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View Full Version : Autopsy on Abbey--please read asap



linderbelle
5th January 2012, 08:04 PM
I wrote Dr. Shores (neuro that did her surgery 3 years ago) wanting to know his opinion of what happened and how he rated the surgery etc. He mentioned that we never did a mri after the surgery and then mentioned that we probably weren't doing any post-mortem work on her. That rang a bell with me--I need to know what happened after the surgery and why she died. This is not a glamorous post at all. I have two other cavaliers and I'm deathly afraid now of what to do if either of them get this disease. She had not been cremated yet so the mortuary has it on hold and I have talked to my vet and we are trying to get ahold of Dr. Shores to figure out what to do. Her vet which has a cavalier I might add feel that this is research and very valuable. I need to know. Am I wrong?

ourempire
5th January 2012, 08:43 PM
If an autopsy will give you some relief of all those sad thoughts about what could have been done differently, and how you can help your other cavaliers, it sounds like the right thing to do. Only you can know how it feels. You only have to ask yourself, if you want answers or not, and how you will feel with and without knowing. :hug: :hug:

pkt89
5th January 2012, 09:29 PM
If it was me and I can afford it, I would do an autopsy.
kitty

Kate H
5th January 2012, 10:33 PM
This is one way that you coud help not just yourself but other Cavaliers and their owners. Vets and even neurologists can always learn more about SM and an autopsy could be helpful to them.

One of the really frustrating things about SM is the wide variety of symptoms it can show. If - which we hope will never happen! - one of your other Cavaliers got SM it could display symptoms that are nothing like Abbey's. You are well-equipped to recognise signs of pain, but try not to be constantly looking out for symptoms like Abbey's - SM doesn't work like that!

Kate, Oliver and Aled:hug:

Love my Cavaliers
5th January 2012, 10:58 PM
Linda,
I'd suggest going to http://www.cavaliermatters.org/ Toward the end of the book they talk about the Cavalier collection scheme and what they look for when a Cavalier with SM dies. It says to contact Magaret Carter. She might be a great help to either your vet or your neurologist - whoever does the autopsy - about what to look for that would be really helpful for research.I'm sorry you're going through this, but if you can help to further the understanding of this horrible disease, then you'll know that even more good will have come out of sweet little Abbey's life.

We're all here for you. You know that. Hugs and kisses for you and George too.

Karen and Ruby
5th January 2012, 11:20 PM
Abbey wouldn't be able to contribute towards the collection schemes as they need the body within 24 hours of their passing as the syrinx collapses very quickly once the blood stops pumping. But there are other studies at other research facilities I'm sure. Only you can make this decision but if it were me I wouldn't do it unless I was sure my dog would be useful to someone.

Margaret C
5th January 2012, 11:28 PM
I wrote Dr. Shores (neuro that did her surgery 3 years ago) wanting to know his opinion of what happened and how he rated the surgery etc. He mentioned that we never did a mri after the surgery and then mentioned that we probably weren't doing any post-mortem work on her. That rang a bell with me--I need to know what happened after the surgery and why she died. This is not a glamorous post at all. I have two other cavaliers and I'm deathly afraid now of what to do if either of them get this disease. She had not been cremated yet so the mortuary has it on hold and I have talked to my vet and we are trying to get ahold of Dr. Shores to figure out what to do. Her vet which has a cavalier I might add feel that this is research and very valuable. I need to know. Am I wrong?

Hello Linda,

I understand why you feel you need to know what happened, and for that information to help research, but don't be too disappointed if that turns out not to be possible.

For the last four years I have organised a scheme that helps owners who want to volunteer their cavaliers' bodies for post mortem and cell tissue donation. (The cavalier is individually cremated and their ashes are returned to the owner )

I don't want to upset you more than you are at this time but these arrangements really need to be in place at the time the cavalier dies

I have been told it is difficult to confirm SM at an autopsy. The syrinx collapses and cannot be easily identified, so tissue needs to be taken & stained for forensic tests. The longer the little dog has been dead the harder it is to get reliable results, especially if the body has been put in the freezer.

I do want you get the answers you need, but please don't get your hopes up too high only to be disappointed if it does not happen.

It is hard to live with uncertainty but very often that is all we are left with.

