eating.

Love my Cavaliers
9th March 2009, 08:17 PM
My brother's cavalier has megaesophagus (although I never knew the name for it) and they have to keep her in an upright position for about 30 minutes after eating so that she doen't regurgitate her food. Again, it's not like vomiting - more polite maybe?

12th March 2009, 01:25 PM
The connection with megaesophagus, alas, seems relevant here, particularly as a symptom associated with the very troubling myasthenia gravis (see here: http://www.marvistavet.com/html/megaesophagus.html).

Carol is being examined again at the university veterinary hospital Friday morning. When I took her back to the shelter for additional help (after having her with me for six days) they could all tell that she was worse than before. Leaving with her on March 20 seems like a long shot now, but I'm even more concerned that she has a dreaded, degenerative condition. :(

13th March 2009, 01:16 AM
I haven't seen a dog with those problems, except my Cav seems afraid of the food bowl so often my husband feeds him by hand.