View Full Version : Kayleigh - MRI scan

22nd August 2011, 08:18 PM
The reason I was away last week was that I took Kayleigh down to Glasgow University Small Animal Hospital for an MRI scan - she has been symptomatic for a couple of months, and the symptoms were progressing fairly quickly. :( It was very difficult to arrange as I am not able to drive very far at the moment, so had to go by public transport, and rely on various friends for lifts etc. We left here at 7.30am on Monday and arrived at my friends' house in Ayrshire 8 hours later - following one car journey, two separate trains, a taxi and a short walk. The taxi driver did not want to carry Kayleigh even with her being in a travel crate :x Coming back was even more of a nightmare as there was vandalism on the train lines which meant the local trains were delayed and we thought we would not get to Glasgow on time to catch the train to Inverness :x. Fortunately my friend was coming as far as Glasgow with me and knew the area well enough to arrange a taxi to go to another station with more frequent trains to Glasgow - we managed with about 5 minutes to spare. If I'd missed that one, the next train back home involved a change -which would have been very difficult with luggage and Kayleigh.

The MRI scan results were better than perhaps we expected - surprisingly no syrinxes were found, but Clare Rusbridge et al recently published results showing that 25% of cavaliers with SM symptoms have CM only, so it appears that Kayleigh fits in with that study.

This is my first MRI scanned symptomatic dog to show symptoms from the malformation only, so we are on a new learning curve here, as I don't know what to expect in terms of prognosis etc. In the dogs presenting with clinical symptoms, Glasgow have only seen syrinxes - they have recently started a low cost MRI scheme for breeding and are obviously seeing the malformation on most of those, but the dogs are not symptomatic.

Kayleigh will be managed medically - I had one severely affected dog undergo decompression surgery and following that experience [we had 10 months with him post op], I would not put another dog through surgery at the current time - JMHO, and for many reasons.

As many of you know, we bred Kayleigh ourselves, both parents are MRI grade A, one at 2 1/2 and one at 3 1/2 - there are quite a few MRI A dogs around her and behind her too.

The studies show SM affected offspring may occur when SM unaffected dogs are used [15.4% from A x A parent crosses - parents under 5 years of age] from Interim Breeding Guidelines -- 4 Year Report. SP Knowler, AK McFadyen, C Rusbridge. Abstract at 23d ECVN symposium, Sept. 2010.

There is an element of guilt that I am responsible for bringing this wee dog into the world and she now faces living with chronic pain and some curtailment of her favourite activities :(:( she lives to run, is a very active Cavalier, but now can't keep up with her litter mates and if she does do any running, she is very sore afterwards. :(

Kayleigh is on room rest for a month - no running, no jumping, short lead walks and potty breaks; she will be reviewed after this time to see if the Gabapentin is helping her.

She also has a slight prolapsed disc but this is not thought to be causing her any problems - obviously the spine in a dog is in a horizontal rather than the vertical position of a human, so does not have to support the weight of the head etc.

We will just take each day as it comes, treasure time with our precious girl and do everything we can to keep her comfortable and happy.

Our precious girl


http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5022/5677359024_5633719203_z.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/61175455@N08/5677359024/)
T-26April2011-0001-22 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/61175455@N08/5677359024/) by Happy Haggis (http://www.flickr.com/people/61175455@N08/), on Flickr

22nd August 2011, 08:31 PM
Words fail me Nicki, such sad news today for two of our beautiful cavaliers on the forum, Kayleigh and Daisy.
I love the photos of Kayleigh. Thinking of you and your family.

22nd August 2011, 08:47 PM
I'm so sorry to hear this :( My thoughts going out to you and to Kayleigh. I hope the meds they give will help :hug:


22nd August 2011, 08:47 PM
Hi Nicki,
I can imagine it's still a shock to the system,even though you've been through this so many times now.
It's so disappointing that the CM is causing her such trouble.
Let's just hope the Gabapentin does a good job with pain management.
Did you get any feedback about central canal dilation or dilated ventricles?
I believe that even in the absence of such factors,that CM alone can still lead to pain.
You must be exhausted after the travelling and the whole experience.Look after yourself too!:flwr:


22nd August 2011, 08:48 PM
Oh Nicki that just makes my heart ache! I'm glad there is no SM at the moment but it is so bitter sweet. What are breeders of Cavaliers supposed to do when even A X A matings can produce offspring that suffer. :hug::hug::hug: I hope gabapentin can give her the relief she needs so that she can return to a active lifestyle!

