View Full Version : Sydney in Virginia

21st September 2011, 01:46 AM
Duncan here,

For those of you who follow our adventures in the post entitled Ruby Here on the General Photo Forum, this is just a note to let you know why we have been gone for so long. I did not want to take up a lot of space in the photo forum, so I have posted an update here to explain. I apologize because this post is a little long. I have had my bouts with health issues as many of you are aware, but I have never been as sick as my sister Sydney. I am afraid to say we almost lost her to a serious case of spinal meningitis.

You see, shortly after we returned from Sag Harbor and Vermont, Dad noticed Sydney jumping off the couch and her front legs collapsing. He thought maybe it was just that her front legs had gone to sleep while she was lying down, but when it happened again, he knew something wasn't right. He started watching her very closely even when she was sleeping. It was while she was lying on the couch that he noticed her having what appeared to be a seizure but it was very subtle. It wasn't much and barely noticeable but she would get a blank stare and wouldn't look at you when you called her name. If lying on her side, her right rear leg would sometimes stiffen and shake. These episodes would last 15-30 seconds at which time she would recover, but shake and shiver as if very cold. Mom and Dad took her to our veterinarian who put her on Zonisamide for seizures and ran a toxoplasmosis/neosporal/cryptococcus and tick panel. All came back normal and he could not find anything else wrong with her. Over the next 6-8 weeks however, her condition did not improve and she progressed to numerous seizures per day and then began having difficulty walking. She would often wobble and weave as if she were drunk, especially on uneven surfaces, and began to lose significant weight.

Sydney progressed to the point of not eating, not walking, and fearing the worst, to include a brain tumor/cancer, Dad made an emergency appointment for Sydney with Dr William Bush at the Bush Veterinary Neurology Service (BVNS) in Leesburg, Virginia. Upon arrival, Dr Bush conducted a thorough examination and suspected either SM (since she is a Cavalier), but could not rule out some other significant medical issue. BVNS is one of the few clinics in our area that has its own MRI equipment on site so he recommended, and we agreed, to order an MRI and a spinal tap since she was going to be under asleep anyway. Sydney had both done that afternoon and she was kept overnight. The MRI came back indicating a clinically insignificant case of SM and he felt comfortable ruling it out as a cause. The spinal tap however was another story. He did find a significant amount of meninges in the spinal fluid indicating either an infection or an immune disease. After ruling out an infection, he immediately put her on steroids and pain medication. Had we waited or kept treating her for seizures for another week or so, we don't think Sydney would have survived. She was going downhill fast. We owe a lot to Dr Bush and his care. Over the next 6-9 months, she started to recover and is now about 18 months later she is pretty much back to normal except for a few more gray hairs which I tease her about constantly. I'm glad she's here to tease. Now come on back to Ruby Here and follow us as we hit the road again.

Duncan in Virginia

21st September 2011, 02:49 AM
Wow, how scary!! What good parents you have to take such good care of her. So happy that everything turned out ok!

21st September 2011, 01:51 PM
Oh goodness this sounds just awful :( It's good that you have such observant carers and are lucky to have a fantastic medical facility.

Sorry to hear about the SM too but it's good that Sydney doesn't have any symptoms. Perhaps Mom or Dad would be kind enough to send her report to Sarah Blott at the Animal Health Trust for the Estimated Breeding Values project please?

Copies of screening results certificates and pedigrees should be sent to:

Dr Sarah Blott,
CKCS Health Breeding Programme,
Animal Health Trust,
Lanwades Park, Kentford,
Suffolk CB8 7UU

Or electronic copies of the documents (e.g. pdf files) can be e-mailed to BreedingForHealth@aht.org.uk

21st September 2011, 02:28 PM

Ruby and I would be more than happy to send the MRI images to anyone who can help end this scourge. Although Sydney has been spayed, we have also informed the breeder, who has followed the Cavalier breeding protocols, but it just goes to show how insidious this problem is. It can still pop up unless we all stay diligent.


22nd September 2011, 03:00 AM
Piper and I are sending our thoughts your way from here in Virginia Beach. :)

22nd September 2011, 03:51 AM
Oh my goodness, what a long road this has been for everyone! I can't even imagine.

What a wonderful team you had taking care of your pup, and I hope now that things are better, we'll see you here a bit more.

Hugs to all of you!