I believe there is one neurologist at least doing the surgery in France -- Clare will know if he is back there. He did a couple of studies on French cavaliers and SM. She would also know of others in Europe -- for example, Holland.
My mistake on US travel -- I was thinking of pet passports into non-rabies countries such as the one I live in, being in place to go into the US as well. But see you just need rabies done a couple of weeks in advance.
For traveling from France to UK -- you just need to wait three weeks after a rabies vax and have the correct paperwork.
It is good to look up information and make sure you have all you need to make a decision before assuming you need to do anything as complex as flying halfway around the world. :thmbsup: The surgery is pretty similar no matter where you have it, if that is what you opt to do. Maybe the neurologist you saw is the same person.
French breeders have been very much in denial BTW on SM in the breed -- the French researcher mentioned said they used to call it 'the English disease'. Then he showed them half the supposedly clear dogs he tested had SM. There's a good SM website in FRance as well run by a very nice woman.
Incidentally, 300 views is not the same as 300 people viewing the thread. Lots will have revisited several times -- and this includes non members looking at thread and they cannot post.
If symptoms are getting worse then you need immediately to go work with your vet/neurologist to improve the level of pain medication.
Im one of the members that have re-visted your post for an update. My heart breaks for you. I have a 5 year old cav called Leo. When he was 2 and a half he showed alarming symptoms that caused us to MRI him. The vet hospital where we had him scanned kept him in for a weeks observation before they finally scanned him.
It was awful, myself and my kids spent the whole week in tears and fearing the worse. These little dogs really get to us dont they?
Anyway just wanted to say Im sending best wishes and good will across the channel to you.
I also have come back for updates. I have an almost 12 yr. old cav with severe heart disease. I have asked the members many times for help, advice and prayers and good wishes. The people here never disappoint.
The best you can do is get all the information you can so you can make an informed decision on the care of your pup.
Good luck and I all continue to check back and send good wishes your way.
Thanks Sydneys Mom and Mel, that means a lot. Mel, did your Leo fare better on meds or did you go the surgery route? I hope he's ok. ;-)
FYI this was a sumary I wrote up a few years back on the French research:
Laurent Cauzinille, DMV, Ecole Nationale Veterinaire de Maisons Alfort, Paris, France
Neurology and Neurosurgery Department, Centre Hospitalier Fregis, Arcueil, France
‚€œIncidence of caudal occipital malformation syndrome and ultrasound, computed tomographic, magnetic resonance imaging findings in 16 clinically normal Cavalier King Charles Spaniel genitors‚€Ě
Authors: Jerome Couturier, Delphine Rault, Laurent Cauzinille
‚€œWe had two years ago, what we called ‚€˜the French exception‚€™. There was ‚€˜no SM in France‚€™,‚€Ě Cauzinille said. The French CKCS club referred to SM as ‚€˜the British CKC disease.‚€™ Then, a couple of cases appeared and now there are more than 25 known cases.
In November 2004 he gave the first lecture and produced an article on SM in cavaliers. In June 2006, the French club accepted his proposed study, which was small but with two key French breeders, conducted at the the Vet Imaging Centre in Paris.
* 16 dogs in the study
* all were clinically and neurologically ‚€˜normal‚€™ according to their breeders (who filled in a questionnaire) and verified by neurologist‚€™s tests (but not MRI)
*all were LOF (French kennel club pedigree) and breeding dogs
* Dr Couterier performed the neurological clinical testing, which included checking for: cervicalgia, hyperesthesia, scrathcing, ataxia, paresia, abnormal head posture, scoliosis, strabismus, facial paralysis, cranial nerve deficit
A number of study tests were then done.
*Ultrasound was performed on awake dogs with the goal of trying to find a less expensive screening test. Diameter of the spinal cord was measured at C1/C2 and at the level of the foramen magnum with the head flexed 90 degrees.
* Dogs were then anaesthetised, and a spiral CT scan was performed from the tuberculum sellae to the dens of the axis. Sagittal, transverse and dorsal images were taken (which is quite extensive). Linear measurements and area of the caudal fossa were obtained in the sagittal plane; height of the foramen magnum; area of the caudal fossa. In the transverse plane at the level of the widest part of the caudal fossa, linear measurement of the maximum width of the fossa was obtained.
*Then, dogs were MRId in a dorsal recumbent position using a 0.3T MR system -- the skull to the 1st thoracic vertebrae. If there, they measured hydrocephalus, ventricles, cerebellar size and degree of herniation.
As a result of these tests, the population was divided into groups: 1) normal; 2) syrinx; 3) hydrocephalus but no syrinx.
1) normal dogs: 8, 7 males and 1 female -- but had Chiari-like malformation
2) syrinx: 7 had SM, 3 males and 4 females, ‚€œa big shock to the breeders‚€Ě
3) hydrocephalus but no syrinx: 1 male
In all the dogs, no statistically significant difference was found in the measurements taken except in the hydrocephalic dog. With this group, 43% of clinically normal champion breeding dogs (genitors) have SM ‚€œso there‚€™s no more ‚€˜French exception‚€™.‚€Ě But this is only 16 dogs so researcher cannot give a percentage affected for France, but these were were all pedigree dogs representing 6 key breed lines all with common ancestors.
* There was no association between the degree of herniation and SM. Doesn‚€™t know if size of caudal fossa matters.
*They were able to pick up syrinxes with ultrasound
* They will repeat MRIs on the French dogs in 1 year and 3 years. He hopes King Charles Spaniels can be included in future research.
* The doctor doing the ultrasound was impressed with how much of the cerebellum could be seen with ultrasound.
* He thinks the next step is to keep looking at CSF dynamics -- ‚€œthe thing that will really help us to progress a lot.
French website I mentioned: this owner has lost one dog to SM and pushed for greater breed health in France.
Thanks so much Karlin. I really appreciate that you took the time to post that. Dr. Cauzinille is actually the doctor we saw at Centre Fregis in the Paris area. We drove 4 hours and sought him out because of his experience w/the breed and knowledge of SM. ;-) Going to check the website you posted now.
I too am one of the repeat viewers to this thread since I also have a cavalier with SM. Riley started showing symptoms when we got her at 11 months of age, but was not diagnosed until she was 5 years old. Her symptoms were not at all like your sweet baby's though. Her SM affected her vestibular system so that by the time she was diagnosed she could barely walk unsupported. Medication had no affect on her symptoms at all. She had surgery right before she turned six years old (3.5 years ago). She'll never be normal and is on prednisone daily, but she is living and loving life and I am thankful for every extra day I have with her.
I found CavalierTalk while I was waiting for her to come out of surgery and like Joyce said, the members have been so supportive of each other. We are here for you whatever your decision is. Those of us with SM dogs know how hard and painful it is for them, and sometimes it's just too much. I can understand the daily tears. These little dogs just get hold of your heart and don't let go. My heart aches for you and your husband.
Reality is that may well happen. Then again it may not. Owning a symptomatic SM dog means you are going to live with uncertainty.
Take a deep breath and make your plan. Get the best advice you can and then go from there.
I'm afraid it will be for you to make the decision and that will depend on so many things.
For my own part I firmly believe that it is kinder and more loving to make that decision a day too soon than a day too late.