22nd August 2011, 09:09 PM
My dog, Bee has CM and PSOM without SM. He has symptom like ear scratching but not a lot. I was just wonder what kind of medicine you are giving her.

22nd August 2011, 09:12 PM
Nicki, sorry to hear about Kayleigh.:hug:from me , Elise and our wee Kaleyxx

Kate H
22nd August 2011, 09:21 PM
So sorry to hear Kayleigh's diagnosis. The researchers do now seem to be taking CM more seriously as a source of pain - which is why of course A + A can still produce symptomatic dogs - the parents may not have syrinxes themselves but almost all of them will have CM and can pass that onto their puppies, which may or may not lead later to SM. Oliver has a small syrinx which seems to cause him no problems, so essentially he is a dog suffering from CM, like your Kayleigh. The gabapentin has really helped, though I think the time is approaching when we may have to up the dosage - at the moment (4 years after diagnosis) he's still on the basic 3 x 100g. But on the whole his headaches are under control and almost no one (except real cm/sm experts) would guess that he is anything but a fit and happy 10-year-old. So I hope Kayleigh can be helped to be the same.

Kate, Oliver and Aled

PS Your travelling sounds like some of our jaunts - coming back from camping in Norfolk in June with a trolley full of camping stuff and 2 Cavaliers on the hottest day of the year (26 degrees) on 2 buses, 3 trains and a taxi was one of our worst, I think! Really makes you feel your age, doesn't it?!

team bella
22nd August 2011, 09:25 PM

Can't believe your news, its so sad. You're very brave to share this news with the forum. I can't believe the news today, first Daisy and now Kayleigh.
Big hug for you Nicki :hug:

22nd August 2011, 09:46 PM
Nicki, I am so sorry, poor little Kayleigh.

Her diagnosis is very similar to Dougall. We have had more problems with our cm dog than Molly who is an sm dog. Like Kayleigh, he would become very sore and sometimes would just lie on the floor. If you tried to move him, he would cry.

It was suggested surgery would be a good option as he is a young strong dog. I personally don't want to consider this option.

Dougall loves the beach but if we spend too long there it causes him a great deal of pain after. Following at least a year of trying all sorts of things including acupuncture, we finally seem to have his symptoms under control. He is on the same medication as Molly, eg. Gabapentin, Zitac, Trocoxil. He has a gentle massage once every fortnight that releases the tightness in his muscles caused by sensory problems because part of his brain (Dorsal Horn) is damaged by the malformation.

Lots of hugs to Kayleigh, I hope she will be running happily and pain free with her litter mates soon.:hug:

Sydneys Mom
22nd August 2011, 09:56 PM
Nicki, so sorry about Kayleigh's diagnosis. It's so sad that another cavalier has to go through this. I know you've been down this road before, but it probably doesn't make it any easier. Sending hugs to you and Kayleigh.:l*v:

Margaret C
22nd August 2011, 11:08 PM
Dear Nicki,

I am so sorry this has happened. How brave of you to undertake such a journey when you have also been so unwell. What a wonderful owner you are.

I do hope the gabapentin helps Kayleigh.

Thinking of you,

23rd August 2011, 12:07 AM
The last week has been terrible for so many of our forum members and their Cavaliers.
Please know Nicki I am thinking of you and little Kayleigh.

Nanette xxxxxxxxxxxx

23rd August 2011, 12:27 AM
I am very relieved no syrinx found but very sad she is symptomatic. I just can't believe the past few weeks... it has been a tide of news that none of us want to hear. That she was bred from A parents is also so disappointing for you. Most of all, I want to say that you mean so very much to me personally... and to all of us. Sending you hugs and lickeys from Gracie.

