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View Full Version : Very concerned new 7-year-old CKCS rescue owner



Edwina
30th June 2011, 08:36 PM
Hello and thank you for your wonderful forum where I am learning SO much. After losing our 13-year-old Yorkie mix in April, and wanting to find a companion for our distraught Maltese/Chihuahua mix, I decided to look into getting a Cavalier King Charles as my husband had always said that was the one breed he really was taken with. I believe in rescuing dogs who have lost their former forever families, so I went to the CKCS Rescue here in Houston, where we were shown two dogs. Our pick was 7-year-old Milo, who immediately made himself at home and started giving us so much love and affection. The person who brought him out said he seemed to be in relatively good health, although he had a heart murmur and allergies. She talked about this really cute mannerism he had where he chased his tail and occasionally caught it.

After getting him home and watching some very strange actions, I began to do research in earnest. I was complete undone by all the problems that have been bred into these wonderful little beings. Milo has episodes of running back and forth around the sectional apparently scratching both sides of his head and is very relieved when I take over the chore for him. He will often yelp for no reason and has bit me several times, never breaking the skin and looking very distressed at what he had just done and yet, it was an unconditioned response to some type of pain or sensitivity, especially toward the back of his body, around the tail, etc.

After several vet visits in the space of 2-3 weeks, I realized AND learned that Milo is having seizures, has an enlarged heart and breathes almost constantly like a marathon-running athlete. Right now, he is taking phenobarbital for the seizures, Enalapril to slow progression of the heart disease, and an antihistamine. I give Napoleon, our other one Metacam and now I'm wondering if I should be using it for Milo, too. We were told we probably needed to have an echo done, but it would be about $1000, and we've had so many human expenses, it just isn't possible to do that, but I also can't watch him and wonder if he's suffering all the time. He jumps up on the bed and the couch, usually, but you can tell he has issues descending the steps outside. But, he DOES love to eat!

As you can tell, we are quite new at the CKCS experience, and Milo is just a little dream boy. But at 7 years old and with so little history, I'm very frustrated at the rescue for not sharing more with us and I need to know what is the best course of action for Milo's benefit.

Thank you again for this forum and for the friendship it provides. Oh yes, Milo is the beautiful red and white with more red than white and with a spot on the top of his head. He's quite striking (AND SHEDS A LOT! another thing I didn't know...:eek:) Thanks so much for your help and suggestions. Edwina (also known as "Supermimi"):thnx:

Nicki
30th June 2011, 09:40 PM
Thank you for taking on Milo, he sounds a wonderful fellow. Welcome to the forum :flwr:

Sadly I'm not so sure it is seizures, the behaviour sounds very much like Syringomyelia :( Many rescues would not be aware of the condition or recognise the symptoms - and sadly many vets are unaware too.

These are some sites that will give you more information about the condition, you can also read the SM/MVD sections on this forum.

http://cavaliermatters.org/
http://sm.cavaliertalk.com/

This site is all about Cavalier health - it covers nearly every condition Cavaliers can suffer from, so it looks rather scary but it is a very comprehensive source of information.


http://cavalierhealth.org/

It sounds like Milo is going to need a considerable amount of health care which can be very expensive :(

Ideally he would need to see a cardiologist to manage his heart condition and a neurologist to assess what is happening with him with regard to possible Syringomyelia. The only way to truly diagnose SM is by an MRI scan [which is also used to investigate possible causes for seizures], but a consultation with the neurologist would give you a pretty good idea what is happening.


I'm sorry this sounds bad news, both of these conditions can be managed medically and the dogs kept comfortable and happy, depending on the severity of the condition.

Please keep us posted.

Furrfoot
1st July 2011, 04:32 AM
I'm sorry he's having these issues. The only one I have had experience with is the cardiologist, as we had a boxer with severe congential heart disease (aortic stenosis) and we have a cat with a 3/4 murmur who goes in for regular echos. You might want to check around and call the cardiologist office yourself (or several if you have them available in your area) and see what they charge. Our cardiologist usually charged between $250- $300 for an echocardiogram and the appointment. I hope everything goes well for all of you, and bless you for taking him into your home and hearts!

