View Full Version : I don't know what to do

12th May 2009, 12:38 AM
Took Abbey and Winston to Auburn University today--allergy recheck with dermatology and had e-mailed Dr. Shores the past few days and he stopped by and also looked at Abbey and we discussed Bentley. Bentley has done fly catching deal and also scratches at his neck. I asked if I should be concerned and if that warranted a mri. I also explained he is fully insured as got the insurance on him before he even saw a vet. He did say that what I described was justification for a mri or could possibly just treat with gabapentin. I said if he does have sm I want to catch it early and not have the damage like Abbey has. With insurance we would only probably get 2 years once he was mri'd. $7,000 the first year and then $1500 the next. We have to read our policy--going to have son read it since his profession is insurance. I don't know what to do. Dr. Shores said if he had the chari malformation and no syrinxes then he wouldn't recommend surgery. If he had syrinx(es) then he would recommend it. I don't know what we should do--I don't know if we should mri him or not or wait and see if he gets worse or more symptoms. I just don't want a repeat of Abbey. At this point his symptoms aren't that bad but again if he does have it then I want to know.

I also don't know if I can honestly go through this again. I used to say that I love the breed so much that I would deal with it but now I don't know. I love him with all my heart by by gosh I've only had him for 4 1/2 months. I couldn't give Abbey up when she had a seizure 2 weeks after getting her but I'm hating myself right now for thinking that just maybe I could give Bentley up and I would be very angry as we got Bentley when he was a year old. I have so many thoughts going through my head right now and all I can say is this sucks royally and so unfair that I could possibly have another one.


12th May 2009, 11:56 AM
Lindrebelle im so sad to hear your valid distress, after what youve already been thro no one would feel any differently in respects of possibly giving Bentley up& not wanting to face this once again. i feel for you.i would love another CKCS but ive put that on hold for now& ive barely begun on the SM rollercoaster.
It does indeed suck royally that you have to make these decisions again.
My humble advice,for what its worth would be to not rush into anything at this point, find out about your insurance then give yourself time to weigh up your options,a few weeks isnt going to matter in the long run,until you can think a little clearer.Then do whatever gives you peace of mind.
As we've said before it messes with your head, this damn SM & you have been thro so much already.
That feels like insipid advice to me but you know much more about SM than i. i wish there was more i could do to help:hug:

12th May 2009, 01:47 PM
This is a tough situation... IF you are indeed dealing with SM. But you don't know that at this time.

I also would not agree with your vet that any dog with syrinxes should have surgery. A lot depends on the syrinx shape and size, age of dog, range of symptoms, and also weighing up whether surgery is a better choice than medications, as well as what is the best choice for the owner based on a whole range of considerations. Many of us -- including me -- have not opted for surgery. Many of us -- including me -- also have more than one dog in a group with SM.

Has your vet throughly looked for all possible causes of the neck scratching? Is it brief scratching or extended scratching? Lots of dogs fly-catch -- this is a VERY common obsessive behaviour and not necessarily anything at all to do with SM -- and scratching is caused by many things.

I think it is better to see a neurologist for a clinical assessment on whether to do an MRI, after you have exhausted ALL other possibilities for scratching. I would not worry much about the fly-catching as a significant symptom as it is too common.

Unfortunately with this breed, given evidence from research groups so far, there's always an almost certain chance a dog will have the Chiari-like malformation and probably at least a 1 in 3 chance (and many think, considerably higher) that a cavalier will have syrinxes -- eg full SM -- during its lifetime. So the chances of any single dog having SM are probably fairly high. The chance of more than one when you own more than one is also high.

So I would NEVER automatically recommend surgery as many dogs will have no symptoms or very low level symptoms. Please remember vets are not neurological specialists so take advice from a vet on what to do with a grain of salt and see a specialist once there is a solid reason for concern. Vets vary greatly in knowledge on this subject but even the most knowledgable still have generalist knowledge of many conditions, not the specialist knowledge of this usually rare condition. Most vets have probably never seen more than a handful of SM cases and will because of that, miss an SM diagnosis. It is a specialist disease.

On giving him up -- this is entirely the owner's decision but if you do so it must be on the basis of fully informing a rescue about his potential condition. Then you must consider whether a rescue might fully inform the new owners or the new owners will choose to do anything. Those are a lot of 'ifs'. Ethically, I think no one should give a dog on the home contingent on whether it maintains good health. Passing the problem off to someone else who may or may not treat it, is passing along the ethical and cost dilemma to someone else (or a rescue that definitely cannot afford treatment) or (more likely) risking the dog being passed along to where no one will recognise the problem and he will suffer as a direct outcome of the owner not doing anything and moving the problem along out of sight to others whose actions cannot be monitored.