23rd August 2011, 01:55 AM
This all so hard to hear after being away from the board these last few days.

I suppose the most distressful part is that she came from A parents. It just makes this whole issue that much more real and scary.

I know you will always do the best by Kayleigh. You are a wonderful inspiration to so many here. Many prayers for you and Kayleigh.

23rd August 2011, 02:58 AM
It's sounds like you had a horrid day. Did the vet say if Kayleigh had any pre-syrinx or central canal dilation?
Jack has moderate symptoms and CM with a pre-syrinx so I am sort of in the same situation. I know it is also a disappointment to have it occur from two grade "A" parents. I am so sorry.

I hope Kayleigh finds some relief from the medication which in turn will allow her mom to get some relief:o

Sending you both lots of hugs from across the ocean.

Brian M
23rd August 2011, 11:43 AM
Hello Nicki

What a brave lady you are to undergo such a journey and to encounter a horrible taxi driver like you did .I am truly
sorry for the bad news with Kayleigh especially with all your hard work to enable his breeding from the best A Cavaliers available
up by you .So Kayleigh is CM symtomatic a bit like Rosie but she fortunately has no symptoms but with Kayleigh being with
you that has to be an A ***** as with your knowledge on these subjects a finer carer would not be possible .

Little did I think you would be posting news like this when Daisy was also having similar and when you posted on the Daisy
thread re "I am in my thoughts " I never dreamt it would be this news .

God Bless


Pops ,Daisy,Rosie and Lily

23rd August 2011, 12:23 PM
Oh nicki,

I am so sorry to read this and what a journey you took not only by her breeding but by the physical journey to have an mri to make sure she has the best health. What heartbreak and I'm thinking of you.

Sent from my Droid using Tapatalk

23rd August 2011, 12:38 PM
Thank you so much everyone - we really appreciate the support and care from everyone here.

No matter how many times you go through this, it doesn't get any easier - actually perhaps in some ways worse, as you know what to expect :( It's also embarrassing to admit that you have yet another sick dog - you wonder if people think you mistreat them that they have problems :(:( [sadly a nasty breeder who had been a good friend planted this idea in my mind, blaming her poorly bred dog's heart murmur on me for walking Peaches in a harness!! Her litter sister was diagnosed with the same grade murmur a week later though...Peaches also had hip dysplasia and luxating patella - again it was blamed on me. When she was PTS at the age of 7 from MVD and pain from her physical deformities - she had one surgery but the MVD was too bad for further surgeries - I received a card asking what I had done to end her life so early. Needless to say that was the end of the friendship.]

I know I do my very best for my dogs - we have given up things so that we can have our Cavaliers and to enable them to have the best quality food and veterinary care.

We are just focusing on Kayleigh though and not on what's happened in the past.


Since the beginning of July she has been turning around to look at her back end and sometimes chewing her thigh, or paws. She has become really unhappy at being groomed or having her nails cut [really distressed and crying when her nails were cut]. She didn't want to play as much nor chew her chewies.

11th July in the morning she was obviously really uncomfortable, she was trying to get as nuzzled in to me as possible [her way of showing distress], couldn't settle, her tail was right down - she started vocalising a bit. She was started on Gabapentin [100mg] every 12 hours and once that kicked in she was much happier

On a walk, Kayleigh has always been the most active of the 3 littermates, she loves to run. She has always played really rough with her brother Tommy.

Over the last few weeks Kayleigh has deteriorated, she is now slower than the other two, not running very much, reluctant to get involved in play. She is very restless from the early hours of the morning until mid morning, I am aware of quite a few affected dogs who are restless overnight or in the early hours of the morning.

During the day she is sleeping or resting a lot, takes herself off into her bed or crate and lies quietly – change in behaviour for her.

She was put onto Gabapentin 100mg every 8 hours for two weeks, and then trying to reduce it to every 12 hours. I hope to get her onto Zitac as I know that Clare Rusbridge believes that it slows progression.