Reptigirl
2nd July 2011, 03:52 AM
icon_welcome to the board! Your just a stones throw away from me! I'm in San Antonio!

I'm sorry to hear about Milo's symptoms! Like Nicki said it sure sounds like Milo is suffering from SM. Sadly I recently spoke with a Cavalier rescue here in the USA ... one of the main people organizing the rescue told me "They had never seen a case of SM". :bang: Here in the USA very few people have heard of it even thought it is so common in the breed. It is often misdiagnosed.

Lucky for you there are several neurologist in the Houston area.
http://www.cavalierhealth.org/neurologists.htm#Texas_

An MRI is really needed to confirm SM but SOME neurologist are willing to treat on symptoms alone. I would at LEAST get a consult from a neurologist to address the symptoms.

You may want to print out some of the info from the links Nicki provided and take it to your vet. Don't be surprised if your regular vet has never heard of SM. I had to see 3 different vets and pretty much demand an MRIs for my Cavaliers. None of the regular vets had ever heard of SM. My regular vet did her "neurological exam" on my VERY severely affected dog and found him to be "just fine". Thankfully we were able to get him to a neurologist and the help he needed. Now he is on medication and a much happier dog.

I sure hope you can get things sorted out for Milo. :flwr:

Rubysmum
4th July 2011, 01:03 PM
just want to wish you good luck with milo , and hope you get him comfortable. x

Edwina
5th July 2011, 05:44 PM
:(Thank you all SO very much for taking the time to write and give me ideas and suggestions concerning Milo. I contacted the rescue and they said not to take him to any other vets and that they would be happy to take him back into the program. Since he had been in the program a month and had been to their vet, I don't feel terribly comfortable with that solution, but I am sending them your notes and part of the article about the neurological vets and the names and addresses in Houston.

They indicated that he didn't have these problems until he came to live with us. He is so beautiful and loving, and I hate to let him go, but I do believe they have the resources to find out the problems and treat them more than we do, at this point. I can't believe, as much as I research everything, that I didn't research cavaliers before I jumped into rescuing, but I absolutely had NO idea that there were so many things that could cause them so much suffering. I'm just not in physical condition to take care of him, and it breaks my heart that I got him after losing one dog and have watched him suffer and now feel that I'm betraying him.

You have been so much help -- so much more than you'll every know, and I'm going to try to get an article written and out for the world to read about these poor animals and what people need to know before they buy them and what to be aware of if they decide to take on the care and keeping of a wonderful cavalier. They appear to be the most perfect little pet, but if one is not careful, what seems like a cute, quirky mannerism from their cute little pet is, instead, a sign of pain in the animal and heartache for the owner. Many Milo :hug: to all.

With love and warm thanks,
Edwina

Nicki
5th July 2011, 05:53 PM
I'm so sorry Edwina that you had to make this heartbreaking decision :( you were brave to come back and tell us.

It was rather mean of the rescue to blame this on you when it is obvious he was already suffering from these issues :yikes sadly many rescues still do not have plans in place to deal with the health problems - and I guess it is also an issue of resources. It is good that you have given them the information and hopefully they will act upon it.

We hope that you do in time find a suitable companion.

Margaret C
5th July 2011, 06:42 PM
They indicated that he didn't have these problems until he came to live with us. He is so beautiful and loving, and I hate to let him go, but I do believe they have the resources to find out the problems and treat them more than we do, at this point.

I am sorry that you have had this extra heartache. Returning Milo was the right thing to do for him under the circumstances, there are too many cavaliers really suffering out there because their owners just cannot afford to pay for treatment.

Throwing the blame on the new owner is also something that some breeders do when challenged about the rehoming of an affected dog, even if they had originally let it go saying it has allergies or ear mites ( both words that should set alarm bells ringing when said in connection with a cavalier )

Please do write that article.

Edwina
9th July 2011, 07:37 PM
I am sorry that you have had this extra heartache. Returning Milo was the right thing to do for him under the circumstances, there are too many cavaliers really suffering out there because their owners just cannot afford to pay for treatment.

