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Karen and Ruby
9th December 2010, 10:56 PM
Hi All

Ruby had the worst pain episode that Ive seen since before she was diagnosed last night. Well evening anyway.

She was asleep with me on the sofa and all of a sudden woke up crying out. This lasted around 10 seconds as she came to me and my lap. Once on my lap she let out another cry for around 5 seconds. As I sat there with her in tears she just sat with a blank stare on her face for around a minute. She then decided to try and move and the result of that was more pain and she let out a short cry. I held her again and around 10 minutes later she got off my lap and wanted to get down. I carefully placed her on the floor and she took herself off to get a drink.
She then wanted to get up on the other sofa but wasnt able to so I picked her up and put her on.
She layed down with her head between her front paws and for around 3-4 minutes layed there awake with a blank stare on her face before gradually dropping off back to sleep.
About an hour later it was time for bed so I told her it was bed time and went to pick her up to carry her in the bedroom. She cried out again. She slept soundly after that all night and I woke up this morning feeling sick to my stomach- hoping that she could get herself up and about. She let out a groan as she tried to stand up so i gradually rolled her on to her belly with my duvet cover.

She was quite spritelly once she was on all 4 paws.
She has been left completely unable to get herself on to the sofas so I have made her a little step and taught her how to use it.

I should mention she has had extra Metacam last night and tonight. She is going back to the vets tomorrow afternon and I have booked the first available appointment with Clare Rusbridge for the 23rd December.

My question is that she doesnt want to use the step and just stares at me to help her up then starts barking in frustration. Am I being really cruel not helping her?
Im not here all the time and I want her to be able to manouvre herself when im at work but I feel awful when she is looking at me to help her. I try coaxing her up with treats and she can so it by herself she just wont.

Ive had a truelly awful day worrying about her and what might be and i want to keep her as comfortable as poosible but she needs to learn ........doesnt she?????

Blondiemonster
9th December 2010, 11:07 PM
It breaks my heart reading that! Especially because I'm going through some similar problems here, that started last night as well, so I'm aching too here.. :(
That being said, I think a Cavalier's first instinct when they are in pain is to turn to you for help. You are right she needs to be able to manage when you are gone.
I don't know what I would do if she were mine. I would probably give in, even though I'm not sure whats right. Just follow your heart! You know her best!!!!

Sandrac
10th December 2010, 12:02 AM
Karen, am so sorry to hear that Ruby is not doing so well. :hug:to you and Ruby.

I am wondering if this cold weather is affecting our SM dogs because Minnie has not been doing too well over the past couple of weeks and had her worst episode ever 10 days ago. Like you it has been a worrying time, so fully understand what you are going through.

Hope you can get her more comfortable, if you are already a patient of Clare Rusbridge you can always email her for some advice whilst you are waiting to go and see her. This is what I did last week and she emailed me some advice which helped until I got into see her today.

Minnie has started to ask me to help her get up on the bed or onto my lap which I am doing. I think if they are not willing to do something that is normally rewarding for them then they are probably in pain or discomfort.

I know its is such a worry when they are having these episodes but we are all here for you. :hug:

Love my Cavaliers
10th December 2010, 12:07 AM
I help Riley all the time, whenever she needs it. I don't care. Sometimes she can jump, sometimes she can't. If she needs my help, then I'm there for her. When SM rears its ugly head, it is nasty and heart-breaking. I'd just make sure Ruby has a nice cozy place she feels good in that is easy for her to reach in case she can't use the stairs when you're not there to help her. And probably make it big enough so that Charlie can go into also in case he wants to comfort her. Spend time practicing on the steps when Ruby isn't in so much pain. Riley got it in an instant and now loves to use them. Unfortunately I don't have them all over my house, just in my bedroom.

And Karen - Breathe.......

Karen and Ruby
10th December 2010, 12:11 AM
I help Riley all the time, whenever she needs it. I don't care. Sometimes she can jump, sometimes she can't. If she needs my help, then I'm there for her. When SM rears its ugly head, it is nasty and heart-breaking. I'd just make sure Ruby has a nice cozy place she feels good in that is easy for her to reach in case she can't use the stairs when you're not there to help her. And probably make it big enough so that Charlie can go into also in case he wants to comfort her. Spend time practicing on the steps when Ruby isn't in so much pain. Riley got it in an instant and now loves to use them. Unfortunately I don't have them all over my house, just in my bedroom.

And Karen - Breathe.......



She will use the step when there is liver cake on offer :rolleyes: But ive got the Big crate out for her to use so she has that to lye in when im out if she cant get up! Its a large one advertised for Collies\Labs size so plenty big enough for her.

I do think there is definatly some damage going on in her right front leg though. Its not knuckling back as quickly as the left.
Still we will wait and see what the vet says tomorrow and anxiously wait to see Clare on the 23rd!

Wagtails
10th December 2010, 02:41 PM
Feel for you here too, Karen. It's so worrying when they are looking to you for help and you don't really know what to do - though comfort is another thing and we can always offer that in abundance. Take Sandrac's advice and get in touch with Clare before your appointment - she's so helpful and reassuring.