You are in my thoughts.

anniemac
5th January 2012, 11:34 PM
Linda,

I thought about this also when I wanted to do something with Ella to contribute. Abbey has already contributed a lot with her story and touching others.

linderbelle
6th January 2012, 12:37 AM
calgon take me away. I really can't take much more without losing it. Dr. Shores and my vet have communicated and Shores told him what to do and what to send to UGA for testing. All I can do at this point is trust the two of them. My vet I know cared very deeply about Abbey. When he walked in the room he said I sure don't want to do this one. I'm crying again. What else is new. I miss her so much. I just know I really do love ths breed and for myself also I'd really like to know what happened after the surgery. All we can do is try. It's so dang unfair--she was soooooo young. All we can do is try. I may never get the answers I need to know but I can say I gave it my darnest. Oh guys the house is so dayum empty without her and I have 3 other dogs!!!! I can't even see the screen.

jld
8th January 2012, 01:48 AM
My heart is breaking for you, and all of us who have these beautiful dogs with this terrible, terrible disease, and will most likely be making the same heart-wrenching decisions you have had to make. You are very courageous, and an inspiration I have followed Abby's story from the beginning, and there is no one who loved their cavalier more. You did everything possible for her. She was blessed to have had you.

linderbelle
8th January 2012, 02:21 AM
Thanks jld. I can't believe it's only been 4 days since she left us. It truly seems like eternity. I have looked at her pictures today and hubby has told me to stop and told me if he did it he'd be sobbing with me. I did love her so much. I love all my dogs but I must admit she really had a very large part of my heart. My vet wrote on sympathy card he sent us and wrote she had heart of a great dane and she truly did. My vet also wrote that we did everything we could for her but I find myself saying maybe I should have mri'd her again--maybe I should have done a spinal tap on her. You second guess yourself but deep down I truly do know I was a very good mommy and I had the best. I looked at a picture today of her this past March and she looked so good so that was very comforting as I get scared as when I finally faced reality maybe I waited too long but I don't think we did. I know she helped alot of people by her video and her blog and I know she will continue to do so. The house is not the same but I also know that is part of grieving and oh how we are grieving. I'm truly heartbroken. Sleeping with slleeping pills and taking antiacids from the fluttering of my stomach. SM sucks period.

I think we were more blessed to have her. She saved us in so many ways and I wouldn't trade one day of it even though we had many very hard days. She never complained and I don't think I did either. I just prayed alot for her and wanted the best. I only got her for about 7.5 years but oh how I cheerish those 7.5 years.

Linda

Karlin
9th January 2012, 12:04 PM
This is a very personal issue -- but in the context of knowing more about her SM, or for research, as Margaret says, most of what could be used or discovered in direct relation to cavaliers and SM would need to have been done close to the time of death (generally within hours and the closer, the more helpful for research) and arrangements in place in advance.

For anyone considering this and wanting to have this possibility in place (it cannot always be arranged in the US/outside the UK/Ireland, where extras time is likely needed to get arrangements in place -- a vet school or neurologist could do the needed tissue samples and analysis) Margaret has posted information over the past couple of years here on the site and there is detail on Cavalier Matters and also Carol Fowler's Cavalier Campaign site. This kind of discussion, though painful, may help others to decide that they would like to make such arrangements so is important and helpful for that alone.

If Dr Shores would find an autopsy helpful for his own information and if it might give you some comfort to have any more information, Linda, then I'd have an autopsy done. But as others say, you will not really get any of the information about syrinx development and internal structures that would appear on MRI while living, or that might possibly be obtained within a few hours of death, since the syrinxes collapse and there's no evidence of them. You might be able to get information on any shifts in the structures Dr Shores put in place with the surgery (though this is very unlikely to have happened) and I am sure that any scar tissue development would be evident (which might help in understanding how things worsened). An autopsy would also give information on her heart and evidence of MVD/fluid accumulation -- though again given the time that has passed, I am not sure how much can be understood. I'd have a detailed conversation with Dr Shores about whether this is truly something that would produce any helpful information, if you are at all unsure of whether to have an autopsy done.

On a personal note I'd never put an older cavalier with advanced SM through a spinal tap. I wouldn't do this on a younger dog either unless it was absolutely necessary.

linderbelle
10th January 2012, 01:21 AM
It wasn't done.

lovecavaliers
12th January 2012, 04:19 AM
Oh Linda, I just wanted to say how very very sorry I am that you are going through this heartbreaking time. You are in my thoughts.

linderbelle
12th January 2012, 01:37 PM
Thanks. I sure do miss her.