Throwing the blame on the new owner is also something that some breeders do when challenged about the rehoming of an affected dog, even if they had originally let it go saying it has allergies or ear mites ( both words that should set alarm bells ringing when said in connection with a cavalier )

Please do write that article.

Thank you so very much. With your encouragement, I will start (and try to finish) the article today. Do you have any ideas where to submit it, or should I just blog and post -- or should I start a web page to address all types of inhumanities, both to humans and to animals?

Milo was supposed to have been picked up today, but I haven't heard anything, which definitely upsets me. I've tried to get in touch with her al week to keep her up to date on his condition and I'm not getting any correspondence from her. I would have taken him to my vet this week if she had not told me not to take to another vet. She may have so many good reasons for not getting in touch with me, but I just wish someone would. As I write this, Milo is laying here beside me and he just rolled over on his back, his eyes rolled up and I'm sure he is seizing (or maybe he isn't). I love this dog so much, it is killing me because I don't know what to do.

Well, I'll start the article and try to get it as widely published as possible. I just love the people on this list who have been so willing to listen and share.

Milo and I send many hugs to all!:l*v:

Tania
9th July 2011, 11:07 PM
Hi

This is just heartbreaking. I am so sorry Milo is so ill. It is just tragic you have to give him up. If you don't hear from the rescue you must get Milo some help from the vets, he is probably suffering. Please let us know how you get on.

Furrfoot
10th July 2011, 05:08 AM
I'm so sorry, and if it helps any, I understand how difficult it is to give them back, and how hurtful it is when the people you got him from blame you. We had adopted a dog who apparently was extremely farsighted, and they missed it because he could see movement, but not stationary objects, nor recognize people, etc. and had fear aggression- as in, eyes rolled back in the head, charging at things/people who startled him trying to attack, even when they spoke to him first (he had lost his sister/littermate while in the pound, and had been put foster care with other dogs- he was an only dog when he came to live with us, so we figure that was a major part of his problem- he lost his trusted "eyes", and he was an extremely intelligent dog according to our trainer, despite the fact our dog tried to attack him several times. He would be going through his obedience class basics, happy as can be, and then see the trainer walking around the room, and *snap*, attack mode). When he wasn't have a fit of fear aggression, he was a smart, sweet, snuggly dog. :(

The rescue owner did pick him up, but blamed me for not giving it a longer try and for not being a strong enough "pack leader", despite the fact that I had a young child in the house and I had listed that "aggression"(due to having a child) would be the only reason for us to send a dog back. Our vet, who works with rescue, agreed that he had to go back. I also found out later from his foster mom that she also had suspected a vision problem, but didn't tell us. It really hurt, because I had supported this rescue for years.

I hope you find him the help he needs, and please accept my sympathies in having to return a dog who needs more help than you can give. Please feel free to PM me if you feel like you need to talk to someone about it.(((hugs)))

Carol Fowler
10th July 2011, 09:44 AM
Dear Edwina

Tania drew my attention to your story.

I'm so sorry you face such a heartbreaking situation and have received such uncaring treatment from a breeder.

Your story needs to get out, and with your permission, I'd like to send it to Professor Sheila Crispin, Chairman of the Dog Breeding Advisory Council in the UK - also to the Associate Parliamentary Group for Animal Welfare. I think it's important that the people who have the power to do something in relation to the breeding of dogs, are reminded of the suffering of the dogs and the anquish of owners who are facing the consequences of poor breeding practices.

Truly my heart goes out to you.

Carol

Nicki
10th July 2011, 03:19 PM
I'm really sorry this is just such a tragic situation - it must be very hard for you not knowing what is happening.

Tania is right, you need to get Milo to the vets ASAP he can't be left like that. The rescue have not returned your calls and you need to obtain urgent treatment at your own vet and bill it to them.

if you do not receive a contact by tomorrow then I would get in contact with the President of the Club - basically make a nuisance of yourself until something is sorted out.


Details are here http://www.cavaliersofhouston.org/ under club contacts