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RodRussell
30th June 2012, 03:29 PM
UK researchers report results of questionnaires on neuropathic pain in CM/SM-affected cavaliers. http://bit.ly/MZXza9

MomObvious
30th June 2012, 03:40 PM
Well Duh.

Only adds to the research already known that CM/SM is painful.....yes being in pain does effect your life. I'm glad for the ongoing info. The more research and real science done the better maybe it will mean the people who still need to know this will re-think???????? The whole problem is just so sad.

Melissa

RodRussell
30th June 2012, 05:07 PM
Well Duh.

Only adds to the research already known that CM/SM is painful.....yes being in pain does effect your life. I'm glad for the ongoing info. The more research and real science done the better maybe it will mean the people who still need to know this will re-think???????? The whole problem is just so sad.

Melissa

This type of information serves more than just confirming the obvious. Many cavalier owners, I think, do not realize when their dogs are suffering neuropathic pain, because the symptoms of that pain are not so obvious. This study evidences other behaviors that really are due to pain, even though they may appear not to be painful.

The bottom line, I think, is that owners who are ignorant of the symptoms of neuropathic pain, and therefore minimize or ignore the pain their CM or CM/SM dogs are experiencing, are doing their dogs a major dis-service. If 95% of cavaliers really do have CM and 70% of them really do have CM/SM, then the dogs' odd behaviors (which may not appear to the owners to be associated with pain) really are caused by CM and SM pain. And those dogs deserve to be medicated.

DZee
30th June 2012, 05:52 PM
This type of information serves more than just confirming the obvious. Many cavalier owners, I think, do not realize when their dogs are suffering neuropathic pain, because the symptoms of that pain are not so obvious. This study evidences other behaviors that really are due to pain, even though they may appear not to be painful.

The bottom line, I think, is that owners who are ignorant of the symptoms of neuropathic pain, and therefore minimize or ignore the pain their CM or CM/SM dogs are experiencing, are doing their dogs a major dis-service. If 95% of cavaliers really do have CM and 70% of them really do have CM/SM, then the dogs' odd behaviors (which may not appear to the owners to be associated with pain) really are caused by CM and SM pain. And those dogs deserve to be medicated.

Rod... I agree w/ what you are saying. I am sure that is the case w/ many Cavalier owners.
Many don't even know about all this CM/SM before buying..because it isn't really talked about. That's the honest truth.
Sure..they may realize the MVD risks...but not everything else.
But can I add something? Dogs in general "do not" always show how they are feeling. It's just part of their instinctive nature to hide any weakness. We have owned many dogs through the years. I can't tell you how many times it wasn't until too late that we knew something was wrong. Every dog we have lost was due to cancer..a massive tumor that we knew "nothing" about because they HID their symptoms so well.
So guess I am saying it isn't always the owners fault. We have always been very responsible when it comes to Vet visits. It's just that when you "think" your dog is OK..most owners do not have random tests done & spend $$ if they don't feel the need to.
That obviously isn't what a Cavalier owner should do..but hope that makes sense.

MomObvious
30th June 2012, 06:54 PM
Good point Rod, bring more awareness to current owners too.

Kate H
1st July 2012, 12:02 AM
Thanks for posting that Rod. The more I watch my own two dogs with CM/SM, the more I'm convinced that there is no such thing as a totally asymptomatic dog with the disease - we just haven't learnt to recognise all the signs of neuropathic pain. And far too many owners still think of head rubbing, for example, as a cute Cavalier characteristic, and humans squint in strong light so why shouldn't dogs do it as well? Except that most other breeds don't head rub, and dog's eyes aren't the same as ours.

And I would differ from Diane about dogs hiding pain: firstly because I don't think dogs think like that, they don't say 'I have something seriously wrong with me but in order not to distress my owners or make life difficult for myself I am going to hide any pain I feel' - hiding implies a deliberate decision; secondly, from my experience of cancer, both for myself and for a number of friends, some cancers are simply not painful - or not recognised as painful - until they are considerably advanced, which is why they are so difficult to diagnose and treat; and thirdly, both for dogs and humans, having other things to do can enable us to ignore pain, not necessarily deliberately pushing it to the back of our minds, but being so busy and absorbed in other things that we don't think about it. As far as I know, Oliver never shows any signs of a headache when he is running round the park off-lead with his head down enjoying all the smells. His headaches come into consciousness when he is lying down dozing, with nothing to distract him.