I think if you took him on to give him a home, then give him that home and the love and care that are a proper part of it -- the most responsible route is to treat as you can best manage IF he has anything to treat in the first place. You don't even know this yet.

No one in required to take the most costly route -- eg MRI and surgery. -- and neither are absolutely necessary. Personally, and especially if cost is a concern, I would be inclined to go with your vet's suggestion of trying gabapentin to see if it helps the scratching. If it does, he probably has SM. I'd also give a CSF inhibitor as those have in some rare cases actually halted progression, and probably they do some good in slowing progression, and CSF inhibitors alone (without gabapentin) could resolve his scratching.

On a personal note -- I'd always treated Lily without an MRI, and had no intention of MRIing Lily but then did get the opportunity for research and found she only has a tiny narrow syrinx. She is already about 4 and I got her at about 1-2 -- if that small syrinx is all she has after this time, and all she has ever had is the same level of mild scratching, I'd not EVER consider surgery unless suddenly her situation changed radically.

I think it would help to read from start to finish the FAQs section on Clare Rusridge's new website to have a broad understanding of the options. There's lots of new info there and treatment detail.

12th May 2009, 02:29 PM
Tupup: Yes this time I'm not in a hurry. Totally different situation that Abbey was. Bentley is only 18 months old vs Abbey being 5 and having severe symptoms and all her life. I appreciate your response etc. Helps.

Ok Karlin: Definitely a tough situation and no we don't know if it is sm or not. LIke you said fly catching is common in alot cavaliers and all dogs scratch but I don't think what he's doing is normal but again after you've gone through what I have who knows--I'm trying not to be overly cautious here but trying to be aware lets say. I don't want my other 2 cavaliers to pay for Abbey's disease lets say and I also want to observe with open eyes and not hurt and damaged eyes lets say because this is so fresh for me.

In regards to vet no haven't talked to the vet. Yesterday was Dr. Shores Abbey's neurologist. The one who did her surgery.

In regards to having surgery vs not I'm not even thinking about that part right now. I'm thinking about whether to find out if he has sm or not.

In regards to giving him up I don't think I could ever do that. Like I said I love him alot and it would kill me to give him up. I think that was a weak moment when writing that last night. You're right when I took him I took the responsibility of raising him and if he is sick with a disease I also took that responsibility and I love him too much and he saved my Abbey. If we wouldn't have gotten him Abbey would have gotten worse probably--he's the one who helped me find this site.

I'm not in a hurry as its totally a different ballgame and I have time this time for decisions and again he isn't that bad so it could very well be something else.

I will go into Rusbridge's new website and read new information.

Thanks for your responses --its helps alot to think this out.

12th May 2009, 04:31 PM
I think it is a perfectly normal reaction to think "I just cannot do this again" but I suspect, from all your posts about your love for your dogs, that your comment about giving him up was made from pain and fear and that it is not a choice you will make except as a last resort with any placement being made with great care. That is far down the road, however, and first you need to take some deep breathes and begin the process of methodically determining if you do have a problem. If it helps you, be sure to continue to share your story. It may help you and help others.

12th May 2009, 04:42 PM
Yep yesterday was not a good day--son also filed for divorce yesterday. I just got an e-mail telling me how sorry etc. --they had read my post in here and they said "you're so willing to share your innermost thoughts and have an open and giving personality. Yep I certainly say what I'm feeling. My head is in a fog from all the thoughts right now and it probably won't be the last time I write something that I deep down inside don't mean BUT at times I do have thoughts like why in the sam hayull do I want dogs but then I turn around and look at their faces and my heart melts and I know the answer to that one.

12th May 2009, 11:11 PM
I am so sorry Linda - I don't know what to say. Please don't panic not all dogs progress to the point when they need surgery - as others have just said. I'd just keep an eye on him and if you are concerned get an MRI.

Take care and if you need to talk let me know.

Jen and Ilsa

13th May 2009, 04:48 AM
Hello Linda, I am sorry you have got these worries. I will go another route and suggest allergies. We don't live very far apart and the pollen is AWFUL. Bandit, Lizzie and Kaya have ALL been scratching a lot. (Kaya does this every spring and summer) You might try something for allergies to see if that helps. The dogs got ahold of a Zyrtec the other day, and in my frantic search to see if I needed to make a trip to the vet I learned that Zyrtec is used quite successfully in treating dogs with itchy skin allergies. It is worth a thought and possible trial run of treatment.
I hope you find all is well and no SM.