She has at least as many symptoms and obviously pain as some of mine who did have syrinxes. I think it is so important to get this message across, that, like humans, they can suffer from "JUST" the malformation.

Strangely Kayleigh was not supposed to be stopping with us - she was sold three times to different people [who had been screened by telephone before reserving her] and they all let us down - the last one the day before she was due to go [you hear a lot about bad breeders but there are also bad puppy buyers, who book a puppy and then buy an untested puppy because it is cheaper or nearer to collect :x] By then we had fallen in love with her, and so she stayed :D It was obviously meant to be, and I'm so pleased she is here and is going to get the treatment she needs.

Kate - I really admire you for travelling on public transport - it was such a nightmare journey, not helped that the train was nothing more than a coach on wheels, so there was no space for large luggage etc. Kayleigh was so good, she just lay quietly and most people did not even know she was there! She'd never been on a train or even in a station before - we never expected to have to travel by public transport like this, as both of us normally drive. It shows that we should include all these experiences in puppy socialisation just in case...

23rd August 2011, 01:09 PM
Awww, so quickly. I'll be praying that she is comfortable and the all the Meds work.

23rd August 2011, 01:19 PM
That CM alone can cause symptoms. One of my friends here just had her Brussell Griffon tested and had CM but not SM. This dog is in MUCH more discomfort than Gracie has ever been. I think it has had severe headaches but who knows???

Sweet Kayleigh looks alot like Gracie too... my husband looked at one of her calendar photos and said... "wow, she looks so much like her!" So here we are....doing the best we can for our "children."

I do have someone with a parent-tested Cavvie (age 1.5) who may offer her to us in a couple of months at the cost of a rescue. She was going to be a show dog but will not work out for that. However, very sadly her breeder (another person) stopped testing the parents after that litter because she has been convinced by other breeders that this is fruitless cause and no local vet school offering discounted MRIs for breeders. Makes me very sad that this is happening.

I do not know much about Zitac... look forward to learning more. I hope the meds are so helpful for Kayleigh and will prevent her from developing SM and relieve her current symptoms.

23rd August 2011, 02:05 PM
I am sitting reading this and I can’t help but cry. Everything makes me cry this week. I just read the lovely message you have send me about Harley and there you are thinking of me while you going through all this yourself again. My heart really goes out to you. You have been through so much this year with your own health and there you are travelling all that way on public transport. But like you said to me “you find a strength inside that you didn't know was even there. It's because we love them so much that we will go to the ends of the earth for them.
You, Keyleigh and your husband are in my thoughts.

23rd August 2011, 02:22 PM
I was so sorry to hear of this devastating news. Your post, just as many others bring tears to my eyes and heartache to my soul for these wondeful dogs and there caring owners. I hope that she will do well on the gabapentin. My thoughts are with you and with others who have gone through a similar exprience.

Karen H

Karen and Ruby
23rd August 2011, 02:39 PM
Oh Nikki,

I'm so sorry about Kayleigh. It's difficult coming to terms with something different and unknown. Having a symptomatic dog with CM isn't much different from having an SM dog with symptoms- apart from the fact that we can maybe prevent SM developing by giving something like Zitac.

Charlie too loves to run and is normally a very active boy but on his bad days he is very quiet and quite restless- it's also very interesting what you say about the chewies as Charlie really doesn't like anything thats too hard- even a dried Rabbits ear can't tempt him so he stick =s to the dried fish skin treats instead!

I hope you can get some releif for her!

Love my Cavaliers
23rd August 2011, 03:48 PM
Oh Nicki, I'm so sorry about Kayleigh. There's not much else to say. Whether it's CM or SM, our little dogs suffer so much. I can't imagine having my skull compressed and not having terrible headaches. I would surely want effective pain medication. I hope you can find a medication cocktail that works for your sweet little Kayleigh. Sending her hugs and kisses.

23rd August 2011, 04:36 PM
She has at least as many symptoms and obviously pain as some of mine who did have syrinxes. I think it is so important to get this message across, that, like humans, they can suffer from "JUST" the malformation.


I first heard about symptomatic CM through a blog that I have been following and I have posted this a couple of times about how important it is to think of the symptoms and to be supportive of all. I once said the following thing that is in this post that "that is so WONDERFUL there was no SM to another cavalier owner" yet to the person with a symptomatic CM cavalier that is devostating.

I admire this breeder/pet owner for speaking out about these questions (yet still supporting researchers and following protocols), helping organize scan days in Canada, being an educator to other pet owners and cavalier owners, and pretty much one of the best examples of what I would admire in a breeder of Cavaliers.

She explained some of the symptoms and if you are interested in learning about Mylee and her story, she may give some insight since she has been on helping Mylee with symptomtic CM for a couple of years (I think).

Mylee's Story:




23rd August 2011, 04:39 PM
I just want to say Nicki, that I hope that maybe you can find some comfort also in knowing that Dougall, Mylee, and all the other CM cavaliers that are symptomatic on the forum are now getting the treatment they need as I know Kayleigh will.

Thinking of you.

23rd August 2011, 08:02 PM
Nicki, I think you should be very proud. What you are doing as a breeder is SO much more than thousands (..if not more) of other Cavalier breeders out there. Even with A tested parents, there is always going to be the possibility of symptomatic offspring. At least cases like this help with studies, so we can only further understand what is going on with our breed.

So many of us look up to you, as I do. Dogs are our passion here, those that stick around and read each other's posts and care and support each other all genuinely want the best for each other and our dogs.

23rd August 2011, 11:07 PM
oh Nicki. I'm so sorry about this news, but what better people could she be with that with you guys! You are so brave and dedicated to travel like that to get her tested. You're in our thoughts and we know you'll get her the comfort and help she needs.:l*v:

29th August 2011, 10:08 PM
Thank you everyone - we are blessed to have Kayleigh in our lives and she is teaching us so much - unfortunately her diagnosis means that my breeding program has currently come to an end :( . In addition to our concerns for Kayleigh this is such a disappointment as my plan was to breed healthy Cavaliers that people could enjoy as beloved companions. Maybe one day...I have been promised a Black and tan girl from a very special breeder who does all the health testing and follows the protocols - just have to wait for it to be the right time for us to introduce a new puppy to our household.

Oh my goodness Anne, thank you SO much for sharing that blog http://embeecav.blogspot.com/2011/01/mylees-story-little-red-dog-and-chiari.html

Mylee is a very loving little dog to those she knows, and is completely devoted to me.

She does not have the typical outgoing, friendly to all Cavalier personality. In fact she is incredibly reserved to those she doesn't know. She often shies away from a strangers touch, giving the impression she is not friendly or that she apprehensive. To strangers who know Cavaliers this always comes across as very strange. Is her temperament off? Was she not properly socialized? Why doesn't she want to say hi to me? Cavaliers should love everyone!

The truth is; Mylee is afraid that a strangers touch will hurt. She is afraid that you will touch her in the wrong spots. She doesn't trust that you know how to scratch her on her chest and back and leave her head and ears alone. She is afraid that you will hurt her.

Well she has just described Kayleigh - every word applies to her. We say that she goes up to people to show them how beautiful she is, but they're not allowed to touch her :( Just shows how much we are learning all the time...although my other affected Cavaliers were wary of touch, it was not to this extreme.

30th August 2011, 01:40 AM
It makes me so sad hearing this Nicki, but I do understand. I know this is extremely difficult for you, and I pray that time will show something different for you.

murphy's mum
30th August 2011, 04:31 PM
Well she has just described Kayleigh - every word applies to her. We say that she goes up to people to show them how beautiful she is, but they're not allowed to touch her :( Just shows how much we are learning all the time...although my other affected Cavaliers were wary of touch, it was not to this extreme.

Not wanting to hijack your thread Nicki but this describes Misty too, but we've always put it down to her being a rescue. We believed that she maybe a bad experience that had made her head shy. More food for though.