Kate, Oliver and Aled

DZee
1st July 2012, 03:51 AM
Thanks for posting that Rod. The more I watch my own two dogs with CM/SM, the more I'm convinced that there is no such thing as a totally asymptomatic dog with the disease - we just haven't learnt to recognise all the signs of neuropathic pain. And far too many owners still think of head rubbing, for example, as a cute Cavalier characteristic, and humans squint in strong light so why shouldn't dogs do it as well? Except that most other breeds don't head rub, and dog's eyes aren't the same as ours.

And I would differ from Diane about dogs hiding pain: firstly because I don't think dogs think like that, they don't say 'I have something seriously wrong with me but in order not to distress my owners or make life difficult for myself I am going to hide any pain I feel' - hiding implies a deliberate decision; secondly, from my experience of cancer, both for myself and for a number of friends, some cancers are simply not painful - or not recognised as painful - until they are considerably advanced, which is why they are so difficult to diagnose and treat; and thirdly, both for dogs and humans, having other things to do can enable us to ignore pain, not necessarily deliberately pushing it to the back of our minds, but being so busy and absorbed in other things that we don't think about it. As far as I know, Oliver never shows any signs of a headache when he is running round the park off-lead with his head down enjoying all the smells. His headaches come into consciousness when he is lying down dozing, with nothing to distract him.

Kate, Oliver and Aled

Kate... First of all... the more I read about all the dogs ( including yours) that have this disease..the more my heart hurts. I cannot tell you how sorry I am that you and your pup are dealing with this.
I'm sure you are probably right in saying that there is probably no such thing as a Cavalier diagnosed w/ CM/SM that is asymptomatic. And you're also right in that we as humans tend to miss things that our beloved pets do that may be indications there is a problem going on.
You are also right saying that dogs DO NOT think like us. They have an entirely different thought process.
( Yep) ~They are not worrying whether they are distressing us. It is just a born "instinct" that most dogs WILL try to hide pain as much as possible. It isn't a decision they have made in their minds...INSTINCT is different than CHOICE.
Dogs ( even though they are now domesticated) are programmed for "survival". It goes back to the fact they originated as pack animals. You don't have to agree w/ me..but it is true. They know that the weak are singled out.
Some signs of pain are obvious..some are not. Some symptoms they may able to hide..others not so much.
I believe they know waaay before we do that something is wrong.

Neuropathic pain I am very familiar with. I experienced it myself for MANY years. I know there are varying degrees as with anything..but it is extremely painful. From a human perspective....very hard to deal with let alone try and hide.


I am sorry you have dealt w/ cancer. I have loved ones and friends who have dealt w/ it. Some conquered it..and some sadly did not. And I agree w/ you..perhaps the cancer itself may be painless...but what it does to a body is not.
Some cancers grow slowly...some are very aggressive.
So to say that just because our dogs had cancer they must not of been in pain until the very end?
..I cannot agree w/ you there.
They had to of been in pain...but they didn't show it. With our Rottweiller...her tumor was so large in her abdomen it had pushed most of her organs clear up into her chest. From the size of it..it had to of been there a very long time. I never noticed because she was such a muscular dog...but her stomach was rock hard for YEARS. It had to of been VERY uncomfortable. Yet she was one tough dog and never let on.
The very day our Golden retriever died..he was still retrieving that morning. He always seemed out of breath but we attributed it to the fact he was 12 yrs. old. We were wrong. He finally collapsed in the living room. We rushed him to the Vet & after almost a thousand dollars worth of tests..we were told he had cancerous tumors throughout his body...and one was obstructing his lungs. He "couldn't" of felt good..but you would never of known it. We lost him 7 mo.'s ago.
I honestly feel STUPID for not noticing...but fact is..both these dogs HID it very well.

So my opinion dogs have one up on us humans in the fact they can distract themselves from their pain to some extent..and try to go about life as usual. At least until they come to a point..> they no longer can.
For the majority of us humans... we do not do that.