13th May 2009, 12:55 PM
linda, i'm so sorry to hear that you have had all this stress land on you.

you are a truly loving, giving, wonderful person.

i don't have any advice, just wanted to say i'm thinking of you. you can email me anytime you need an ear.



13th May 2009, 04:48 PM
So sorry you are going through such a stressful time. We all say things out of frustration or just from being overwhelmed at times. And it does help just to get it out. It is so obvious that you love your dogs very much and only want what's best for them. Hang in there, and I really hope the situation is not a serious one.

Mom of Jato
13th May 2009, 04:57 PM
So sorry to hear of the "full plate" life has served you. Please know that it is good to reach out to others- we are here for each other in so many different ways on this forum. Try to keep your chin up, and lets hope things will look brighter soon. :xfngr:

13th May 2009, 06:33 PM
Linda, I am so sorry to hear about your worries. Its a tough decision for you to make. All I can say to you is if it was me I would order the Mri, then at least I'd know what I was dealing with.
Best case scenario is that there is no Sm and you have peace of mind, worst case......well you know that already and you are dealing with it with Abbey.
You know that whatever decision you make, we will support you here.

13th May 2009, 06:49 PM
All i can say is on the strength of seeing abbeys video and reading your posts, im getting harley scanned also my chat with margaret kind of confirmed that even with the smallest of signs i would get my dog scanned and well be doing, thanks to you and abbey for making me look for the signs, otherwise i would never have known until its too late i think your worried bentley has sm but not scanning wont change that he will just have it worse, you of all people know that - your just going to have to be brave for bentleys sake. di

13th May 2009, 07:47 PM
thanks for the feedback. I still don't have any idea what I'm going to do. Our life has been in such turmoil for ALL of 2009 because of this and I think what I am dealing with is selfishness--I just plain don't want to deal with it again if its the worst scenario. Meaning if we did have to do surgery and yes I know that we might not either I just don't want to screw up the summer after being in exile for all these months. I need a break. Also, he's not that bad and maybe I'm over-reacting and need to watch him and monitor. After you've gone through this ordeal its hard to keep a level head. Funny thing is though Chelsea doesn't do any of this stuff and thats what makes me think that I'm not overreacting. I keep rereading all your posts in response to this thread and they help. Also, have gotten a couple e-mails from people on here that know my e-mail. Hard hard decision.

I'm leaning towards waiting for a few months until summer is over unless he got worse

13th May 2009, 08:16 PM
Please dont do that to yourself. Even though I don't know you personally, I dont see how the word "selfish" could ever be used to describe you. One just has to read your posts to see that you care deeply for your pets and family and have just had alot to deal with. Just know that we care and are thinking of you.:hug:

13th May 2009, 08:22 PM
Thanks Stacy. That helps and I think of you everytime on I-85 when I see the Montgomery sign when I'm on my way to Auburn U.

13th May 2009, 08:46 PM
Linderbelle i can only agree with Stacy you are not being selfish here,youve been thro too much already & yes you just need a break from it! We all have times when we would rather run from a situation, especially when our reserves are low.However we all know too that you will do whatever you need to for Bentley, just maybe not today. I still say IMHO a few weeks isnt going to matter, the only downside of waiting is if you are going to drive yourself daft in the meantime, that being the case you'd be better to find out,then good(hopefully) or bad you know what you arre dealing with.

Please look after yourself,know that we are here for you
Take care,thinking of you

Margaret C
16th May 2009, 07:09 PM
Hello Linda,

No wonder you feel panicky at the thought that Bentley may have SM. You have had such a hard time, and been so brave with Abbey, and it has been such a roller coaster for you, and you do so deserve a break.

I think most people know that feeling of "I can't do it again". I think this forum is one of the places where we are able to be honest about our feelings and know people will understand.

I cannot help you decide what you should do, but I am here rooting for you, because you are a remarkable lady.

Best wishes,

Margaret C

19th May 2009, 05:11 PM
thank you everybody. I still am no closer to making a decision than I was last week. Yesterday I actually talked to somebody that lives approximately one hour from me and her 9 month old cav had the same surgery that Abbey did one year ago by Abbey's surgeon. This disease sucks big time and I know now that I will never ever have another cavalier until the breeders or doctors figure this out.