Personally I would just make sure that Ruby is comfortable at all times and can't do herself any damage while you are out. Don't fret about her doing things for herself etc. Probably better if she can't wander around too much while you are not there, then nothing too terrible can happen.

My Megan is quite restricted with what she can achieve these days, but I just go with the flow, lift her on and off sofas etc and try not to worry too much. They always sense if you are anxious yourself and that can make them more tense too. Know it's easy to say that, but true nevertheless.

Do let us know how you both get on - we're all thinking of you :l*v:

Chamberlain
10th December 2010, 02:44 PM
Reading that makes me want to cry! It also scares me to death thinking that one day Chamberlain may suffer the same fate! :cry*ing:

Jane P
10th December 2010, 03:16 PM
I'm so sorry Ruby is having problems. I hope Clare can offer some relief for her - I'm sure she will. Thinking of you both.:hug:

Tania
10th December 2010, 04:20 PM
Oh Karen I am so sorry Ruby isn't doing very well. Hugs to you both. :hug: I agree with Wagtails, I would be inclined to keep her a little more confined so she can't hurt herself or cause herself any pain. Perhaps give her something extra soft to sleep in on ground level that she can snuggle into.

Karlin
10th December 2010, 05:14 PM
I am so sorry Ruby had this session- it is so hard to watch and feel helpless. :(

Do you have anything stronger than metacam that she is already using or just metacam with her gabapentin? I would guess Clare will suggest something stronger tha metacam to supplement what she is getting and that hopefully that will keep these sessions from happening.

On the stairs - some SM dogs would still have too much pain to use stairs. There are ramps available that might work better? Either way, you do generally need to take time to train them in a positive way to use something as new to many dogs as a steps or ramp for getting furniture - how strange this must seem to many dogs used to jumping and being lifted, for many years! It sounds like she doesnt really get what they are for or is too uncomfortable to use them. I would not ignore her cries- Instead use this as a training session with some lovely food treats to encourage her to use the stairs. Or gently lift her if it seems that stairs themselves are too hard for her to use, and get a ramp for her. :) There is lots on www.dogstardaily.com about using lure training to teach a dog. :thmbsup:

Karen and Ruby
10th December 2010, 06:32 PM
Im going out to look at ramps tomorrow for her.

She will do it when there is liver cake on offer- every time, she is a foody and I alwaays lavishly praise her when she does.
She has the crate to go in to if she needs to which has an old duvet in it and her Pillows (thanks to Tania :o)

I do worry that Charlie is bothering her too- its as much a mystery to him as it is to her I imagine. He really panicked when she had her crying episode and didnt know what to do with himself but now she is up and about he is still trying to play with her.
Everytime he does I tell him No and get a toy out and play with him myself. He is also having an extra walk a day to help wear him out a bit more.

Should I just Crate her when Im out? I was going to but I thought it may upset and alarm her even more! To be stuck in there- she also likes to cuddle up with Charlie and he goes nutty when they are apart.


Karlin- she isnt on Gabapentin she is on Lyrica alongside the Metacam which she has had daily since Wednesday.

Im off to the Vets now so will let you know what they say.

Thanks for the supprt everyone- it means so very much at times like these:roll:

Karen and Ruby
10th December 2010, 09:35 PM
Well we are just back from the Vets,

Good news is that there is no obvious Neurological Deficits BUT she has alot of Sensitivity in the lower back (Lumber region) and this is probably the cause of her inability to jump up.

She has either damaged a disc or the SM has spread down the spine causing the pain in that area.

I am going to keep her well rested and on the extra Metacam and wait to see Clare. Unless she deteriorates any further between now and our appointment.

Karlin
10th December 2010, 10:22 PM
That sounds good. :thmbsup:

The pain and sensitivity can be related to her existing SM -- the syrinxes as well as the brain herniation tends to affect the nerve areas in the neck and spine associated with pain anywhere in the spine, hind legs, sides, head/neck etc -- so wouldn't necessarily have anything to do with syrinxes developing lower down.

If she has any disk problems than she definitely should not be climbing steps, jumping up, etc. Many vets would suggest crate rest to try and control the pain -- especially for a pain session that severe (I have had lumbar pain a while ago with Lucy -- my SM-clear 11 year old, so it def wasn't SM pain -- and she wouldn't have had anything as extended or noticeable as you are describing; she was prescribed crate rest , and given a fairly strong pain injection and stronger anti-inflammatories than metacam. Fortunately she hasn't had a recurrence; it was very upsetting at the time so I know how hard it is to see a dog in that type of pain).

It can be hard to know what is causing the problem between these two things, without an MRI, though an xray or other type of scan will sometimes show disk problems. But even the with an SM dog you don't know whether it is one or the other sometimes -- and whether the back pain is being amplified for the dog because of the SM or vice versa :(.

Fingers crossed for you that it settles down and goes away. :flwr:

AgilityLola
11th December 2010, 12:37 AM
:hug: to you and Ruby, had tears in my eyes whilst reading your post. It's the worst feeling in the world to feel helpless, because you can't do anything to stop the pain :( It breaks my heart every time Lola scratches or yelps.