Karlin
1st July 2012, 12:43 PM
I will just add that Dr Marino's team in the US did a study where they filmed dogs with CCTV I think -- dogs that showed lots of symptoms when no people were around, basically acted more normally when their owners came to visit them or other people came in. Hiding pain is a survival instinct.

With SM dogs -- I think there's a serious level of missing symptoms by people who 1) aren't around their dogs during a workday and miss many of the ongoing signs; 2) have multiple dogs; 3) keep their dogs mostly out in the garden or kennelled (breeders are often a combination of 2 and 3 and I know from personal experience how breeders -- even health focused breeders -- can miss signs of problems even in dogs they care for deeply which are quickly obvious to new owners); 4) mistake symptoms for quirks -- often cute quirks or breed quirks. They are only the latter in the most tragic way :( ; 5) ignore or argue themselves out of noticing symptoms or increasing symptoms because they can't deal with the implications/don't want to have a dog with SM.

I've seen all of these, in breeders and pet owners. In all cases, it is the dogs that suffer as they remain untreated or on too low a level of treatment (with this condition, pain management is exactly that, ongoing management and often needs adjustment.

I think vets can be particularly bad about recognising SM or listening to owners. Too many are convinced they 'never see it' and therefore refuse to see it or only with the greatest reluctance -- while the dogs suffer. There are vets I no longer used for cavalier rescue or personally because I knew this was their attitude either from things they said to me, or that I heard from others. Meanwhile these same stupid people insist with a laugh that cavaliers are 'wimps' and 'cry babies' and 'drama queens' because they will scream when given injections (needles right into the neck -- right where syrinxes form first and where most SM dogs first exhibit pain). They also too often reject any suggestion from owners that something is going on and that something might be SM, because they get annoyed that people research conditions themselves or find communities that know a condition and can advise -- often with greater expertise than most vets.

Most dogs do not show symptoms or have odd quirks for no reason.

There is a difficult line between obsessing over watching for things, and keeping a watchful eye. I think any cavalier owner needs to do the latter, given the breed's health problems -- while also trying to enjoy 'just having a dog' and not sinking into the former, which drains so much pleasure out of cavalier ownership. But the reality for cavalier owners is that these dogs have a lot of serious health problems and two are endemic -- MVD and SM -- meaning the vast majority of us will own dogs with both these things, eventually. We all hope the dogs will have no/few/mild symptoms. Unfortunately the background concern and watchfulness is just something we have to deal with as cavalier owners. There's just no way around it. Many of us only slowly learn to find that dividing line.

The truly positive, proactive, meaningful thing every cavalier lover can do about this situation of course, is only to buy puppies from properly health testing, protocol-using breeders (or else opt for a rescue dog), and support research (there are many very modest ways to do the latter; this doesn't need big donations from everyone :) ).

RodRussell
1st July 2012, 04:08 PM
I've seen all of these, in breeders and pet owners. In all cases, it is the dogs that suffer as they remain untreated or on too low a level of treatment (with this condition, pain management is exactly that, ongoing management and often needs adjustment.

I think vets can be particularly bad about recognising SM or listening to owners. Too many are convinced they 'never see it' and therefore refuse to see it or only with the greatest reluctance -- while the dogs suffer. There are vets I no longer used for cavalier rescue or personally because I knew this was their attitude either from things they said to me, or that I heard from others. Meanwhile these same stupid people insist with a laugh that cavaliers are 'wimps' and 'cry babies' and 'drama queens' because they will scream when given injections (needles right into the neck -- right where syrinxes form first and where most SM dogs first exhibit pain). They also too often reject any suggestion from owners that something is going on and that something might be SM, because they get annoyed that people research conditions themselves or find communities that know a condition and can advise -- often with greater expertise than most vets. ...

As difficult as it is to accept, I think we need to view 95% of the breed as probably having CM and 70% probably having SM, and therefore, the odds are that all of the cavaliers we have in our homes probably have CM/SM or just CM, both of which cause excruciating pain.

So, we need to assume that odd behaviors may well be evidence of the pain due to these disorders, and do something about it.

MomObvious
1st July 2012, 05:58 PM
As difficult as it is to accept, I think we need to view 95% of the breed as probably having CM and 70% probably having SM, and therefore, the odds are that all of the cavaliers we have in our homes probably have CM/SM or just CM, both of which cause excruciating pain.

So, we need to assume that odd behaviors may well be evidence of the pain due to these disorders, and do something about it.


Alright Rod, I can see what you mean but what does that mean for someone who owns a cavalier puppy who parents were not properly health tested?

Fletcher is 4 months old, I have learned a lot about what to watch for... but what are owners like me, or all owners for that matter to do. Do you suggest I have him scanned? If so, at what age? How often? I use a vet who treats several cavalier's yes some with CM and SM and all eventually heart murmurs, she has no problems I believe sending a cavalier to a specialist IF and WHEN needed. Yes, I will take Fletcher to the vet at the blink of an eye if I ever think he is in ANY pain. As a owner of a young cavalier I believe I have done or am doing all I can for Fletcher....please if you think I am not on the right track let me know.

Honestly, I know you are super smart in all this science into cavalier health and I'm seeking your advice to go from here. I apologize if these questions appear inappropriate, I'm frustrated and fearful with your opinion, I know you know what you are talking about tho.

Melissa

RodRussell
1st July 2012, 06:26 PM
Alright Rod, I can see what you mean but what does that mean for someone who owns a cavalier puppy who parents were not properly health tested?

Fletcher is 4 months old, I have learned a lot about what to watch for... but what are owners like me, or all owners for that matter to do. Do you suggest I have him scanned? If so, at what age? How often? I use a vet who treats several cavalier's yes some with CM and SM and all eventually heart murmurs, she has no problems I believe sending a cavalier to a specialist IF and WHEN needed. Yes, I will take Fletcher to the vet at the blink of an eye if I ever think he is in ANY pain. As a owner of a young cavalier I believe I have done or am doing all I can for Fletcher....please if you think I am not on the right track let me know.

I don't think it makes a dime's worth of difference whether your puppy's parents were properly health tested or not. All cavaliers should be suspected of CM and SM.

One of the values of the just-published article on the questionnaire is to alert all of us to be more aware of our cavaliers' strange behaviors, rather than just looking for the more obvious signs of severe head and neck pain.

I have not discussed this question with any neurologists, but what I would like to hear them tell me is that MRIs are not necessary for non-breeding-stock, and that if any of these symptoms appear, medications can be prescribed that will ease the pain if the dog has CM or SM, but will not harmfully affect the dog if it does not have these disorders.

I hate to think that every cavalier should be MRI-scanned, even if it is just once in a lifetime (which we know would not be sufficient if the goal is to confirm the presence of syrinxes). There is the possibility in the future that other, less expensive, detection devices -- other than MRIs -- will suffice, even if they are not as accurate as MRI scans. But until that time, we need to determine whether or not an MRI-scan is a necessary prerequisite for prescribing medications. I hope that neuro-researchers will focus on that and let us know.

sins
1st July 2012, 08:14 PM
medications can be prescribed that will ease the pain if the dog has CM or SM, but will not harmfully affect the dog if it does not have these disorders.
Sadly,I'm becoming aware of cavaliers who have died prematurely who have been on medium/ longterm NSAIDs for SM.
I count my own beautiful girl in that group.Even though the drug which disagreed with her was withdrawn from her treatment plan,she went into liver failure and her liver became neoplastic.I firmly blame that drug for her death and I cannot directly attribute SM as a cause of death,even though her symptoms were troublesome.
A friend of mine lost his cavalier to kidney failure as a result of meds and same situation happened to a Fb friend who lost a bitch to kidney failure.
I simply won't medicate a dog without very compelling clinical signs and certainly not unless it's under specialist supervision. ..
and not on the basis of one single study based on subjective questionnaires.
Sins

RodRussell
1st July 2012, 10:13 PM
...I simply won't medicate a dog without very compelling clinical signs and certainly not unless it's under specialist supervision. ..
and not on the basis of one single study based on subjective questionnaires.

I agree with all of that.

Charlifarley
1st July 2012, 11:00 PM
Sins, your comment has reminded me of a question that I've been intending to ask for a while now.... How many of our cavaliers with SM die from causes other than SM, in particular as a result of the side effects of the drugs they are on? Your own Daisy and our FB friend have prompted me to ask this.

DZee
1st July 2012, 11:22 PM
I think I am among the others here asking this??....
Where do we go from here? Where is the "balance" to all this TALK ?
Is the bottom line that we shouldn't have these dogs due to all the health problems?
Not meant to be offensive..please..just help me to understand. Cause it sure seems like you are saying NO dog is exempt.
I so appreciate all the information shared regarding SM. About buying from good breeders, etc. Supporting research and so forth. You're all very intelligent about these matters.
But also...like you shared Karlin... I would much rather "enjoy being a dog owner"* and not be constantly dwelling on the "negatives" of this breed's health !!
Yes... I think we all need to be wise. We all need to do our research & be aware.
I have to be honest that I "thought" I had researched this breed pretty well before buying..obviously I didn't !!!
But now I have a dog that I "LOVE" dearly.
I do not want to feel I need to be looking at every single thing Wrigley does wondering if this is a sign something is wrong though. I don't want to live in constant FEAR that one day Wrigley will succumb to this dreadful disease ( or MVD that Cavaliers are prone to!!)
I have certificates from my breeder on clearances she had for her dogs...but she DID breed them young ( at the age of 2 - 5)...so who knows? Maybe they too are affected and she just doesn't know it??
Do I spend tons of money on testing now?
Or do I try and relax and just keep a watchful eye?
It is so hard to know that answer... since I DO totally believe that most dogs hide how they are feeling till they just can't any longer. Like I said to Kate....it is just part of who they are instinctively.
Lord knows I DO NOT want to lose a young dog. I will do everything within my power to help my dog.
It was heartbreaking enough losing the ones we did even though they were older & had a different disease.

When I was diagnosed w/ Lupus, neuropathy & some other things that went along with the disease....people told me I needed to get into a support group. So I did. I went 2X..and stopped. WHY??? Because most every conversation was about the disease & how each of them were "feeling".
It was as if one person was trying to top the other with their symptoms being worse than someone else's.
Sure.. I needed to know what I was was up against...but what they shared didn't "encourage me"...it actually "discouraged" me. It was quite depressing. It was still my LIFE.
So..why am I sharing that?? Because if we want to truly help our dog..then we need to stay "positive" as much as we can. ~ They pick up on our emotions...their senses are so much more tuned in then we know !! I know this for a fact..because on my worst days physically..my dog never left my side.
Dogs don't lay around feeling sorry for themselves. We humans do that. They may know they are sick..but they do not know to what degree. So..If we are living worried..they sense that energy...and we are not helping them.
Positive energy helps! Does it mean we live in denial? Or that the disease will go away?..no..but any doctor WILL tell you..it helps.
Maybe none of what I am saying is making sense here ... I dunno?
Please forgive me for being so BLUNT.
I just hope you understand.

* I bet anything...if our dogs could talk ( even the ones we lost) they would tell us...
> " No matter how we might FEEL...Live each day to the fullest"..."life is too short not to." <

Diane

Karlin
2nd July 2012, 12:50 AM
I think each owner has to approach things in a way that both they are comfortable with BUT that recognises they own a breed of dog in which a disturbing 50% have a serious level of heart disease -- eg a murmur -- by age 5, and that virtually all will have one by age 10. And that a large study sample indicates a quarter will have syrinxes by around age 1 -- a fourth of all cavaliers! -- and that at least 70% will eventually have a syrinx. Both these conditions are serious, usually progressive conditions. Their progressive nature makes caring for affected dogs a long and changing, usually stressful and often exhausting process. That is the tragedy of the breed. Pretending it isn't so, won't change the situation for us, and I have seen situations over and again where dogs suffer because owners don't want to accept they have a dog with SM or worsening SM. So any cognisant, caring and responsible owner has to find some balance between knowing the facts and living with them without ignoring them -- or choose another breed or mix, I guess.

Some may feel positive energy will help them deal with those realities, and that's fine. Others manage these concerns in other ways. Just as some people find support groups really helpful and others do not. Personally I have found support groups extremely positive and full of information on my own health matters -- typically full of people far more informed than the GP, and even many of the specialists.

The main intent of CavTalk always has been to provide a focus on breed health, support to those with affected dogs, and support and promotion of rescue. So I am utterly unapologetic for that focus being here. People can ignore topics, or entire subforums if it suits them. :)

For many of us, working to give this breed some kind of future -- which many, including geneticists, feel is increasingly challenging because of these major health issues -- is a passion and a conviction, and it's going to stay that way here and dare I say that IS 'positive energy'. :) There is a hell of a lot more 'positive energy' here to actually ADDRESS these issues than there is elsewhere -- just look at our Rupert's Fund project which has raised over 20,000 pounds for research, through or directly from people connected to the board. We provide guidance for puppy buyers, support for people with affected dogs, guidance and links. We post up the latest research and health information. Crucially, we also don't deny there's a problem or downplay it. We work in and support cavalier rescue across the world. We have helped get lost dogs and owners reunited. How much more 'positive energy' can we provide? :lol: I do, very seriously though, think the many people here who devote hours to these activities and often have done so for years --regularly using the board as a base and networking hub -- may be a bit insulted to be told we are not positive enough however.


I think I am among the others here asking this??....
Where do we go from here? Where is the "balance" to all this TALK ?

Sorry: but are you serious? The whole board is full of discussions and activities and actions, fundraisers, research projects and support, in precisely these areas. Maybe as you are still relatively new, you haven't gone back to the hundreds of earlier threads on this, over seven years, yet? :confused: Maybe read a bit more on Rupert's Fund, the Cavalier Collection Project, Cavalier Matters, Rod's work with the Cavalier health website, Carol Fowler's Cavalier Campaign, Margaret's Cavalier Puppy buyer's information website...and on and on and on...

------

Separate to that: I would not scan an asymptomatic pet dog just to scan, myself. And agree with others, I would not give meds without a reason to give them. Vets unfortunately are not great on knowledge about the meds for SM. Dogs on meds for SM should be having regular blood tests, for example, but most vets don't monitor this (I always have to ask). I don't think a dog can be left without addressing pain with SM however. And many are treated without NSAIDS - most dogs like most humans, won't have serious side effects from NSAIDS though I sure understand the issues, too -- I cannot take long term NSAIDS myself. All meds should of course be given with neurologist/vet supervision and appropriate tests as needed; and any increase in dosage should be worked through with a professional, not ad hoc. :thmbsup:

MomObvious
2nd July 2012, 03:26 AM
Karlin, I agree with everything you just posted above...I'm very grateful for all the great health info I have found on this site. After all it saved my from buying a puppy I shouldn't have and educated me of why I want to be an advocate for this breed, in whatever small way I can. To me it is so handy to have so many people with a ton of practical knowledge at my finger tips.

All the wonderful people and organizations you mentions have one same goal first: AWARENESS without it there is no hope of ever helping this breed.

I do think it all comes down to being a responsible cavalier owner, which means:

1. Don't buy for a breeder in it for the money, they cut corners on health testing and cost this breed a lot of pain. Even if as Rod says all cavalier health tested parents or not we should expect our cavalier to develops one or more of these disorders....these breeders are not helping matters. Heck they don't even think SM or CM is in "their lines" yes it is.

2. Educate yourself and never stop learning things about cavalier health, don't be a fool the numbers do not lie on MVD, CM, SM and more. If you have the slightest "feeling something is not right with your dog" act on it as quickly as possible. That goes for more than just watching for symptoms not just of these disorders everything. A good owner is always monitors their animals carefully.

3. Be an advocate at the vet, if you feel your vet is dismissing problems you see..then keep going and try a vet who will actually view your pets health as a partnership WITH you. I would NEVER leave a doctor visit without having all my concerns addressed.

4. Do all you can to prevent any health problems you can...feed properly, make sure your cavalier gets exercise. Don't skip those annual vet check up.

I'm sure I missed some but you get the idea For me owning a cavalier's knowing the risks, I am willing to accept our beloved cavalier's require extra attention and consideration. Maybe I just think so much of other cavalier owners, I'm sure there are plenty out there who have never heard of these disorders and have no idea their dogs are in pain, but that where again the awareness comes in.


Sometimes, as a owner I find all this bad health news (tho I know I need to know) makes me feel helpless. This report for example has all bad news but no advice on what responsible owners should do with this info.....I know its not a straight forward answer. Watch and wait and continue my cavalier health education but as some point I need to also remember Fletcher is my dog....I need to enjoy everyday we have. For me as of now its worth the risk. I know for a fact that I will one day care for an ill cavalier, how do I know because I already am so in love with this breed I will always have one.

Melissa

Margaret C
2nd July 2012, 05:06 PM
I think each owner has to approach things in a way that both they are comfortable with BUT that recognises they own a breed of dog in which a disturbing 50% have a serious level of heart disease -- eg a murmur -- by age 5, and that virtually all will have one by age 10. And that a large study sample indicates a quarter will have syrinxes by around age 1 -- a fourth of all cavaliers! -- and that at least 70% will eventually have a syrinx. Both these conditions are serious, usually progressive conditions. Their progressive nature makes caring for affected dogs a long and changing, usually stressful and often exhausting process. That is the tragedy of the breed. Pretending it isn't so, won't change the situation for us, and I have seen situations over and again where dogs suffer because owners don't want to accept they have a dog with SM or worsening SM. So any cognisant, caring and responsible owner has to find some balance between knowing the facts and living with them without ignoring them -- or choose another breed or mix, I guess.

I think we all recognise that reading these posts is hard for new puppy owners. They have bought their bright -eyed energetic little darling without realising what the future may hold, or even worse they may has done some homework and bought from someone who appeared to be a responsible breeder only to realise when they come on this forum that the breeder was only paying lip service to health protocols.

I do not enjoy bursting people's bubbles, but often in this world you have to make a choice, and I decided a long time ago that I had to put the welfare of the dogs first.

Owners need to know about the health issues that will affect nearly every cavalier at some time in their life because they are painful if unrecognised and untreated, and the dog's quality of life can be so improved if owners are aware that quirky scratching or bunny hopping behaviour in their pet, or young cavaliers not wanting to exercise, being 'couch potatoes' or hiding under chairs, is not normal in any breed.



Some may feel positive energy will help them deal with those realities, and that's fine. Others manage these concerns in other ways. Just as some people find support groups really helpful and others do not. Personally I have found support groups extremely positive and full of information on my own health matters -- typically full of people far more informed than the GP, and even many of the specialists.

The main intent of CavTalk always has been to provide a focus on breed health, support to those with affected dogs, and support and promotion of rescue. So I am utterly unapologetic for that focus being here. People can ignore topics, or entire subforums if it suits them. :)

For many of us, working to give this breed some kind of future -- which many, including geneticists, feel is increasingly challenging because of these major health issues -- is a passion and a conviction, and it's going to stay that way here and dare I say that IS 'positive energy'. :) There is a hell of a lot more 'positive energy' here to actually ADDRESS these issues than there is elsewhere -- just look at our Rupert's Fund project which has raised over 20,000 pounds for research, through or directly from people connected to the board. We provide guidance for puppy buyers, support for people with affected dogs, guidance and links. We post up the latest research and health information. Crucially, we also don't deny there's a problem or downplay it. We work in and support cavalier rescue across the world. We have helped get lost dogs and owners reunited. How much more 'positive energy' can we provide? :lol: I do, very seriously though, think the many people here who devote hours to these activities and often have done so for years --regularly using the board as a base and networking hub -- may be a bit insulted to be told we are not positive enough however.

Many breeders do not talk about health problems because it 'ruins the breed' (you can translate that into puppies don't sell )

Many pet owners do not want to be worried about the possibility of an unhealthy future in a dog they have already bought and bonded with.

So cavalier health campaigners, who have spent years trying to get something positive done to address health issues, get accused from both sides of being negative doom & gloom merchants.



