View Full Version : Update on Rory's Syringomyelia surgery

27th November 2005, 03:10 AM
Hey everyone -
Just wanted to give up update on the little man. His surgery was on Friday. It was over 3 hours long and more complicated than normal. Where these syringomyelia dogs usually have fibrous connective tissue constricting their brain (cerebellum), Rory had very thickened, collagenous, shiney white cartilage-like tissue (like in your joints) which was adhered to his brain. So the neurosurgeon, Dr. Harrington, had to meticullously pick this tissue off while trying not to damage the brain. Apparently it was incredibly frustrating. I can only imagine. There was a great risk for permanent brain damage, but if he hadn't tried to remove the connective tissue, there would have been no point to the surgery, as his brain would have still been just as compressed. I'm really glad he went through with it and did such an awesome job. Afterwards, he said the brain looked good and Rory should definitely feel relief from all the compression.

So we were waiting to see how he did this morning when all the drugs wore off to see if there were any vestibular signs (balance issues) indicating the brain had been damaged.

Imagine my delight this morning when they brought him trotting out to me in the waiting room!! :) He looked great and had no signs of brain damage. He even balanced on one leg to pee on a couple bushes and ran up to meet the neurosurgeon's assistant's Cavalier, Daniel, who was coming in for work! :) I brought his food and he was quite excited about that. We fed him and then they gave him some more drugs and he fell asleep on my lap. :)

I called this afternoon for an update and they said he is having a great afternoon! Perky, alert, and doing very well! I was sooo happy to hear that! :D The vet who was working (not the neurosurgeon) said she couldn't be happier with his recovery and he was doing even better than they could have hoped for!!! yay, Rory!!! I am soooo glad I went to Harrington. I'm not sure that anyone else would have perservered and continued to work on that connective tisue that was stuck to his brain. It would have been just as understandable if he had decided it was too risky and backed out. And then we'd be back at square one.

My flight home isn't until Monday night and I can't get anything earlier (everything is sold out due to holiday travel) so he'll stay in the hospital until then. He was not too impressed with Lilo (my sister's 4.5 mo old Newfoundland puppy) so I'll just pick him up from the hospital and go straight to the airport to avoid stressing him out. They don't think there should be any problems flying post-op (I had asked them about this before deciding whether to drive or fly). It's a short 2 hour flight. And they said 4 - 6 weeks of recovery. The first two weeks more restricted, then he can gradually work up to normal activity level.

Thank you to everyone for the supportive thoughts and prayers. It means so much. My friends and family are being sooo supportive, too. It's great to know my other dog and cats are being well taken care of by my friends back home. I'm sure my lab won't even want to come home after her weekend with two beagles and a huge backyard!

Hope everyone is having a good Thanksgiving weekend! I couldn't be happier with Rory's progress.

27th November 2005, 08:50 AM
What a great relief you and your family must be feeling right now. I'm so pleased all has gone well with Rory's surgery. Positive thoughts and good wishes for a speedy recovery. :D :D :D

27th November 2005, 11:03 AM
That's wonderful news to know he's doing so well {{{{{{{{Rory and his folks}}}}}}}}.

Tbh, if I was Rory I don't think I'd have been impressed with Lilo either - I'll bet that she's enormous compared to poor little Rory :lol:

Hope your flight home goes well and that darling little Rory continues to progress well xxxx

27th November 2005, 07:34 PM
This is great news! I'm very happy everything worked out so well, and Harrington sounds awesome!! Good for you! Safe travels home, and I hope you're both able to get some much needed rest now that he's in recovery mode.

Sweet Toby
28th November 2005, 12:33 AM
I am so happy to hear about Rory! :D I have been very nervous about our little Toby getting the same thing, or having the same thing since I read about it. It just makes me feel better that you were able to find the right person to operate because I also feel that most vets would say too bad, nothing can be done.

28th November 2005, 12:21 PM
It's great that Rory is doing so well! :D
Hope he keeps up the good progress!
We'll all be thinking of him and wish him a good and speedy recovery.
And I'm sure you will need recovery time too after what I can only imagine to be a very stressful time!!!
Good Luck!

28th November 2005, 04:53 PM
That's fantastic Kendall .......

So happy that Rory is doing so well and I am very pleased for you that you went ahead with the surgery and it worked out well ....

Hears to a great Christmas festive holiday with a cheerful and bounding Rory ......

Hope your flight tonight goes ok and I'm sure you'll both be happy to be back home .....

Bruce H
28th November 2005, 06:22 PM
What WONDERFUL news! I'll have all my guys crossing their paws for a recovery that goes as well as the surgery. Time for just a little extra spoiling!