With the step, i wouldn't give up just yet, let her get used to it try to coax her with treats. It takes time for dogs to get used to unusual things. We just to a water fountain for Lola so she doesn't have to bend when she drinks, but she refused to drink from it! But as she got used to it, she got closer and closer to it, and now she'll drink from it whenever she wants.

Though, the reason she doesn't want to go up the step may be because it is uncomfortable. Lola doesn't like stairs at all, i think it is to do with balance as SM does cause weakness in legs. So, if it doesn't work out help her when ever you can and you can get a soft crate that she can sleep in so she doesn't have to sleep on the sofa :) My doggies are obsessed with dark little cubby holes lol anything which they can curl up in which is soft, small and dark they LOVE! But, i think my dogs are just slightly mad hehe

Hope your appointment with Clare goes well :flwr:

anniemac
11th December 2010, 01:45 AM
I am so sorry. Like everyone else, my eyes filled with tears. I hate that they look at you to help and Charlie for answers. Everyone says to stay strong but my heart is aching for you

Sent from my Droid using Tapatalk

Nicki
12th December 2010, 05:32 PM
Sorry you are having such a rough time with Ruby, it's so horrid to see them like this and feel helpless to do anything.


I don't think I would even by trying to lure her up the stairs at the moment - she's obviously very sore. She will try and do it for food and to please you


Quite often dogs with SM like dark places to hide where they feel safe. If it's an open cage then try putting a blanket around it, otherwise the vari kennel type crates are excellent - or indeed the soft crates [but only for inside the house, NOT in the car]


It's good that you have something for her to rest her head on - that will make her more comfortable.


Hopefully the Metacam will help.

It will help for Charlie to have more exercise, also see if you can find other ways to stimulate him and distract him from bothering Ruby, that is the last thing she needs right now.


Have you got the Brain Games book [the one with Tania's Molly in it :D]?


http://www.amazon.co.uk/Brain-Games-Dogs-Claire-Arrowsmith/dp/1842862774/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1292171556&sr=8-1

Karen and Ruby
12th December 2010, 09:23 PM
He has a busy buddy and a couple of Nina Ottoson toys to keep him occupied, ive been playing with him alot more aswell= he has actually over the last couple of days been alot more careful around her and keeping an eye out for where she is and what she is doing.
He is very protective of her in his own way.

Only problem with the crate is that she wont relax when she isin there- Ive put a dark throw over it to make it dark and cozy but she only wants to be on my lap and if i shut her in it she will just sit there and stare at me then grumble and bark until i let her out!

Ive ordered a set of stairs for her today
http://www.hyperdrug.co.uk/Doggy-Steps/productinfo/DOGGYSTEPS/

She is happy to get up on the sofa today although Ive been trying not to let her and when I got home from work she was tearing round the garden- again I stopped her and put her on a lead but she got the RIGHT HUMP!!!!!!!

Im thoroughly looking forward to my time off at Xmas, although depending on the outcome of our appointment with Clare it could be a very sombre one :confused:

Kate H
13th December 2010, 11:33 AM
Meg, my second Cavalier, died of heart failure shortly before her 8th birthday, and was seriously ill for nearly 9 months before that, But she still enjoyed life and was as gentle and loving as ever. Although I shed a lot of tears in the early hours of the morning when I cuddled her and waited for her medication to kick in and ease her breathing, I wouldn't have missed that time for anything. So, whatever Clare says, don't let it make your Christmas break sombre - every day you have with Ruby is a gift-wrapped present to be loved and cherished. Please enjoy each day with her and leave the future where it is - in the future. It'll become the present soon enough!

Kate, Oliver and Aled :hug:

Margaret C
13th December 2010, 05:50 PM
every day you have with Ruby is a gift-wrapped present to be loved and cherished. Please enjoy each day with her and leave the future where it is - in the future. It'll become the present soon enough!

Kate, Oliver and Aled :hug:

Such wise words for all of us.

It is not always easy to do, but accepting that there may only be a short time and filling it with extra attention, smiles, gentle tickles and cuddles does give happier memories and the knowledge that your pet has known they were loved and cherished

I really feel for all of you that are struggling to help your young affected cavaliers. At least my SM dogs have been relatively pain free until they were middle aged or elderly.

There is so little that those of us looking on can do to help, but we are all here thinking of you & rooting for your little ones.

meljoy
13th December 2010, 09:39 PM
Karen just catching up with most threads now and wanted to add my love and hugs to you and Ruby.

Try and keep positive and give Ruby a gentle cuddle.

Mel X

Blondiemonster
17th December 2010, 05:55 PM
I was told by Dr. West at animal medical center in NYC that a disc problem often develops in SM dogs. (In Blondie's case, he said he could see the beginning stage of a herniation.)
Sadly, he says that SM dogs, even the ones managing ok, are severely more effected by possible disk problems. He told me that they are already compensating with everything they have for the SM and they just don't have much "left". Karlin; thanks for the info on the place of the syrinx and that it is unrelated to the place of pain. I didnt know!! Karen; Hope Ruby is having a good day today! :luv: