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.
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.
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.
Thanks. I sure do miss her.