28th November 2005, 09:23 PM
Thanks everyone! yes - he is definitely getting some extra spoiling. :D Luckily he was pretty skinny before the surgery so it'll be OK if he gets a few extra treats. I have to figure out ways to keep him entertained in his crate. I think I need to find his kong and stuff it with stuff... But I worry about him chewing on stuff too much - he tends to crank his neck in odd positions when he chews... :?

We are going to resume acupuncture and try some therapies to decrease scar tissue formation. Hopefully. So hopefully he'll be one of the lucky ones that beats this horrible disease. ;)

He was doing so well yesterday that I managed to get an early flight back home. So he's just chillin' in his new, larger, crate. His cousin (my sister's 4.5 mo old Newfoundland puppy) gave him her crate as she'd already outgrown it. :shock: He's trotting around like nothing happened. My main problem is going to be keeping him confined and restricted! As boring as it is, he'll probably just have to stay in his crate except for very supervised time (not further than an arm's length away in case he tries to jump up on the couch or chair) and to go out to pee.
here are some pics:

Day 1 post-op, still groggy:



Day 2 Post-op:

28th November 2005, 09:33 PM
Kendall he looks so good!! This is so encouraging! I'm so happy with the results, I can't imagine what you feel! :D
Lil' Franken-Rory is still just as adorable as ever, plus, now he gets to show off his great bangs!! :p

Hugs to Rory!!!

28th November 2005, 10:56 PM
Wow those are amazing pictures. It is hard to believe he is just one day post-up! They can be so incredibly resilient, can't they? I bet he will be showing that scar off to all the other boy-dogs... :lol: It is an amazing 'seam' when you see that view from the back. You must be so relieved and so pleased with his good spirits. icon_banana

28th November 2005, 11:54 PM
Doesn't he look great?! :D :D I'm so proud of him. He really is doing fantastic, I think. The scar is crazy. 18 stitches. I should count how many inches!!! So he can brag to all his buds about his gnarly scar. "Dude - when I was a kid, I had brain surgery and they cut a 5 inch slit into my skull and gave me 18 stitches! Wanna see my scar?" :lol:

29th November 2005, 11:54 AM
awwwwwwww those pics made me cry,you must of been distraught with worry, and poor rory has came through so much, i cant tell you how glad i am to see him doing so well, he looks amazing and doesnt even look like he,s had any surgery at all cause he looks so healthy.best wishes to you both and have a great christmas and new year xoxoxoxoxoxo

Jo B
29th November 2005, 03:07 PM
Thank god everything went so well Im so happy for you all

icon_banana icon_banana icon_banana icon_banana

29th November 2005, 03:13 PM
What great news for you and Rory! He looks remarkably well for all he's been through. Don't you wish we could bounce back like our dogs seem to? I know his wonderful outcome has to be a great relief for you. Keep us posted on his progress.

29th November 2005, 05:47 PM
He looks great! My daughter has the same type of scar on her scalp - she's had 3 brain surgeries and then had her major brain surgery a few years ago, so we know what you're going thru... she had to relearn to walk, talk, do everything one-handed. I'm sure you'll see a major difference in his health now - keeping you in our prayers here in Nebraska.

Sheri R.

1st December 2005, 04:36 PM
Dear Kendall

I'm sorry I haven't been around but am so thankful that Rory came through the surgery ok.

The neurologist was just amazing to persevere with such a trying situation - thank goodness he did.

Thank you for sharing the photos - icon_crying here but really hope that this will be the answer for Rory, and he will enjoy a good quality of life now.

Paws and fingers crossed for a good recovery, hope that the flight home was ok.

Thinking of you and sending healing thoughts and prayers.

1st December 2005, 08:10 PM
sramirez - so sorry your daughter has had to go through so many surgeries!! :cry: Is she doing OK now??

Rory is doing FANTASTIC!! He is such an amazing dog and making an awesome recovery. If I let him, he'd run around like a maniac already. But another 8 days in the crate and then restricted harness/leash walks only for severalmore weeks. I'm going to have to ask Harrington how much restriction he needs because he's obviously not hindered by this at all. Harrington said we could sortof gauge how much restriction he needs by how he feels, but considering he's already raring to go, I'm a little worried he needs more time.... He's 6 days post-op today! :D

Thanks for all the support!! :)

here is a picture of him from the other day:


1st December 2005, 10:01 PM
It really sounds like he's a great example of the difference in results if the surgery is done before the dog is showing lots of pain and neurological affects. I wonder how he compares with other dogs Harrington has done, and how Rory's excellent response compares to that of dogs who might have had a lot of problems before the surgery. It would be so interesting to see comparisons! I hope he keeps coming along by (literal!) leaps and bounds!

I know Clare's approach is not to confine as much as some neurologists recommend. Harrington seems to take a similar approach. I know a lot of people who had the surgery done did feel they let the dogs do too much early on so I think you are right in restraining him from too much acitivity at this point.

