It can take 2 weeks or so for meds to help. If they are not I'd see about getting her on prednisone just to stabilise the pain til you make some decisions/talk to Clare. Your vet can likely make the decision to add another painkiller -- I'd use her pain algorithm which can be downloaded from her website.
Thank you to all that have replied to the writer. She found me through Abbey's blog and we have e-mailed a few times. I referred her to CT especially since she lives in the UK. I knew she would get good options. Only she can decide what to do but I remember reading and reading and reading constantly. I know how much CT helped me and I'm hoping there is somebody in the UK that she can talk to on the phone. That was a lifesaver for me.
Thank you all. I read her e-mails and I can feel her pain in her words and there are so many of us that know what she's going through.
Hi Linda: she is actually in France, which makes things a bit more difficult. However that would not be too far from the UK for a day journey or at least to have a phone consult with Dr Rusbridge, which would I am sure be very helpful.
I should have added to my previous posts that the choice between meds, palliative care, surgery or euthenising is very personal and can be made for many, many reasons.
From a personal advice perspective: IF I were determined to keep this little puppy and IF I had the resources and IF the prognosis were good for the attempt, I would not hesitate to opt for surgery. Those are a lot of different IFs to consider. I do think it is important to understand the consequences of NOT opting for surgery -- the odds are massively stacked towards a briefer lifespan and palliative care, especially if initial meds are not working to relieve pain and may need supplementation.
I do know of people who have had screaming dogs that are now close to 10 following surgery. Others have had problems either within weeks to months, or within a couple of years. It is all hard to predict.
Hi Karlin, thanks so much for responding. First, about why I'd go to the USA. I'm American and have the support of my parents (and a place to stay) if I were to return home. I already have a pet passport and clearing to travel is a short process I believe. For the UK, I do believe there is a mandatory quarantine not to mention I know no one there, have no place to stay and would cost me a fortune in housing us in a hotel or rented apt until she's well enough to travel. Also, how much is surgery? US$5k+???
First things first though. I must talk to Clare.
And we do not have insurance. I looked into it before we got her and things that seem to affect Cavs (hip displaysia, eye, heart, SM, etc.) were NOT covered.
Many Cavaliers with SM are sensitive to changes in air pressure, which may be why the meds don't seem to be helping yet - I don't know how France is, but in the UK the air pressure has been high for a couple of weeks and is now coming down, just the sort of change that can affect our SM dogs. And as Karlin says, sleepiness for the first week or so is normal when starting on meds.
Hang in there - your pup needs you! :hug:
Kate, Oliver and Aled
PS The UK doesn't have quarantine for dogs travelling from EU countries (in fact the whole of Europe) and from the beginning of this year has radically simplified the pet passport requirements, so there should be no problems about taking your pup to see Clare via Eurostar.
Karlin, i dont think you are correct about flying to US from France or Belgium, Holland etc... I have done this twice now and its actually very easy... All you need is a vet to sign healthcheck form 2 weeks before take off and all shots taken care off. Flyig from US to france is also easy , though it takes an import permit from some countries in europe and also you need to go to the airport to get certain additional paperwork taken care of. Ive done it and its not that difficult... Flying to Europe is more complicated than back. England is another story and i dont know about irish regulations either but i do know about the mainland.
Originally Posted by Karlin
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Hi all, original poster here. My pup is on day four of her meds and over the past week, she seems to be getting worse. It's alarming because she's so young (4.5 months) and in just a week I've seen symptoms get worse. Before the screaming episode that made us seek out the neurologist, she would scratch for 5 seconds max here and there and that was really it (occasional yelp as if someone pinched her). But now, she rubs her face, bites her paws, scratches more, has a "leg thump/air scratch" with her hind leg that goes on its own when she's sitting sometimes, kicks her back hind legs like a dog that just took a poop, has really sad looking eyes and if she's not sleeping, just looks kind of down and doesn't want to play. Oh, and just now was walking all curved like she just couldn't walk normally. This is so devastating for us.
In a way, I hope a surgeon will tell us her case is a great case for surgery, but it would involve use leaving France, putting her through that and to what end? Maybe it'll help her. Maybe it'll leave me broke with a dog that still suffers. It would be different if she were 5 years old and had a taste of a good life and seemed to be less severely affected. But is it morally OK to give her all kinds of meds hoping she'll feel better? I can't let her suffer silently.
I'm just rambling here. I know our choice here with her is our personal decision but I feel like I need to be "validated" morally by someone reading this. To give me permission to perhaps end it for her when we still remember her as our great dog and not a dog in constant pain. This SM doesn't get better...And I keep going back to the fact that she's so young. What will her life hold?
I've emailed Dr. Rusbridge and am awaiting her reply and will be in contact with a surgeon in the US for his opinion. But every day seems to get harder. And we just love her more and more...
Also, I have a request: I see my post has over 300 views and if you're reading this (even if you don't usually comment), would you mind sending some encouraging words my way? Maybe in a PM? I really need the support and encouragement today. I'm either crying or about one thought away from tears and even though I don't know you, sending some hope my way would really mean the world to me right now.
I'm so sorry you're going through this.
We had to let our five year old go as a result of liver cancer quite recently.She had lived with symptomatic SM for the last two years of her life and it's not been easy.
If your puppy is walking all curved,she may have spinal curvature (scoliosis) which is a symptom of a syrinx.
Taking into account your puppy's age and the severity of the symptoms,I honestly fear that even with surgical intervention,she may be beyond help.
If she were mine,I would get a second opinion from Dr Rusbridge on the Mri scan.
Once the diagnosis is confirmed,and I had answers to any outstanding questions about her prognosis,I would choose to release her from her pain.
As pet owners,we are not obliged to preserve life at all cost.
The welfare of the puppy and the psychological wellbeing of the owner must take priority.
I can imagine how traumatic all of this is for you,but no matter what your decision will be,you will have the full support and understanding of everyone here who had had to deal with Syringomyelia.
Thank you, Sins. That really means a lot to me. To compound things, yesterday was my six month wedding anniversary and instead of being happy, my husband and I were crying. I'm 100% consumed with this and feel that even if we try the meds, she'll still be suffering and for how long? A few months til they don't work or we have to up the dosage? And then put her to sleep when we love her more? Every waking moment is about our poor, sweet girl and it's no way to start a marriage. I'm not overweight at all and have lost nearly 4 kg in the past week. Can barely bring myself to shower because I don't want to leave her alone. She's here next to me sleeping. I hope she stays that way...
Originally Posted by sins
Thank u all
I am sorry that you have a poorly puppy. I agree with everyone so far - Claire Rusbridge is the first authority on MRI scans and SM, she has been treating and researching this for many years, the UK is at the fore-front on the condition.
Have you heard back from your puppy's breeder yet. I really do think you should give her a ring and let her know what is happening, firstly because she may well be as devestated as you are, and could offer much support and help, if as you say she has done all the health testing on her stock.
It is only fair to speak with her, after all she has bred your puppy, and if she is a responsible breeder she will want to be part of your decision making.
I keep in contact with Martha's breeder - even after a couple of years, and I know she would be very upset if I didn't let hear know of something, and did something behind her back, when she might be able to help.