Sorry: but are you serious? The whole board is full of discussions and activities and actions, fundraisers, research projects and support, in precisely these areas. Maybe as you are still relatively new, you haven't gone back to the hundreds of earlier threads on this, over seven years, yet? :confused: Maybe read a bit more on Rupert's Fund, the Cavalier Collection Project, Cavalier Matters, Rod's work with the Cavalier health website, Carol Fowler's Cavalier Campaign, Margaret's Cavalier Puppy buyer's information website...and on and on and on...


A lot of positive things have been done for over 10 years now.

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Separate to that: I would not scan an asymptomatic pet dog just to scan, myself. And agree with others, I would not give meds without a reason to give them. Vets unfortunately are not great on knowledge about the meds for SM. Dogs on meds for SM should be having regular blood tests, for example, but most vets don't monitor this (I always have to ask). I don't think a dog can be left without addressing pain with SM however. And many are treated without NSAIDS - most dogs like most humans, won't have serious side effects from NSAIDS though I sure understand the issues, too -- I cannot take long term NSAIDS myself. All meds should of course be given with neurologist/vet supervision and appropriate tests as needed; and any increase in dosage should be worked through with a professional, not ad hoc. :thmbsup:

My Tommy Tuppence has pancreatitis and kidney disease ( as well as SM, MVD, Dry Eye, and deafness ) It was probably Frusemide and Metacam and possibly other drugs like Gabapentin and then Lyrica that caused the kidney problems.
I have asked specialist researcher Dr Penny Watson about this. Her response was that although some pain relieving medications can have side effects in dogs with already compromised kidneys, it would be wrong to leave any dog in pain for fear of possible future consequences.

DZee
5th July 2012, 06:40 PM
Well...I took your advice icon_blshing...and for the last few days I read through MANY posts on the forum concerning all this.
I also re-read my own.
Please understand me...I never meant anything I said to be critical of this forum or anyone on it.

Much as I still believe in a more natural approach ( if at all possible!)..and also that positive energy is a good thing..
I would NOT neglect medicating my dog if need be. I would never want to leave anything I loved in pain.

I wanted to explain how learning of the threat of SM in the Cavalier breed has led me to be in fear of possibly losing a dog that I love dearly at a young age. Forgive me..if I didn't come across w/ that message the correct way.
I want to try my best to stay aware...but also to just enjoy being a dog owner with as much or as little time that God allows me to have my beautiful Wrigley.

Kate H
5th July 2012, 09:59 PM
I think we've had slightly crossed lines here. Karlin has been talking about positive action - and yes, we have plenty of that on this forum and I think it is something we can be proud of. Diane seems to be talking more about positive attitudes towards our dogs - giving them as normal a life as possible, having fun with them and enjoying them, even while we keep more of an eye on them than most dog owners would do. I think all of us with SM dogs try to do this, at the same time as the question is always at the back of our minds 'Is he/she OK? Is there anything I can do to make life more comfortable?' This is something that for the moment we just have to live with, but it shouldn't - and doesn't - stop us enjoying our dogs. On the contrary, knowing your dog has SM or may one day get it makes all the ordinary, normal, fun days much more precious. And who knows, medication and treatment may improve, we may have a DNA test, irresponsible breeders may learn responsibility - and I might see a pink animal with wings fly pass my window!

Kate, Oliver and Aled

DZee
5th July 2012, 10:07 PM
I think we've had slightly crossed lines here. Karlin has been talking about positive action - and yes, we have plenty of that on this forum and I think it is something we can be proud of. Diane seems to be talking more about positive attitudes towards our dogs - giving them as normal a life as possible, having fun with them and enjoying them, even while we keep more of an eye on them than most dog owners would do. I think all of us with SM dogs try to do this, at the same time as the question is always at the back of our minds 'Is he/she OK? Is there anything I can do to make life more comfortable?' This is something that for the moment we just have to live with, but it shouldn't - and doesn't - stop us enjoying our dogs. On the contrary, knowing your dog has SM or may one day get it makes all the ordinary, normal, fun days much more precious. And who knows, medication and treatment may improve, we may have a DNA test, irresponsible breeders may learn responsibility - and I might see a pink animal with wings fly pass my window!

Kate, Oliver and Aled

Thank you Kate !! ...yes... ;) .... :xctly:

..and I sincerely pray researchers find a cure for SM .... we can only hope !