2nd December 2005, 12:14 AM
Harrington's assistant said that he was definitely way better off before surgery than most of their patients who have the surgery. harrington said some dogs are really super painful after surgery while others are not. One of the vets who was working there said he is doing as good or better than any of the dogs they see post-op!! I think if they saw him now they'd be even more impressed!

One thing harrington did say is that the confinement now could really play a role in scar tissue formation that may lead to recurrance of symptoms. Which is why I'm trying soooo hard to keep him restrained. But it is NOT easy. He's literally in his crate all the time except when he goes out to pee (on leash!!)- but when we go out he is rushing around and not restricting himself at all. Good thing he's on leash! He is shaking his head a fair amount when I let him out which I worry about being too much movement.... Probablly due to the hair from his ears getting stuck in the sutures and it's wet outside, so he shakes the rain off...

Anyway - I really hope he continues to do well!! Tomorrow will be 1 week! I can't believe it. I'm so glad I did this surgery. Even if it comes back, I know I did the best thing I could for him. And I'm relieved that he's hardly affected at all. Probably less affected than some dogs when they're neutered!!! ;) Ii was really anticipating a long, painful recovery but it has been anything but that! the only pain is when Rory gives off really pathetic whines from his crate...

Cathy T
2nd December 2005, 12:17 AM
I can't believe it's been a week already. You are so doing the right thing by restricting him as difficult as it may be. Much better safe than sorry. Hate to think of going through that awful surgery and overdoing the activity afterward. Hugs and kisses to that precious baby boy!

2nd December 2005, 03:35 AM
I know this is petty/minor but I hope his white stripe realigns on healing...it's just so cute :)

Glad he's doing well..

2nd December 2005, 05:19 AM
I know this is petty/minor but I hope his white stripe realigns on healing...it's just so cute :)

Glad he's doing well..

Haha. My husband was concerned about this, too. ;) He was sad that they had to cut right through his losenge.... ;) The incision looks great! I should take a pic to update y'all.

2nd December 2005, 05:45 PM
The incision looks great! I should take a pic to update y'all.

I've been meaning to ask for updated pics, I'm curious to see how it's looking. How's he feeling? How is he handling being "contained"? :lol: He's probably bouncing off the walls! :lol:

3rd December 2005, 06:39 AM
I just got the OK from Rory's surgeon to go on walks on harness. :D Yay! Stiill no jumping on couches, etc. I'm honestly not sure how to prevent this w/o keeping him crated.... Also - the stairs!!

Anyway - here are some pics of the boy from today!


Bruce H
3rd December 2005, 03:35 PM
It is so great that he's doing so well, so fast. He is really looking good. I'm no vet, but it seems like very careful exercise will make him a much happier dog. It's well known in humans that a positive attitude aids tremendously in healing and I'd bet it's the same in dogs.

Is it my imagination, or is his fur starting to come in already? Shoot, won't be much longer and I'll be back to being the one on this board with the least amount of hair on the back of my head :lol:

3rd December 2005, 07:52 PM
He looks so good! Was he so happy to be out and about? The stiches look like they're doing really well, and yea, it does look like his fur is starting to come in already! The one spot right on the top looks like it's not stitched, why is that or maybe there's an inside stich? Does he have to go back in to have them out or do they disolve/fall out on their own?

4th December 2005, 03:24 AM
such a sweet dog and so fortunate to have such a caring owner

Grand Rapids, Mi

Darby's Mom
4th December 2005, 05:26 AM
Hola to Rory's brave momma!
10 days is coming up so quickly!! When would you like me to come over and take out his sutures?

Awwww... with his sutures out, I can't call him "Zipperhead" anymore! :lol:

4th December 2005, 10:18 PM
{{{{{{{{Rory}}}}}}}} doesn't he look just fantastic :D Here's hoping the rest of his recovery will be as smooth :D

I will be perfectly honest here, I have been dead set against surgery for SM but Rory looks to be recovering better than any other Cavalier I have heard of so far - Go Rory, go Rory!!!!

Rory's Mom, you have most definitely done your very best for him, he is lucky to have you icon_thumbsup icon_heartthrob icon_flowers

17th December 2005, 03:26 PM
he looks fantastic, hes such a stunning dog..i bet ur soooo relieved that he,s recovered so quick..... he is a real fighter......HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO YOU BOTH xoxoxox

28th December 2005, 09:19 AM
WOW wonderful to see Rory recovering so well - he looks fantastic.

He does seem to be doing so much better than many others I have read about - what a relief for fyou.

I hope that his recovery is continuing to go well, and that you all managed to enjoy a wonderful Christmas.

((((hugs))) for Rory